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!

Monday, May 20, 2013

No More Excuses - A Giveaway!

As some of you know, I am a big fan of Gina Armfield's No More Excuses method and I am happy to announce my participation in her upcoming book, No Excuses Art Journaling, due out in December 2013! This method has literally changed my creativity and productivity into a daily practice. Gina helps you create a daily practice of working in a calendar as a journal, with prompts and inspiration to keep the creativity flowing. NME gives you the structure, and then you get to make it your own! My calendar journals have become home to memories and tidbits, lettering samples, quotes, watercolor, illustration and photography. Bit by bit, I watch my journal grow and by the end of the year I have a potent, creative record of the journey.

If you haven't started your NME journal yet, now is the time! Gina is releasing 2 DVDs to accompany her book, demonstrating just how to incorporate drawing & watercolor as well as mixed-media collage into your work! And I am giving away Gina's Mixed-Media Collage DVD to get you started! Just post a comment stating what you love or are looking forward to about the No Excuses Approach and I will randomly select a winner at the end of the week!

Please take a closer look at the No Excuses Art Journaling site, where you can catch Gina's interview, clips of her DVD's, ordering info, as well as updates on her workshops and book release. For a deeper glimpse into Gina's artwork take a look here!

Be sure to check out the rest of the Blog Release Party for more giveaways and inspiration:

May 20 - Dion Dior
May 22 - Serena Barton
May 23 - Chris Kalina
May 24 - Kelly Kilmer
May 28 - Pam Garrison
May 29 - Jennifer Joanou
May 30 - Tracie Huskamp
May 31 - Leslie Riley

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Field Notes

I'm taking Juliana Coles' Field Notes class right now and so far I am having a great time. I am working in two journals, one is a preexisting sketchbook and for the other I am working in a novel with cute nautical and map illustrations. Working right over the printed text is liberating, and I find that it keeps me from getting too precious with the page. Another great tool for that is fat pens and markers. It really helps! Maybe these sketches are a little rough around the edges, but I kinda like that. The whole concept for the class is to get out and about, sketch more, and to create a practice. A PRACTICE people! I still have to reign in my own expectations and remember that it is just a page. If I don't like it I can do another drawing, as many as I like! The beauty of sketching is that my drawings really need to simmer, when I come back I always like it better than when I was trying to strong-arm it into some vision in my head. Have journal, will travel.

This is my favorite! My studio, with all that I love and use. (in progress)

A view of my backyard

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chalkboard Wrapping paper How-to

Inspired by the richly lettered chalkboard art of Dana Tanamachi, I set out to create one of a kind gift wrap for my brother's 30th birthday. Simple enough, right?! The materials were simple, two sheets of black drawing paper, a white Prismacolor pencil, and a white Recollections brand marker. Using images and typefaces as reference, I began what I call "drawing letters". Bit by bit, word by word, the paper filled and by the end I was surprised to see how it all came together. My influences show, but then again so does my own hand and the playful way that I approach lettering.

The Prismacolor pencil lends a softer, more chalkboard-like effect, while the marker stands out a bit more brightly from the background than the pencil. All in all it turns out beautifully, in my opinion, and makes a fantastic and thoughtful addition to the gift!

Happy Birthday Timmy!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My desk

This is what my desk looks like lately, a little of this, a little of that. Working in my NME journal a bit, on Downton Abbey sketches a lot, and some good ole pirate journaling as well! There is a nice post featuring more of my NME pages here

This is a collaborative piece in a journal that gets passed among like minded pirate friends. 

I recently took a class called Personal Geographies by Jill Berry at my local mecca, Two Hands Paperie. These pieces aren't finished yet, but it's quite a start for a 2 1/2 hour class! Im looking forward to adding more mapping into my visual and travel journals.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Downton Abby - Part 2

More Downton Abbey awesomeness!

How fantastic are these FREE downloadable paper dolls from Vulture. There is Mary and Matthew, the Dowager Countess, Sybil Crawley, and O'Brien and Thomas. Enjoy!

Houndton Tabby. I'm not kidding. There is something oddly fantastic about these. Somehow they work and capture the nature of each character. There are plenty more to choose from at Toad Briar.

Valentine Abbey. A great set of free valentines to print and share!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Downton Abbey - Part 1

It is ALWAYS time for a new obsession. This time around, it's Downton Abbey, which makes me plunder the internet for hidden depths of fan art, Downton themed Etsy goods, fashion and photos. So far these offerings are my favorite to purchase.

1. I absolutely LOVE this Lady Mary / Downton Abbey print by Kelsey Garrity Riley Illustration.
2. There is a whole slew of Downton characters and quotes for embroidery here.
3. Oh Bates. There is also a Sybil & Dowager Countess. All are original watercolors.
4. I have already ordered this letterpress card of Downton. What's not to love!
5. Original Countess of Grantham watercoler. Beautiful and a great price.
6. The Crawley Sisters.
7. I must have this! Best quote of the series.

I adore this Lady Mary Silk Scarf by Fancy French Cologne. It is currently out of stock, so I will have to make due with the smaller print instead!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! Here are some stitched valentines that I recently made that are on their way to loved ones. Enjoy the day!

Monday, January 21, 2013


I have been creating new work using Juliana Coles' Revisionary Journal booklet as prompts for my artwork. The lessons are great for getting you looking at the past year and bringing that information forward, helping you dial in on what needs tweaking, pursuing and letting go of. If you enjoy these pages, please leave me a comment and if you want to make your own work, head over to Juliana's ETSY site to pick up some inspiring assignments!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pirate Journals

It is no secret that I love books, journals, and pirates. It is not enough that I enjoy book making, I am also skilled at book buying! Here are some great options for all your piratin', pluderin', and journlin' needs.

1. This adorably stitched journal comes in other colors, so look through the shop for more.
2. Repurposed vintage book with fantastic cover.
3. Hand tooled leather journal here.
4. Gotta love a book made from a repurposed beer box.
5. Another lovely vintage book, perfect for display or to be rebound into a visual journal.
6. Super fun and dimensional, this would make a great Captains log.
7.Yummy handprinted leather books in many designs and can also be personalized.
8. Clean, simple, letterpressed goodness.
9. This leather Jolly Roger journal comes in 3 sizes 8x10, 6x9, and 5x6.

Be sure to check out the individual sites for more colors and options. If you need some artful inspiration as to how to use your new pirate journal, then check out The Pirates Code booklet by Juliana Coles for great pirate journal exercises. The Captain's Blog is a great place to get inspired as well!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Getting 2013 Started Right!

Don't you just love the New Year?! I personally love the start of a new year. It's a great time for reprioritizing, letting things go, and getting a fresh start. I love the lure of the blank page, and these projects are designed for getting creative, organized, and building momentum that will carry you through the year. So here they are, a few of my favorite art, calendar, and journaling projects for getting your year started right!

I have gone on and on about the No More Excuses class, but it really is THAT great. If you want a planner that is chock full of art and inspiration, DO NOT HESITATE and sign up for this class taught by Gina Armfield. Class info here and cool January downloads to add to your calendar here

I am a calendar junkie. Sometimes I use more than one at a time, just because. Sometimes I have extras because the art in them is so cool. Lots of times I use a pretty one and then can't bear to throw it away. That is why this class is so perfect. It allows you to transform your used engagement calendars into a beautiful, artful writing journal. Check out Juliana Coles' fun class here, and her video promo here.

If you really want to dig in deep and look back at 2012 to bring all that you have learned and experienced forward to 2013, then take this workshop. You can order Juliana Coles' booklet here and work through it at your own pace. Highly useful, while stretching yourself creatively.

I am loving Alisa Burke's sketchbook turned homemade planner. It's really fun and beautiful.

I'm a big fan of Ahhh Designs. Not just because of the cool, downloadable planner templates, but also for the DIY binder tutorials. I LOVE binders and organizing combined with personalization. I am thinking that my calendar for next year may be a DIY version somewhere between Alisa's and Ahhh's, but filled with No More Excuses style content. So many options to love!