Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Challenge #36: Personal Symbols

What are the symbols that signify your life?

Lines, shapes, and images that we use repeatedly hold significance for us even if we sometimes don’t know why. Perhaps there is something within these reoccurring marks that is symbolically speaking to us. Look back through your journal, and pay attention to the things that you return to time and again. Begin to identify your lines, your shapes, and your images.

If you have appropriated someone else’s symbols and images (the fairies, clocks, and angels) ask yourself, “Why?” What are you drawn to in them and why do you cling to them? What images, colors, lines, and shapes do you keep repeating? What do these forms say about you?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The JFJ in NYC

Image from the NAEA website, www.arteducators.org
Dave and I will be traveling to New York City next week for the National Art Education Association's annual convention. We're looking forward to the presentations, the museums, and the connections. If you're going, make certain to check out our presentations and our book signing. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 1, 9:00-9:50 AM
Sheraton, Conference Room K, Lower Level

100 Visual Journals for North Carolina
Discussion and sharing of a statewide collaborative visual journal project that provided a forum to connect the art educators, artists, creative activists and art advocates with legislators of North Carolina.

Thursday, March 1, 1:00-1:50 PM
Hilton, Holland Suite, 4th Floor

The Visual Journal as Paradigm Shifter: Pulling Together Traditional and Contemporary Pedagogical Practices
Discover how changing perspectives in art education transform the visual journal into a research tool for increasing student learning, innovation, and creative problem solving to prepare them for the future.

Saturday, March 3, 11:00 AM -1:00 PM
Exhibitors Hall, Booth 2207

Chester Book Co., Book Signing
Come join the Journal Fodder Junkies as we sign copies of their bestselling book, The Journal Junkies Workshop.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Challenge #35: Moods and Emotions

What metaphors about your experiences and emotions speak to you?

We have an innate sense to communicate and understand emotions visually, and our language is full of these visual allusions. To be sad is to be “blue,” and to be angry is to be “red hot”. If you are depressed, you are said to be in a deep hole or hitting bottom. If you’re excited and ecstatic you are said to be sky high or walking with your head in the clouds. Begin to make conscious connections between your emotions and visual representations. It is easy to get caught up in the clich├ęs, so be original with your thoughts and your words. Steer clear of the old and tired sayings.

What moods or emotions define you? Are you exuberant and cheerful? Are you pessimistic and glum? What are your prevailing emotions? What colors and images resonate with you and say something about your personality and your feelings?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Solvent Image Transfer Video

It's been a while since I created a video tutorial (like a year), so I finally got around to making a tutorial about xylene image transfers. For a written step-by-step, check out this post from 2007.

I'm hoping to create more videos in the near future, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Challenge #34: Twilight Imagery

What are you focusing on and trying to bring into symbolic form?

Often it is difficult to find and select the symbols that most represent us and the changing conditions of our lives, but using a technique that allows you to tap into the symbolic nature of the unconscious is a place to start. Developed by Ira Progoff for his Intensive Journal Workshop, Twilight Imagery is a state between waking and sleeping that allows you to quiet your mind as your unconsciousness directs the imagery and symbology.

Sit in a quiet space, and close your eyes allowing yourself to slowly relax into the stillness. Focus on one aspect of yourself or your life. Perhaps it is a dream or a fear. Perhaps it is your job or your personality. Try to feel that aspect with your whole being, but don’t try to control or direct your thoughts. Allow the general sense of this concern to pervade you as dreamlike images and ideas begin to float and form. When an idea is formed enough to be identified, record what you “see” in your journal or on a piece of paper. Don’t elaborate. Get just the essentials. Close your eyes and return to that state, and keep recording your visions.

What emerges from your twilight imagery? What forms, scenarios, and emotions are stirred? How can you use these as symbolic forms for you and your life?

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Directions

I'm always looking to expand my art and grow in new directions, and my work recently has done just that. A couple of months ago, I was pondering new ways to bring in some income with my art. I have had the experience again and again, whether at conferences, at retreats, or at my gallery, of people saying how much they love my art but not buying it. Wall art can be a hard sell. Jewelry, on the other hand, seems to be a perpetual bestseller, so I wondered if I could adapt my art with out losing the integrity. I wanted the pieces to be authentic to me in every way without them becoming kitschy little things that get knocked out quickly just to make a buck. So, I devised a way to basically make miniature, wearable pieces. Each of the above pieces is approximately an inch and a half - the rectangular pieces are slightly narrower and longer. Each is an original work of art on paper using colored pencil or ink, adhered to a small piece of masonite, and covered in epoxy resin. My idea is to sell them in my studio and at the conferences and retreats I attend. Because they are original works, I plan on having a price point around $50. I also plan on making jewelry from reproductions - quality prints of some of my work. Each of those will be original as well (I'm not looking to duplicate designs), but at a lower price point around $30.

I've also taken a new direction with my wall art. I've been revisiting the work of Lee Bontecou. I first became aware of Bontecou 6 or 7 years ago after a major retrospective of hers toured the country in 2004. I came across her long after the retrospective was over, but I got to see quite a few of her pieces at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh in 2005. I immediately felt a kinship to her work - both her drawings and her sculptures. I was able to track down a copy of the book from the retrospective, and I marvel every time I look at it. Most recently, I took a shine to her drawings on black paper using colored pencil. I have always been fascinated by drawing on colored paper, especially black, but I have never really explored it. But I have been experimenting over the last week or so, and have developed a few images that I am happy with. The piece below is still in progress, but represents one of my efforts. Unfortunately, it is on construction paper, so if I continue with this line of inquiry, I'll need to invest in quality, black paper.

Here's to new directions

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Join the Fun: Pay It Forward 2012

Do you like to receive cool handmade gifts?  Do you like to give handmade gifts and bring joy through those gifts?  Do you want to join a project and BRING JOY EXPONENTIALLY through handmade gifts?


Good friend, fellow visual journalist, and awesome book artist Erin of art-is-try participated in a Facebook Pay It Forward project last year, and wanted to bring the fun out of Facebook. I hope that you will participate. It's a small commitment of time and resources.

Here's her adaptation of the project, to be carried through, by threes, via the blog world.

the fun begins

If you would like to participate, please leave a comment below.

The first three people to respond and show commitment
to the project will receive a handmade gift from me!!!

Post this project on your own blog--feel free to cut n' paste.
Gather three new participants and be willing / prepared
to follow through with the "Pay It Forward" part!!!

Please link back to this original post:
and I, in turn, will include a link to your post
so that we can follow the project from its origin.

I will give you a (small, simple, heartfelt) handmade gift.
Make sure to email me your full name and address.

In turn, give (small, simple, heartfelt) handmade gifts
to your participants, and let the joy grow exponentially!!!

(please only enter under one blog... give more than you receive!)

My participants and their "Pay It Forward" blog links:

D&C Designs
Michelle H. Harrell
 Sara Gant

I've got my three! If you are interested in participating but missed the cut-off, click on one of the above links and sign up under them (or if they are full, click on their links etc etc etc until you find one)!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Challenge #33: Attributes

What are your key attributes and characteristics? How do you give visual representation to the attributes and the characteristics that are most important to you?

We can communicate our thoughts, our feelings, our being not only through our words, but through the images that we use. The images that we return to again and again begin to take on symbolic meaning for us. In order to develop meaningful and authentic symbols, we must begin to understand our own characteristics and attributes. Companies attempt to communicate a deliberate message or a particular feeling with their logos, ads, and websites, and many of their symbols have been reworked and redesigned over the years to covey new and different directions.

Begin to look at your own attributes and characteristics that signify important aspects of who you are and that communicate important ideas about you. Imagine that you are the product. How do you want to be represented? What do you want to communicate? What defines your personality? Are you strong or creative or clever or shy? How would you symbolize that?