Friday, April 28, 2017

Journal Friday #13

It has been a busy week, and I didn't, find the time that I really would have liked to work on the daily challenges, but I was able to crank them out.



Typed Text

Tracing: Objects

Watercolor: Bleeds

Text Embellishment: Metallic Marker

Irregular Lines

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Universe Answers

It has been nearly a year since I handed in my resignation from teaching in the public schools, and nearly eight months since I received my last paycheck from the school district. And I must say that things are going well as a self-employed artist. That doesn't mean that it's been smooth sailing without bumps and stress, but the bills are being paid each month and I am finding steady opportunities.

There is one thing that I have come to understand through all of this. The universe always answers. I have become a firm believer that our thoughts and our beliefs create our reality. If all we think of and feel is a sense of lack and overwhelming scarcity, then the universe answers. We feel that we never have enough, and it always seems like we are not getting our fair share. However, if we believe that the world is one filled with abundance and opportunity, then the universe answers. There always seems to be enough, and opportunities seem to be plenty and seem to come up out of nowhere.

I have seen this happen again and again over the past year. I have seen how the universe has answered.

When I resigned from teaching, my wife and I had saved a good chunk of money, and I figured that we could survive on it for seven months if nothing came through - if I didn't earn any money. But here we are, eight months into it, and for the past three months we haven't had to touch our savings, and looks like it will be the same for the next handful of months.

From the beginning, I adopted an attitude of abundance. I firmly believe that there's enough in this universe where I can not just carve out a living, but thrive. Now I haven't just been sitting back and doing nothing relying on the universe to provide. I've been out there hustling, and making opportunities happen, but more often then not, things just seem to come up. Opportunities materialize seemingly from thin air sometimes. Now I know a lot of those opportunities have come about from the connections that I have made in the past, but it's been amazing to see how many opportunities pop up at this time. From my part time job as Program Manager at the Round Hill Arts Center to presenting for the Art of Ed Online Conference, from chances to exhibit my work to providing workshops, many of these things have simply come up. The universe has answered, and I am extremely grateful.

There's probably no bigger opportunity than one that came up at the end of last year. Back in November, I got an email that completely took me by surprise - someone asking if David I would like to come teach a workshop for teachers. There's nothing too unusual about that, but this wasn't an ordinary workshop. We worked out the details and finalized everything a couple of months ago, but silly me just hasn't shared the news.

I am quite excited to announce that David and I have been invited to Hawaii at the beginning of June to teach the Summer Institute for Educators at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center for an entire week. We will lead a three-day workshop for elementary teachers and a three-day workshop for secondary teachers. We will share the power of the visual journal not just in the artroom, but also in other classrooms. The institute is for all teachers, not just art teachers. We are quite excited, and we are very much looking forward to it. I can't wait. It's about a month away!

What an amazing opportunity, and an awesome example of how the universe answers!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Larkin Arts

I was fortunate this weekend to spend a full day teaching my Luminous Liquid Layers at Larkin Arts in Harrisonburg, VA. I haven't spent much time in Harrisonburg since David graduated from the MFA program at James Madison University, so it was nice to go back. Larkin Arts is an cool spot right in the heart of the city, and it's an all-in-one stop for the arts. They sell art supplies, have a gallery, rent out studios to artists, and offer classroom space for workshops.

There were only three students in the class, so we were able to spread out as we worked. Using Golden High Flow Acrylic, we built layers, textures, and patterns, and spent six solid hours playing with the paint.

The process was one of discovery, and I encouraged the students to not have a preconceived idea of what they were painting. Allowing the painting to develop through cultivating the accidental and the unpredictable always leads to creative surprises that you can't get through meticulous planning.

I want to thank Valerie Smith, owner of Larkin Arts, for hosting me and the students as we made a creative mess, and I hope to go back and offer more workshops in such a eclectic space.

If you missed out on this workshop, I'll be offering a more in-depth Luminous Liquid Layers workshop at 310 Art in Asheville, NC in May.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Art and Soul Portland

Two weeks ago I was teaching classes in Portland at Art and Soul, but it's taken me this long to finally create a post about it.

Unlike like last year when David and my wife both went to Portland, I went my myself this year. Though I enjoy exploring a new place with someone else, it's also very satisfying to wander and explore by myself. I flew into Portland a couple of days early so that I could do just that - explore.

I started of my first full day exploring the Japanese Gardens and downtown Portland. Despite the rain, the gardens had a lot of people, but not so many that it was a bother. I was struck with how green everything was, and the leaves on the trees hadn't even started to bud. But with the copious amounts of rain Portland gets, moss was everywhere. The gardens were breathtaking, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the nooks and crannies of the place.

No trip to Portland would be complete without a stop at Powell's Books and Voodoo Doughnuts. I explored the shelves of Powell's for a couple of hours before heading over to Voodoo for a snack of tasty vegan doughnuts. YUM!

I found time during my first couple of days to initiate my new journal, and I worked in it in my hotel room, at the hotel bar, and in the lobby of the hotel. The size of the new journal makes it a bit more conducive to working in public spaces.

I kicked of my teaching with a mixed media postcard workshop, Wish You Were Here. I only had one student, so it was quite awesome to have a one-on-one session. We took a look at some of the positive moments of our lives, and used them as the inspiration for our cards - basically visual journaling on 4x6 inch mixed media cards.

That evening, I had a good sized class for Stencil Savvy, a stencil making class. We spent 3 hours explore a wide assortment of ideas for cutting original stencils. Using Grafix heavy duty stencil film, and a hobby knife, we started with simple shapes, and worked our way up to more complex ideas.

My final full day in Portland, I taught a visual journal class, Journal Fodder Junkies of the World Unite. Based on the the very first workshop David and I taught together about 12 years ago, we explored a variety of media, techniques, and writing prompts.

Although David wasn't there in person, he was there in spirit. I had silhouette stencil of him with me and several students used it in their work.

Although I didn't have packed classes, I was reminded why I love teaching these workshops. I love sharing my art and my processes for working on art. I love exposing people to new ideas and connecting them with their innate creativity. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.

It you missed all the fun, don't worry. I'll be teaching these same three classes a little closer to home when Art and Soul comes to Virginia Beach at the beginning of October. Hopefully David will be able to make it this time!

Registration is open now! Check out the classes here!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Journal Friday #12

It's the 111th day of the year, and I've completed 111 daily visual journal challenges. Here are some of the results from this week. Some of these were done in my new, smaller journal that I begun at Art and Soul a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy.

Random Shapes: Watercolor Paint

Texture Rubbings

Watercolor Paint: Dragging String

Watercolor Pencil: Drawing into Wet Paper

Texture Fills: Magazine

Pop-Up Cards


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Luminous Liquid Layers

Yesterday I filmed a glimpse into the process behind my paintings with Golden High Flow Acrylic. It only shows three techniques, and is only the beginning of a more complex painting. I plan to continue with other techniques, and I'll have share more later.

I share these techniques and more in my Luminous Liquid Layers workshop. I taught it first last month in Galax at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, and I'll be teaching it again next Saturday, April 22 at Larkin Arts in Harrisonburg, VA. I'll also be teaching a more in depth workshop at 310 Art in Asheville, NC next month.

Check out the Events page to see a listing of all workshops. In the meantime, check out some of the student works from the Galax workshop below.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Journal Friday #11


Wavy Lines



Integrating Collage with Paint

Fills: Spirals

Intuitive Lines

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Journal

Last week I was in Portland, OR to teach at Art and Soul, and while I was there, I began a new journal. This journal is a bit of a departure for me. For the past 18 years, I have been using an 11x14 inch hardbound sketchbook as my journal - at first Cachet Classic Sketchbooks and then more recently Strathmore Hardbound Drawing Journals. Over the years, I have filled 24 volumes of these large books. David and I have a preference for this size simply because it's bigger than what we are all used to - 8.5x11 inches. From magazines to printer paper, 8.5x11 is the standard size of so many things, so the 11x14 makes us confront a different kind of space. Over the years we have also used 4x6 inch hardbound books as well. Again, their size creates a different space for us to react to.

But for my new journal, I wanted a change. I wanted something different. So I went with a Stillman & Birn 5.5x8.5 inch hardbound book with mixed media paper. I have used similar sizes in the past as sketchbooks and when I was fist getting onto the visual journal, but this is the first time that I am making a journal of this size my main journal. It's a bit of an experiment, so I'll have to see if it's something that I stick with or if I go back to the larger book. In the photo above, the journal on the left is the one that I am currently wrapping up and the one in which I have been doing the daily challenges. The journal on the right is my new one, the one that I began last week. Having four days in Portland and teaching a full-day class on journaling gave me a lot of time to get things started.

Check out my short video below that shows a quick flip through what I have done so far.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Journal Friday #10

After a little more than three months of working on the daily challenges, I am quickly running out of room in current journal, and I am planning on starting in a new journal this week during Art and Soul in Portland.

Watercolor: Scrubbing

Boxed Text

Bleed the Edge: Shapes

Collaged Words


Embellished Text: Media

Watercolor: Bubble Wrap