Thursday, November 24, 2011

To Celebrate and Emulate ~ Elinor Peace Bailey

Some of you may have heard the serendipitous tale of how I met this amazing woman ~ Elinor Peace Bailey (although I believe she prefers "elinor peace bailey"). While taking a writing class, you often receive "writing prompts". This was the visual I picked. Isn't it just a riot? That "write" was one of my most fun and frivolous ever ~ but that's another story.

With this image in hand, I noticed the woman's name in the corner and proceeded to "google" her. I emailed her letting her know how I admired her spirit and (since I love to tandem teach) even suggested doing a class or possible retreat together sometime.
We actually talked on the phone and she volunteered to mail me her very own personal journal (YES, she journals too!! HOW exciting is this?). Even when I tried to refuse her journal, she shipped it anyway. Her journal blew me away. Bold, playful, bodacious, personal, sensitive and profound - - and more. She privileged me more by allowing me to take her journal for my Women's Journaling Alpine Retreat's participants to explore. Such trust!

And NOW - we have scheduled a tandem-taught 3-day Workshop, July 12-14th, of next year in Portland. We're still in the planning stages, but looks like we'll meet Wednesday night, July 11th, to go over materials and rub shoulders. First full day, will be all Elinor's in her Portland Studio and second day, mine - up on the Columbia River Gorge. Final day - a combo and summation. For upcoming promotions we have started teaming up in a journal - here's one of the pages she's sent me which she started in only black and white pen work. I've added all the color. The class will be a hoot!! Let me know if you are interested in updates and details!

But in the midst of meeting and getting to know this jubilant, dynamic woman I had to create a journal page in an attempt to emulate and honor her. So here's my page with a shot at her "in-journal" doll/people portraits (p.s. the legs, feet, arms and hands move as they are attached to the page with tiny brads). The wacky fuzzy fabric so gave life to this portrait and I used an existing stamp I'd made for his head. I still may add some furry hair . . . and yes, those are buttons for hands! Another detail from Elinor! And then, of course, I had to record one of my favorite journal pages from Elinor's. This is my best replica . . . but by no means as bold or brilliant! It's a happy, playful page . . . it seems she brings that out in me and I'm enjoying it.

I just so savor meeting and digging into the intriguing spirits and talents and personalities of other women artists (sorry guys). There's an honesty and a freshness that bounds out of established, powerful creativity that moves me to the core - - my solar plexus tighten and heave, near to tears. I'm so honored to see and feel that baring of soul . . . it's truly a privilege. And I remain humble.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mistakes Stirring Invention

Any of you who journal, or paint, or create . . . Oh heck . . . if you're alive . . . know we make errors! And one of my greatest joys in the spontaneity of journaling is the way our creative minds show us solutions (and some, better than the original plan!). These next couple of pages are examples of exactly that!

Those of you familiar with the progress of my previous journal page with the fun paperclay 3-d frame, know my plan now would include leaving the following journal page blank where I needed to place my big letter "B". Right?

So immediately, the next day I went onsite with a private student venturing out into her first plein air adventure . . . and you guessed it! Where did I paint? Right in the space I needed to save. Here's the gurgling Lithia Park Creek, sitting right where I wanted to have white space. I fretted and pondered about cutting out the image, inserting a full page and on and on.

Rather than add a full page, I decided insert a small, almost "footnote like" page with, of course, my big "B" the first item on the lil' page. Next to my "B" I practiced a print from a self-portrait tile I'd recently carved. I like printing two times, yellow first to add warmth to the human skin then, a darker color (here, I've used Brown Madder). On the back of my mini-page, I found this beautiful business card from a peer watercolorist, Marni Marnee (, complimented all the colors on these pages. And I added how we'd met when she pass thru the Ashland Art Center where my studio is.

I continued my journal sequentially, with the sketch from a "Plein Air Workshop" I was teaching. Top left on the full page, is a sketch of my dear painter friend, Silvia Trujillo (, (who'd instructed the oil students) posing her hand to crop a portion of a student's painting during critique. Farther down the page is one of my watercolor students busy at work.

So I can attest to the fact that mistakes can make me more creative and inventive. Honestly, I have to say I've not gotten to the point where I celebrate errors, but I DO aim to get there some day. Another goal to aim at . . . it keeps me going and getting more comfy with myself.

I suggest "Celebrate Your Errors!"?