{missing artist returns!}

As you can see, we're switching things up this week. I'll have the live vlog at 4pm on THURSDAY and show some journal pages today.

I've had a doozey of a week. I feel like I need a break from everything even though I haven't been around! For awhile there, looking at the computer screen made my stomach flip flop -- I'm on my laptop now on the couch, using the trackpad and taps since the mouse is broken, and my leg's keeping the one side with the broken hinge from falling over. Such is life. It's kinda hard to use a USB mouse when you're laying on a couch!

Last week, I fell into a terrible flair up, one I kinda saw coming. Note the date on this journal page.


It's quickly become one of my favorite pages, and all I used was paper, scissors, double-sided tape, and watercolor crayons. Crowded, yes, but it gave me an hour and a half of constant distraction, what with all the cutting and taping and random bits of color.

Anyway, I wasn't feeling well, but bounced back. Got back into it. Enjoyed my birthday. Went out with a friend.

But things were more and more painful at the end of the day. I would start a page, and finish it days later. But I need to get things done, get the etsy shop up, pay bills, teach classes. And I like pushing myself, I guess, because I just don't listen.

Wednesday, I decided to FINALLY listen to myself. Took a bath in epsom salts, a candle burning next to me as I tried to fit into my bathtub. Goes to show how long it's been since I've taken one, because, well, I don't fit in a standard American bathtub anymore. Really. When I'd get all myself in, the water level would get up to that little overflow-prevention thingy and start leaking out. Oh, all that warm water going down the drain!

Soaked with a copy of Somerset Studio next to me, put up my hair, and relaxed.

I noticed about four that afternoon that things weren't right. If I looked down, my stomach jumped. I couldn't turn my head. The pain was leaking down my neck to my upper back. By seven, I was sobbing.

And....I emerged on Saturday. I know I watched a lot of DVDs and took my more severe meds, and chatted with people, even made a journal page, but....I have holes. I know the pain was horrible, worse than it has been in awhile. Hell, ever.

last week's Points of Two, done during that hazy time.

I know I felt bad, and kept wanting to go work on stuff, my regular posts, answering emails. And my parents steered me away.

The end, basically, is that I can't work at a desk anymore, hence the broken laptop on the couch. I'm re-evaluating how I can work and make digital media and do web stuff. I'm more angry that I live in a body that restricts me in this way, that I started to actually achieve my dreams and got smacked down. I'm pissed at myself. It's something most can't relate with, and that's what this blog post is -- my venting to a friend. Except it's to a mass of anonymous people online.


So here's my latest page, which I adore, because it's all my favorite colors and shades and pieces and doodles and I FINALLY got the color laser printer to work over the network, and have been playing with Vintage Printable's considerable collection of images. Seriously, have you been there yet? Because there's a ton of eye-candy for use in your journal!

{Journal Thursday: new is defiantly in here in the studio}


the center part of the canvas bit I was working on during Tuesday's vlog.

Yes, tis late, but it is also still Thursday, at least from where I'm sitting, which means I'm still on-time.

Does that make sense? My brain's a bit muddled -- I've been working on images and Yudu stuff since I woke up, and I'm a bit tired and fuzzy on...things.

Thank you ALL for your birthday wishes, whether through a comment here, on the Facebook page, or Twitter -- I got them ALL and they made me feel all warm and fuzzy and special and shiny. You all are truly a community of loving people!

stuck inside

Sometime last week, when I was sitting at my table, something amazing happened:

My style took a large change.

Which was surprising and pleasing to me, as I'd gotten a bit bored and needed something new to pop up. I don't exactly know WHAT changed, rather, I can tell you small bits, the changes in technique I've noticed, but as to what exactly, well, I have no idea. Or why. Those are two of those W words that I can't answer.

And, honestly, don't want to answer. That'd be delving too far into something I'd rather remain intuitive and mysterious. Like if I do get the answers to those questions, it'd ruin the fun. Yes, I'd like to know, but I want to discover them by continuing on down the vein and seeing what pops up.

woke up

I can tell you what I do like. I like the layering of paper. I like the little bits and pieces that have made their way into the page. I like the layering. I like working with paint through the entire process, and not just at certain points. I like adding drawn imagery. I like the dreamy white.

The way I usually create journal pages is this:

Layer of color.
Layer of collage.
Second layer of color, usually spread with my hands.
Second layer of collage.
Bits & words.

But now, paint has become just as important as the paper I'm putting down, and I'm having tons of fun mixing all sorts of colors to use just as I would a scrap of paper. There's a bit more order, I think, but more fun as I try new things. I'm in-love with die-cuts, as you can see, and they're getting their fair share of page-time (like face-time, yet this is fame for paper. they love it.).

I'm just giddy with excitement as I make new things! There are so many ideas bubbling up in my head, I hardly have time for it all. Like now. I have a journal page to make, but there's cake waiting downstairs. Also, the Yudu screen beeped while I was writing this, so I know the screen's ready for me to use. I want to play with that, too!

And yet, there's only a few hours until bed time. Because someone has a class sample to make and an entire store to make it in. Which is exciting, too! So much to make, so little time. But only because I'm constantly changing, evolving, and going with the flow.

But I did scrap my to-do list on Tuesday, which may be why I'm running so late...

{for the love of die-cuts & other cool papercrafting things}

Last Friday, I got to attend a late night Scrap & Crop at the shop were I'm teaching. I've never done this before, mostly because scrapbooking used to make my skin crawl, with all those pre-cut items and packed sets and planning. I love being random, being messy, so planning things out, trying to get things just right usually doesn't jive.

I had an interesting conversation with Jill, my bridge to the scrapbooking world. While going through the first class I'll be teaching, she found it difficult to just let go and put things down without thinking it through. And I find it hard to think out every little piece I'm going to use, move it around until it's right. I think there's something for both of us to learn, there, from each other, and lately, I can see a bit of this papercrafting sensibility bleeding into my own work.

So I'm at this late night crop, doing a demonstration of my upcoming class, and I've decided to go around the room and show off what I've made – a Valentine's Day paper because I couldn't find one I liked and kinda took it as a challenge. I've never done something quite like this before, and was pretty damn proud of what I made, so off I went.

my awesome v-day paper. or pretty pink one with hearts.

 [download the full-size PNG to print and play with!]

This was all really intimidating because I was an outsider who didn't know anyone, and I was walking around with my art in my hands hoping they'd like it. Really. On the internet, I can't see you – so it's not as hard to put my art and such out there for you to look at. But in person? Yeah. You can totally see their faces and they can ignore you or be like, “Oh, I don't like that.” (And I had one person say that and I was all mature and smiled).

Anyway, I'm wandering, of course, nervous and all that – I had a table with my work up on it and was on display, which still gets me, even though I've done it a few times before. And I find the nice big wall displaying all the die-cut shapes they have. And it's a long wall. It caught my attention a few days before because they've got tabs and scallops and all I could think was how awesome it would be to put some papers like that in my next journal.

And I've grabbed some new papers because there is nothing more awesome than to be working on a page and have an entire store at your disposal for that moment when you can't quite find what you need in your own paper stash. Really. This is horribly dangerous because you end up running around and grabbing all sorts of things and go home with more papers than you started out with.

So I have these papers. And I pick out a few shapes from the wall. And I put it all together and POP – there are my shapes cut out, just for me!

OH MY. Instead of searching for labels or journaling bits or shapes, I could make my own.

Of course, I used them as stencils, too, shapes to work around. I've been loving my regular white acrylic paint, the stuff that comes out of a tube – it's so smooth and creamy and blends awesomely. It's the only hard-body or whatever acrylic I have in my collection, and I've been using the papers I die-cut as stenciled to work around.

totally fun, right? see use of past journal page as scrap. oh, yes, i was making collage papers last night.

It's interesting how, even though I've been using scrapping supplies for years, I am now incorporating the basic ideas of paper crafting into my work. Something I didn't like is now opening up a new way of thinking.

And I think that's important. I felt stagnant, like I was just doing the same thing over and over again, and needed something new. Maybe not inspiration, but an unlocking of my brain.

I think we get put in a corner when we think of ourselves as art journalers or mixed-media artists, working with materials and such others have discovered. It's like when royalty wanted to keep the blood pure, they only married within their families. Gross, yes, I know, but I can't think of a better analogy than that to explain what I'm thinking.

Even at the shop I'm teaching at – the jewelry section has their own classes and such, and the scrapbooking section has their own, and no one crosses between the two because they're each entrenched in their own methods and materials. Except there's so much to learn. Even if it's not your “thing,” I think you need to open yourself up to what's out there because, as creative beings, we can boil it down to technique and intention and port it over to our own stuff.

see? ribbon and a little shape and another used as a stencil in the top corner.

So, now, when I'm working, I'm like, “Oh, what if I used this shape?” and inside, there's a part that says, “You're doing art and it needs to be messy and imperfect and better.”

And another part says, “STFU, you elitist bitch, we need to grow and you're acting like a priss.”

I am nice to myself, I swear. Kind. But being direct works sometimes. I like being direct and honest. It's just the way I am.

Anyway, don't listen to those voices. I play music because they can't shout louder than iTunes blasting from the speakers. Really. They can't. Oh, they try, but I totally ignore them and sing along and just go with the flow.

That seems like the answer to a lot of things. Go with the flow & have faith.

Oh. And tell people to STFU. You're working and they all need to just let you be.

{Journal Thursday: What to do if your critic gets too drunk and starts yelling}

There’s really nothing like starting a new journal. The page is there, and you’re super excited that -- look! shiny and new! -- you just start working from a place of joy. And when you finish, it’s amazing and awesome and you hug your new journal to your chest and sigh, “Ah, a new pretty journal for my adventures.”

That’s totally a sign for your critic to come out. He’s (I say he because mine’s a he, seeing as I’m NOT a he, and therefore, my arguments with him are more amusing) the complete opposite of your muse; picture him as the big guy who comes in and always causes trouble because he had a bad childhood and no mommy and finds it fun to make others feel little.

So this critic comes bumbling in already drunk so he knocks over a few chairs on his way across the room and your muse, bless her (because my talks with her are more amusing), stands up and is totally the bouncer in this situation when she pokes the critic in the chest and tells him to get out.

“Dude,” says the critic, “all your pages are the same colors. Can’t you, you vary things up or something?” He shouts all this over his shoulder as your muse pushes him out the door.

“Don’t listen to him, sweetie,” your muse soothes. “Use your favorite colors all you want.”

But the damn critic’s gotten to you, and all you see when you page through your journals are the same colors used together over and over and over again and gah could there be something to the stupid critic’s comment? Not that you make a practice of listening to the advice of drunk people -- most of the time, it doesn’t even make sense (which is why this is in your headspace; do you think a drunk critic could form a coherent criticism when drunk in reality?).

the good page, full of awesome colors

So I’ve got this drunk critic (yes, this is my headspace because I am not psychic or a vampire or whatever can see into your mind; your secrets are safe)  running around spreading rumors about how I only use certain colors and it’s kinda pissing me off.

“Fine! I will use different colors.”

I shall be honest with you: the page? It SUCKED.

The colors got all muddy because I wasn’t used to blending them. And then, it just looks off because it’s full of stuff I usually don’t like.

See, we’re all drawn to art we like, and we like it all for different reasons. It may be the imagery. Or the composition. Or, yes, the colors. And then when we sit down to create, we replicate what we like. That is the point. The fun of it all. And in a journal, who’s to say we can’t other than a belligerent, tilting inner critic?


Anyway, I created this next page with colors I usually don’t ever use and tried to make it work, tried to bring color variety to my journal, my work, and it totally backfired. I really, really hate the page I made. I’m sure there’s something there I like, but overall, not a fan.

uck. what a mess

And this is what happens when you stop listening to yourself and try something you don’t like. Okay. Yes, you have to branch out and create and experiment -- how else will you find something new you like if you don’t try? -- but if you’ve already done that and know you don’t like it, don’t do it just because your critic can’t hold his liquor. Your journal is for you, so make sure he can’t get it. I’m sure simple locks will do (at least in my case. but I don’t give my critic much to go on most of the time.).

Use your favorite color on every page. I’m pretty sure each one will look different even if you have the same three colors. THAT is experimenting, is using your limits to find something new. It’s like this: if you don’t like Thai food, you’re not going to go into a Thai restaurant AND order something completely foreign. That’s just a waste of money because it’ll have peanut in it and you hate peanut in anything but your sandwiches so you make a funny face and wonder why the hell you agreed to this dinner in the first place. Oh, right. That stupid critic again.

So I’m giving you permission to use whatever colors you want all the time no matter what anyone else says. Take that, critic!