Sunday, November 27, 2011

AEDM 2011 #22-27: Important information regarding your destination in North Jersey


Here is my first true Jersey doodle. This is what has become of me: I'm documenting traffic. Harking back to the plight of the highway motorist in North Jersey, I decided it was a good first predicament to cast in ink. It took all week to complete, not only because I am a slow doodler, but also because I invested an extraordinary amount of time in getting lost. Call it research ;)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Personal Geographies

personal geographies cover

Nearly two years ago, Jill Berry sent me a note: "Aimee, how do you feel about maps? Love 'em?" Just reading the word "map" made my heart thump, and the way in which it was phrased convinced me that Jill was up to something quite mappy. She was. After many months of cartographic toiling, her passion was published this month as Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking.

In Jill's words:

“You don't have to be a world traveler or a professional cartographer to embark on a grand journey of self-discovery through mapmaking. Personal Geographies gives you the tools and techniques you'll need to create artful maps of your self, your experiences and your personal journey. Chart the innermost workings of your mind, document your artistic path and create an unfolding maze of your future dreams and goals.

Inside Personal Geographies you'll discover:

* 21 mixed-media map projects featuring artistic techniques like working with alcohol inks and pochoir, painting on a black surface and carving custom stamps

* Insight into the world of traditional and contemporary maps and how they relate to and inspire personal mapmaking

* A gallery of maps by contributors from around the world to spark your own creativity

* From mapping your head, hands and heart to recording powerful memories or experiences, the maps in Personal Geographies are a gateway into the fascinating and meaningful world of you.”

I was lucky enough to tag along on her journey (my maps "No Nap Today" and "Peregrinations" are included in the book) so today I get the privilege of kicking off the Personal Geographies blog hop! Answer one of my burning travel questions below, and I'll draw a winner on December 10 for a free copy of the book. (Please note: North Light can only ship within the US.)

1. Where did Jill, Mr. Artsyville & I meet for coffee this summer: a) Bozeman, b) Boston, or c) Boulder?
2. A place you've visited in your dreams (day or night) but have never been?
3. What is your favorite language?
4. How has travel influenced one of your own art pieces?
5. Where in the world did Jill teach a workshop this fall?

If you don't like any of these, invent your own travel query and answer it. Also, if you would prefer to skip the burning questions and get a copy directly in your hot little hands right now, go to Shop Mixed Media and use code SMM106 for 35% off & free shipping until 12/9/11.

Happy weekend to all of you! And thank you, Jill, for taking me along for the ride, for teaching me so much about the history of maps, and for being such a valuable art mentor to me. ♥

Monday, November 21, 2011

AEDM #19 and #21: Box of Travel Dreams




I took a journey of cut & paste fun last weekend and this afternoon with my new travel magazine obsession, AFAR. It is a culturally satisfying read (but not uppity), colorful, intelligent, features quirky columns and fascinating destinations, and makes me want to take off right this instant. And the paper! It is yummy and thick, somewhere in between matte and satin, just enough to give it a slight sheen. Perfect for collage. I devoured every word of the issue before demolishing it. First I covered a shoebox to create a Box of Travel Dreams, and then created a set of envelopes to hold my travel wishes inside. (I took apart an existing A2 envelope to use as a template, traced it with a Sharpie on the magazine page, and glued the flaps together.) And then I subscribed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

AEDM 2011 #20: Sunday in the City












No - o - o - o! I did not skip a day. I did a real, honest project for AEDM #19 with a travel magazine last night. But after starting its companion piece, I ran out of glue (horrors!) and was too lazy to get more, so to the side it all goes until I can finish tomorrow.

Today's creative venture involved more exploring. I have a strong thirst for it these days. I caught an early train into the city (it's an easy ride which means I'll be doing it as much as humanly possible), took a quick stroll through Chelsea and then huffed and puffed over to MoMA, where I finally met Cindy and spent the morning at the Diego Rivera exhibit. All of his works are stunning, but I especially liked the tiny watercolors of city life that he painted with a limited palette of three colors on humble graph paper, and we were both blown away by his mural Frozen Assets. We caught up on each others' lives as we wandered through the galleries & wrapped up the morning with coffee and pastries at the cafe. She was just as I had imagined her: warm, genuine, intelligent, funny - and a camera hermit, just like me. I'm surprised we even managed to get pictures of our skirts and feet!

Friday, November 18, 2011

AEDM #16/17/18: Overwhelmed and prowling around













This was the week I went from being a visitor to a resident. When I settle into a new spot, I prefer to observe, and if possible not really talk to anyone for about a month. But my kids started school this week, forcing me to shed my cloak of anonymity, and so I'm feeling a bit bare and vulnerable at the moment. When that happens, I hide. And there are so many places here to hide! Suburban towns in North Jersey are not suburbs in the sense of the new, large and planned variety. They are petite, established, old villages, each with their own history and distinct flavor, yet they somehow shift effortlessly from one to the next through winding hills and non-linear roads and streets. Chain and big box stores do exist here, but they cling to the highways -- or accurately put, they are directly on the highways, so you have to bust into the parking lot at about 55 miles an hour. Miss the turn, and too bad for you. Just keep going, and keep exploring. There are many better things to see than Office Depot. The villages themselves are much more polished than Lawrence -- I don't think I could get away with Marshmallow Peeping any of the downtowns, for example -- but they abound in vitality and old world charm. And with Post headlines like the one above, I think my escapes to NYC will more than provide my requisite doses of grit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

AEDM #15: Happy Firstday, Happy Birthday, Happy Chalkday


Usually I try to have something handmade on the celebration table for my daughter's birthday. Last year it was a mailbox, another year it was a dollhouse, and other years I did other things but can't remember what they were. This year I forgot altogether, until I went to the grocery store to pick up balloons and found a darling vase covered with chalkboard paint. Only four dollars! Ran to the drugstore, got some colored chalk, went back to the apartment, arranged the table, chalked the vase all in 10 minutes, just in time to pick her up from her first day at her new school. Lettering with chalk is not easy! It is a headstrong and ornery little thing. It skids, skips, screeches, and does not obey my commands at all. But she loved the vase, and I think we'll get plenty of chalking practice on it once the big day is through. First, though, we're walking downtown for a cupcake.

Monday, November 14, 2011

AEDM #12/13/14: In the Drawing Room with Dirty Footprints Studio


Finally got back on track this weekend with my Drawing Room series, which got thrown off kilter with the move. I started doodling people a few months ago after finishing my Stew Book. I found how much fun it was to explore and describe others' personalities, their quirks, their doings, their ways of being; plus I like the creative challenge of fitting words and thoughts like puzzle pieces into one page.

In my (temporary) Drawing Room today is the bold, colorful, expressive, fearless Connie from Dirty Footprints Studio. I adore her free spirited approach to painting and her enormous canvases. She's sharp, insightful, and damn funny. Don't let the nap and hammock references fool you -- she's one of the hardest workers I know. Her mind constantly spins on new ideas, projects and workshops. She paints through morning sickness and makes time for her art even when she only has 15 minutes to spare. She's also the mastermind of the 21 Secrets: An Art Journal Playground which will begin anew next spring (and I'll be teaching again!) Meet this lovely lady on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and her beautiful, honest blog.

Friday, November 11, 2011

AEDM 2011 #11: Push my buttons


I finished a few Artsyville buttons today! They're on my sidebar -- feel free to grab one. And push it if you wish.

Catching up on past posts and everyone's creative lives. Returning bloggy visits, slowly and steadily.

Moroccan oil works like a gem on even the rattiest hair.

I had forgotten how easy apartment life is. I love it. Even though it is filled with an illegal amount of wicker and I feel like I'm waking up in someone's grandma's Florida condo every morning, it is just perfect for us right now. Every square inch is usable, the location is unbeatable, and the arrangement affords us the flexibility to look for a house we love on our own schedule.

Liv is gearing up her BBTL course for spring and I'm thrilled to be part of it again!

Ms. Buffalo Lucy wrought these incredible earrings for me as a parting gift. I've worn them almost every day since my departure.

Jen's Word book of Polaroids is celebrating its first anniversary with a little sale.

Tammy from Daisy Yellow captured my heart with her post "You don't have to know how". She makes any kind of art or craft seem totally accessible.

I feel a pang of longing for the heartland.

And a zing of anticipation for the adventures that await me in my new land.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

AEDM 2011 #10: Doodling-on-Hudson

















Today was an exploring AND doodling day! New schools and obligations are imminent, as is winter weather, so I am cramming in as much as I can before organized chaos and chilly days descend upon the household. This afternoon we went to the little artsy town of Nyack, about 30 miles north of NYC. Picked up a yummy brioche & a jar of homemade honey at the farmers market, ate gelato, each picked out a new book, then took our Crayola oil pastels (I've been hooked on them ever since my last art date with Shannon in Kansas City) and our journals to the Hudson waterfront (that's the Tappan Zee bridge in the background) and scribbled away. Topped off the afternoon by fattening up the birds with a bit of our brioche. There is so much to do in Nyack -- we didn't even put a dent in the place. Such an easy drive from where we are, so we'll be back for sure!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

AEDM 2011 #9: They'll take Manhattan

This was to be the day to unpack and get back on track. But the weather! So beautiful! Why settle for settling? Instead I took the girls to NYC for their first taste of the city. Not many chances for photo ops this time since I had each of their little hands clutched in mine. But they took very favorably to it all, perhaps because I took them directly to Nintendo World? Back to the doodledesk (which is temporarily a Golden Girls era wicker table) tomorrow!