Month: January 2012

Visual Journal Page 25: Do What You Love

Dear Skeptical Parents,

You need to allow your child to dream. You need to let your child pursue something that will make them happy and feel fulfilled. Success shouldn’t be measured in dollars, it should be measured in how you feel at the end of a work day. You should go home feeling like you have accomplished something, and did something worthwhile to you. Just because you may not be doing what you really want to do, does not mean your child has to do the same thing. Do some research, learn about options, allow your child the chance to pursue something that may actually make them happy in life.

As an art teacher I often hear my students say, “I love art, and I really want to do art as a career, but my parents don’t think I can make any money in it… So I’m going to do something else.” First of all, as a parent you should support your child’s interests. If they truly love something, and feel they can be happy in life doing that… shouldn’t you let them? Second, believe it or not you CAN make money in art!

There are countless jobs that are art related you can make a good living off of. I believe that we are beyond the days of starving artist. Between animation, graphic design, advertising, web design, special effects, production, video game design, interior design, jewelry design, architecture, landscape architecture, photography, restoration… of course art education… etc., etc., etc., anyone can find a job related to the type of art they are interested in. Yes, if you decide to become a painter in New York City, you will have a lot of competition, you will struggle… but that doesn’t mean you can’t hold down another art related job while you create your masterpiece paintings on the side.

Perhaps I have a difficult time relating because I have AMAZING, SUPPORTIVE parents. I was lucky enough to have an art teacher Mom and a Dad who supports the arts. When I said I wanted to go to art school they were excited for me, there was no hesitation. They did everything they could to make sure I was where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do. I went into art school not sure exactly what I wanted to do, but my parents had enough confidence in ME to allow me to make that choice for myself. Thank you Mom and Dad, I love you, and I couldn’t have done it without your love and support.

I created this visual journal page with a quote I found in a magazine. I had one of those moments where I flipped to the page and immediately started cutting, because it was exactly how I felt. I found the quote repeated again in the magazine and decided to incorporate it as well, I really wanted to emphasize this point… and repetition is a great way to do that! All I did was rip up book pages and glue them down to create interesting texture in the background and I glued the words on top. I ripped the edges of the words, rather than cut them, because I like the effect it creates. I also scribbled with sharpie around the smaller “do what you love” quote to help it stand out, since it was smaller.

Has anyone else ever faced something like this with their parents (good or bad)? I feel like I hear this all the time from my students.

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Be Careful… Watch the Weights!

visual journal, art journal, accident, collage, mixed media, art

Accidents happen… and when you are a teacher you hear about accidents happening all the time. When you are an art teacher accidents happen all the time, everyday, with paint, water, ink, xactos, scissors, etc., etc., etc. Luckily this page doesn’t refer to an accident in my class… but unfortunately it does have to do with one of my former students…

When something happens at school word travels fast. Sometimes on T.V. you see those montages where someone hears something, they turn around and immediately tell someone else, who runs and tells someone else, and so on and so forth. In school… that really happens. It seemed like not five minutes had passed  after the “incident” when someone barged in my room saying something about an ambulance and a lost finger. It turns out, that the lost finger belonged to one of my babies.

This particular student had been lifting weights in gym and accidentally crushed his finger between two dumbells, and subsequently almost cut the tip of his finger off, only a slight variation from the busy bee’s story. If you imagine Nearly Headless Nick as Nearly Fingerless Nick… that was the circumstance. The student was rushed to the hospital, the tip was successfully sewn one, and everything was hunky dory… Well almost… because he was my student I got the joy of him waving around his deformed finger every now and then. I told him I went home at night and had nightmares about that finger… it was a scary sight…

 I used ripped up red construction paper for a base, then I drew the outline of a hand, and filled it with gesso to make it stand out from the background. I slightly shaded it with pencil, and used a thin point sharpie to draw in the stitches and the curvy thread lines around the page. I used bleeding tissue paper for the splatters. As a reminder if you want to do this you drip either watercolor or bleeding tissue paper color on the page, then blow it at an angle to make it splatter.

As a more experienced journaler I often look back at my early pages and think about what I would do different. Luckily, if you are reading my blog and taking tips from it you can avoid the mistakes I made! If I could go back I would set up the page the same, but I would have down the splatters on a separate sheet of paper, cut it out, and glue it down. The splatters ended up looking messy on this page, if I had done it on a separate page I could’ve picked the best looking splatters. I also would’ve gotten more creative and actually used thread to stitch the finger and the outside of the page. I also would’ve done a better job incorporating the words into the thread, by using neater cursive and writing it bigger. Even though I would change some things, all of my pages are a learning experience, and I have grown a lot from all of the pages I have made!

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Life Imitates Art, Live Art

I stumbled across the quote, “life imitates art” one day, and decided to hang onto it. I really liked the quote because I thought it was true. We make so many choices on a daily basis that have to do with art and aesthetics. Every morning I wake up and decide what outfit I’m going to wear that day, which shoes will go best, how to style my hair. Everyone one of those choices has to do with my taste, what I think looks good together, what I think is beautiful… a.k.a aesthetics. Even those who claim they don’t care what they wear and just threw something on, are still making a conscience choice. Something that day made them choose that specific shirt, in that specific color.

Once I started on the aesthetics and how art really does imitate life train of thought I realized that we live art everyday. Life isn’t just imitating art… life is art. In addition to choosing what we wear we are also considering what to foods to eat, what to watch on t.v., what to buy at the store, what book to read, etc., etc., etc. So many of these choices are based on our personal aesthetic. Maybe I just have an art brain, but I often consider what foods go together based on how they look. Last night I added parsley to my rice just because I thought it made it look nicer. There are many shows I watch on T.V. not just because they are entertaining but because they have interesting visuals, beautiful scenery… and a beautiful person or two. I can’t tell you how many people I have seen add cream to their coffee until it turns a specific shade of brown. Nowadays we are bombarded with advertisements, everywhere we turn we run into another commercial, radio ad, billboard, flyer. Every single ad you see is trying to appeal to your aesthetic so you will buy their product.

The definition of art has become hazy. I always start off my Introduction to Art classes with a discussion in aesthetics and the definition of art, and I promise you, no two persons’ definition is ever the same. Maybe not every instance in life deals with “fine art” and “high art”, but many of our daily choices are based in art. If you aren’t an “artsy” person, rest assured that you do in fact live in art every day.

In addition to using magazines as a way to find images, I also keep my eyes peeled for good quotes and words. I found the quote, “life imitates art” and “live” word on separate occasions, and one day decided they needed to go together. I wanted the “live art” page to be bright and colorful, so I searched around for images of artwork layered in the background. I found as many “art” words as I could and glued them on top of the background, under the word “live”. In contrast to the bright page I wanted the “life imitates art” page to be simple. I cut out the quote, and glued it on top of black ripped up magazines, which is layered on white, ripped up printer paper. I added sharpie scribbles around the black and white pages to create even more contrast.

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My Cardigans Express Who I Am

I’ll be honest… I LOVE cardigans! I wear one practically everyday. In fact I have to remind myself every now and then not to wear a cardigan just to mix things up. I wear cardigans so often one of my students once asked me to go home, count them, and tell her how many I actually owned… I have forgotten the exact number (most likely out of embarrassment rather than time) but it was in the ball park of 30 or so…

There is something about the way layered tops look that appeal to me, plus cardigans keep you warm and I can be a cold natured person. Cardigans can turn a tank top into a “school appropriate” outfit (I’m 25 and still have to make sure I meet dress code, only now as a teacher), they can fancy up a boring shirt, and simply make an outfit look more interesting and put together. Cardigans have personality. They come in so many different colors, patterns, shapes, sizes, lengths, how could they not have personality? Not only do they have their own personality, but they can show your personality based on which one you choose to wear on which day… And my cardigans really do express who I am.

A good page doesn’t always have to take time. Sometimes you want to say something and only need a simple image to get the point across. The thing you have to remember about visual journals are that they aren’t just for practicing techniques, trying out ideas, and experimenting (although they are good for that too), they are also meant for JOURNALING! This means that every page should have a purpose, a connection to you and your life. Not every page has to be deep, this page was very lighthearted, the important thing is that it expresses you. It only took two glued down magazine images and sharpie to complete this page. I jazzed it up a little by ripping the edge of one of the images and spacing it out to create a more integrated space to write my words.


Someone Else’s Story, Someone Else’s Adventure, Someone Else’s Problems

Books are my escape. I start reading and everything starts to crumble away, to be briefly replaced by mystery, adventure, love stories, magic, history, or whatever exciting adventures I am reading about. I get sucked in, and for a moment I can forget about everything else.

I have to admit I am a routiner, I like to do things in a certain order and a certain way, and books are part of that routine. Every night after brushing my teeth, washing my face, and picking out my outfit, I curl up in bed with a good book. It eases my mind. I sleep better because instead of falling asleep thinking about the day, what is happening tomorrow, and three weeks from now, I’m thinking about someone else’s story, someone else’s adventure, someone else’s problems.

To me this image looks like the perfect place to read a book, it’s the perfect place on a perfect day. I bet it’s 74 degrees with a light breeze. I bet the grassy is soft and never makes you itchy. I bet she was able to read at least 4 chapters without being interrupted or getting sleepy. When I start reading this is where I go.

I made this page… surprise, surprise… with magazines! I found the image of the girl while flipping through a magazine and it inspired the page. I found images of sky, ripped them up and glued them down for the background. I added ripped up images of grass on top, and added ripped up pieces of book pages to make it more interesting. Sometimes you don’t need words to complete or explain a page, which was the case with this one.