Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't Judge This Book's Cover(s) ... Please!

Okay, so I packaged up Cathy's Journal last night and I have it all set to go out in today's Priority Mail. I guess that means it's time to post the pictures of the outside front and back covers for all to see.

(nervous drum roll please...)

Here is an overall shot of the outside of the Journal. After applying some gesso to the original cover, I painted it with some acrylics which I then found myself wholly dissatisfied with. I therefore decided to re-cover the front with a collage of decorative papers which I quickly decided looked too crafty. So, I went back and gessoed over that and began once again with a new application of acrylics over the whole thing.

So, here's what the front turned into after I finished my many applications of acrylics and added the few embellishments I decided to use. There are some puzzle pieces, of course, to keep with the puzzle theme, and a small border of colored rhinestones to add just a little bit of sparkle.

I also used one of my favorite kind of collage elements - globs of dried acrylics that I peeled off of my old palate papers from some of my past attempts at painting.

By far, my favorite part of the Journal is in the upper right-hand corner of the Journal's cover. The little PaperClay face with the butterfly wings soaring above everything and leaving a beautiful and bright trail of inspiration and creative energy is, to me, the perfect little muse to aid Cathy in all of her creative endeavors.

All in all, I am happy with the way the Journal came together. It's nothing at all like I envisioned it would be when I first started - it definitely took on a life of it's own sometime during the creation process and, while I fought that at first, once I gave in and let the piece guide me to the place it wanted to go, I learned a great deal and very much enjoyed the experience. Now I just hope that Cathy likes it too!

Inspiration Is Everywhere...

One of the required elements of the Art/Poetry Journal that I have been working on as a member of the ZNE Artists and Poets Group is that an inspirational poem, by any author, be placed on the inside front cover of the Journal.

For days I searched, wondering what Cathy might find inspiring, wanting to choose just the right poem, anguishing over what seemed to be a most monumental decision, and then I found it - "Picture Puzzle Piece" by Shel Silverstein. It reads as follows:

One picture puzzle piece
Lyin' on the sidewalk,
One picture puzzle piece
Soakin' in the rain.

It might be a button of blue
On the coat of the woman
Who lived in a shoe.

It might be a magical bean,
Or a fold in the red
Velvet robe of a queen.

It might be the one little bite
Of the apple her stepmother
Gave to Snow White.

It might be the veil of a bride
Or a bottle with some evil genie inside.

It might be a small tuft of hair
On the big bouncy belly
Of Bobo the Bear.

It might be a bit of the cloak
Of the Witch of the West
As she melted to smoke.

It might be a shadowy trace
Of a tear that runs down an angel's face.

Nothing has more possibilities
Than one old wet picture puzzle piece.

Perhaps it was the overly serious way in which I had been approaching the selection of 'just the right poem' that made this playful poem by one of my favorite childhood authors seem so appealing. Or, perhaps it was what I find to be this poem's simple message about the magical way that one can find inspiration everywhere that made it seem so perfect. Nonetheless, as soon as I read it, I knew I had my poem.

So, here is the inside cover of the Journal with the poem printed on what is supposed to look like a soggy sort-of puzzle piece. The piece rests on a background that I was hoping would look like the concrete of a sidewalk. Other smaller picture puzzle pieces are scattered on the sidewalk as a kind of border as well.

Having decided on the poem, I then decided to take the "puzzle piece" idea and apply it to the overall composition of the Journal as a whole.

Rather than use a bunch of soggy-looking brown colored picture puzzle pieces, I decided to sprinkle Cathy's Journal with random images shaped like pieces of a puzzle that would not only pull the whole of the Journal together, but might offer bits of inspiration in the somewhat abstractness of the images in the pieces themselves.

I guess we'll just have to wait to hear from Cathy about whether or not they serve as the creative spark(s) they were intended to be....

Ready, Set, Freeze!

For some time now I have been tinkering with the idea of trying my hand at keeping an Art Journal and/or venturing into the realm of Altered Books. Of course, both of these items are just two of many on my long list of things I have an interest in exploring since I began my journey into the world of mixed media art. So, when the opportunity to join in an Art/Poetry Journal Swap with other members of the ZNE Artists and Poets Group arose, I jumped in with great fervor and excitement.

Initially, it was my plan to make the whole Journal by hand. However, after a few days of research on various techniques and countless hours spent learning about all of the materials necessary to create a book by hand from scratch, I realized that I would really be biting off more than I could chew. After all, I did have a deadline to meet for the completion of this project. :-)

Not wanting to disappoint Cathy, the fellow ZNE Artists and Poets member for whom I was making the Journal, I searched high and low for just the right 'base' upon which I would build/create this very special Art/Poetry Journal. I found just what I was looking for in the Lama Li Pirate Book Journal.

According to the product description, Lama Li paper is handmade in the mountains of Nepal from the inner bark of the lotka bush. The paper inside looks rough and fibrous but has a silky surface that they say is surprisingly nice for writing or drawing.

After receiving my order and checking out the journal for myself, I must say that I was extremely pleased! Then began the blank canvas syndrome whereupon I became completely paralyzed and overly timid about doing anything to get started for fear of "ruining" the book altogether...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Born Again Pagan?

I recently received a comment/question about one of my pieces titled *Born Again*. It read as follows:

"The terms "born again" and "pagan" don't jive. From where are you coming with these terms? Just curious."

Since I don't often provide my source(s) of inspiration or purpose for creating each of my pieces I thought I would share my short response/explanation to the inquiry here for anyone else who may be wondering the same thing.

Simply put, much of my work is created with a touch of humor and often incorporates bits of social commentary as I see fit. In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably make it clear that I am a pagan. The act of juxtaposing the terms "born again" and "pagan" was done primarily as an expression of Discordian Humor and Pagan Pride.

I have always loved the way in which art speaks to different people in different ways, sending different messages, evoking different emotions, sparking different thoughts/reactions, etc. That is part of why I shy away from revealing too much about the space in which any specific work of mine is created. I do not wish to interfere with the purity of the experience that one has upon encountering any work of art.

There is, in my opinion, no "right" or "wrong" reaction to - or interpretation of - any piece of art. It is a very personal and wholly unique connection (whether that be in the positive or negative sense) that one should never allow another to invalidate in any way. Discussions of different interpretations and the message(s) certain pieces may seem to send are great! If a piece provokes thought, discussion, self-exploration, etc., then that is wonderful too!

Uh-oh, I've kind of lost my train of thought now. I'd better get off these tracks before I unwittingly become some kind of railroad kill or something...

Blessed Be,
harvestorm creations

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Small Surprises That Made My Day(s)

I recently had two completely wonderful and unexpected surprises happen with two of my Original ATC/ACEO’s.

Star Light
Firstly, last month I participated in a Theme Week project for an eBay Group (ACEO ~ Art Cards Editions and Originals) that I am a member of. This was the first time I had done this since I am new to the group and, well, new to the world of creating art - period. So, needless to say, I was blown away when one of my pieces, *Star Light*, was selected among the Top 5 Most Creative works. In the end, my piece finished 3rd - and I have been glowing ever since!
Love Is The Key
Then today, as I was preparing to add a photo to my EBSQ Portfolio, an image on the EBSQ Home Page caught my eye. I thought, "Wow, that looks a lot like part of my *Love Is The Key* ATC/ACEO. So I clicked on the article associated with the image and (ha!) there was my full piece featured with the article "Do you heart EBSQ?" with my name and link to my portfolio right there!

I have been giving this "artistic venture" a go for just about 2 months now and have always felt creatively challenged in the area of visual art. (I am much stronger and much more comfortable in the verbal realm.) That is why these "small surprises" mean so much to me and have given me and my creative confidence a bit of a boost.

ZNE Community has been so central to my efforts and such an amazing source of inspiration and support for me, I just wanted to share my news and say "Thank You!!" to them as well. Thanks to ZNE I am learning and trying many new things, stepping outside of my comfort zone(s), and best of all, I am doing so in the company of those whose work I admire and hope to someday equal in the level of quality and expression that I see there every single day!

So, once again, "Thank you ZNEers!" and "Yeah Me!"
harvestorm creations