Sunday, May 31, 2015

15 Minutes A Day For 30 Days

I am often asked how I find the time to work in my visual journal, and the answer is simple. Some days, I can work nearly the entire day in the journal, other days I can only work for fifteen minutes, and some days I don’t work in it at all. But even when I only spend fifteen minutes, that’s time spent working, and that time adds up. This has gotten me thinking about how I can build my journaling practice even with just fifteen minutes a day. It kind of sounds like one of those infomercials for the latest exercise craze. “Just 15 minutes a day and you too can have a stronger journal and the pages of your dreams!” But it is so true that those little moments add up, so instead of spending countless minutes on my phone or vegging on the couch watching tv, I am dedicating myself to working at least fifteen minutes a day in my journal over the next 30 days, and perhaps afterward, it can become an ongoing habit. I want to invite you to share in my little experiment.

So, it is with great excitement that I announce the JFJ 15 for 30 Challenge. Each day over the next thirty days, I will share a challenge with the notion that participants spend at least fifteen minutes responding to the challenge and then share their results via blogs and social media. This challenge isn’t about having finished, glorious pages to share. It’s about connecting to a community and sharing with others as ways to nudge and inspire each other. Just remember that there are no rules for responding. Respond the way you feel is appropriate to you. I’ll give some suggestions, and share glimpses of some of the ways I have responded. But this is about how you respond. What strikes a chord with you?

I want to thank Arlene Shelton for inspiring me with her suggestion to do some sort of challenge. I am looking forward to seeing if I am up to the challenge and seeing what type of connections and community can result! So, if you want to join in, grab a journal or some paper, some pens, markers, and paint, and join me. It only takes 15 minutes a day!

Here’s how it’s going to work.

Each day I will post a simple challenge right here on the Journal Fodder Junkies blog and share it across social media platforms - Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The challenge will be a simple notion, technique, or idea to get something going in the journal or on pieces of art.

Working for at least 15 minutes with the challenge, engage your pages and papers responding how you see fit to the challenge. I plan on confining my work to the journal, but feel free to use these ideas to make more resolved pieces of art. I’ll be starting some new pages in my journal but also using pages that are already in process, and I’ll probably work on multiple pages (often the same pages) with each challenge as a way to build up layers.

Snap a picture of your response. Remember that it’s not about having a finished work of art. This is about the process, and you’re just sharing a glimpse of your humble actions. But if you work on the same papers or pages each day, these little actions can add up to richly layered pages and papers.

Post to your blog and your favorite social media sites and include the hashtag #jfj15for30 so that we can all see what you've been up to. Here’s a hint for Facebook, make your posts for the challenge public so that people can see them. You can even post to the Journal Fodder Junkies Facebook page.

Of course feel free to comment, praise, and encourage each other.

And that’s it!

I can’t wait to get started, and I hope that you’ll join me in this challenge. If you can’t do it everyday, do it when you can or do several in a day if you have a larger block of time! I want this to be simple, low pressure, and fun.

Want your friends to join in on the fun? Then share this with everyone you want to be a part of this endeavor.

Look for the first challenge to be posted tomorrow, June 1! Are you up to the challenge?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Online Workshops Are Coming!

I’ve hinted at this a couple of times over the last few weeks and mentioned it way back in January and also in our most recent newsletter, but I wanted to officially announce the launch dates of the Journal Fodder Junkies Online Community and Online Workshops. I am so excited!

On July 1, I plan on launching an official Journal Fodder Junkies Online Community. Right now, I’m leaning toward using a Ning site to host the community, but I’ll firm that up over the next month. Anyone will be able to sign up for the community for free and will have access to a variety of resources and offerings including videos, PDF downloads, forums, and more. I want this closed community to grow and evolve and be a safe space for people to explore, to learn, and to share with other like minded folks. This community will be home for our online workshops as well. More info about signing up and joining the community will be forthcoming. I’m hoping that I can get everything ready over the next month!

As for the online workshops, the first official Journal Fodder Junkies Online Workshop will launch on January 1, 2016. The first workshop will be Cultivating Creativity, and is based on a workshop that David and I will be teaching at Art Unraveled in August but will contain a lot more content. This self-directed workshop will be for anyone who is looking to connect to their creativity, to kickstart their artwork, or to spark new directions. More specific information about content and price for the workshop will be coming over the next few months, but look for registration to open in November. I can’t wait to share this workshop!

So much is going on over the next few months, but I am enjoying being immersed in all of this creative activity. I can’t wait to see this all come together.

I hope that you'll be able to join in!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Art Unraveled - August 2015

If you're looking for something creative to do this summer, set your sights on Phoenix at the beginning of August. Arizona might not seem to be the most ideal place to be in August, but Art Unraveled is happening and we're going to be there teaching three workshops. Artist and author, Danny Gregory is also scheduled to be the special guest at the Saturday Evening Gala.

We'll be flying in on Wednesday, August 5, so come out and join us for a hot and creative time. We'll be doing the following:
Spots are filling up fast, so register today! We hope to see you there!

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Workshops

All I have to say is that things are starting to snowball, and the next year is going to be an exciting and busy year for the Journal Fodder Junkies. There are many things in the works, and it seems like new opportunities are opening up and falling into place. I’ll share more as dates and plans are firmed up, but for now, I do want to share two wonderful events that are a definite.

First, David will be teaching a workshop in Austin, TX this summer, so if you’re in the Austin area July 25 and 26, consider signing up for his two-day workshop at Jerry’s Artarama. Check out Jerry’s website and the above flyer for more info. I wish that I could be there with him, but maybe you can!


Second, we are excited to announce that we will be teaching three workshops at Art and Soul in Portland, OR next March, but registration opens, June 1. Please checkout the Art and Soul website for more info and to register.

Friday, March 4, 2016 - The Journal Stripped Bare (Evening Workshop)
Saturday, March 5, 2016 - Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict (Full-day Workshop)
Sunday, March 6, 2016 - Alternative Approaches to the Self-Portrait (Full-day Workshop)

We hope you can make it, and stay tuned as we announce other workshops and events over the coming weeks!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Celebrating a Small Milestone

The Journal Fodder Junkies Official Facebook Page hit 700 likes today. It’s a small milestone, but a very meaningful one. Since the end of December I have been on a mission to connect with myself and with others in more meaningful ways, and to that end, I have tried to journal more, blog more, and post more to Facebook. It has been wonderful to see new subscribers to our YouTube channel, new followers of the blog, and new Facebook likes. Focusing just on Facebook for the moment, we have gotten over 120 new likes over the last five months. It’s a very modest number, but it means that we have connected with 120 people who are looking for inspiration or who simply want to keep up with us. That’s pretty fantastic, and I wanted to celebrate it. It has been my sincerest wish to grow our audience, to connect with more people, and to share our message. I think that we have something unique to offer, and I am very appreciative of the growing connections.

So, thank you so much to those 120 for the new likes, but also thank you and the deepest of gratitude to anyone who has been following us for any amount of time online and in person. We feel truly blessed every time someone signs up for our workshops, attends a lecture, leaves a comment, sends a message, or emails us. To know that we are connecting and reaching people is what this journey has been all about. We certainly do appreciate the support.

Of course, we are always looking to connect to more people and spread our message and our inspiration even further, so please keep commenting, sharing, and connecting. You have all been an inspiration to us.

Thank you once again, and maybe soon we can celebrate 1000 likes!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Creative Courage and Confidence

I wasn't surprised to hear recently that adult coloring books have started to become a trend and have even landed on top of some bestsellers lists. I think this new trend along with many current and past trends in art and creating are all very telling. Over the last twenty years or so it has been interesting to watch the ebb and flow of various art making trends that have become somewhat pop culture phenomenons. I think of Zentangle, art journals, knitting, quilting, artist trading cards, altered books, scrapbooking, and so forth as speaking about the need and desire that so many people have to create and to make. I’m not bashing or making light of these trends because I think the need to create is an innate need. We all want to bring something into being that hasn't exist before. Little kids are a great example. They make, create, build, imagine, and explore without much prompting or hesitation. They take creative leaps and are open to simply trying. Over time this innate drive to create gets pushed down, buried, and often forgotten.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I think that a lot of people have systematically closed themselves off to creativity. It probably wasn’t a conscious choice, but the interesting thing is that creativity has a way of working itself back up to surface. For many, there remains a lingering desire, a gnawing wish to make and create, but fear holds them back. Words like art, artist, creativity, and talent are all kind of scary. So, these folks hold onto the fear of taking a risk, and find something that’s safe - something where they can follow some simple directions and be successful, where they can make something with little to no risk. They can satisfy the desire to make and create, at least for a little while, by coloring in someone else's designs, using someone else's ideas, and following someone else’s directions. This is often fun and enjoyable, but is often only a momentary fix. They move onto something else that allows them to feel the sense of accomplishment - the sense of creating. But these activities can never fully satisfy, because they are not authentic expressions and creations - they are not original and true to the maker. They can ring hollow because we often want to bring our own vision to life - to create our own direction, but fear and doubt get in the way.

For so many reasons, so many people lack the creative confidence to take an artistic leap. But what if we could build the creative courage that would allow us to take risks? What if we could create with an authentic voice and original ideas? What if we could silence the inner critic that judges and shames us? What if we could embrace our vulnerabilities and the messiness of our attempts? What if we could open ourselves up again?

I think that’s exactly what Dave and I have been trying to do for the last ten years as the Journal Fodder Junkies. We have shared the visual journal, conducted workshops, and written books, all in the hopes of opening people up to that need to create. We want to help others connect to their creativity and discover their own authentic voices. We want to help others discover the innate potential they have to make something that is true and comes from the heart and not just a copy of someone else.

To that end, there are several things in the works. A plan is taking shape, and things are falling into place. I’m not going to spill it all out there right now, but I have already posted about this over the last few months, and most recently, I have given a glimpse in our latest newsletter. So please stay tuned over the upcoming days and weeks as I reveal more.

I am very excited to see what the near future has in store for us, and I hope that many of you are up for a creative journey!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Journal Spread

For the past several months, I have been very thoughtfully considering this idea of authentic connection and what that means in this digital age and how it can be cultivated and strengthened. I haven't come to any firm conclusions, but I am putting myself, my art, my thoughts out there seeing where, how, and why they connect to others.

Here's to connecting, cultivating, and changing lives!