Sunday, June 13, 2010

Two New Adventures

This is a photo of the night table next to my bed. It holds my reading lamp, some favorite photos of the girls, and my new sketchbook. I decided to take a flying leap into the unknown and join The Sketchbook Project sponsored by the Art House Co-op in Brooklyn. I have until early January to fill up these 40 pages and send it back. Then it goes on tour around the country, where people attending the exhibit get to pick it up and read it. You get to choose a theme or have one assigned to you. I almost chose "Storybook" but went instead with "This is not a sketchbook." That leaves my options wide open.
I think I was enticed by the idea of having some original pieces being seen by a variety of people (I do wonder who attends these exhibits...). And of course, being a book lover and sometime writer, I had to take a chance at creating something like this. But even though I have six months to fill it up, I am already getting a little frozen at the thought of it. I often hear of how some writers and artists take one look at that blank, white, empty page and freeze at the thought of putting something down, probably because of the pressure of trying to make it perfect. Well, here is a whole bookful of blank white pages staring back at me! And I'm big on re-doing; my eraser and seam ripper are always close at hand. What if I put something down and then hate it? Do I rip out the page?
One thing that is taking the pressure off is that the general rules are really very loose. I could rip out pages if I want. I could even undo the binding, create a complete book out of fabric and and then stitch it back into the cover, if I wanted to. And I'm actually considering doing that.
So what I've been thinking about is, if this is not a sketchbook, as my theme states, then what kind of book is it? It could be a storybook or a picture book, or a book of illustrated poems (like one of my unofficial goals for this year). It could be an ABC book or a dictionary or a journal.
I am mulling this over as I go about my busy life.
I think I'll keep the book on my night table to keep it fresh in my thoughts! And I'll try not to put too much pressure on myself, but keep it fun!
My second new adventure is taking my first e-course with mixed-media artist Kelly Rae Roberts. It's a 5 week course called "Flying Lessons: tips & tricks to help your creative business soar." The flying metaphor goes along with her book, Taking Flight. Although I did get her book from the library about a year ago, I didn't buy it and I didn't do any of the suggested art activities. But I did pick up some good blogs and websites to visit, and there is a lot more of that type of information in the course so far. Her metamorphosis from social worker to full-time professional artist with licensing contracts took only 5 or 6 years. And while she claims anyone can do it and encourages everyone to try, I think there has to be a lot more to it, everything from natural talent, to hard work and dedication, to plain old dumb luck. She seems to have had all of these, as well as all the personal time she needed to dedicate to art, self-exploration and self-expression. My current reality is very different from hers and I don't expect miracles from the course, just maybe a gentle nudge in the right direction. One of the ideas she strongly encourages is having an active presence on Facebook and Twitter. I do have a personal facebook page, but I don't use it much and I have not joined Twitter. I just don't see myself having the kind of time it takes to log on so often to post things (I'm lucky I can leave a few photos and ideas here once or twice a week!). (I think a lot of people do it from their cell phones, but I have one of those good old fashioned phones that I use mainly for emergency calls and the occasional text message!).
So those are my two new adventures, and as I progress through them, I'll keep you posted. For now, I have my constant companion and big yellow shadow keeping me company along the way!

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