Monday, February 27, 2006

The wheels keep on turning

I had Daniel's "Engine" book this month and it was tougher than I originally thought it was going to be. I had visions of cog wheels in my head and I knew my heart was my engine with my hands as tools and eyes as my flashlights to see the world around me, but I couldn't quite fathom how to put it all into an illustration. I liked the idea of the wheels and the notion of a machine, but I didn't want to be that rigid, sharp-edges-type of a machine. It had to be more fluid, with freedom of movement and energy that could change shape or action according to my moods. That's where the puppet idea came from, the wheel-cogs cranking on the left represent the way I operate on the inside (sometimes fast — sometimes slow). I'm not much of an engineer, but they sort of turn for real. I had tried to attach a band between the top wheel and the puppet mechanism, so that if you turned the bottom wheel it would swing the puppet around etc. It got too complicated and I feared it would make it harder for the next artist to work on her page, so I simplified it down and made it more symbolic. The body parts on the puppet move, though. It was a fun piece to work on and a true test of my patience ...

And the spirit goes on.

Acrylic & Ink

Detail View

February, for me, was the month of the "Spirit Book". The idea is to clear your mind and allow yourself to create whatever comes to you, without thinking or planning in advance.

This was a bit scary, but after I allowed myself to relax and clear my mind, it all came naturally. It took a little trust in myself, but I got there.

I started by cutting 7 oval shapes from card stock and glueing them onto the pages. Then I painted in layers, building up texture over everything. Then I started very freely drawing shapes and objects all over the page. Everything from a ladder to a pear to a dress. The colors are a mixture of a blue-green background, topped with accents of peach & yellow with red line work.

I'm not going to analyze it or pretend that it has any deep hidden meanings. It is simply a reflection of what I was feeling on that particular day. If I were to do this same exercise on a different day, I believe it would have a different color palette, a different layout & different objects.

This painting is a snapshot of one small moment in time.

Can't wait to see what everyone else creates for this because it is such a honest & freeing topic.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ready for March!

The above illustration is acrylic, collage, and marker on paper. It is the piece I did for the February pages of Sylvia's Subconscious Dreamscapes book which Dennis now has. About half way through, I realized that the collaged grass at the bottom was too thick to go into the book, so I made a print and then colored in the flowers and the leaves, and all the other little embellishments. I also ended up cutting it in half so it would fit nicely on the two pages. I was pleased with the end result!

So how does this fit in with Sylvia's topic? I posted this piece on by blog with a narrative about how connecting the blissful moments in life helps me realize happiness. Whenever I dream of peace and contentment, it is either set by the sea or in the country on a warm, breezy summer's day. I created this mixed media piece with those ideas in mind. After I mailed the book to Dennis, I finished the original, and it will be among seven pieces I'm exhibiting at a gallery show in March called "About the Earth."

I am really incredibly energized by this project. I find it challenging to respond to another person's art and vision, but it is also tremendously inspirational. I feel my mind opening up to new ideas and new approaches to creating art, and that's exactly what I was hoping for from the start. I'm really looking forward to getting Debbie's book soon!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Traffic Jam

Dang! Am I the source of the biggest traffic jam in our group? It looks that way.

I just sent my book off to Elaine (sorry that it was so late, I'll do better!) and I've been holding onto Carla's book from the first month that I've got to get a move on, and yesterday I received Sylvia's book in the mail (from Carla) too! So now I have two books that I really want to get done quickly so that I'm not holding anyone up anymore. Especially anyone who's expecting a baby. Fortunately, the book I received yesterday is actually March's book, so I have time if I want it. I have to give kudos to Carla for being so punctual.

So, why aren't we seeing more posts from participants? I'd love to see scans of people's work or commentaries about their expriences. I really think that discussion about the artistic directions that we're taking would be very helpful when I get someone else's book. Is anyone else struggling? Does anyone else suddenly have a ton of freelance work that's zapping all of their personal project time?

Well, I'd better get a move on!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Month Two

I know almost everyone has the next book in the rotation now. I have Daniel's Engine book and twice I have sat down to work on it and twice so far, I have failed to come up with something. TUH! I am trying to get away from the mechanical notion of Engine. I try to think of my engine and think about it in a less cog-like manner. But that's what I keep seeing: cogs ... and lots of them.

My engine is my heart, my soul, my passion - those are what drive me to create art - my eyes are my flashlights to the worlds I encounter around me and my hands the tools to create what comes from my engine. Spirit is my fuel.

Hmmm, maybe I just answered my problem. Guess it's good to talk ...

How's everyone coming along?

Feel free to add more posts, there are still a few folks yet to add to the blog. That's okay, but if you are having probs or don;t have access, go ahead and send your images and text to me and I will happily post through the administration site on your behalf. You all have my e-mail.

Thanks, I look forward to seeing more notes!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Observations 1 & 2

Sorry I haven't written sooner about this. I just wanted to get across those little moments when something really strikes you as beautiful. The week I drew this I had just connected with my baby in a whole different color. I finally saw things and met this person who is growing week by week. Trees are significant to me in so many ways, I guess you will see that the journals progress. Thank you for all of your comments, it is very inspiring seeing all of your work and words.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Setting Out

Today we, the intrepid explorers Hannah and Emma, set off from our home on a year-long journey to explore the world and all it’s sights, sounds and books. Our first stop is Pacific City, Oregon. What better place to start than at the edge of the Earth close to the unknown depths of the ocean?

First thing I need to do is check out my equipment. Yep, my camera works! Sorry for the extreme close up…  can you see my brain?

Next thing, let’s explore where we are. Look! A crab! Hmmm. Where did Emma go? She doesn't seem to like creepy-crawlies but I think he's cute.

Well, here we are—at the edge of the world. That's Emma on the left with the binoculars and me on the right with my camera. What will we find? Who will follow behind us and what will they think of everything? Only time will tell!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Cadmium Yellow Balloon: Page One

Page One - Acrylic & Graphite

Detail View

Since Miss Leeza likes surprises, I decided to only show half of my page spread.

Normally I go over my pencil lines with ink, but this time I decided to leave it as is. To have the softer lines of graphite be exposed and not cover it up. I was attracted to the texture that showed through these lines. The color palette evolved from the apricot-orange background color... it was the first color that I mixed and then the other colors came after that.

After the painting was done, everything was sealed with a Gloss Medium/Varnish so that none of the colors would smudge through the multiple mailings this book will undergo.

It was sent off to New Jersey on Monday, so Debbie should have it soon! How is everyone else doing?

Turning life upside down?

So here are my covers and first inside spread of Journeys: Spirit.

The idea with this book is to sit, close your eyes for 10 minutes, empty your mind and then let your inner self do the drawing, painting whatever. I started with laying down all the backgrounds and it came really easily. I didn't think about it all. I went with the flow. Everything felt right. Which surprised me because I always approach my work with planning or numerous sketches. I thought having an open brief like this was going to be a big challenge. I guess the mood was right.

Then I put it away ... because ... that's what I felt I should do. I didn't argue with myself. Just follwed instinct. When I came back to it, I started with the inside pages. I sat at my table, background painted in front of me and closed my eyes, pencil in hand and waited. And waited. Then I held the pencil to the page and drew. The marks of the arms came first, followed by head, body, then the lotus and match and before I knew it I had a complete outline of an image before me. It's a bizarre feeling, but a cool one, to make marks on a page and not know what it is going to become until it happens right before your eyes.

So, I approached the covers in the same way and it all came together. I like how the cover image continues on to the back.
My cover letter is J and the back letter is S.

Looking back at the work, I see the symbolism. The character (Yes, I guess it's me) is upside down. I think it's to do with the way I look at life and the world around me. From a different angle. Always searching for something different. The lotus flower is to do with happiness and peace ... for me: finding my happy place. the style/technique I used is a mixture of acryllic, pen, graphite, collage and linseed oil - and is a very good indicator to the way my working style is evolving as an illustrator.

It is a good day. Hope you like.