Tag: art about snow

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!

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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!

Visual Journal Page 25: Snowmageddon

Visual-Journal-Page-25-Snowmagedon

As I am sitting here at work, posting on my blog, when I really should be doing actual work, my mind wanders to this time two years ago… Snowmageddon. A term coined for the snow storm that hit Atlanta in January 2011. Snowmageddon meant the city of Atlanta was shut down for practically a week… Snowmageddon meant two years ago today I was not sitting at my desk at work, I was sitting at home enjoying my fourth day in a row of no school.

Our wonderful southern city was hit with more or less, six inches of snow, which is nothing to seasoned snow northerners. However, with a city who rarely sees snow, or low temperatures to this extent, our mere six snow plows barely made a dent before above freezing temperatures finally melted away the storm.

As a teacher, and a salary paid employee, I was thrilled with the possibility of a snow day. We had only been back to work for three days, Christmas break was barely in the past, I was just beginning to remember my new students’ names, when snow showed up in the forecast. Our school district builds two bad weather days into every calendar year. Two penalty free days off of school, and I was hoping we would see those two days go to use. I had no idea my wish would more than come true.

As usual the night before a possible snow day, I got everything ready for work. In an attempt not to jinx a possible non-workday I always plan as if work is happening. It’s difficult to sleep those nights, the urge to hop out of bed and scurry to the window, hoping to see white falling from the sky, is indulged once or twice before morning. Finally, my alarm went off, I rolled out of bed and made my final assessment. The ground was covered, and snow was still pouring from the sky. My excitement grew, but I refused to allow it to take over until the school closing list scrolled to Newton County on the morning news. As soon as I turned on the TV I realized it was official, no schools in the area were in session, no one would even be able to go to work. Nick and I had a snow day on our hands, and after snoozing for a few hours longer, I was ready to start our day.

We bundled up, dug out our flexible flyer sled, corralled the pups into leashes, and went out the door. I hadn’t seen snow like this in years. It was everywhere! The streets, sidewalks, and lawns blended into a solid sheet of untouched snow. As we made our way down the street I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for disturbing the sheet of white with our stomping, frollicking, and running around. However, soon after we began our trek my thoughts began to shift to the sledding slopes the Candler Park golf course would be transformed into.

A recent move placed us three and a half miles away from our favorite sledding spot. However, we decided there was no better way to enjoy the snow than to take a nice stroll before sledding. Halfway there we both had a new appreciation for what a couple of miles actually was, but it was still worth it. The city was closed. I had never seen the streets so empty, and things so quiet. We took turns sledding down the middle of typically busy streets, and eventually, we arrived to our destination and the sledding began.

Few things are better than the feeling of flying down a hillside. You are barely staying on as people, plants, and moving objects fly past you. You realize how the seemingly endless hike to the top of the hill is worth it for this feeling. We took turns riding down the many hills of the park, and with practically every ride down Jake was right on our tail. Chasing us on the sled was his new favorite past time, while periodically being distracted by the excitement of fellow sledders, skiers, and children around us. After a couple of hours we were worn out, frozen, damp, and shades of pink and red all over. It was time to go home.

The walk to the park felt long, and after hours of running up and down hills the walk back felt like an eternity. We were all cold and ready to get home. We were a slow moving group as we made our way through town, but with every step we took we were making progress, we were a step closer to home. That mantra was on repeat in my head, Nick and I were silent, keeping our focus on the next landmark we were trying to pass. About halfway to the house Jake quit. He sat down, and refused to go any further. No amount of coaxing, cooing, or pulling would move him from his spot. We finally gave in and traded off carrying him, and by trading off I really mean Nick carried him 3/4 of the way.

Another quarter of the way home Nick’s arms gave out. Jake couldn’t be carried anymore, but every time he hit the ground he would lay down and refuse to move. We tried putting him on the sled, but he wouldn’t stay on his own. Eventually I had to sit on the sled, hold Jake, and Nick had to pull us the rest of the way home. It was nice to no longer have to walk, but it was no easy task trying to keep us on that sled for another half mile. We barely made it to our front door, and we all collapsed into a pile as soon as the heat hit us. We slept very well that night.

I was excited to find out another snow day was awaiting me. Each day passed with movies, relaxation, and prep for the next day of work, and each day I received an e-mail, phone call, or read on the news another day of school was cancelled. A solid week went by with temperatures staying below freezing. My initial joy of snow days began to sour as I realized make up days were in my future. My winter break disappeared, I was about to face another eleven straight weeks of school with no break.

It was a bittersweet week of snow, but I will never forget how the city looked. How a six inches of snow and ice shut down a city for a week. Videos of people sledding down Peachtree Street flooded YouTube, I never tired of watching the traffic cams as they scanned a snow covered, empty I-85, I-285, the downtown connector, and I-20. It was surreal. It is something I may never witness again, which worth making up a few extra days of work anytime.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Scrapbook paper
  • India ink
  • Book pages
  • Printed photographs
  • Gesso

HOW TO

This visual journal page is a collage of photographs I took over the course of the week off. I wanted to take pieces of things that happened during the week and create a scene that reflected everything. Which involved sifting through many pictures, cutting out sections of them, and piecing them back together. I began by creating the sky. I wanted a stormy, but bright sky, and ended up finding scrapbook paper with interesting colors and texture. I ripped it up and glued it down.

I wanted to recreate the front of my house, which meant I needed to included the many trees that surround us. I decided to create silhouettes of the trees using India ink, and quickly painted them around the scene. Once the ink dried I added dots of gesso in the sky for snow. Next, I began creating the ground. I ripped up any white, snow sections of my printed photographs and began gluing them down. I covered the entire bottom two thirds of the page before I moved on to the cut out pictures. I took our house and carefully cut it out, and glued it to the right hand page. I added our stairwell to create depth. On the left side page I cut out pictures of our snow covered rocking chairs, an old fireplace, the only thing standing from a burned down house, and of course our puppies Jake and Kody. After playing with the composition I glued everything down.

To create even more depth I ripped up smaller pieces of white and overlapped areas of my glued down pictures, such as the puppies’ paws and the bottom of the house. In reality if these were sitting in snow, the snow would cover the very bottom, and I wanted to replicate that look. After I finished it looked a little bland. The white caused everything to blend together, and I decided to add pieces of ripped up book pages to emphasize areas. The brown contrasted well with the white, and my page was complete.

CHALLENGE

Create a wintery page for the wintery season. Reflect on your favorite snow day or how you have never seen snow, be creative, and interpret it to your liking!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my snow post for the chilly month of January. If you have an urge please like, tweet, comment, share, and subscribe! I can’t spread the word about my blog without you!

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Visual Journal Page 59: Wedding Gifts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides actually getting married to the person I love, the best thing about getting married was presents!! Nick and I had a lot of fun registering for all of our gifts (to see the visual journal page made about our registry click here), and I couldn’t wait until they started coming in.

Our very first gift arrived a few weeks before our wedding, and it really made it feel real. Our big day was quickly approaching, and this was another reminder that we were loved and supported in our decision. The first gift came from the Roadens, my parents good friends, a couple I grew up with. It was meaningful that is was our first gift, and it was meaningful it came from them.

I hate to admit it, but I don’t even remember what was in the box. I want to say it was wine glasses, but two years later and a few gifts later, I can’t say with any certainty. However, it wasn’t what was in the box that mattered, it was the gesture, the show of support and celebration in our honor. This gift t was important for feeding my excitement, for being a reminder that we were taking this big step, for a show of love and support, and I knew it needed to be remembered.

CHALLENGE: Create a page about an important gift you received. It could be your favorite childhood toy, a meaningful piece of jewelry, a representation of an important step in your life. If available, use a piece of the packaging in the page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To create this visual journal page I used the packaging the gift was wrapped in. It was important for me to make a page to remember this moment, and the way I felt, and I thought there was no better way to create it than with the actual gift. I used the wrapping used to protect the gift for the base, I hot glued the ribbon on top, cut out an image from a Crate and Barrel ad, glued it with rubber cement, and glued the card on top. I made sure I was able to open the card so I could always read it!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please help me spread the word, I can’t do it without you! Subscribe, comment, e-mail, like, tweet, sharing is caring! Thanks for stopping by.

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Visual Journal Page 42: Snow in the South

Growing up in Georgia means you don’t get snow often, but when you do no matter how little snowfall you get, school will always be canceled. Growing up in the south also meant that no matter how much snowfall you got, you always went sledding, even if it meant riding on mud.

As a school teacher I still get those occasional days off, and like all teachers, I get very excited at any prospect of snow (and a day off). I had been closely following the forecast for about a week, it started to flurry the night before, but I didn’t get my hopes up… I convinced myself it wouldn’t stick… Then, early the next morning I woke up to a phone call from my Dad… No school!! It was just like I was back in elementary school, the excitement, the plans for playing in the snow, and waking up with the good new by my Dad (of course he is used to checking the school weather with a teacher for a wife and two teachers for daughters).

Although we only got a couple of inches Nick and I were immediately out, ready to sled with Jake and Kody. We were both still relatively new to the area, and didn’t know the best place to go. We walked around, sled down a few hills at Lake Claire, and continued our journey to Candler Park. Once we arrived, we tested out a few hills, had a few runs, and continued through the park. We hiked through the kiddie park, across the river, and we arrived at the public golf course, and found the most amazing hills.

We spent the afternoon sledding on our fancy Flexible Flyer sled, much to the envy of our fellow sledders who were using a range of items like garbage can lids, laundry baskets, and pieces of cardboard. By the end of the day we were all tuckered out and content after some amazing sled rides. Since our sledding paradise discovery we have gone back every snow day.

CHALLENGE: Create a photo collage. Either print pictures on computer paper or use photo paper (if you want a ripped look to your page use computer paper). Try combining multiple images together, repeat people in the same scene, try to create depth!

To create this visual journal page I used pictures I took during the snow day. I printed out multiple images that had sky showing, ripped it up and glued it down using rubber cement. I did the same for the snowy ground. I wanted to make sure it had a patchwork effect, so I chose pictures with different texture in the ground and sky. I wanted to include a picture of my apartment, because I love it so much, I cut it out and incorporated it. To help bring the house and my car together I added extra stairs that went behind my car. I cut out multiple pictures of Nick and the pups and glued them down. When creating a collage like this it’s important to consider an illusion of depth. For example, the Nick that’s furthest away is also the smallest. This isn’t always required, especially if you are going for a look that is more abstract, but it does help the viewer make sense of the scene.

Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and give your opinion! Help me spread the word about my blog by liking, tweeting, etc.!