in which tracey take a peek into the “real” art world and finds something interesting

It’s all Jessica’s fault.

She told me she was taking a journaling class and it sounded cool, so I checked it out. It was about using your journal as a medium in your studio practice, which sounded like a very Tracey thing to learn about. I signed up.

It was five weeks, one meeting per week, and with some homework in between the meetings. From the very first assignment, I knew I didn’t really belong in this class. It was to watch this video:

This is a short version of the piece. There were more videos, but I don’t want to scare you away. 😉 I refused to be scared away by this class, though; I’m stubborn like that. We watched videos in which artists I’d never heard of (which doesn’t surprise me, since I don’t follow the fine art world) talked about their art and making art and what art is and isn’t about. Then we talked about the videos. At length. Then I lost it one day in class (albeit politely).

I couldn’t understand how much talk there was about doing art and that we weren’t doing any. The talking seemed to be another reason to not make art. I know everyone has their processes and fears, but nothing is going to happen if you spend too much time worrying about what people are going to say. I like making things and if they come out crappy, oh well. If they come out great, I’ll show them to someone. But maybe I feel a different kind of pressure than these ladies do when they work. It was nice to say out loud the things I’ve been thinking for a long time and it was a good reminder for myself, too.

Even though I feel that way, throughout the class I was intimidated by these other artists in the group. They all, except for one, have studios in the center where the class was held. They all are mostly full-time artists. They are all connected to the fine art world. I sat there with my homemade journal with all of the NaNoJouMo pages in it and hid the front cover because I had collaged it with deli sheets I had monoprinted on my gelli plate. I felt like a bit of a child in a room full of adults.

Then I realized that maybe it really was a class for me. After all, wasn’t I there to learn?

At the third class, we received the assignment: “draw three 2-inch squares that depict the space between audience and the rules or directions of art making.” Or something to that effect. That lost me. I didn’t go to the session where we showed those, though I did do the homework to the best of my limited abilities. (I even had a dream about it, which was interesting.) But, I was on a roll in my studio that day and wanted to keep going. Or maybe that’s what I told myself.

Our homework for the final week was to draw ten 2-inch squares that expanded upon the previous homework. Here’s our installation:

all

I didn’t follow the rules (shocker). I did 6 1.25″ cubes and 4 2×2″ squares. The cubes are covered in assorted papers — handmade, hand painted, music paper, scrapbook paper. I set them in a random pile and in front of them, the 4 white squares that each have one word on them: “Make what you see.” Viewers can move around the cubes and the words. “See what you make.”

me

It was well-received. I felt weird because I don’t like being the center of attention (even though we each had our turn being critiqued) and I felt like my  piece was silly. But by the time everybody had chimed in, I was feeling more confident and understood what I was doing a little more. So, even though I was uncomfortable and lost, it turns out I do care about that space between what I make and what people see, even if I don’t have actual words for it. I also know that abstract and esoteric conversation isn’t my bag and I need to just hunker down and do the work.

But the biggest lesson I learned was that I do have something valuable to share, no matter who I share with. That my conviction that each person on this planet is unique and special also applies to me.

Here are the other artists’ pieces (artwork copyright of its owner, despite my watermarks):

I’m not unhappy that I took this class. I hated being so uncomfortable, though. I guess it’s actually something I really needed. Thank you, Jennie!

A few cards

My sister always tells me how she goes into the shops in her town and thinks that my cards are something that should be in those shops, too. So I made a few for her to take in there and see what happens. 🙂 These cards have dyed fabric, dyed paper towels, found objects, beads and sequins, fibers, paper fabric that I made, and are stitched together, then glued onto the card front.

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late night arting

The past few nights have seen me in my studio, hard at work on journals and other random things. Here’s this week’s journal spread (WIP) and some corrugated cardboard pages I’m making, also WIP. I am not sure if they’ll be postcards or if they’ll be pages for a book — what do you think?

 

weeping tree

I took a class online last fall called “For the Love of a Tree” with Diane Culhane and it was fantastic. It really made me happy because there are few things I love more than staring at trees. We have some good ones in our neighborhood here, but my mom’s yard in NJ is lousy with amazing trees. I remember looking out the kitchen window on a very gray and rainy day in the autumn and being struck by the contrast between the dark, wet bark on the trees and the golds, reds and yellows of the leaves. I still have to catch my breath when I think of it.

Here’s Weeping Tree. 5″x5″ acrylics on cradle board.

tracey kazimir-cree. weeping tree. 5"x5" acrylic on cradle board.
weeping tree. 5″x5″ acrylic on cradle board.

Time with Mindy Lacefield

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This painting is inspired by my daughter. It’s still a work in progress, as I’d like to turn her shirt into a Star Wars t-shirt. Otherwise, I think this one is finished.

This past weekend was glorious! I went down to Colorado Springs with some of my arty friends (Lisa, Susan and Karen) so that we could learn from the extremely talented and whimsical Mindy Lacefield. The class was called Inner Radiant Child and boy, did we do some child-like and wonderful work.

WIP: This is also my daughter, wearing her Elsa dress and Ariel tiara. This one needs a lot more work than the first, but I love where it's going.
WIP: This is also my daughter, wearing her Elsa dress and Ariel tiara. This one needs a lot more work than the first, but I love where it’s going.

Mindy taught us her style of painting and it always amazes me that even though we were all doing the same thing as the teacher (little girls with eyes set wide apart in a primitive style), with the same tools and methods, we all created our own work. I love that about these workshops. I was also impressed that I really liked all of the women in the workshop. Sometimes there are one or two people who might rub you the wrong way, but I was happy to spend time and share with these ladies.

The most amazing part of the workshop was on the second day, when Mindy had us do a writing exercise in which we wrote a note to our younger selves. I wrote to my 7-year-old self, and it went like this:

Hey Tracey — you are such a lovely young lady, always taking care of everyone around you. But please remember that you need to take care of yourself first. Otherwise, you’ll have less to give (and I know how you like to give.) Also, everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Have no fear. You are building up such strength and it will serve you well in the future. Don’t be too bogged down in the shoulds as much as the things you want to do. What’s the worst that can happen?

After we wrote, we all shared and it was the most moving hour I’ve spent in a long, long time. It shocked me how much we all had in common and I wondered if all women have an inner child who is so bruised and battered. I feel as if what I wrote to myself is something I need to read daily as a reminder.

So, here’s the WIP that arose from that meditation — this is me, playing with a dollhouse my grampa had made for me. It was basically a bunch of wooden crates, nailed together and painted with fluorescent orange paint, with little scraps of carpet on the “floors”.

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I’m so happy with the work I did. It was good to have permission to play and to just be myself, both in person and on the canvas.

The suite I shared with Lisa, Susan and Karen was very cool. It was great to hang out in the evenings and make art and listen to music and just be silly together. I also loved the one-on-one time in the car with Lisa, who I’ve met before, but hadn’t spent much time with. I love making new friends!

Next up: Kelly Kilmer is in town and teaching the 26th through the 28th. I can’t wait to get into a classroom setting again and work my journals.

my everyday book: week ending 7/16/2016

I never think I have anything to share on this site, but I realized today that I do. I love looking at journal pages done by other people, so why not share my own?

My everyday book is a journal that I keep for a year. Currently, I do one week per 2-page spread and I’m using the 11.375″ x 8.25″ Dylusions Creative Journal. I love the book, and the paper in it, as well as the way it’s bound, but it’s not my #1 choice for my everyday book because it’s SO heavy. I can’t carry it around easily, which is a bummer because I always like to have my journal with me in case of a spare moment. Doesn’t everyone?

Winter Wonderfull, Part 1

In November, I posted my photos from an online challenge called NaNoJouMo, organized by Dawn Devries Sokol. I also signed up for one of her online workshops that is running from the end of November to the end of February, called “Winter Wonderfull.”

We’ve been at it for just over a month and I’m, of course, totally behind (I have a two-year-old, people!), but I am loving what I’ve done so far. My biggest takeaway so far is learning to paint with my fingers. I love Dawn’s pages and the effects she gets with layering and with paint, so I finally broke down and started painting with my fingers.

I have one word for you: Control. And boy, do I love control.

The part I don’t love is the way it feels — I have neuropathy in my feet and I think it’s starting in my fingers now, too, so it feels really yucky if I spend too much time thinking about it. Also, washing my hands so much in our dry climate makes my fingers feel extra icky. But as long as I’m liking the results, I’m going to keep doing it.

Here are the pages I’ve completed so far in this workshop. Enjoy!

Winter Wonderfull

NaNoJouMo – Week 4 + a couple of days

I had a little bit more time to work on this during Thanksgiving weekend, so that was fun. I had no expectations as I worked on it, so it’s a bit of a jumble.

NaNoJouMo - Week 4
NaNoJouMo – Week 4

22 – crown. doodled jaggedy lines, similar to a sketchy crown.
23 – “groups of 4” was the prompt, but I did “group of 4” instead. 🙂
24 – sisters. The prompt was a photo of 2 girls, so I pulled out a copy of a photo of my sisters and myself.
25 – circles. I love making circles.
26 – gratitude. Words about what I’m grateful for in my life.
27 – shine on. I used some glitter on the page, of course.
28 – focus in on the color yellow.

And for the last two days in November…

NaNoJouMo - week4.5  2015
NaNoJouMo – week4.5 2015

29 – ferris wheel. I used a new stencil from the Stencil Girl Club that mimics the lines on the ferris wheel.
30 – house. The prompt image used a really great shade of turquoise, so I decided to just use that on the page. (Spread isn’t finished, but November is.)

NaNoJouMo – Week 3

Weeks 2 and 3 were challenging on a number of levels, but mostly because I didn’t have as much child care as I normally do in a week. It was difficult to get things completed and I got behind on bills and groceries and all of the house management stuff, not to mention work, but I snuck in little bits of work on this here and there throughout that time. I’m pleased with what I did in the time I had.

NaNoJouMo - Week3
NaNoJouMo – Week3

15 – Disney quote
16 – When in Rome
17 – Things to climb
18 – The city
19 – “simple as this”
20 – trees
21 – lady liberty (musings underneath the flap)