Thursday, July 31, 2014

August Break

With school and my new job starting soon I'm going to be taking a bit of a painting hiatus to play around with a new medium: photography. August Break is the brain child of one one my favorite blogger/authors, Susannah Conway. The idea is to respond to daily photo prompts over the course of the month of August. 

I am really excited for this chance to play around with a camera. Most of my photos will be shot via Iphone and shared on Instagram. It is amazing how the Iphone can be used a handheld creative medium. Two of my favorite photo apps on the Iphone are A Beautiful Mess and Afterlight. I look forward to seeing what these babies can really do ;) 

Let's see how this goes!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Art Journaling Hang Up

Being an artist who has spent years making artwork to be critiqued at school or, more recently, by clients, the concept of just playing around and making art with no purpose but feeling can be intimidating. As an avid journal keeper and artist, I thought that keeping an art journal would be a great way for me to record my experiences. I've only finished a few page spreads, because I initially found art journaling frustrating. The dreaded internal critic in my brain set in and I set it aside for a long time.

My goal has been to get past this critic because I have witnessed how healing making art for art sake can be. I've had a strong interest in art therapy since I worked at a residential mental health facility as an art teacher. I saw several patients, especially the kids, act calmer and seem more at ease after our art sessions. For some of these individuals it was one of the few times they were able to get off their ward other than meals. Making art became a basic instinct for patients to express what can't be said with words. As I've been dealing with some personal issues lately, I'm finding that written words just aren't cutting it right now.

Over the past few weeks I finally started seriously working in my abandoned art journal. I really love the actual book itself. I got it because the pages are extremely thick, so I can do mixed media work in it. The pages don't have much of a tooth for charcoal or conte. For this problem, I simply gesso or prime the pages to add roughness for the medium to stick to. However, they are perfect for pen and ink.

To make myself loosen up I've been working with cheap, non-precious materials like Crayola markers and colored pencils and old random pencils I found in the bottom of the art drawer. Using materials that I would typically associate with my first art making experiences as a child makes the process not as pressured as it would be working on pieces to make money off of or for a client.

While I've been making art for years, I  am a novice keeping an art journal. The following links are to some amazing bloggers and veteran art journalers. Samie-Kira HardingRoben Marie Smith, and Pam Garrison. If you are interested in starting an art journal yourself, these sites will be a big help. Many of them have some great tutorials for material use and even bookbinding.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Battling the Good Taste Gap

First, a small personal update before I start this post. Yesterday, I found out that I was admitted into the Marriage and Family Therapy program I applied to. I was granted an assistantship, meaning free tuition, and an additional stipend. I am absolutely thrilled beyond words. A long time ago I pursued the idea of being an art therapist or some kind of counseling work, but always found myself in the education field. This has never felt like the right fit for me. Teaching is half crowd control, a quality I do not readily possess.  Working with people one-on-one is my strength. I am so excited to have to another chance to purse what I feel like I was meant to do. I start school in August!!

Now to the real post...

I was going through my inspired board on Pinterest today and I ran across this brilliant video I pinned from Ira Glass talks about the point of an artist's career called 'the taste gap'. This is basically where while you create you have stellar taste; you know what is good. You also notice that the work you are producing...well. It isn't so good or at least it isn't lined up with you level of taste. There is a way to bust through this stage.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Work. Work like you have never worked before to get through the taste gap. The quicker you get your real learning work done with the quicker you get to your best. In reality, I know we never stop learning and progressing, but there is a point where you can look at your work and say you are established. I am working so hard to be able to get to this point. It isn't easy with a full-time job and now grad school (!!) to push past this plateau.

I recently started an art journal. I don't consider it a sketchbook, but a journal, because sketchbook brings forth the image in my head of concept work and planning for bigger pieces. A journal is something more personal and less precious. I can basically do anything I want in this thing and that is a very liberating feeling to someone who is so use to every mark they make being subject to grading or criticism. Hopefully this will be in the right direction to let go and move closer to closing the taste gap.

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