childhood (70's) inspiration

i found my love for detail when i was very young, and taught by my dad to draw. one of my fondest memories as a child is coloring in a very detailed poster of a fairy....never finished the second one.

i am reeeally inspired by indian culture, specifically the brightly decorated fabrics, henna design, vintage heavily embroidered pieces, and hippy styles. i would like to do some posts about how immensely nature inspires me. :)

somewhere along the way i read advice on Etsy to "specialize". i always wanted to fancy myself a jack-of-all, and probably have done so to keep myself out of trouble, out of the responsibility of being something particular...because then you have to be really good. i still love to do all the other things - woodburning, sewing, painting and collage, but i am currently focusing on pen and ink design. i like the term "surface design" because it's specific.


brain energy

One of the documentaries i recently watched was about how 25% of our energy is used by our brains.  no WONDER i'm exhausted!  My brain works OT 24/7 and i have figured out (by nurturing my "dream consciousness" over many years) that i actually criticize and analyze my dreams as i am having them. So not only am i obssessing over daily stress and fantasies every hour that i sleep, i am also trying to pick apart elements of the dreams that don't make sense to me or that i want to try to alter. control freak? sure. OCD? absolutely. how much of my energy is being used by my brain? sometimes i feel it could be well over 50%.

it's about time that i have become more aware of my brain's requirements. i'm not naiive about how my brain misfires, which most of the time makes it more challenging to operate. knowing what is going on, but having no clue how to change it or how to make the irrational thinking patterns decrease is maddening! 


starting journals, hospital

i started doing art in my journals in college, and painting time was the only time i felt sane and in control.  it took me years to realize i needed this consistently. i did projects here and there, and in between was a wreck. i was in and out of therapy, on and off meds (heavy anti-depressants at this point) and basically just trying to get from day to day. i did hold down a job at a group home for autistic adults, which was the most amazing job i could have imagined. these clients were some of the most interesting people i ever met. as i did art with them, i learned how powerful it was as a communication tool. i began doing more for myself, and started a collage journal - cut and paste mostly. if you knew how many hours and days i spent cutting up magazines...it only helped part of my life.  my job was challenging and my life was getting serious.

at some point i gave up, and everything crashed down on me. i took a bunch of meds and ended up in the psych ward for 3 weeks. as i laughed at those aides who tried to coerce me into the craft room to make potholders, i found strips of embroidered ribbons and tassels. i wanted them. so i started a "pillow" of hoarded scraps which got bigger and bigger over the 3 weeks i was there. then i had my boyfriend (now my husband) bring in my journal and magazines and glue, and i was allowed to have scissors under supervision. apparently they hadn't noticed the sculpture i created out of the wire hanger i found in my room (?!). when i had my things in my hands i was strong - i had a place to hide and a means to have authority over my mind. i remember the curiosity and interest my art and supplies triggered..and wide-eyed glares from the social workers and nurses. made me smile....


art journal, pages 16-21

 pages 20 and 17
this layering thing i do has always been a means for me to create order from chaos. it immediately gives me a sense of control, lining up all of the little details...
i am very inspired by embroidered ribbons.

page 16 
i wasn't sure how to finish this page, i wanted the skull to stand out. my need-to-keep made me scan before i added the detailing, so i could have both versions. :P

page 18 
not inspired (or maybe just mentally tired) i resorted to my blobs. since that didn't give me any desire to detail, i outlined. this allowed me to fill space without having to decide how...


page 21
on this day i felt like being more subconscious than pretty, and pulled a quote i like to give it "sense". it's how i felt that day. i really love outsider art..."raw" art...especially artists who have no training and draw with a very sophisticated childrens' style. 
when i used to have "psychotic" episodes, i would draw in symbols. i have seen several artists who are schizophrenic who use this method to communicate things that don't "make sense" to others. i could go freudian and explore the symbols i currently use a lot, but eh, that sounds too heavy. 
no matter your skill level, draw. even stick people or a little house with a tree take on special qualities that make them yours alone. the lack of art training makes pictures "speak" more, because you are concentrating too hard on just making the lines, and hopefully you forget to worry about perfection.



a page in my journal - 4 steps during the process i made myself stop and scan so i could show the gutts of this page. i like each one on its own, but it's my personal thing. as i become more confident with every page in my journal, i become more confident in the process of each page as well. it's where i get lost in the lines, becoming more absorbed with each detail and color. i have no preconceived ideas as i draw my first line, and i watch each piece unfold like a movie...
here is more of my current art journal: MY ART JOURNAL


blossoms & borscht

springtime is a time of proliferate blooming here in atlanta. my 5 year-old son happily partnered with me to find the most incredible examples of our favorite blooms. hydrangeas might be my favorite flowering bush. my grandmother loved them. my favorite are the blue and purple, of course...i adore how they change shades during their bloom...

cherries are so pretty because of their dark branches, so i took a shot from below.  this one has an "E" in it, and has pushed me to attempt a very floral alphabet...perhaps an exemplar to submit to Somerset Studio :)

wisteria was at the top of my list...the purple and lavender colors and the draping of the strongly-scented flowers is so romantic and graceful, especially since this is considered an invasive species down here, and i could only find ones in overgrown empty lots!

easter is borscht time in my family. (beet and cabbage soup). i make mine extra chunkier every year - i LOVE beets. as i peeled them and cut up my red cabbage, i had to stop and photograph the beauty of the patterns and colors of these delicious veggies.


how my journaling started

i used to write endlessly in my personal journals. i was born with a LOVE for the physical act of writing, and kept many diaries and keepsake journals. but the matters i wrote about in my young adult years were things that bothered me, so i was actually giving permission to my brain to continue obssessing. yes, i unwaveringly believe that this process is cathartic and useful, and that writing out thoughts can dismiss them from your mind, but i also found that i kept returning to my journals for affirmation that i had reasons to be crazy. by rereading entries, i opened old crap for re-examination, which eventually made the thought processes spin further out of control.

i continued writing for years, sometimes pages filled with small longhand, other times a few disjointed words scrawled, painted or carved into the paper, but really very few drawings of any kind. the written word was seemingly more understandable to my imaginary readers? my only "art" was done separately from my journals, for classes mostly...
at the time i was most prolific with written journals, i was the most ill. i didn't care that my rantings were very unpleasant and disturbing to others. i was still new to my braincrap (as it presented during these years), and i was unsure of what to make of it.  i was scared, suicidal and in moments of lucidity, embarassed. this dark period (that sounds so artistic) overlapped with my bachelor's studies in art therapy and psychology. at one point my art therapy professor (thank you, M) expressed concern over my art therapy class journal and projects. he insisted i find a therapist, and i did.
and the excrutiatingly slow process of mental rehab (through self-imposed art therapy) begins...


starting the year by finishing

i need to get back in gear, so i decided to pull out and finish a bunch of ACEOs (my individual mini-journal pages) i started last year. i am completely guilty of not finishing anything, but it felt good to add something to pieces i already started. i have a bunch more, including a lot of "windows" i've drawn that are empty, that i'll post as i fill them.


 set of 3 cards. i want to do more collage, as i have amassed quite a collection of awesomely-illustrated, unwanted vintage books to disassemble.

i still have a thing about using the "best" of my collage items, and am working on creating little "masterpieces" out of what i think should be showcased. this shrew wasn't a favorite of mine, it was a practice run...i think he pulled it off.... 

these are the type of "window" pieces i have a lot of...
i love using real up against cartoon.

this ended up creeping me out- so i call him "odd bird".