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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Something Wonderful is About to Happen!

Endings.  Everything in life has them.Image result for something wonderful is about to happen

2014 has not been much simpler or easier than 2013.  In fact, both have been fraught with crises of various kinds, what feels like "tests" (with no study period and no definitive grade)--a few of which I fear I may have failed at miserably, and still my art studio is in disarray.Image result for something wonderful is about to happen

Granted, this year saw progress.  And I am, I have to admit, abundantly blessed.  I have plenty of art supplies to keep me creative for years if not lifetimes.  I have enough ideas and projects to satisfy my yearning heart.  Image result for something wonderful is about to happen

But I'm not sorry to see 2014 end.  Sorry.  It's true. Image result for something wonderful is about to happen

While I still work to be in the now, to stay focused on the art that makes my heart sing, I admit I am anticipating 2015 with a sense of excitement and joy.  I have an undeniable sense of expectation.  Something wonderful is about to happen.

Goodbye and The End to 2014. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

After having my website hosted by Intuit/Homestead, I have decided to switch hosting companies.  I received yet another email that they are upping the cost of the pages.  It's been on my mind for a few months to switch to something more dynamic, but I just haven't had time to do it.

So November/December 2014 is the time.  It is my hope that the switch will go quickly and smoothly/easily.

I plan to renovate the entire look to stream line it more with my brand.  Yes, there still will be my signature fucshia colorings incorporated and also my colorful background for my logo.  But I want the pages to be easier to navigate and simpler to keep up with.

If you happen to have a reason to get in touch with me and the info at bohemianartcafe dot com email address isn't working, you can email me at info at artliferetreats.com and I'll get back with you.  I hope that this change will be somewhat painless.  It may be that I will also be switching my blog but at this point I don't know whether that will happen or not.  In any event, please stay tuned.  We have lots of classes and retreats coming up in the future and you won't want to miss out on any of them.

In advance, let me say...happy Turkey Day. Gobble Gobble.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Staying Connected Event November 11, 2014

I've been an advocate of volunteering and a volunteer myself all of my life.  It is important to give back.

In light of this, I want to share the Staying Connected Event.  November 11, 2014, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the DeLand Inn, 350 E. International Speedway Blvd, DeLand, FL.   

We are sponsors of the event being organized by Art Life Retreats.  If you will be anywhere near DeLand Florida on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, please stop by and contribute some time to decorate greeting cards.   

Please share this event with others and help spread the word about this creative volunteer event!
You can find out more at www.artliferetreats.com
Soldiers who are in war zones don't get the opportunity to shop for greeting cards so they need our help to stay connected with the ones they love.
We Want YOU!  
We are seeking volunteers who want to make a difference.  Come  out and spend 20 minutes or the whole day (or as much time as you can spare) to decorate the front of blank greeting cards.  We're working with Operation Write Home to create as many cards as we can from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.  Operation Write Home will box and ship the cards to the military units for them to use.
Join us at the Deland Inn, 350 E. International, Speedway Blvd, Deland, FL from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
The event is FREE. 
We are also seeking volunteers who can help us out with tasks before and during the event or to donate supplies for use.  We will happily make arrangements to pick up any supplies.  If you can help us out,  please email usto discuss the logistics of donating supplies. Our wishlist needs are:
1500 blank greeting cards with envelopes.  CARDS MUST BE SIZED A2 sized cards only, and must include envelopes, tucked properly.  4.25″ x 5.5″ - half a sheet of cardstock per the requirements of Operation Write Home who ultimately send the cards to the military personnel for their use.  (2500 is the total number of cards we hope to finish in the day--we will accept as few as a dozen blank cards so please help us fulfill this need.)
Reams of White or Cream Card Stock
Michaels Arts & Crafts, Hobby Lobby or Jo-Ann's Fabrics Gift Certificates or Gift Card in any amount--if you don't know what we need but want to help provide supplies, we will accept these gift cards/certificates and do the shopping from our wish list. 
Ink Markers (Sharpies, Crayolas, gellies, etc.)
Watercolor Painting Sets
Craft Paints--any colors
Scrapbooking Papers--any colors
Matte Medium or Matte Modge Podge (please no glossy!)  We have to use this for glue and sealant as glue sticks don't hold up in different areas of the world where they are shipped.
Pastels—oil based (no chalk based please)
Craft Stamps--any, including alphabets
Craft Stamp Pads--any colors
Washi tape--any syle
Ephemera--items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, such as ticket stubs, pamphlets, posters, photographs, advertisements, catalog pages, pages from dictionaries or books, maps, old calendars, etc. (please do not donate magazines or newspapers. 
We cannot use glossy pages and newspaper does not hold up well.)  Brown Craft Paper or vinyl/plastic rectangle table cloths to protect the venue's tables
Sponge “pouncers” 
2 reams of white printer paper
Printer ink HP Photosmart Plus 564 color and black cartridges and 1 Brother TN-350 cartridge
Airtime for advertising on TV or radio stations
Advertising space in local newspapers or magazines
Shipping costs from Deland Post office to Operation Write Home address of all completed cards after the event
Postage stamps or postage meter use for sending out thank yous
Envelopes for thank yous
ABSOLUTELY NO GLITTER, NO GLITTER PENS, NO MICA POWDER OR PEARLESCENT POWDERS, NO METALLIC or FOAM STICKERS, beads or any reflective surfaces  OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED in order to reduce risk to the military personnel. 
**We will donate any leftover supplies to a local art-related non-profit organization for use in their children's summer camp program.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A-Musing ~ a book review

Every now and then I come across a creative book that I just fall in love with.  The Muse is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity by Jill Badonsky is my current creative love affair. 

Let’s start with it’s look and feel.  It has a slick cover that just feels good on the hand—a little different than most books.  It is a soft-cover but not flimsy.  It’s an unusual size at just under 7” x 9” that packs a punch.

The whimsical cover features a lime green and purple background showing the top of a head with what appears to be a hat made of clouds, a castle, a ladder to the moon and a sparkly, flowery, spiral-doodled fairy.  What a wonderful way to attract a dreamer-artist like myself.  Just seeing and feeling it made me want to pick it up and open it.  In this case, you could judge a book by its cover!

muse is in
Isn't this a lovely cover? (copyright Jill Badonsky)
Then the magic really began.  The slick, often full color pages just invite jumping in and puddling about.  Nearly every page is dripping with delightful ideas and inspiration to get creativity flowing.  Badonsky’s writing style is intimate and friendly, without being gushy.  It is informative and instructive, without being pushy.

There is something reminiscent in this book of SARK’s many creative books—which were some of the first full color (though in a different way) creative inspiration books I came across more than 25 years ago.

I have to admit that not since SARK, Orbiting the Giant HairballThe War of Art or A Whack on the Side of the Head have I gotten this excited about a creative book.  I don’t want to be a spoiler, but suffice it to say that this book feeds the hungry soul and is a dip into cool water for the thirsty creative.   It is in no way intimidating in its suggestions or ideas for expanding creativity.  And though the book has been out on the market since January 2013, I believe it will hold relevance for artists of all types, including writers, for many years to come.

Having a project management background in a former incarnation myself, I truly appreciate her Kaisen-Muse small step approach to projects.  Take baby steps.  And yes, I already subscribed to this idea before her (in project management terms we call this chunking) and others, including SARK, who talk about taking baby steps.  Still, I believe additional reminders to be kind and take small steps toward the completion of any goal or project is certainly in order for most creative types who tend to push-push-push in a labor of love without regard to the consequences—which often include flopping into bed for weeks at a time without being able to pull the covers off of one’s face.

If there is a drawback to this book, it might be that the font and font size used for the majority of the text feels small (although I am sure that it is at least 12 point).  I wish the font had serifs. Though it looks “cleaner,” it certainly is not easier to read.  For those of us crafters whose eyes now require assistance, I had to pull out my cheaters so that the lines of text didn’t swim together.

Beyond that one concern (which of course, is personal to me but might be of no consequence to other readers with better eyesight), this is a true gem of a book which I highly recommend to those who 1) sometimes want a gentle push into a new direction 2) need a kick in the pants to get creatively moving or 3) just don’t believe they have any creativity inside themselves.

I also recommend Badonsky’s website.  Personally, I’m off to purchase her first book, The Awe-Manac.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Umpteenth Iteration Wise Words on Art Studio Renovation

I'm renovating yet another space for my art studio.  Every time I move, I have to start over.  It's been a little over a year since we moved here and we started working on renovations in March.  It's slow going as we are making the changes in our "free time."
The inside of my Florida studio door!
I feel like this is the Umpteenth Iteration of my art studio.  Let me give you a better picture of this...when I first began doing art, I had a smallish desk that I worked at.  This evolved into a larger desk.  Then I moved to a different state. After a year at that location, I had a set of shelves and a door that I used for painting--oh, and a table, but I didn't really use the table much--it sort of was more my catch-all for stuff.

Then I moved (in state but closer to where I did most of my social and work activities).  And I took a week long painting retreat wherein I came home utterly inspired and altered my smallish dining room into a full blown painting studio--at this point I was mostly doing tempera and acrylic painting.

Then I moved (still in state but needed a place with a better cost of living situation).  And I altered a bedroom into my art studio--again, mostly doing painting, but also starting to collage and make assemblages from found items.  I also began collecting art related books.

Then I moved to a different state when my sweetheart got a new job.  I had a room and instead of painting, found myself doing more collage and assemblage.  Due to a gift horse, I was able to finally buy a glass kiln and get my glass art studio set up.  And began taking some stained and fused glass classes.

Then I moved to a different state due to a job transfer.  I made our extra room into my art studio.  I painted, I made hundreds of Artist Trading Cards, and did stained and fused glass creations. Continued taking stained and fused glass classes.

Studio in Maryland--focus on glass work and ATCs
Then we moved to a different state due to a family health issue.  I made one of the extra rooms into my art studio--I did everything--painting, collage, textile collage, assemblage in there.  And wow!  bonus, we had a second house courtesy of my sweetie's job and I set up my glass studio there--where I later acquired an enameling kiln.  Being within 40 minutes of Thompson's Enamels, I took MANY enameling classes and acquired enameling materials.
Studio at House #1 in Ohio, focus on EVERYTHING creative

While functioning out of these two studios, I discovered a wonderful little community art center that had studio spaces for rent at VERY reasonable prices.  I had begun making so much art that I didn't have room to store it all and I decided this would be a good way to start getting my name out there and selling my art. So I transformed the empty space into yet another art studio.  Then I added a second studio there as a classroom space.  And shortly after that the Pendleton Art Center in Middletown was announced and I was the very first artist to sign up for a studio--I rented the largest space with the most window area that I could get.  And I closed down the studios at the smaller art center and most everything from my two home studios. But first, I had to renovate the room--including painting the walls, putting in vinyl flooring, and installing counters and shelves everywhere.  It was a labor of love and I ADORED this studio.  (at one point I had art supplies spread out in five different studios!!)

My sweet studio at OCAC in Ohio
My lovely studio and classroom at Pendleton Art Center in Middletown Ohio *sigh*
I STILL miss it so very much.

Then we moved again due to a job transfer.  For about 8 months, I had no real studio space at my disposal and my studio at Pendleton was still rented. As I went and closed it up, we installed an outdoor storage building that we added electric to, added AC and installed my shelving and cabinets.  It was VERY crowded, and VERY buggy--many frogs, spiders, lizards and even at one point a small black snake.  Also the AC got jammed up with frogs (ewww!) so the studio was very hot!

The partially organized studio in Ocala Florida in the Froggy Station Storage House
I had just gotten everything moved into our two extra bedrooms (just couldn't take the wildlife creatures in my studio or the heat) and was just beginning to use the spaces, when a job change happened and we moved to a different city.
Beginning to organize glass room in the Ocala FL house after giving up on Froggy Station

Which brings me to the present. For this first year, most of my art supplies have been in storage although I have increasingly brought more and more stuff to the house until it's a fifty-fifty split between storage and the house.  Much of it is currently stacked up in the screen room we are renovating into my art studio.
Installing ceiling insulation in FL studio space
YAY!  AC installed. MUST HAVE otherwise too sweltering to work.
Lovely buttercream yellow walls, the turquoise door and the ceiling fully insulated.

This umpteenth iteration of studio renovation includes having to find 7 windows at a reasonable price, a door, insulation for walls and ceiling, drywalling, painting, installing ac, lighting and fans, and installing cabinets/counters and shelves.  I'm beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel and it is fully my intention to remain at this location until I'm able to buy a home where I want to live and have OTHERS do the studio renovation.

I am now an expert at how to create and re-create an art studio and how to renovate it on the cheap (this screen room renovation includes two ceiling fans, a second hand AC unit, a free door, 7 used windows, insulation, drywall and outside siding.

I'm ready to focus all this creative energy into my art work and art businesses. Word to the Wise:  If you plan to renovate a room into an art studio, realize that it may not happen in a day, a week or even a year. Best practice?  Work with an empty room instead of trying to work around stuff stored in the room--even if that means renting storage space temporarily, the cost will be worth the savings in headaches and slow progress.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I met my metrics today!

It occurred to me today that as an artist, I do not live by the same sort of metrics, benchmarks or standards that those who work a more traditional J-O-B or corporate position do.  Having been a member of the corporate rat race prior to choosing to be a full time artist, I learned to calculate my successes based upon my productivity as measured by the goals I reached each day.

This method of determining whether or not I was on par with what needed to be done or not was further ingrained by my choice of career as a project manager--which is basically a juggling act between time, money and resources to meet required outcomes.

As an artist, this sort of thinking is counter-productive.  How do I measure the success of my day when the many tasks I do on the significant number of projects I work to decide whether the day was productive or a success?

Not sure what I mean?  Well okay, I spent one hour today brainstorming for a new project, 3 hours typing up another project proposal, spoke with a shop owner where I consign some of my jewelry, did some dry wall work on my studio renovation, caulked a leaky ledge, around the newly installed AC and swept up debris from construction.  I also cleaned two separate pieces of furniture, re-secured all loose legs and edges, spray painted both items and fabricated the two pieces into a single display stand.  I scheduled a week's worth of social media.  I prepped 25 items for consignment.

That's in addition to doing some replanting of some plants in my garden, cleaning a flower bed, exercising the dog, and making dinner.

I realized that nontraditional as my days are--mostly unscheduled where the average worker-bee might not know that I'd been busy and not sitting on my chaise lounge eating bon-bons--I have had a busy day, and as I write this now, I realize, it still isn't over.  I'll probably do some art research tonight online and on Pinterest and Etsy.  I still have to do the dishes and fold a load of laundry, feed the dog and 3 cats and shower.

I am going to be kind to myself when I feel like I have not "done enough."  This sort of thinking is not conducive to self-care.  It also is a creativity killer.  I will learn to say, "I met my metrics today!"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Check Out the Art Lesson Videos Tab

Somethings NEW on the Bohemian Art Buffet.  See that tab in the header that says Video Art Lessons?

Click on that link.  You'll find our very first YouTube video art lesson.

I've been teaching art for more than 10 years now.  So, it was time.  I'm learning fast about the video editing process so our next video will be a little cleaner than the first one.  Still, we hope you enjoy learning new techniques.

I won't just be focusing on art journaling.  Every once in a while I may throw in some other tidbit or tip or other medium or craft.

Plans are to get one video on YouTube (and here) every single week.  If I'm having a really good week, there may be more than one video.  Please enjoy, share our YouTube and Blog site with your friends and subscribe so you won't miss any of the new shows.  Hey, if you like it, please let me know and give me the thumbs up on YouTube.

Friday, March 7, 2014

CrowdSourcing to Share Art

I think I may have mentioned at some time in past blogs that I wish we (the world at large) could transcend our current consciousness and expand into a StarTrekian consciousness where everyone gets to do work they enjoy and are suited for, machines do the dirty work no one wants to do, and everyone has more than enough of everything they need to live a full and completely expressive life.  Unfortunately, we aren't there.

We all know that arts funding was one of the first casualties and has continued to be bled dry over the past 40 years and especially within the past 10.  Educational monies disappeared and art class and band got canceled.  Then art museums and other public art venues began to struggle to stay relevant--the least of which is the Corcoran (one of my favorite places to visit when I lived in Washington D.C.) which is currently being sold out to the highest bidder.  Top the fact that our funding dollars both at a national level and at an individual level are being shelled out to other agendas with the fact that our disposable income shrinks in what seems to be daily doses. Have you gone grocery shopping lately?  It's not quite to the point where I need the wheel barrow full of useless paper money to buy a loaf of bread, but figuratively it seems to be getting quite shockingly similar.  The already rich, of course, have hidden their dollars well and lined their mattresses apparently with their gold coin because while the world struggles to get by, art sales at auction are skyrocketing with the prices that pieces are fetching.

Okay, so I try not to get too political or to spend too much time on these bleak details.  I merely wish to point out that the opportunities that the average American has to experience art and be a part of art production seems to be shrinking.  Perhaps that is just one perspective and in fact the opportunities are richer than ever before.  It is certainly my contention that artists are clever folk and being creative, tend to find ways to express and exhibit their works whether the funds exist or not.  I cite here the many yarn bombings and astounding street art exhibits that, should one look close enough, can be found in many cities across the nation.

All that being said, we at Bohemian Art Cafe have pledged ourselves to our partner in art life, Artify Projects, to assist in a very specific way to bring "more art to more cities and more venues" where the public can experience, view and participate in art. We think this is a highly worthy goal.  We personally have taken on the task of trying to crowd source the funding for a new "food trailer" style travel trailer for a mobile art gallery for Artify Projects.  Their rather old, rather unsuited traveling art gallery (a very time-worn cargo trailer that will not allow a man over 5'10" to stand comfortably without the fear of whacking his head) has been fine for the needs up until now.  However, with the growth of the organization and the expanded number of projects for the year as well as the increase in the number of art show exhibition dates, cities and venues, they really need a traveling art gallery that is more suitable.
A worthy goal at any time!http://www.artifyprojects.com

While Artify Projects will show at venues that are decidedly artful such as community and university art galleries, they also have a goal of making art available to "Every One" (in pre-Politically Correct times that might have been Every Man).  That means they need a mobile gallery that can be pulled up into the parking lots of partnering grocery stores, libraries, city park parking lots, restaurants, and pretty much anywhere that people gather so that more they can reach their stated goal of "more projects in the hands of more people, seen in more cities, in more venues, over more dates."

The cost of a brand new, fully loaded "food truck" style trailer can run upwards of $25,000.  We know that may not be reasonable or practical at this time.  But we also know that a gently-used, in need of a little TLC mobile trailer that requires minor renovations can be had and renovated for about $10,000.  In some instances less (do you have a lovely food truck sitting in a garage that you aren't using and want to sell for a song as a patron of the arts?).  We have a talented team of individual sponsors who are capable and want to renovate such a gently used trailer.  If you have a little disposable income (any amount moves us closer to our goal) then we would be so grateful for your contribution to our crowd sourced funding project.  Go to Go Fund Me and donate what you can.  For every donor who contributes at least $25, if you want your name included in our Thank You to our Donors panel, it will be.  This is one of my personal goals--to assist them in bringing more art to the world.

I know this won't feed any starving children nor give a home to a desperately needy animal, but it will help to stir the imaginations and creative hearts of those whose lives the mobile art gallery touches.  Won't you please help me meet my goal at http://www.gofundme.com/6pn6rg ?
Concept for "food truck" style mobile art gallery, including Thank You Patron panel.
Probably something different will be the overall end result of the paint job but similar.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How much was that $1 Million Vase worth?

I've been pondering the irony of the fact that Ai Weiwei's art show in Miami was vandalized by local Miami Florida artist Maximo Caminero.  Caminero took one of the ancient, priceless Han Dynasty Chinese vases (apparently owned by Ai WeiWei, not China or its people) that Ai Weiwei's art team, under Weiwei's direction, vandalized by painting bright colored paint and he (Caminero) smashed the vases on the ground into smithereens.  

One could possibly call this performance art.  Or art imitating art.  

If you know nothing about Ai WeiWei, you might be surprised to learn that Ai and his team of artisan assistants smashed priceless antique vases as a part of a performance art statement that was filmed by Ai's team.  

I was surprised that so few of the reporting agencies that carried the story forgot to mention that this mirrored Ai's own work.  One of the few who actually got this ironic bit was the LA Times. 

Caminero says he did it because he was upset that the Perez Art Museum in Miami.  They apparently have neglected and passed over the local talents of artists who are available for the picking like the ripe fruit Florida is known for, choosing instead to seek out the art of those who are half a world away.

Having viewed Ai WeiWei's film Never Sorry, a 2012 documentary about his works and life, I value his contribution to the world, but I also see Caminero's point.  If more galleries would make more effort to show the works of local artists, the world would be even richer.  

And wouldn't it be delightful if a local gallery in China wanted to showcase a local artist from Miami and it caused a worldwide stir so that that artist's works would sell and become worth millions more than it was before the show.  Maybe, if they were really lucky, someone would come in and slash up the work.  It would make the news and the art prices for that artist would skyrocket.  Additionally, the artist would immediately gain the attention of the Art World as a Very Important Artist.  I'm just saying here that the ironies abound in this situation.

For some reason, Ai Weiwei, who some say is a better activist than artist, inspires other artists to springboard off of him.  For example, in 2011, the television show The Next Great Artist runner up Young Sun Han  used Ai WeiWei to catapult himself into a strong contender position to win the show.   Was his stack of tied up newspapers with the words 
Where is Ai Wei Wei and redaction truly art?  To me, it was. And perhaps the Art World only takes artworks seriously if they either focus on human rights issues or artists that do a figurative nose thumbing to the rules of the Art World.

Here is a very interesting report about Ai WeiWei's reaction to the destruction of the vase. The actions truly raises some serious questions for the Art World.  I particularly liked this quote "However, Mr Ai, 56, also believes that something positive may come out of the incident, namely more publicity for the art show in Miami, which so far has attracted little attention.   Now the show will be noticed," he said.  So practical of Ai.  I'm sure his show will now garner far more than the $1 Million that the broken vase was worth.

I have only one other question.  The artwork that Caminero smashed is reportedly worth $1 Million.  Is this what it was worth before Ai vandalized it by painting it?  Just curious.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself

truth page, (c)SZing 2013
King of Hearts page (c)SZing 2013
Brink of Ruin page, (c)SZing 2013

We seem to live in a culture of apathy.  Or maybe it's laziness.  I'm not sure.  We are comfortable and it's easier to sit on the couch and watch TV than it is to commit to a project.

But I've found a set of projects that really stir my creative blood up and get my creative juices going.  It started with a participatory public art project through Artify Projects.  I was looking for a something where I could explore art journaling and I was also wanting to art where I might get some exposure in an art show since I moved away from the mainstays of my art show locations.  As it turns out, the Inspiritus Art Journal Project 2013 did just that.  Here are a couple of my collage art pages from that journal.
Glass Windows Page, (c)SZing 2013
Goddess page, (c)SZing 2013

Scribble Hand page, (c) SZing 2013

Body Electric page (c)SZing 2013

The project last year was seen in several cities last year including Atlanta GA and Cincinnati OH.  I loved that I created my own individual artwork and it was uniquely my own take on inspirations and things that make me go, Hmmmm.  And then I sent it in to the project organizers, Artify Project.  They confirmed receipt of the art journal and then they made arrangements for it to be included in their art shows.  It was exciting.  I loved that my art was included with hundreds of other artists as a whole show and yet there were so many individual parts to the show.

And I loved it so much that I'm participating again this year in Inspiritus Art Journal Project 2014.  The art journal kit is about 5" x 7" and includes 40 pages.  That isn't a terribly difficult to achieve goal or commitment.  I even was able to do much of my journaling on the couch while "watching" TV with my sweetie.  The added benefit, as if just the creative aspect AND inclusion in an exhibition were not enough, is that as a result of my participation my art journaling has continued in its evolution.  I can't wait to see where my journal this year will take me. And I can't wait to see where my journal will get to go.

So if you've been apathetic, want something that is relatively low stress/low demands to work on and want to be able to be a part of something bigger than yourself, I highly recommend Artify Projects.  I found them so valuable that I've even committed Bohemian Art Cafe to be a sponsor of several of the projects to assist with marketing and preparation for the shows. They have other projects open for participation and will unveil additional projects throughout the year.  Get off the couch, get signed up and then you can cuddle back up with your artwork. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Art Journal Journey

A friend of mine asked me recently, "WHY do you journal?"  There are multiple reasons:

1.  It is a quick and easy way to do something creative if you don't have time to get more involved in another art project.

2.  It is portable.  I can take it traveling with minimal supplies and still get in my creative time.

3.  It is a way to express myself.

4.  If I don't do SOMETHING creative every day, I get cranky and this is an easy fix. (Friends and family appreciate this, believe me!)

5.  I can work on my art journals in small pieces.  I don't have to do everything on a page at one time and 
can work on developing elements a little bit at a time.  (If I'm making dinner and waiting on something, I can doodle a border or paint a background page for example.)

6.  I can use it to artfully doodle if I am bored or need to relax.  Never Underestimate the Power of the Doodle.

7.  It's a great creative thing to do when watching TV--my significant other likes me to watch TV with him, but I'm one of those people who has a difficult time just sitting there doing nothing.  We both stay happy.

8.  When a page or a journal book is complete, it can be a true work of art and a body of work.

9.  It helps me to develop skills as an artist.  I have developed my own style through art journaling.

10.  I can play and try new mediums and techniques without fear of "messing up" something more important.

11.  It is a pictorial way of me to connect with certain events or times in my life.

12.  It doesn't take forever to read.  And I want to look back through them more often.  I don't have to capture every moment of every day or even every day.  

13.  I don't feel guilty if I miss a day or month or even a year of journaling.

14.  It tends (for me) to focus on the more positive aspects of life.

15.  It is a great activity to do with a women's group--everyone brings their art journal and via chatter and connection we also each work on our own works of art.

16.  It is fun.  If it isn't fun, why do it?

I have journaled since I was very young--probably right after I learned how to write words.  I didn't have much to say then and I can tell you my handwriting was atrocious.  My biggest worries were what to play after school with my friend Teresa or whether or not I'd have to do dishes that night.  Not earth shattering stuff, but, maybe, from an archaeological or sociological stand point, the stuff of life.

There are four banker's boxes filled with my journals in storage.  They have traveled everywhere I have traveled.  My journals have logged more miles than some people ever do in a lifetime.  I'm slowly going through those journals and shredding the pages.  I only keep the pages that have true significance to me.  I've given up my grandiose idea that someday those journals spilling my secrets from when I was 12 at camp El Deseo are going to be important to posterity.  The pages that I keep, I can incorporate into my current art journals.

In the past 10 years, I've transitioned from the strictly written journal to the more expressive art journal.  My first art journal really sort of looked more like what they call a scrap book or a "treasure map."  I wasn't very practiced at collage and I really didn't know how to go about creating the visions I had in my head.

(c) Szing. Journal 2001

(c) SZing. Journal 2001

I played around with using digital pages and then pasted them into my journal book.  I also discovered white gelly roll pens.   I still found that most of my art journal pages tended to be heavily laden with text.

(c) SZing. Art journal page 2001

So I continued to create art journal pages.  
(c) SZing, Art Journal page 2003

I discovered that making the transition from text to art was more challenging than I had expected.  I relied heavily on my digital artwork, which I was able to create via a plethora of photographs I've taken over the years.  Still...the journal pages were still feeling encumbered and heavy to me.

I went for a minimalist approach next.
(c) SZing.  Art Journal page 2010

Like any art endeavor, it takes time to develop a "voice" and a "style."  

With years of practice, I've gotten to a place where I mostly like my art pages and feel they are expressing from my heart zone without requiring a lot of interpretation or exploration.  When I create the pages, I am in that creative zone where time stops and I am just humming along.  

Now I teach classes.  If you are in Florida anywhere near the Space coast or Orlando, you might want to check out the Art Journal Sampler Class or the Inspirational Art Journaling--the Divine Art of Journaling on the First Saturday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m. or 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. respectively at The Funky Trunk Treasures, 222 Woodland Blvd in Deland, FL during 2014.

(c) SZing. Art Journal Page 2013

(c) SZing. Art Journal Page 2013

(c) SZing. Art Journal page 2013
In 2014, there are big things ahead for my art journals...one of my art journals, The Art of Words, will be on an art show tour from Brooklyn, NY to Los Angeles, CA throughout the year.

(c) SZing, 2013 The Art of Words Art Journal Book
I also am participating in a participatory art journal project where my journals will be included in a digital library and traveling art exhibitions in 2015 through Artify Projects.  I've just registered and am gathering ideas for it.  This project is called InspiritUS.  There is still time to register for this art journal project (through April 30, 2014) if you want your artwork to be included in the digital library and go on tour.  I'm hoping to be selected as one of the artists featured in Art Outside the Box ezine as a result.

My last reason for art journaling?  It just feels great.  Makes me feel like a kid again--in a good way.

Friday, January 24, 2014

An Ode to Geeks, Nerds and TechnoWizards!

I've been working on updating Bohemian Art Cafe, this blog, and doing all sorts of other social networking "junk."  I call it junk because (in the style of Bones from Star Trek) "Dammit Jim, I'm an Artist, Not a TechnoWizard!"

I so relate!  This is how my head feels when I do "junk."
I had planned to blog yesterday, but alas, technology burps, hiccups and farts just got the better of me and I was, as they say, "down for the count."  My website had turned into a cemetery page of broken links. I couldn't get into my blog.  I was just plain frazzled by the end of the day. I admit, it was operator error. I kept wishing there was an "UNDO" button I could hit and everything would go back to normal.  *sigh*
My initial reaction when it went kattywhumpis
My next impulse.  BTW, THIS doesn't fix it.
Ah. The Grief Stage Sets In.
The last thing I did was send out an SOS in the form of a TechnoWizard forum and post my issue/problem.

Then I went and had dinner, zoned out in front of the telly and tried not to think about the world wide web catastrophe that my Internet life had become. Drama, drama, drama. After a somewhat successful 3 hour respite (okay, I checked to see if I had gotten any replies a few times on the forum in those 3 hours), I felt a little calmer and relaxed.
People who read this and know what it means must be very, very special!
 (besides just knowing it is binary code. DUH.)
I started surfing the Internet to find out what other people had done who had had similar website boo-boos. Lo and behold, imagine my joy to discover I was not the only one who had made a monumental error when inputting some data.

Where's Neo when you need him?
I must now bow down in the I'm Not Worthy Stance to the Geeks, the Nerds and the TechnoWizards who had the answers.  AND who made their instructions so easy to follow that by the time I finished changing the phpMyAdmin database options and values and the fix actually worked (how's that for picking up the TechnoBabble?), I have to say that I felt like there was a teensy-tiny TechnoWizard (TW) at the center of my soul.  If I can just work smart, I'm sorry to say that my TW probably won't get to see much light of day--but it is so comforting to know that I can actually self-correct my programming technobabble issues. And if art doesn't pan out, I always have a fall-back plan.

Praying helps.  Please oh, please, let the answer be here somewhere. 

I Love Geeks, Nerds and TechnoWizards. I'll never deny it again. I thought it was prudent to say "All Hail to the TechnoGods" today as without them, we'd all be in a dark soup of government style bulletin board postings or still sending snail mails.
If I knew any TechnoWizards in person, I'd give them a big hug and
maybe even a smooch today. Or at least a pocket protector.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Art Museum Bucket List

I have lived in a number of locations in the continental US, and visited over 40 states.  I've lived in very small towns and I've lived in staggering large metropolis (Washington DC).  I've visited many cities and many art museums and galleries.

One of the attractive aspects in the positive column for choosing to live in certain locations is the "charm" factor.  Now I'll grant that charm is a fairly nebulous term to throw out there and is highly subjective.  But one of the factors that add to the charm of a place for me is the architecture.
Santa Fe Museum of Art
Not having been there in over 7 years, I'm sure it has changed somewhat, but the Southwestern style adobe architecture of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for example, is one of the charming aspects of that area, not to mention the amazing blue sky and the unbeatable light factor (okay, the sunsets and the green chile are pretty darn fabulous also!).  The delightful art deco buildings of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, along with the mild temperatures, the ever-growing community of artists and musicians make it a cultural mecca of the South. Who woulda thought?
Asheville Art Museum
I find it very challenging to live in cities where the building are simply concrete and glass boxes that are purely functional.  BORING. I know there must be people who like this look, or maybe more to the point, people just aren't paying any attention.  Surely it cannot cost more to construct a building that at least has some aesthetic value to the structure as it does a boring utilitarian box.  Thinking about architecture and how it affects my personal affection for a given locale has made me think about art and the museums where art is housed.  I'm sure there are architects who don't believe that their architecture should be attracting attention in an artistic way.  My question? Why the hell not?

Much to my absolute delight over the past decades, I've seen a continuing trend in art museums to not only house artworks, but to be a beacon of art in and of themselves.

Here is a gallery of some of my favorites.  Some I have been to already, but I hope to eventually get a chance to visit all of them and I encourage you to visit them if you are in the area as well.  I'm sure I've missed some but I will try to remedy that.  And, call me crazy, but see if you don't agree that these museums are works of art that definitely must add to the charm factor of their hometowns.

Akron (Ohio) Museum of Art

Datong Museum of Art China

Museum of Contemporary Art Washington DC

Museum of Art Denver (Colorado)
Dubai Museum of Art

Museum of Art Hong Kong (China)

Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation (France)

Museum of Art, Minneapolis (Minnesota)

Museum of Art, Milwaukee (Wisconsin)

Guggenheim Museum of Art in Bilbao (Spain)

Museum of Art in Brazil

Centre Pompidou Metz in France

Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis (Minnesota...again)
Apartment building in Budapest (Turkey)
Okay, that last one is a cheat.  It's not an art museum.  But, in my opinion, IT SHOULD BE.  What a great way to attract visitors!  And I don't know what is going on in Minneapolis but they seem to really have it going on.  Perhaps they focus on art to forget about the frigid cold winters?  If there is a bucket list for artists, then these museums are definitely on the "get to see them" list!