February 24th, 2005
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I’m off to new york to do some ‘sense shopping’. Will document findings and share them upon my return.
until then…
the inner–what is it?
if not intensified sky,
hurled through with birds
and deep with the winds of homecoming.

(photo by jeff pitcher with drawing by me)

February 20th, 2005
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How do you number your journals? I know this is probably not your 14th ever, especially with the rate you create, so I’m curious. -christine
Yes, m’dear it is actually my 14th. Surprised? I started the journals in earnest (aside from random sketchbooks over the years) around 1996. For years I had been afraid of writing regularly {read: paralyzed}. I mean this. I had so many journals that were started and never used, (maybe 10?), and when I would look at them I would feel inadequate, not much of an artist. Certainly not the artist I wanted to be. Too much pressure to perform stopped me from filling up the pages. In art school I had a class where one of the assignments was to write regularly in a journal. I did it, but the writing felt so forced and uncomfortable. My ego seemed to get in the way, I wrote things that I thought sounded intelligent, i would start some collages or sketches and give up quickly believing they were awful, I relied quite heavily on other people’s ideas.
The first real ‘journal’ was started when my mother was in the hospital. It began because I had a friend who I was communicating with regularly via email. We wrote at length about creativity, daily adventures, caregiving, and our joys and sufferings. I would travel for about three hours on busses to the hospital and then spend a few hours there with my mom. I found myself inspired to write my friend throughout the day (needing an outlet), thoughts and experiences poured out, and when I got home I would transcribe them into an email. Also I was reading the Diary of Anne Frank at the time. Like Anne I used the journal as a way of writing to a friend. After a couple of years the friendship with my girlfriend waned but I continued to document my world. I was so comforted by the fact that I had this friend with me at all times who I could share secrets with, or vent.
Some of the journals are quite large and took an entire year. And then there are periods when I write little. The last few years have been the most productive and the journals have taken over as my primary means of creating. Over time the ego has released it’s grip more and more, I now have permission to experiment and try the opposite of what I might normally do (even though I still cringe at the outcome, I am o.k. with that). With the journal I don’t have to think about an audience, such a shift from my commercial work. I also do not pressure myself to add to it, things happen when they need to. But I do know that I am much better emotionally when I am using the journal regularly. Even for small bits. (this week I’ve been adding little envelopes filled with tea leaves, including the date and time the tea was consumed). When I don’t use it i find myself cranky and tense, many times not knowing why. Sometimes just gluing in one small thing (a stamp, or a label is enough to make me feel like I am producing something.) But the moments I like best are when do a page that I find beautiful, layered texture and words. Black lines, doodles, cut out shapes. Two days ago I pressed some large wet oolong leaves and the print it left was amazing. The only thing necessary is to make a mark.
any mark.
Do you put any sort of clear coat finish on your collages?? how do you get them to keep? -Cindy
No. The process is not about preservation. While I do like to look back through my old journals, I do not worry about their longevity. It is hard enough to create, I don’t want to have to worry about any technical details, archival materials, etc. A glue stick, a pen and some crappy paint is all you need.

February 18th, 2005
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I have put the journal pages up on flickr. I like seeing them as a set, will add to it as I go. (Just click on the collage above.)
Off to the city today with husband. Art supplies, tea, and the chinese bakery!

February 17th, 2005
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“Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art.” –Felix Gonzalez-Torres (fr. Adbusters Vol 13)

February 16th, 2005
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some days i am a five year old who cannot wait till morning to wear her new shoes.
impatient. many new projects on the horizon, things moving forward. big things. yet i am still waiting.
as a child i would always put my new shoes next to my bed so they would be the first thing i saw upon waking (and so I could fall asleep with the smell the new leather or plastic). on occasion i would even sleep with them on, enthusiasm eventually giving way to bulky discomfort, i would force them off with a sleepy kick. two pairs live on in my memory, my brown leather “buster brown’s”, and my blue “road runners”, plastic sole covered with the head of the famous, uncatchable bird. (Buying shoes now as an adult becomes a quest for the perfect shoe that lives up to these early memories. an intensive mix of comfort, style, and design.)
but i digress, (i did not intend to go into a diatribe about footwear today, no I did not, but such is the nature of writing.) where was i? impatience. yes.
it may be the winter too. i am impatient for the green to show itself again. i want to not have to bundle each time i go out for a walk. i want to wear my red running shoes with a skirt and knee socks. i want to sit outside in the sun and smell the earth. I want, i want, i want. i try to tell myself that things come in their own time, not to push the river. i am reminded of a poem by shel silverstein (which i is perfect for my cranky five year old self)…
’twas the first day of the springtime,
and the snowman stood alone
as the winter snows were melting, and the pine trees seemed to groan,
“ah, you poor sad smiling snowman,
you’ll be melting by and by.”
said the snowman, “what a pity,
for i’d like to see July.”
chirped a robin, just arriving,
“seasons come and seasons go,
and the greatest ice must crumble
when it’s flowers’ time to grow.
and as one thing is beginning
so another thing must die,
and there’s never been a snowman
who has ever seen July.”
(excerpted from ‘Snowman’, in Where the Sidewalk Ends)

February 14th, 2005

how to live.
how to get the most life.
as if you were to teach the young hunter how to entrap his game.
how to extract its honey from the flower of the world.
that is my every-day business.
-from thoreau’s journals
In a couple of weeks we will be taking a trip to NYC to see the gates, and do some business.
If you have any suggestions for things to do please let me know (keep in mind I am on a tight budget, read: cheap or free is best).
things i am interested in…
little hideaway cafes (for writing in)
tea shops
unique stores (ecclectic)
paper shops
must see bookstores
underground comic stores
contemporary art
street art (not graffiti based)

February 10th, 2005
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After a week or so of plus seven temperatures (almost jean jacket weather), a heavy snow descends. A night of tossing found me retreating to the red couch where I watched the snow fall. If you lie down with your head in front of the window it looks like the snow is going to fall on you. Almost. I dream of a house by the ocean with green smells, wave noises and birds flying overhead.
I miss the birds. But they will find me again curled up in the purple hammock.
I read in “Learning by Heart” that the root word for “amateur” comes from the latin “amare”, meaning “to love”. It implies that when we approach the things we are drawn to naturally we do it from a genuine place, a place of love. The place of openess where anything can happen. “When we pursue a thing for love, we are free to fumble and make mistakes. The couse of our work may not run smoothly, but we are open to possiblities, embracing everything we have contact with.”
We must strive to approach the work as an amateur. Sometimes that can be difficult because the brain wants to save us from failure. “RETREAT!” it yells, “you are pearched precariously close to disaster.” That may be true. I recognize that I still struggle greatly with embracing the hard bits. But I know for sure that i AM learning something. I AM growing.
Open to the possibilities (amidst the fears).

February 7th, 2005
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found postcard, circa WW2, (type added)
“I think I am always collecting in a way–walking down a street with my eyes open, looking through a magazine, viewing a movie, visiting a museum or grocery store. Some of the things I collect are tangible and mount into piles of many layers, and when the time comes to use these saved images, I dig like an archeologist and sometimes find what I want and sometimes don’t.” –Corita Kent
I have become obsessed with the idea of collecting of late, the journal being the receptacle for the things collected. I particularly like the idea of collecting something random for a week, something as a texture. Like price stickers, or type samples cut out of magazines. How about the letter “a”? Reminder: carry gluestick at all times.
Book proposal #2 is done. How did I ever complete two in one month? I did not think it was possible. My brain is still in creation mode, so many ideas flooding in all at once. Different things. I am evolving. I like the idea that you might not know what to expect next. An artist should never be pinned down to one specific format. I want to always be experimenting. Pushing my own limits. I want to surprise myself. Everything I do adds up and goes into each new project, (layers again). The trick is in not resisting the change.
I added the type to the postcard as a reminder to myself to not take myself too seriously. Plus I just liked the absurdity of the photo. What are these strange men doing? The back of the card implies it is some form of gymnastics.
some things I am enjoying…
…a colorful new necklace by Jessica.
clarendon. It’s my new signature font.
…the films garden state. and grey gardens (hmmm is there a theme here? not really.)

February 3rd, 2005

“I hate writing. I love having written.” -Dorothy Parker
I think the main benefit in doing pieces you are not invested in is pushing yourself into places you don’t normally go, or don’t want to go. I have on purpose cut out photos that I am not really drawn to and tried to use them in something. Not really liking the feeling of a piece and reminding myself that it matters not. Sometimes I get halfway through a piece and flat out hate it. (The piece below on the right was one.) So I keep going, add a few lines, fill the page. Move on to the next. Sometimes a few days later I will look at it again and find there is something in it, something beautiful that I didn’t see.
I remember a story told to me recently at a dinner party. An art instructor seperated his class into two groups and asked them to produce a body of work. The first group was told that they would be graded on quality (how successful each piece was), and the second group was told they would be graded on quantity (pure numbers). As you may have guessed the quantity group was the most successful, producing large numbers of pieces that the artists were really happy with. The greater the number the less attached to the outcome the artists became. The quality group laboured over each piece, experienced more stress, and became much more self-critical. Interesting.
For me these pieces are largely about accomplishment. Even after doing a couple pages I feel satisfied, that I have produced some work, and given new life to my journal. The journal becomes less about documenting (it’s usual role), and more about letting go. I have on occasion gone back to some of these collages as inspiration for my commercial work, (using color combinations, composition, etc.)

February 3rd, 2005
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“Learning isn’t predictable.” -Gord Peteran

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