Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Challenge #40: Meditation

That should be "Meditation"

How are you reconnecting with yourself?

With quiet contemplation and reflection, you put things into perspective and figure out what is important. We get so wrapped up in life that we are pulled from self reflection. Meditation, whether formal or mere quiet time to ourselves, provides us with a way to reconnect with ourselves. Find the time to sit in quiet meditation or reflection. Perhaps set up a time early in the morning or right before bed where you can build a routine for peaceful introspection. Get in touch with yourself and your thoughts.

What elements are most conducive to quiet contemplation for you? Where can you go to get in touch with yourself? How can you find the time, the place, and the environment? How can you commit yourself to this alone time?

Thanks to Gemma for pointing out my glaring spelling mistake. How did I miss that one?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Workshops, Summer Camps and Art Retreats

Spring and summer are shaping up to be rather busy for us with quite a few opportunities popping up. You will find descriptions and links listed below of what's in store as of now.

Saturday, April 28, 2012
This Saturday, Dave and I will be part of the Maryland Art Education Association's Professional Development Workshop at the Howard County Center for the Arts in Ellicott City, MD.

Monday, June 18 - Friday, June 22
I'll be teaching a week-long visual journal class at the Round Hill Arts Center in Round Hill, VA for upper middle and high school students.

The Visual Journal: This mixed-media class will focus on the use and creation of a visual journal. Part sketchbook, doodle pad, notebook, and diary, the visual journal provides students with a place to explore the art making process, to explore their creativity, and to document their lives. Various techniques will be employed to transform the notion of a sketchbook into a mixed-media “catch-all” for thoughts, notes, sketches, and experiments. With “Journal Junkies” Author and artist Eric Scott. Ages 12-18, Maximum Enrollment 12, June 18-22, 1pm – 4pm, $180 plus $10 for materials.
Monday, July 2 - Friday, July 6
Dave and I will be teaching a week-long visual journal class at the Blue Ridge Arts Council in Front Royal, VA. This class is geared toward area high school students, and I'll share more details when they are posted.

Tuesday, July 31 - Sunday, August 5
Dave and I will be heading back to Phoenix for another Art Unraveled where we will be teaching two day-long workshops. We really enjoyed our time last year, and we are looking forward to going back this year.
Wednesday, August 1
We have all have our stories. As we deal with our present, we are consistently rewriting our pasts, whether romanticizing or demonizing ourselves. Like it or not, we are defined by the events that have transpired during our lives. This is a process we all engage in to face our uncertain futures. We continually edit the scripts and dialogues running through our heads to reinforce the myths and the stories we construct to define and articulate our lives.
What is your story? What is your history? What are the mysteries of your life? What are the stories that you have told yourself over and over to the point that you believe them and accept them?
This mixed-media workshop focuses on the personal and private use of the visual journal as a powerful tool for self-reflection and self-discovery. Learn to mix a variety of art techniques and media with personal ephemera and reflective writing to explore the stories that you tell about yourself and investigate the mysteries of your life. Bring images, memorabilia, and other ephemera that will help tell the story of YOU. Rose tinted glasses optional.

Thursday, August 2
Transitional Spaces
Are you looking to transform your artwork or your visual journal from a static surface to a dynamic, interactive space? Are you looking for ways to create richly layered spaces within and between your pieces? This mixed-media workshop delves into creating this layered and nuanced interaction within and between works whether they are pages in a journal or stand alone pieces.

Discover ways to give your artistic endeavors an extra kick as you explore how to incorporate transitional spaces that bring surprise, interactivity, connection, and hybridity to your art. Learn about windows, doorways, pockets, secret passages, and more as you consider and reconsider how spaces and pages interact and create a dialogue. Make artwork that opens up, flips out, and unfolds into other realms.

Saturday, August 4
Shopping Extravaganza
We will be participating in the Shopping Extravaganza and will be selling artwork, prints, and copies of our books. We're hopping our new book will be out by that time.
We already have some plans underway for the fall, and I'll share those as they become firmed up. In the meantime, we hope to see you at one of these exciting events. If you don't see something that will work for you, we are always willing to come do a workshop in your area for you or your organization. Please contact us for details.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Challenge #39: Stillness and Motion

What is it like to slow down and embrace stillness?

In our high pace world, we are always in motion with so much to do. Errands pile up and the to-do list just gets longer. It seems that everyone else’s priority have become our own. Emails, text messages, and phone calls come flying fast and furious begging for our immediate attention and our prompt reply. We distract and pull ourselves out of balance. But we need to stop moving and get still. We need to surround ourselves with silence, and listen to the quiet.

What is causing undo motion, effort, and stress in your life?  How can break yourself away from the life that begs for your constant attention and movement? How can you get still?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Challenge #38: Brain Dump

What thoughts, notions, and self-talk block your mind and keep you off balance?

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes about morning pages where she encourages the reader to wake early and write three pages longhand every morning. She calls this writing a “brain dump” because it clears the brain of the miscellaneous rabble that prevents productivity. When you feel weighed down with thoughts and there’s a lot on your mind, unblock your creativity energy with a brain dump. Let the thoughts flow from your mind to the page. When your emotions seem to be too much, DUMP it all out. Let the anxieties, fears, misgivings, and worries flood the page. You don’t have to do it every morning, and you don’t have to write three pages, just whenever you need it.

What is worrying you and causing you anxiety? What thoughts are swirling and flying through your mind? How can you purge your mind?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Challenge #37: Breath

How can you come back to center?

Breath holds the essence of life, and without it, there is no life. It also holds the essence of concentration and balance. When focused on our breath, we attune ourselves to a natural rhythm of the body, calming and clearing our minds. Take a moment where you are to place your attention on your breathing. Sit in an upright and comfortable position. Close your eyes and allow your arms to rest at your side or in your lap. Slowly and deeply inhale, and slowly exhale. Continue this deep breathing, and focus your attention only on this rhythm. Allow your mind to clear and your body to relax. If your mind wonders, let go of the thought, and bring yourself back to your breath. Once you can no longer focus, rouse yourself, stretch if needed, and reflect on the experience.

How does your mind and your body feel? How does it feel to be in balance even for a moment? How do you fall out of balance physically, emotionally, and mentally?

Monday, April 2, 2012

NAEA and Some Other News

Dave and Sam waiting for the subway in NYC.
 March was a busy month for the Journal Fodder Junkies. We started off the month in New York City at the National Art Education Association's annual convention. We presented twice the first day of the conference, attended as many presentations as we could throughout the rest of the time, got to visit MoMA briefly, and had a book signing. It was definitely a packed four days.

A view from one of the conference hotels

Our presentations went well, but our first, which was first thing in the morning on the first day, was lightly attended. We figured people were still in line registering. There were over 7000 attendees. Our second presentation which was later in the day was packed with people sitting on the floor and lining the walls. I love when that happens. I just wish we could get booked into a bigger room the next time we present at NAEA, but the presentation went well. Good friend and fellow visual journalist, Brooke commented that we blew people's mind. That's always a good thing.

Our littlest fan.

On the third day of the conference, Chester Book Co. had a book signing for us, and we went pretty nonstop for about 4 hours though we were only scheduled to be there for 2. Fortunately in one respect and unfortunately in another, they ran out of copies of the book within the first 15 minutes. Despite bringing two cases of The Journal Junkies Workshop, they sold all but 6 copies by the time of the book signing, but Alan and Whitney were quite busy taking orders. Dave and I were busy signing slips of paper with idea that folks could glue the slips into the book once they got it. We got amazing feedback from so many different folks.

Book signing with Chester Book Co. Photo by Alan.
The rest of March was almost as crammed as the the beginning. I wrapped up another quarter at school. Dave had two interviews for tenure track positions at a university in Kentucky and one in West Virginia. We worked on the first review of the new book, Journal Fodder 365. I got accepted for the second year to the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour (more to come later), and I finished up a year at the Gateway Gallery.

Unfortunately, I decided to leave the gallery. I was selling work and making a little money, but not enough to really justify the 12+ hours I was spending there each month. The gallery is a great place, and I wish it and all of the artists well. I'm hoping to have more time now to pursue my art and a couple of other projects that have been brewing and stewing for a while. And the JFJ Challenge can resume.

I hope the rest of the spring will be a little less hectic, but I know better. With a workshop scheduled for later in the month and the Studio Tour in early June, it's going to be pretty busy.