Tag: atlanta art

Story Bazaar LA: A Visual Journal Journey

I have been visual journaling for the past 8 years primarily for myself and my students. But, and a couple of weeks ago I packed up one of my visual journals to head off on a journey across the country from Atlanta to LA to an event called Story Bazaar LA.

One of my longest and dearest friends, Elly, has put her time and energy into an amazing cause for a local LA charity, Ruckus Roots. They focus on bringing the arts to underprivileged youth in the Los Angeles area, something I am also passionate about. The focus of her event is story telling through a variety of mediums: poetry, fiction, fact, film, photography, music, and other forms of art.

My visual journals focus on telling the story of my life through both mundane and milestone events. Naturally, my journals fit into the theme of Elly’s project, so when she asked if she could use one, I gladly got one ready to ship.

My “Between the Lines” visual journal was mailed to Los Angeles, CA a couple of weeks ago and will be on display at the event on Sunday (6/24/18). Elly plans to have the book open to a specific page, with a blurb about the page next to it. I couldn’t decide which page to choose, so I sent her three options to pick from. You can check out my “Breathe In, Breathe Out” page here, “My Hands” page here, and Don’t Stop Arts is below (a blog post about this one will be coming soon).

I am flattered and excited to be a part of such an important and useful event. I wish I could’ve traveled alongside my visual journal to attend the event, but I will have to live vicariously through pictures and stories after the storytelling event closes.

If you live in the LA area and want more information check out the event page here, facebook page here, and get tickets here. Remember, all proceeds are donated to the amazing organization, Ruckus Roots.

Thanks for stopping by!

Visual Journal Page 28: The Sound of Trains

Learn the inspiration behind this visual journal page as well as the supplies and steps I took to create it. Learn how to start your own visual journal by reading about mine. This particular post focuses on a memory/sensory tie I experienced with the sound of trains. Read more here.

There is something about the sound of trains.

It first started on trips to visit my grandparents. They lived in a small town, it’s biggest claim to fame being their proximity to another small town, known only for their major, annual golf tournament. They were on the South Carolina side of the Georgia, South Carolina border. A place full of ya’lls and yes ma’ams.

I remember driving down the small town roads, turning onto their street, finding it odd they didn’t live in a traditional neighborhood. Commercial areas transitioned into residences without the signage and dead end streets of the neighborhoods I was so accustomed to. This was reminiscent of a different era, which was reflected in so many ways in their home. From the split level, ranch style house, that lived on a non-neighborhood street, to the objects it held within it’s walls.

This was the house my mother grew up in, and it felt like home.

I remember lying in bed, full of “grandmommy macaroni and cheese,” dreaming about the animal shaped pancakes that would surely be waiting for me the next morning, hearing a train whistle in the background.

I feel asleep to that sound many times as a child and the memory traveled with me into adulthood. The funny thing about memories associated with senses is you often don’t realize they are tied together until you experience it.

At twenty-three it had been years since I spent the night at my grandparents house and I had just bought my own house. My new husband and I moved into our sweet 1940’s Atlanta bungalow our first year of marriage. In the days and weeks that followed, we unpacked and settled in. I distinctly remember slowly drifting off to sleep one night when I suddenly heard the sound of a train.

I was immediately thrust back into my grandparent’s house, sleeping next to my sister, looking out the window of the only slightly second story. My new house didn’t quite feel like home yet, but in that moment it began to.

Eight years later I am still living in my adorable house, listening to train whistles, fully feeling like this is my home. My adult home, with the train whistles of my childhood, with my babies now falling asleep to the same sounds in a different town.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement or another type of adhesive
  • Scissors
  • White paper
  • Magazines
  • Watercolors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water
  • Gesso
  • Pencil

HOW TO

For this visual journal page, I knew I wanted to focus on a train. After searching for an image of a train, I came up empty handed. I couldn’t find the exact angle or size that I wanted and needed to fill the two pages of the book. After brainstorming. I finally decided to paint the train myself using watercolor.

I sketched out the body of the train, referencing images online to plan out the design and colors. Once I had a base sketch, I began filling it in with watercolor. I started light and slowly added in the shadows. If you go too dark too quickly with watercolor it is difficult to add highlights back in. It’s best to work light to dark and plan ahead. Once the paint dried, I cut it out.

Once the train was finished I decided to create a background using magazine images. I liked the contrast between the realistic imagery and painterly train as well as the difference in the shiny texture of the magazine and the matte finish of the paper. I knew I wanted to create a color fade in the background to create a feeling of dusk. As I flipped through magazines I kept my eyes peeled for any large sections of black, dark blue, purple, yellow, and green fields and grass. Anything I thought could work, I ripped out.

Once I had a sizable stack of magazine pages, I began ripping them up. I love the look of collaging with ripped pages. The soft, organic edges create a more interesting pattern than cut edges. I separated the ripped up pieces into piles according to color. Because I wanted it to look like night was pushing out day, I began layering the lightest colors first. As I moved from the middle of my visual journal page up, I overlapped the dark colors over the light colors until I had black at the top of the page. Check out a post that details the process of creating a magazine fade here and here as well as a Youtube video here.

Next, I worked from the middle of the visual journal down. I used fields as the background of the landscape and worked my way forward to grassy patterns. As I glued the foreground down, I kept checking the placement of the train until it was positioned the way I wanted it. I glued the train down, than continued overlapping the grass over the bottom of the train and continued to move towards the bottom of the page.

After the page was finally filled up, I added the steam coming from the train. I decided this was a perfect space to incorporate text in a way that blended with the image. I used gesso and a paintbrush to loosely add the steam, then painted the letters in a similar way so they would blend in with the steam. Once the gesso dried, I used pencil to emphasize the text a little more.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about a memory/sensory tie you have experienced.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my visual journal and check out my blog. You can find an image of my grandmother in a recent post here. She unknowingly became the subject matter for a printmaking project. Don’t forget to save this project for later by pinning it, or saving it on your social network site of choice. Thanks for stopping by!

Interested in teaching a visual journal lesson in your classroom? Check out my teaching resources here and my magazine fade visual journal handout here.

Learn the inspiration behind this visual journal page as well as the supplies and steps I took to create it. Learn how to start your own visual journal by reading about mine. This particular post focuses on a memory/sensory tie I experienced with the sound of trains. Read more here.

Visual Journal Page 21: The Perfect Combination

I have said it many times, I have the sweet tooth of a 7 year old. My sugar palate never seemed to mature to the dark chocolates of my peers, I have always loved the 100% sugar, fruity varieties of candy that are marketed towards children. For many years, Skittles have been my reigning favorite, a fact that my hubby knows well.

Nick will periodically come home after a grocery trip with a share size Skittles bag. When we go see a movie, no questions asked, Skittles are the staple after popcorn. On road trips he will stop for gas, even if we don’t really need it, just to go get me a bag of Skittles.

Over the years, not only has Nick stored my favorite candy somewhere in his brain, he has also noted my favorite color combination: purple and red. I don’t know what it is about purple and red, it is the most perfect flavor combination out there. I don’t seek out purples or reds to eat individually, it is a combo deal, otherwise any color will do. I can’t even refer to them as their flavors, because a skittle flavor is unique to it’s color, and trust me, purple and red is it. As Nick and I snuggle up on the sofa to watch TV or sit in a movie theater, he will pass along Skittles to share. Without fail, if he ends up with a handful that has purples and reds, they come straight to me.

This is not something I ever made a point to tell him I needed. It was never a discussion, argument, or requirement. It was just something he noticed I liked and did for me unprompted. Moments like these define our marriage. It’s not the buying of houses or birthing of children, it’s the fact that I get every purple and red Skittle Nick comes across. The little things matter the most, because the little things add up to better days, weeks, months, years, and a continued growth together, not apart. The little things mean the other person is still paying attention, wants to know more, and do more to make you happy. Not because you are supposed to buy that house or procreate, they do things to make you happy just because they care enough to want to.

It’s scary how well you know me.

SUPPLIES:

  • Visual journal
  • Gesso
  • Paintbrush
  • Water
  • Pencil
  • Watercolor
  • Thin Sharpie
  • White colored pencil
  • Rubber cement

HOW TO

For this visual journal page, I decided to focus on the colors of the red and purple Skittles. I brainstormed different ways of including them, an avalanche of purples and reds, a Skittles package with nothing but purples and reds, but I ended up deciding that it isn’t the quantity that is important, it’s the combination of a single purple and a single red. Once I decided on just two skittles, I opted to draw hands cradling them, as if they were something delicate and special, not something I am about to chew up and digest.

To create the visual journal page, I started by ripping a page from my visual journal book. I did this because I wanted to make the arms and hands stand out against the page and decided to use watered down gesso to do that. Since gesso is liquidy, I didn’t want it to soak through the other pages of my book. I lightly sketched the outline of the arms and hands, then filled them in with gesso. Once dry, I added details and shading with a pencil. Gesso creates a nice, smooth surface to draw on top of.

After I finished my hands, on a separate sheet of paper I drew my skittles and filled them in with watercolor. I didn’t add much water to the pigment so I would end up with a nice, vibrant color. While waiting for the Skittles to dry, I moved onto my paint splatters. I added more water to the watercolor pigment, painted a thick line on a sheet of paper, and blew it at an angle to make the paint splatter. After the skittles and paint splatters dried, I cut them out.

I glued the skittles down first, then added a highlight and the “S” using a white colored pencil. Next, I alternated red and purple splatters around the hands, and glued them down with rubber cement. Last, I used an extra fine Sharpie to add the words on top of the paint splatters.

CHALLENGE

Dedicate a page to your favorite sweet.

 

Interested in teaching visual journals to your students? Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here.

Craft Fairs: Setting Up My Outdoor Booth

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After a year of collecting the necessary parts, I finally set up my outdoor booth.

On a very hot day in March, I spent a day in pursuit of a booth picture. My hubby and I spent the afternoon pulling out my tent, grid panels, “S” hooks, tables, decor, and of course, artwork. I loved watching all the pieces finally come together.

After three years of dabbling in indoor art shows I decided I wanted to expand to outdoor shows. They are more frequent and have a lot more foot traffic than the indoor exhibits. After finally deciding it was time to make the transition, I began looking for shows to apply for. Every single one required a picture of the booth set up in order to apply. This wasn’t something I was going to be able to submit, and see what happens. I was going to have to invest a lot of up front money in the hopes of being accepted to a show.

Over the next year I spent hours on Craigslist, garage sale and discount websites. Slowly, but surely, the components came together. The tent came first, I finally gave in and bought one new. A few months after the tent was purchased a coworker contacted me about selling his booth parts. He tried selling his artwork for a year before deciding it just wasn’t for him. I was able to get six grid panels and weights from him. I then pulled tables from my indoor set up, two of the three panels I use to display work at indoor shows, and hanging supplies.

After getting all the pieces it still took months for me to work up the motivation to set it up. For hours I was running in and out of my house hauling artwork. I quickly realized I would never be able to do this solo. The tent is too cumbersome and the panels are too heavy. My first lesson in outdoor festival participation is making sure Nick is always available for set up and break down.

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I decided I wanted my largest pieces along the back wall. They helped fill the space, and would hopefully catch the eye of passerbys. The trickiest part I have to figure out is where to set myself up. I enjoy having a table to hide behind. I am a passive seller. Perhaps I would earn more money if I pushed my products on people, but I want them to purchase one of my pieces because they feel connected to it. My tiny little table is my comfort zone. My safety net, preventing me from getting my hopes up as people come in and peruse my work.

DSC_3750 I decided to hang my letter pieces on the right side panel, and my 6″x6″ silhouette paintings on the left side panel. My hope is these pieces will be more approachable as people walk by. They may assume the large pieces are out of their price range, but with $35 and $25 price tags, these are easy to pick up and take home.

I also wanted to set up a table with my letter prints, at $10 each these are an even better impulse buy item. I decided these would be best set up next to my letter encaustics and extending slightly out of my booth to break up the space.

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One issue that always lurked in the back of my mind was how my encaustics would stand up to summer Georgia heat. I got a little taste of it during the practice set up, the pieces that were directly in the sun began to melt. It was worse case scenario. After all the time and work I put into my set up, I was now questioning whether or not I was even going to be able to do this at all.

As soon as I discovered the melting pieces, I snapped my pictures, and began disassembling. As I carefully took each piece down, I examined it for signs of tackiness and liquid wax. Luckily, only the pieces in direct sunlight showed signs of the wax turning to liquid. The pieces with the sun hitting the backside of them felt slightly tacky and the rest of the pieces were fine. Although I felt a little better, I was still concerned. These were only up for 30 minutes, an hour at the most, what would happen at an all day festival?

After cleaning up I began doing some research. There are brave artists out there who display their encaustic in the dead of summer at outdoor festivals. You do have to play a game of rearranging as the sun enters your tent, but it gave me hope. A lot of the sunlight was coming in through the sides of the tent, but at a festival, in theory, there will be tents on either side. I decided I just needed to give it a shot, and I applied for my first show. The Chastain Park Arts Festival, opening the first weekend of May.

6%22x6%22 Oil Painting Studies

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To ease my mind even more, I have begun mini oil paintings. These will hang in the sunlight when my encaustics have to be moved. I am ready to expand my art career, and this is the next logical step. I will not let a melting work of art get in my way.

Today I find out whether or not I have been accepted to the Chastain festival. Whether or not I make it, I have a long list of other festivals to apply to. Hopefully I will soon have an opportunity to take my booth set up out for the real deal. Stay tuned!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about my artwork by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!
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Visual Journal Page 18: Printing

Visual Journal Page 18-Printing

For over two years I functioned without a printer in my classroom. In my class visual journals are a big focus. Every Friday my students get out their journals and make whatever they want. With this open ended assignment also comes a need to print images for my students to use in their visual journals. In addition to my weekly need for a printer, my students often used images as references for their projects. At the start of every project I had to reserve time in the only computer lab in the school just so my students had access to a computer to look up images and a printer to print them.

For living in such a technically advanced age it shocks me when schools are so far behind. We are supposed to be preparing these students for college and the workforce. Technology is an inevitable part of their futures and they need experience using it before they get there. Many of my students were fortunate enough to live in homes that could afford computers. However not all of my students are that lucky. Some of their only contact with technology was in school, and we had low availability of it.

By my third year I was fed up. I was tired of battling every other teacher for time in the computer lab and sending students to the library to print for 25 cents a page. It was time to find a way to get technology in my classroom. I decided to apply to a grant program in Newton County called the Snapping Shoals Bright Ideas grant, provided by Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation. To apply to the grant I had to provide a lesson plan and what materials needed funding for the lesson. I chose to submit a lesson for my Advanced Placement Art class that involved photo transfers. In order to print pictures to transfer they needed a computer and a laser printer.

The previous year I had applied to Snapping Shoals and was awarded grant money to help fund my sculpture program. I was one of 19 teachers selected to received funding from the surrounding counties. I was proud of myself and excited for the prospects this provided for my students. Because I was awarded money the previous year, I figured my chances were slim of being selected again. Despite this I put together my lesson and submitted my application.

The announcement day came and I couldn’t believe it when I found my name on the list. I was going to receive two computers and a printer for my students to use. I would finally have a space to allow my students to expand their ideas and create their projects.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Scissors
  • Laser printed image
  • Packaging tape
  • Book pages
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I started with a print out of the most colorful, vibrant picture I could find. I wanted to show off my printer’s ability, and loved this picture of the brightly colored pots. I printed it off on my fancy new laser printer and got to work creating a tape transfer. I carefully placed packaging tape over the picture, sticky side down, on top of the front of the image. After I had one layer of tape covering the picture, I trimmed off the white edges, leaving just the picture stuck to the tape. I rubbed the back of the picture with scissor handles (burnishing) to ensure the ink was well stuck to the tape. I then placed the image in water until the paper began separating from the tape. I carefully rubbed the paper away, leaving just the ink stuck to the tape and creating a semi-transparent image.

I wanted to emphasize my ability to now create image transfers easily (thanks to my new computers and printer) so I also layered tape transfers of text in the background. To create these all I did was lightly stick packaging tape on a book page, then ripped it off, so the ink from the text stuck to the tape without too much of the paper sticking. I layered these in the background, the stickiness of the tape was enough to adhere it to the page.

Because the tape transfer of the image was very ink heavy, the tape lost its stickiness. In order to adhere it to the page I had to glue it down with Elmer’s glue. Do not use rubber cement when layering tape, it creates a chemical reaction and makes the tape bubble. I wanted to emphasize the image even more, so I cut a paper frame out of a book page to outline it.

To complete the page I layered two pieces of book pages on the right page, then wrote “printing” on top with sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page using the two types of tape transfers I used. One where you layer tape on a laser printed image and wash off the paper. The second should be a quick transfer of text by lightly sticking packaging tape to a book page or newspaper and ripping it off.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journaling by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!

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