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Creating Collaborations—My Intention for the Year!

At the beginning of the year, one of my intentions was to create more collaborative work— with existing colleagues and venture into unexplored territory.

I see connection and opportunity almost everywhere (a blessing and a curse, I believe). Two weeks ago, I took a fabulous course with Ramiro Davaro-Comas, a professional muralist and instructor at the Art Students League in NYC. (Ramiro has been painting murals for 15 years, painted over 200 murals, and facilitated more than 150 additional murals. You can find his work here, www.ramirostudios.com and www.super-stories.org) I have a (not so) secret desire to create more murals—BIG artwork. I want to add more of this type of work and play to my repertoire. 

During the session, I also found that I was constantly thinking about the mechanics—the micro-adjustments necessary to create the desired effect with the spray paint—which nozzle I was using, how close my hand was to the wall, and what angle I needed to get a tight straight line as opposed to a wide swath of paint. Sustained, hyper-focused attention to the details of my drawing is not so common for me—I most often work in well-known ways that are almost second nature. It was a great lesson in microlearning. 

After the course, having had so much fun and learning new skills, I approached Ramiro about partnering to create a session I could offer to my community—visual practitioners. The idea has come together so easily and quickly! The session is on the calendar, announced just yesterday to my bikablo alumni and now for everyone who would like to dive into this learning experience/adventure. While it might seem like the session—an afternoon in Bushwick (Brooklyn) is all fun and games, visual practitioners, trainers, facilitators, and coaches are always creating posters, charts, and collateral that includes headlines/hand lettering, close attention to layout, and color.

Have I whetted your appetite? Are you curious to learn more? I’d love to talk with you about my experience and to answer your questions!

Come to New York, if you’re nearby, and run into the city for the day. I added a brief trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to start the day for those who love to be up early to begin their day in Manhattan. All the details of the schedule are on my calendar. Or perhaps make it a long weekend in the middle of the summer, or maybe you’re attending the IFVP (International Forum of Visual Practitioners) Summit that begins the day after this session, and you will add this adventure to your calendar.

As you can imagine, space is limited because we will be plorking (playing and working) in the backyard of world-renowned LowBrow Artique, a Brooklyn gallery, and a spray paint store. Find more details on my calendar here.

Perhaps most importantly, beyond the joys and challenges of hand-lettering, what do you think about your experiences with collaborations and partnerships? And of greatest import, what are your intentions for this year? How are you living into them? I’d love to know!

PS: And, if you’re curious about more visualization events and resources, email me to join my ezine list. Yesterday’s edition was chock full of info and goodies!

What inspires you?

Last Friday, at the Allentown museum (PA) I saw a piece that struck me as brilliant and inspirational…

As you can see from the description, the artist, Sam Gilliam, created a piece, then cut it up, and placed the pieces in a different configuration. I was gob-smacked!

I thought of my Zentangle work. I could create a piece and tear it or cut it up! It sounded exciting and scary! I’ve never done this—destroyed, torn up, or reassembled my work…

I approached the new adventure with a bit of nervousness because, in general, I like what I create. So I took a photo at the various stages of creation, the marker and paper, the shading that I added… and truth be told, to get a little more freedom, I made a copy of the piece before cutting it up. The piece didn’t need to be complete… I usually fill almost all the space on the surface yet since it would be a mash-up perhaps more white space was fine. I’m not sure about that thinking. It was liberating and maybe faulty—we’ll see!

 I did a bit of preliminary experimenting and didn’t like the results of tearing the paper so I decided to cut my work into pieces. I also experimented with a tile (what we Zentangle-lovers call the 3.5 inch square of Italian paper that we generally work with).

I was excited and curious throughout the process wondering how much to cut and whether I really cared if the pieces truly fit together like a puzzle. Does it need to be a perfect square or rectangle again? Is that overthinking it? Or, should I create more prototypes? It was beginning to feel kind of heavy, too up in my head—for now. I just wanted to see a few quick results, learn from them, and then take the plunge.

When was the last time inspired you were inspired? What did you do with the thought and feeling?

Here are the beginning stages of the process. Here are a few photos and a chatty video of my experience cutting up/re-purposing my original artwork

 

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(Click the link to watch the video.)

If you’re pressed for time, just watch the reel on insta, though it won’t show you my final design!

What do you think? I am still reflecting on the experience.

Looking backward to look forward

Gosh, I had a bit of a wonky week last week. I’m wondering if you have had the same experience of late?

I finished a training program, which was awesome! It’s such fun to see people’s skills grow throughout the bikablo trainings. And, I’m in the middle of a new, big, long-term project.

I have to admit it, I’m good at beginnings and endings, it’s that middle time in multi-month projects that really challenges me—maintaining the momentum while simultaneously working on short terms endeavors.

I have A LOT of pieces to manage with this project and I’ve noticed that the program that I’m in to support me has a really linear approach… I am a global/big picture thinker, so that’s a point of friction that I am working to smooth out. It’s a growth opportunity (and I work to frame it that way).

Gathering up all the pieces to the puzzle, seeing everything at once, and then creating order.

I am also, a lover of new and different things and a few one hour art courses (from the Brooklyn Art Library) popped up during my lunchtime which I felt the desire to experience. So the week felt topsy-turvy for me, which is fine, just different.

And, lastly, truth be told we had two weeks of unbelievably gorgeous weather and I did feel like playing hooky. Instead, I worked outside as much as I could and that was the right balance for me.

I am now looking ahead to the remainder of 2021 and reflecting on the year it has been, not just the past month, but January to June. For me, it’s been a time of challenges, learning, change, creating new routines, and working with new people—for the most part, great stuff!

So I’m wondering about you as we approach the middle of 2021.

Are you making time to pause, assess, reflect, and imagine how you will move forward?

What are you feeling good or great about from the first six months of the year? Making the time to celebrate our achievements and realize the foundation that we continue to create for success is so important.

What are you dreaming about for the summer into the fall and fall into winter (or winter into spring and spring into summer, depending on where your feet touch the ground)? What experiments might you create to work and play with new ideas, learning, practices, and collaborations for the remainder of 2021?

I’m finding inspiration for thinking differently about my living and planning both day-to-day and long-term in all kinds of places. Whether it’s:

  • plorking (playing and working) with a small, dedicated group of visual practitioners to introduce our work* to the world—supporting those who are planning their end of life experiences
  • an art exhibit of Calder’s sculptures or a cracked coconut (the latter as substrate for my Zentangle play)

  • a new way experiencing myself (a new body scan technique from the  Balance app — different than the way I deliver to others and so interesting to me!)
  • reading a variety of books (Austin Kleon’s, Show Your Work! and How to carry what can’t be fixed, by Megan Devine).

These sources feed me.

What is nourishing your right now? I hope you will share your finds and practices with me.

* Learn more about VEOLI/Visualizing And of Life Issues here. And, if you’re interested, join our Open House for visual practitioners on July 14th at 4:30 pm ET. Here is the link to register.

These sources feed me.