Sunday, June 30, 2013


Although this summer has already been busy (Dave and I had our retreat, and I taught a weeklong journal camp for kids), I have had some time in the studio. I have been woking in the journal as well as on some small scale mixed media pieces, but I have also been working on some pieces that are starting to move into new directions.

For some time now I have been enamored with topographic imagery, and I have explored it a lot in my journal over the last couple of years. I love maps and the way they connect us to each other and our environments. I love how they are representational of those connections and relationships. I think the main reason why I have been attracted to topographic ideas has a lot to do with how they can not only show how high something is, but also how far something recesses - thinking of canyons and rifts. On a flat surface, the lines of elevation are only shapes and how close or far away from other lines, represents the steepness or flatness of an area. But once those shapes are cut out and stacked up, they begin to show the form. As a lover of paper, I am fascinated, also, by how a flat surface can be used to create form. More specifically, I like how the paper can create a form that recedes into the surface - how it can stack layer upon layer. I even experimented with some thin drawing paper back in February.

In the example above, I used twenty-five 11x14 inch sheets of Strathmore Imperial Watercolor paper to create the recession. Using a very sharp X-acto knife, I cut each piece individually beginning with the top layer. I haven't glued them yet, and I think that I want to cut out a couple more recessions that bleed the edges and break up the surface a bit more. The stack is about a half inch thick, and I'll probably glue it all together and seal it with Golden Soft Gel Medium and mount it on a cradle once I am finished cutting. I love the white relief, so I have no plans to paint it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

JFJ: The Retreat

Dave and I were extremely fortunate to conduct our very own art retreat this week. It was an intimate affair with just five participants, but for four days we explored the visual journal at the Embassy Suites in Ashburn, VA, just 30 minutes from my home.

The group gelled very quickly, and we ended up eating lunch together and hanging out far beyond our scheduled time. Since we had the same room for the entire four days, it didn't take long for the art bomb to drop, and with three big round tables, everyone was able to spread out in order to take full advantage of the small group size. Besides sharing our perspective on the visual journal, we initiated several of the group into the ways of Farkle - a dice game where newbies swear that you're just making up the rules as you go.

With the creative energy and the camaraderie, it was fantastic group, and we felt very lucky to have Kathy, Kristy, Joe, Nicole, and Jackie join us for our inaugural retreat. We are definitely going to have another retreat next year hoping that it will become an annual tradition. We have even tentatively set the dates, June 26 - 29, 2014. We'll confirm up those dates later in the summer or early fall, but if you weren't one of our fortunate five this year, don't miss out next year.

Mark your calendars.