Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Life of An Idea - A+B or A+Mustard - repost from dena-ann-adams.com

Hi, friends.  This is the first sketchy outline of something I might call "Ideatorials" - it's not quite a tutorial in a "how to paint this girl" way, but it's a tutorial for idea generation, a walkthrough of how to use the awesome sustainable resource that IS your journal and your dreaming playful silly self as a way to make work that honors its individuality and its worldview. I really really would loooove some feedback and some ideas about whether this kind of thing is helpful, welcome, and desired. If not I'll keep making them anyway, because that's how I roll. :) But I think this kind of thing can be massively helpful when students hit that stage of "OK I can draw the cute face, OK I can sketch the realistic hand or cow skull NOW WHAT?" I know that a lot of people feel lonesome and stranded at that point and like you're spinning your wheels in a huge way, and I still feel like I'm learning that part of my journey as well, so let's hold hands for a minute.


I want to talk about how the journaling mind is not always the right mind to allow final say in what we do.

The journaling mind is the immediate mind. It's the start of a brainstorming session. It's the first idea that sounds halfway worth doing. There's nothing wrong with that. It's completely necessary and it deserves all the nurturing care we can heap on it, and as much indulgence as we can give it. But that doesn't mean we need to leave it in charge of things.

 It has its shortcomings. One problem with the first idea that comes to mind is that it's almost always some kind of a common thought, a cliche, or a stereotype. This is our monkey animal brain at work, and it has kept us all alive and inventing agriculture and swiping ipads for as long as we've been running away from perceived danger, so again, no dis on the gut instinct. It has an important place in our lives, but it really shines when it teams up with some internal regulators.

 Let's look at two kinds of projects that do two different things for me. 

The first is a journal page. It solves a nebulous spirtual/emotional problem. Dena is a sour grown up and forgets how awesome it is just to be alive - that's the problem. As an art thing, it just kind of happened. The second is a pattern design - in this case I'm doing it as a textile and a digital scrap paper. This is designed, calculated, composed, and solves a concrete simple problem (hopefully solving it well) - Be Pretty.

thankyouweb scrapbookmossbanner 

The first image is OK. It's got a triteness that I really cringe at. But then I'm working on that, not the tritness, but the not-cringing. I'm making myself just be nice to my inner child, who's not jaded enough to worry about anything beyond making-things-is-fun.

The second image is OK. It's got function, and I think it does it well. I'd wear it, or make a tablecloth of it, or collage with it, whatever. So I decided to collage with these two. What happens when you add A+B?


Well, that's nice. I think it becomes more interesting, and it's a sweet card or decorative piece. I could happily leave well enough alone. In fact, I did - and this is available as a print and a card. (I think it's best as a card, personally, Occam's Razor.) But let's try adding A and, this time, instead of B, let's add mustard.


Remember her? She was an Illustration Friday piece for "Nefarious". Here's one way to take it. 


She's weird. But it feels contrived weird to me, you know? What if we make this world a yet weirder and more complicated place. A + Mustard + B + 24,102 + Peach Potpourri circa 1984. 


 Now, I'm still not sure if she's a finished print. I have a page that I can work back into. Printed out with Epson ink on Somerset Velvet it takes paint and gesso and media really well. I will probably go back in in some capacity. 

But my world just got more complicated and harder to pin down immediately

There are new questions. If this gets a title like "Nefarious" it becomes a much more interesting illustration because it's broken free of the first available idea in a huge way. If it gets a title like "A Heart for You" - if it's a gift item, it's a compelling one. Can you trust the intentions of little Medusa-esque girls bearing hearts? And why would you not give a little Medusa girl the benefit of the doubt? Pug angel disapproves of your shallow look-ism. That's just one way to tell the story, of course. 

Basically, a few things happened here. 1. Mining of past work.

2. Juxtaposition of obvious opposites, but also harmonious elements.

3. Not forcing an interpretation till all the players have gotten onto the stage.

4. Starting with a journal page.

I hope this makes sense and suggests ways that you can start using your art journal and using digital means as another medium and not just a completely separate medium unto itself. I look at digital as a really sophisticated  scissors and a really sophisticated eraser.  The advantages of this cannot be overstated if you're a collage artist.    

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Journal Page - a kind of Gratitude

It's been ages. I'm dusting off, though, and getting into blogging my journal/mixed media practice some more in this space. I feel like I kind of need a playground just for my journaling, versus my portfolio site or pattern design, or things like that. Even though eventually everything comes together, a lot of work starts out kind of personal and precious and I am very grateful that there are places for gentler sharing out there on the same web that can be pretty cruel and hard at times.
A peek inside my 9x9 superdeluxe journal - I'm going into the blank pages of old journals I haven't completely filled and doing the job right.

Some people have been really wonderful to me lately, allowing me the luxury of being vulnerable and not exactly my finest. I'm very grateful for that, and it feels like a huge gift.

She's got handmade stamps, acrylic, watercolor, an old stamped image and newsprint at the very beginning, posca pen, stabilo All (which I have mixed feelings about, but whatever) and lyra pencils.

I'm gearing up to make some videos. Any tips out there for a nervous first-timer?