15 January 2015

A Fresh Start & Pointing Toward North

Wow! Time flies. I still am adjusting to 2015.
Between my day-job and the myriad activities that seem to happen every autumn, I had no energy to update this blog for quite a long while. If you are curious about what art I was creating in the past few months, check with me at the ~runningwave~ Instagram feed.

Over the winter holidays, I worked on a new, exciting piece of art for Jill K. Berry's Map 2015 Challenge.  Here's a sneak peek; more later:
A small glimpse of my 2015 Map Challenge artwork

I finally stood up to all of the voices in my head that told me I can never be a cartographer, and made my own hand-drawn and painted map. I used this as an opportunity to test the skills I have been honing. I had been refining both watercolor and ink techniques last year.

As my new horizon stretches out ahead, I am finally beginning to see myself as a pen-and-ink, or draftsman, sort of artist. My art always tended to focus on color and three-dimensional art, but in the past year I have become more comfortable drawing on flat papers.

This map helped me to realize that. All the more so, because I was able to finish it in my parent's studio while I was spending an afternoon with my father. Their studio is always been a place of "serious art" in my world. To spend the day painting and drawing there was a real treat. Something that I had not done since childhood.

The Travels of runningwave 2015, watercolor and pen, 8" x 5.5" inches

This map is a mind-map of sorts, following the trail of where I've been in my inner life and of where I hope to go throughout 2015.  I am intentionally cryptic in naming my places on the map. I hope the map is a beautiful graphic work of art for the viewer, but the landmarks mean something symbolic to me.

I am aiming towards something that The Artist's Way author, Julia Cameron, calls "finding your True North." By "True North," I think she means that locating that direction within yourself that points to your dream, what you really want to accomplish in your life.

The Compass Rose
Here are some more details and a couple of work-in-progress views of my 2015 map.

Eidolon Mountains and village of Vacilla, in progress. No text yet.
I don't know anyone who progresses through life in a straight line. All travels have crossroads. Some paths are better than others for safely arriving at your destination.  Given that water and waves have so much meaning for me, it is only natural that my trek follows the course of a mountain stream, over a bridge and along a river that widens as it reaches a forest and plain.

Detail, Sailing from the metropolis of Kaleidos.
I took the name from "kaleidoscope," from the Greek, beautiful + form
I happen to find the shapes of islands on maps pleasing, so I felt like coming to the great city was a good place to launch out into the waves by sail.   The Isle of Gracia took its name from "Gratitude," a state which I am actively trying to cultivate.

Detail featuring Isle of Gracia, representing one my goals

2015 is going to be -- I hope -- a different kind of year for me creatively. I am starting from the get-go by participating in a community called Year of the Spark! mentored by two amazing artists: Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple.

I will be sharing more of my discoveries and work created for that community later.

Thank you for viewing. I welcome and encourage comments.

23 September 2014

Art in Trade

"I Believe in Magic" Artist Trading Card, 2.5" x 3.5"
A grand welcome to the harvest season of Autumn!

While I did love the unusually mild weather this Summer, I am very pleased that Fall is here. It is always my most favorite season of the year.

Since the beginning of Summer I have spent a lot of time contemplating what I will "do" with my art. I have been engaged in asking myself, "What form of art do I want to send out into the world?" It's not any easy question to answer. I love making art, but for the most part I have made it to give as gifts to friends or for my own simple pleasure of manifesting an idea into reality.

In late August, I decided to join several art swapping groups with other mixed media artists. One of them is a closed group on Facebook, to which I was invited, the Artful Mail Groupies. You can join, but they have certain rules to help keep the group active and friendly. (Note: Send me a personal message if you are desperate to learn more about this group.) 

The other swap group is part of an online artist community that I joined in 2013 run by the amazing artist-extraordinaire Tamara Laporte over at willowing.org. Tam is the originator of the amazing year-long online art course Life Book.

I love these online communities of artists. They inspire and amaze me everyday. I really find a lot of solace and comfort sharing my process of becoming an artist with these wonderful people.

The Art Swaps are a great way to send your work out into the world and get another person's art in trade.

Autumn Moon Artist Trading Cards made for Artful Mail Groupies Swap

One way that many artists are sharing these days is to create very small-scaled art works -- the size of a baseball or playing card: 2.5" by 3.5". The small size makes projects easier to complete although there is a real art to using a tiny space well. I have been learning from some talented people. I decided that I am ready to throw my art out into the unknown and receive other art and feedback in exchange. Plus, receiving mail from a person far away is fun! (I always enjoyed having pen pals in other countries as a kid.)

My first swap was the Autumn Moon ATC (ATC = Artist Trading Card) swap with the Artful Mail Groupies on Facebook.  I had so much fun inventing a way to use the Martha Stewart silhouettes of owls, ravens and spooky things for my moonlight purpose. I wanted to create a Harvest Moon shining behind each silhouette. I created all of the moons from cardstock or hand-painted (by me) papers. I added some additional collage elements.

The second way that I'm exploring for spreading my art out into the world is that I'm trying to find a way to make art books that are not so labor-intensive as professional book-binding. I have several friends who are paper conservators and book-binders for a living, so I know very well just how much time and energy goes into creating most books that are bound by hand.

I recently took a workshop at the Queen's Ink with artist Terry Quinn on printing techniques for the Gelli Arts monoprinting plate.  The class is taught periodically and called "50 Shades of Play." Terry took the guesswork out of the workshop by selecting your pattern tools and colors for you, so that our minds were free to play and explore. She taught me that there is no such thing as an ugly monoprint because you can always add another layer if you don't particularly like the color or design that you used. That is a really significant lesson to learn.

Monoprinted Index Card book that I made in Terry Quinn's "50 Shades of Play" workshop
I was able to produce two sets of monoprinted index cards in the class which will become tiny books. Not sure what I will put on the pages yet because I like the patterns and colors so much just as they are. Each page is unique, and that was true of the 50 pages that each of the students made in the workshop also.
Detail, front cover, monoprinted book from "50 Shades of Play"
I discovered, for example, that my new favorite color is called Gunmetal Gray; it offsets bright colors like these golds and oranges so well. I wouldn't have known that if I wasn't limited to a palette within that session of Terry's workshop.  Don't you think this mini-book cover turned out pretty well?  The book measures only 2.5" by 3" -- one half the size of a folded 3x5 index card.

I cannot wait to put my second book together and experiment in collage on these pages! Promise that I'll share.

Wishing you joy in this season of harvest! (Or of new life if you are living in the Southern Hemisphere!)

16 September 2014

A Drawing In

Summer Fades

I love summer most as it is fading away.  There is a pause like the hush of an audience before a stage curtain lifts waiting for the magic to appear on stage.  I was blessed a full evening this past weekend surrounded by peaceful countryside, allowing me the opportunity to watch the sun slowly set on the final days of the season.  In contrast, the previous day had been a sauna of summer heat and humidity as you come to expect when you live near the Chesapeake Bay. 

This day, somehow, had a sudden crispness to the air with breezes finding their strength. The sunlight had a palette not quite golden, but certainly warmer in hue. The billowing clouds helped to create the atmosphere.  We drove well around Baltimore City to avoid the giant blow-out festival in the Inner Harbor celebrating the 200th anniversary of the British attempt to blast their way around Fort McHenry. Instead we opted for winding roads and retro 1980s tunes, as we drove northward and away from the urbs and suburbs to tranquil farmland.  The stated purpose of our mission was to attend a fundraiser dinner for the Creative Alliance, but I had only the urge to be surrounded by Summer's full bounty on my mind. 

And there is no time like the present, because the seasons are changing. . .

I think of this moment between Summer and Autumn as a time of Drawing In.

It is a lull in the seasons to pause and cherish all of the energetic growth and ecstatic wildness of the warmest months of the year.  Even though I am not a farmer as my hosts are, the harvest that I see spread before me is all of the activities and accomplishments of my creative endeavors. You do not have to work on the land in order to appreciate the importance of harvest time.

My host expressed a similar thought when he sat at his dining table. For him, the idea behind hosting a party immediately before the Fall of the year is a conscious choice. He knows that he has a lot of work in store for the harvests and preparations for winter, but this is his time to kick
back and reward himself for all of the labor of the year.  The food served at the table came from his land and his wife's amazing feast.

Here then are some of my impressions of the landscape that I saw during this enchanted evening.

In the farm yard.

Baby Turkeys!

Big, bad turkey!

Honey, the Herder

The Trickster Goats

In the nearby woodlands. 

There are mists rising even as the daylight begins to fade.  The Jewelweed has grown so tall and bushy. It's orange blooms stand out like flags in the twilight.

Jewelweed Glowing in Twilight