Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Work, New Tools

I've been working the last few days on a new piece in my "Home" series where I combined my two previous paintings (one that represents me and one that represents my wife) into one by projecting photos of each onto a 22"x30" piece of mixed media paper and tracing with pencil. The result was a complex and detailed web of lines.

I wanted to try something different when painting, and I am still digging Golden's High Flow Acrylic. But I wasn't looking forward to painting all the small details by brush. Since the High Flow is the consistency of ink, they work in refillable markers, so I picked up a few empty Montana Acrylic Paint Markers to try. I am definitely loving the control and the detail, and I'm thinking about buying more of the markers to fill with all the different colors of High Flow that I have.

I'll share more when I finish.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

San Antonio and Robert Indiana

We just returned from a trip to San Antonio, TX where we worked with private school Saint Mary's Hall and the McNay Art Museum. It was quite a trip, and we want to thank Carol Parker from SMH and Rosemary Hickman from the McNay for organizing the visit.

At Saint Mary's Hall, we worked with a variety of middle school and high school art classes and presented to the entire high school. At the McNay we worked with about 70 educators during an Evening for Educators where we were keynote speakers and workshop presenters. We had a good time at both places, and appreciate the chance to spread the journal love.

Our time at the McNay coincided with the opening of three Robert Indiana exhibits, and Dave and I spent a lot of time in the large retrospective of Indiana's work entitled Robert Indiana: Beyond Love which originated at the Whitney in New York. It was remarkable to see such a collection of his work, and the exhibit completely changed my mind about Indiana.

To be honest, I had never been a big fan of Indiana's work, and like many others, I often dismissed his work as rather shallow and naive. I was definitely mistaken. Though Indiana is widely known for his iconic "Love" image which has become ubiquitous and has been featured on everything from t-shirts to key chains. Indiana never licensed its use, and never made money off of all the commercial products bearing the image. Indiana also never went after those that illegally used it, and the image spread. Like many others, that is how I knew Indiana, but as I spent time in the exhibit, I came to the realization that his work was much more complex and much darker than I had suspected. Though his brightly colored hard edged paintings conjure up images of road signs, arcades, and midways, his work often has a political undertone or personal narrative that drive the work.

If you are in the San Antonio area, I highly recommend a stop at the McNay to see the work of Robert Indiana. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an extraordinary exhibit.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Early Bird Registration Extended Until March 31!

The JFJ would like to announce that we are extending the Early Bird Registration for our summer retreat until March 31, 2014. If you would like to attend Journal Fodder Junkies: The Retreat, June 26-29, 2014, and you want to save a bundle of cash, register now. If you want to save more, register with some friends to take advantage of the Artistic Accomplices Discount.

Regular registration is $450 for four days of journal fodder madness. You could save $150 if you take advantage of the discounts. See the Retreat Registration page for details.

Please share this with all of your friends, and we hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

All 1 Process: An Exhibition by David Modler

Dave just finished installing an exhibit at Shepherd University's Phaze 2 gallery on the first floor of the new Center for Contemporary Arts. An opening reception and artist talk will be held this Monday, January 27, 2014, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. 

According to a Shepherd Media release: "The site-responsive exhibition features new and reworked paintings that explore the effects of location on the context of studio practice. The content bids to confront the formal and conceptual boundary issues, multiple layers, and complex patterns that saturate the artist's everyday life. Dealing with these self-created and imposed boundaries can define one's space like a map, encompass like a web, and contain like a matrix." See more here.

Dave's exhibit consumes you as you enter since it runs from floor to ceiling. It centers around seven main paintings with smaller paintings hanging throughout the space. Some elements are directly pinned or painted on the walls. It's almost visual overload as you circle the gallery and try to take in all the symbols, patterns, and imagery. Dave has included four journals for viewers to flip through with the hope that they will begin to see the connection the journals have to the larger work and vice versa.

If you can't make the opening night, the exhibit runs for the next two weeks. If you are in the area, try to stop by the show.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

San Antonio Bound

2014 looks like it's going to be a busy year, and we already have events scheduled throughout the year with many other possibilities. First on the list, David and I have been invited to present in San Antonio, Texas at the beginning of February - just two weeks away. On Wednesday, February 5, we will be spending the day at Saint Mary's Hall, a private school where we'll be working with students. On the evening of Thursday, February 6 we will be speaking and conducting workshops at the McNay Art Museum from 5:00 to 8:30 as part of the museum's Evening for Educators series in conjunction with the Robert Indiana exhibit. So if you're an educator in the San Antonio are, we hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Movement of Life

The movement of life has thrown me out of balance yet again, and I have been working to get back to center. Thanks to some unexpected snow days this winter, I have had a little extra time in the studio and with my journal. I have even begun some tentative meanderings into a new journal. I'm not certain what volume I'm on now. Unlike Dave, I haven't been diligent about numbering all of my journals, and since changing over to Strathmore Hardbound Drawing Journals which have half the number of pages as the black Classic Cachets, I go though journals a bit faster now.

The above photo is from the first page of my new journal, and I jotted down the phrase as I was working on a few pieces of art and a few journal pages yesterday in the studio. I have come to a realization that all of my art and all of my writing - my journals, all the finished and unfinished wall pieces, and even this blog are my attempts at trying to visualize and document the movement of my life. I'm trying to be more diligent about keeping more balanced, being more in touch with my art, and finding the time to touch base here. I'm trying to make a more concerted effort to visualize that movement in more tangible ways.

However, the movement of life can be unpredictable. I am just glad that there are times when things slow down, and it's easier to feel and to process that movement.

Here's to a prosperous winter season.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

It's hard to believe that this is the last day of 2013. It has been such a busy year that it's hard to believe that we're at the end. So much has happened, and time has marched quickly by.

First Dave and I were busy doing our thing - promoting our books, attending conferences, and providing workshops. We hit the NAEA Convention in Fort Worth in March and the VAEA Conference in October. We provided a handful of workshops at a variety of schools, art centers, and universities. We even put on our own retreat in June, and we are planning another for June 2014 (sign up now for some big discounts). We had a joint art exhibit at Eastern Carolina University in Greenville, NC in August, and we both exhibited our work at a variety of other places as well. We have also been working on a couple of new ideas for books, and we're hoping that 2014 will bring a new book by the Journal Fodder Junkies.

Of course there's been my regular teaching gig at an elementary school in Leesburg, VA. It's my 18th year of teaching, and my second at Tolbert Elementary. I can't believe that I've been teaching for nearly two decades. My students continually astound me with their creativity.

On a more personal note, 2013 was also a year of loss. We began the year with the loss of our beloved shepherd/chow Percy. In November my uncle, one of my mom's younger brothers, lost his battle with leukemia. Uncle Ed was always ready with a joke and had given nearly all of my cousins and me silly nicknames. He was only 60.

Most recently, my wife and I had to say goodbye to another beloved dog. Poi (pictured at the top of this post) lost his battle with cancer. He had to have a couple of surgeries and quite a few chemo treatments, and the year saw him slowly deteriorate. In the end, he passed away in my wife's arms just a few days after Christmas. We miss him terribly.

Here's hoping that there's a lot less loss in the new year.

2013 saw a new direction in my art as I became enamored with web imagery. I explored drawing it, painting it, and cutting it out of paper. I even began a collaborative project based on it. Although I have always seen this type of imagery as dealing with connection, I never felt like I had a lot of meaning and intention behind it. I found that intention as I wrapped up the year with two pieces that utilize the web imagery to explore our connection to places - specifically the places that we have lived and called home. I began my "Home" series with a painting where I overlapped maps of the places I have called home. Using Google Maps and a projector, I projected each address onto a 20"x30" piece of paper, and used red acrylic paint to create the web. I created a second "Home" painting using my wife as the subject. As a former naval officer's wife, she has lived in many places, so her painting is much more dense than mine. I'm looking forward to exploring this idea more in the upcoming year.

And so that's just a small smattering of some of my happenings in 2013. I hope that you all have had busy and prosperous years, and here's to a happy, healthy, and productive New Year.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Days

Some unexpected ice and snow hit Northern Virginia over the last two days, and school was cancelled. Needless to say, I took full advantage of the two snow days by spending some quality time in the studio working with my web imagery. I've been struggling with what this imagery really means, and I have been working with ways to make it more purposeful. Up until now it has been rather random.

Today I had a bit of a breakthrough and decided to incorporate my interest in maps and places. Using Google Maps, I looked up five places that I have called home, and projected them onto a 22" x 30" piece of Strathmore mixed media paper. I traced each location with pencil allowing the lines to build up and create a somewhat random web of lines. It's hard to see the light pencil lines in the above photo. They're a bit easier to see in the detail below.

I didn't like the horizontal format from the tracing, so I turned it vertically, and began painting the main "veins" using Golden's new High Flow Acrylic. This new paint is thinner than their fluid acrylics and has the constancy of ink. It is well suited for my needs with this painting.

I slowly filled in the rest of the painting to create the intricate web, but I wouldn't say that I am finished with it. I need to erase a few stray pencil marks, and I may add some smaller details. Then again, I may leave it as is. Now that I have a digital image of it, I plan on projecting the image and details of the image into other works of art including some of the collaborative pieces I have in the works.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Journal Fodder Junkies: The Retreat Registration

Are you looking for a great deal on this Black Friday? Are you looking for the perfect gift for the creative types in your life - or even for yourself? Well, the JFJ have both for you.

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for our Summer 2014 Retreat. So, if you weren't able to join us last June, and you want to save $50, $100, or even $150, act now. We are offering both Early Bird and Artistic Accomplice Discounts for our June 26-29, 2014 Retreat.

Register now for our four-day visual journal retreat, and you can save on the regular $450 fee. Our Early Bird Discounted rate of $400 is good now through February 28, 2014. Fifty bucks savings not good enough? Then sign up with a friend or two or three, and save another $50, $75, or $100. In order to take advantage of these discounts, all registration fees must be paid in full at the time of registration, so make certain you click the appropriate Buy Now button after you submit your registration information. For your security and convenience, we only use Paypal for all of our registration payments, so we can accept all major credit and debit cards.

New this year, we will be able to offer 3 graduate credits through Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV for those educators seeking Professional Development credit. This option will require additional payment and coursework, and more information will be forthcoming. Make certain that you meet all of your state requirements in regards to Professional Development/Recertification.

For more info on the Retreat, visit the Retreat page.

To register, go to the Registration page.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Connection and Collaboration: A Call for Participation

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been exploring a web image that represents my connection to others, and in the vein of connection, I am looking to undertake a project that calls for Creative Collaborators. As I have explored this idea, I've been feeling the need to involve others, and this is where you come in.

I've had a few people ask how I make this imagery, and that has trigger an inkling of an idea. I want to include others into my process and have this idea evolve into a true community collaboration. I am picturing a simple process - have others create their own web imagery, share it with me, and I'll create a work of art that responds to and incorporates their imagery.

If you are interested in collaborating with me, it's quite simple, so follow these steps.

1. Email me saying that you're interested, and I'll email you back with an agreement for collaboration and other pertinent info.

2. Watch the how-to video that I posted on YouTube.

3. Make your own web image. Be as elaborate as you wish.

4. Photograph or scan it, and email it to me. Make certain that it's a good quality image. I find my iPad takes great photos for this purpose.

And that's it. The rest is up to me. I'll make a piece of artwork incorporating your image. What that exactly will be? I'm not certain, but I won't make an exact copy because it is important to me that you retain all the rights to your original work. I'll probably do some layering or such by projecting your image onto a large piece of paper. I just don't know. I'm looking forward to seeing just where this collaboration will take me. I'm looking forward to the discovery.

I hope that some of you will want to be Creative Collaborators. Thanks in advance.