Three more double page spreads from inside The Migrations journal, chapter 1.
Reflecting on Milosz’s verses as a metaphor for migration the first layer of meaning strikes a universal cord. Whether we are firmly rooted in our birthplace or have been cast by destiny or choice into the role of wanderer, who hasn’t felt adrift sometime?
Who hasn’t lacked for connection, felt the agonizing lack of trust, of the disintegration of stability that arrives with religious disillusion? All are forms of being adrift.
I love the small pop up here. It was a small bit of copper-bling paper found in the pile of scraps littering the printmaking studio. Kinda kitsch so why not use it as an extra challenge? Then that wonderful green patina from where the water based inks bled through the coating…real copper! What a rich reward for the small risk.
These four pages in the Migrations journal illustrate how using a variety of pop ups and paper colors or textures inside a standard sketchbook presents the artist with interesting visual and conceptual challenges. In these two page spreads I continued to use repetition of verses and images to move Czeslaw Milosz’s text and my drawings along even as I drew from memories and source photos I’d taken as visual prompts for this journal.
I really liked the see-saw effect of this spread.
I’d sketched commuters for this book and taken pictures of my husband and me walking, and of him driving while we traveled. I felt that images of migration from one place to another would serve as a metaphor for the connections between how our consciousness/ soul travels in and out of our liminal states…like during contemplation, dreaming, or even drawing. Why do we travel like that? Is it ever possible to really know our destination? A place, a truth, or another.
The Migrations Journal is divided into three chapters. Here are a few more pages from the first chapter, meditating on a poem that I’ve carried with me for nearly 20 years. I love Milosz’s poem, Consciousness. All the centuries of dualistic mind-body contradiction rebuked by a simple declaration “I–consciousness– originate in skin.” It’s practically tantric!
As you can see, the journal has many pop up pages that open to reveal more quotes. Sometimes they move the narrative along, other times skip forwards or repeat a verse, like a kind of poetic aphasia. It’s not just about wanting to embed the verse, or remember it. Rather that the desire to touch, to connect, is one that we often fail at as we migrate between between mythos and cultures.
I’m never too far from a sketchbook or journal. Unless I’m crafting a handmade book. Here is an art journal that’s a bit of a hybrid. It’s organized into chapters, but the imagery inside each chapter follows my stream of consciousness and focus. Just like a regular sketchbook. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll post a few pictures of the journal for you. It’s a little bit like a pop up in that it opens up in many pages.
Chapter 1: Vinyasa. I practice yoga and as I meditated on the idea of migration thought that the layering of image (body) and poetry (breath, spirit) and the folding/unfolding of pages could be an analogy to the flowing movement of the body and breath in a yoga sequence. I also repeat poetry lines and images like a vinyasa.
The poem I meditate on in Chapter 1 is by Polish writer, Czeslaw Milosz. Actually, his poem Consciousness has influenced me for more than 20 years!
Cleaning out my flat-files…and there it is, Epic 66 from The Men Are From Mars series. I remember drawing my model Tom Ray and realizing how with a plastic sword in hand this middle aged man summoned the kid/hero in himself. He could slay dragons and foes just like the little pirate that lives down the street.
“I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have not really seen, and that when I start to draw an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is.” – Frederick Franck
Yup. Franck is totally right. Drawing is a magical revelation.
Keep the beginners mind, curious and humble! Don’t ever get to the point where you think you know it all. You can’t, it’s impossible!
Beginner’s Mind is really important to the creative process, at the easel and in life.
For me, summertime is a time to learn new things, usually not directly related to my art because feeding my curiosity always reaps benefits to my art practice.
Where can you take free classes? Here’s a great place to start: http://academicearth.org/universities/
Wow! Congratulations to Creative Justice, the arts-based alternative to incarceration for young people in King County, for winning this year’s PAN (Public Art Network) Award! PAN is the only national program specifically honoring public art that makes significant contributions to culture and community.
Who said art is only eye candy? Someone who didn’t know that art with heart can change the world!
Pictured above is mentor artist, Shontina Vernon. The photograph is by Timothy Aguero Photography.
The only time segregating by color or type is ever acceptable is when it brings order to the chaos…of my paints!
Everyone has those days…you know the kind where you feel like it’s always a slog. It’s a real temptation to give up.
EmptyEasel.com had a wonderful blog entry addressing just this feeling today, so I wanted to share it with you.
Great advice for artists thinking about giving up from EmptyEasel:
I couldn’t let Pride Day end without a HUGE kiss and shout-out to all my LGBTQIA family, friends, and students. Like this wonderful Balthus painting, The Mediterranean Cat, may you enjoy many tasty happy rainbows!