Month: January 2013

Visual Journal Pages 28 and 29: Furniture has Personality Too

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I had been waiting for this page. As I worked through my book I would periodically flip forward until I found the chair, the simple, yet intriguing chair. This was the chair I referenced to draw the very first image of my new visual journal, it inspired the cover of my book. This chair had become the first impression of my visual journal, as book cover art it had a big job. It must intrigue people, beckon them over, and encourage them to open the book and see what else it holds.

It was no accident that led me to draw a chair on my front cover. In fact, it was no accident that I ended up with a book on antique furniture as a base for my visual journal. It was a very calculated selection, which involved a couple of hours at my favorite Decatur antique store. I carefully wandered each booth, explored every shelf, and sifted through book after book until I found the prefect one. This book intrigued me, I found myself flipping through, visualizing my creations on it’s pages.

Furniture is one of my obsessions. Every piece of furniture in my house was carefully picked out. Each piece is unique, and I feel each piece has it’s own history. Every piece I selected was chosen because something appealed to me. Whether it was the color, shape, or peeling, layered paint that attracted me, something in each piece of furniture spoke to me, and I had to have it. I love nothing more than pursuing a local antique store or market. I can’t stand to be at the mall for longer than an hour, but I could easily spend hours in a musty, dusty, vintage shop.

With a furniture obsession such as mine, you would think my house would be a furniture museum, or graveyard. Even sitting here now I imagine chairs lining every wall in my house, tables stacked upon tables, and a garage busting at the seams. However, that is not the case. It may take years for me to find exactly what I am looking for, and I am willing to hold out until I find the perfect piece at the perfect price. Since we moved into our house, almost three years ago, I have had plans to replace our dining room table, but it hasn’t happened yet, because I still haven’t found my perfect piece.

With every new piece of furniture I add to my home, I am sharing another piece of myself. Each piece represents my personality and aesthetic. My mismatched furniture reflects quirky me. Perhaps I am slightly narcissistic, but I love seeing a piece of me in every room.

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While my chairs, tables, and side tables do reflect me, I believe each piece also contains their own personality. While I am building each space to represent my taste, my furniture is also adding a little flavor of their own. Because a number of my pieces do come from antique stores, they also bring their own stories into my house.

I love creating back stories, visualizing the furniture passing through owner after owner. Wondering who decided to paint green on top of the original paint, who added white on top of that, how many layers of paint actually lie below. Each piece of furniture says something to me, and each piece adds something to my house and my life in general. With each new piece I purchase I feel a hole has been filled, my house is one step closer to being complete. However, I can’t help but wonder what will happen when every corner and wall has been filled, perhaps at that point, it will be time to pass my furniture to new hands, to fill another hole in another person’s home.

As a furniture addict I have to part with a little bit of advice… you must let your furniture express you… because furniture has personality too.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • SCAD book
  • Colored pencils

HOW TO

This page was slightly painstaking to make. It involved a great deal of cutting and planning. By the time I finally arrived at the last page before my chair, I still had no idea what I was going to do with it. I knew I somehow wanted to highlight the chair, and decided I had to find a way to bring focus to it.

It all began when I decided to create a double page about my chair, because it was that important. To do this I cut a hole through the page before the page with the chair, to expose it on both pages. Luckily, in my old classroom I had a light table, so I was able to shine light through the chair page, which allowed me to see the outline on the page before it. I traced around the shape, and cut it out with an Xacto knife. Most people do not have a light table at home, so your best bet is to hold the page up to a window, and use the sun as a guide.

As I was moving through these steps I kept trying to come up with ideas for the pages, when the sentence “let your furniture express you… because furniture has personality too” came to me. It was a perfect way to focus on two different things on the pages and yet tie them together. I then decided to find a way to visually represent the personality of the furniture. I opted to re-purpose an image from a magazine or book, and decided to flip through one of my Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) catalogs. Every Fall I look forward to this catalog because they include amazing student work, which I often incorporate into my pages. I picked up the newest edition, and immediately found my background. It was the cover of the book, which worked in my favor, because it would be large enough to incorporate into both pages. It was a painting of a large, abstract animal, it almost looked like a cross between a dog, cat, and bear. It looked friendly, artsy, and slightly odd, it was perfect.

To begin I cut a rectangle out of the image on the lower right corner, which would go around the chair. I carefully cut out the chair shape from the rectangle, and glued it down. To tie the two pieces together better I cut small slivers and glued them next to the chair legs and in between the slates on the back of the chair. From there I continued to cut the rectangle bigger from the image, and in the process I created these frame like pieces. I wanted them to stay whole, so I used an Xacto knife to cut each frame out of the original catalog cover.

I made sure I kept them in order, and once they were all cut out I began gluing them down. I decided to use the image on both pages, and thought it would interesting to glue every other frame on a different page. This created an interesting effect, once the entire page was covered, the image came together despite the spaces. When you flip from the first page to the next you see the missing pieces from the image. Once everything was placed I added the words with colored pencil. I wrote over the words multiple times using yellow, blue, and green, to tie in with the colors of the image.

CHALLENGE

Create a personality for an inanimate object in your home! It can be a piece of furniture, or even a toy, food, or appliance. Have fun!

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Visual Journal Page 27: Discover Beauty in the Unexpected

Visual-Journal-Page-27-Beauty-in-Unexpected-Places

As an artist it is my job to create visual representations. Whether this means using paint, clay, collage, or photography, is realistic or abstract,  I am presenting an image to my viewer. As an artist it is my goal to bring light to my subject matter and in turn enlighten my viewer with my ideas and intent. What I love about art is the ability to turn the wheels in people’s brains, to watch their expression as they take in a piece, and hear what interpretation they have tacked onto my image. I do not believe a successful work of art requires immediate understanding. I also don’t believe a work of art can be created without intent. Even a Jackson Pollock splatter painting or a Mark Rothko color field has intent. They chose those colors, inspiration was evoked, ideas sprung to mind, movements were made, emotion was laid down, and with every choice they made intent was spilled onto their canvas. Intent can be an emotion, it can be nonrepresentational, it can even become the unknown.

I believe every work of art has a purpose, however intent is often what I struggle with. People ask questions, submit their interpretations, and wait for your explanation. An explanation is always required, I suppose it’s our basic human curiosity that demands the question why. I am guilty of it myself, I am always asking why, and yet I often cringe at the question. I have a difficult time defining my work. With every piece I start with a concept, an idea, and I explore it through my material. I put emotion into my work, I put meaning, and purpose. But when it comes time to explain I stutter, stumble, and BS my way through it.

Perhaps I find it difficult because I am not a deep, dark, brooding artist, struggling with depression, and my own creative genius. Part of me yearns for that torment, for just a taste. Perhaps my art would be easier to define if it had these attributes, if it came from inspiration I could easily pin point. However, I must remind myself if all artists pulled inspiration from the deep, gloomy, corners of their souls, all artwork would look similar, and a trip to the art museum would turn into a very depressing affair.

I have pondered this question of purpose over the years. Writing about my journals has given me a space to explore this, to re-think the reason why I created in the first place. What I have discovered is that every part of me plays a role in my work. My curiosity, need to experiment, happy nature, impatience, and spots of melancholy all contribute to a finished work of art.

As an eternal optimist I have discovered I always strive to present something beautiful in my artwork. In my ladies in gowns body of work I took women, put them in ornate dresses, and set them in ugly or unusual situations. Broken glass, awkward body positions, and dark backgrounds surround these prime and proper ladies (lady painting:Alcoholic Haze). I put a spin on a rather grim situation, trapped in a cage, by including typically beautiful objects such as flowers and birds in my pieces Trapped and Caged. Discarded items such as forks, spoons, and door handles are re-purposed in my series of experimental mixed media. Although each piece is different, they all carry a common theme, I am in a constant battle to try to find the beautiful in the ugly.

Perhaps this visual journal page visually reflects my artist statement. This photograph of an abandoned garage. Graffiti covered the sides, it looked like a terrifying building to enter, a structure created with purpose, only to be deserted and left to rot. This was a building I often passed, but it wasn’t until a trek through the snow for a day of sledding that I truly recognized it’s beauty. The city was covered with a blanket of white. The pristine snow covered the details of every street, building, and house, except this one. This abandoned, barred up building came to life against the white. The yellow, green, and red popped and suddenly it felt inviting. The bright red door shone through the black grates, beckoning me in yet blocking my entrance. It was a moment I had to capture in a picture and transform into a work of art between the pages of my journal. This was a moment of intentional clarity, I had discovered the beauty in the unexpected.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • Mod podge
  • Book pages
  • Packaging tape
  • Newspaper
  • Colored Pencil
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I did a lot of layering. I layered a mod podge transfer of the photograph I took and tape transfers from a newspaper. I started with the mod podge transfer, and decided to transfer it onto extra pages I removed from my book, and glue it back into my book. Once I had my book page to transfer onto I printed my image on a laser printer and began painting Mod Podge on top. To create a Mod Podge transfer you must paint two layers of Mod Podge on the image, allowing it to try in between. After the second layer dries you paint a third layer, and place it face down the paper, and again allow it to dry. Once dry, you wet the back of the image and peel the paper off. The ink sticks to the layered mod podge, which sticks to the page. The end result is a semi transparent mirror image of the original photograph. To read more specifics about a Mod Podge transfer go here.

I typically do my Mod Podge transfers on a separate sheet of paper, then glue it into my book. I do this because sometime I have to re-do a transfer if something happens in the process, and you have to add water to the back, and I did’t want to end up with a wrinkly, warped page in my book. Once my transfer was complete I carefully ripped along the edge of the image, placed it in my book, and traced around the edge to create a guide for the background. I wanted to wait to glue down my transfer because I knew I was going to add a tape transfer to the background, it’s always better to work from the back forward, it will make it easier to layer.

For the background I did a very easy tape transfer using packaging tape and newspaper. All you do is cut off a piece of tape, lightly place it on top of newspaper, and rip it off. The ink from the newspaper easily transfers to the tape, and you end up with words stuck to a clear background. I did this with newspaper and slightly yellowed book pages to get a mix of gray and brown in my background. After I had my transfer complete all I did was stick it to the page. Because I drew an outline of where my Mod Podge transfer would be glued, I knew how far down to tape my transfers.

Once my background was complete I glued my Mod Podge transfer on top. Last but not least I wrote “Discover beauty in the unexpected” on a separate sheet of paper using sharpie. I then colored on top with a brown colored pencil to help it blend in with the brownish background. I ripped out the words and glued it down to finish the page.

CHALLENGE

Try out the new tape transfer technique! Grab packaging tape, a stack of newspapers, book pages, or both and get to work. Incorporate it into your next page!

Thanks for reading today’s post! If you feel compelled please share it with others! Like, tweet, stumble, digg, e-mail, comment, and subscribe. Thanks for stopping by!

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Paperwallet Giveaway Winner!

Paper Wallet Giveaway 4

Congrats to Adelaine on winning this months giveaway, a Paperwallet! Thank you to everyone who entered, check back every month for my next giveaway opportunity. Thanks as always for your support!

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Visual Journal Page 26: Night Sledding

Visual-Journal-Page-26-Night-Sledding

It was day three of Snowmageddon. Nick and I were enjoyed our third day off of work, we were glued to the sofa, bundled up, trying to stay warm. We were still recovering from the first day of sledding, continuously checking our bruises, rubbing our sore muscles, and moaning and groaning every time we had to move. After a full day of sledding on day one of snowmageddon, my body felt like that of an 80 year old, but slowly I began moving back in time, at this point my body was beginning to slide past my forties, into my thirties, and I almost felt like a mid-twenty-year-old again.

The first two days were filled with fun and excitement, however being holed up in your house begins to get boring after awhile. Sections of the city were beginning to open up, however our sreet was still a solid sheet of ice. Every day we checked the weather, everyday the high was just below freezing, and every day another layer of freezing rain and sleet fell on our already ice skating rink street. While the ice continued to coat the outside world, a fog of cabin fever began to settle in our house.

We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, and it was beginning to show. Luckily, before we completely went out of our minds, Nick’s brother, Dan, and a few of their friends, decided it was time to brave the outside weather and take a trip to our house. Their cases of cabin fever urged them to navigate through ice roads and poor conditions, just to get to our house, our hilly neighborhood, and red flyer sled. After being cooped up for three days, enjoying the snowfall from the warmth of the indoors, it was time to go outside and play.

They arrived late afternoon and as quick as they got in our house, they were back out again, sled in hand. My body still hadn’t reached it’s normal state, and I opted to stay in my heated living room during round one of sledding, which was a decision I didn’t regret. They found the steepest street in our neighborhood, and began sledding down the center of the road, every now and then surprising our fellow cabin fever sufferers, who also chose to brave a drive through the ice roads.

They were beat by the time they got home, and the sun was beginning to settle on the horizon. However, the cabin fever wouldn’t let go, and before long they were ready to go out again, and experience the Candler Park golf course hills we were constantly talking up.

This time I couldn’t resist.

Before I knew it I was in their car, headed to the now icy slopes of the golf course. By the time we finally arrived, the sun was gone, and we were officially night sledding. The boys went down the slope first, and I was shocked at how fast they went. I thought snow sledding down the steep inclines was intense, and now we were dealing with snow, with a layer if slick ice, propelling us down the hill into the darkness. I patiently waited my turn, and finally when it was time, I began to chicken out. It was so cold, it was so steep, the ice was so slick, it was going to hurt if I fell off. My dear husband noticed the concern creasing my face, and suggested we squeeze on the tiny red flyer together, he promised he would hang onto me tight.

Nick is true to his word.

We scrunched on, Nick in front, steering, me in back, fearing for the bones in my body. We kicked off, and immediately flew down the hillside. It was amazing, despite the frozen air biting at my cheeks, and my frozen fingers barely grasping onto Nick, it was fun. It was fun until we hit the halfway point, and a slight dip in the slope. We bounced, and I bounced off. However, Nick being true to his word wouldn’t let me go, grasped my legs tighter, leaving my butt dragging the ice covered ground the rest of the way down. No amount of squealing, squiggling, or jerking around loosened Nick’s grip. What Nick perceived as joy, excitement, and the fun kind of fear was actually my response to the pain of my butt being dragged down a hill, over rocks, and through ice. No amount of layered pants helped my poor body as I dragged down the hill.

Finally he let go. He released me just before the bottom, and there I lay. I wasn’t sure I could get up, or make it back up to the top of the hill. My night sledding adventure was over, I was done, and for the rest of the night I was the bystander, gently rubbing my poor, broken, and surely bruised butt.

Once we got home I assessed the damage, a nice red welt had settled on my left cheek, and slightly overlapped my right cheek, but it wasn’t so bad. I slept like a rock, exhausted from our trek through the park, up and down the hills, and digging through the brush to find the lost sled… again and again. In the morning I revisited the mirror and was shocked to find the red welt had gained additional colors. Every day a new color appeared, and shades of red, blue, green, and brown graced the cheeks of my very sore butt.

For the rest of the snowmageddon week I stayed safely tucked in my house, beneath multiple blankets, enjoying movie after movie. The sled was packed away, the snow began to melt, and work began again. Life returned to normal, snowmageddon moved from present to past, and all that remained were the rolling scenes in my head of sled falls, long walks, cozy fires, and a very bruised butt.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual Journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Various colors of tissue paper
  • India ink
  • White paint
  • Paint brush
  • White paper
  • Prisma colored pencils
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I decided to predominately use tissue paper. Recently I had been experimenting with gluing actual tissue paper in my book to create texture, and layers, since it has a semi transparent look. I thought the layers of white would look especially interesting, because you would be able to see the many layers of paper I planned on putting my book. I started with the sky, and layered blue and black. I chose to do both to help break up the color a bit, and because while we were enjoying the slopes of the golf course the sky transitioned from the deep blue of evening to the black of night.

From there I layered white, and off white tissue paper for the ground. I ripped out curved pieces, to help it resemble the hillside. Once I had my background and foreground set, I began working on the middle ground, the silhouettes of trees. To do this I took a sheet of white tissue paper and painted trees on top with India ink. Because I often use trees in my artwork I was able to easily free hand the shape. If it helps to draw an outline with pencil, that maybe a good way to go. However, tissue paper does rip easily. To avoid this draw the tree on a white sheet of paper, and lay the tissue paper on top, you should be able to see the pencil sketch through the tissue paper, and paint on top, using the outline as a guide.

Once my trees were painted and dry I carefully cut them out, taking the time to cut between each branch. Once I finished I glued them down. As much as I love working with tissue paper in my book, I have found the rubber cement seeps through the thin paper, causing the top to be sticky. I have had to carefully rub on top of this page many, many times to remove the excess rubber cement. A glue that dries to a hardened layer (like Elmer’s glue) may work better for this.

Next, I began drawing my sled. I referenced a picture to help with the details, I drew it with pencil, and filled it in with colored pencil. I chose this route because it is much easier to add details with colored pencil, and the colored pencil would help the sled pop against the tissue paper background. To complete the page I used white paint to paint a moon and stars in the sky.

CHALLENGE

Use tissue paper in your next page as the main material. This means the majority of the page should be tissue paper! Experiment with different glues, see if you get a better result than I did, and please share if you do! Good luck!

January Giveaway: Paperwallet Review and Giveaway!

Paper Wallet Giveaway 1

I am very excited to announcement my first ever giveaway! I was recently asked to review a company called Paperwallets, and yes, they make wallets out of paper. After I agreed to take a look at their company they mailed me two wallets, one for me to keep, try out, and review, and one to giveaway to one of my lucky readers! If you would like to enter into the drawing for this art inspired wallet all you have to do is comment below! I will randomly select the winner from the pool of commenters (using the plugin “And the Winner Is”) this Saturday, and will announce the winner the same day. I will keep my fingers crossed for each one of you!

 ABOUT PAPERWALLETS…

Series_4 (Large)

About Paperwallets by Paperwallets: “Exposing artists all over again in new incredible ways is exactly what Paperwallet is all about, we keeps things fresh by collaborating with emerging and established artists from all around the world.”

Cardholder_s1 (Large)

“We are working with big name and new name artists, Paperwallet will give anybody a chance. Paperwallet crowd-sources designs from artists who submit their work to Paperwallet’s Facebook page. Designs are carefully selected by the art team and the votes on social media sites to be part of the next Limited Edition Artist Series. Paperwalletis the new ‘artist tee’ and the new way for artists to get their names and their work out there.” 

Life Style 1

“This month Paperwallet released the brand new Art SERIES FOUR and Card Holder SERIES ONE just in time for the holidays.  Already being picked up galleries, boutiques and high-end street fashion shops, you can findPaperwallet at an elite list of stores in Paris, Tokyo, LA and New York.”

About Paperwallets by Me: I love the concept of taking a work of art and transforming it into a product people can use. As an artist I am all about finding new ways to support the arts, and I think Paperwallets is a great company to look into. When I was first approached about writing a review I was slightly skeptical, always weary of crossing paths with yet another spammer. However, as soon as I looked at their website I knew they were legit. I spent a good chunk of time exploring their site, reading about their featured artists, and I became even more impressed when I realized they accept submissions for future wallet designs. Just the possibility of having my work of art on such an accessible product gets my creative juices flowing.

I excitedly accepted the offer to write about the company, and immanently awaited the arrival of my new wallet. One afternoon Nick walked in the door with the typical pile of junk and bills, but resting on top was a package, with my name on it. I ripped it open and found two boxes. I loved the design of both wallets. I continuously flipped them in my hands, paying attention to every detail.

PRO #1: The designs are so cool! They are created by artists and they look like it. They have a variety of styles, patterns, and colors. I think everyone, frat guy to hipster to white collared worker can find a design that fits their taste. The fact that they accept submissions for new designs means they are continuously expanding their design collection. I will be going back to check out new designs. In the near future they will also be releasing clutches, which I can’t wait to see.

After finally having my new wallet in my hands, I couldn’t wait to test it out. My current wallet was quickly emptied, the contents were spread out, and I assessed the situation.

CON #1: There isn’t a ton of space in a Paperwallet. The wallet has your typical opening to hold money, plus  two card holders, one on each side, and a space behind the card holder where additional cards can be placed. This isn’t much compared to my former clutch style Hobo wallet. I attempted to place a couple of credit cards behind the card pockets, but quickly discovered it was a great way to loose a credit card. A lot of time when I pulled out my wallet, the cards would slip out, one very honest gentleman pointed them out on the ground the first time it happened. After this I decided to double up the cards in the card pockets, which fits nice and snug, but limits the number of cards I carry.

For two weeks I have used and abused this wallet. The first week I carried it in my purse, but was disappointed with the small amount of damage that showed from this. I decided in order to convince my readers I actually used it, it needed to show some type of wear and tear, and I decided to keep it in my back pocket for a week. My wallet wore through hours of sitting, a rainstorm, and bleeding dye from my very wet, new blue jeans.

PRO #2: Because it is made of a paper like material it is a very slim wallet. I am a girl, I don’t want a bulky wallet sticking out of my back pocket, making my rear end look lopsided. But when I stuck this wallet back there I almost immediately forgot about it. For a week I sat on this wallet everyday during work, on my commute home, and everywhere in between. I was impressed how little I noticed it.

CON #2: It is made of paper like material, tyvek. While it’s not actually paper, it is made from tiny plastic fibers spun together, this is not a wallet that will last forever. At the rate I abused my wallet I would expect it to last 6 months or so. If I kept it safely tucked in my purse, I could maybe get a year-year and a half out of it.

PRO #3: It is tough for a wallet that is so thin and seemingly made from paper. Because it is made from tyvek, the plastic fibers allow it to be more felxible, almost like a thicker dollar bill. It is difficult to tear, I tried it, and it stretched without ripping. I think it would take a long time and a good bit of abuse to rip it, however I think holes in the corners are inevitable.

CON #4: It’s $20 for a wallet that won’t last longer than a year or so… something my husband pointed out a few times.

PRO #4: It’s only $20. These days it’s difficult to find a cheap wallet, and for a mere $20 you can get a very unique art inspired wallet.

PRO #5: It’s green and you are supporting the arts. It’s made from recycled materials, you can recycle it when you are ready to replace it, and you are helping a starving artist continue with their quest to fulfill their creative desires. It doesn’t get much better than that. As a side note the company will give you 15% off if you send in your old, worn out wallet for a new one!

MY WALLET… BEFORE & AFTER

Paper Wallet Before

Paper Wallet After

Overall I am impressed with their product and very interested in the clutches they have in the works. I would be willing to shell out $20 to get another Paperwallet, and I will definitely keep up with their new designs on their site. I wouldn’t mind switching my wallet out every year if it means having a new mini work of art I can carry around on a daily basis. Here is a link to their site if you are interesting in perusing their designs or submitting your own design! Click here to peruse.

THE GIVEAWAY

Here are images of the amazing wallet I get to giveaway to one lucky reader! No charge, no shipping, completely and totally free! All you have to do it comment on this post and you are entered to win. The winner will be announced this Saturday!

Paper Wallet Giveaway

As always thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and your possible future, free wallet. Help me spread the word by sharing with others, commenting, liking, tweeting, digging, subscribing, whatever you have the urge to do. Thanks for stopping by!

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