See you there.
Anyone looking for a free yearlong art journal prompt workshop & community? Here it is! It’s called Journal52 and I just learned about it from one of my favorite artist/bloggers, Michelle at Inspiration Everywhere. I know it’s January 16th & all, but better late than never, and they say that over at Journal52 too, so here’s my take on Week 1: Pathways
It’s this blog! And a labyrinth/brain, and a face that popped out of the outline, looking forward. So, I was thinking about the path that I want to take with my art, and I keep coming back to this blog. I need to reach out to a community of artists, to share as much as I’ve been learning from all the great blogs out there. Working in a vacuum is no fun, and at first it was probably a fear thing; I thought my art sucked, that I was still too “new” at everything, and so I didn’t think I had much to share. I’m still not sure I do, but I’m gonna give it a go, and hopefully make some friends here too.
I bound my own journal for this project, and I’ll share bookbinding photos & details in my next post. See you then!
Climbing out of another Funk. I mean, if I’m honest, which intend to be, it’s that I have bipolar disorder (diagnosed almost half a lifetime ago now) and so it’s Roller Coaster City forever. But they feel worse lately, because I have some validly shitty things to deal with, and, well, they’re shitty.
And I feel like I’ve worked so hard to not be someone who’s always moping and depressed and dragging everyone around me down, but the flip side of that is that when I am depressed, I just isolate. It’s hard to keep a balance, you know?
But tonight, I’m feeling better, just good enough to ask for help. So here I am. Here’s some of what’s been going on:
I’ve had a fibro flare the last couple of weeks. I think they’re a part of PMS, which now comes with migraine aura (and the potential of a full-fledged migraine, which I had in February and March). So I have been doing things like laying on my couch in the middle of the day with the shades all drawn, wearing sunglasses. Sort of like I’m a rock star, only sick.
I was pretty unhappy a couple weeks ago when I kept running into OPP–Other People’s Pregnancies. Did you know that our local news anchor is pregnant, and due in July? Did you know that Princess Kate is due in July? I saw all the “baby bump” stories in the grocery store checkout. And even my ex-boyfriend’s wife is due in July! Uncool, universe. (For those who don’t know, we had miscarriage #2 in December, would have been due in, you guessed it, July.) So I laid on the couch moping about that, while being to tired to do things like sit upright.
Nana & Papa are not great. Papa doesn’t really leave the house anymore. I’ve been trying to talk with my uncle and their priest to try to figure out how to convince them that if they want to stay in their house (which they want to, and are able right now, and we support), they have to be willing to make some changes. But they’re in denial, and refuse to change much, even small things like moving some furniture so Papa can get around with the walker easier. I know things are going to get worse before they get better, so there’s a lot of stress and deep breathing and kind of more than a few stiff drinks.
But I’ve been doing a lot of art journaling. Reading a cool book about modern art called What Are You Looking At? and trying to get the massive gaps in my art history knowledge filled in a little. I made a paper mache panda for a friend and remembered how much I love paper mache. I had some ideas during my “up” phase for some cardboard “furniture” (mostly storage units for art supplies and shadow boxes) using paper mache reinforcement. Now that I’m feeling better, I’ll probably give that a go.
We adopted another cat. I suppose it was inevitable! You’ve hopefully all seen the status updates on Facebook, especially David’s. It’s been wonderful to see David “babymooning”, and how he gets up with Julian early when he’s crying in the morning. He’s going to be a great dad, and I’m enjoying this preview.
Hmm…what else…….. I turned 31! My thirties have finally hit me. It didn’t really sink in last year, because the focus was kind of on getting married. I was feeling particularly haggard one night at band rehearsal, sitting next to a new 18-year-old flute player, when I overheard my former music teacher (who plays a certain instrument and sits next to me in rehearsal ) say that my grey hair was making him feel old. At least, I think that’s what he said. I wasn’t sure, but it’s true, I do have a lot of grey hair now, which I’m usually A-OK with, but that night, not really. Anyway, I’m over it, but I totally, 100% feel 31 years old, is my point.
Almost summer. Storms are already here. I hope to update more, b/c I’m doing the Index Card A Day challenge. Maybe you too?
Hi, all. Time for….
1) First up is an art that surely overlaps in the art journaling community–crochet! Kat Golden, author of the lovely blog Slugs on the Refrigerator, has released her first book, Crochet at Play. I’ve been reading Kat’s blog for years now, and it’s so exciting to see her hard work result in a published book. She has lots of cool designs, including my favorite, a stegosaurus hat, all gorgeously photographed by the designer herself. Congrats, Kat!!
2) Jennibellie’s amazing recycling/upcycling prowess blew me away this week, when I started watching her many inspiring videos. And then she has a blog to explore as well??! Be still, my beating heart! Bookbinding & DIY art journal supply-making and raiding the recycling bin for all of it. Awesome.
3) Of course on my travels in the land of art journaling I ran across Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, a super hard-working artist who has a boatload of tutorials and deserves her popularity. I love her style, and her philosophy that authenticity in you work is important, so don’t be afraid of YOUR style. I hope I summed that up right. I’m working on not being afraid of my style, whatever that is, all the time.
4) I came across this great stamp-making tutorial this week, too. I love that blog name too—Approachable Art. I have to say, some of the stamps I tried didn’t work too well, but I think it’s because I’m stingy with my paint. I’m not quite as anxious about that now after seeing Jennibellie’s technique for getting the most out of your paint. I have an in-progress layer of red rosin paper down on my desk right now.
5) Speaking of me being cheap, I’m still not quite ready to take the plunge into buying gesso. I mean, it’s not a particularly expensive supply, really, but if a homemade version works, I at least want to try the cheap way. According to this experimenter, it doesn’t work all that well. There’s a more labor-intensive looking recipe out there too that I might try sometime. Have any of my readers tried homemade gesso?
That’s it for this Friday. TTYL!
Some more favorites today:
1) One of my more recent additions to the ol’ Google Reader is Jenny’s Sketchbook. She says a lot of her work is inspired by Gennine Zlatkis, another artist I love & am also inspired by. I love hearing about what folks are influenced by, and how they use those influences in their own creations. Jenny’s watercolor sketchbooks are bright and bold and beautiful.
2) I found Rosie’s blog through the Art Journaling Tumblr, which is a nice feed of different styles of art journaling. What I love the most about Rosie’s blog is that she documents, step-by-step, what her art journal process looks like. It’s so fascinating to me to see the page come together one piece at a time. I was particularly inspired by this page, and tried using that process in one of my pages. I used watercolor instead to make a background, and tried to let the way the colors flowed over the page inspire the shape of the word blocks. Perhaps I’ll post it another time.
3) I’ve also been enjoying Michelle’s work at Inspiration Everywhere. I love how Michelle is also doing the “sending yourself to art school” thing; she’s taking a lot of workshops and doing a wonderful job documenting her artistic journey. I find it very inspiring to read about other folks’ evolution as artist. Sometimes I can get stuck only looking at folks’ finished work, sometimes professional level, and then I feel wholly inadequate. But everyone is on their own journey, and I appreciate times a million the folks who share their step-by-step process, like Rosie, or the way they put into practice what they’re learning, like Michelle.
4) I also love thriftiness, and using what you have, especially with a hobby where you could potentially end up collecting a whole art supply store’s worth of Stuff. I really like Kira Nichols’ enitre blog, but one of my favorite aspects of her work is seeing how brilliantly she uses up scraps. I tried making inchies after reading her blog, but I didn’t really get into it. I find it hard to work that small; I’m more of a grand-scale mess-maker, heh. I did, however, start saving my tiny scraps of paper. I’ve been using them for collage material, in my art journal, and I eventually plan on trying to make my own paper.
5) And on that reuse/recycle/free art supplies tip…I’m gonna cheat and include TWO more links. The first is an envelope book— just what it sounds like, it’s a little art book made out of reused junk mail/bill envelopes (with online checking, I throw out so many of these)–made by a new friend who stopped by my humble blog through this link love mission. The second is a nice little post on an art swap site I just learned about giving a whole load of ideas for postcard bases, which of course could be put to other uses as well.
Have a good weekend, all!
I wanted to try making my own stamps, but I don’t have a carving tool, and I didn’t really want to buy one just yet. (It’s been on my “wish list” for years, but I forget that when people ask me what I’d like for my birthday/Christmas. Maybe now I’ll remember!) So when I saw this tutorial for making stamps out of craft foam, I got pretty excited. I love how it has the same kind of look that carved stamps do because of the way that cutting with a craft knife is limited in cutting round edges, although I’m not sure I’m explaining that very well. Anyway, I think it’s cool, and I gave it a go:
This is my attempt at a “retro shape” pattern. Not sure what you’d call that shape, but it’s always in my head, probably taking up residence there while working in the curtain department of JC Penney, where a similar pattern on a set of curtains caught my imagination instead of, you know, selling curtains. (I worked on commission. I was terrible at it.) I had to throw out this stamp because it was getting dented toward the end, but I used to design to inspire this egg design prototype:
I did like the way this one turned out; it’s a fun one to color in so it can look different each time:
I also used it in a background for my first attempt at art journalling.
You can see more examples of art journal pages here and here and lots of other places. I’d describe it as sort of like scrapbooking, but more of a mess, and more original content. I thought it was kind of cool, so I started a dedicated art journal, which I’ll show you in another post!
Like I’ve mentioned before, I feel like I’m pretty bad at blogging. I used to be a regular Livejournaller (and even met my husband there!), but I’ve been unable to make the transition to Web 2.0 very well. So I’m grateful for projects like this, that serve as a blogging prompt:
It feels like a good way to let bloggers know how much I appreciate their writing, in a new way from the gushy fan email that I sometimes feel like a total weirdo for sending. So if I tag you here, know that I totally wanted to send one of those, but I thought this would be more appropriate 🙂
1) Starting with Daisy Yellow, of course! I love this blog/community in general, but the Art Journaling 101 page is a resource of astonishing proportions when it comes to getting started learning about art journaling.
2) I’ve been reading about & practicing bookbinding lately, and I just love the travel journals Laura makes using recycled materials, although all of her handbound books are lovely (and for sale!). I loved looking at Laura’s work, and ended up reading about 2 years of her blog. Is it weird to admit that? I hope not! I also learned about an amazing community resource they have in her part of the world (Manitoba), called ArtJunktion. They’re a nonprofit that coordinates with local businesses/corporations to take their useable waste materials, then gives it out FREE to local artists. !!!!!! I must admit, I have never wished I lived in Manitoba before, but now I kind of do. Really, I wish there was an ArtJunktion near me.
3) When I first started learning about art journaling a couple months ago, or maybe about stamp/printmaking, or maybe bookbinding, I somehow stumbled on Traci Bunkers’ blog. I got her very inspiring book, Print Stamp Lab, from the library, and read through quite a large chunk of her blog archives. But the best thing that discovering her blog has helped me with is another little bit of self-acceptance. See, aesthetically, I find myself very drawn to minimalism, to neat, precise lines, to careful execution of ideas. But you know what? Try as I might, that’s just not me. I am forever making a mess. And instead of making an accidental mess, disappointing myself because I’m not pulling off the clean, minimal look I want, why not just OWN IT, and make my joyful mess on purpose?! And looking at Traci Bunkers’ work, which totally embraces a “grungy” (a word she uses a lot that makes me smile), free-spirited, unpolished, chaotic but aesthetically pleasing mess. Awesome. I’ve been really inspired by her, and I keep checking her shop to see if she has any handbound books for sale.
4) I’ve been getting a bit of mailbox love this past week due to participating for the first time in iHanna’s Postcard Swap. So far, I’ve gotten 3 lovely pieces of art, and I’m looking forward to more. I sent out all 10 of mine last week, and 3 folks have already let me know they got their postcards and liked them. A nice pick-me-up project at the end of a lonnnnng winter.
5) I hope this counts…I’m not sure she considers it a blog, but the YouTube user Sea Lemon DIY has a channel of wonderful tutorials, my favorite of which are the bookbinding tutorials. You can check out the rest of her work at her Etsy shop.