I had intended to make something or work on my journal during this unseemly hour of the morning, but instead, I am sharing some work I’ve been doing for the past week or two. Dawn Sokol runs a class each holiday season that focuses on journaling to help process the holiday season and winter. It’s a great class that I’ve taken a couple of times in the past. Here is some of my work, along with some works in progress, that I have so far.
It’s a homemade book, set up in the style of a travelers notebook, using elastic bands to keep in each signature. The pages are made of old cereal boxes, magazine pages, old Christmas cards, cardstock, regular ole white heavyweight paper, and more. Some of these pages are still works in progress, mostly needing some doodling and journaling. #JingleJournal2021
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.
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…
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.)
Artist and author Dawn Devries Sokol is running a daily journaling prompt project this month and she called it NaNoJouMo (National Nonstop Journaling Month), in a takeoff on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
Every day on her blog, Dawn gives followers a prompt and we are to take whatever we want from that prompt and use it to jumpstart our journaling for the day. Folks are encouraged to take what they want and leave what they want, to journal for 5 minutes, or 5 hours or anything in between, as long as we’re getting something down in our journals daily.
I love this project. I used to journal daily, first throughout the day, then every evening on the living room sofa, and now I find that most of my journaling is hit or miss, with no set times, but I try very hard to fill in the details of each day, even if I’m catching up a week’s worth of days. So what I decided to do this month is, since I work weekly in my journal, to take what speaks to me from each prompt and incorporate it into the page spread for the week. Here’s week 1 (I put the thought bubble over some sensitive writing for privacy):
Day 1: The “Hello my name is” sticker
Day 2: I pulled a similar orange-y color from Dawn’s prompt image and painted it around these two little weird guys.
Day 3: I added a tag to the page and wrote a little on it about “I’m not really…”
Day 4: Added stars and scribbles using a scarlet watercolor crayon and then mushed the color around a tiny bit.
Day 5: Added the little house shape, torn out of a book page.
Day 6: I scribbled around the edges of the little guys’ clothes.
Day 7: I may have forgotten to do the “the way to…” prompt. HAHA!
So, I started this week’s spread last night and I’m super excited about what is starting to happen there. But you’ll have to wait till next week to see it! 🙂
Two weeks ago, Fabeku Fantumise and Jeanne Bessette hosted a call for artists regarding changing the archetypes around artists so that we think like THRIVING ARTISTS instead of starving artists. This call was huge and profound and has got me all fired up about a big project I want to take on. I had been talking just the day before with Kat Peters-Midland about this project idea and I was so into it, but left her house feeling more wistful than anything. I didn’t think it was possible on Thursday, even though the idea is a good one and I was excited about it. But while I listened to Fabeku speak, I became more and more confident to
GO IN THE DIRECTION OF MY DREAMS!
I want you to go there, too. This recording is free. But you do have to promise to share it with as many folks as you can think of. Help start a revolution! (FYI, the call is not work safe.)
First of all, no, I have no idea why I was up at 2 am writing this post. I thought I might get more work done while everybody is asleep and that I might sleep while everybody is awake tomorrow. I don’t know if any of this is wise, but Tim was ok with the burden it would place on him in yhe morning, so why not give it a try.
And that’s one of the things this post is about. Trying something even when you’re not sure it’s going to work out.
Now I want to share the two scary and creative things I’ve done in the past few months.
1. Became a foster mom.
I haven’t mentioned this topic here, because it’s my art blog, but it’s relevant to this post. Last year Tim and I were certified by our county as foster parents. Never having been a parent before at all, this was a huge and scary step for me. (Not for Tim. He was good with it from the word go.) I have learned in the past two months, however, that motherhood requires large quantities of creativity. HUGE quantities.
I had no idea.
Can I shower, have breakfast and answer all of my client email before the baby wakes up? How do I take a sleeping baby in the car to pick up the 11-year-old at school and get home before the baby has a poop explosion or needs a bottle? How long can I listen to the boy yammer on about his plans for a birthday party we’re apparently throwing him this summer? How many times can I take him to McDonald’s for an after-school snack before I feel like an awful guardian? (The answers are: no, carefully and quickly, as long as I have to, and two.)
And so on.
But you know what I learned this week? I can do it. I AM doing it. And I am doing it pretty well, if I do say so myself. There may have been a couple of times I wanted to cry or give up, but in general, I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. And even though I haven’t made one bit of art in the past 3 weeks, I look forward to the challenges these kids bring into our lives.
I took the chance. I made the leap. I let these kids into my life. And it’s good.
And the other thing:
2. Participating in an art community tradition in my city.
I’ve heard of the Masks at MOA for years and either was afraid, or kept missing the deadline, but this year, I finally got to participate. Basically, it’s a fundraiser for the art museum in which artists create masterpieces out of ceramic masks. The masks are then displayed in the museum for a month and the public bids on them throughout the exhibit. Some of the masks also sold during a Gala dinner, as well. All of the proceeds to towards the museum.
On First Friday last month, the museum was packed. I was so nervous…I enjoyed looking at all of the masks, but was so anxious to see my own piece displayed in a museum. I’d been in a gallery before, but a museum! That’s huge!
When we found mine, we saw that someone had bid on it. Not only that, but two someones had bid on it.
It was thrilling.
The exhibit is closing this week, so I went over there today to check on my mask one more time. More people had bid and the price was up to $95. I don’t know that I ever expected that!
I took a chance, made the leap, arted up the mask and put my work out there. And it turns out, I’m not the only one who loved my piece.
I can do anything, if I want it badly enough, but the point is in the trying. Even if it’s scary. The point is in pushing myself to see just what I’m capable of. You can do that too. Even if you’re scared.
On Tuesday I finally finished my little Day of the Dead grave. It started as the week 1 challenge in my Work of Art group over on Flickr. The challenge was to take a piece of kitchshy art and turn it into something else. My trip to Eco Thrift hooked me up with a few little gems: A handcarved wood guy, some broken pink glass and a small “dresser” with some sort of fake plants inside where the mirror would be. Old, grungy and just not very much fun.
The more I worked with these things, the more I knew it was going to become a grave marker of some sort. With Dia de los Muertos on the way, it seemed to make sense. Also, my family recently finished engraving our grandparents’ headstone to include my grandma’s info and my sister had sent me a photo from back east. They’ve been on my mind a LOT lately. Grandpa’s been gone over 20 years and grandma’s been gone about 4 years, but I still miss them like it was yesterday.
I thought about how awesome they were and their special little quirks that made them my grandma and grandpa, that made them my mom’s parents, that made them the hard workers their neighbors knew them as, and so on. Most of their friends and family are gone and once my siblings and my mom and aunt are gone, all of those memories will be gone, too. Wouldn’t it be cool if their headstone had a little drawer where we could store photos and stories and mementos so that when people came by the cemetery, they could read about these people I loved so much. I spent the month of October thinking about this kind of loss that happens when nobody remembers us anymore. I can’t even count how many times I have said to my husband, “I wish you could have met grandpa; he would have loved you.”
Using plaster of paris, I created a grave where the figure is partly above ground to signify that he’s gone, and part of the earth and the universe, but still very much a part of the living world as well. The little dresser is the headstone, with flowers and lights and glitter inside the glass to pay tribute and celebrate the life that once was. The tiny drawers hold symbols of the life the person in the grave has left behind.
And yes, he’s holding an umbrella. Just in case it rains.
Today is Day 2 of ongoing rain/hail/snow precipitation in Colorado. I love it. Don’t get me wrong — I do love the 300+ sunny days we get here, but when we have a full day of cool, gray, wet weather, I get super happy. I love the gray light. I love being cozy and comfy in the house, or in my studio. I feel creative and a little less stressed. Today I played hooky from the studio and came home to do some work and I realized that I feel a bit optimistic, even, which is unusual for me. 😉 I think I may have spring fever.
This is something I don’t normally experience, but I’m kinda likin’ it! The world is my oyster, there is all kinds of potential ahead of me, etc. I am making some serious changes in my life that will allow me to actually pursue the stuff I love and take care of my family and myself at the same time. We’ll see how it goes and when I have something to report, I will share here.
Oh! I guess I should share some of those minty fresh springtime thoughts, huh?
I am not a gardener, but I really want to plant some stuff in our backyard to sort of block out the neighbors and add some whimsy. Trees, flowering shrubs, painting the fence and creating some found-object sculptures are all on the horizon!
Spring cleaning! Not so much the housecleaning part, but the straightening, purging, reorganizing parts.
Potentially, some of the rooms in the house will get a fresh coat of paint. At least on one wall in the big rooms. 😉
I will be moving studios at the arts center soon and I have a little bit of a mural I’d like to attempt on one of the walls — some of my sketchy flowers, lifesize, with a touch of glitter. Hopefully they will banish any leftover wacky mojo and make the room brighter and truly mine. Super excited about that!
In the meantime, I wanted to show some detail on my piece “The Wall I Must Scale” since the little picture in my last post didn’t show much. Here’s the bottom part of the wall hanging. I never thought white on white would be so challenging! It’s hard to get a good shot of the whole piece and, it appears to go a bit unnoticed in our gallery, hanging along with all of the colorful works in this year’s Artists in Dreamland. But the more I look at it, the more I like it and I’m glad I tried something new.
Today, I mailed back to Brooklyn my submission for The Sketchbook Project. I am giddy beyond words about the prospect of being a part of a traveling exhibit like this. And to have my stuff archived in their library? HUGE!
And, because I can’t just see the positive in anything (ha!), I’m also a little disappointed in myself because somewhere in the middle of the project, I lost steam and ended up rushing through the book near the end. I don’t think it helped that this project spanned two months over the holidays, but it was a really good exercise for me and I’m glad I participated. And as if luck would have it, the postmark deadline was moved to today, rather than last Saturday, so I had a little more time to work on it. 🙂
I uploaded my favorite pages to my flickr account:
Despite being disappointed with a bunch of the work I did in this book, I’m especially pleased with a good amount of the work. I gave myself permission to play, to doodle, to be silly and childlike. I scanned my favorite pages, which are in the flickr set here. I particularly love the happy accident that is the first picture in the above slideshow. She’s a little pink girl, who I found in a random watercolor scribble. She reminds me so much of my niece, Devin, in her Christmas photo from 2003, when she was almost a year old:
Just for context: Devin just turned 8, is in 2nd grade, is an awesome artist, is about to make her first communion and has brown eyes now…
My other favorites in the slideshow are:
– the papertowel I used to clean some brushes (I save everything), which ended up looking like a mountain range. I collaged it onto the page over some book page scraps.
– the little running doggie. I want to practice more of the watercolor scribbling — I’ve been doing that a lot on my own, but my class a few months ago with Carla Sonheim really “enabled” me.
So, that’s my story for today. Happy January, folks!
It’s First Friday again, kids! As I was rushing around the house, getting ready to leave so I could open the gallery on time, I was struggling with making order forms for tonight. I was so aggravated and SO behind schedule that I vowed I am never leaving my own stuff till last minute ever again.
PUT ON YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK FIRST
And I mean it this time!
So here’s some news:
Every month, when Fort Collins First Friday Gallery Walk visitors come into my studio, my painting “Nonstop Hilarity” is the one that makes people smile the most. At the urging of my husband, I printed it on a t-shirt and it looks awesome! It’s available now on my Zazzle shop if you’re interested. The image is also available on blank cards.
Tonight, during Gallery Walk, I’ll be taking orders for t-shirts, modeled by yours truly. 😎 If UPS comes in time, I’ll also have cards on hand to sell. I’m really excited about this, so stop by if you’re in Fort Collins. If you’re not in the area, you can pop over to the Zazzle shop and order your very own Nonstop Hilarity t-shirt!
I have other news and musings, about things like fracturing and/or spraining my ankle and watching a documentary about Henry Darger and the state of network tv and how intensely I feel what little humidity we get in Colorado now and then. But it will all have to wait for another day. I’m off to get the studio ready for guests tonight! If you’re in town, drop by!
The past week has been riddled with extreme lows and some pretty good highs. I’ll leave out the lows, as they were intense on both a personal and professional level and I’m still sorting them out in my head.
But here are the HIGHS! These little boosts of confidence are the things that are going to help get me through those lows and encourage me to keep making stuff:
The fabulous and lovely Bernadette was very excited about my handpainted serendipity ornaments when I brought them to PRAC last week. She selected 6 to purchase! Not only that, she encouraged me to price them better than I originally intended.
Mary Ann, one of the newest artists at PRAC, who is an amazing oil painter, loved my painting, “Eva”. As if that weren’t enough praise, she said it reminded her of Toulouse-Lautrec and Modigliani. Well, can you imagine a better compliment?
And if those two compliments weren’t enough, a CSU student emailed me today, saying, I am writing a paper for an art class about a piece of artwork done by a local artist. I was recently at the Poudre River Arts Center and really enjoyed your piece entitled “Eva”. She wanted some more information about the painting so she could write about it. This is blowing me away.Fran just said to me “I told you you’re talented. Maybe you’ll start to believe it one day!” (She is so good to me.)