Thursday, July 28, 2011

Art journal inspiration.

I don't yet have a new post ready for my art journaling series, but I'm (slowly) working on that. I thought today I'd share some inspiration for all you art journalers out there. Yesterday I ran across (thanks to the new addiction that is Pinterest) this, a tumblr page dedicated to art journals, collected by Barb. It's a wonderful source to get the creative juices flowing, and to see how others use their journals.

Now, let's talk about what you'd like to see in future art journal posts. In the last several months, I've been regularly checking my stats here (something I rarely, if ever, did before). I've had this blog since 2007, and by and large, the number one post people are reading is my Fearless Art Journaling post on backgrounds. I'm not too surprised, as that post goes in line with a lot of the art journal questions I am asked. I myself find the backgrounds the easiest part - it's the focal point that sometimes does me in. I have some ideas for the series, but I'd like to know if there's anything my readers would like to see. Any questions about art journals you'd like answered? Any techniques you'd like me to cover? Feel free to add your ideas, comments and questions in the comments.

Hope you all have an artful day!

Buried Treasure 2011

It's time, once again, for Seth Apter's Buried Treasure. To take part, all you need do is repost one or more of your favorite blog entries going back to the beginning of your blog. I believe this is my 3rd time joining in, if memory serves. This time, I'm not going back very far. This post was part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2011 that I took part in. Thanks for stopping by!

The following was orginally posted on April 26, 2011. I didn't have to go back very far this time to find a favorite.

Veil (n.) A cover; disguise; a mask; a pretense.

There are many things in this world hidden behind a veil. For a multitude of reasons, often fear, people hide parts of themselves from others. We fear someone may not like what they see and may ridicule or alienate us, and most everyone yearns to feel they belong somewhere. Our own government hides behind pretenses, to keep us uninformed and controllable. That's not conspiracy theory; you're kidding yourself if you think they tell us everything.

i can understand sometimes feeling the need to keep a part of yourself tucked away, safe from mocking and misunderstanding, but more and more i seek to let out those "secrets". i'm finding the release necessary to feel that i'm really presenting myself as who i am, and also necessary towards making strides to becoming the me i am and am meant to be. Often, when we share a hidden part of ourselves, someone else feels the courage to respond with "Me, too!", and instead of feeling alone, you both find common ground and let out a little sigh, thinking, i'm so glad i'm not the only one. By remaining behind the mask, we isolate ourselves. If we are free and open and honest, we make connections.

But let's say you pull aside the veil and someone doesn't like what they see? All you can do is be honest and true to yourself, and if someone has a problem with that, better to find out sooner rather than later.

If more of us let down our guard and shared those things we most fear sharing, i think we'd find we're a lot more alike than we think. We may find common ground with our worst enemies, and maybe, just maybe, a lot more people would feel less like weirdos or freaks or outsiders. A small connection can go a long way towards understanding and compassion, and the world can always use more of both.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Frida, and finding my voice.

Last week, while visiting my dear friend Barb in Washington state (more about my visit in a future post), we watched the movie Frida.  I'd seen it before, but it had been awhile, and this time it struck a chord with me that it hadn't during the first viewing. I had an epiphany of sorts concerning an artist's life and how it affects their work.

Ever since the first time I laid eyes on Frida Kahlo's work, I've been a fan. One of the many things I find very appealing about her paintings is their personal aspect. It struck me during the movie, while ruminating about her life and the obstacles she had to overcome, this is something I should strive for more in my own work. Often, when I don't like a piece, I find it's because it feels contrived and lacks my true voice. Frida's paintings are her paintings; no one else could have painted them, ever. They are true to her, and she allowed so much to be spilled onto the canvas. There are times when I am forcing the work, and struggling. I'd do much better to allow the art to come through. I tend to forget this, and then a wall goes up.

I'm very interested in Frida herself, aside from the artist. She intrigues me. This leads me back to her artwork as my interest in her makes me want to hear what she has to say. Some of the most valuable messages are related through art, maybe especially of the variety without words. Often, the most important things can't be contained with words.

Frida shared herself through her art. We are so lucky to get a glimpse into this other world, a world of deep emotions, secret desires (or not so secret), dreamscapes...nightmares. The meat of it.

Everything I create will have my voice attached in some way, even when I'm "forcing" it; it can't be helped. Because I am the creator, part of me comes through. But I crave more. I often end a day in the studio feeling like I didn't create the art I really wanted to, the art I see in my mind and feel in my heart. Sometimes I tap into it easily, and it just flows, and reaches a point where it feels like the art is making itself. Other times, not so much.

I will not be satisfied until I feel I really allow my voice to speak more often than not. I want to create my art. I want my work to have a personal connection to me, even if veiled and only seen through my eyes. I'm getting closer to this, I can feel it.

Still...the wall has been up. I returned from Washington reinvigorated, refreshed and inspired, yet when I sit down to work, nada. I've turned out a couple small things, stumbling all the way, but it feels like there's something hidden, just beyond, and I can't quite make it out...

This life is a learning process, and so can be creativity. In both, it's important to let go of control (or the illusion of) sometimes and just go along for the ride. Letting go of fear is key if you want to really live, and if you want to realize the potential of the person and artist inside you. (I think I should heed my own advice.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coming to you from the left coast.

I just wanted to do a quick post to say that you can find one of my answers on today's Style File, part of Seth Apter's The Pulse series. Be sure to check out the other artists included today; there is much inspiration to be found!

Also, I'm currently in Washington state visiting my dear friend Barb, and having a wonderful time. I'm thrilled to finally be "live and in person" with her, someone I've known online for 6 years or more. I'm also happy to have a much needed getaway and a shift in perspective. I wish I could take these cooler temperatures home with me...