Sunday, April 15, 2012

My hideous paint palette!

On a random note, I fondly nicknamed
my set of fav. paintbrushes my "A-Team"
Today I figured I'd make a little post about my "traveling" painting kit. It's basically all my favorite paintbrushes and tools packed into one box that I can take with me anywhere. No biggie... most artists have a version of this. However, I have a very special ongoing project involving my paint supplies that I couldn't help but share with you guys... It's a masterpiece in the making!

BEHOLD! My super gnarly paint palette, proudly never washed.
I always get a lot of comments on this thing. Most people find it gross.. I can't imagine why!

It all started a few years ago while surfing the net. I discovered illustrator Will Terry's blog post about a paint palette he's been using for the last 20 years. This thing is truly inspiring, see for yourself:
Will named his palette Benjamin. And about the mountain-like shape it's taking, he says, "That arch you see was at the request of my children constantly nagging me to sculpt some form into him - that took about 9 months."
After seeing this post, I decided that I would start "growing" my own paint palette. By comparison, I still have a lot more layers still to build up before I'm anywhere near Terry's level. But it's definitely something to work towards. For the record, my palette is probably about three years old now.
You can see the layers slowly emerging. Also, in its defense, it looks a lot grimier than it actually is. I use india ink often, so there's this lovely blotchy black glaze all over everything..

Here's the palette from the bottom. As you can see, I've completely filled up the original "wells" to the top, but evidence of their existence still remains underneath.

GEROSS!! And by gross I mean.. AWESOME.
I am often questioned about how I am able to use this thing without "mixing up my colors." I actually don't have this problem with my palette at all. Since I use mostly acrylic based paints, they don't run after drying. I just keep building layers upon layers on top of the older paint, like some sort of crazed mad scientist of paints. 

Not all artists can have a paint palette as monstrous as this one, it certainly isn't for the "Faint of heART" (get it?)

 It requires you to never clean your paint palette, and serves as a valuable lesson in wastefulness. It's incredible to see how much left over paint will accumulate in time- seemingly wasted and unused. But a benefit of creating a crazy palette like this is that you have a chance to sort of build something completely new and unusual out of something that would otherwise be washed down the drain. Plus, it's a testament to your journey as an artist.

Like Will Terry mentioned in his blog post- "[My Palette has] been to Maryland, California, technically Nevada and idaho, but mostly he's lived here in Utah. Like I said before of the thousands of paintings I've done he's got parts of all of them in him."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wreck this Journal!

I admit it folks, I've hopped on the bandwagon. I am officially a Wreck This Journal junkie.

Wreck this bible!
If you didn't know yet, there is this book out there by Keri Smith that demands that you completely (yet artistically) trash it. Each page contains a series of directions on what to do with the book next in order to "wreck" it... all sorts of zany things from coloring outside the lines to making a drawing with pieces of hair. The book is slowly gaining a cult following. If you search the net, there are thousands of pictures and examples of very cool ways to complete the different pages.

Soon after acquiring this book I was hooked. The concept is very freeing, and it's got me doing art more often and keeping my skills sharp, which is always good. Also, the idea that you create the art naturally and by chance is very exciting to me. The more you work with the book, the more it develops in an often unexpected direction.

Cover page of my Wreck This Journal. I love its mantra... To create is to destroy!
The instructions page, not yet in its final stage of development.

 Speaking of incomplete metamorphosis, my journal is slowly shedding its cover like some sort of reptilian skin.  I can't decide if I want to salvage the cover or make a whole new one! Hmm... better work against my better judgement.

The "materials" list has become a scavenger hunt. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
Achoo! My take on the classic "rip up strips" page.

I had a lot of materials to use for this one, I work in an office.

The daunting "bring this book in the shower" page. I actually brought the book in the shower with me on two different occasions, I didn't think it got wrecked enough the first time!

I didn't realize this at first, but there sure  are a lot of four letter words.
I really like these two pages, but they aren't going to stay "perfect" for long.
The conjoining page requires me to sew through the paper, thus significantly changing them in the process.

WTJ Zombies of mass destruction. Oh yeah, and for the record, I have made many sudden destructive movements with the journal. My favorite one so far is when I got my to boyfriend run it through with a pocket knife. On many of the pages (like this one) there is a stab mark directly in the center now.
Escape the nets of oppression!
"Glue random items on this page." One of my favorite ones I've worked on so far.. there are just so many random things in this world to be glued!

I checked out a lot of other Wreck This Journal stuff for inspiration and I came across the official WTJ blog written by the author. She has a lot to say about the philosophy behind this book. One thing she said particularly stuck in my mind. It was something along the lines of- "While working in your journal, you will naturally come across pages that are harder to complete than others. This is normal, it all depends on your personal concept of destruction. However, the pages you avoid represent aspects of your creative process that you probably need to work on the most."

I really took this idea to heart and have challenged myself to complete those certain pages that I struggle with. I haven't got to all the difficult ones yet, but I'm working on it. For example, I tackled this page:
Creating a drawing out of hair. Firstly, I think hair is gross, so messing with it long enough to make a drawing disturbed me. It was extra gross that I decided to use dog hair, but my dogs are very hairy and have a lot of this fluff stuff lying around...
Another thing that's fun about the journal is that it encourages other people to participate in your "wrecking." One page instructs you to leave the journal in a public place and let others deface it. My first location was the kitchen table. My mom, who isn't usually the "artsy fartsy" type, decided to add a few little stickers. Something about her addition is very charming to me. Like I said, the genius of this book is the unpredictable nature of its finished product.

A tiny Jack Skellington sticker.
Some of my friends have also caught the "Wreck Bug." I love seeing how others interpret the directions in this book. It gives anyone a chance to be creative without the fear of making mistakes. My pal Tiffany recently got a WTJ and has especially been inspired:

Check out all the supplies she got to work with! WTJ should always be worked on with this kind of childhood exuberance.
She's using this book to "break" the habits of the common OCD idea that things must always be perfect. I think this is the most important aspect of  Wreck This Journal- learning to loosen up and appreciate things for the way they are.
  I look forward to updating about the progress of my (and Tiffany's!) journal. There is still so much to do. Until then, does anyone else have a Wreck This Journal they would like to share? If you don't have one yet, go out and get one at the book store, you wont regret it. You can also get it online for pretty cheap, just make sure to get it used!


My Journey With Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal 
1) The Beginning.....
2) WTJ Part Two
3) WTJ Part Three - Vengeance 
4) WTJ Part Four - The Reckoning
5) WTJ Part Five - Return of the Journal (Final)