Wednesday, November 15, 2017

#30mandalas Continues...

It's such a weird thing, to think about how other people see your artwork. Lauren (@llaurenb on Instagram), the amazing artist who inspired my #30mandalas project, once commented on IG about always being able to recognize my work by my style, saying, "No one else does this." She was talking about how I add illustrated elements and doodles to collage. It kind of floored me. Surely someone else has done this. Do I really have my own unique style? One that is recognizable?

Nowadays, it honestly seems like everything in the art world has been done. Artists are trying to do something different, but also we want to stay true to ourselves. What happens if the things we create resemble someone else's? We get accused of copying? We get accused of being unoriginal? What happens if and when our style looks like someone else's? Our work is less valuable, because we didn't get it out there first?

The online world of artists sharing and trying to be successful with our work can be a very confusing place.

While those can seem like negative thoughts, they don't feel like them to me, as they have been swirling around my brain as I continue to create these mandalas. The internet has changed the artistic world, and we are all just trying to grow and flourish along with the times. All we can do in the meantime is create, and be in love with the process of creation.

Here are the next few days of #30mandalas :

Monday, November 6, 2017

#30mandalas : A New Project.

All artists have creative ruts. Some have specific reasons, some have possible reasons, and some unfortunately present themselves with no reason at all.

For the past year almost, I have been experiencing one of the largest creative ruts ever. I create things here and there, but am feeling utterly uninspired. This one has all the types of reasons mentioned above, which I will get into in a later post I am sure, once I sort out all of my thoughts.

But, I feel like I have just been letting it happen. I've been busy. I've been tired. I've been absolutely broke.

I've been making excuses.

Art is my passion, yet I cannot find 30 minutes to even doodle something on a piece of cardboard I have hanging around? I cannot make a collage using the hundreds of books and magazines sitting on the shelves right here in my studio? Oftentimes, artists emerge from creative ruts naturally. They let them run their course, then move on. Mine has been out of control, so I am taking action with a challenge.

My challenge is The 30 Mandalas Project, or #30mandalas for those following on social media. I got the idea from an amazing artist named Lauren Bergold, who I met through Instagram (@llaurenb - check her out!). She is a fellow mixed media artist who loves collage and doodles and mandalas and color. She also creates almost every single day. There were days that I would look at her work and wonder how she has time to create so many beautiful things. I slowly realized that it's more about making time, not having time.

One day, she posted a mixed media collage mandala that she created, inspired by my style. It looks like this:

I was in LOVE. Inspired by me?! I hadn't created much at all and felt so un-inspirational. I couldn't get the image out of my head. I began to buzz with ideas, inspired by her (inspired by me.... isn't this called a Mobius Strip or something??) and all of a sudden realized, "Holy crap, I am inspired."

I began jotting down the ideas of mixed media mandalas I wanted to create, itching to bring the first one to life. And that is how #30mandalas was born. I am working on creating 30 pieces, all mixed media, on 12" x 12" watercolor paper. I am inspired. I am creating. I am so overjoyed to have overcome this insane rut, and am so thankful to Lauren (she also has a blog - find her here!!) to have sparked the fire that I have been missing so much.

Here are the first five creations from The 30 Mandalas Project:

I am posting all of these, along with process shots and videos, on Instagram! I'm @jenndalyn :) 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

It's Happening Again - I Am A Teacher for Wanderlust 2018!

You guys - I have some really exciting news. I have been invited to teach for Wanderlust 2018!

What is Wanderlust 2018?

It is a year-long online course (I taught in Wanderlust 2016 and can attest to the fact that it is amazing) with classes every week through videos. Your teachers are an amazing team of artists, including Kasia and Jamie, the amazing husband and wife duo who founded Everything Art, the company behind this incredible experience.

Each week you will be transported from your workspace into a creative journey exploring various materials, techniques, exercises, tutorials, tips, tricks, and projects. In addition to the courses, you will have access to a forum with an amazing and friendly community, inspirations, challenges, discussions, galleries, workshops, and giveaways. You can do all of this from your living room, from your phone, from a tablet in the middle of the forest, from your laptop on the beach. I know that in my own video, I will be encouraging you to take your art supplies and go play outside. 

Each artist puts together their own unique video and we all have different styles and techniques, so each week will be completely different. 26 teachers means you will get a deep look into the styles of 26 individuals, find out what inspires us, secret tips and techniques, our favorite go-to materials. Those art journal pages you have saved on Pinterest? You will be able to create your own. We promise to light a fire within you when you take this journey with us.

Check out this group of powerhouse creatives that will be guiding these creative journeys:

Teachers pictured (in order from top left to right, then down): Michelle Turbide, ME, Susie LaFond, Carolyn Dube, Belinda Fireman, Marlene Meijer-van Niekerk, Cat Kerr, Galia Alena, Cait Sherwood, Danny Phillips, Tracy Verdugo, Chrissy Foreman Cranitch, Jodi Ohl, Stephanie Lee, Tori Weyers, Consie Sindet, Jeanne Oliver, Eliza Trojanowska, Kaz Hall, Wyanne, Ivy Newport, April Miller McMurtry, Nathalie Kalbach, Mary Beth Shaw, Jamie Avery, and Kasia Avery. 

I know that on social media I get a lot of questions about my art journals: how I create the pages, what type of book I use, what type of paper, etc. In my class, I will be covering all of that, and showing you how you can intuitively create pages of your own. I'm just so excited about it, because you know, I could talk about art until the sun burns out. 

So how do you register? Firstly, if you sign up before actual 2018 arrives, you get the early bird price of $102.00 (approximately - Kasia and Jamie live in Great Britain so the actual price is £79), which makes each class only about $2. $2 a week to transport yourself on a completely different creative journey. Interested? Secure your spot HERE. After December 31, the price is approximately $128.00, and even if you sign up later, you will still have access to the earlier classes. 

Everything Art also has a really creative and inspirational Facebook page if you would like to jump on there and see what people are saying about this class - there is quite a buzz about it!

And if you signed up, I look forward to seeing you - my class is in January :)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

An Eclipse Adventure

Monday, August 21, 2017: One of my favorite days in recent history.

I remember the last time I witnessed a solar eclipse. It was 1994. I was in the 5th grade. It was an annular eclipse, where the moon turned the sun into a glowing ring. We were outside for it, and the thing I remember most was the odd quality of the light. Even then, while the thing that most of the other kids were excited about was more outside time and less class time, I was amazed by experience.

I spent all of last weekend preparing for my eclipse adventure, packing a backpack full of necessities: a sketchbook, my glue book, magazines for collage-ing, a towel to sit on, water, snacks, bug spray, mace. Mace just in case the eclipse made people act weird in the middle of the woods. You never know. I was buzzing with anticipation and energy. Come Monday morning, I was up early and out the door.

The place I chose to watch day turn into evening (I live in Ohio and we were not in the path of totality - the sun would be about 87% eclipsed) was Conkle's Hollow in the Hocking Hills region. There is a somewhat intense hike up the Rim Trail, and I thought picking a spot high above the valley on a cliff sounded just about perfect.

Across the bridge and over a cute little creek:

After going up a big set of wooden steps, you continue climbing up a fairly steep incline. It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day, and the shade of the trees was welcome.

Little patches of sunlight peeked through the leaves and it was just absolutely beautiful. I wasn't sure where along the trail I was going to stop. Not knowing exactly how dark it was going to get, I was a tiny bit nervous being all alone in such a remote place. When I pulled into the parking lot, it was a relief to see a dozen or so cars. I figured once I saw the right spot, I would know. Shortly after reaching the top of the rim, I saw this, and knew:

The trail opened up immediately at the top, and just to the right around that corner is where I set up my little area.

Isn't it cute? Everything I need, right there! Here is a panoramic view of what I was looking out at:

It was just beautiful. I could hear a couple of girls a few hundred feet or so further into the trail who were set up to take photos, which made me feel safe. Alone but not in a scary way. It was awesome. The sun was positioned between a couple of trees like this:

And I was just in love with this little tree in front of me to my left:

Once I had taken in all of the sights and got situated, I started working in my sketchbook and gluebook. The night before, I had cut out several images of the sun to use, and also brought a couple of National Geographics that had articles about the sun in them. It was about an hour until the eclipse was starting, and I could not have been happier in that moment if I tried.

Describing what it felt like, sitting there, is hard. There was an energy in the air, the ground, the trees, everywhere. You could feel it in your fingertips. It's like nature knew that something amazing was about to happen. As I was sitting there working, I felt what I can only describe as a shift. So I put on my eclipse glasses (Thank you, Dad. You are awesome.), and there was a little black arc taking a bite out of the sun. It had started.

A minute or so later, I heard the girls down the trail (I could only hear them from time to time, when one of them got loud) yell, "Oh my God, it started!" It made me smile. They were geeking out at my level. I continued working, inspired by the energy in the air, my hands not moving as fast as my brain wanted them to. 

I had brought lots of sparkly art things and plenty of glitter, inspired by one of my Instagram friends. Thank you, Lauren, if you happen to read this!

It took a while for the light to really start to change. The wind completely stopped. Slowly, everything became utterly still and quiet, and the only thing I could hear were the crickets. The trees took on this flat quality and the sky turned a beautiful shade of blue gray. Every time I put on my glasses, more and more of the sun had disappeared. A few people had joined me at my spot: a couple with two children, an older couple of men, a young couple. I was quiet for the most part, and the entire group went through long periods of silence broken up by times of exchanging our amazement. We talked about other eclipse experiences. The older couple remembered one from the 60s, the young couple wasn't alive for the 1994 eclipse. The youngest of the two children was struggling to understand what exactly was going on. The crickets sang and sang.

Now I do not have the right camera or lenses to photograph the sun at any time, let alone during an eclipse. I also didn't want to get caught up in taking photos instead of being in the moment, so I only took a few with my camera and a couple with my phone.

That was taken with my phone. It captured the color of the sky better than my actual camera, and I am still dying over the reflection of the little eclipsed sun.

This was at about the darkest point. The sun was perfectly positioned between the trees. My work area looked really cool in the light:

I had started recording everything I was noticing and feeling, and what time it was happening at. I never wanted to forget how it felt to be in that moment. It was magic.

As the sunlight started increasing, all of the people wandered away and I found myself alone again. The chirping of birds began. The air started to warm. All in all I spent three hours in that amazing little spot. The entire experience was more than I ever expected and I'm smiling right now thinking about how it felt.

Eventually, I packed up all of my things and had to decide where to go. The rim trail is about a two mile loop and it was in the high 80s with few clouds that day. There is also a gorge trail that looks like something out of Lord of the Rings with a waterfall at the end and is shaded and very cool, so I decided to say good bye to my three hour heaven, hike down, and head to the gorge.

I definitely plan on going back here and hiking the entire rim trail in the fall. Looking out onto the valley while the trees are changing seems like it would be pretty badass.

Here are some favorite shots from the gorge trail:

The last photo is when I turned around and started walking back. I didn't make it to the waterfall, because I could hear a group of guys screaming and yelling (because of the echo in the gorge I could hear their obnoxiousness from pretty far away) and fake opera singing about walking with God. I wasn't really looking to walk with God at that moment; I just wanted a quiet walk in nature, so that was my cue to head back.

I felt this weird sadness that I was all over. If I could do that day over again, I would a hundred times. Inspiration has been fickle for me lately, but on that day, it was thunderous. There is another solar eclipse in 2024, and I am absolutely going to be someplace in the path of totality, lost in the woods, making art. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Summer Bucket List

Well, as of yesterday evening, with an incredible amount of help from my mom, my flowers are in the ground. Now it really feels like summer is almost here.

My flowers went from the Garden Center...

To the back of my mom's car...

To their forever (well... until it gets cold) home, outside of my little apartment :)

Time passes very weirdly in the summer. After Memorial Day weekend, even though it isn't technically summer, it absolutely feels like it. It's June. It's hot. Life seems to slow down, as the sun shines during the day and doesn't set until late into the evening. There's just something about those summer months that feel different and more carefree.

But, despite the seemingly slow and leisurely passing of the days, September always arrives in the blink of an eye. We wonder "Where did summer go??" and cannot believe it as the leaves start to change. I had this feeling last summer in particular, where it felt like the season completely slipped away. It rained almost every single day in June, which kind of set the stage for that feeling. While my flowers looked amazeballs, time spent outside was practically zero.

SO, in order to avoid that this summer, I am making a vow to live more slowly, enjoy the moments and the sunshine and the outside. And I am making a summer bucket list. Maybe you can make one too, or use this one!

Summer 2016 Bucket List:

1) Swim in a waterfall.
2) Have a picnic lunch in the park.
3) Hike someplace new.
4) See fireworks.
5) Relax at the pool at least once every week.
6) Go to a new festival (most likely the Food Truck Fest because YES).
7) Take a walk at night, find somewhere nice to sit, and look at the stars.
8) Take a spontaneous overnight trip somewhere.
9) Sit outside and paint rocks for my garden.
10) Find a four leaf clover.
11) Find a four leaf clover and give it to someone who could use some good luck.
12) Make a new terrarium.
13) Ride in some kind of boat somewhere, anywhere.
14) Take a photo of a hummingbird.
15) Touch a butterfly.
16) Go to an outdoor concert.
17) Watch the sun rise in a beautiful place.
18) Play in the rain.
19) Climb a tree or ten.
20) Swing on a swingset.

I could go on and on and on... But just thinking of those things right now makes me smile. This is the best part of summer. The pre-summer. The time when it is all still stretched out in front of us, full of possibilities, full of days that we can fill with memories :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Art Journal Pages As of Lately

Well since I haven't blogged in about 7000 years up until the past week or so, I realized that there are many pages in my art journal that haven't been shared on here. I get lots of questions about my process when it comes to creating these pages, and people seem surprised to hear that I rarely work with a plan. It's a very therapeutic thing, kind of like my mind spilling out on paper. I glue, I doodle, I add in words and quotes and phrases that are in my head at the time. While creating away, I often work through issues, come to realizations, obtain clarity on things, and just let out my emotions in general. Pretty much my art journal is the only shrink I will ever need.

Hope everyone has had a beautiful weekend and has done something that makes you feel wonderful :)