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Saturday
Jan242015

2015 Book List

The 2015 List of Possibilities

Stats: In 2014 I read 34 books. 2013: 37. 2012: 36. 2011: 20. 2010: 30. There are 153 books on my TO READ shelf at Goodreads plus 6 I'm currently reading. This time last year, there were 142. Disclaimer: Books are added + deleted. This is an annual tradition at Daisy Yellow. 

Just started Jill Berry's Map Art Lab and if you are a cartography lover or enjoy using maps or map-inspiration in your art, you'll love this one. I'm also reading Cathy Johnson's Artist's Journal Workshop. I thought I'd read it years ago, but apparently not. The author discusses a bunch of different options for journaling, with a focus on journaling objects and scenery with ink & watercolor, w/examples from different artists. 

Creative Books on my List for 2015

Map Art Lab, Berry
How to Make a Journal of Your Life, Price
Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art, New
A World of Artist Journal Pages, Sokol
Collage, Assemblage, and Altered Art, Maurer-Mathison
Color: A Natural History of the Palette, Finlay
The Art of Urban Sketching, Campanario
Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms, Golden
Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting, Bernard, Capon
Artist's Journal Workshop, Johnson

Creative Books that I Recommend!

The Creative License and An Illustrated Life, Gregory
Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself, Harrison {a journal} 
1,000 Artist Journal Pages, Sokol 
Creative Illustration Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists, Dunn
Journal Spilling, Trout 
An Illustrated Life (Artist Journals + Sketchbooks), Gregory
The Art Journal Workshop, Bunkers
Color Mixing Bible, Sidaway
Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art, Hinchcliff
How to Be an Explorer of the World, Smith
Personal Geographies, Berry
The Collage Workbook, Plowman
Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists, Sonheim 
The Journal Junkies Workshop, Scott, Modler
4 A.M. Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises, Kiteley

Thursday
Jan222015

Perfect and Imperfect and Everything in Between

5x8" moleskine, doodles in gelly rolls, found items, washi tape, colored pencils, photographs, inktense blocks, stickers. 

It's useful to step back and take a macro view of our creative endeavors. What is the point, the goal? With your lines, your brush strokes, your photographs, your words? Where are you headed? What do you want to accomplish? This is a question that only you can answer. No-one else gets to decide for you. I think that there is value in working in both spaces, in working to improve our skills and also in playing!

A) Sometimes there is value in working to perfectly replicate or represent something. To draw an accurate foot, characterize a basketball player in 50 words or less, symbolize a dream, develop a 5-7-5 haiku about distopian fiction, solve a math problem accurately to the 7th decimal.

B) Yet it is also rewarding to play, to approximate something. To have fun with the experience but not worry about the results, to be purposely imperfect, to get close to something but not reach it, to estimate. To get to some point of good enough. Abstractions. Painting rainbows for the sake of painting rainbows. 

Tuesday
Jan202015

Prompt60 #20

9x12" drawing paper, Sharpie ultra-fine markers, 2007

When I started doing art in 2007, I was still a financial analyst and so it's probably not a surprise that my earliest journal pages were pretty detailed and analytical! I have a very clear memory of the way that this page began. My daughters and I went to Starbucks after school and I handed each of them a drawing journal and put a huge pile of Sharpies in the center of the table and we sat there munching on treats and drawing. I pulled things out of my purse and the store looking for interesting typography to draw.

Art Prompt: Go into your pantry and grab a bunch of items with interesting typography. Sketch the words from the product packaging, squeezing to fit a bunch of different items on your page. Turn the page as needed to give yourself drawing space. The goal is not technical accuracy but to NOTICE the fonts, the way the words are spaced, the composition, etc. Consider a can of Campbell's soup, a pack of gum, a bag of coffee beans and the name of your breakfast cereal. Add little doodles if you wish.

Tuesday
Jan202015

Prompt60 #19

"The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas,
and throw the bad ones away."
Linus Pauling

Art Prompt. Let's use our documentation journal to show the design process for a doodle pattern. One of the nice things about this sort of open-ended experimentation journal is that you can add rough ideas that are not fully formed. The prompt is to design a doodle or repeating pattern. You can put the entire evolution of your idea in your journal {as in my examples below}.

Ideas for inspiration or starting points include a wrought iron gate, stone path, a collection of feathers, and silverware. If you wish, create a doodle design from this photograph of a terra cotta wall.

When I look at something, I try to see the core lines that make up the thing. I don't use Photoshop to design doodles, but this is a way to show YOU what you "could" see if you squint and look for the key lines in a pattern or a photograph.

Disclaimer: You do NOT need Photoshop to do this prompt, no worries about that. I'm simply using Photoshop to "show" you how you might take a photograph and re-imagine it as a pattern. I've revised the ideas from a 2010 post called "Design-a-Doodle" for this prompt. 

My tips are to look at your photograph from a distance, upside down, squint, whatever it takes to trick your eyes into seeing the major lines and then using them to start a doodle. Draw a row of empty boxes and in each box, try a variation of the original lines. 

I took this photograph along a sunny corridor in a museum a few years ago and loved the diagonals created by the tables. On the right, above, I used the "glowing edges" filter in Photoshop to show you those lines. [For Photoshop lovers, the path-is... Filter - Filter Gallery- Stylize - Glowing Edges.

Here's a sketch from my journal showing how the doodle pattern evolved. 

This is a detailed shot of a wood timber showing the lines in the wood grain.

The next doodle extravaganza started with a knock-out rose.

I used the "glowing edges" filter again to try to differentiate the lines.

OK, your turn! Start with a photograph and design a doodle! Draw it in your journal over and over again!

Tuesday
Jan202015

Prompt60 #18

Paint a subdued page in your art journal which includes colors you might find in a utilitarian cement basement or a metro station. Limit your colors to silver, black, gray, silver, Payne’s gray and white.

Monday
Jan192015

Prompt60 #17

"I have come to believe that there are infinite
passageways out of the shadows,
infinite vehicles to transport us into the light."
Martha Beck

Loose 9x12" art journal page from 2008 where I devised some Happiness Instructions. It is pinned to the inspiration board in my office. With a real pin! The base is drawing paper with black gesso and the materials include Neocolors, fluid acrylics, a map, receipts, textbook, ticket stubs, scrapbook paper. The title is in Sharpie paint marker outlined with black PITT pen. The instructions are in black PITT pen doodled with gellyrolls {I don't think you can see these in the photograph, they are the sparkly kind}. 

Creative Prompt. Make a journal page where key element is a list. Write directly on your journal page or write on loose paper and stick it into your journal with washi tape. You might write your very own Happiness Instructions, a list of favorite cartoon characters or favorite scents.

 If you are just getting started with art or drawing, I want to recommend Danny Gregory's book The Creative LicenseI keep it in my drawer of books to read again and again. The topic is drawing, yes, but it's not a how-to book about drawing. It is a book about seeing, a book about giving yourself permission {license} to create. 

Another book that is great at giving you permission is Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star. There's a bit of woo-woo fluffy stuff but if you can handle that it is a marvelous book. My absolute favorite part has to do with not letting "everyone" {even an imaginary "everyone"} control your creative choices.

PS. At the Create Mixed Media blog you can find my guest post Allow Space for Journaling.