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And Some of Them Were Not



This spread is the first in a new art journal, inspired by vivid dreams I had had the night before of snakes, gates, and searching for eggs. I'm using this book, from 1977, that I bought in a thrift store for a few dollars. I cut out every third page, to make the book less thick, then used Modge Podge to glue pages together two at a time. (See a video tutorial here!) This process both makes the pages more sturdy and reduces the number of page spreads, both of which are important when filling a page with paint, collage, and other materials that will dramatically increase the thickness of the book – and strain the spine – by the time all the pages have been filled.



As a departure from my usual methods, I did quite a bit of collage with magazine images and security envelopes. I also printed out written interpretations of the symbolism of my dreams and pasted them onto the page, added some lettering, doodled some stars, and created a peek-a-boo gate by cutting strips out of the page and lining them with packaging tape.

I have to admit: while I don't especially like the outcome of the page, through creating it I have been able to capture exactly the emotions associated with creating it, the dreams and the messages I believe they contained, and the thoughts passing through my mind in that moment. For that, I am very pleased!

Life Lately



Hi, sweet souls!

Last month I was hired by the YMCA to lead before- and after-school programs in two public schools. The school year officially begins this coming week, but in the meantime I've been helping out with seven-, eight-, and nine-year-olds at the Y's summer camp. It's been enormously fun (and tremendously exhausting, thus my absence this past week), and I'm grateful for once again having a regular schedule and something to keep me occupied. Plus, I adore kiddos!

In other art-related news, I've put together a new art journal and have already completed my first page, which I'll be sharing soon. I've also once again signed up for the Sketchbook Project – will you join me? After I received my little book I realized that, while I have overcome my fear of starting a new art journal, knowing that perhaps hundreds (thousands?) of people will see the art for the Sketchbook Project has me very anxious. I'm going to do a post on this soon, as I think this is something that every artist experiences in their lifetime. Let's kick Fear of Criticism in the butt together!

Lastly, if you like these photos, you should follow me on Instagram! I share peeks into my life often, including several videos, (this one is my current favorite). I'd love to see you there!

Video: Opportunity, Sexiness, and Living Life



Don't be put off by a first impression: this video gives me chills and makes me want to be a better person, for myself and for the world. Happy weekend!

PS. I know I've been absent this week; look for a post this weekend, where I'll share what I've been doing and what this coming week will bring.

Familiar Abstraction



This is my latest finished art journal page. Recently I've been working almost exclusively in acrylic paint (far different from my usual wildness of stick-everything-down mixed media approach!), and it's been a lovely experience. Since taking an oil painting class a year ago, I've been trying to move away from using paint directly from the bottle, instead mixing colors into something new and unique; this expansion of my color palette also helps my pages look less similar to one another, allowing me to experiment more with style and mood and achieve a wider range of expression.



This particular page was very simple, and is easily duplicated: using a ballpoint pen, I traced backwards letters using alphabet stencils (similar ones here), painted the negative space red, then created an abstract third layer using blue, pink, and red acrylic and thick white gesso. I love the movement of the outcome.

Abstract art is something I am really drawn to. Realistic paintings or sketches are impressive, but, personally, I find imperfect work much more enchanting and a greater representation and expression of the artist's inner world. I absolutely love Michelle Armas' paintings – her beautifully colored abstract work is cheerful, bubbly, and inviting. As an exercise two semesters ago, we were instructed to use nature as inspiration for an abstract piece, something that apparently inspires many abstract pieces. I'd love to continue to experiment with taking the familiar and manipulating it into a new world, much like macro photography opens one's eyes to the unfamiliar within the very ordinary.

What art styles are you drawn to? Why? I'd love to hear!



Geometric



Welcome, August! The passage of time still surprises me with its speed, and I am determined to enjoy every remaining moment of this beautiful season! We have had some cool(er) days recently, reminding me that autumn is not far off. I am looking forward to layers and mugs of hot tea, but will miss the sunshine and barefeet – but isn't that always how goodbyes are? Bittersweet glances at what has been and excitement for what it to come. I'll be stepping into a new role this month as I officially begin my new job. More on that soon!

These photos are of two of my most recent art journal pages, inspired in part by this book. It is filled with meditative art, "drawings [that] have evolved into a distinct visual lexicon designed to awaken heightened states of consciousness". The simplicity and depth of this art is really beautiful. (Read more about this art here.)

To paint solid shapes, conscious to make clean lines and consistent color, is meditative, at least personally: the concentration it takes pushes all other thoughts from one's mind. I really enjoyed doing these spreads and likely will try this technique again in the future.



The spread below is actually painted with two different shades of turquoise, but no matter how I tried I couldn't capture this – it just looks like one side is in shadow! The pink and the red shapes are intentionally different, too. This one was painted directly onto the page, while the spread above was painted on top of several layers of paint and collage.

Would you give this technique a try? What forms of art or techniques do you find most soothing and meditative?

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