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Autumn inspiration from me and Andy Goldsworthy, https://andygoldsworthystudio.com/

I am happy to accept a GRIT grant from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing (September 2022)! https://www.lansingarts.org/post/arts-council-announces-fy2023-grit-grant-awardees-200-000-granted-to-fuel-the-arts-and-cultural-sector-in-greater-lansing I will utilize the $1000.00 grant funding to host an art workshop to celebrate Earth Day 2023! We will have fun using recycled supplies to make new unique books and/or journals–further details will be announced here when I have further details……GET GRITTY on April 22, 2023!!

Thursday, September 8th, I met with a small but mighty class of high school students in Lansing to create paper mosaics. Paint chips make the perfect art supply and offer a multitude of colors for mosaic-ing. We enjoyed a wonderful class and I was astounded by the results!

Wednesday morning, September 7th, entailed hanging out with the Senior Discovery Coffee Hour at Allen Neighborhood Center in Lansing. I guided a small but lively group in making personalized inspiration folders–each person made their own special folder for themselves. THANKS to intern Taylor for her cheerful assistance!

August 14th was a delightful class on “Fun With Faces” at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School. Young artists used collage and magazine cut-outs to create wonderful, entertaining and detailed faces. Great Job Ladies! https://reg139.imperisoft.com/FlintArts/Search/Registration.aspx

Aoife

Thank you Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth Samplers!

July 23 & 24 entailed much fun in art classes at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School–I enjoyed all the students! On Saturday we created butterfly-shaped books and journals made from recycled books. Sunday morning involved weaving paper into intriguing patterns and colors–WOW. August 14th is the final day of the summer session https://flintarts.org/learn/news

Josie’s weaving

Registration is open for the fall, 2022, session at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School. I am teaching youth and adult sessions. Check it out! https://flintarts.org/learn/news

It was an Op Art morning at Flint Institute of Arts Art School! I enjoyed a wonderfully creative group of youthful artists drawing Op Art-style–they amazed and astounded me. We used paper, markers, scissors and grease pencils–dynamite!

August 13 & 20, Personal Enrichment Classes, 4800 East Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 (FEE). I am teaching 2 art classes next month–join me for the fun! I’ll be at Washtenaw Community College https://washtenaw.augusoft.net/index.cfm?method=ClassListing.ClassListingDisplay&int_category_id=3&int_sub_category_id=54&int_catalog_id=1

“Create Your Own Collage Papers” is on Saturday, August 13th and “Make an Inspiration Folder” is on Saturday, August 20th. Registration is online or call 734.973.3300.

I have entered the 21st century (?) with Flickr! Search with janemiracle to find my account.

I love doing small drawings that are Zentangle-inspired—I call them “tangleism.” Just a black pen with a 6″ square sketch book. Relaxing!

I enjoyed a grand class on July 2nd with a few preschool artists and parents. We created puzzle cards by first drawing on watercolor paper with gel crayons–then cutting up the drawing into a puzzle. The kids did a fabulous job and color was in the air! Thanks to Flint Institute of Arts Art School being a great host.

Young artists thrived on June 25th in 2 classes at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School, Flint, Michigan. I had a blast with making bean mosaics with the pre-schoolers. Many thanks to the adult artists who joined in and made mosaics too! In the afternoon, I taught a small class on making grids with painters tape, watercolor paint, gel crayons and markers. The kids did great! What a wonderful facility for learning about art (and having fun).

I just returned from Columbus, Ohio, and 2 days at Quilt & Surface Design Symposium at the Columbus College of Art and Design (June 11 & 12). What a SUPER fabulous experience! I took at class with Susan Lenz, One Woman’s Trash Transformed;

“Focus on transforming a variety of found objects and materials. Susan, a veteran recycler, will provide almost everything, but students are welcome to bring a few of their own non-precious objects as well. We will turn wooden thread spools into ornaments and tag old keys with inspirational words/phrases. Learn to zigzag stitch neglected yarn into cording and fiber vessels. Try cutting up Susan’s older artwork and/or other 2D art into greeting cards. Then, we’ll use old picture frames for the presentation of your new creations. There will be individual critiques and open discussions on inspiration, professional development, and the working life of a studio artist. Susan’s 30-yr. background as a certified custom picture framer will enhance the workshop.” I LOVED it and CCAD is a wonderful facility. We were a small but mighty class of artists!

Silly Summertime Flamingoes!

On May 21st I participated in an online workshop with Eric Scott, “Soul Stories: Images that Speak,” https://ericscottart.com/shop/soul-stories-images-that-speak-may-2022. We constructed collages with magazine images that sparked/prompted something in us–the creativity was intuitive and spontaneous. In the afternoon, we imagined the stories behind (or around) the resulting assemblages–my format was 6X9″ but any size was possible. What a lovely way to express oneself and inner mysteries.

I had a great time with young artists yesterday, May 14th, at Flint Institute of Arts Art School! In the morning we explored basic crochet and the afternoon brought drawing and painting. It was a wonderful way to spend the day in a curious, colorful way. This was my final day of the spring session–summer starts up mid-June and I’m looking forward to it!

Youthful innovative artists spread much creative energy May 7th at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School. I taught 2 sessions on using recycled buttons to make mosaics (with lots and lots of white glue!). In the afternoon we worked on starting our own journals—based upon a simple spiral notebook. What a fabulous day for making art! (https://reg139.imperisoft.com/FlintArts/Search/Registration.aspx)

April 30th was the day for using wax crayons and watercolor paint at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School! The brushes were flying and creativity was flowing. Young artists imagined all sorts of designs with their crayons and paints on watercolor paper. I taught 3 sessions of ages 3-12 and thoroughly enjoyed the astounding students.

Kaylee’s work

I had a blast with creative young artists today, April 24, at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School. In the morning it was making mosaics with dried beans and glue–lots of glue…Weston had a fabulous time and thank goodness, Mom was there to assist. In the afternoon, students experimented and explored using circles as inspiration. Good Work Class!

April 16 entailed young students creating astounding art! I taught at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School (https://flintarts.org/learn/news) and we all enjoyed ourselves. Ages 3-8 created Collage People in the morning. After lunch 9-12 year olds worked on making a book from recycled supplies. Hooray for Earth Day!

April 8 & 9 entailed lots of students creating fabulous art! I taught a few youth classes at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School (https://flintarts.org/learn/news). We had loads of fun and the students were incredibly imaginative and hard working. We focused on creating with grids and exploring making tiny art.

I had a great time on April Fool’s weekend in Williamston, Michigan. Artisan Alcove Art Gallery hosted a 1970s retro art show at Keller’s Plaza and it was a blast. The music was fantastic and we rocked out with lots of cool art. Thank you to Matt Mulford and Artisan Alcove for showing Williamston how IT IS DONE!

Peace and Love!

This week has entailed playing with grids! Using watercolor paint, washi tape, Crayola crayons, Sharpie markers and drawing pencils–lots & lots of fun! I’m so happy that spring is coming next week…

I surveyed a few friends about their art practice this winter–find below the results of my survey–most interesting! Thank you to all who participated!!

  • Have you developed methods to sustain your inspiration and creative imagination?

Yes–I have multiple sketchbooks everywhere home, studio, car, and share them with everyone.

Sure. Visit galleries & museums. Do what you love. Walking & hiking in nature. Music.

No, but it would be worthwhile to put some conscious effort toward this. 

  • Do you have someone (or somebodies) who inspires you?

 As far as visually, MANY contemporary and past wildlife, landscape, fantasy, pin up, and comic artists.  N. C. Wyeth, Franklin Booth, Charles Knight, Robert Bateman, Kalon Baughan, Jan Schmuckal, David Rankin, Dave Stevens, Douglas Henderson, Olivia De Berardinis, and James Gurney, to name a few from the list of hundreds. 

Creative people, artists or scientists, & kids.

Yes–characters in books, personal friends who are authors and my mentors.

  • Do you experience moments or times of exuberant creative energy/productivity?

Unfortunately rarely.  But when it is there it is one of the most freeing and soul lightening experiences there is.  It truly does push worry, stress, and anxiety out of your mind.  That is, if things are going well.

Heck yeah!

Yes—everyday I make sure I have the right mindset, attitude and activities that foster said feelings.

  • How do you handle these intense periods of activity?

I do well because I remind myself that I feel alive.

Just by trying to be in the moment and enjoying it.

Gotta go for it & keep going no matter what! I have quit a few organizations, & committees that were draining my energy & time & am so much happier now!

  • Do you experience moments or times of stagnation/being unmotivated to create?

Yes.

Yes. So I cook, do museums & galleries, go kayaking or take a walk. 

Yes.

  • If you feel stymied, how do you work through it and come out on the other side?

Being out in nature, and in book stores, are constant sources for inspiration when I am in those places.  They are always a great go-to.

I remind myself of some the principles of Law of attraction.

I have a studio schedule I stick to. Even if I go into the studio to clean it or wedge clay for 3 hours, it usually leads to ideas & happiness for just being there.

  • Do you ever have barriers to accessing your creative verve? Or is this a totally arbitrary question?

No.

I think perfectionism and making things harder than they have to be have hindered me greatly in my art as well as in life generally.  There is very much a correlation between the way I create and the way I deal with life.  If I could overcome some of my artistic roadblocks I believe it would help me in my day to day struggles and vice versa.  Problem solving, self worth issues, etc. are tied to life and art inextricably. 

Barriers—people who drain me. Too much distracting noise, too many meetings, having to work on the computer.

  • How do you react to the word “talent”?  Do you think “you are talented!” is a real, legitimate observation or a pat phrase?

I think talent is passion.  If you have a passion for something you will continually do it and get better at it.  Depending on what part of your brain you live in determines what your natural abilities will be when you come into this world.  Everyone is “talented,” everyone can be considered a creative being because being human requires us to be creative to survive.  So we are all artists, life is art, art is life.

Talented=inspired

I totally believe in talent, as a gift from God/ Universe, a gift of access to dimensions we may or may not be aware of. It has to do with our brain wired differently.

  • Do you have thoughts and comments to share with your fellow makers and artists?

The key is to always be here, ever present, ever prepared to be in learning mode. Read, put yourself in adventure mode, be kind to self and others and another Mr. Rogers quote “always be curious.”

Artists, GOOD artists, are a dime a dozen.  You have to follow the unique spark that motivates YOU to create.  And try to find your unique spark in the more mundane creative things you do, such as if you are doing commission work, or your uninspired day job.  Inspiration is magic, seize it when it is there.

Artmaking and creativity has always been a cyclical process for me—for my whole life.  But the underlying thread of boundless imagination and joy of handcraft sustains my life.

Sunday, March 6th, entailed a wonderful workshop with Ingrid Dijkers of Byron, Michigan. She showed us how to make a “Meander Journal” devised with paper pages and masking tape hinges. Acrylic paint, stamps and collage added luscious colors and patterns to our 12 double-sided pages. Thank you to Running Rabbit Studio for an exciting class! https://www.ingriddijkers.com/shop

I enjoyed meeting with the SMARTS group at Shiawassee Arts Center (Owosso, Michigan) on February 19th to make Inspiration Folders. This vivacious group of students exercised all of their creative muscles in class! Their folders will provide inspiration, excitement and enjoyment in the future. Many thanks to the Arts Center for being a delightful host. https://shiawasseearts.org/smarts/

My February 15th class with a small group of teens was BIG FUN—we worked on making Artist Trading Cards, otherwise known as ATCs. What a blast–lots of creativity in the air! And we each traded an ATC with another student at the completion of class.

My Brown Bag Lunchtime presentation (January 27, 2022) is available on YouTube–thank you to the Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center for the invitation to discuss my art practice! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq6-8OqJ_o4

February 8th’s after school with creative teens was lively–each student created a simple book with one folded piece of paper. Some wrote elaborate stories for their 6-page books and others made delightful front covers. What a fun experience!

February 1st’s after school class with 6 teens was a blast! Each artist created a collaged person/figure which started with a magazine page face(s). Each student created wondrous collages that convey individual stories–I was most impressed!

My book, Precious Love, is part of the “Illustrated Accordion” exhibit at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center https://kalbookarts.org/events/2022illustratedaccordion/. The show runs through March 25, 2022, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I am so excited!

We had loads of fun yesterday afternoon at the Flint Institute of Arts Art School (https://flintarts.org/learn/news) making animal shakers. The Youth Members of FIA created shakers with “Model Magic” air dry clay, fashioning an elephant, orbs, an iguana, a dog and more–fabulous! Young artists, along with 2 enthusiastic Moms, also enjoyed drawing, coloring, manipulating chenille stems and overall creativity. Thanks to the Art School for the wonderful afternoon!

Helen’s iguana

I truly enjoyed this past weekend with an online workshop, Re-Connect, with Eric Scott (https://ericscottart.com/). He guided us to connect with our intentions and thoughts for the new year, inspiring journal entries and much reflection. I had a blast trying out combinations of drawing, painting, and collage on my pages. I don’t think that I am completely finished with my new journal and I am reveling in the process. I am obviously searching for a new direction in my artwork this year…..

On a December morning, 2021, I enjoyed young artists creating their own holiday cards at the Art School, Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan. https://flintarts.org/learn/news We used permanent black markers with watercolor paints to add color. One of the artists decided he needed to draw a dragon too. Lots of fun! Yesterday morning we worked on making simple books with paper, tags, envelopes, staples, stickers and tape–WOW. One industrious artist made his own portfolio to hold his books. I will be teaching more youth art classes beginning in March, 2022, and I am looking forward to it!

This past weekend was packed with holiday fun at the Art School, Flint Institute of Arts, in Flint, Michigan. Saturday morning youthful artists created their own special journals, beginning with a spiral notebook and customizing it with robust imaginations. Sunday morning the pre-school artists wielded watercolor paint and black markers to create brilliant unique cards. Their artful spirits are inspiring to me!

View a YouTube video “Art Talk” to see my recent exhibition in the Fine Arts Gallery, Mott Community College, Flint, Michigan. https://youtu.be/5eIqcaRHJdU

Come visit Williamston on Saturday the 4th and see my journal making kits and funky jewelry, 11AM-6PM! Upstairs at Keller’s Plaza, come to The Artisan Alcove gallery and check out offerings from 11 regional artists. I will also have flap books for sale and THERE WILL BE refreshments! 107 South Putnam Street–please note that there is no elevator available.

Since I just finished up a gallery exhibit on Wednesday, I have been thinking about past experiences. I have tried showing my art in various environments–below I share my thoughts and suggestions. This is purely my personal, limited experience—everyone is different and approaches their art their own way.

SITUATIONPROSCONS
  Church or Religious EntityCommunity outreach
Support an organization that you believe in
Feedback from appreciative audience
May host reception
Most likely an accessible facility
Church 1st, Art Gallery 2nd
Limited hours of operation
No installation help
Volunteers who are not well versed in art may be on site for visitors
No direct sales
You fund your own reception
Volunteer opportunity for artist
Gallery space may be recycled and redesigned into an art gallery
No insurance or security
Limited subject matter/”family friendly” & non-offensive to all ages  
  Municipal or City Art GalleryCommunity outreach
Contribute to quality of life in the region
Works are for sale/city reimburses the artist with payment
Promotion on community calendar of events
May host reception
Most likely an accessible facility
May be all volunteer run/possibility of unprofessional approach to art
Limited subject matter/”family friendly” & non-offensive to all ages
Hours of operation dictated by city
May be paid parking
You fund your own reception
Gallery space may be recycled and redesigned into an art gallery
Volunteer opportunity for artist
No insurance or security  
   
Public LibraryAlign to library mission of lifelong learning
Community outreach
Partner with library may bring future opportunities
Publicity with library calendar of events
Paid staff on duty in Library all the time
Most likely an accessible facility
May host artist workshop or presentation
No installation assistance
Library 1st, Art Gallery 2nd
No insurance or security
Limited subject matter (non-offensive to all ages)
Responsible for own publicity and social media
May not allow reception or sales
You fund your own reception
Volunteer opportunity for artist
Gallery space may be recycled and redesigned into an art gallery
Academic InstitutionOutreach to students, as well as faculty and staff
Subject matter open & unrestricted
Provides promotion through its online presence
Supports mission of art education and creative practice of working artists
Professional approach to visual art
Gallery Director is paid position
May offer professional fee and/or reception
Space is designed specifically to showcase art
Most likely an accessible facility
May host artist presentation
Hours of operation dictated by academic calendar
Lack of visible support from administration and faculty
Do your own social media to supplement media efforts
No direct sales
May not offer help with installation and tear down
Probably does not provide insurance or security
Apply for show well in advance, 1-3 years
Volunteer opportunity for artist  
Art GalleryHosts reception
Uses its’ mailing list for promotion
Sales are a top priority
Staff is sensitive to artist’s intent & goals
Subject matter open & unrestricted
Contribute to Gallery’s mission of supporting and sharing art with others
Art displayed in best possible way
Installation and tear down help
Promotion online important
Space is designed specifically to showcase art
Gallery receives 40-60% commission on sales
Most likely an accessible facility
Staff and volunteers are knowledgeable and professional
May host artist presentation
May be paid parking only
Membership usually a requirement for gallery exhibitions
Board members may not be visibly supportive of show
Apply for show well in advance, 1-3 years
May be a volunteer opportunity for artist
May not offer insurance or security  
November, 2021
I was at the Mott Community College Fine Arts Gallery on November 18th to video my art talk with the Gallery Director, Liz. https://youtu.be/Rxs4ix9cyxk Check out my video!

Eric Scott Online Workshop, Mindful Mark Making in Mixed Media This was a fantastic class on the 13th! Unique approach to thoughtfulness in one’s artmaking–plus much sharing of intriguing art by participants! A wonderful experience for me–I highly recommend Eric’s instruction. https://ericscottart.com/online-workshops

Having Fun Making a Book I collaged the 2 wooden covers with book pages and tissue paper. Then I created shaped pages with painted, non woven interfacing and watercolor paper. The binding rings that hold it all together are embellished with beads, sequins, safety pins and fabric strips–loads of fun to make! Finally, I wrote in quotes from some of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs, circa 1976.

“Wish You Were Here” book with watercolor paper pages and collage–pages were first washed with pale watercolor colors. The flaps incorporate photocopies of postcards written by my Mother over the years. Loved working on this book!

Exhibit of my Work Next Month! I will showing recent work, from the past two years, at the Fine Arts Gallery, November 8-23. Mott Community College houses a nice art gallery in the Visual Arts & Design Center–check it out! Please note: View my art talk live on YouTube–it is not a public event due to pandemic precautions https://youtu.be/bEjem_ohV5A. There is a free parking lot next to the VADC building–masks required.

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