Friday, January 31, 2014

Friends and Faux

Waaaaay back in early October, Gina sent me an "add & pass" postcard.
It is part of the Friends & Faux Filatelic Bureau's postcard project, in which each person who receives it adds their own ArtiStamp and then sends it out to someone else.  Eventually all cards should return back to F&F.
It took me almost two months to finally sit down and create my own series of stamps, and once I finally did,  I couldn't decide who to pass it to, so there it sat, for two more months.
It's truly embarrassing.

But here it is:

It's a great project, and I'm grateful to Gina (who makes amazing inspiring stamps and shares them generously) for giving me the kick I needed to make my own.  It really wasn't that hard.  I don't have photoshop or other fancy photo-editing software - I just imported images of my art into a word document and used the "text box" feature to add the postage amounts and other words.  I then shrunk the whole picture to a suitable size, and copied and pasted it a whole bunch of times to make a full sheet.
Here are some of the others I've made so far.

 These all started as small collages I made for the index-card-a-day challenge last summer.  I just imported the scanned images into Word.  
I'm excited to learn more about ArtiStamp making at Ex Postal Facto (which starts two weeks from today!!!!!)
I'm sure I will come home fired up to make more.

 For now, this Friends and Faux postcard needs its next stamp.
Anybody want to play along?  First person to comment with a "Yes" will be the next in line.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

November series

This is a series I created back in November that I never blogged about.
Like with any series, there are some I like a lot better than others, but I find that my personal favorites are not always what others are drawn to, so I'm sharing the whole lot.

When I made them, I was feeling quite discouraged because they are so heavily influenced by the work I did in two different on-line classes.

There was a lot of hand-wringing and despair over being derivative, not having a voice, being stuck in a rut, and having no original ideas.

It's taken me a good two months to accept that I am just making excuses.  No amount of sitting back and whining is going to magically bring forth a fresh, never-before-seen approach to art.

The only way out is through.

Roll the paint

Pull the print.

Immerse yourself in the process.

Worry less about results.

Focus more on joyful experience.

When something works, do it again.
When it doesn't, cover it up.

When you're done, stick the whole batch in the mail and start again. 

Do the work. 

Nothing will change if you don't show up.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

working in series

Sometimes I get on a roll when I'm making backgrounds.
January 2nd & 3rd were snow days here in Massachusetts, and I sat down with dozens of blank cards, my gelli plate, and a palette of blue, black and white paint.
Hours passed, and the wet mono-printed cards blanketed every surface of my studio, while the snow worked that same magic outdoors.

The first dozen were emblazoned with bold "2014" stamps, and then I ran out of steam.  I've never been much for a holiday theme.

It took several more snowy weekends, but I feel like I really hit my stride with this series, and I'm glad I had so many backgrounds to work with.

Liberal use of circles stamped on tissue paper, handwriting on transparencies, and found text from my magical box of words.

Show up.
Do the work.
Watch what unfolds.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2013 in review

At the beginning of January I did some of the customary “looking back, looking forward” kinds of exercises.  Reflecting on 2013, I felt it was kind of a lack-luster year.  Don't get me wrong, I know I am fortunate.  It was a year without significant strife or pain and we were healthy, comfortable, and generally content.  Yet I didn’t feel I could account for the year.  What did I accomplish?  What did I have to show for it?  Had my burning drive to create been reduced to an ember?

Yesterday, I read Tammy’s impressive “list of creative stuff from 2013” and it reminded me of a few things I did last year, and got me wondering about all the other things I may have forgotten.  I sat down in the pre-dawn hours today and began to compile my own list.  

In 2013 I.....
  • Wrote 84 blog posts for I Am Rushmore
  • Hosted 45 different swaps on “Mail Me Some Art” 
    (did you catch that?  I logged, photographed, posted, sorted, and mailed 2,547 pieces from 125 different artists all over the world!)
  • Had a postcard included in an article about mail art in Featuring Magazine

  • Sold my first painting

  • Visited the postal museum in Washington DC

  • Took a 10 week collage class with local artist, friend and inspiration, Catherine Weber


  • Won Tammy’s Gaudiest Journal Page contest

  • Spoke to a group of women about my artistic journey
  • Hosted three different art dates at my house
  • Sold two hand-bound journals (for a cause)

  • Read 32 books
  • Created several commissioned pieces of art for my sister’s house

  • Won a spot in Jane Davies’ on-line Extreme Composition class, learned a ton, created an impressive body of work in doing all the exercises, and actually participated in the class blog/discussion

  • Completed my third Index-Card-a-Day challenge

  • And this one

  • Created 322 collages, which was not quite the 365 I set out to create, but they accomplished my goal of giving me focus and practice throughout the year.

  • Completed 52 swaps on Swap-bot.  (This might have been the most surprising number of all to me.  I feel like I’ve pulled way back from swap-bot, but there are a few groups there that I belong to, filled with talented friends like Steph, Mandy, Carroll and Gina, and I keep getting sucked in by their good ideas!)

  • Lit a painting on fire
  • Had three different weekend getaways with women friends
  • Sent sock narwhals “naked” through the mail.

  • Saw 41 movies
  • Filmed my first goofy video for MMSA
  • Carved a bunch of new stamps for myself and others

  • Bought a cheap stencil carving tool and learned to use it

  • Submitted this mail art/book for “Ex PostalFacto”

  • Bought a plane ticket for San Francisco so that I could attend “Ex Postal Facto” and meet some of my favorite artist friends in person in February 2014.
  • Started learning encaustic techniques

And you know why I know all this?
  • I maintained a weekly journaling/documentation practice for the whole year.

Whew!  This is way more than I thought.  It appears the only thing that has changed about my productivity is my perception.  Perhaps because I am so much more comfortable with myself as an artist I almost take it for granted.
This list shows me I'm not really cutting back on art, I am just not experiencing that same  heightened level of emotion as when I was first starting out.  This isn't all bad. The learning curve is not as steep or frustrating.  Fear and dread have (mostly) taken a back seat.   I am more willing to take risks now.
Ok - I see it now - this is progress.

 I also see, from my list of books and movies and outings with friends, that 2013 may have restored some balance for me.  When I "found" art in early 2011, I totally immersed myself.  Obsession is not too strong a word.  I barely read, or cooked, or slept, or went out.  Every spare moment was spent with paint on my hands. It was glorious, and it’s that glittery memory that made me falsely think this was a lack-luster year.  I’m delighted to have books, films, music, food, exercise and other human beings surfacing in my life again, and as this list  has made clear, my creative output hasn’t exactly suffered by allowing them in.
Last year is looking better and better.

 How about you?
Have you made a list of your 2013 accomplishments?
I highly recommend it.
(If you're not convinced, read Hanna's 10 compelling reasons you should.)

I wonder what will be on my list for 2014?
Writing this list will be accomplishment #1.

Plus I might turn this into a t-shirt: