I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide. (Emily Bronte)

31 March 2010

Art Journaling

Creative people exhibit a continuous discontent
with uniformity. (Glenn Van Ekeren)
No member of a crew is praised for the rugged
individualism of his rowing. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Art journaling is probably only new to me. Basically, its an illustrated journal. Beyond that, the definition is open to individual interpretation. Some like a lot of text, some prefer to let the pictures do the talking. For some, the journal records dreams. For others, the journal gives inspiration or a record of events. For me, its probably going to be a little bit of all of that. Doesn't matter. However you envision your journal, the important point is that the art journal is a playground, a place to try out techniques and limber up your creative muscles.

Part of what I have internalized in my research on the "SENSOR", that part of me which seems to want to do anything and everything before art (suddenly, I have to do shopping or sweep the floor or ... well, you get the idea), is that I need a transition from the mundane, the every day part of my life, to the creative.

If you're as interested as I am, here are a couple of sites that provide a lot of information on art journalling basics:
Now, the site I promised. Sarah Whitmere is a mixed media artist and instructor. On her site she provides a series of prompts which show you how to make pages for what she calls a soul journal - part journal, part mixed media and entirely fun. Here's how you get started:
I'm just finishing up my first two pages, following her prompts, but from there, who knows? Because the more I do, the more possibilities open up for me. My creative spark, hidden behind a monumental barricade erected by my very own sensor, is finally breaking free. And ... its fun. Its not work, its actually fun.

15 March 2010

Its not about the money

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, 
so as to have the life that is waiting for us. 
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
~~ Joseph Campbell

 I just finished reading "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. Impressive book and not just because I sort of came to the same conclusions on my own. What he calls resistance, I have called my "Sensor." That part of me which is always ready to judge me, which always finds me wanting, which is endlessly inventive in its ways to sidetrack me and what I want to do. Mr. Pressfield does a great job of offering good advice on how to kickstart the creative process and I am grateful to him -- for his insights. I needed a kick in the pants.

Here's something for you to think about. Why is it that people evaluate anything they want to do in terms of how much money it will make. Or more importantly, if it will make a LOT of money. It isn't enough somehow that the thing you want to do will nourish your soul or make you happy. No. You have to make money, you have to make a lot of money so that you can reach the point where you never work again.

I'm abandoning that idea. Because for me, its more about constructing my life in a way that makes room for the things I want to do to be happy. Its not all about groceries and earning a living (though that's in there of course). Its not about zoning out in front of the TV at night and wondering where my life went. Or at least it shouldn't be.

One of the key insights in "The War of Art" is the idea that you should treat your art as your profession. Bring to your art the same degree of professionalism you bring to the job that pays for the rent and the groceries. Do it every day, whether you feel like it or not, make it part of your life. Go to your art the way you would to your job. 

So, my internal sensor may have won all of 2009 (and 'life' conspired a bit to help with that) but 2010 belongs to me. I have life goals written out. I have a plan for getting there. I have courses that I'm taking now in art. And new projects in the works. 

Tomorrow, I'll share one of them with you and direct you to an awesome website -- that's a lot of fun.

23 December 2008

The Magic Change Purse

"It is essential... that discipline should not be practiced like a rule imposed on oneself from the outside, but that it becomes an expression of one's own will; that it is felt as pleasant, and that one slowly accustoms oneself to a kind of behavior which one would eventually miss, if one stopped practicing it."
~~ Eric Fromm

I have this little, woven change purse that I carry around. Didn't cost much, don't think about it much. Just a vehicle for carrying around change. No big thing.

The other day, I brought it out to put out money for a tip and someone said, "ah, the magic change purse. No matter how little money there is, that little change purse always seems to have just a little bit more."

Its all a matter of perception, I suppose. There's me who knows just how finite the funds are and then there's everyone else -- who only sees that little bit extra I manage to coax out when its needed. And who am I to contradict their perception? Especially since that perception brings with it a feeling of financial security. Not a bad thing at all, I think.

And what does this have to do with the quote?

Well, I've been thinking about creative recovery and how to move myself in the direction I need to go but more about that later. Discipline as an expression of my will is one of the concepts that goes along with that.

09 December 2008

GULP -- I've been Tagged

Freebird tagged me a few days ago. Its a kind of challenge that gets passed from blog to blog -- the idea being to tell you six random things about myself. So, here goes.

1. The picture I did, Seated Female, has been compared to the work of Aubrey Beardsley. I (sheepishly) admit that I didn't know the artist and actually had to look him up online, in Wikipedia.  To save you the trouble, I've added a link to his work here.

2. Its only been recently that I've found the courage to actually speak to other artists -- being self taught, I've always felt as though I'm not good enough, unworthy somehow. Took me quite awhile to realize that this was my mother's influence in the background -- the voice in my head that's always said, 'yeah, but can you make money at it?' As though doing something I love wasn't reason enough.

3. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. More than a bit my family tells me. My 14 year old daughter, "She Who Must Not be Thwarted",  takes great glee in taking and saving my mistakes so she can bring them out later and laugh at them. I look on it as learning humility. :-)

4. My teenagers actually prefer playing board games with my husband and me to watching television or playing on computers. This is new. I don't expect to last. Its awesome and fun -- and irritating all at the same time. Because all of that takes time that I need for other things as well, like art. Life is a balancing act. I remind myself that I love my children and childhood is not a permanent condition. That helps in the decision-making process.

5. There are absolutely no possibilities for art courses in my geographic area -- I have searched. So, I found a correspondence course which I investigated. I thought it would be laughed at, again taking a lot of courage to ask, and found out that its actually well respected and a good grounding. So, I'm doing it. Just sent the first lesson in for review. I'm hoping this will help me move over into painting. I'm very interested in portraits especially.

6. I have white hair -- started turning when I was in my 20's. Its genetic and what they call glass white -- which means it doesn't accept die all that easily. At team meetings, which we do by video conference, my hair is the brightest thing in the room -- how embarrassing is that! 

Now the rules:

1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you. (done)
2. Post the rules on your blog. (done)
3. Write six random things about yourself. (done)
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. (really not sure I have the courage to do that!)
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. (see #4)
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. (done)

08 December 2008

EDM Challenge #2: Draw a Lamp

In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present. (Sir Francis Bacon)

He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star. (William Blake)

This the light that hangs on the bedroom wall next to my bed just above the nightstand. Took two months to get this hung on the wall mostly because there were other things that needed doing first.

Reading by the harsh glare of the overhead light, knowing that I'd have to get up and turn it out (all the way across the room), just didn't work for me. So maybe I'm a touch lazy?

What's on the nightstand at the moment? International Artist, which just arrived a day or two ago featuring one of my absolute favorite artists. Eldest (his parents are publishers). And a little brown teddy bear named Peanut that my daughter gave me as a birthday present.

06 December 2008

Not a Drawing But Had to Share

An ivory tower is a fine place as long as the door is open.
~~Darby Bannard

Had to share this with you. Just had to --

Two firsts in our garden.

This is the cactus we call Mr. Big. Now, we've had this cactus for five years. Five years. Doesn't do anything but grow straight up. Cut it off, it makes two branches that grow straight up. Thick. Tall. Its about going on three feet tall this year. I think of it as old reliable.

Well, wonder of wonders, Mr. Big flowered this year for the first time -- at midnight! So, I rushed out in my pajamas to take pictures of Mr. Big's first ever flowers. Straight from the garden to you.

The other first is our lemon tree. We've been nursing this tree along for a year or so now.

Lemons take several months to mature -- longer if the neighborhood kids pick them off and throw them at each other when you're at work ... which is what happened to the last lemons the tree tried to grow.

Since we moved into our house (and brought the tree with us), the lemon tree is trying to grow lemons again! Here's a picture of its first effort. If all goes well, the lemon will be ready to pick in February. In Israel, the tree can put out lemons year round so hopefully, this will be the first of many.

As for art work, I made a kind of ah ha realization. I have an old set of computer speakers (with an amplifier) which I plugged into my CD player. Now I have music in my studio -- I wanted to try this without spending money before I go looking for a stereo system. Music plus my computer chair (which is incredibly ugly but also incredibly comfortable) makes the studio my favorite place to be.

Time flies away now when I'm there ... and I got two projects done for my art course (homework). Also did another EDM challenge but I need light to photograph, so I'll add that in the morning.

19 November 2008

Trying to Hear

Stopping at third base adds no more to the score than striking out.~~ E. Joseph Cossman

My son started climbing at the age of two. Playgrounds. Walls. Whatever was at hand. My husband found a place, I think it was Boy Scout Headquarters in Philadelphia, where there was a low, wide rock wall that encircled the property.  Joshua would walk the entire wall while holding onto my husband's hand. 

I think Joshua defined determination. He wanted it, he went after it. My husband was there to watch over him, make sure that he learned the right (safe) way to do whatever he planned to try next ... but he always got to try.  To reach.

Teachers come from many places and lately, it seems as though the universe is trying to give me a message. Wanting isn't enough. Trying haphazardly won't do it. Make a plan. Stick to it. Determination. Discipline.  So, even though I've already done EDM #1, here it is again. My ears are open and I'm trying to hear the message, universe. Keep talking!