Refraining from Judgment

Daily Book Page 3.21.11
©2011 Leah Virsik, Daily Book Page 3.20.11 found paper on paper pages: 5 x 3 3/4 inches

I’m practicing discipline in creating a daily art practice. I have a lot of critical self-judgment and know that it’s unnecessary and unhelpful. I’m experimenting working with a limited palette as a way to aid in cohesiveness and using what’s around me. I’m into this page. This page has ink stamped with a cork which reminds me of Peter Madden’s incredible cork stamps.

I’m looking forward to going to LA this weekend to see Laurie Frick’s work at the Edward Cella gallery!

Searching

Daily Book Page 3.20.11
©2011 Leah Virsik, Daily Book Page 3.20.11 found paper on paper pages: 5 x 3 3/4 inches

I’m feeling a sense of searching in this work. I’m looking for something. It brings to mind a favorite quote:
“…if your desire is to go to the furthest limits of yourself then the actual form your art takes doesn’t seem important to you. Whether you use words or paint or sounds.”
–John Fowles, from The Collector (p168)

Experimenting

Daily Book Pages 3.19.11
©2011 Leah Virsik, Daily Book 3.19.11 found paper, pencil and ink on paper pages: 5 x 3 3/4 inches

I had a wonderful day meeting with Marie Bergstedt and Laurel Shackelford. It was incredible to be around artists who are serious about their work and want to work together to find ways to exhibit. We discussed incredible fiber artists that I want to spend time looking up: Carol Beadle, Susan Taber Avila, Allison Smith, Victoria May, the Montalvo Arts Center, the Lithuania Biennial and the amazing Michael Swaine. They are all really amazing, it’s just that Michael Swaine’s work of mending people’s clothes in the Tenderloin really touched me.

I was sharing my work and Marie commented that my piece Simplicity is similar to a passport shape,  like a “flight of mind to different places”. I liked the visual of the words.

I’m trying to learn how to categorize information so I can come back to what interests me. I write notes in books. I don’t read the notes necessarily and they’re chronological by day. I’ll take action on the things that I most want that I’ve written down but besides that, the books just serve as something to write down what I find fascinating. Above is a page I created today.  What’s written underneath the envelope interiors are the names of the artists I wrote above. I’m writing notes and then pasting down papers on top of my words… an experiment currently. We’ll see what evolves.

Beginnings

Daily Book Pages 3.17.11 and 3.18.11
©2011 Leah Virsik, Daily Book Pages 3.17.11 and 3.18.11 ink and found paper on paper pages: 5 x 3 3/4 inches

I’ve been thinking of writing for a quite awhile it seems and Anne Lamott’s fabulous book Bird by Bird pushed me to to start again. Thanks to one of my students, Deb, for the re-introduction.

So many wonderful things happening in my life. I feel very grateful. I had a really great class at the Richmond Art Center and I’m teaching another session of Layers and Meaning–Collage and the Book starting April 6th. I love the planning, the ideas. I’m learning so much. To my surprise, I’m falling in love with the accordion structure. Not totally what I expected. I’m starting a new daily collage book and I imagine the theme will be “what’s around me” or “things I found in the garbage”.  I’ve been finding compelling things that I want to use in my collage that are in the garbage lately. One treasure was something I threw out.

Intuitive Integration

The Sketchbook Project Dec 4 Spread
©2010 Leah Virsik, The Sketchbook Project Dec 4 2010 found and painted paper 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches

I’m experimenting a bit with intuitive integration. I had a really good talk last night with Tom about my work and how I work to integrate both sides of my brain. In some projects I’m very structured and analytical and others are more free form. I think the work that tends to integrate both sides is more successful.  I have circle and square remains all over my desk and these circle remains incorporated themselves into this torn paper collage this morning.

Final Day of AEDM and the Sketchbook Project: Lessons Learned

The Sketchbook Project Day 30 Spread
©2010 Leah Virsik, The Sketchbook Project Nov 30 2010 found paper and thread 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches

The Sketchbook Project and Art Every Day Month Challenge

For thirty days, thanks to Leah Piken Kolidas’ inspiration of creativeeveryday.com I’ve put about 30 hours into my sketchbook project and consistently kept up a daily practice. Things that have made an impression on me:

  1. My best time to work is first thing in the morning. If I wait until after work there are too many other things to do. Plus, it feels great to accomplish something significant in the early morning.
  2. It’s nice to have encouragement. Tom asked me if I had “arted” and read and looked at all my posts. I really appreciate the comments that people have made as well.
  3. It doesn’t matter what I create, but just the fact that I’m creating is important. I’ve not particularly liked a lot of the work I’ve done this month but posted it anyway. As I look through the pages now, I have way less attachment to the pieces. Some I like better than others.
  4. Posting my work was a bit painful, especially the work that I didn’t feel proud of. It’s made me decide that I’d like to redesign my site so that my process is not the first work that one sees when they go to my website. I’ll still post it but not in such an obvious manner.
  5. Last year I had a more exciting experience because I was working on postcards and techniques that ultimately turned into some books and a 60 piece installation. My work in this book has been very page to page and I might appreciate it more if it were single sheets rather than in a book format.
  6. Even after 30 days it’s not easy to have a daily practice. I thought it would be a habit I wouldn’t have to worry about. I’d continue indefinitely. My biggest challenge is getting to bed early enough. If I get enough sleep, it makes a world of difference in my life and in my art making.
  7. I know I want to continue a daily practice. I’m not clear on how it will look quite yet. I want to finish this sketchbook first.
  8. I’m inspired by Claudine Hellmuth’s story of creating 80 works in 3 weeks while at Corcoran College of Art + Design. That’s something I’d like to do and see what patterns emerge and to see the pieces together and as individuals.
  9. As a whole piece, this project doesn’t feel as cohesive as I would like it. It does feel experimental and the process feels like it was valuable.
  10. I like the idea of taking one page from this book and using that for a theme for a smaller book. It would need to be a book that didn’t have a ton of pages though. I like variety and experimentation. I appreciate the unplanned things that occur.
  11. A broad theme that runs through the book is cut or torn paper collage and thread.
  12. I began the book by covering the pages completely and moved into doing much less on a page.
  13. I got the most comments about the date stamp that I was using to date my work.
  14. Some of my initial inspiration for this project was Keri Smith’s morning collages, Michelle Moode’s Sketchbook Project: Everyone We Know and Gennine Zlatkis’ Sketchbook Project.

Art Every Day Month: Day 29 and the Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project Day 29 Spread

©2010 Leah Virsik, The Sketchbook Project Nov 29 2010 found paper and thread 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches

The Sketchbook Project and Art Every Day Month Challenge

I feel like I’ve run out of artful ideas tonight but really what’s true is that I’m tired. Tom and I saw an amazing performance of The Frames last night at the Fillmore and I’m still recovering. We discovered The Frames after seeing the movie Once and three concerts (two of the Swell Season) and three albums purchased, anytime they make it to the Bay Area we’ll see them. Such an incredible example of getting publicity for your band, your art or whatever.

Here’s another great way to get your art out into the world, have someone interview you and publish it. Works and Conversations published a really nice interview with Lisa Kokin. She’ll be giving an Artist talk at the Opening Reception of her new solo show on December 11, 6 – 8 pm at the Donna Seager Gallery in San Rafael, Californa. Show dates are November 23 – January 11, 2011. Looking forward to it!