Sunday, July 31, 2011

Challenge #20: Show Up Like Magic

We all have those times when we need a little support, when we need to be lifted up, and when we need the help of someone else. We can look back through our lives and remember times when someone showed up for us when we needed them the most as if by magic. It may have been in a dire hour or it may have been when we just needed someone to take us out for a cup of coffee. And hopefully, we can remember times when we have been there for someone else.

How have you been there for someone else and picked them up when they needed it the most? How have you supported and done small things for those who have needed you? Who in your life, right now, needs you to show up like magic – to be there – to make them smile – to feel your support? How can you show up like magic?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Challenge #19: Come Out and Play

Play. When we were children there was nothing more important than play. School, church, dinner, baths, and sleep were never as important as play. We counted down the minutes to recess where we could tear around the playground, swing as high as possible on the swings, play favorite games like Four Square and Red Rover, or make up our own games. Then we grew up, and too often we have stopped playing.

When was the last time that you simply played and had fun - not compete, not glued to a screen or phone, but played? When was the last time you headed outside, ran, romped, and carried on until well after dark on a cool summer evening?

Is someone calling you to come out and play? Reflect on how YOU can come out and play – how YOU can disconnect from the TV, the computer, the phone, and go enjoy yourself without worrying about all of those things that we have to worry about.

New Book and Upcoming Workshops

Dave in the photo studio at F+W Media, Inc. working on a page for a step-by-step photo.

The summer is in full swing, and Dave and I have had a very busy summer so far. There's lots to catch up on.

We just got back from Cincinnati where we spent a week shooting the step-by-step for our second book. Titled Journal Fodder 365: Daily Doses of Inspiration for the Art Addict, it will be a follow-up to our first book. Centered around the idea of a year-long workshop, the book will consist of 12 chapters, each with its own theme. Each chapter will contain 4 prompts, several new and specific writing, drawing, painting, and mixed-media techniques. Where our first book is a resource of a lot of techniques, Journal Fodder 365 will emphasize the application of concepts and ideas. We took a close look at how we use ideas and techniques, and put that into book form. We are very excited. The new book will release July 2012 - just a year away. We'll post more at various stages, and we'll share an image of the cover a little later.

Dave saying bring it on.

We are spending this week working on the new book and gearing up for Art Unraveled in Phoenix. We will be at the Embassy Suites from August 1-7, and we will be teaching 3 workshops. On Tuesday the 2nd, we will be teaching the all-day workshop Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict based on our first book. On Wednesday the 3rd, we will be teaching Mapping Identity in the Visual Journal. On Thursday the 4th. we will be teaching The Challenge of Beauty based on Arrien Angeles book, Signs of Life: The Five Universal Symbols and How to Use Them. It is not too late to sign up for Art Unraveled, and registration is taken up to the day of the workshop. So hopefully, we will see some of you in Phoenix.

In November, we will be teaching at Jerry's Artarama's Art of the Carolinas 2011. We will be teaching two workshops sponsored by Strathmore Artists Papers. On Saturday, November 12 from 5-8pm, we will teach Visual Journals: Personal Mythologies, and on Sunday, November 13 from 9am-12pm, we will teach Visual Journals: Compulsions and Obsessions. If you will be in Raleigh, NC that weekend, hopefully we will see you there. 

Unfortunately, our workshop at NCCAT (North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching) which was scheduled for November 14-18 has been cancelled due to budget issues. NCCAT's budget was drastically cut this year which meant the cancellation of most of their Renewal Seminars. We are very sorry to not be teaching this workshop at such a remarkable place. Maybe in the future, NCCAT will get its budget restored, and we can once again offer this seminar to the teachers of North Carolina.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Challenge #18: Self Talk

It is sometimes said that as humans we think too much. Often this thinking is self-talk – a dialogue that we have with ourselves about the past or about the future. Dr. Phil McGraw calls these “tapes” because we replay and loop the same thoughts and words through our head focusing on negative aspects. Many of these tapes or scripts focus on the past and are thoughts about failings and shortcomings. Many others focus on the future and are thoughts and obsessions about what is yet to come or about waiting for “the other shoe to fall.” Still many others are general thoughts of self-denigration and are about our sense of worth. Whatever it might be, this self talk takes us out of the present and has us worrying about things that we cannot change, that we have no control over, or that are not grounded in truth.

What is your self-talk? Do you fill your mind with thoughts about lack, failure, and your own perceived worthlessness? Do you relive the past wishing you could have done something differently? Do you think about the endless possibilities of the future worrying about what has yet to come?

How does your self-talk pull you out of the present and cause worry or anxiety? Reflect on the tapes that you have looping through your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Journal for the Second Book

I've been working recently in a journal that I specifically started for our second book. I decided to go through all the prompts and techniques we plan on using in the book and use them in a journal that I will ultimately send to North Light (our publisher) to use as artwork for the book.

Though both Dave and I have used many of the prompts and techniques throughout the years that we have been doing journals, we have a lot of other techniques, ideas, and media in those journals that we are not really covering in the book. I thought that this type of journal would more clearly illustrate our ideas.

It's been interesting keeping two journals. I plan on posting more glimpses as I work.

And speaking of the new book, we have a title and have seen a couple of design possibilities for the cover. I'll share more on that when I can. But in the meanwhile , Dave and I will be traveling to Cincinnati next week to shoot photos for the step-by-step. It's all coming together quickly.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Challenge #17: Being Present and Being Absent

In today’s culture, there are many things that can distract us, amuse us, and eat away at our time and our attention. So many of us seem fascinated by what happens to celebrities, by the latest reality show, by the last gadget or gizmo, by apps and games, by texting and messaging, that life seems to pass us by so quickly.

There is a deceptively simple concept that seems to be key in a lot of Buddhist philosophy: Be Present. By being present in every situation, from eating a meal to feeling your emotions, and not allowing your mind to run away from you, you can control your suffering and move toward happiness.

What is garnering your attention at this point? How do you distract yourself and allow yourself to be absent from your life, your emotions, your friends, and your families? How are you being present in your life? In what ways do you find for living in the here and now?

Remember to post a response in the comments or to share a link to your response.