Sunday, June 14, 2015

On how we never know what will work ...

There are people (I hear) who use blogs for promotion. As you can probably tell by the frequency and tone of mine, that's never really been the point for me. When you get down to the bare bones, I'm not really sure why I blog. I know I have a few lovely friends out there in the world who read me (you know who you are, right?) but I've never sought to bulk up my followers list, or getting insanely rich from my creative endeavours (as if!). But despite my lack of any dedicated action in that direction, I seem to have stumbled into print lately, and I thought some of you might like to know ...

Mr. B., who is naturally cynical, is wary of situations where someone (particularly someone who doesn't actually *know* you) appears to be doing something to "make you famous". His main criteria is whether or not you PAY to be published. He therefore does not count any of my contributions to The Sketchbook Project, where I paid a fee to have my books digitized and posted online. He's right, of course. I could've literally stomped on each page with a muddy boot, send them the money and *voila!* ~ famous online!

I would argue (in my favour) that I *could* have done that ... but didn't. Each Sketchbook Project book was patiently created by hand (twice ~ since I always make one for myself), and with perhaps a little reservation about this year's book (not my best), I'm pretty pleased with the results. And (as much for my own convenience as anyone else's) here's the list:

Time Traveller, Builder of Bridges, The Science of Story, today i am inspired by ..., and lastly, this year's contribution: the sum of one's parts. If I'm a little less pleased with this year's effort, it's only because I was *so* going in a different direction when I started, and had to start again when my first *genius* idea hit a fork in the creative road. I know I will get back to it when I figure out how to bring it to fruition. All I can say is watch this space ... eventually.

So, apart from paying to be famous (can you say vanity press?), there are the other kinds of being published, and I've been lucky enough to have two (2!) recent appearances in bona fide actual published books that other people can buy on Amazon (surely, Mr. B., *this* qualifies!).

The first is:
Art Journal Kickstarter
Edited by Kristy Conlin

One of my favourite journal spreads  from La Musee d'une Vie Inventee appears on page 20.

As it's one of my favourites, it'll be no surprise to find I've already talked about here on the blog:

My second appearance is:
A World of Art Journal Pages
Edited by Dawn DeVries Sokol

I've got two pages in this one on page 42, (or maybe a double spread counts as three?). One of them again a favourite. The other not so much. Not that I don't like it (I do), but of all the pages I submitted, I didn't think it was the best, or even one of the best ~ I threw it in for variety! Which leads me to my point: it's really hard to know what other people will like.

And if you don't know what other people will like, there's really no point in trying to please other people artwise. The best thing to do is what *you* like, and if you keep doing what you love often enough, eventually you'll get mad skills, have gobs of followers and be made insanely rich as everyone clamours to publish you everywhere. The last part of that sentence was a test, by the way ... all you really want are mad skills and to be able to do what you love. Well ... that's all I really want. You can want fame and fortune, too ...  if you like. Wink.

And a big shout out to all those folks I know who also appear in these books ... a surprisingly long list of  dear friends, people I've taken art classes with and people I've been taught art by.  I never imagined we'd be in print together ... my dreams are humble. I'm sure Mr. B would approve.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Yep ... still journalling ...

Been awhile since I posted some journal pages - sorry 'bout that. Sometimes life gets kinda busy. I'm still creating pages (which is a good sign) ... so here are three more for you:

... and here are the inevitable notes:

Page 1:
The symbols used on a family crest to designate the order of sons. I found these in an old genealogy magazine. Nothing about daughters, not surprisingly, but history is history I suppose. Maybe we should invent some symbols of our own. Being the oldest child, I kinda fancy a crown of some sort. :)
~ Random planning ... an idea for a roll-out closet (I can hear Mr. B rolling his eyes already). More useful plans about alphabets for a zine swap I'm involved in. I'm pleased to say this *did* develop into something.
~ I tore a piece of washi tape putting it down, so I drew a little roof + smoking chimney to fill the gap. Sometimes it's these little things that satisfy me the most. Go figure.
~ More random musings about writing and time travel(?).
~ The collage is one I did at a retreat. The headless woman was from an article about old collars. For the stenciled bit I used one of Chris Cozen's pod stencils, a lovely little set. I've embellished it with extra dots and lines as well.

Page 2:
~ Basket making card from one of those ubiquitous sets of cards that were popular in the 70's. The Lifetime Collection of Homely Arts (or words to that effect). It goes with the other circles, of course.
~ A diagram loosely based on Susie Lafond's journal that I saw on Pinterest. I called it Gathering Up, but I see she's actually called it: Wild Rumpus. Great name. So amazing ... wish I had time to try my hand at all the beautiful things I'm inspired by.
~ And a song by Ferron that simply would not leave my head one day. I finally listened to it and realized I'd got many of the lyrics just plain wrong. Memory is a curious beast ... I caught the feeling if not the words. There was a time when I attended a Ferron concert every time she came to whatever town I lived in. Haven't done that for years, but her early albums are pretty much burned into heart ... just not all the words apparently.

Page 3:
~ "Never on Sunday" ~ Another article from an old genealogy magazine. Sometimes a story just sticks with you. I was particularly amused by the last line: "I don't know where they buried the horse."After all, the horse was the innocent party here. :)
~ The writing is just some random fiction from me. Oddly, the picture I have in my head is of my grandfather, a man I hardly knew, who did indeed in the photo look like he was wearing a pair of spittoons on his feet as he crossed the yard half-covered in patchy snow. Not sure what made me think of it ... just started writing at this came out (as with so much of what I write).
~ The triangles are from The Buzzer, an occasional publication on BC transit. I'm attracted to the artwork they choose for it because they're working with a quite limited colour palette (black plus 1 colour), reminiscent of printing that seems to be dying out with full-colour digital printing so prevalent these days.
~ And a postcard for "The Foreigner". I never saw the play, but I love this postcard, a sort of Magritte-ish kind of character collaged surreally with flowers and nose-glasses. What's not to love?

That's all for now ... more pages next week!

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.