My art quilt group, SAQA-CT, is making small quilts to decorate the 15 foot Christmas tree at NBMAA, the New Britain Museum of American Art. At first I thought that I wouldn’t be able to participate because of my vision problems. But I am happily recovering and healing from two cataract surgeries in August and September and over the past 2 weekends I was able to put together a 7″x9″ improvisational piece for the tree. It is a wonderful museum and I love going there, so this fundraiser is a great way to show my support for the museum. All of the art quilts on the tree will be for sale once the tree goes up. It is a little early to be thinking about Christmas but it takes a lot of planning to arrange for members to make small quilts for this worthy cause and deliver them to the museum.
It has been a selfie week for me. Here I am with my hello kitty clock I texted this photo to my kids this week with the message… “Do you know what time it is? It’s selfie time!” We like to text back and forth and it is a fun way to keep in touch.
I was unable to do much the first week after the cataract surgery, but I did manage to get out my Inner Excavation book by Liz Lamoreux and start on a collage journal spread for week 1. It took me another week to finish but it is OK to slow down and let yourself be in the moment and heal. I have been working primarily in acrylic paint for a while now, so it was refreshing to get out my art bin and pull out torn book pages and snippets of scrapbooking paper. The prompts included taking a photo of a cupped hand holding a small object which was a fun thing to do. I added washi/craft tape to frame the photos. Then I wrote a poem that fit nicely on the left side of the spread. I found the book’s companion blog piece from 2012, Inner Excavate Along, for more inspiration. Liz has such a wonderful approach and I enjoy her insight into the small yet special moments in life. She is also one of the top 100 pinners on Pinterest!
I have been thinking about friendship lately. Sometimes you have friends that you didn’t even realize were your true friends. Something happens and they are there for you and you didn’t know they would be. It is a wonderful feeling to have such a friend - like a hidden jewel. A true friend is such a treasure, more than any riches or wealth can bring. You may not see that friend for a long time but when you see each other again it is just like you saw each other yesterday.
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This summer I joined a group of creative women that has pulled together creatives from throughout the United States plus the UK and Australia. This month, after a lot of behind the scenes work, we launched the Cre8ive Klatch blog and there is a companion group that we invite you to join here on Facebook There you will find inspiration and connection in a growing creative community.
There are many creative groups out there and I am a member of a number of them. Why did I join Cre8ive Klatch? Although at times I have a push pull feeling about my involvement in online creative groups, there is a definite sense of community in this group. I have experienced tremendous growth in and support for my creativity here and I have been exposed to so many different ideas and ways of thinking and approaching things. People share so freely. Through the serendipity of being invited into the Cre8ive Klatch group, I am becoming more confident in expressing my own voice. Here I have an opportunity to teach mixed media instead of taking classes from others.
I have learned that creativity spans across international borders and language differences and that we are all one on this earth. If someone needs help with something, someone else will jump in. There is something magical about posting something in a group and getting a response from across the country or globe a minute later. More important, I consider the people I have met in my creative groups to be my friends, even though I have only met a few of them in person at an art conference. The most important thing about all of this is being open to new opportunities and saying yes.
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Today someone asked me how I got started in art journaling and after I thought about it I realized that a long answer would be better than a short answer. It is hard to come up with an accurate chronology of my art journaling development looking back in time, but I would have to say that finding a copy of Somerset’s new (at that time) Art Journaling magazine at Borders in West Hartford (a favorite place which is now gone) was how I came to enter the art journaling world. It seemed so decadent paying $15 for a magazine but I was totally enchanted with the artwork and that was my choice that day. When I got home I poured over the pages and I looked up the blog of every artist in the magazine and studied their blogs. Later on I bought a few art journaling books. I started to gather supplies. But after doing all of that, I still was not sure how to begin, although I knew deep inside that I had to do this.
After doing some research, I decided to take online classes, both free and paid. Seeing videos made by artists as they created art journaling pages and spreads was what I needed to get started. I am a visual person and for me the words on the pages of the books and magazines and blogs did not connect with the act of creating the art journaling page. My first pages were splashes of color and had no words. I was not sure what to write or even what to use to write on top of paint. Here is one of my earlier art journal pages, inspired by Journal Artista’s video channel.
Since then I have taken a number of classes and have learned and grown with these classes, both artistically and as a person. There are a lot of people out there teaching art journaling and it is good to be exposed to a variety of styles and teachers. Some classes offer a variety of teachers in one place, such as 21 Secrets or Life Book 2015 (registration coming soon). Other classes are offered by one teacher such as Effy Wild or Jennibellie. If you look at an artist’s blog and YouTube channel that will give you an idea of their art journaling style and whether or not you would enjoy taking a class with that artist.
You can learn a lot just by subscribing to some video channels. I have my YouTube channels synced with my Roku and I can watch YouTube videos on my TV. Here are some YouTube channels for you to look up and check out: Alisa Burke, artistsnetwork, Carolyn Dube, Cat Caracelo, Christy Tomlinson, Cre8ive Klatch, Cre8tiveCre8tions by Andrea Gomoll, Donna Downey, FollowThePaperTrail, france papillon, Gabrielle Pollacco, Gary Reef, Gone Wild: Art With Effy, itsaworkof art, Jane Davenport, jennibellie, Jessica Sporn, JournalArtista, Kate Crane, Kathy Orta Files, Laura Dennison, Luvleescrappin, MayNatasha, Mindy Lacefield, MsLiberty25, Pam Carriker, PringleHillStudio, RachO113, Roben-Marie Smith, Sandra van der Geest, suzi blu, Teresa McFayden, Tim Holtz, Vicky Papaioannou, willowing. My absolute favorite right now is france papillon from Belgium - she is awesome!
An important aspect of art journaling is going inside yourself and bringing that out onto the page. An art journaling class is the catalyst for this and you will find that as you get into the process, things will come out that you didn’t even realize were inside of you. This is a very expressive and freeing type of art and you are not starting out with an intention of what the art work will look like but rather are letting it come out of you. You are a conduit for the source inside of you. In some ways it is a meditative practice and you are making the space to allow balance and change to come into your life.
One last thing - I want to talk about supplies, because people can really get carried away with supplies and purchase everything under the sun. You don’t need a lot to get started and it is best to use things that you have on hand and then supplement as needed. In some countries there is very little access to art supplies and that is particularly challenging. Things can be ordered online but international shipping costs for packages are high. At a very basic level you need mark making tools (pen, pencil, crayon, charcoal), something to make marks on (paper), some sort of adhesive (glue, glue stick), and something to cut with (scissors).
What are the items that I use?
Strathmore Visual Art Journals
Hand Bound Art Journals (free workshop at Effy Wild)
Craftsmart acrylic craft paint from Michaels in lots of colors (cheap)
Cheap brushes (Michaels) - rinse them right away during and after use
Plastic food containers for water
Plastic disposable plate for a palette
Plastic spray bottle (from makeup aisle at drug store)
Discarded credit cards for moving paint around
Sequin waste/punchinella (a splurge from Artfire)
Bubble wrap(to make marks)
Ranger heat gun (a recent splurge)
bottle caps and other round objects for mark making
Assortment of markers, pens, charcoal pencil
a few paint pens (I love white ones)
washi/craft tape (I resisted this for a long while but gave in)
matte gel medium (liquitex brand)
gesso (any brand - no, I don’t buy $Golden)
stencils (have just a few)
rubber stamps and ink pads (from previous craft adventures)
cutrite wax paper (to protect pages underneath)
art bin full of found paper items, old calendars, ribbon, brochures, pages ripped out of old books etc
sheet of plexiglass for monoprinting (no you don’t need a gelli plate)
scrapbooking paper (from my previous scrapbooking adventures)
rotary cutter and mat (from my sewing supplies)
several small sterlite plastic containers from hardware store to store it all
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