Saturday, June 28, 2014

Happy Mail, a Belated Link, and My Routine Two

I don't know where all my time is going these days...I think I've lost an hour or two somewhere and can't, for the life of me, figure out where...

I asked my friend Boo to be a part of the blog hop I was in, and HERE is the link to her post.  Boo's art is colorful, expressive, meaningful, and can so relate to the things she talks about on her blog.  I hope you will go check her out and tell her I sent you!

I'm still managing to get a few things done, as I have basically sworn a blood oath to myself that I will complete both JOURNAL 52 (J52) and THE DOCUMENTED LIFE PROJECT (DLP), and I am fighting tooth and nail to accomplish my goal!

For J52, the prompt was "Nature Inspired", and here's what I did:

"Fibonacci Sequence"

Now, there is a high probability that when you look at this page, you do not see it as nature inspired, aside from the little flower...  BUT, I assure you that you see examples of the Fibonacci Sequence in  nature every single day!  Seriously, it's crazy how many places it shows up.  If you want to learn more about it, here is a short little video:

And if you want to learn even more about Fibonacci and Lucas numbers and more, HERE is the link to  the video he mentions...(very interesting, at least to me, and I don't even like math or science...)  Or, just go google examples of the Fibonacci Sequence in nature...and you will see the seemingly never ending list, from flower petals to the night sky and many more!

Ok, I'm done geeking out on you...for now...

For DLP, the prompt was "use a quote from your favorite book", and here's what I did:

I actually cheated and used a quote from a book that I haven't read...but it is from a book and I REALLY like the quote...

I used Neocolor II"s for the majority of this page, as well as white acrylic paint and a brush-tip Micron.

"A story has no beginning or end, arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead."
-Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

This quote is the opening line to the book, and it made me start nerding out again...on multiple levels. It's just a good's solid...I like it.  But then I started thinking about it again in relation to the Fibonacci Sequence/mathy/nerdy things...

And what it made me think about was lines:

When you think of a line, you think of me...

But technically, you're whole life is a lie, and this is a line:

I have fancy arrows and that makes me better.

You see, the fancy arrows mean that the line goes on FOREVER!  A line has no beginning or end, it's infinite in both directions.  But, there's not enough paper to draw all we get the image in the first picture, which is actually a segment.  Segments have a beginning and an end.  And, if you want to go one step further into dorkery with me, we have rays, which have a beginning, but no end.

So, to break it down, a line is like time; it's infinite in both directions.
A segment is like our lives.  We have a 'beginning' (being born), and an end (kicking the bucket).
A ray is like a vampire, having a beginning, but no end...unless he or she gets staked, and then I suppose they'd just end up being a longer segment...

And the point to that and how it relates to the quote is: where do our stories start and where do they end?  

If someone wants to know the story of how I met my husband, I could probably start out by saying 'I was living at the beach and...'  I'd say that's a decent place to start, right?  But did the story really start there?  I mean, I was born in Ohio and my husband is originally from Minnesota, how did we both end up living at the beach?  Everything in our lives, a bunch of factors, led us to being there at the time...why shouldn't that be a part of the story?  And why stop with there?  I mean, we wouldn't have  met if we had never been born, right?  So what's the deal with that?  What about our parents?  And their parents? And their parents...going on and on and on...

And if you're going to go there, when does our story end?  Presuming we are together until one of us dies, is that the end of the story?  Or if I die, and he doesn't, does the story go on until he finally goes belly up?  Or does it go on until the people we know are all dead?  Or until anyone who's ever heard a story about us are dead?  

I don't know, it was just some random thinking my brain pieced together from the quote and watching science-y/math videos.  My brain works weirdly.  But, hey, maybe you learned the very least, you learned that you probably don't want to ask how I met my husband...unless you have a lot of free time...

At this point in the post, you are probably staring off into space just like this girl...

One totally awesome thing about my segment of time here is receiving mail art from friends.

Newspaper page in what I think is Chinese. (?) AWESOME napkins...I love the crow one SO MUCH!!!!

All of these goodies came from my friend Pamikins!

"Every moment in time is a gift and a blessing." ATC, card, and drywall tape.... I have been trying to find that particular type of drywall tape FOREVER, so I was possibly squealing with delight for five minutes straight when I saw it!

I am so excited by all the goodies, but especially this:

The GORGEOUS book that Pamikins made for me! (LOVE IT!!!)

And the inside:

Each page has pockets and it's own tag to go along with it!  I adore this book with an insane amount of adulation!

Thank you so much to my darling Pamikins for brightening up my day with the awesome care package!  

You all make this time segment worth living! <3<3<3

Monday, June 23, 2014

Artist Interview: Jackie Beeman, Plus Courage and Hearts...

I've got some cool stuff to share with you today, including the art of a very good friend of mine!

First, I'm going to share my Journal 52 (J52) and Documented Life Project (DLP) pieces.

For Journal 52, the prompt was "Courage" and you can read more about that HERE.  This is my page for the prompt:

"Being deeply loved gives you strength, loving deeply gives you courage." -Lao Tzu
"With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble.  Courage is the foundation of integrity." -Mark Twain

I totally enjoyed the quotes for this one...but then again, I love quotes in general. I think the Mark Twain quote about courage being the foundation of integrity hit home for me this week.  It really does take courage to display integrity and to stand up for your personal convictions.  Especially because the world tends to be so disingenuous.  Integrity is doing the right thing, even if it's hard, even when no one is looking.  Integrity is one of the things I constantly work on improving in myself, because it's important to do what YOU personally feel to be right.  

For DLP this past week, the prompt was to "Cover your flap in hearts".  I didn't happen to have a flap on this spread, so I just put a crap-ton of hearts on my spread in general.  And here's what I ended up with:

"Your heart's a mess..."

The line is from a song called "Hearts a Mess" by Gotye:

I really enjoy his music, and I watched this little documentary about how he gets inspiration and the way he puts his music together:

I though it was pretty interesting.  He gathered inspiration for music in a similar way to how I get small thing that connects dots in your head and leads you to an entirely different place.  I thought it was neat that despite the fact that my inspiration leads to visual art and his leads to auditory pieces, the way that we get inspired was very similar...I don't know, it could be my general dorkery is showing...

The lyrics for the song are scribbled throughout the page in red and black pen.

When I listen to the song, I hear the story of a person who guards their heart by shutting it off and someone who wants to be close to that person trying to get them to open up again.  I think it's easy to feel empathy for both sides.  Being hurt makes you want to seal yourself up so you won't be hurt again.  And then, on the opposite side, feeling like you want to connect with a person who has put up these walls and not being able to get to know them on a deeper level...seeing how much they miss out on by being that way.  Because, unfortunately, by shutting out the pain, you shut out the good too.

I can identify with both of those feelings.

She's got her hands on her hips cause she's nagging me.

In recent years, I've put forth a lot of energy to tear down the walls around my heart.  It might get hurt again and again, but in the end, the odds are that there's going to be at least one time when it was worth being vulnerable.  There will be a time when all the sad things you went through get obliterated by the really great thing that comes at last.  That's what I like to believe anyway.

One of the things that keeps my spirits up are my friends in the art community.  I've been lucky to get to know some amazing people, both as artists and as human beings.

I asked a good friend (and FANTASTIC artist), Jackie Beeman (I calls her Jackie, My Honey), to be a part of the blog hop I participated in last Monday.  Jackie is not a fan of the blogging end of things, but she makes such AMAZING art...I really wanted to spread the word of her share her work with as many people as I can!  So, I asked Jackie to do the blog hop and we agreed to do it 'artist interview' style, so from this point forward all the art that you see is Jackie's (The questions are in bold, Jackie's answers are in italics and I will sneak my two cents in the normal font.): 

1. What are you working on right now?  Too much as usual.  I sign up for classes and groups and feel required to keep up, and it's silly.  I am taking Life Book 2014 with Tamara Laporte.  It's a year long class with weekly lessons.  Also, Soul Food which has 2-3 classes per week from January to June.

  Along with free groups, such as the DLP and Journal 52 that offer a prompt once a week, I have been doing art exchanges in groups with Ayala Art.  She did the 29 Faces challenge in May.  Once that was over, she expanded to Faces in the World and other art projects.  I am currently in two teams and we just began journals that will travel internationally.  There are 10 of us in that group! 

 I am in a sketchbook class that officially starts on July 6, but we are already playing and submitting sketches.  There's more, but those are the major ones.  (Holy guacamole!  I don't know how she keeps up...Jackie really is one of the most prolific artists that I know.  I honestly think she must sleep for about 15 minutes a day and that she continues to make art while sleeping!)

2. How does my work differ from others of it's genre?  Good question, but I honestly don't have an answer.  I am an art journal hobbyist, not a painter or professional at art, so I just do what I like to do, the best way I know how!  (I can almost always pick Jackie's art out of the crowd...she's got this amazing style that I can't get enough of!  I don't think I can put my finger on it exactly, but it has something to do with the eyes...the eyes first and then the mouths...her pieces have so much variation, but she still manages to let her style shine through...a skill that I am both very jealous of and very grateful to get to witness!)

3. Why do I create what I do?  Mostly I am taking classes so I create whatever is being taught.  In the case of my free groups, I go with the prompts and create from there.  I have Pinterest and obviously know about YouTube, both of which have lots of inspiration, but I rarely go there because I have so much to keep me busy that I don't need it!  (You read the list for question 1, right?  I literally do not believe there is enough time in the day for her to pack anything else in!  If you know Jackie from Facebook, you'll know she posts new work at least once a day...and seeing how detailed and amazing her art is, I think she's quite possibly found another hour in the day somewhere...)

4. How does my creating process work?  I'd like to give you a complicated formula that would make me sound smart and was easy to follow, but alas, I don't have one.  

I see what the lesson is about or what prompt I will be working on and decide what materials I will use: paints, pencils papers, etc.  Then I gather some things and start playing.

To tell you my dirty little secret, I am a hoarder of craft and art supplies.  I keep things that someday, somehow, can and will be useful in my art!

So I have piles of things all around to pick and choose from.

It's fun to see what others in the group are using or doing.  People are generous with sharing ideas, so that inspires me.

I love to draw late at night.  (For the record, I take that statement as proof that she only sleeps 15 minutes a day...)

On a personal note, Jackie is one of the kindest, most generous, and supportive people I've had the privilege to get to know.

Her work is original, expressive, and endearing.

Jackie's art and her beautiful, encouraging personality never fail to lift my spirits and spur me on in my own creative endeavors.

My personal favorite, but I may be a bit bias... :)

You can find Jackie on Facebook (I know she frequents Journal 52 and Documented Life Project, among others)...I hope that you will go check out more of her art...and please feel free to comment directly to Jackie here on the blog and let her know how fantastic she is!

Monday, June 16, 2014

That was...different

Hi!  How's it going?

I'm sitting here, drinking a Coke and singing along, LOUD and off-key, to Adele (if you sing loud enough, it makes up for the fact that you're bad at it, right?), trying to tell myself I want to go to work and not back to bed...  This is a lie I tell myself basically every single week day...

I've got my Journal 52 (J52) and Documented Life Project (DLP) pieces to share with you today, but FIRST...I was invited to be a part of a blog hop by Trece over at SIMPLYTRECE!  Thank you so much for thinking of me!  I was/am SO very first blog hop!  Yay!

So, for the hop, I had to answer 4 questions:

1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others of it's genre?
3. Why do I create what I do?
4. How does your creating process work?

And so I thought I would have another first and make a video where I flip through some of my journals and answer the above I did!  

Let me just say in advance, sorry for the weird portrait format of the video...if you make it full screen, it's not quite so bad...but I realized afterward that I could have done it in landscape format...for shame!  Also, apologies for all the "and, er, ums" and nervous laughter...but I do eventually get through the questions, with a relative amount of without further ado:

So, there you go, my first video...I am working on more videos right now, which will hopefully be a little easier to watch...much like art, I imagine it takes time to get better with doing the videos, so hopefully, I will get better at them...

That video is my excuse for being a little late in posting my art for last let's get to that:

First, for J52, the prompt was "Passion".  What are you passionate about?

For me, passion is a hard word.  I mean, I'm passionate about, sleeping, chocolate milk ...there's more, I'm sure.  

But to me, passion is a frustrating word, much like expectation...because it tends to lead to disappointment.  Passion is one of those emotions that are a little more scary than the others.  Because it kind of includes two people.  Passion is an emotion that you risk rejection over.

If you've got passionate feelings for another person, there's a chance that they don't feel that way about you.  One-sided love is a terrible, heart wrenching feeling.

Even if you've got passionate feelings about a cause or a thing, you run that same risk of rejection.  Because if you're passionate about something, you're going to talk about it...a lot...and maybe you discover that you're the only one who is passionate and to everyone else, the thing you care SO MUCH about is just a bore.  Then maybe you start to doubt your own judgement...if no one else cares, can it really be that important?

For a long time, I rejected getting too excited over anything for that very reason.  Strong opinions, strong emotions, convictions, passions...all of that was too tough, too scary.  So I didn't let myself be open about things.  If I don't reach out, I can't be rejected.  Nobody wants to be rejected.

Living like that is lonely and it is boring, and I got tired of being bored and lonely.

So now, I let myself be passionate over the things that I feel passionate about.

One thing that I got passionate about is abstract art...or trying to make abstract art.  Ever since it was a prompt for Journal 52, I have had this obsession with trying to make abstract art...or, I should say, GOOD abstract art.  (I still haven't been able to reach that goal...)

So for this week's "Passion" prompt. I decided to try to make an abstract piece of two people kissing, and here's what I ended up with:

Still not there...

The one thing I like about the page is the squiggly lines in the faces.  I had the thought of how some people think/used to think that when you kissed you exchanged souls or some such thing...  And I thought that it was an interesting idea that when we get passionate about a person, or a cause, that we are willing to share ourselves fully with whatever it is we are passionate about.  That's what those squiggle lines represent to me...

Of course, you may not see might instead see a commercial for those Breath-rite strip things...  "If you want to kiss someone, you're gonna need open airways..."  Hahaha...

For DLP, the prompt was to "Use book pages or text paper" and here's my spread:

"Well that was...different."

I covered the whole spread in book pages from an old Spanish/English dictionary I had and then sprayed it with Dylusions.  And then I couldn't figure out what else to do...

So I thought I would try using Coarse Texture Gel (on the left page) and Gesso (on the right) over top of the sprayed page to see if it would seep through.  Both did a surprisingly good job at keeping the bottom layer of Dylusions (the orange/yellow/pink layer) from seeping through enough to mess with the top layer (the greens).  And then I was stuck again for something to do...

So I stopped working on the page and decided to do the first lesson of Willowing's free "Art, Heart, Healing" class, in which she shows you how to do her style of face.  When I was done, I realized I could just add the face I'd made into the journal using some washi tape.  I added washi on the other side to try to tie both pages together, and, since I had my face portion of the page spread, I knew it was time for words.

I am excited to try this background technique using different colors than orange and green.  I think this technique would lend itself well to aged colors as opposed to such bright ones...

For the letters, I sprayed some pages that were torn from my beloved Gregg journal, sprayed them with Dylusions, and, when they were dry, cut out the letters.

My version of a Tam/Willowing face.

For some reason, I think my girl looks a little sarcastic, and that's why I chose the journaling that I did.  It's kind of a jab at myself for being a little too cocky recently.

Before I make a move, I try to figure out all the possible outcomes.  I think it's smart to be as prepared as you can be.  But, the fact is, that sometimes, despite all the preparations you may make, people can still surprise you.  

That happened for me recently, and it kind of knocked me off my high horse.  This spread is to remind me that I don't have all the answers, and I don't always know what another person's reaction will matter how well I know the person.

So, that's it for this time...hopefully the video wasn't too horrific to watch and I am really excited to try to get better at making them...the one I'm working on now is for sharing how I make my faces!  I've done picture tutorials before, but it's hard to put everything into still photos, so maybe the videos will help!  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

New Eyes and the Glad Game

Late to the game again!  Tsk, tsk!  I am wagging my finger at myself in disgust!  I have been distracted by the day-to-days yet again, and I have no good reason.  Plenty of excuses...but no good reason...

One semi-decent excuse is getting caught up in the free tutorial videos over at the DERWENT WEBSITE.  Thanks to Michelle from INSPIRATION EVERYWHERE for the heads up about those...  As a side note, I just love the name of her blog!

Derwent also has a 'kids' related portion of their site called FLIP! and it has some video tutorials as well.  I really like looking at things geared towards children, because of how well they break the information down.  Sometimes videos directed at adults assume you know things that you actually don't, whereas those that were made "for kids" give you much more basic-but-thorough, they tend to be more concise, probably because kids aren't known for having great attention spans.  I have to say, when I first started out making art, my art maven/older sister told me that was the case and I...disregarded...that information for a while.  Huge error on my part!  I admit my wrongness wholeheartedly!

I'm going to share some of the art I made so far with the Derwent tutorials in a later post, but today, I have my Journal 52 (J52) and Documented Life Project (DLP) art for last week.

For J52, the prompt was "Travel", and you can read more about it HERE.  This is what I made:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

I am pretty excited over that wide-eyed girl...I think she goes so well with the makes me ridiculously happy...  I really enjoy it when you find just the right words for your project!

FYI, in case it's ever a question on Jeopardy, I didn't start out with the plan of having a black background...there was an incident involving a crumb from a black oil pastel that was stuck to my hand...  And since there was little hope of removing the mark it made on the page, and because I wanted to stick with water-soluble media on this page, I just pulled out my black Neocolor II and went for black.  Luckily, I had a white ink pad that was still surprisingly juicy after several years of never being touched...and it all worked out well in the end!

The other thing I have to share is my DLP spread, which you can find out more info about HERE.  The prompt was to "Write what you are grateful for each day this week." and here's my list:

"Come on Pollyanna...Let's play the glad game."

I started out feeling a little "Meh..." about this spread, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. I don't think it looks very me...I must have been channeling someone else's muse that day or something!  The colors in the background are not my usual fare.  I used a set of cheap tube watercolors that I don't pull out very often.  I think they will be making a much more regular appearance on my studio desk, because I find them to be quite interesting colors...  Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men and all it's possible you will never see them again, so perhaps we should take a moment to enjoy them while we can! :)  

Yesterday, I noticed I've been having an unintentional run of purple in my DLP even made an appearance in this spread!  Not that there's anything wrong with purple, but it's kind of odd for me to have a marathon of it without planning to, right?

See that little heart at the top of the left page?  My husband, the lovely stink that he is, found that in the parking lot of his job and brought it home to me!  Now some women would be thoroughly disturbed at the fact that their husband brought home 'trash' from a parking lot...but as artists, I think we all know what a sweet gesture that was!  Add to that the fact that my husband is mildly afraid of germs, and you see what a grand gesture it actually was.  I'll have to add that to my list for the Glad Game!  A Glad Game bonus, if you will...

What about you?  Do you have something glad to share?  I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Learning Things I Already Knew

I've got my pages/spreads for the past two weeks of Journal 52/Documented Life Project (DLP) to share with you today.  I've had some craziness happening in my life and this is the first chance I've gotten to share...sorry for the extended interlude of silence!

First, the Journal 52 prompts, starting with "Book Inspiration" prompt which you can read more about HERE.  For mine, I used a quote from a book series called The Girl In The Box by Robert J. Crane.  I have the Kindle app on my phone, and the first 3 books in this series are available as a free download.  Here's what I did:

"You stand at the edge of the rest of your life."

I like that happened at a point where the main character in the book had a big decision to make.  I kind of feel like, depending on how you look at it, this statement could apply to every single second of your life.  Meaning at any time, you have the choice/option/power to change the path you're on and go off in a new direction.  And even though I put my girl at the edge of a cliff (or at least tried to...I don't know how well it comes across), sometimes changing our path can be as simple as looking at something in a new light.

The next piece (for Journal 52) is for the "Making a Mandala" prompt, which you can read more about HERE.  I have to admit that I'd never attempted to make a mandala before, because I personally tend to find making repetitive patterns a bit boring, instead of zen-like and meditative like they're supposed to be.  But, because of my personal goal of being less flaky/having stick-to-it-ness (I don't think that's a real word...but I'm going for it anyway), I pressed forward and made this:
My very first (and possibly only ever) mandala!

Can I just say that I was really surprised by how this turned out?  I'm kinda impressed with myself! *arm breaks from patting self on back*  For a first attempt, I feel like I did a darn decent job...even my husband, who normally gets glazed over eyes and starts involuntarily drooling from boredom when I show him my art, said it was cool.  High praise indeed!  I wish I would have taken a picture before I colored this in, because it even looked neat in black and white!  While I may never make a mandala again (I still find the process to be a little tedious), I feel like the end result is nice.

Next is my DLP spread for the "Add embroidery floss to your page" challenge. (You can read more about that HERE.)  And this is what I did:
"You belong among the belong somewhere you feel free." - Tom Petty
The outline of the flower on the left page was done in embroidery floss.  Although this isn't one of my favorite pages, I have to say I like the background on it pretty well.  I think sometime I will use embroidery floss in a different way on one of my DLP pages, because I don't enjoy it visually here, and I think I can do better...

And finally, my spread for the DLP prompt to "Draw, paint, or sketch a house" (read more HERE):

"A place to make your stand"
"The start and the end."

This was a spread where I went one step too far and was sad about it...that hasn't happened in quite a while!  I liked this page SO much before I added the white outline to the houses.  And then, once I did it, I couldn't take it off...hence sad face happening...  Everything else I like, even though it is not necessarily 'my style'.  The bright colors, using stencils to make the background (including one of my homemade foam stencils that I did a tutorial for HERE), the lettering, the houses BEFORE I added the white outline to them...all that made me super happy!  I guess every once in a while, it's good to have a visual reminder of why it's important to stop yourself from going to far...  At least that's what I'm telling myself so that I don't my underpants in a bunch over it too badly... 

And now I'm off to un-bunch my slightly bunched underpants and go to work...