I took an unintentional break for the holidays. Between Christmas prep, activities, stress and family time, I couldn’t do everything and posting my art online fell off the list. But I still made art. For several months, a phrase kept popping into my mind. It’s an altered version of “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound”: If I make art and I don’t post it online, did I still make art? The answer is yes. Actually, it’s more like HELL YES. This year, I put pressure on myself to do more, be more, make more and I put the same pressure on my art. After being unemployed for 2 years and trying to find work that was both fulfilling and could fit the schedule I need for my family, I had hoped my art would raise to the challenge. It did, but not in the way I needed as a means to support my family. I am proud of everything I did, but I am also burned out. I was hoping that at this point, I would have a solid plan for the next year. Instead, I am regrouping, recharging and recalculating. I have felt the need for change for quite some time and will be making quite a bit of change next year. I will be doing a daily project, but I will not be posting every day. I can’t. It’s a lot of work and it’s taking away from other things I need to/want to do. I need to make art just for me for a while. I need to give myself permission to make crap, take chances and not worry about how many likes, follows or unfollows it will result in. Thank you for being here, for your continued support, encouragement and kindness. I’m not going away, I’m just making this project more sustainable so that I can not only keep doing it, but also spend more time nurturing the amazing relationships it has brought into my life. So, here’s to good friends, making crap and more HELL YESES in 2020! 365/365.
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I’ve been battling holiday stress and holiday stress has been winning. I’ve been overwhelmed, exhausted and secretly counting the days until it’s all over. I miss the childhood excitement of the holidays. The problem with using my daily project as a storytelling tool is that I haven’t had any stories I’ve cared to share the past week. I’m down and I don’t want to bring others down. So, I quit posting. But Monday night, I went to the last MN Visual Journaling Collective meeting of 2019 and we used the time to work on projects. I brought out my neglected watercolors and daily book and made messy, loose mandalas inspired by water and earth and the holidays. I let my mind go and just painted. I didn’t love them, but I loved the process and the company of dear friends. And I am very excited to share that I will be a co-facilitator of the MN Visual Journal Collective alongside @orangespiralarts beginning in January 2020! This group has been near and dear to my heart for many years and it is a great honor to be asked to co-facilitate with such a talented and inspiring artist and very great friend. I’ll have a page dedicated to the group live on my website soon complete with the tentative schedule for 2020. Local friends – I hope you can join us for a meeting next year! 347-352/365
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The other day I was running from place to place to place and started to lose steam. I remembered I had money left on a @starbucks gift card and stopped for a pick-me-up. While I waited for my drink, I ran through lists in my head of things to do, things to buy, things to return, things to make. I got lost in a flurry of tasks and suddenly caught myself staring blankly at the counter. As I brought my attention back to the present moment, the counter came into focus and suddenly, I saw the most beautiful pattern in the woodgrain. It reminded me of the 100 Day Project @jenniferrodgersart did a few years ago. I pulled out my phone, pretended to check messages and slyly took a photo for reference. When I had a free moment to think, I pulled out the photo and stared at the details. The thick lines reminded me of water-soluble graphite. Then I opened Instagram and scrolled through Jennifer’s beautiful artwork. I’ve been really frustrated with Instagram lately. The algorithm has completely messed up my feed and people I’ve always seen are no longer showing up. I’m losing followers and engagement has been all over the board. It’s frustrating and has added to the overall uncertainty and challenges of everything I’ve been trying to do. But as I reconnected with Jennifer’s work, I thought of all the amazing people I’ve met and how thankful I am for those connections. So, I made a spread inspired by both the Starbuck’s counter and Jennifer’s 100 Day Project with a collage of brown papers, water-soluble graphite and hand-stitched black thread. It helped me gain perspective and remember why I love to do what I do. It also reminded me to do it for me and to do it because I love it – a reminder I’ve also gotten from some of my amazing art community friends and one that will be my guide as I make art plans for 2020. 346/365.
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I had a post planned for today, then I turned to this page, read it and changed my plan. When I chose this book, I expected it to be inspiring, and it has been, but not in the way I thought. It’s somewhat negative, which was surprising, however it has made it easier to cover the words on the page with thick layers of paint. It has inspired me to paint more and to turn around the negative to find beauty. When I read the poem on this page, it resonated with me. Then I read that it was written by a 12-year old and was incredibly impressed. But the author, before explaining why he included the poem, critiqued her writing and pointed out why it wasn’t written well. I was immediately transported back to high school English when we tied down and beat every poem to a pulp instead of appreciating its beauty and finding our own connection to the words. So, I covered all his negative words with thick, gray paint. In a simple way, this girl perfectly described a feeling I have been trying so hard to achieve for most of my life – being comfortable in my own skin. I have been trying hard to fight back against the gray days lately, so I gathered inspiration from this young girl’s words and I painted bright, messy flowers on top of the gray paint. When we find ourselves surrounded by negativity, we need to find a way to block it out and fill the space with hope. Collect words and colors and pictures that make you smile and cheer you on. Don’t let anyone dismiss them or take them away. They are yours and your ability to see their beauty despite the dark background is all that matters. This book was printed in 1954 so that little girl is now roughly in her 80s. I hope she’s still happy. I hope she’s still content. I wish I could tell her how much she inspired me all these years later. Whoever you are, wherever you are, thank you. 345/365
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Bitter cold settled into the air and it burned my lungs with the first breath as I walked outside this morning. Oliver didn’t get to come to school to drop off the kids or go for a walk. He was mad, but the air temperature was -2 and I had to look away from his disappointed stare and brave the cold alone. But when I got home, he came to my art room with me to lay on the floor next to Gus’ cage and watch me work. I still hadn’t thawed out and my fingers felt blue, so I began by spreading thin layers of blue paint on the page. I kept adding layers of blue and reached for my @marabucreativeusa Art Crayons to add wispy lines to look like wind. But as I spread the creamy crayons across the paper, they felt like they were melting – the feeling I was hoping to soon feel in my extremities. I thought of summer, of sun, of days at the pool with the girls and being brave on the waterslide. Each melty stroke thawed out my frozen fingers a little bit more and made the arctic temps a little more inspiring and slightly less unbearable. Tomorrow is going to be even colder so I may be using these crayons A LOT to help me survive the nearly -40 windchills! 🥶 344/365.
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