Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1000 Journals Project

The DVD of the 1,000 Journals Project movie is now available. This is the title sequence. It's like watching a friend create journal pages. Amazing. Watch it now HERE.


About a week ago I had a dream where my much-missed, beloved kitty, Yuki, leapt into my arms for a visit. I was so glad to see him, I woke up, then was annoyed that I was missing our reunion.

The next day, the offer of some very much needed freelance work came in.

Monday, I received the assignment. It was a press release about a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

On the first day of the Chinese New Year, no less.

Don't you love it when the universe does that? 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blind faith

I had an hour until I picked up the former Bar Mitzvah Boy from his post-Hebrew School class. I decided to run down to the Sea Wall, the site of my beach exchange with La Dama de Lost Luggage

Sun reflecting off ice and water was blinding and the wind bit into my face and hands with vicious teeth. The screen of my little digital camera was practically useless. So I pointed in the general direction and clicked. "Have faith," the wind whistled, "have faith."

So the wind knows something about photography. Who knew?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Program

A friend sent me an e-mail today about a petition asking President-elect (soon just plain Prez!) Barack Obama to consider creating the position of Secretary of the Arts.

Secretary of the Arts? Who has a Secretary of the Arts?

Well, actually, everyone. The position of Minister of Arts and Cultural Affairs goes back generations in many countries. Ideally, the office would protect the arts and artists and promote the kind of creative thinking that enables problem solving and innovation through education, exhibition and performance. 

The idea began with a remark by Quincy Jones, who said that he intended to ask our new president to consider it. Please go here and consider signing the petition to add weight to his words. 

Thank you. 

I now return you to your regularly scheduled weekend. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Burning and Itching

I'm burning with ideas and itching to make news things. Did you think I meant in the sense of those tasteless commercials for personal preparations? For shame!

Oh, OK, you caught me. 

I was trying to get your attention, but I do have all kinds of new ideas. I set out on Monday to recharge my inspiration batteries. And boy, did they get a recharge! Stephanie at Rodrigvitz Style gave me the first jolt with her post and link about TtV effects. These "photos" when layered in Photoshop can make your new photo look like it was taken through an old fashioned viewfinder camera, such as a Brownie Instamatic. Tres cool!

Then there's the new Crusade at GPP Street Team. Michelle Ward is challenging us to play with shapes. I've been thinking about some of my favorites -- leaves, flowers and letter forms. Right now I have a book of traditional Japanese family crests at my elbow. I love these crest designs for their brilliant use of simplified shapes. Very inspirational. Check out the Crusade here. Anyone can play!

Then there's my exploration of my new Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac program. Superlatives abound! I am having so much fun, and probably driving Julie at Casa de Luggage a little loco with my pleas for tutorials. However, I am catching on and trying to behave. My north star is some good advice from Michelle -- 1. Learn by playing. 2. Scan your work and finish it on the computer. 3. Play some more.

The art above was my first attempt. I scanned "Head of a Young Woman" by Leonardo da Vinci from an art book. Then I printed it and collaged it into my journal. I scanned the page, then went nuts downloading free brushes. That was a learning experience in itself. (Many thanks to Obsidian Dawn, Seishido, gvalkyrie at Brusheezy and zombizi.) Finally, I added brushes and the TtV effect and the results you see at the top of the post. A bit klutzy, but I'm on my way.

My next two projects are my first altered book, which I am turning into a journal, and an idea inspired by a random page turned at a bookstore. It challenged the reader to write ten good things about each person to whom she was close. I want to do it as an art journal. Some people will be easy and some will be hard -- but that's the point, I think. Learning to appreciate challenging loved ones will help me look at them differently. And what is art about if not learning to open the heart and mind and truly see?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Getting sorted

It's time to clean house for the New Year. And to take a look at the unfinished holiday pages in my journal. This one was inspired by Stephen Colbert's Christmas special. In it, Colbert asks Jon Stewart, who is describing Chanukah in song: Is it merry? Is it cheery? Is it jolly? Stewart in true Jewish style answers, "I wouldn't know from jolly, but it's not my most unfavorite time of year."

This one was done during the 10-inch snow fall we received right before Christmas. I had some calligraphy practice pages left from free-lance work I did for the holidays so I cut them into trees. The entire world seemed white and I wanted to capture it. 

This one was my take on the snowy world after dark. Ever notice how the sky seems sort of pink when we're getting a heavy snow, even after the sun goes down?

Right before Chanukah my synagogue sponsored a concert with Magevet, the only Jewish a cappella group at Yale University (which is about 20 minutes from home). They were incredible performers, but the thing that cracked me up was their name. Magevet means "towel" in Hebrew. It seems they began in a men's sauna in the days before women could join.

What's Chanukah without a dreidel? This year, I found some great takes on the most annoying Chanukah song ever written: Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel. Check out Lights: Celebrate Chanukah Live in Concert. Singer Joshua Nelson sings a gospel-flavored arrangement that you can actually listen to more than once. Two other awesome Chanukah albums (is it still kosher to say album?) I discovered were Erran Baron Cohen's Songs in the Key of Hanukkah and the LeeVees' Hanukkah Rocks!

And what is Chanukah without the lights? I love wrapping paper and this was a great place to use some scraps. It's hard to find attractive Chanukah paper. I have no idea why. I know tons of gifted Jewish designers and illustrators. 

None of these feel finished to me, but I wanted to share them now before they became unbearably unseasonable. Next time, some non-holiday unfinished pages.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

My New Year's Eve dates saying good-bye to 2008. I wish you all good things in 2009!

This is my first attempt at making something with my new PS Elements program. I used brushes I downloaded from the wonderful Web site Obsidian Dawn. A must for dozens of wonderful and free brush packs and great tips. This is part of the Commuter's Journal's new look for the new year. I'm hoping to revise it regularly, but no resolutions. Let's go with the flow and see what the muse brings. Given freedom, she always surprises. Hope she visits you, too!