Monday, December 26, 2016

New Online Workshop Launches January 1, 2017

Just six days until I launch my new online workshop, Vision: A Visual Journal Workshop. I've worked hard over the last couple of months to put together this four part workshop that goes through the steps that I used to create the above two-page spread.

Focusing on the theme "Vision", I tried to explore what I am envisioning for my future, and what better way to start off the new year. I use simple materials, and walk you through my process to build this richly layered spread.

I have the workshop marked down to a special discounted rate though January 1st, so act fast to save. Come the New Year, the workshop will launch, but it'll be back at it's regular price.

Click Here for more info and to register. I hope that you can be a part of my little adventure!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Sneak Peek!

Since October, I've been working on a new book, a book that I'd like to self publish by the spring. This solo venture, is based on a couple challenges I've done over the past couple of years, the 15 for 30 Challenge and the Big Idea Challenge, and I've had the idea of packing a book full of such challenges.

We could all use a creative nudge every now and then, especially when we seem to have run out of ideas. We can easily become creatively blocked, and it’s during those times when we could use a little jolt to get the creative juices flowing again. This book will be full of such creative nudges and sparks, and I'm envisioning a book of 365 challenges, a year's worth. Readers will be able to use it everyday, or they'll be able to turn to random challenges when they need a nudge. Some people have criticized Journal Fodder 365 for not having 365 prompts, and in a way I wanted to answer those critiques with this new book.

It took some effort to brainstorm and develop 365 distinct ideas for challenges, and I found that I had to get very specific in order to come up with them all - 365 ideas is truly a lot of ideas. There are challenges with materials, ideas, tools, and techniques, and I've tried to spread them randomly throughout the book so that there is consistently a good mix.

The biggest challenge for me is design. Since my plan is to self publish the book, I need to design it myself, or pay someone else to design it. I'm an artist, but not a graphic designer. It's a challenge to use the software, but I think that I'm getting it figured out. I've written more than a third of the challenges, and I've begun playing around with the page design for the challenges. I'm thinking that the book will be 144 pages with three challenges per page, and I mocked up the first page of challenges just to get an idea of what the pages might look like (See the image above).

This is by no means the final design for the pages, and I'm certain that things will change drastically over the next couple of months. But it helps me to visualize the book.

I just wanted to give you a sneak peek into what I've been doing. I hope that I can pull it all together by spring.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Vision: A Visual Journal Workshop

I've been pretty busy over the past month or so, and I have quite a few things in the works. I've been working on exhibiting my work more. Check out my work currently at Gladiola Girls in Lexington, VA, and I'm scheduled to have an exhibit at one of the local libraries in January and February. Not to mention an exhibit in North Carolina in the spring. In my new role as Program Manager at the Round Hill Arts Center, I've been busy scheduling new classes for the winter and spring, including a couple of classes that I'll be teaching. In addition to all of this, I've been hard at work on several projects, including the new self-published book that I announced back in October, and I just accepted an invitation to be part of someone else's project (more on this later).

In the midst of all of this, I've been working on putting together a new online workshop. It's been nearly a year since I launched my first online workshop, and I had hoped to have several more out by now, but unfortunately life has a way of interceding and time slips away. However, I'm close to finishing the videos and the written tutorial for this new workshop, and my goal is to launch it on January 1, 2017.

Vision: A Visual Journal Workshop is a mini online workshop where I demonstrate making a two-page spread that focuses on the theme vision (you can see a detail of the spread above). I think the theme is quite appropriate for a New Year's release. The workshop focuses on how I build up layers on my pages, and it is packed with techniques and ideas. The best part is that it gives a good "behind the scenes" look at the making of a journal spread. The workshop, as it stands right now, consists of four video segments and a 20 page written tutorial, and I'm hoping to have it up on the website for pre-registration by the end of the week with a pre-registration discount, of course.

Look for more to come!

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Best Gifts are from the heART!

If you're looking for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for the upcoming holidays, I have a number things in the JFJ Big Cartel Shop. Although most of my larger work is on display in Lexington, VA at Gladiola Girls, I have quite a few smaller paintings and mixed media pieces in the shop, including the radiating design above, and the monster painting below.

I also have some polymer clay monster sculptures and monster pendants.

And for the teacher in your life, there are digital downloads!

Finally, I have an online workshop that I launched last year!

Check out all of my goodies, and act fast so things can ship in time for Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2016


I've been attracted to mandalas lately. Well, I guess that I have been attracted to them for quite some time. I've always seen my radiating designs as mandalas of sorts, but it hasn't been until now that I have pursued making more formal mandalas. 

It wasn't until I saw the movie Doctor Strange that I decided to explore mandalas of my own. There was something intriguing in the way mandala designs were used within the movie. I've never read the comic books, so I don't know if these sacred circles were part of their visual vocabulary. But I was fascinated by the visual impact in the movie, and I had to start making my own. I didn't copy the ones from the movie, and there are lots of mandala images, resources, and tutorials on the web. But I needed to find my own way.

I grabbed a compass, a ruler, pencil, eraser, and my Faber-Castell Pitt Pens, and began exploring. I'm in the initial stages now of experimenting, and I don't know where this is leading. But that is the fun and excitement of art. An idea takes root, and through cultivation, you get to see it grow and change and bloom.

Have you created mandalas? What drew you to them? What insight did you take away from making them?