Friday, November 17, 2006
Evolution of ArtsyMama
Ali's EZine challenge for this week is to take a look at our own art evolution. This comes at a time that I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my blog, since I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of starting ArtsyMama. I have been thinking about the amazing online art community I have so enjoyed and started looking over my own art over the last several years. I tried to piece together the evolution of this wonderful adventure as a "life artist".
I guess you could say it really all began with this book that I started when I was 3 years old. I loved to write in it about myself, color outside the lines:) and give insight into my mental state (here it says, "what do you dream about at night" and I said "monsters" and drew a picture of a monster...hmmm.....). As a young girl, I loved to collect things and make pictures with them, whether it was sticks and stones from a walk, shells from the beach or candy on a gingerbread house. However, I feel that it is important for me to note here that I didn't really take any "art" classes in school. I've always kept my art to myself (until I started this blog) and didn't want any sort of critique. I've also never been much of a drawer, so never considered myself an "artist". Isn't that strange that we always think that to be an artist you have to learn how to draw or paint!?
My art evolved more out of my writing. I have kept a journal on and off for years. It was when I discovered Sabrina Ward Harrison back in 2000, that I started to be intrigued about adding images to my words. I started to do more of an art journal style experimental pictures, words and paints. I also discovered the amazing journals of Teesha Moore. This really opened up a whole new world of expression for me. I continued to journal a lot and started a "Journey into Motherhood" journal in Feb. of 2002 when we decided we were "ready" (are you ever really!?:) to have children. This journal was full of magazine images, articles, lots of my journaling and pictures of my blossoming belly. This is probably my favorite journal to date. I love to page through it and re-live all of the emotion of those times.
Then in the fall of 2003, when Lowell was just a wee baby, I began a fabric altered book of him. This was a pivotal time that I learned lots and lots of new techniques. I sought out online communities of altered artists and learned about printing onto fabric, adding embellishments, using napkins as backgrounds, sewing mini quilts into the book and tons more. Each evening I would sit at the table and pour my heart into this wonderfully tactile book that I was creating. It was all about experimentation and expression. I found so much joy in combining my love of vintage items, fabric and pictures and combining it all into something so meaningful.
I started to get more and more involved in the online altered book community. I participated in swaps, even hosted some and also did some round robins. This was a great way for me to try lots of new things in a totally open environment. I didn't have to worry about what other people thought, it was all just about the process. It was also very fun to get mail and have a little piece of art from people all over the world.
When Lowell was small, I also began a more "traditional" scrapbook of him. We were taking so many photos of him that I wanted somewhere to put them all. I also wanted to tell the story that we were living, so I ventured out to my local scrapbook store for the first time! My layouts were simple, but even then I tried to use ephemera and other bits of our everyday lives on the page. I also began to add some fibers and tags to add some interest and "artsyness" on the page.
I think it's also interesting to note that my art seemed to evolve as the number and variety of scrapbook papers did the same. I would find paper that was the style that I liked and it was that much easier to develop a page that I liked, rather than starting from scratch. I started looking at magazines and getting a feel for some scrapbook artists whose style really appealed to me. I continued to try new things and create without judgement.
I also attended a few scrapbook conventions and my layouts evolved as I incorporated new techniques and I found out about new products.
Another turning point was when Melba started her Mixed Media Memoirs on her blog. This was really the first time I scrapped about myself. This was very challenge to put myself out there, but I loved the results.
When Rhonna started coming up with "challenges" on her blog, I really took off! Boy do I miss her blog:( Her 21 day challenges were real turning points. I had to create so quickly to get a page done, photograph it and put it on my blog each day for 21 days that I had no time to second guess my work. It was what it was and I think the book I created is my most favorite ever! She also had some amazing creativity challenges that really helped me to expand my skills.
I also love to look at idea books and was thrilled when Ali and Elsie's latest books had challenges in them. These have been very helpful to always keep me creating something and trying new things. I loved that Ann(i)e would post a challenge from Ali's book on her blog and that would motivate me to give it a try. I came up with some layouts that really had me thinking outside the box and came up with some layouts that I love. Many others do challenges on their blogs that inspire and motivate me. Thank you for that!
I think that having a blog has had an enormous influence on the evolution of my art. It has helped me to constantly create. It's also led me to meet the most amazing artists all over the world and keep in contact with them. Looking at other peoples blogs has influenced my art tremendously. I love that I look at my blog and say "That is so ME!" It just oozes ArtsyMama!!! In the past I've been perplexed when people say that they can see my style evolve, but now I see where I've been and where I'm at now and the process of getting here. Thanks for taking this journey along with me:)