Category Archives: Quirky

Watching Art Emerge

My latest art endeavor has been to let the art lead the way. It is very freeing. Starting with no preconceived notion of what I want to create and waiting for images to appear. It fascinates me to see a finished product, and to take in everything that has shown itself to me. It makes me wonder, how do the images relate to me? How is it that those particular people showed up in the art? How did they get so interwoven with each other? 

The process is a meditative journey, and the end result draws me deeper in, wondering about that journey that took place somewhere in my subconscious mind. It really is magical.

When you look at the modern-day totems that keep presenting themselves to me you see one thing, and then you see another. It’s almost like an optical illusion, with your mind not being able to hold onto one image before it shifts into the next.

For someone who loves eyes, these are a perfect expression for me. I count 30 eyes. Thirty-three if you count sunglasses. Thirty-four if you count 1/2 sunglasses. And there were four more that didn’t make the cut.

My First Junk Journal WIP

Yesterday I created my first junk journal. A junk journal is a book made with found pages and collage. You can use anything to build a junk journal. This one contains covers and pages from other books, postcards and promotional flyers, a gift bag, and some of my own printed images. Along the way you can tape in other ephemera too.

This is a long post but it’s mostly images. I started out wanting to make a gratitude journal but don’t want to limit myself. I tend to have tons of post-its and scraps all over the place with ideas, inspirational quotes, or things that just pop into my mind. This is what I will use this journal for.

It is not finished, and I’ll point out what I want to do further as I walk you through the pages.

First, is the cover. It is made from the cover of a book that I got from the Phoenix library sale … a coffee table art book for under a dollar.

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I used fabric tape to help secure the binding but it wasn’t sticking so I scotch taped over it. I’d like to create a better solution for that. I also don’t like the color so I might collage over it. Or have considered painting on the entire cover as it doesn’t really strike me.

Below is the inside cover. The original book cover had a flap and I turned it into a pocket. I plan to write over large areas of open space with different colored pens as needed for the background colors.

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The white page will be nice to write on and draw on. Below, the solid areas of color will be easy to write on but I may gesso over, or collage sections with images that are easier to see text against. I also plan to do doodle pen work on images just for fun.

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Pages like the one below were built with different pieces from various mailers and pages. I bordered them with washi tape for added durability but I didn’t have much to choose from and would not have chosen these designs, so that might be reworked at some point.

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The borders are strips of collage that are folded over and taped down from behind. They give thinner pages a little more durability.

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Below, the pinkish border on the right is from drawings I’ve done in Procreate, on the iPad. It’s fun to see my own work incorporated.

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Below shows another border on the left that is from scans of other journal pages that I’ve painted, collaged, and further decorated with pen work. You can click the images to see a larger image.

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Whoops. The photo below is upside down. I messed with my photos enough already trying to get them from Apple Photos to Photoshop, optimized, then here. So I’m leaving it.

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Heavy images on the one below, again, I’ll have to work in a way to make more writing space, maybe. The eye is me, from a photo I used Procreate to paint over on the iPad.

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More work pieced together on the left. Many junk journals have different sized and shaped pages, like lots of irregular tabs all over the place. I found that I liked making my pages more uniform, like a regular book. That’s why there are so many piecemeal parts on the page, building them out to full size.

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I think this book came to about 40 pages to journal on. Twenty spreads in all. That should keep me busy for a while but I already want to start making another one. I need another library sale for more images to choose from!

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Above, for the right border, and below on the left border is a swatch from one of the “creatures” I drew on the iPad. I really like how the colors came out, even if my printer doesn’t print true to the image.

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Theres’ a bigger piece of my creature, below, taped in.

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My favorite, from a page of the Phoenix Art Museum flyer on an exhibit of Warhol’s portraits. And on the right side, a business card from Jesse Reno, whose three hour workshop I took at Artfest Rising. I love being able to use business cards and postcards like this for reminders, like in scrapbooking.

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The other side of Jesse Reno’s card and a little of my own work along the top and a nice big spot for writing in the white area. I like the black swatch too, as white pen on black is very impactful.

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Below, pages from the art book I got the cover from and promotional postcards I’ve received in the mail. This is turning out to be so special with all of the elements that I’m afraid to write in it for fear of messing it up. I have to remember, it’s a “junk” journal and I can always make more.

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I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like all filled up. As it is, in it’s very unfinished state I’ve already flipped through it multiple times. It just feels so good in my hand, and to think that I made a book, is pretty cool.

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Below on the right is a a paper gift bag that I incorporated. I kind of see it as lined paper to use with a colored pen. The bottom right corner is a gap, and how many junk journals are left but I’ll fill it in with a rectangle of something else I find to tape in.

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The other side of the bag and some more white space waiting for me.

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Bottom of the left page is another portion of one of my iPad drawings. Love seeing it in here. You can click on the images for a larger view.
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You know me and eyeballs. I love the one on the left.

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And, last page with the pocket inside the back cover. Maybe I’ll use them for the post-its until I have time to transfer the information to the pages, by hand.

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Below is the front of the cover. I don’t like handmade copper clasp but it was nearby. Maybe I’ll put a bead there and have the strings wrap around it. I feel like it needs some kind of closure thought because as you collage on the pages the book gets thicker and doesn’t stay closed well.

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So, there you have it. My first attempt at a junk journal. It’s bound simply, through the spine, with waxed linen. I can’t wait to play in it … although I might be distracted by making more to have on hand. Thanks for following the journey this far. I’ll keep you updated with anything I find particularly interesting as I work in it.

 

Art Informs Life

I just got back from the Artfest Rising retreat where I attended six workshops with six fabulous artists. I’ve taken a lot of classes but this was something totally new. First of all, it was paper art and a lot of paint techniques. I’ve been trying to put into words the difference between what I experienced this past weekend and classes I’ve taken. The best that I can come up with is that these were workshops, not classes.

We created blank art journals, 11″ x 15″ and each two-page spread was used for a different workshop. The first image is Tracy Moore’s workshop. Having done a lot of doodling, these techniques were in my wheelhouse. One of the main focuses was social journaling…journaling in public and how it can lead to meeting people. Not my thing, but maybe I’ll be more brave and try it in the future.

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So, what is the difference between a class and a workshop? In this instance I would describe a class as something where the instructor leads you step by step through a process, to an end product. You learn technique, and while you may be be encouraged to explore and try new things, exploration is usually left to do on your own at a later time. This is for a couple reasons. One, you really don’t have time in a glass class to explore. Once you start a glass piece, you have to finish it–it’s not easy to come back to later, and most times you don’t do that anyway. Second, teachers do want you to take techniques and change them to find your own style, not just copy theirs. I’m sure there are more reasons.

Below is my unfinished collage spread form Teesha Moore’s workshop. This may look familiar to you because I’ve been following her Artstronaut’s Club from the beginning and have been practicing her techniques from her video presentations. The Artstronauts Club is what launched me into doing flat art, drawing, collage, pastel, pens, etc.

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Artiest Rising spread from Teesha Moore Workshop

So, back to the difference between workshops and classes. In these workshops we were taught some technique but more importantly, we were encourage to find our own story. Put some stuff down and see what the pages tell you as you go along. What emerges? What comes to mind for you? Put it in your piece, extract it from what you see, cover it up if you don’t like it. Look deeper, listen to your inner voice and vision.

Below is my unfinished spread from Orly Avineri’s workshop. She taught revealing one part at a time. We didn’t know what the end goal was. This could be anxiety-raising for some people–many people. It was messy and organic. We flopped objects that had been dipped into paint, onto our canvas and let it do the work. No deliberate positioning! Again, letting art be freeing and letting it drive the design rather than us driving the outcome.

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Artiest Rising spread from Orly Avineri’s Workshop

As the days progressed, the inspiration grew. I couldn’t wait for the next day. I found myself, not thinking, “What will I learn next?” but rather, “Where will they take me next? Where will I go next? What will I uncover?” I didn’t “learn.” I “workshopped.” I lived the work. It spoke to me, through me. It opened me.

Below is my unfinished spread from Angela Matus’s workshop. Layers and layers of color, and collage. It was at this point that I realized that the images that had been emerging for me are all flying. Definitely my sub-conscious speaking to me and a fun idea to keep exploring!!!

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Artiest Rising spread from Andrea Matus’s Workshop

So, that is the difference, for me, between a class and a workshop. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I just haven’t found the right word. I was immersed and engrossed in my art in a way that goes far beyond technique. I’ve always searched for ways to express myself through my art and have come up short. This type of working, these media, these methods, liberated me in some odd and welcomed way. It’s like looking into tea leaves and being able to see the past, or future. Not that I can do that, but I’ll use it for lack of a better metaphor.

Below is my unfinished spread from Michael DeMeng’s class. So many layers here and you can’t get it from the image. In person mine turned out to look like a thick piece of aged leather. Pulling out images using washes of color and highlighting. When I was making glass beads I loved the depth I could get from layering many many colors. This process, and some of the others play well to that desire in me.

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Artiest Rising spread from Michael DeMeng’s Workshop

Last but not least, Jesse Reno’s workshop. Oh my. This was my first class on the first day. It was out of the comfort zone for some people because at one point we were painting with our fingers and entire palm. I loved this workshop as it set the tone perfectly for the next five workshops for me. Again, more of the let it emerge, let it tell your story, add to it, take away from it, work until you feel satisfied.

Below is my unfinished spread from Jesse’s workshop. I got the basics but kind of bunged it up with that gray. Wait. One thing I learned is that nothing is ever ruined. Anything can be turned into something. Sometimes it takes a long time, sometimes you have to walk away for a while. Sometimes you need to cover half of it in black again and just focus on one area until you receive inner guidance.

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Artiest Rising spread from Jesse Reno’s Workshop

On the way home I couldn’t wait to get home and dig deeper into paints and collage so I pulled out my iPad and tried to imitate the techniques in Procreate. Below is the start of my Jesse Reno-style digital musing. I’ve worked on it for a couple nights while lounging in bed and listening to PBS.

What came out? Faces. Faces everywhere. Now, I’m seeing faces in everything. What I experienced has me continuing to look at the world in a new way. Patterns, layers, texture, imagery. The universe that has always been speaking to me became more clear. Better yet, I am feeling confident and bold in my work. This is the woman who has always said, “I can’t draw (or paint)” while always having a deep desire to do so. I always thought I needed a class to learn technique when all I needed were some workshops to learn freedom. Lookie there. It might not be hyper-realism or anything realistic but, look mom! I’m drawing! and painting!

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Once again it reminds me of why art is so important. It can change your life, your attitude, your outlook, your self-esteem. It challenges you to solve problems, to look more deeply (inside and out). It soothes the soul and calms the mind.

I am finding that going deep like this spills over to the rest of my life. I am feeling the tugging in my writing and how I approach things. It is meditation in motion and it is informing my life.

Thank you to Teesha and Tracy Moore for putting on Artfest Rising, and for the fantastic teacher that shared their hearts and art with our small group of 144. You’ve impacted my life.