Tag: georgia artist

Visual Journal Page 20: Breathe In, Breathe Out

There are many nights I lay in bed, my body exhausted, eyes heavy, and mind racing. The endless to do list scrolls through, the what did I forgets start haunting, the stress from the day just can’t seem to find a way to subside.

When I first started teaching I had many restless nights. Fear kept me awake. Fear of what the next day would bring. Fear of sleeping in. Fear of not being prepared. Fear of forgetting something. Fear of failure. Fear of my students. Many days I felt like a hoax. I had no idea what I was doing. That year, everyday was the first day for me.

My first year anxieties lessened with each passing year. I learned a lot, found projects that were reliable, and developed systems for handling my students. As my stress levels were reduced, my nights of sleep got better. However, I would still periodically have those moments where I would lay in bed, stuck in limbo, unable to pass into sleep or wake up enough to do something else. In those moments I fall back on my old restless night strategies. I would lay still and focus on my lungs. As I would breathe in I would feel my lungs expand to capacity. I would imagine the folds filling out and pressing into my other organs as they expanded. I would breathe out. My lungs would slowly collapse pushing all air out, until they were tiny, limp, and deflated. I would repeat this until I finally drifted beyond the middle into sleep.

This method has helped me through many of my most restless nights. It’s my off button for my brain. A simple strategy to put focus on my most basic body function, breathe in… breathe out…

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • Black bleeding tissue paper
  • Gesso
  • Paint brush
  • Water
  • Sharpie
  • Old book pages

HOW TO

This is one of those visual journal pages that was fairly simple to create, but had a lot of impact once it was finished. It was also one of those pages that I visualized in my head before starting and it came out just as I expected, if not better, which rarely happens.

I knew I wanted to create an image of a lung. I started this journal page by looking up medical drawings of lungs to reference. I wanted to make sure it was accurate. Once I settled on an image I began thinking about the look. I had recently completed a page about a black widow (check it out here) where I used black bleeding tissue paper and gesso. I loved the look the wet gesso created on the paper. A red hue would bleed into the white gesso from the black tissue paper. I decided this would be a good material to use for this visual journal page as well.

Once I had my image, a sheet of black tissue paper, paintbrush, and gesso, I was ready. I freehanded the painting of the lungs. I started with a loose outline of the shape and went into the bigger sections first, which was the white block in the heart that expanded to the veins in the lungs. I carefully planned around sections that needed to stay black and moved from one area to the next. For the arteries of the heart I used curved lines to show the shape and to give it texture to separate it from everything else. I liked the look of the lines and decided to carry them into the spaces between the veins in the lungs to fill out the shape. I mimicked the circular tissue pattern from the original image into my painting as I moved to the bottom of the lungs. To define the esophagus I used short, hatch lines, that also curved along the contour of the shape. I decided to make it longer than I needed, just to make sure it filled the page.

As I painted each section, the color from the bleeding tissue paper would bleed into the white. I loved the look it created, it added much more interest to the color than a stark white. Once the painting was dry, I cut the shape out of the rectangular bleeding tissue paper sheet. I carefully glued it into my visual journal using rubber cement and trimmed off the excess esophagus.

I overlapped sheets of old and discolored book pages to the top with ripped out pieces of black bleeding tissue paper on top. This tied the top section to my lungs visually, while also giving me a space to write words. Even with the detailed painting, I still felt the background was lacking. I decided to cut out rounded shapes from the book pages to mimic the shape of the lungs and create a sense of movement. I glued them into the background, which helped further tie the book pages into the entire piece.

Last, but not least, I used gesso to paint the words “breathe in… breathe out…” over the ripped up tissue paper. In the sections where the words extended beyond the bleeding tissue paper, I went over the letters with black sharpie to help them stand out.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about your method to falling asleep.

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Ceramics: Watermelon Themed Tea Set

Watermelon Tea Set

It is amazing how time flies. It seemed like just yesterday my sister and I were at home, playing with our American Dolls and Barbies, dreaming of our future weddings and husbands. In the blink of an eye we were both graduated, married, and Christy was pregnant.

The nine months it took for us to meet Payton Grace was incredibly fast and painfully slow, all at the same time. I couldn’t wait to meet my third niece, the first for my side of the family. The day she finally decided to come into this world, she was perfect. I was thrilled to be an aunt once again.

My sister and I live in the same city, which means I get a good amount of Payton contact time. I love making her laugh, chasing her around, and giving her snuggles, when she allows. I was shocked when summer returned once again, July 21st hit, and Payton turned one.

When my first niece, Rylie, turned one, I made her a tea set that matched her first birthday theme, Rylie in One-derland. I loved having the opportunity to make her something special, that she could treasure later in life. After Rylie, came Kyla and Payton. I realized I couldn’t favor one niece, they all deserved their own special teapots.

Payton’s first birthday was watermelon themed, and came and went before I had a chance to get hers complete for her first. However, her watermelon tea set came just six months late, for Christmas.

As soon as Christy shared the theme I knew I wanted to create a teapot with a slice taken out of it, showing the bright red and dark seeds on the inside. When I finally got started, I allowed the body of the teapot to dry out slightly, before cutting the triangle shape out. I added clay slabs into the area, creating the watermelon slice. I added a stem like handle, leaves, vines, and the easy to recognize watermelon striping.

Teapot

After the body of the teapot was complete, I made small teacups, with corresponding colors and patterns to match. I used black glaze to splatter the interior of the cups, to reference the black seeds of a watermelon.

Teacups

After completing the set, I decided it still wasn’t finished. I took the cut out section from the teapot, added slabs to it, and turned the watermelon slice into a creamer pitcher. A small vine was added for the handle, and a section was cut out of the top, to create a lid.

Cream Pitcher

I was excited to finally hand Payton’s teapot over to her. I hope she will cherish it for years to come.

Teapot and Pitcjer

Kyla’s teapot is currently in the works, hers will be Carnivale themed for her second birthday. Check back for an update in the coming months. Check out Rylie’s Alice and Wonderland teapot here.

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