Category Archives: Art Journal

ICAD Round-up!

imageWell, here we are on day 60 of 61 in Tammy Garcia’s brilliant Index-Card-A-Day Challenge. I had such awesome intentions of posting my cards weekly, but this summer has been a freight train! So much going on trying to keep my 10 1/2 year old occupied during these dog days.

Anyway, better late than never, right? So, above are 9 cards from the early weeks of the challenge. The lighting was not too good in my apartment this morning, but if I wait for the sun to come out, who knows when I will be able to publish this post!

Takeaway #1:  Take Risks!  In the last 2 years of the challenge I played it relatively safe, this year I tried some new things & vowed to post them anyway, even if they didn’t work. A good example is the purplish card on the lower left (stamped with the end of a celery stalk that was on its way out, with acrylics). I made a promise to myself that I would work on 1 card each day & stick with it, no matter what. Gotta tell ya, 60 cards in & I’m pretty pleased!

Thanks, Tammy, for all of the hard work that goes into this challenge! It’s been such a blast! More photos to come this week with my “Takeaways”.

 

 

Springing into a new plan

Not sure if it’s really a “new” plan, but it’s been on my mind for quite some time & with the start of a new season, a season of light & hope, I thought it was time to start putting my plan into action.

So, “What’s the plan?”you ask? Pretty simple: just paint…same time, everyday. That’s it! Just me, the paints, my brushes, some water soluble pastels here & there…that.is.it! The key? The same time, everyday. Sort of like the visual version of  the morning pages (a la Julia Cameron of “The Artist’s Way”).

And so, I gave myself a challenge to do 1 intuitive painting a day (preferably in the morning as that is when I am “in the zone”) for an entire month. I want to see if there are themes, patterns…or not. I just want to see what happens.

So far, I am on Day 13 & it has been so freeing! No plan, just pure process! Sometimes I do get inspired/influenced by my surroundings. For example, I found a very cool little you tube video, filmed in Hawaii, speaking about the vernal Equinox, the super moon & the eclipse , & while I watched & painted, this happened:

image

But I find more often than not, it’s about getting out those feelings that seem to bog me down:

image

And sometimes, I just play & experiment:

image

Whatever the outcome, as always, it’s the process that is most important. And my head is always clearer as a result.

My February

This year I am participating in the Documented Life Project (DLP) & have decided to combine my Right Brain Planner (RBP) with my DLP journal. I tried participating in the DLP last year, but didn’t quite work it out & dropped it somewhere in March (oh the guilt I had in letting go of an already started project! Lol!). This year…things are working well! I am using Ranger Dylusions Journal (11.375 x 8.25) by Diane Reaveley & I love the “luxurious” size – gives me lots of room to play.

Here, I share my February with you.

I start the month off with my calendar from my subscription to Teresa Robinson’s Right Brain Planner  & then create my weekly spreads throughout the month. I create the spread for the week right after the  DLP challenges are released (every Saturday), then throughout the week I journal as I go. I paint, draw, add elements from my RBP pages & various epherma.

Week 1: DLP theme Under Paper

image

Right side planner page is done in acrylics & hand painted papers & gelli prints; left side Neo Color IIs

Week 2: DLP theme Layers

image

Lots of acrylic layers, washi tape, stamps, & photo from the book: “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher” by Timothy Egan.

Week 3: DLP Theme Covering up Your work (yikes, was this hard!)

I made a stencliled background & then a gelli print on top of it & then…gulp…

image

…covered it up with this: (& I like it!)

image

Week 4: DLP theme Repeating Elements

image I chose to do a few repeating elements here with stencils (chevrons & numbers) as well as the red “bricks”. I tried to stretch myself a bit in using colors I don’t use as often, but I found myself still sneaking in a little magenta! This one is a work in progress as it’s for this current week.

So, how have you been filling your art journal these weeks?

I am Guest Posting at Daisy Yellow’s Prompt60

I am thrilled to be Guest Posting for the Prompt60 Challenge that Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow has going on right now. The concept is simple:  Tammy  shares a unique idea/prompt to get those creative juices flowing & she’s going for 60 unique art journal prompts by the end of March! So head on over to Daisy Yellow & check it out!Tammy has a magical way of inspiring everyone who visits her site!

Please join me for all the details on my guest prompt, number 32 at Daisy Yellow! Try it & let me know how it goes!

Here’s a little sneak peek:

image

And please stay tuned here at MagentaMatters as I will be updating much more frequently!

 

The Power of Art

image

My friend Anna asked me to share a personal story about art journaling & what it means to me.  I thought to myself, well, this will be easy! And it was! In fact,  I had a full blog post  written about all that art journaling has done for me: how it got me through some low points, how I’ve learned to express feelings that are difficult to articulate in words, how it soothes my soul & keeps me centered…self-care at its very best.  But as I read what I wrote, I realized that I neglected to share a very meaningful story.

It was teaching inner city, at-risk middle school students where I witnessed the magical power of art.  I will never forget my very first day of teaching…as I welcomed the students into my classroom & they barely looked at me, hidden faces under oversized hoodies, barely grunting “Good Morning”. Most of these kids had no interest in school, let alone art.  I knew I had a gigantic task ahead of me. I tried every trick I knew to get them interested, even just a tiny bit. Most of them kept telling me that “art is for rich people” & ” I can’t draw so don’t make me”.

I persevered  everyday & one day early on in the school year, I told them to take out their journals (I required them to keep a journal for writing assignments, but they rarely wrote in them), think about how they were feeling that day, choose a colored crayon or marker that matched their mood & just scribble. Well, I never thought they would have become so “worried” about messing up their writing journals, but they did! Then something happened & they started to laugh & really got into it. It was as if the act of scribbling in their “good” journal was breaking a rule & they loved that! That’s the crack that let in the light. From there, they began to trust me & they started participating in the projects.

I cannot even begin to describe how incredible their transformation was through their art. They began to have confidence, take pride in their work & actually enjoy themselves through the process. I began to learn so much from my students & I finally started to see their true, wonderful personalities! By the end of my first year, they were excited to come to class & couldn’t wait to find out what we would be creating each day. It was an incredible gift to be able to watch these kids, over the course of a school year, open up through their artwork. Many even kept sketchbooks over the summer & came back in September all excited to show me what they drew over summer break.

image

For me, personally, art journaling keeps me centered. It’s just me, my sketchbook & my paints. It’s a conversation I have with the painting…it pulls me, directs me,  nudges me to think about what’s deep in my heart, what’s bothering me. It really has nothing to do with the outcome…it is the PROCESS that matters. It’s where I can get out my feelings, whether they are angry, moody, confused, happy or joyful…it’s where I process “the stuff” during the process of creating. And I can honestly say that after every journaling session, I feel so much better!

image

Somedays I paint, other days I make collages from found images & words & paste them into my planner,  other days I write on a page that I previously painted:

image

However I journal doesn’t matter…what matters is that I am journaling. For me, art journaling takes me back to my core, my center, it’s just good for my soul. I am more grateful, more intentional, more joyful…who doesn’t want more of that in their life, right?

Art Journaling has been a gift to me, both personally & in witnessing it’s effects on my students. My friend Anna invited me to share my story of art journaling in the hope to create awareness of just how powerful this process can be. Anna has started a wonderful project called Healing He{art}s, which will supply women who are struggling, with starter art journaling kits. The goal is to assemble & distribute 144 art journal kits during this Holiday Season. The cost of each kit is $25 & contains everything a beginner art journaler will need (paints, pens, paper, brushes & a journal).

image

If you would like to help this effort, please click here to go directly to the Healing He{art}s site & learn more about ways in which to give to this wonderful cause. Also, keep up to date with the progress of the kits & the organizations that will receive them, here!

And…if you aren’t already art journaling yourself, why not give it a try?

 

My 1st Giveaway!

I am so thrilled to be a guest contributor in Tammy Garcia’s latest Daisy Yellow eZine No. 12. And to  celebrate I am so happy to announce my very first -ever Giveaway!!

The first 2 beauties who leave comments on this post will win a free copy of this very e-Zine, donated so generously by Tammy of Daisy Yellow!

Can’t get any easier, right?  I am keeping it very simple because right now, it’s all kinds of complicated here in NYC.  And anything that’s inspirational should be easy & Tammy’s Zines are always inspirational.  This one is no exception…it’s chock full of beautiful artwork by Tammy & wonderful inspiring ideas for your art journals.

So…what are you waiting for? Hurry!! Go leave a comment! Winners announced Thursday, November 6th!

image

 

 

Creatively Speaking…{just show up}

image(Acrylics  on mixed media paper, 18×24″; 3 exercises from BIG)

I made a commitment to myself last summer to be sure to create something everyday & for the most part, I have stuck to it! Yes, I am sure I missed a day here & there, but they have been few & far between. You see, even if I have a ridiculously crazy, busy day, I will make sure I take 10 or 15 minutes to do something: a quick sketch, adding paint or designs to my planner…something!   Art has become a regular habit for me now,  a creative ritual, part of my lifestyle, part of who I am. It centers & grounds me.

image

(Excerpt from my “30 Day Journal”; Neo colors, gouache & Gelly roll pen)

I held myself even more accountable at the beginning of this year when I participated in Lisa Sonora Beam’s 30 day journaling project (which is on going again for the month of August).  It was during the month of January, just by writing in conjunction with visually journaling my plans, thoughts & actions, I found myself setting realistic goals which helped me to stick with my creative commitment.

One of my major goals for this year has been to take my once-in-awhile attitude towards making art to making it a daily, creative habit. I took a leap of faith, as I didn’t know if I was ready for something like this, & signed up for Connnie Hozvicka’s Painting the Feminine workshop, where for the entire month of January I painted in response to a daily theme every single day. Bliss! I loved that workshop so much I took it again this past May & got even MORE out of it! Just as that ended, Tammy Garcia’s Daisy Yellow ICAD project began, for the next 61 days, which I just love! And it’s a fabulous way to add art to your daily life.

image

(Acrylics on a 3×5 index card, deconstructed & reconstructed)

And now, coming off of ICAD, I am in the middle of Connie Hozvicka’s Self -guided BIG workshop. Let me tell you, she doesn’t call it BIG for nothing! This class is proving to be monumental for me, personally. On top of all of that, I continue to journal/process my daily life using Teresa Robinson’s method of Right Brain Planning.

When I started this art journaling adventure a year & a half ago, my interest was in finding my own voice in my work. I spent so much time in the classroom teaching my students how to make art, that I kind of lost myself. Sure, I could copy the masters, draw from observation, but it bored me & I never felt that I was expressing myself. It felt like “copying”… Ugh. I have had years of formal training, at prestigious art schools yet no one ever explained/taught how to find one’s artistic voice. I was lost & pretty much gave up on my own work. Does that even exist? A course on finding your own voice?

image

(Acrylics on 18×24″ mixed media paper)

All that changed when I discovered art journaling. Little by little, brushstroke by brushstroke, I started to find my way again…ever so slowly! And I mean slowly…but that’s OK! It has been frustrating at times, feeling stuck in the same place, with no creative breakthrough, but I keep at it & commit myself to it daily, even when I don’t  feel like it. Thanks to wonderful, creative, generous souls like Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow, Teresa Robinson, Lisa Sonora Beam & Connie Hozvicka, I jump at the chance to participate in the many creative projects they have to offer.

I show up…daily.

And lately? Oh my goodness, while immersing myself in BIG, I am starting to feel a shift in myself & in my work. It’s not a gigantic shift, it’s subtle, but definitely palpable . I have been feeling hints of it for awhile but now,  I feel like “something” is just within reach, but just as I put out my hand to grab it, it flutters away. But I know, as long as I keep at it daily, I just know I will be grasping it very soon.. And let me tell you,  that feels pretty darn awesome!

 

A simple prompt

It all started with today’s prompt for the ICAD challenge which was : Turquoise. You see, ever since I was a kid I have had a major love affair with this stone! So, when I saw this prompt, my mind went reeling with possibilities! Then, I looked down at my right hand & I knew. The ring.

image

So, I found a little scrap of an index card lying right next to me & did a quick sketch of my ring. And that’s when it all came flooding through my memory bank.

This ring was given to me by my husband almost 20 years ago. It is hand made by a Native American artisan from New Mexico, set in sterling silver that is engraved with very intricate patterns. The stone is a beautiful shade of turquoise with a small area of mint green & a very light matrix going through it. But that’s not what filled my mind as I sketched it. These thoughts did:

This is my everyday ring, my “go-to” ring. It goes with everything & is so very comfortable on my hand. It’s my travel ring. We travel a lot & I don’t like taking a lot of jewelry with me on vacation. This ring is easy & versatile, can look dressed up or dressed down – perfect for any vacation. It has been  all over the U.S., Central America, Europe, Mexico &… China.

And that’s when my heart beat just a little faster. You see, we adopted our daughter from China when she was just 10 months old & I was wearing this ring on that 3 week stay in China. That ring is on my hand & in every photo that I am holding our daughter. It is the ring that my daughter used to touch & spin on my finger as a baby. Today, she is 9 & this is the ring that starts conversations  that go something like this : “Momma, you wore this ring in China, can you tell me again about the day you & Daddy saw me for the first time?” Incredibly special & bittersweet moments that will be treasured far more than any piece of jewelry. The ring is just the conduit.

So, one art challenge, one prompt, one ring, brings to my mind beautiful, sweet & treasured memories. Art is powerful.  Of course, I had to draw that ring.

image

(ICAD #55, prompt: Turquoise; acrylics, micron pen, Neo color II’S )

image

I decided that I will mount the little sketch onto the index card & put it in my art journal along with a handwritten copy of this post. As for my ring? It will most definitely be passed down to my daughter.

Lately in my Journal

image

I have been in the middle of many projects in the past couple of months, but with Connie Hozvicka’s  Painting the Feminine workshop winding down this week, looks like I will be able to finish some things that I have already started, but put off for awhile.

The painting above is in my 8×5″ Stillman & Birn journal & is a result of trying something new that I learned in Timssally’s Sunday Mornings group. I have never done anyhting like this before & have never really been drawn (pardon the pun!!) to those faces that I see floating around many sites. But, I decided that I need to practice portraits (something I did a LOT of many years ago). This one is a combination of collage (underneath the face) & acrylics. I loved doing this! It was much easier than I thought it would be & it got me back into actually wanting to try my hand at portraits again (oh my goodness, portraits & hands…so intimidating!). Anyway, I like her & will try more of these soon.

These 3 are done in acrylics & are straight from the Painting the Feminine Workshop:

image

The invitation for the painting above was Healing. I felt really led to using these bright colors & as I was painting I began to see two women hovering over something, almost as if they are nurturing something/someone? That’s the thing I am learning with Connie’s direction in Fearless Painting…just go with what you see & bring it out. It is so therapeutic to paint this way! I really get involved with just the process.image

The painting invitation for this one was Community & I wanted to use the same color pallete as I did with Healing to create a series, but now that I look at them side by side like this, I realize I could have had a heavier hand with the paint! It’s so hard to see the vividness in the 2nd one. Anyway, while I was painting this one, I kept thinking about the group of people that I have in my life (no, not that large of a group as in the painting!!) & the many ways in which we all support each other; they are my community. Also, those spirals appear in my work a lot…I see them representing things that come & go, in & out of my life: good times, bad time, all times.

imageRestahh yes, the ever important rest, that as a mom, is very fleeting! But that is my own fault, as I find myself needing my moments of solitude late into the night. Again, I had no intention of painting a person, yet, I began to see some facial features emerge, so I went with it. I keep going back to this similar color scheme…not sure why, but I find that it is uniting my paintings from this workshop. Last time I took PTF my colors were darker, bolder, & I used many different color palletes (I really have to spell check that word!).  There were many images referencing water & mermaids…not sure why, I haven’t really thought about it too much. It might be time to reflect on the workshops once this week is over. This time around, my work feels a bit more cohesive & grounded, to me at least!

I have also been feeling a shift in my work, an understanding or connection with the paints & the movements of the brush. I think the best thing I can do for myself right now is to keep on painting, everyday. So, if I am a bit quiet here, it’s because I am immersed in my paints!

What have you been working on? I would love to hear about it!