Sunday, October 31, 2010

100 Vis Js 4 NC

Dave has the 100 Visual Journals for North Carolina blog up and running. Inspired by the 1000 Journal project, Dave launched 100 journals out into the state of North Carolina - one journal for each county in the state. He found willing volunteers to step up and be guardians for journals and to be regional coordinators. For anyone in NC who wishes to be a part of this project as a guardian of a journal as a regional coordinator, or as a contributor to this project, wander over to check out the latest information.

In other news, I found out that my artwork was accepted for Patti Digh's new book. I am very excited. See this post to see the art that I submitted.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Feeling like an Artist

Nothing beats the feeling of creating when I am in that zen-like state where the painting, drawing, or sculpture is just taking form effortlessly and it just finishes so easily. It's like the work is creating itself. Of course, I have a lot of unfinished work stacked up in the studio that started out flowing like water, but quickly got dammed and came to a screeching halt waiting for completion some day. Both of these feelings - the free-flowing creativity and the blocked creativity - are part of being and feeling like an artist.

And there is such validation when someone else thinks so highly of your work that they want to own a piece. I was fortunate to sell two pieces this past weekend at the NCAEA conference. Modus Operandi 123 above was an 11x14 piece that hung around my studio for a couple of years before I finished it for an exhibit last winter, and Personal Excavation below grew out of my Excavation Series and is a small 4x6 graphite piece that I finished relatively quickly. I appreciate anyone wishing to own a piece of mine, and there is such a release when the work is sent out there to live somewhere else. That release is also part of being and feeling like an artist.

This artwork would have never existed if it were not for the visual journal. The ideas, techniques, and concepts that I have developed in the journal over the last 11 years have laid the foundation for the artwork that I am making now. The journal has been such an integral part of my personal artistic growth. And I am happy to share my art and my journey.

Thank you to all who have supported my artistic endeavors.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Dave and I just got back from the North Carolina Art Education Association's annual Fall Conference in New Bern, NC. The setting was great, the weather was beautiful, and the attendees were highly motivated. We were part of 4 presentations and workshops spreading the power and importance of the visual journal.

Our 3-hour, hands-on workshop was filled with excited teachers - many of whom keep coming back year after year and some of whom came on the advice of a friend or colleague, but all of whom dove into the variety of media and techniques we shared. Our 45-minute presentation on our journey to publishing The Journal Junkies Workshop brought out quite a few people early in the morning as we traced our path form the visual journal to the book. Many stayed for Dave's presentation on 100 Visual Journals for North Carolina (Dave's hand-drawn logo for the project can be seen above). Basically, Dave envisioned one journal going to each county in NC (there are excactly 100), getting filled by teachers, students, and the commuinity - ages 2-102 - and then making its way back to him where they will be donated to the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching as a means to raise money for the center. We thank all those who took on the role of Activist to become guardian of their county's journal. We thank Cheap Joe's in Boone for the donation of the 100 journals. Finally, we supported our good friend Sam Peck in his presentation Fight Club=Graduate School where he credited his acceptance into UNCG's MFA program in part to the visual journal and in part to the discussion he had with the interviewers about the book/film Fight Club and Postmodern Principles. Tying the book/film to Olivia Gude's "Postmodern Principles: in Search of 21st Century Art Education", Sam led a great talk about his journey to and through graduate school and back to teacher.

Thanks to all who came out to be part of a great conference, and we hope to see you all in Charlotte next year. The support, enthusiasm, and motivation keeps inspiring us to continue to push the visual journal further and further.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I have been finding my balance more over the last few weeks. Life can be so overwhelming at times when things are stacked up and everything is a priority. Unfortunately, many people want their priorities to become mine. So, it is nice when life balances itself out for a while. Balancing teaching, spending time with family and friends, working around the house, making art, and finding some quiet time is a difficult task at times, but that is what life is about - seeking balance.

Friday, October 8, 2010


With school in full swing, I have been busy to the point of being almost overwhelmed. Things are finally settling down, and it isn't so much work and struggle keeping up with the day-to-day. I have actually found some time work on my art. Besides working in the journal, I have been able to start a 22"x30" piece on watercolor paper (pictured above). I tacked the paper up behind my desk at school, and over the last week, I have been slowly adding layers of watercolor and watercolor pencil with much of the work over the last two days. It has been a nice lift in the spirit to find time to work on some art.

I am a big believer that in our lives we give priority to things that we value. Unfortunately we often give priority to things like TV, cell phones, and computers, and to some degree that is what we value at the time even though we may say otherwise. If it was something we did not value, we would not dedicate the time. It is that simple. Actions speak louder than words.

Too often, I have paid lip service to the importance of my art, but I have not dedicated the energy. So, on some level, I was not valuing it at the time. I am not criticizing myself because life easily gets busy and one aspect can quickly take over our focus. I am simply stating a fact, but I am glad that at least for now, I am finding some balance in life with work, play, art, family, friends, and so on. It's not all perfectly balanced, and there will always be ebbs and flows. But I feel more in touch with myself and more centeredwhen I am making art.

Here is to finding balance and prioritizing the things that truly matter.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What I Wish For

In mid August, I submitted my name to create a work of art for Patti Digh's new book What I Wish For: Simple Wisdom for a Happy Life. After an overwhelming response, the editor randomly selected people to submit work, and I was lucky enough to be selected. Now there's no guarantee that my work will be selected, but the artwork above is my submission.

Patti had readers of her blog write essays for her older daughter giving her advice as she graduated from high school and transitioned into college. She then, selected many of the submitted essays to publish in book form, and then solicited artwork.

I received an essay a couple of weeks ago to illustrate, and it posed a real challenge. First, the essay contained some very literal imagery, and my art is not very literal. Second, the art could not use any legible text, and my art often uses text. After working on it for several days, I think that the resulting work reflects the essay pretty well. But I'm not going to share that.

What do you think the main theme of the essay was?

The work was created in a 9x12 Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal.