Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Gifts of Imperfection

Hello all! I am currently taking an ecourse with Brene Brown, based on her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. It's a great book, dealing with issues of vulnerability, why it is good and necessary for us, and all the things that get in the way of it. I myself never understood what vulnerability really meant, that it did not mean that you were weak in some way, but rather a way for connection and openness. Considering that I still struggle with creating walls, it is no wonder why this is important work for me.

The ecourse focuses on chapters of the book, while using art journaling to connect with them more deeply. The art assignments are geared towards the beginner, but I just do my thing with them. We created a "permission slip", and I created mine in a fun style (channelling Dana Tanamachi) with chalkboard/vintage style lettering. We also had to take a self portrait with the words "I am imperfect and I am enough" written on our hand. I admit, I spent too much time worrying about the photo, did I look good in it, and wondering if I had missed the point completely. From what I have heard, I am not the only one. The assignments may seem simple at first, but they still challenge and sometimes they come easy, other times I strain against them. So far this is a good class for me. Creatively light and manageable, but also allowing me to learn and be challenged.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sketching Fun

Here is a little sketch I did of my gallery wall during Open Studios. It was a fun way to record the culmination of all the prep and hard work and a great way to remember the event.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Nut to tree,
Seed to flower,
Nurture my creative power.
Growing as it fills this dish,
Inspiration is my wish.

Journal page from a round robin with a witchy theme. I adore witchy grimoires and book of shadows. More on that in the future. Happy Haunting!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Open Studios 2013


Well, I did it! Open Studios 2013 has come and gone and it was a success on so many levels for me. I was challenged creatively, personally, and professionally. The months leading up to Open Studios brought many new challenges. Producing work, not just for personal expression, but also to be accessible to others. Meaning items for sale outside of my visual journals. I had paintings, painted skulls, sewn paper goodies, handmade journals, supplies and some journal page reproductions. The business/professional side involved marketing materials, artist statements, business licenses and more. 

Then the massive flooding that occurred along the CO front range hit and my studio space got flooded. For three weeks Chad and I removed what was necessary, set up a temporary studio in the dining area and proceeded to pump water out, remove floors, walls and begin rebuilding. It was wet, frustrating, ill timed work. But the blessing was that it kept me from over working on the Open Studios front. That doesn't mean that it was easy for me. I am an over achiever and doing my best but "no more and no less than my best" does not come naturally for me. I had to let go and things that mattered did not get done. I did not have prints of my work to sell, I did not have my signature leather silhouette journals to sell... And you know what, it was okay. I focused on finishing pieces rather than starting new ones. And when I gathered my work I was shocked by all that I had, rather than what was missing. 

Sewn paper pinwheels, painted skulls, handmade scrappy journals & my gallery wall.

Once the studio was temporarily put back together, the work was done, and postcards distributed, then came the real work. Not the creating, but the engaging and connecting with the community. Inviting people into my studio was easy, but actually being there, opening myself and my work up to strangers was its own challenge. I can talk about my work. I spent hours in critiques as a graphic design student, but many people visiting were new to visual journaling, and I had to really open up my process to them. I had personal visual journals out. Some people got it and some didn't, but I have learned that none of it is personal. I do what I do, for me and not for validation. But the moments of connection, where people truly understood how raw and risky it is to bare yourself through your art and words, really warmed me. When people looked deep into my eyes or touched my arm in a certain way, saying "thank you", I knew it meant something to them. My biggest joy in doing Open Studios were those moments combined with the pure excitement of adults and kids alike who were visibly and vocally inspired to create. My goal is to teach, to share the gifts of self expression using the visual journal, and I am thrilled to have connected with like minded people who want to learn from me. 

I am not a social butterfly, yet I crave connection just like anyone else. I know my weaknesses as well as my strengths and that I have something to share, to give. Thanks to all who supported me along this journey, inspiring and supporting me as well as the ones who showed up for me. It was hard work, a challenging, beautiful process that I feel lucky to have been a part of.


***There are still pieces for sale if you are interested. Paintings, skulls and handmade journals!***
      Steady - SOLD
      Gentleness & Ease (deer) SOLD
      Open Door (2 silhouettes) - SOLD
      Small Car piece - SOLD

Monday, September 30, 2013

In Progress aka "Plot Twist"
















It's been a busy summer and I have been preoccupied with preparing to be in the 2013 Boulder Open Studios. I am thrilled to be a part of this. I have lived in the area for 10 years and I have visited studios most years and always dreamed of having a body of work and a studio to share. Now it's my time to open up. Not just on my blog or amongst arty friends, but truly with the communtity. This is my opportunity to share, to sell, and to teach. The time has come and I am ready!




























But not without some plot twists along the way. I always knew the last 3-4 weeks would be the big push to get it all together. To finalize work and get the word out. What I did not account for was the 500 year CO flood just weeks before. Our crawlspace flooded and water seeped through the foundation and soaked my studio floors. Not too bad, we were lucky. But reality hits when removing all that water and tearing out soggy, damaged floors, along the way revealing two walls that also needed to come out. Luckily Chad is an amazing woodworker and overall get-it-done-guy extraordinaire... so floors are out and new walls are started. All the finishing and new flooring are on hold until after Open Studios. All the prep and hard work and expectations of having it "be perfect" had to be reframed. I am even more proud now of what I have accomplished. I could have easily melted down, and a year and a half ago I would have had no choice. The surrender was hard, but it was easier to just go with it. Am I fully ready? Not quite. I have my space back, but the house is still upside down and there are still loads of loose ends. But isn't it better this way? Won't it be that much sweeter to attain this dream amidst all the chaos and effort? I think so.

So if you are in the Boulder area, please drop by my studio Oct 5-6 & 12-13, 2013 from noon-6pm. Check out http://www.openstudios.org/ for more info!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Where I am, right now.

Before I backtrack and tell tales of where I've been and what I've been up to the last few months, I figured that I should tell you where I am right now. I am in the middle of what feels like taking a big step backward. I know that this is not true, that I am actually making strides personally and creatively, but when your body is operating at a much different pace than your mind these details are easy to forget. I was feeling great. Positive and upbeat, my energy and health felt like it was reaching a more even keel. But as my mind started speeding up, my body started slowing back down.

I applied for and was accepted into the Boulder Open Studios, a reality that filled me with utter excitement coupled with anxiety. Now I have to actually do it. Show the world the artist that I am. Suddenly I am faced with a resistance to working, over thinking, and generally getting in my own way. Fortunately, I am self-aware enough to realize what I am doing, and I compensate by attempting to lower my expectation of how many things I can juggle. Good. I am conversing with myself on what it means to be an artist and open your studio doors to the public. Is it about selling or sharing? Does one make me more "successful" than the other? My husband reminds me that with out a single item to sell I am still an artist, and personally my heart is more in the sharing, guiding, and mentoring than the bottom line.

I am also conjuring some grand projects and truth be told, pursuing big dreams is big work. My whole life I felt like I was too young for what I wanted. Always a step ahead, I am not sure I had the maturity or experience to back up what I wanted. It didn't stop me from going for it anyway, and truth be told, we all have different timelines. Now I feel this all over again. I have something to share of this journey that I have been on. But it feels so much bigger than me, will I be able to stretch enough to see this dream come to fruition. There is a glimpse of something more, something bigger, but I am feeling just at the start with so much research and work ahead of me. Will I be more equipped to help and share and heal a year from now? Five years from now? Many questions and few answers. I respond by doing what I can, letting go, and getting to work, bit by bit.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Winner!

Thank you all for participating in my giveaway of Gina Armfield's new mixed-media journaling DVD. Gina's fabulous new book No Excuses Art Journaling is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It will transform your life! Please come back to see me as I continue to share more art and inspiration and for future giveaways! Congratulations to CJD for winning!