Monday, August 27, 2012

Face Value - A Fascinating Photography Project

Hello Dear Blog Readers! I hope you are enjoying my "Countdown to 400" blog series, where I offer a giveaway with each blog post leading up to my 400th post. Today's giveaway will be shared at the end of this blog post so keep reading - you won't be disappointed in this interesting story!

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I recently found out about a fascinating photography project through one of my knitting buddies. She participated in it and raved about her experience to me and insisted that I would love being part of this project. It's called "Face Value: Mirror Portraits" created by a local photographer named Juan Luis Garcia.

 Photography by Juan Luis Garcia - image courtesy of the artist

Now, something about the name sounded familiar and it turns out that I have, in fact, encountered Mr. Garcia's work before. A co-worker from my old job had a friend who had been to Cuba, shot many photographs there, then self published his photos and had an exhibit of his work. My dear boyfriend came along with me to see the exhibit and, though I missed seeing my co-worker and an opportunity for a introduction to the artist, I loved the images that were displayed. They were full of color and life.

My old co-worker happened to contact me at the same time I heard about the Face Value project, so I asked if the photographer was the same photographer who shot the Cuban photos and it was! I am always amazed at how small the world can often be and how connected were are more often than we are not...

 Photography by Juan Luis Garcia - images courtesy of the artist

I completed the online registration form to participate in the photography project and I got a response after a week. Since this project is starting to gain some great word of mouth, Juan Luis is receiving a lot of submissions to participate. We made an appointment for me to have my face photographed for his project. I wasn't quite sure what to expect in this photo shoot, but I was informed by Juan Luis that it would not take longer than 15 minutes...

Photography by Juan Luis Garcia - this view of the photography process for Face Value can be seen on his website

While I was driving to the photo shoot, my car began to chug and lose power! I worried that I might not make it to the photo shoot, but luckily my car made it to the destination and I made sure to park my car in a way that would allow a tow truck enough room to hitch my car should I need to be towed away. I did need to be towed but that's when I found out I left my wallet with my drivers license and AAA Club card back at home! Long story short, many kind and wonderful people helped me get my car towed to be repaired, another reminder that we are more connected than we realize...

Photography by Juan Luis Garcia - image courtesy of the artist

I met with Juan Luis Garcia and he asked me a few questions and he explained his photography project. I was intrigued by his process for creating this project and the fact that so many of us look into the mirror every day, but what, exactly, do we actually see when we see our face?? We proceeded to his studio to begin the photo shoot and this is what his photography studio looks like:

This is where Juan Luis works - it's a great, simple set-up...

The other side of the photography set-up

I sat on the stool that you see above and Juan Luis proceeded to ask me a series of questions that were quite thought-provoking, as well as meaningful. I like being challenged to think in different ways and his line of questioning did just that, so I really enjoyed the process of being photographed and interviewed at the same time.

After the photography session, I was allowed to see the images. It was pretty cool to see the results and see the subtle facial expressions that were captured. Though it may not always seem like it here on my blog, I tend to be a thinker and sometimes live in my head. I don't know if it can be seen in my face often as I go about my day, but I could see it in many of the photos. I don't have any images at this time, but when I get some, I will share some of them here.

I really enjoyed meeting Juan Luis Garcia and talking with him about his photography project, being an artist, and the difficulties of dealing with the business aspect of being an artist, which I think many of us artists and creatives struggle with. I told him about my blog and asked if I could take a picture of him in his studio and he graciously accepted...

Juan Luis Garcia - my portrait of the photographer in his creative space

Juan Luis Garcia has a FaceBook page for this project and you can follow his progression as he works toward completing 500 faces for his photography project. If you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, or you plan to visit in the months ahead, sign up to be photographed HERE.

Juan Luis is starting to travel to some of the states to capture more faces for his project, but he expressed an interest in traveling to other countries to capture some international faces. If you'd like to host this wonderful photographer in your part of the world, please contact him HERE and let him know The Creative Beast sent you!

Many thanks to Juan Luis Garcia for allowing me to share images from his website and allowing me to photograph him in his studio. I know photographers are not always comfortable in front of the camera, so I am really grateful that he allowed me to photograph him...

Me with Juan Luis Garcia, an amazing photographer. I feel so lucky to have met this artist!

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Now for the winner of last weeks giveaway...once again, it seems there were only two comments, and once again, only one of them followed the rules by commenting on a word that has meaning for you so this weeks winner is Deanna! I'll be in touch to ask about your favorite colors and to get your mailing address soon. Congratulations Deanna on winning your one-of-a-kind collage cover notebook =-)

And now for today's giveaway!

I had trouble figuring out what to give away this week, especially since I wanted to tie it in with this photography post. I finally thought of something, but it was at the end of the week so it is currently a project in process. Here is a teaser sneak peek at the giveaway item:

and here is another sneek peak...

Okay, one more sneak peek...

 Take a good look at this quote - while adding some Ranger color wash spray, I managed to obscure it! =-\

It may not be as thought-provoking as Juan Luis Garcia's project, but I assure you it will have some thoughtful quotes to get you thinking when I have completed this "Reflecting Mirror". Please note that it will be up to two weeks before I send this mirror to the winner. Here is what you need to do to win this one-of-a-kind collage art "Reflecting Mirror":

Rules for entering the giveaway...

The giveaway is open to all readers from near or far
You must leave a comment to enter
Your comment will be about what you see when you look into the mirror*
Comments will close at 12pm Pacific Standard Time on Friday August 31
The winner will be announced at the end of the next blog post...which will be in approximately one week

OH! And if you want a bonus surprise goodie, follow my blog and let me know you have joined the "Tribe Of Creative Kindred Spirits"! 

Thanks for stopping by and for reading my blog! Good luck to all who enter the giveaway!

* - for instance, what I see when I look into the mirror is: a Woman, an Artist, a Latina =-)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Selling at an Outdoor Event...During a Heat Wave!

Hello Dear Blog Readers! The winner of last weeks giveaway will be announced at the end of this blog post along with the giveaway for this week, so keep reading...

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I've had quite a few projects on my plate in the past few weeks and selling at a special event was recently one of them...

I was invited by a lovely lady that I met through the workshops conducted by my Life Coach Pete to participate in a special event she was hosting called NestFest. It was a weekend long event of yoga, healing arts and visual arts. She invited me to sell my creative goods and have some of my work on display. I decided I would participate, even though I would be outdoors in 100+ weather. I decided to be at the event for one day only since I already had many other projects to work on and being at this event for 4 days was too long and also too hot!

For awhile now, I have slowly been making some mail art envelopes to sell in my Etsy shop and I decided to make up a few more. These mail art envelopes are made from scanned prints of my art journal pages or made from print outs of my own original photography. I like they way they look when made and I will have them listed in my Etsy shop soon.

I decided I would make up a few collage cover notebooks like ones I've made and given away here at my blog. Here are the three notebooks I managed to generate in time for the event...

I call this notebook "Butterfly Dreams" and it is now available for sale in my Etsy shop!

Due to the nature of this event, I wanted to use some meaningful words for my notebooks and "Intent" was one that came to mind...this notebook is also available for sale!

I decided to use a favorite quote that reflected the vibe of NestFest for one of the notebooks. Needless to say the colors and quote made for a great item and this notebook was sold that afternoon!

I also played with display ideas and I came up with some fun ways to display my goods for sale. Here is how my display looked on the day I was at NestFest:

 I was rather excited that I managed to put this display together (the day before event no less!) using elements I have in my home. The table is one that belonged to my grandmother. It is a little beat up so I may add some colorful paint and collage to continue using it for other selling opportunities in the future...

The little drawer makes for a handy display shelf for items of various sizes...

A vintage record holder belonging to my grandmother makes a great display for mail art envelopes and a rusty wire basket holds smaller mail art envelopes that contain a plain white note card inside each one...

This little bird bath was found at a local discount department store - I knew it would make a great business card holder one day and it does!

A vintage magazine rack creates more tiered shelving to hold one special event 'party hat' made by yours truly, two traditional bound books, three altered art books, as well as an old cigar box containing several inspirational quotes. I encouraged everyone to take a quote home and many folks did!

Another table, provided by the hostess, held the display of my art journals, altered books and art postcards

I had many of my personal art books to display and I got some great feedback on my work! Many attendees who walked by the table to get to the yoga workshops came back to check out my work and go through my art journals. It was fun talking about my books and my art process and seeing the enthusiasm from people who are not familiar with art journals...It sure did spark some excitement!

I also had a sign up list and got three emails from folks who want to hear about any events I do in the future...guess I'll have to start working on creating a newsletter soon! Despite the dreadful heat, I met some wonderful people, made a few small sales and had the opportunity to have my work seen by people who could be potential customers OR students in the future. I am glad I participated in the event!

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Now for the winner of the last giveaway...once again there were only two comments, however, only one of them followed the rules by commenting on whether they make art in Nature or indoors so the winner is Kathryn Hansen of Art Blog By Kat! Congratulations Kat! I'll be in touch to verify your address...

And now for today's giveaway!

I will make the winner a collage covered notebook using the colors and meaningful word of their choice! It is a fun notebook with pages of paper that are lined on one side and graph on the other. You can get an idea of how the paper looks if you check out the listings in my Etsy shop, along with how I also collage the backs of the notebooks so it is a cohesive design. However, the book label will be similar to the label I have used on previous collage notebook giveaways like this one, since the notebook will be a 'commissioned art' notebook. Just think, you'll receive a unique altered book made especially for YOU! Please note that it will be up to two weeks for the notebook to made, then mailed.

Rules for entering the giveaway...

The giveaway is open to all readers from near or far
You must leave a comment to enter
Your comment will be about a word that has special meaning for you and what it means to you*
Comments will close at 12pm Pacific Standard Time on Friday August 24
The winner will be announced at the end of the next blog post...which will be in approximately one week

OH! And if you want a bonus surprise goodie, follow my blog and let me know you have joined the "Tribe Of Creative Kindred Spirits"! 

Thanks for stopping by and for reading my blog! Good luck to all who enter the giveaway!

* - I will request the colors to make up the notebook from the winner when they are chosen =-)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Into The Wilderness with Orly Avineri...

Hello Dear Blog Readers! Today I'm sharing some art journaling from a recent workshop. I'll announce the winner of the last giveaway at the end of the post, along with the giveaway for this week...
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About two weeks ago I participated in Orly Avineri's art journal workshop called "Into the Wilderness" and it involved art journaling in NATURE. We were told to bring just the bare minimum of supplies, which included watercolor paints or pencils and a lunch since we would be out in the 'wilderness' in a place called Hopkins Wilderness Park in Redondo Beach.

I had a small hand-bound art journal I knew I could use for this outing and was excited to bring it out for this excursion into Nature. I made this art journal based on videos by Teesha Moore, only I made a smaller version which measures 6"x6" when finished.

Front view...

Open view...

It was a much needed respite from things happening in my life and I enjoyed every minute of it. Here are pages from my nature journal and some photos to share how the park looked on this day of art, friends and fun...

Orly began the workshop with two quotes for us to keep in mind throughout the day - here is the first quote:

The other quote is at the back end of my journal:

Orly provided us with a map for our walk...and some trail mix in case we got a little hungry! Good thing too, because I DID get a little hungry before I made my way 'back to camp'. I decided to tell a story with my art journal and here are some tales I had to can click on the images to get a larger view for reading.

My sketch of a butterfly in the grassy patch, still waiting for some watercolor. My boyfriend says it's actually a moth, as you will see in the photo below...

The butterfly/moth hung out on this bit of clover for quite some time...

There was a pond with ducks and turtles and one of the largest turtles I have ever seen, with a strange snout! I sat on a rock nearby and wrote what I saw...
It was a fascinating turtle I saw, even though I think he farted while I sat nearby!

Orly asked us to gather 'specimens' from our walk and I included them on pages of my journal...

A brown leaf from the path is taped to my page and the path was photographed below...

After the nature walk, Orly led us through a drawing exercise, which we then filled in with color. Here is my tree drawing filled with color...

We were asked to use the 'specimens' we collected on our walk to paint some 'collections' in our journal. I chose to paint my collections on the front and back covers of my nature journal, as you can see below...

I really had a wonderful time in this workshop and enjoyed painting objects from nature. It's something I want to do more of and I hope to begin practicing with painting botanical images in the future. I had such a great time that I may continue to create more nature journals like this on my own!

I highly recommend participating in one of Orly's workshops if you live in the Los Angeles area or you can check her site to see if is she teaching at a venue near you.

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Now for the winner of the last seems there were only two comments and one of them chose to remove herself from the giveaway, so Karen Wallace wins the notebooks today! I will contact you to verify the address I currently have for you...

And now for today's giveaway!

I will make the winner a small hand-bound journal just like the one I made and used for this workshop! It is a similar style to the ones made by Teesha Moore, but on a smaller scale. My finished journal is 6"x6" square made from water color paper that was designed to be used for landscape paintings. You can use the journal for art journaling indoors or outdoors. I may leave some prompts on the pages to inspire your creativity =-)

Rules for entering the giveaway...

The giveaway is open to all readers from near or far
You must leave a comment to enter
Your comment will be about whether you enjoy making art in Nature or indoors
Comments will close at 12pm Pacific Standard Time on Friday August 17
The winner will be announced at the end of the next blog post...which will be in approximately one week

OH! And if you want a bonus surprise goodie, follow my blog and let me know you have joined the "Tribe Of Creative Kindred Spirits"!

Thanks for stopping by and for reading my blog! Good luck to all who enter the giveaway!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hustling Through 390 Blog Posts...

Hello Dear Blog Readers! Today's blog post begins the "Countdown to 400" - a countdown to reach 400 blog posts. Each countdown will include a giveaway at the end of each post so be sure to check in and help me celebrate this achievement!

Now, I'd like to start by thanking my blog buddies who left wonderful comments on my last post. I'm going to "keep on trucking", as Kat from "Art Blog by Kat" recently commented, because it has been reaping some surprising rewards, as you will learn if you keep reading...

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"Do the Hustle"

An interesting word has been coming up around me lately...and it's not the word "INSPIRE" I usually see/hear in my world...

This colorful red item adorns the wood valance over the window in my creative space

It's a different word that has some dubious connotations so it surprised me when I started to hear it coming out of the mouths of acquaintances, then good friends...and I know it wasn't a reference to dancing as some of my friends know I love doing ;)

Yes, my friends, the word is HUSTLE and people around me have been witnessing me doing a LOT of it, in order to get my self-sustaining self-employed lifestyle going.

However, I am not doing any shady hustling! Everything I have been doing is good honest hard work with the emphasis on HARD...

During the past few weeks, as I've been struggling with some disappointments, my dear blog buddy Kat (from I Saw You Dancing*) left a comforting comment for me that used the word "hustle" as a great illustration of what I'm doing these days:

"Well done on sitting with your feelings, then cultivating the courage to persist. I know it's not easy.
We should call you The Courageous Creative Beast! Though I guess that's an oxymoron, as all creativity requires some courage, no?
There's a lot of hype out there on the interwebs that suggests "if we just BELIEVE ENOUGH it will happen". What's less obvious is just how much hard work and how much hustling** is really required to get particular projects off the ground. And then there's the luck factor, particularly where timing is concerned.
So thank you for being so honest about your experience. I know it helped a lot of others to feel less alone and less like a failure.

Boy, did Kat say a mouthful and all of it true, especially the use of the word "hustling" to describe my efforts. The word "hustle" came up a few weeks prior to this comment and it came from an acquaintance when I was describing all the HARD work I've been doing to earn money and launch a self-employed lifestyle, but I know this acquaintance really meant that I've been working hard at making things happen...

When I read the word 'hustle' in Kat's comment, I knew she also meant that I've been working hard at making things happen in my life and I knew she was commiserating when things didn't go as I'd hoped...

And last week a good friend used the word 'hustle' because she has been witnessing first-hand everything I've been doing to launch my creative ideas and begin teaching as part of my goal toward self employment. She is seeing how much hard work is needed and she has been inspired by my efforts, which really encouraged me! She is also inspired by the fact that I have been plowing forward despite my fears and this lifts my spirits in ways I can't describe...

Working and pushing forward despite ones fears is not an easy task. Though my dear blog buddy Cathy recently commented that I'm "good at looking for the positive or learning opportunities", I have to tell you, one and all, that viewing life through this lens doesn't come easy. I have fears that nothing will work and that I will have to get another office job, but the idea of working at another office job fills me with so much more fear and dread than the idea that I won't succeed at a self employed lifestyle, I keep plugging away! But I've been working so hard at making things happen that it's been hard to see ANYTHING happening at know, like not seeing the forest for the trees!

Now, I can see how blogging has been slowly contributing to my efforts since a recent gig I landed is due in some part to my blog. I mentioned in my last post receiving an email from a lady who is looking for a workshop to teach young girls some basic bookbinding techniques and it seems that my blog came up when she did a Google search! I guess she liked what she saw and made a request for me to teach her Girl Scout troop of 11 young girls. I landed the gig with my proposal and I am really excited about this opportunity! I really hope that this is the first of many creative opportunities to come...

I've been blogging for 3 years - 3 years! My blog-iversary actually happened on July 29, but I was not prepared to celebrate as I really wanted. However, when I was looking at my blog posts for a review, I realized that I am very close to 400 blog posts! I figure this is something worth celebrating and what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway! In fact, I decided to have a countdown giveaway: the "Countdown to 400"!

Here's how it will work - I will have a giveaway for each blog post leading up to my 400th blog post.  Of course, you will have to leave a comment to participate.

HOWEVER: If you win a giveaway, you can not continue to enter the remaining giveaways!

It's pretty simple. =-)

Today's giveaway will be two lovely little notebooks from my personal collection of notebooks and I do have quite a few notebooks that I have collected over the years, naturally, being the book lover that I am...

The plum floral notebook is a blank book that measures 5 1/2" by 4 1/2" and it is a blank page book...
This notebook could be great for making sketches while out and about during your day...
I just had to show off the pretty spine!
The other notebook is a bright colored notebook on the theme of "Summer" which I thought was appropriate for the month of August...
This notebook measures approximately 5 1/8" by 3 1/2" and comes with lined pages in a light sand color... 
It is great for keeping in your purse or back pocket and you can use it as a little gratitude journal to list the things you are thankful for. I used the "Spring" themed notebook on an abundance exercise that was rather challenging...
Two lovely notebooks to fill in as you choose

Okay - how can you win these lovely notebooks, you might be wondering? Here are the rules:

The giveaway is open to all readers from near or far
You must leave a comment to enter
Your comment will be about whether you keep a gratitude journal or not 
Comments will close at 12pm Pacific Standard Time on Friday August 10
The winner will be announced at the end of the next blog post...which will be in approximately one week

OH! And if you want a bonus surprise goodie, follow my blog and let me know you have joined the "Tribe Of Creative Kindred Spirits"!

Okay, Dear Blog Readers - Let the Countdown begin!
* - though I'm not generally a 'cat' fan, I do love the "cool Kats" I know through blogging ;)
** - emphasis on this word is mine =-)