Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pivotal People: Identity and Connection

First let me say, that I won't be posting a new challenge for this last week of March. I only want to post four challenges per month, so look for a new challenge by the end of this week or the beginning of next week to kick off April.

Now for my Pivotal People.

The last couple of weeks have been busy with the NAEA Convention in Seattle and finishing up the third quarter at school, so I'm sharing a spread from volume 13.
I chose this spread because of the theme Identity and Connection. I have developed much of my identity from the people who have influenced me - especially my Pivotal People.

My parents have always supported me, and they gave me the independence to pursue my own things. Roger and Sandy Scott taught me to work hard and to stand on my own. They encouraged my artistic endeavors, and never held me back.

I had a few teachers in high school and college who impacted me academically and artistically. Some challenged me for the good and for the bad. Some gave me freedom, and some guided me to see my true potential.

Of course I have to acknowledge Dave as pivotal in my life. He was the one who introduced me to the visual journal. He has also mentored me as an artist and a teacher, and I owe him a large debt of gratitude for the direction of my life. I am very glad that the Journal Fodder Junkies is an endeavor that we continue to share.

Just as Dave has been a mentor to me, I have been a mentor to Erin Keane, a.k.a. Bean. I met Erin several years ago, and have been grateful to share her journey. She is visible evidence of how I have changed the world, and I very much enjoy reading her thoughts and seeing her art on her blog. But Erin has challenged and inspired me, and has been an influence in some of my recent artistic successes.

Then there's Joanne, my wife. My world drastically changed when I met her, and I have cherished every bit of our journey together. She has been a constant in my life for the last ten years. She has encouraged and inspired me. She has supported and challenged me. She has understood me and comforted me. She has made me smile, laugh, and at times cry. She has given me love, joy, and the opportunity to pursue my creative notions. She is central in my life.

I am grateful to all these connections. They have influenced and guided me. They have impacted me and been responsible for the movement of my life. Thank you to all my Pivotal People.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back from Seattle

Dave and I just spent five days in Seattle at the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Convention. We went to a lot of sessions, presented two sessions on the the visual journal, talked to a lot of folks, and got a chance to see part of the city. It was a packed five days. The photo of Dave above was taken our first morning in Seattle at local coffee shop.

When I got home yesterday evening after a very long and uncomfortable flight, I received an email with some wonderful news. I have been selected as a new member of The Gateway Gallery and Gift Shop in Round Hill, VA, just 5 miles from my house. I haven't officially signed the membership papers, but it looks like I'll be part of this fairly new cooperative gallery in western Loudoun.

With the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour and now the Gateway Gallery, I need to start making art.

Challenge #4: Pivotal People

We all have people who have profoundly affected us, mentored us, or inspired us. There are those people who have challenged us and pushed us. This may have been in a positive or negative way, but their influence has been key in steering us in our lives.

Who in your life has influenced you strongly? What did they say to you? What do they represent? What has been the impact in your life, and how did the direction of your life path change?

Recognize those that have had a profound effect on you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Our house is a bit emptier today as we said goodbye to our sweet, sixteen year old cat, Allie. Allie came into my wife’s life nearly fifteen years ago as a rescue from the Human Society of Ventura County in Ojai, California. She was a sweet, little calico – except that is, when being pilled. I have the scars from my several attempts that led me to declare my wife the official pill popper. But mostly Allie was sweet and lovely, and she loved nothing more than to curl up in her favorite spots, especially the heater in the kitchen and the arm of the sofa. She kept me company many a morning as I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee.

Allie’s last year was a struggle. She developed hyperthyroidism and went from being pleasantly plump to rather skinny and scrawny. She ate constantly, and meowed incessantly to be fed. She received daily meds and went through three cans of wet food a day – about which she was very finicky. Then a few weeks ago, her appetite disappeared, she became rather lethargic, and rapidly lost weight. In the end it was kidney failure, and we had to make a tough but compassionate decision. Allie went to the Bridge early this morning with the assistance of our wonderful and compassionate friend Dr. Krisi Erwin, DVM.

The above photographs were taken during Dave’s recent visit, when Allie decided that Dave’s open journal was a comfortable place to lounge.

We will miss our little California girl.

Challenge #3: Steppingstones

We have all grown, evolved, and changed. At times the movement of our lives has changed direction because of the choices we have made, and at other times it has changed because the choices that others have made. These are what psychologist Ira Progoff calls Steppingstones in his Intensive Journal Workshop.

What have been your steppingstones – those significant moments of your life? What have been the moments when significant change or growth has occurred? What have these shifts meant for you and the direction of your life?

Remember to post a link to your image in the comments below.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Personal Mythology

For this week's challenge, I began to think about the stories that I have told myself throughout the years. I kept coming back to the feeling of being an outsider. Throughout my life I have been the outsider in many circumstances including my own family. I was always a little bit different - more quiet, more introspective, more to myself. This feeling was at its height during adolescence when I longed to fit in at high school. Even to this day, there are times when I feel like I'm on the outside looking in. I guess that in ways I relish the feeling.

I started off this page by applying watercolor with a paint scraper. I wrote in both pen and pencil, and added some collage. I added watercolor pencil and water-soluble pencil, and the self portrait was a stencil that I cut using a favorite photograph - the same as I used in the "I am" spread.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Challenge #2: Personal Mythologies

myth – n: 1. a legendary narrative that presents the beliefs of a people 2. an imaginary or unverifiable person or thing.

mythology – n: a body of myths.

We have all created myths about ourselves – stories that are imaginary and unverifiable. We have puffed ourselves up with stories of accomplishment and tore ourselves down with stories of lack. We have scripts and dialogues running through our heads reinforcing those myths.

What are your personal myths? What is your personal mythology? What are the stories that you have told yourself over and over to the point that you believe them and accept them?

Question your own mythology, and see if you can verify them.

Remember to post a link to your image in the comments.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I am

Here's my two-page spread for "I am". The photo on the right page is a school photo from when I was in second grade. This page uses watercolor pencil, watercolor paint, collage, and ink.

 Here's Dave's page. He used water soluble graphite to write about the prompt and painted over it with water. Once it dried, he used ink, yellow marker, and metallic paint pen.

Thanks to all who have posted links and who will post to their pages.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Challenge #1: I am

Who are you?

This seems like a very easy and straight-forward question, but when was the last time that you really tried to articulate an answer. You may have thought that you figured that out a long time ago, or perhaps you feel like you are still figuring it out. What better way to start this Challenge. No matter what type of art you make it is always a reflection of you. The journal is no different. Heck, it might even be more true of the journal.

Take some time to ponder and journal about all the aspects of your “self,” and create a response that introduces you to the world.

Who are you? What is important to you? Where do you come from? How does your inner identity compare to your outer identity? Do you have a hidden identity? If you are not who you want to be, what is stopping you?

Don’t forget to share a link to your response in Comments.

Journal Fodder Junkies Challenge

The Journal Fodder Junkies Challenge begins today!

Almost four years ago I started this blog with little idea of how I would use it, and where it would go. But for the past four years, I have tried to share ideas, techniques, and my thoughts in hopes to inspire others – in hopes to have some impact on the world. The comments, feedback, and emails that I have received have been constant encouragement, and with the release of The Journal Junkies Workshop, I have seen the impact grow and spread to a humbling degree.

Yet, I have constantly wished to do more – to share more ideas, more insight – to make this little blog a source of constant inspiration. But it can be a daunting task to keep up with taking and posting images, writing and editing posts, and in just keeping up with all of the little things that go along with such a venture. But if I want this endeavor to be a priority, I must (to paraphrase my own rules) show up, sit down, and work. I do want this endeavor to grow, and so I am making a new commitment to this space that I have carved out, and so the Journal Fodder Junkies blog is going through a transformation as I look to deepen the journey, and look to reach further out into the world.

Dave and I have recently starting working on a new book, and through the process I have been hit by the realization that our approach to the visual journal is all about the Everyday. Our journals are imbued with the ordinariness of our everyday lives, and I want to share more of that with the readers of this blog and to make this blog much more of a community.

With the encouragement of a girl nicknamed Bean, I am preparing this space to enter a new phase. Beginning today, I am posting a challenge to all the readers of this blog to actively journal along with me over the following weeks and hopefully months and to spread the power and love of the visual journal. As a result of this challenge, I am publicly committing to myself to engage this space at a much higher level.

So, it is my pleasure to announce the beginning of the official Journal Fodder Junkies Challenge. Similar to Illustration Friday and the countless sketchbook and art journal challenges out there, the Journal Fodder Junkies Challenge will be a weekly challenge to myself and readers to journal and to share. I am hoping that you will come along with me as I start this new adventure.

All weekly topics will be posted here and archived on the Challenge page. If you wish to participate, simply create a response, post an image on your blog, website, or photo sharing site and share a link in the comments of the topic post.

I will be posting the first weeks challenge later today. Please see the the Challenge page for more information.