Friday, April 03, 2015

Journal 2015 & where it leads to ...

So ... jumping ahead in the journal ... thought I'd show you how a random jotting can develop into something else, or somethings else (something elses?). Here's a section of the March 20th journal page:

A few days later ... I was thinking about a journal I've been working on for the last few years, La Musee d'Une Vie Inventee, and how I've been creating pages in it in the third person. It's all commenting on the life  of an unnamed "her", as in: She always felt ..., she knew ..., she wondered..., etc. I realized that this little scribble was the seed of another page in that journal, so out it came, and I created this:

And (since I was on deadline with my contribution to the Sketchbook Project) it would also nicely fill that last empty page, and neatly summarize the sketchbook, so it also became this:

Okay ... so none of this is earth-shattering, but it all started with that one little scribble, which only confirms my suspicion that I'm onto a good thing getting back to journalling regularly ...

More pages to follow in a few days ...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 Journal - Jan 29 to Feb 13

O my gosh how tempting it is to do *something else* when you are on a deadline. Sketchbook Project is due to be mailed out by Tuesday, and what am I doing? Working on my blog, tidying up the ATC collection, working in a journal I haven't touched since last summer. What is it with (my) human nature that so loves to procrastinate? I've even been known to *clean house* when a deadline is looming. Oh well ...might as well roll with it ... here are 3 more pages:
And now for the notes:

~ Kosuke Sato & his hamster ... funny how when you find stuff online, it's not exactly as written about in magazines at the doctor's office. Here's a link to the adorable hamster bartender.
~ It was kind of odd (while reading about Kosuke Sato) to look up and see a striking and inappropriately(?) dressed young Japanese woman walk by. All those sequins so early in the morning. Amazing.
~ More from the The Cariboo Alphabet ... thinking about wrestlers and ersatz animosity.
~ Haven't read Daniel Handler's new book We Are Pirates, but it sounds intriguing. As to his watermelon comment and Jacqueline Woodson ... people closer to the situation than me have commented on it (including the two people involved), but I will say that sometimes you don't know when what you say will cause pain for others, so it's best to think twice before speaking.
~ Cartoon characters ... can't remember what they were originally saying, but this came to mind, so I removed the original words and put mine in just for fun.

Page 2:
~ Have seen this quote attributed to both Francis Bacon and Marie Beyon Ray, so not sure who actually said it. Don't know who did the original artwork - one of the many things I've collected for my Black & White journal. It would be nice to think I had a *plan* when I started working on this, but it was only *afterwards* I realized I'd connected all three things together (quote + snowflake + heat from hand in the picture).
~ More on ersatz animosity for the amusement (read: manipulation) of the populace. Yuck.
~ Upworthy, a palate cleanser for the human spirit after contemplating the deviousness of politicians. More on Upworthy on page 3. The video I saw was Ash Beckham, at the Boulder, Colorado TEDx event. I loved the idea that "coming out of the closet" is any difficult conversation you've ever had to have with anyone about anything. For those of us who haven't had to come out of the closet in the sense it's usually meant these days, it was a great way to plug us into how it feels
~ 9 great reasons to come downtown. Image clipped out of Writers Festival program (I think?). So I wrote my reasons, interestingly enough, I didn't do them in any particular order, i.e. wrote reason 5 first, then 7, etc. No idea why ... knew I'd fill in all 9 eventually so just did it that way for fun.

Page 3:
~ Sketchbook comic. Very funny, wish I could remember who drew it. I picked it up as the local event at Heritage Hall several years ago and it made me laugh out loud, so I kept it.
~ More about Upworthy, another of their inspiring videos. Three girls + spoken word about the realities of America and their generation. And then me writing about how it made me feel.
~ The "girls" ... my nephew's daughters ... have started sending them fun stuff on a regular basis to keep them amused. A new experience for me, and one I'm enjoying.
~ Austin Kleon's weekly summary. If you haven't subscribed, you really need to do that. His comments, links and stuff are pretty cool. Every week I learn something amazing that reminds me it's great to be human, creative and conscious.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Journal Experiment - Jan 15 to Jan 27

Wait? January? Yes ... because I'm posting these pages sequentially, and waiting till they ripen on the page, i.e. till I've had enough distance from them that I feel comfortable posting them. Today three more pages, when I was just getting the hang of doing them regularly. I'm creating them faster now, so the speed should increase as time passes. Or words to that effect. Here we go:

And the inevitable notes:
Page 1: Jan 15
~ Photo of Barbie feet from a zine I did on anatomy. When I was a child I thought you'd know you were "grown up" when your feet took on this shape. Yep, pretty naive.
~ Page from Scavenger by Seth Fitts, who I discovered at the Sketchbook Project when it was on tour in Vancouver one year. I can't tell you how happy I am when looking at his work. Well, I could, but it might be a little awkward for both of us. You can find more of his amazing work here as well. He's up there with Shaun Tan, Nick Bantock and Joseph Cornell in my own personal artist/star rating system.
~ Child's drawing? No idea whose... came to me in some stuff to use in collage. Probably from my friend Rose who brings me little delights to add to my journals. She knows me so well.

Page 2: Jan 19
~ Random jottings, all me I'm afraid.
~ Save the Humans photo clipped from the newspaper. Taken at the BC Parliament building in Victoria. No idea when ... or by who ... just saved the photo.
~ Rules for Public Library (circa 1930's?) ... another gem from Rose.

Page 3: Jan 23-27
~ 7 books for Downtown Abbey addicts. Heard on the radio, probably CBC. I'd already read The Buccaneers (suggested by Mr. B's Mum years ago and I loved it). Since I enjoy Fay Weldon, I think Habits of the House will be the next likely read.
~ Child Motion Development from a Russian Health Encyclopedia I acquired somewhere. I particularly love Figure 11 (bottom right corner), although I can't say why.
~ Knitted polar bear sweater which is unraveling ... as seen in the building I work in as a GIANT poster, so I went to the Admin office and asked if they had it as a smaller format, which they did. I thought it was the perfect marriage of concepts ... wearing a sweater instead of turning up the furnace, which uses energy which creates global warming which means the ice floes the polar bears depend on are melting/unraveling ... genius. Wish I'd thought of it (or a similarly clever concept).
~ DIY reusable gelli plate ... if you are a gelli plate person and haven't looked at Linda Germain's Printmaking Without a Press blog, you really should. I'm just sayin'.
~ Cube books in a box ... an idea in progress. I mention a class with Roxanne Padgett, one of the top three teachers I ever had at Artfest (which I *still* miss!). She's AMAZING (yes, I'm shouting that). Go look at her stuff here.

It occurs to me it's no bad thing that I'm annotating my journal with online notes here ... like having my actual journal be hyperlinked and searchable for myself. Such a good idea ... so glad I thought of it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Journal Experiment? I think it's a go ...

Well, it seems to be working. The journal experiment, I mean. I'm creating pages on a regular basis ... 2-5 per week, and the more I create the more I want to create. It's a weird thing but I get a real fondness for whatever finds its way into my journal. Kind of like the sum of its parts being greater than the whole. I could chat on forever here, but think I'll just post two more pages and let them do the talking. Here they are:

Notes (sort of inevitable, I guess):
Page 1:
~ The Story Collider: new podcast I've found. Personal stories from the world of science. Very short and listenable. Not as gripping as The Moth or Radiolab, but still good.
~ Assessment of On the Road by Kerouac. Some great poetry, but very much of its era. You have to wade through quite a bit of stuff that is not very woman-friendly and/or thrill-seeking and/or somewhat racist, but there are some great poetic lines. I also have a print copy, so may go through that and see if I can assemble the more poetic stuff into something more concise and less squirm-inducing. Did research online to find out more about him. Intrigued by his method of continuous typing by taping sheets into rolls to not break his creative flow.
~ Yes, my co-worker and I *do* talk about physics and time travel. My knowledge on this: zero, so I tend to go to Mr. B for answers, most of which I also do not understand, but I probably know more than the average bear due to the sheer volume of discussion.
~ Shaun Tan's alphabet for The Arrival? Makes a longer appearance in a future page, so will not add it here.
~ Cariboo Alphabet: long-term ongoing project, turning my childhood experiences into an abecedarian.
Page 2:
~ Tattoo/Mendhi ~ an ad torn from a magazine. Love it! Don't know the magazine or source - sorry!
~ Ideas for this year's Sketchbook Project: O.M.G. Have finally settled on something, similar to this new journal experiment you won't be surprised to hear ... :)
~ Shinto broken needle ceremony, as seen on the smallest forest blog. Not recent, but recent to me. The world is indeed a strange and marvelous place.

Monday, March 02, 2015

A new experiment with journals ...

Been thinking about this for awhile ... how to get back to my everyday journalling the way I did before Pinterest. Don't get me wrong ... i *love* Pinterest, but I miss my old habit of curating, collecting and commenting on the world around me, and having that as a physical resource I can refer back to. I can't tell you how many life-changing insights have come from re-reading old journals. I've been keeping journals since I was 20-ish, so that's a good 30 years of who I was and what I saw, did and felt ... hmmmm ... writing that just made me feel terribly self-centered. Something to think about.

Anyway ... here's the plan: I've decided to post the pages of my 2015 journal online here. Except for this intro I'll try to keep the wordage to a minimum and let the pages speak for themselves. I've never been in the habit of writing very personal things in my journal, but I think I still better leave some lag time between the actual creation of the pages and my posting them here ... sometimes (as with my art) I need a little temporal distance to figure out how personal it is. And there's always the blur function in pic monkey as a backup. :)

So, here are today's images, 2 pages from Dec 29, where I was contemplating the form my new journal would take. FYI, I've always worked in 5.5 x8.5 size, and this new journal is somewhat larger. You'll see why when you read page 2. And off we go ...

*NOTES* - Top half of page 2 are Miriam Wosk's inspiration books as shown in her book Sequins and Skeletons. You can look at some of her scrapbooks and a video of her at work here.

More pages to follow, and on a more regular basis, too. I promise.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Origami postcard project ...

Hmmm ... been a while since I posted anything here ... here's what's on my desk this evening ...

Finishing up some postcards for a postcard swap, and using up what's on my desk, including a package of 2"x2" neon origami squares. They've been hanging around awhile and I thought it was time to turn them into art. I had no clear plan when I started these, just trusted that something would happen as I went along.

One thing that happened is that I kept wanting to add *more* stamping to fill in the emptyish bits. As in more stamping than I would normally do. I thought it might be fun to show you all the "steps" as they came to me. A few words about stamps ... I have a lot of them, but I tend to a) buy them on sale and b) not buy any set that doesn't have at least one stamp that I think I'll be able to use on multiple projects. It was kind of fun to "shop" through my stamp collection for just the perfect little thing.

For those who *really* want to know, here are the stamp sets I used ~ and just one stamp from each set.
Step 2: Stitching from Kelly Panacci / Sandy Lion's Clear Borders.
Step 3: Sun from Farm House Paper Company's Fair Skies Dusk.
Step 4: is from ... uh oh ... clear alphabet set I received as a gift ... not sure of the origin.
Step 5: Text Strip from Prima's Christina Renee My Rose set.
Step 6: Flourish from Penny Black's Dancing Deer set.

For those who know me, these are not the usual colours I work in ... but the contrast of the bright neon origami papers seemed to really need that crisp black in the stamps. These postcards are heading off to Tangie Baxter's Art Journal Emporium's postcard swap at the beginning of March ... good to have them done!

That's all for now ... planning to post some of my day to day journal pages soon. I've been re-inspired by seeing some other people's working journals and thinking it might be time to share ... more to come!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Do you hear what I hear?

So ... right off the top, this is not about Christmas music. *Really* not about Christmas music. Christmas music is why I stay out of stores this time of year so I won't have to tear my ears off or hit anyone. Just sayin'.

So, what is this about? Podcasts, audiobooks and stuff. Ever since I got my ipad (which Mr. B. declared to be the "modern 25th anniversary present"), I've been up to my ears ~ literally ~ in good listening. Funny how it turns out that I'm not using the ipad for the things I thought I would, but it's become indispensable in other, mostly audible, ways. And so much of what I listen to makes me so very happy ... gives me hope, educates me, engages my brain ... all that good stuff. I thought I'd share a few of my favourites:

Podcastly, two of my favourites from the very beginning have been Good Job, Brain! and Books on the Nightstand.

Good Job, Brain! is like sitting around with a couple (okay, four) good friends and just having fun with trivia and quizzes. Not sure how I found them, but I eventually went back and listened to their entire archive. Initially I thought they were "young folks", but I'm starting to think they might be older than they sound, but it makes me feel young to listen. Oh, and every fifth podcast is an "all quiz" ... those are my favourite episodes. Makes me feel *so* smart when I know stuff.

Books on the Nightstand is the private project of Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman. They both work in the publishing industry, so they've often got the inside scoop on new books, but they're not afraid to go back a few years and talk about their favourites as well. It's a half hour of booky goodness. And if you're on Goodreads, there's a Books on the Nightstand group there, too, so it's easy to keep track of what they've talked about.

Now we get serious. When I want something meaty to chew on, it's usually Radiolab or 99% Invisible.

I heard about Radiolab in a weird way: one day I was browsing at Regional Assembly of Text, and I gradually became aware the "music" in the background was not music at all but this seriously interesting discussion of ... ideas, culture, humour ... with a soundtrack and comments. I had to sit and listen for a few minutes. Eventually I asked at the front counter: "Um ... what radio station IS this?", and was told it was the Radiolab podcast. Made immediate note to myself: get some kind of device that could listen to podcasts. Done.

Not sure how I heard about 99% Invisible ... I think it turned up on the ipad's recommended list once I started listening to Radiolab. Got addicted to "99PI" (as they call themselves) really quickly. Theoretically it's about design, but it's a pretty broad ranging definition. This week's episode is about the birth of the octothorpe, or as you might know it: the hashtag. They really pack a lot of interesting stuff into their usual 15-20 minute episodes.

I've backed 99PI twice now through Kickstarter - once to help them go from a monthly podcast to a weekly (so worth it!), and the next time to help them add more similar podcasts to Radiotopia, their new venture ~ and I pretty much love all those podcasts, too. Strangers just had a riveting 4-part series "Love Hurts" on the host's failed relationships (so much more positive than that sounds, I promise). The Truth (Movies for Your Ears) just had a great Christmas story about an elf really not adjusting to his job of judging children naughty or nice at Santa, Corp. There's more, but let's start with those two.

And (of course), there's The Moth. Which is all about storytelling. As in: people get up on stage in front of a live audience, and without notes, tell a story from their lives. Three people, three stories, linked by a common theme. Absolutely riveting. 

One of the other audio treats I've discovered is BBC4 Extra Online Radio. I'm finally getting a university education ~ the easy way! They serialize wonderful classic books as radioplays. I'm currently listening to Wilkie Collins' No Name, something I'd never heard of before, but really enjoying. Last week, it was George Elliot's Adam Bede, and earlier this fall it was Thomas Hardy's Two on a Tower. Not that it's all serious stuff ... the first series I listened to this summer was Charles Chilton's Journey Into Space, a highly *improbable* tale of pseudo-science fiction manliness from the 1950's. They're currently also running Doctor Who, Adrian Mole and Master and Commander. The episodes run every day, and they recently extended the listening period from 7 days to 21 days (yay!). Great companion in the studio.

Audiobook-wise, I'm taking full advantage of Overdrive, the electronic app that delivers the Vancouver Public Library's ebooks and audiobooks to my ipad. There's a 21-day borrowing limit, which certainly helps keep me focused. Currently listening to Kerouac's On the Road, and David Sedaris' When You Are Engulfed in Flames ~ how's that for variety?

Not sure how many people know this, but there are full audiobooks posted on YouTube as well. Discovered Andy Weir's The Martian on YouTube and could not *wait* to find out what happened next and listened obsessively. I've also listened to the *entire* Game of Thrones series on YouTube because the waitlist through Overdrive was *too long*.

And when I'm exhausted by all that reading? I tune my ipad to Songza, choose a soothing playlist, set the timer to 30 minutes and drift off to sleep ...