Sunday, April 3, 2011

A new challenge

A little background: I recently met up with a few members of San Diego Sketchcrawlers group for a nice morning at Balboa Park. It was wonderful to meet new friends Rachel and Lydia and re-connect with Stephen, who I've met a few times in relation to stamping, journaling and bookmaking. They were so welcoming and enthusiastic it was impossible to resist the enthusiasm. The day was April 1, 2011. They all had little giftees for everyone so I felt rather silly, though I'm trying to think of it as a birthday of sorts, since I got stuff and didn't give any. The birthday of the return of my art life, or something grandiose like that, so I don't feel so lame; all I had to share were pumpkin seeds, which were declined graciously. Lydia made a great video of the morning. I'm fairly new to sketching, so all of their sketchbooks were amazing to me. Lydia even made two great sketches, and she came late, too! But I guess for a newbie, my tree isn't so bad.

Anyway, they talked about a lot of different things, and some of it really struck a chord with me. Particularly Noah Scalin's books Skulls and 365: A Daily Creativity Journal. Rachel brought her copy of 365 to show us. After visiting the websites Skull a Day and 365: Make Something Every Day, I got inspired to do something myself, as I feel the need to have a little more self-discipline in my life. (I seriously need a LOT of it, but I'm starting with a little and hoping it grows.) I actually bought the Skulls book a few years ago and found it fascinating, but had forgotten since then that he had made one a day, which is marvelous and amazing. On his 365 website, he posts info about people taking up the 365 challenge to make something every day, and it's fascinating to see what people are doing every day: making a book a day, taking a nature photo, daily turtles, snails, and scissors, a daily kindness, a daily thank you, and so many more. It's extremely inspiring.
I decided to make an ATC every day. I have not set any limits on style, theme, media or anything like that, mainly because then I would have to make a decision, which would encourage procrastination.

The first thing I did was carve a stamp for the back of the ATCs. Then I cut a bunch of ATCs and stamped them. I found some packs of pre-cut ATCs in watercolor paper and acrylic paper and stamped them too. So I have a lot of blank ones to use, I think at least 4 months worth.
Here is my lap desk as I was stamping the cards. I started this blog as a challenge to myself - being accountable for an ATC every day will definitely be a motivator to finish.
A little more background: I have to give credit to Traci Bunkers, whose daily carving and sketching and journaling have also been inspiring. I am in awe. I almost started a carving a day, but not yet (was too lazy/forgetful to go get a bunch of cheap erasers). She sells Henna stencils in her Etsy shop; I got a few recently and am looking forward to trying them out. 
I recently started doing Zentangle®, and love it! You can see a few of mine on Flickr here. Jennifer Van Pelt, owner of the Stamp Addict, has started a Zentangle® club that meets twice a month, and is teaching Zentangle® classes, and is very helpful and encouraging. I find it very meditative and I love the results, too. I expect a lot of the ATCs will be Zentangle® doodles, or contain some doodling, especially at the beginning.
Kelly Kilmer is a Southern California artist and teacher, and journals constantly. Her creative output amazes me. She is also a good resource for info on supplies, places to spend one's limited art supply budget, and inspiration.
OK, I just realized this is starting to sound like an awards acceptance speech. Sheesh! I guess I've been trying to figure out what exactly has been the trigger for my recent surge of motivation and enthusiasm to create. Maybe as the ATCs pile up, it will become more clear...