Sunday, January 30, 2011

Get Your Motor Running

Sometimes my mind goes quiet for a stretch and I don't have a need to connect in verbal ways. I mentioned this last week, and yet it struck again. It is not to be construed that I am out of ideas or projects or general joy with life. Actually, just the opposite. I am lately in the "Artist Zone". I am full of the doing. I am absorbed by the doing and don't need to justify, clarify, or quantify. Every day seems to just flow lately. The To Do Lists aren't being written, because there is basically just one DO--create something.

Actually many somethings call me daily, but I let them whine and scratch at the door to my attention. I'll open it when I'm good and ready for you! Today is blog day, yesterday was watercolor journaling day. Each session belongs to itself and no other. Each has all of me. So even with the enticement to "do it all", I am gradually coming into a place of focus and concentration.

The one area that still vexes me and gives me that twinge of guilt is the online connection. As I mentioned last week, I am taking two different classes in two different disciplines with at least 150 other creative souls. If you participate in these forums, you know how demanding of your time and attention they become. You are torn between wanting to know these people who stories are so like yours they could be you, or so different and mysterious, they fascinate with rock star aura. Here is the opportunity to make worthwhile and even lasting connections and yet the time spent talking, knowing and commenting often saps the quiet and the space required to create and learn. So I say here today, if you are one of these new friends, and I've not been duly attentive, it isn't for lack of wanting to, it's to be able to keep up with you!

The Strathmore Recycled Journal Pages lesson has come to a completion and I am thrilled with how much I learned in just these three drawings (in four incarnations).  They have given me a leg up on the use of many materials and techniques and an excuse to just run wild. No pressure, no purpose and yet, a lot of joy and good result.

(You'll get the most out of seeing these if you click to enlarge, or better yet view them on my flikr page where they can be framed in quiet black.)

Where Did Pinky Go?
The addition of a whole lot of doodling with markers, white and gold ink completes the craziness.

Fifi and Cow
Same materials and techniques, more subtly done. Really pleased with the outcome.

Deconstructed Hippo
My total favorite of the recycled pages, complex and very satisfying.

My class in Contemporary Woven Boro has produced two new starts. Unlike the drawing activities, most of these cloth designs have no endgame at this point. They are pure experimentation. Some will be embroidered, embellished, quilted, and used. Some will be considered "sketches" and put aside. Either way, they will mostly not be completed within the time frame of this class, so that I can concentrate on getting the most learning rather than the most product.

Initial layout designed in an online program by Jude Hill. After being woven, the fabric strips representing the earth began to grow a tree. That's how things work in this class. That's why you need time to consider and let the cloth tell you what it wants to do or be.

Experimenting with weaving parts of one t-shirt into another, seeing how knits react to the process.

The place I achieve both learning and product is the class designed to teach me how to get started with visual journaling of my daily life, specifically in small sketch and watercolor vignettes. My skill with both has progressed tremendously since I began the first lesson in session one last October, with three pieces of fruit set in a simple single line frame, with no particular journaling or story.

Week one assignment: keys

Lately I'm all about the storytelling

Now we are being required and released to head out to our public lives, to set aside the concept of still life, and bravely draw what we see in front of us in the "real" world. My first coffee shop session yesterday broke the ice and moved me to a new place.  I went to my artist zone, forgot the other patrons and painted. The only distraction was a truly lovely moment of connection with another artistic soul. A young cashier with a joyful smile came to peek and said, "Isn't drawing fun? Don't you just love it?"

I wanted to drink that latte so badly! (No worries, I didn't let it get cold.)

Truly I have taken last week's keys and headed out to the highway in search of my life. It's going to be a blast of a journey.


  1. I really like your sketches , especially the top 3, you have an amazing imagination.
    Well done.

  2. Great post Cheryl - you sure have lots of different types of things in progress and I look forward to seeing more.

  3. I love the variety and color that you are bringing to your work!

  4. So much to see and take in, but all lovely artistic projects.

  5. Wow, I finally had a moment to come back and read this. Fantastic post! Who are you taking the visual journaling class from? Oh, and my favorite would be Fiona. You were definitely right, it is better to enlarge to fully appreciate them!

  6. Wonderful post! Once again you have hit the nail square on the head. The forums and blogs are wonderful and a great way to connect but it is SOOO very hard to keep up with everyone and everything and find any time to create on your own.
    I love where did Pinky go, lots of depth and goodies!

  7. May I add here that your sharing of your completed Strathmore Workshop 1 pages inspired me to START doing mine. Yes, yes, I know workshop 1 is finished now, and I'm signed up to start workshop 2 in a few days...... sigh..... But when I first read through #1, I wasn't sure at all that I wanted to attempt it. Then saw your results. Decided to "not sit it out", but to jump in with both feet. Am working on my recycled artwork page(s) now and AM LOVING IT !! Who knew! All that to say - thanks for the inspiration to do this! Really like your pages, and love seeing all your projects you have going. And I thought I was the only one with a million things going at once - the desire to absorb, absorb, try it, try it!