Patti Edmon Altered Attic: January 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peeling Paint

Playing around in Photoshop again... a bit of cabin fever perhaps? I was on the Inspire Me Thursday site, where last week's challenge - Peeling Paint - is still posted. So, I decided to rummage around for a starting point - and found an image I took last fall of a shutter. I've always been drawn to weathered wood, rusted metal, cracking finishes of any sort really. I hadn't ever thought of using this photo for a challenge but it seemed to fit, so I added flowers to the window section and brushed on a border treatment. 
The flower is wishful thinking - we've been immersed in an icy, white world for nearly a week now - our annual storm. We've been fortunate enough to have power, unlike over 500,000 people in Kentucky who are without, including my dear friend, Kym, and her daughter, my daughter's bff, who are staying with us. My son and his posse tromp through fairly often, so we've had a houseful. 
A mound of bacon and platter of pancakes this morning - a rare treat here (I had my usual cereal... boring) and I'm getting ready to put on a big pot of soup and fix another batch of hot cocoa to thaw the kids. Did I mention they've been out of school all week? And they've already announced closing for tomorrow... So I might sneak off to the Altered Attic to work on my third week's Visual Journaling assignment, which is doodling (my brain is beginning to feel a bit doodly), with thoughts of warmer times.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ice and snow

After 36 hours of ice and snow, we've got quite an accumulation - here's a view from the window seat in the Altered Attic, a cozy place to be. Unfortunately, the cherry tree may be a total loss. Fortunately, DH moved his vehicle out of the path of the limb that ended up crashing to the ground later in the morning.

The kids have been out of school all week and I haven't had much studio time but I'm working on my Visual Journal, learning how to doodle! 

This storm is widespread - leave me a comment and let me know how it's looking where you are!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Journal Workshop - Week Two

The second week of the Visual Journaling workshop was about adding visual elements to our backgrounds - still without an idea or concept of the finished piece.  This feels like collage to me, though this process is more fluid, less planned. More spontaneous. It certainly is uncovering my difficulty in altering my approach to a project or process. 
I started off by sifting through images for elements that looked 'right' together because of color or theme, without giving much thought to how they relate to each other. Then a theme of sorts started to emerge and I felt a bit more comfortable. I haven't begun to think about actually writing on these pages. Aack. All of this work only to mess it up with words?
I didn't realize that I had a comfort zone when it came to art, since it's relatively new in my creative career; I can see that my trepidation at stepping outside the box, my rigidity is in place, and that's why I love this workshop. All the time I've been experimenting with processes and techniques and feeling like I've been so open, only to realize how set in my ways I really am. That the way we approach other areas of life carries over to working in the studio - like gravitating toward the familiar, over-thinking and letting the monkey mind have its way. 

I have read a number of articles about how little of our brain we actually use, how we're all artists as children and slowly deprogrammed over the years by the school system, that our early perceptions of self are firmly molded - until broken open and rediscovered. That I have been so stumped by doing a journal page without any concept or plan for the finished piece tells me that there is a lot of truth in those theories. 

I didn't grow up in an environment with an abundance of art and literature, though my mother has always been an avid reader. My father was an international sales executive so my parents traveled extensively and though they brought cultures from around the world into our home, it was mostly about business. A strong work ethic. Getting the job done. Not so much about play, experiment, discovery.  I thought I had given myself full permission to be an artist as well as a business person, but my creative license obviously has a conditional clause or two, which I fully intend on eliminating. So, I have my work cut out for me. Bring it on Week Three. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Photoshop collage

Photoshop collage, originally uploaded by pattiedmon1.

In my spare time, I've started playing in Photoshop again. I did this collage a couple of weeks ago, and, since I haven't been able to upload photos directly to Blogger, I'm experimenting with Flickr. If anyone else has had similar difficulties I'd appreciate hearing about it.
This collage is composed of a photo of my Aunt taken in the early 1950s, a photo from last summer of roses draping over the back gate and a poem that I wrote in sixth grade, which is, hopefully faint enough for the text to be visible without the words being too readable.

Photoshop is such a vast playground I have stayed away since beginning to work in mixed media. Years ago, when I had to stop working in the darkroom, first because of being pregnant, then because I never had the chunks of time to devote, I did a lot of photo manipulation, painting and other fun stuff. I'm taking a Visual Journaling Workshop now, so I'd better get back to gluing - week 2's exercise. Still feels foreign when I don't know what I want the page to be about but, I can tell from the pain that these muscles definitely need stretching!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Journal Backgrounds 101

After years of writing in journals, a lifetime actually, I've finally started a visual journal. I'm in good company. Somerset has a publication dedicated to art journaling and there are plenty of books and workshops to help those of us who are trying to convert. I'm taking a workshop that started this week, in fact, taught by the fabulous Pam Carriker. Her background pages look more like art pieces than anything I've ever considered journal. 
It has been a fun first week; I've made several background pages and I'm anxious to see what we'll do next. I have to admit, this still feels a bit out of order to me; I've always started with a thought, emotion or situation, in other words, knowing what I wanted to express. I don't sketch, so aside from an occasional quote or clipping, it has been confined to words.
My first efforts at keeping an art journal several weeks ago involved staring at a blank page, followed by a search through my 'paper piles'  for a photo or quote or some other source of inspiration, gluing, then attempting to fill in the empty space with writing and pastels.  It had never occurred to me to creating pleasing backgrounds for later use, without knowing my intention for the page, like putting the horse before the proverbial cart. So, I'm approaching this with an open mind, and an understanding that my concept of journaling is going to change radically during the course of this workshop. Nothing like shaking things up to jump start the creative process.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Ultimate in Procrastination

A few years ago I was on the back deck and heard my neighbor's smoke alarm go off; her husband headed in from the back yard, and in his unique, curmudgeonly style, muttered, "Dinner's done." I don't think Jeanette really used the smoke detector for a cooking timer but it cracked me up and I've thought about it numerous times when I've pushed time to the limit, or just past, as is my custom.
Taxes, swaps, just about anything with a deadline triggers that dreaded response, I'll get to it next, next week, and then, it's time and I'm cramming, just like I always did with work projects when I still ran the business and school before that. 
I read a book on the subject once, albeit a week after my friend asked for it back, and it was full of truths. We avoid making a decision fearing it will be the wrong one, we are avoiding the issue or its consequence; seldom are we lazy, just afraid of failure - or success. That made a lot of sense to me at the time. I'm certainly not lazy though I have great difficulty in the discipline department. 
When my son was being evaluated for ADD, the psychologist tested me and actually cracked up when he scored the results. Apparently there was no life guard at the gene pool (credit Dr. Stephen Croley for that wisecrack). So, is that a big secret? Aren't many of us creatives ADD, procrastinators, outside-the-box thinkers? Of course. I think it's fairly common if not normal.
I've gotten better - I no longer pay late fees, don't have utilities cut off or the feds sniffing at the door. But, I have to admit, I've transgressed for the third time in twenty years now, and I'm so mad at myself that I decided a full-blown confession was appropriate. I use the state trooper as a notice to get my car tags renewed. 
Did I know my registration expired? Last May? Yes, of course. Then, when our bookkeeper generously offered to go down to the County Clerk's office for me, I couldn't find the my registration. I think it's with the book on clutter that I borrowed, but that's another story. So, I'd have to go in person, show my ID and get a duplicate, pay the dues and get on with it; except that time went by and I always had a good reason why not today.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving we were returning from my husband's cousin's house an hour's drive south of here. My DH was driving, and as we passed the cop on the side of the road I had a sinking feeling. Yep. He was a very polite young man, nice even, and he gave me - a law-abiding citizen with only one traffic violation in thirty years - plenty of time. My court date, Monday, January 12. At least I had the holidays. 
I went downtown earlier this week and took care of business. You'd think in the electronic age, when we can chat online with friends thousands of miles away, it would be possible to scan the documentation and fax it to a clerk at the courthouse who could check it off and file it away. Nope. So, Monday morning at 9:00 I'll go to the courthouse in Richmond, thirty miles south of here, show them just how ornery I am, and spend three times as long as it took to get the stupid sticker in the first place. The amazing thing? I did the same thing several years ago and, did I mention this is my third time? Let's hope it's charmed, or that, at the very least, I've learned my lesson!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Here's to creating every day!

One last holiday post... a photo of the tin I made for my mom this Christmas. It gets so much harder every year to find creative ways to gift, but I knew for certain that she didn't have an altered Altoid tin. Inside is a photo of the two Alices - my mother and daughter, with mementos from this year's Nutcracker, about which I've already gone on and on.  
Over the break I spent a few hours cleaning the Altered Attic, packed away all the tissue, ephemera, ribbon and charms that I used to make Christmas  projects. And the bonus - I can now see the surface of my art table. So now I'm heading toward the new year, which doesn't officially begin until my kids return to school on Monday.
One of the moderators of my art group - 14 Secrets for a Happy Artist's Life - posted the question: What do you want to accomplish artistically this year? I thought about it for a few days before posting an answer; one of the biggest advantages of belonging to this group, which is relatively small and intimate, is that I've expanded my range of techniques and projects enormously. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I hadn't made ATCs or inchies before joining, along with some complex projects, like the Artist's Coping Tin that I still cherish. I had a fabulous experience with assemblage at Random Arts last May at a Michael deMeng workshop.
As a relatively new mixed media artist I do feel the need for focus and some kind of direction, though, maybe a way to realize growth, maybe depth, rather than expansion? That includes major amounts of experimentation, an enormous part of growth; I do get overwhelmed when I look around my studio - the papers, doll parts, rusty stuff, buttons, all the goodies just waiting... I want to do more art journaling so I've signed up for a workshop and watched some tutorials to help me get started.
I have a couple of projects on the table that still need tending to, though, so for now, my goal is to be more timely and attentive to commitments. I just posted the icon for Creative Every Day 2009, which I'd highly recommend looking into - it's people like Leah who encourage us to explore no matter which direction we choose, as long as we are mindful of creativity every single day. Thanks Leah!


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