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#creativeUNblock // march project recap

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Project No.3, given to us by American artist Kate Pugsley {p.175 in Creative Block}, is easily one of my favorite ways to get unstuck: Paint sheets of paper with a color palette that inspires you, chop that paper into abstract or representational shapes, and then move them around until you arrive at a composition that gets your creative fires burning! The day after I posted this project, I woke up and thought, “black!” … so I painted a bunch of watercolor paper black and started snipping. I loved every single second, and apparently so did lots of you! Here are just a few of my faves so far:

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Oh. So many fabulous bits ‘n pieces… I hope you’re feeling as inspired and recharged by this as I am! There’s still a week to go until I put up the April project {Sat Apr 4th}, so grab your paints & scissors and start chopping!





#creative UNblock no.3

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Oh, hello #creativeUNblock project no.3! {If you missed the first two projects, or have no idea what I’m talking about, you can catch up right here.} Ok, so the next unblocking project from Creative Block : I have to admit, I tried this one before the book even hit shelves… and I’m gonna to do it again because it’s just that good! This project is given to us by Chicago based artist/illustrator Kate Pugsley. Ready?

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#creativeunblock // March // by Kate Pugsley p.175

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“When I’m in a creative rut, this simple activity always helps me to get excited. Start with a stack of white or off-white papers. Sometimes I use scraps or sometimes I take large pieces of drawing paper and cut them into pieces around 8×10 inches. Then get out your watercolors, acrylics or other paint and mix up some of your favorite colors. Paint the surface of the papers. Sometimes just seeing all the lovely colors together on the papers inspires me. Once the painted papers have dried, get some scissors or an x-acto knife and cut out some shapes. They can be totally arbitrary, or they can be recognizable as objects, animals, faces, etc. Open your sketchbook or get a blank sheet of paper and start arranging shapes. Just play with the shapes and colors, layering until you see interesting combinations. You can start gluing them down in your paper or book, painting on top of them, or just save the pieces you like. I keep envelopes around full of colored pieces for loosening up when I am stuck. Working with these painted shapes helps me see things that I may not see just drawing or painting directly because my mind wanders and there are always a lot of surprises.”

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Love! Now, If you get hung up on what recognizable shapes to cut out (I did!) just start chopping! Triangles, squares, bits ‘n pieces, whatever. I can’t wait to see the colors you choose, the shapes you make, and the compositions you come up with… and if you’d like to, please post your work on twitter and instagram with #creativeUNblock. Let loose, have fun, and I’ll see you out there!

 





#creativeUNblock // february project recap

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Um, how is it the last day of February? Well, it’s here, and the one thing I can say about February… my bathroom drawer is a lot tidier than it was in January! Yep, I did Kate Bingaman-Burt’s challenge from “Creative Block” {ie. document everything in your bathroom cupboard in any medium you like}. I have to be honest. I struggled with this one in the beginning! I was trying to make everything look realistic, and let’s just say… it WAS NOT working. I decided to just let go and make it super simple… cut paper, a bit of masking tape, and some washy gouache. Yes, that was a lot more fun! I ended up being fairly happy with it – and speaking of being happy – here are a few fantastic pieces that some of you created! Who knew toilet paper, cough syrup, and foot cream could look this good:

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by Naomi Vona

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by Mary Gaspar

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by Amanda of e.tches.ca

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Ah, so many ways to approach this project… love it! Ok. So, who’s ready for the March assignment? Me too! It goes up tomorrow. See you then!





#creativeUNblock // january project… almost done!

There is one week left to go for January’s #creativeUNblock challenge {by New York based artist Trey Speegle, p.79 in Creative Block}, and I’ve been loving every second of it… and it looks like lots of you have too! There are so many pieces that you guys have made/posted. Here are just a few of my favorites so far … oh, so many techniques at work!

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…………………………………………………………  by: @mariko_koda   ………………………………………………………….

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 …………………………………………………………  by: @jedmikolaites  …………………………………………………………

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 …………………………………………………………  by: @kaytet  …………………………………………………………

Ahhh, so good! I hope you get as much out of this challenge as I have! If you want to do it this week before the month is out, find the details here. February’s project is going up next Sunday. Ok, I had originally said the first Saturday of each month, but I can’t wait til February 7th for the first Saturday, can you? I didn’t think so! See you on Sunday February 1 for the next #creativeUNblock assignment!

 





january #creativeUNblock : an in-progress update

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Oh my word… I LOVE THIS PROJECT! I had so much fun, and I even had a couple of ah-ha moments. {As a refresher, in case you missed the first post about this – on the first Saturday of each month, for all of 2015, I’ll be posting a new project right here. Each one is from my book, Creative Block. I’m doing all of them, and you’re welcome to join in!}

The #creativeUNblock project for January is by Trey Speegle – p.79, Creative Block. Find or draw an image, copy it 50 times on cardstock, and then alter it 50 different ways. Trey also adds, “Create your own tight parameters… then give yourself a LOT of room to play.” Ok, so to be totally honest, I felt a bit overwhelmed. Alter it 50 different ways? With any supplies I want? The possibilities felt endless… but not in a good way. I decided to take Trey’s advice and add one more “tight parameter” for myself. I chose a very limited palette, mainly neon pink/red. I grabbed my gel pens, gouache, bits of cut paper, washi tape, the spirograph set I got for Christmas, and a big cup of coffee!

In the back of my mind, as I was choosing supplies, I thought, “Maybe I should grab some paint.” Nah. I’ve decided that I’m not a painter, so no need for paint. But it kept nagging me… this is supposed to be about being free to experiment. Why wasn’t I truly doing that? I wasn’t even touching the neon gouache that I’d brought out. Then it dawned on me {and I have no idea why I’ve never put this together before}… you can’t spell painting without PAIN. Ha! Very true for me… and it actually made for a fantastic piece in this little series! I decided to stop being such a baby and face my “fears”. I grabbed the paint. Wouldn’t you know, my favorite piece from the whole day was covered in paint {the hands, above}. The thing I had to get over was worrying about “ruining” the piece I was working on. Who cares? That’s the whole point in having 50 in front of you… make make make make… that includes making mistakes – or happy accidents depending how you look at it. Oh, it was amazingly liberating, in so many ways! I’m sooooo doing this again. And again, and again! {No really, I’m going to choose a totally different image, and go again before January is over!}

If you want to share what you’re making for this project, just upload your work to instagram or twitter and hashtag it with #creativeUNblock. I’ve seen lots of you doing it already, and I hope you’re having as much fun as I am! {Just a few weeks til the February project goes up}

 





#creativeUNblock no.1

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I have been wanting to do this for so long, but the timing never seemed right. Well how about the start of a new year… perfect! Yep, it’s time to earn that “unblocking” badge.

There are 50 amazing “unblocking” projects, given by the 50 very clever artists that I interviewed for my book, Creative Block, and I want to try all of them… and I will… but I’m going to do this in baby steps. Instead of doing 1 per week {my original, Type-A plan}, I’m going to do 1 per month for the next 12 months. Are you in? Yes! {If you all do it too, that will keep me motivated!}

The first Saturday of each month I’ll post the new project. I’m going to jump around the book a bit, picking 12 totally random projects. Some of them are actually 30 day projects unto themselves, while others only take an afternoon {feel free to spend the month doing those quicker projects multiple times in different ways!}. A few of them can be done in the studio, but others will take us outside on mini-adventures… oh, it’s gonna be good! Don’t feel like you have to share what you’ve made, but if you want to {I’ll share my progress from time to time}, just pop it up on instagram and/or twitter, and include #creativeunblock. And if you don’t mind, I might share a few of my favorites on the site! Ok, ready? Here we go:

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#creativeunblock // January // by NYC based artist Trey Speegle p.79

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A SEASON FOR NO REASON : Make a drawing in black and white {or use a found image} and then photocopy the drawing onto card stock 50 times – or enough copies so that you won’t “worry” about how many you’ve used. {Take your time and draw or find an image that you really love, and will like working with over and over} Then, alter the image in as many different ways as you can think of with colored pencils, paint, cutting, whatever. You can modify this idea and change it in whatever way you like but the important thing is to turn off your brain and just play with a repeated form and let your mind see where no ideas or thought process takes you. 

Create your own tight parameters… then give yourself a LOT of room to play. Have fun. ~ Trey Speegle  

Let’s do this… see ya on instagram! { ps. you can tag Trey when you post your pieces if you’d like: @treynyc }





san francisco – march 5th, 2014

I cannot believe it’s finally 2014! I’m finally on my way to San Francisco {the home of Chronicle Books} for my very first book signing party! The incredibly generous and lovely Kelly Lynn Jones, who happens to be one of the fifty artists featured in the book, will be hosting at her shop, Little Paper Planes. Here’s everything you need to know:

WHEN: Wednesday March 5, 2014  from 7~9pm

WHERE: Little Paper Planes ~ 855 Valencia Street, San Francisco {no tickets needed, just come on over!}

WHAT: A chance to visit, sign a few books {some of the artists from the book will be there too}, have a glass of wine, eat fancy sweet things, and try one or two of the unblocking exercises from the book! If you don’t have a copy by then, Little Paper Planes will have them for sale.

I am sooooo excited and can’t wait to see lots of old friends, and meet lots of new ones. If you’re planning to come, could you leave a comment or send me a quick email… wondering how many bottles of wine/art supplies to get. You know, the important stuff!

ps. New York, you’re up next. Just working out a date in April!





SUMMER CAMP 5 : bad art ‘n good snacks

Hello, campers! Here we are at week 5, but before we get started I have to show you just a few of your favorite places “captured with collage”. Since I gave you guys the option of doing a Venice themed collage for the European Cultural Academy contest, I decided that’s the route I’d take too…

“hollywood had not led lana astray – italian men were absolutely effervescent!”

Ahhh, gondolas and gelato – see you soon! And, once again, you all did amazing things with this challenge. From dreamy visions of Venice to art galleries made of cake… here are a few pieces pulled from Instagram via our summer camp hashtag, #AFYEcamp {photo credit links are at the very bottom of the post} :

What?! Seriously, so much goodness lives at this hashtag. Speaking of our hashtag, let’s find out what’s going to show up there later this week…

Art Project No.5:

“Bad Art ’n Good Snacks” : Have you ever done this? It’s such a great way to spend an evening! Here’s what you do – get a group of friends together this week {even just one friend will work}. Everyone shows up with their old art supplies and junky craft materials … you know, the stuff you don’t want in your house – old yarn, glitter, brown acrylic paint, leftovers from the grocery store project. Next, add snacks, wine, s’moreos, whatever you like. Finally, make the ugliest thing you can possibly make – this way the worst thing you’ve ever produced is behind you and there’s nowhere to go but UP! Also, it’s just a really great excuse to hang out with some good friends while eating pizza.

Artist Examples:

Let’s start with a peek at Martha Rich‘s wacky group projects. I’d LOVE to live closer to her for all sorts of reasons, but getting invited to these art nights is right at the top of that list:

Hilarious! Can’t you see this as her bio photo in an art history text book one day? Totally.

And now, onto the gorgeous paintings of Leah Giberson. Yes, these are paintings:

Crazy. And, not only do I love her work, I also love Leah’s story about getting together with her group of artist friends once a month. We should all do that … we all need to do that. Perfect segue into this group of artists… Canada’s “Group of Seven”:

That’s one of my favorite Group of Seven paintings above. It’s the work of Frederick Varley {titled “Stormy Weather”}, and below that is a photograph of Tom Thomson in his ill-fated canoe.

Another member of the group I mentioned, Lawren Harris … and one of his biggest fans:

*Photo of Steve Martin by Gus Burdick, Toronto Star article

And finally, my favorite painting by Emily Carr – the only woman to be considered part of the group:

Oh, so much Canadiana packed into this episode! And with that, our last AFYE campfire is slowly going out. Thank you to Saatchi Art for supporting summer camp, and thanks so much to you for listening! AFYE will be back with Season 2 of artist interviews in September … until then, be sure to hashtag your work this summer on Instagram with #AFYEcamp, and I’ll do the same ~ Danielle xo

Other info/links:

VENICE CONTEST: Make a Venice inspired collage and then post / hashtag it on Instagram with #AFYEcamp AND #JealousInVenice. The weeks you can choose from are the weeks of August 7th, and August 14th {that’s when I’ll be there as one of the instructors}. I will be choosing ONE WINNER on Friday June 30, 2017.

  1. European Cultural Academy, Venice
  2. Kate Bingaman-Burt, Episode No.22
  3. Leah Giberson, Episode No.34
  4. “That Night In Toronto” show at Mayberry Fine Art, July 8
  5. The Tragically Hip
  6. 12 Creative Unblocking Projects for you TO DO with friends!
  7. 100 artist interviews to listen/relisten to!
  8. TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST: subscribe on iTunes

*Photo credits from Project No.4, in the order they appear above:

1. @metapasteta / 2.@kc.christmas / 3. @griffinkcarrick / 4. @kikibirdiestudio / 5. @making_pages  





books

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Well, I guess I proved that jerk wrong (ps., I plan to keep doing that!) Here’s a little bit about each book, all of which have been published by Chronicle Books:

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“Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk [and other truths about being creative]” – Yep, this was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. As my inner-critic so sweetly pointed out, I didn’t go to school to become a “writer”, so writing ten chapters was terrifying. It didn’t help that I had to be incredibly vulnerable when it came to most of the subject matter. Anyway, I did it. I’m so proud of it, and I hope you love it too. Oh, and the cherry on top – this book is beautifully illustrated by one of my favorite artists, and people, Philadelphia based artist Martha Rich.

Released October 2016 wherever books are sold, and available as an audio book on audible.com  {see bottom of page for links}

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“Creative Block” was released in the spring of 2014, and includes interviews with 50 working artists from all over the world. I asked them about blocks, self-doubt, handling criticism, and how they stay motivated on days when their mojo has called in sick. This book is so, so, so good thanks those artists being open, honest, insightful, hilarious, and generous with their answers. It also happens to be filled with their gorgeous artwork and an unblocking jump-starter project from all of them – and boy, they really work! Now, not to be too dramatic, but, this book literally changed my life – opportunities that I never could have imagined came out of writing this book (yes, Oprah’s people called). One pretty giant highlight, as you can see from the excitement in my face above, was finding Creative Block on the shelves at the MoMA Book Shop in New York.

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“Collage” was released in the fall of 2014 (I was working on it at the same time as Creative Block). I chose 30 artists, again from all over the world, and gathered up their gorgeous collage work. I also gave it a little spin by giving each of them the same starting image – a photo of a cowboy and his accordion playing brother  and asked each of them to make a unique, original piece from that photograph. The results were fantastic! My favorite thing about collage is seeing a found image transformed into something new, and seeing 30 talented artists do it with the same image was even more exciting. The foreword was written by one of my collage heroes, British artist Anthony Zinonos.

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Would you like to buy one? Ok! You can find them in most major bookstores and online:

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Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk :  Chronicle BooksChapters / Barnes & Noble / Amazon

Audiobook: Audible.com

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Creative BlockChronicle Books / Chapters / Barnes & NobleAmazon

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CollageChronicle Books / Chapters / Barnes & Noble / Amazon





sweet ’16

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Happy Sweet ’16, everyone!

Ok, hopefully you’ve had your morning coffee, because it’s heart-on-sleeve time…

This new year feels HUGE. Full of possibilities, opportunities, new plans. Deep breath. It’s exciting and terrifying, wrapped into one sparkly package. I have more resolutions than I’ve ever had. There are lists. Lots of lists. I wasn’t going to talk about this but my fingers just keep typing, so I guess this is happening. After almost seven years of writing “The Jealous Curator”, I’ve decided that in July of 2016, when I wrap up my current design job, I will finally make the jump and take TJC from my “side project” to my “only project”… I’m not going to say “job” because I don’t see it that way. This little corner of the interweb has never felt like a “job” to me. No, not even close. It’s the place where I’ve met all of you. It allows me to share the art that I covet. It’s given me the opportunity to start a podcast and write books … which still kind of blows my mind. On top of all of that, my own artwork has improved so much, and although sharing my work has always seemed like a terrifying thing to do, this community is just so amazingly supportive, I finally feel like I can.

This is where it gets a bit scary. In the fall, my new book will be released. It’s different than the first two. No interviews like Creative Block, and more than a collection of work like Collage. This book is ten chapters. Ten chapters of me… writing. Writing about self-doubt, and inner critics, and blocks, and inspiration, and failing, and finding your tribe, and remembering the joy of just making stuff. And this is where it gets a bit meta… my inner-critic has always lived in my art studio. He has never, ever, come over to Jealous Curator land – until I started writing this book. I was writing about inner critics, and so perhaps he saw that as a fancy letterpress invitation to come on over. Anyway, he showed up. He questioned every word, every chapter title, every little f’n thing. But I kept writing. I cried a bunch of times, wanted to quit a few times, but I kept writing. Slowly but surely I was able to actually take my own advice {meta}, and by the end of it all my inner critic was kind of on my side. I don’t want to call him a friend just yet, but we’re working on it. However, as I head into this new year, this HUGE year, he has a few things to say:

You’re going to put everything you’ve got into this Jealous Curator thing? Really?! What if you fall on your face? That could totally happen.

Yeah… jerk. We may need a therapist.

So, on January 1, 2016 I’m going to take my own advice. I’m going to take a deep breath, and instead of allowing that voice to stop me from jumping, I’m going to listen carefully to what it’s nattering on about and translate it… ok, so what if I do “fall on my face”? First of all, what does that even mean? Am I worried about failing? Failing so epically that I will fall on my face and just stay down there for the rest of my life? Well that’s dumb. “Failing” just means you tried something and it didn’t work the way you thought it would, so you get back up and you try it again in another way. If I “fall on my face”, well then, I guess I’ll just get back up and go again. Hm, that doesn’t sound too bad. And besides, the only way I could truly fail, would be if I chickened out and didn’t make this jump… this jump that I should have made a long time ago.

Exhale. So there you have it. Everything out. Shared. Ready {ish} for the new year. I hope your year is filled with exciting/terrifying challenges too… I’ll see you out there! xo  Oh, and ps. the full year, 12 unblocking projects from 2015, can all be found right here if you want to do them again, or try them for the first time. Have fun!

*Art by Trey Speegle