I'm 24 days into the 61-day Index Card A Day challenge, otherwise known as ICAD. There is no grand plan or award at the end of the challenge, simply that anyone participating makes a little daily art on an index card, one card a day for sixty-one days. 

So far, I've collaged, painted, water colored, used markers, pencils, cut out book text, rubber stamped, and sorted through a not-insignificant amount of art supplies to use, that I'd otherwise forgotten about. 

The cards typically take me just a few minutes to complete, committing to spend no more than 15-minutes on a card, often, and usually, having to just let it be what it is, whether I'm finished or like it. It's good therapy for learning to embrace imperfection, of which I need quite a lot. And in the mutually-beneficial spirit of sharing and also continuing to clean out the studio to just get rid of stuff, I've been turning them into post cards and sending them to a friend who didn't ask for them but is getting them all, anyway. One day at a time as I finish and mail them. 
It's certainly been an inspiring pursuit. The thousand-plus people participating are at all skill levels, using a mind-boggling number of different mediums and techniques which have inspired me to stretch and try new things myself. I am a better Creative just for spending a few short minutes a day to get a little bit of color and markings down or a crappy index card.
And some aren't even visual artists. Several are writers using their card a day to write snippets of a longer story or just streams of consciousness. Anyone can participate, doing anything, so long as it's on an index card and they do it each day. 


Importantly, though, it's lit a fire. I haven't been this creatively juiced for a long, long time. At 24 days in, I've now got a habit that starts with the daily card and then leads onto other creative endeavors. I have a Black Bear Film FestivalArt Bear I'm working on again this year, a Delaware Valley Arts AllianceRiverfest poster, several sculptures I'm working on in cement, and fabricating two costumes of 'armor' out of foam for and upcoming party. 

And now it's leaching over into some writing projects for me, the first of which is a short story based on a phrase I used for one of the earlier ICAD cards, "the Golden Bowl, irreparably broken". It sets the mind ablaze, right? So I also reached out to an writer friend to see what he could do with the prompt, too. 

Julie Cameron, the artist and author of "The Artist's Way" talks about the lulls between creative bursts and likens it to filling a well, one that you can then continue to dip into to fuel the creative spark. The well has apparently been filled.

Not a photographer but...

There is a new online gallery through our local arts alliance that has a call for works under the theme "Barriers, Boundaries, and Fences".  My work is usually so abstract that it wouldn't fit into that theme but I just happened to have some black and white photographs I took several years ago when I was experimenting with a new camera that I immediately thought of.  These are some of my favorite pictures and I have absolutely no idea how I got such great shots other than pure luck with the right timing, right lighting, right place, and having an actual camera with me.

So I submitted two of the pictures for consideration by the jury and will find out in early June whether either was accepted for the run from July through October.

Montoza Cemetary, June 2010.  Barryville, NY 

Montoza Cemetary, June 2010.  Barryville, NY 

Mail Road, Stone wall running along Montoza Cemetary.  2010.  Barryville, NY

Mail Road, Stone wall running along Montoza Cemetary.  2010.  Barryville, NY

Making progress slowly

It's been a long time since I've started early on a project and have had the luxury to just play and experiment.  My initial thoughts and design for the Riverfest poster started out strong and sure but after a few hours of playing around with some mock-ups and other ideas, I realized it wasn't practical for the poster.  Still something I want to do at some time but not for this project.  But that led to the next idea and I got some initial drafting and sketching done and I like where it's headed.  Progress.

Plotting the pathway

I have the annual poster auction coming up in July for the 2015 Riverfest in Narrowsburg. This will be my fifth year submitting. There is a perfect balance of no pressure and my own expectations for coming up with something new and different. My theme always has a fish in it and this year isn't any different. My process is pretty loose but starts off with inspiration I pick up from around the Internet and then when I start the I conversation with myself about a picture, style, or technique I like, I start from there.  

this year origami, paper sculpture, and construction have piqued my interest and so I'm setting off, not exactly sure what is going to work, what I'm capable of making, and how I like  the end result. So we go forward. 



And on to the next, better things...

It's been months and months and while I'd like to say I've been in the studio, creating and playing and all that, the fact is it was cold, harsh winter and the fire to be in the studio wasn't there.  It wasn't so much a balancing of all the output I did for the No.18 show but rather, just a lack of direction, purpose, and goal.

But that is done with.  I have three large projects coming up: 6x6 abstracts for a gallery collaboration in my old hometown in Ohio, the annual Narrowsburg Riverfest Poster auction entry, and a four-foot plastic bear that is going to be used to advertise and celebrate the Black Bear Film Festival in Milford, PA in October.  And past that, maybe another solo show?  

And with all that, the wheels start turning, the ideas start flowing, and the burn starts burning.

The Aftermath, Part 1

"Letdown" isn't exactly the right word but there is certainly a feeling of anxiousness, of twitching, at least for me.  To be finished with 30 pieces for the show this coming weekend, after months and months of work, is a strange feeling: a mix of relief with an edge of "...did I leave the iron on when I left the house this morning."  But the work has been dropped off at the River Gallery and the only thing left for me is the opening on Saturday evening.   

With all the work out, I started to clean the studio up a bit, after months and months of pulling out every tube of paint, every rubber stamp, every book, pamphlet, or other piece of paper that might work as the under-collage.  I noticed a few months back that everyone of those things, as they were put on my work table to be used, started marching closer and closer to me, narrowing my actual work space down to barely enough for each piece.  Piles of cut up scraps and bits and bobs of who-knows-what started little communities on the floor.  And last week, as I was racing to the end of the work, my inside voice started with a new want, "...it's going to feel so good to clean this mess up..." And so it is.

The work table with the rapidly advancing tubes of paint, bottles of solvent, ink, gesso, fiber paste, and matte medium.  The tools getting ready to revolt!

The work table with the rapidly advancing tubes of paint, bottles of solvent, ink, gesso, fiber paste, and matte medium.  The tools getting ready to revolt!