Chestnut Creek School of the Arts Workshops Feb 14 and 15

Dave and I are pleased to announce that we will be teaching two workshops at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax, VA Valentine's Day weekend, Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15. Each day is a separate workshop, so sign up for one or both.

On Saturday, February 14, we will be offering Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict. Based on our first book, this workshop will feature a barrage of techniques and concepts that we employ in the journal. Workshop price $150

On Sunday, February 15, we will be offering Transitional Spaces, which will focus on manipulating pages and creating pockets, doors, windows, and much more. Workshop price: $150

For more information and to register, visit Chestnut Creek’s website.

Space is limited, so make sure to sign up so that you don’t miss out. We hope to see you in southwestern Virginia in February.

Challenge #36: Personal Symbols

What are the symbols that signify your life?

Lines, shapes, and images that we use repeatedly hold significance for us even if we sometimes don’t know why. Perhaps there is something within these reoccurring marks that is symbolically speaking to us. Look back through your journal, and pay attention to the things that you return to time and again. Begin to identify your lines, your shapes, and your images.

If you have appropriated someone else’s symbols and images (the fairies, clocks, and angels) ask yourself, “Why?” What are you drawn to in them and why do you cling to them? What images, colors, lines, and shapes do you keep repeating? What do these forms say about you?

Challenge #35: Moods and Emotions

What metaphors about your experiences and emotions speak to you?

We have an innate sense to communicate and understand emotions visually, and our language is full of these visual allusions. To be sad is to be “blue,” and to be angry is to be “red hot”. If you are depressed, you are said to be in a deep hole or hitting bottom. If you’re excited and ecstatic you are said to be sky high or walking with your head in the clouds. Begin to make conscious connections between your emotions and visual representations. It is easy to get caught up in the clichés, so be original with your thoughts and your words. Steer clear of the old and tired sayings.

What moods or emotions define you? Are you exuberant and cheerful? Are you pessimistic and glum? What are your prevailing emotions? What colors and images resonate with you and say something about your personality and your feelings?

Challenge #34: Twilight Imagery

What are you focusing on and trying to bring into symbolic form?

Often it is difficult to find and select the symbols that most represent us and the changing conditions of our lives, but using a technique that allows you to tap into the symbolic nature of the unconscious is a place to start. Developed by Ira Progoff for his Intensive Journal Workshop, Twilight Imagery is a state between waking and sleeping that allows you to quiet your mind as your unconsciousness directs the imagery and symbology.

Sit in a quiet space, and close your eyes allowing yourself to slowly relax into the stillness. Focus on one aspect of yourself or your life. Perhaps it is a dream or a fear. Perhaps it is your job or your personality. Try to feel that aspect with your whole being, but don’t try to control or direct your thoughts. Allow the general sense of this concern to pervade you as dreamlike images and ideas begin to float and form. When an idea is formed enough to be identified, record what you “see” in your journal or on a piece of paper. Don’t elaborate. Get just the essentials. Close your eyes and return to that state, and keep recording your visions.

What emerges from your twilight imagery? What forms, scenarios, and emotions are stirred? How can you use these as symbolic forms for you and your life?

Challenge #33: Attributes

What are your key attributes and characteristics? How do you give visual representation to the attributes and the characteristics that are most important to you?

We can communicate our thoughts, our feelings, our being not only through our words, but through the images that we use. The images that we return to again and again begin to take on symbolic meaning for us. In order to develop meaningful and authentic symbols, we must begin to understand our own characteristics and attributes. Companies attempt to communicate a deliberate message or a particular feeling with their logos, ads, and websites, and many of their symbols have been reworked and redesigned over the years to covey new and different directions.

Begin to look at your own attributes and characteristics that signify important aspects of who you are and that communicate important ideas about you. Imagine that you are the product. How do you want to be represented? What do you want to communicate? What defines your personality? Are you strong or creative or clever or shy? How would you symbolize that?