JFJ Invade Staunton, VA

It's been a busy couple of weeks. Dave and I have been getting ready for a couple of upcoming conferences. But I am finally getting a chance to post photos from a one night art exhibit that we were part of in Staunton, VA on October 24th. We were invited to hang work by Kronos Gallery owner Kevin Postupack in a temporary exhibit space for one night. I hung ten pieces and actually sold one. I was the one person that sold anything that night. It was definitely a great experience, and I heartedly thank Kevin for including me.
Dave in front of his mixed-media piece "Eastlake"

Me in front of my mixed-media relief "Ampersand"

This is the piece that I sold. It was a piece that I had forgotten about, and as I was rummaging through my studio, I found it and decided to include it in the show. It's a mixed-media piece on a 12"x12" canvas.

This is the section where I hung my ten pieces - all the colorful pieces in the center of the photo.
So, we hung out the night at the exhibition, talked to a lot of people, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. So, if you are ever passing through Staunton, Virginia, and you like contemporary, cutting-edge art check out Kevin and Kronos.

IF - Vacant

This two-page spread began with layering VACANT shapes using various colors of watercolor pencil and water-soluble graphite. Like many others, I thought of "vacant eyes", but as I worked and began to write, I thought a little deeper. I wondered what it was that made certain folks so vapid and vacant. We as a society distract ourselves with all the bells and whistles of technology, with inane entertainment, and with insipid gossip, and we very frequently are not alone with ourselves. I think that much of the stupidity in the world - at least in the U.S. results from many people not getting in touch with themselves and finding the distractions of life much more pleasing to look at and deal with. Getting to know ourselves takes a lot of work, a lot of introspection, and a lot of courage. We often find that we truly are not the people we want to be. It's much easier to sit in front of the tv or the computer or cell phone and not confront the spaces behind our eyes and under our breast bones. Perhaps we need a map to ourselves.

So this week's entry was topped off with some colored pencil and some ramblings highlighted with some metallic gold paint pen. And it is a call for all of us to face our fears, dream big, and follow that dream instead of being mindless sheep following the herds of consumerism and celebrity.

IF - Repair

It was a busy weekend (more on that in another post), but I finally finished up this weeks topic. When I saw the topic, I immediately thought of a cut or a wound and how the body has the amazing ability to heal itself, and the large "cut" was the first thing that I created. As I worked, my thoughts expanded to include psychological wounds as well. Although the "cut" is pretty gruesome, this two-page spread really is about hope. Even the most serious physical and emotional wounds can heal. Of course there may be scars.

Writing in the Journal

Some people have trouble writing in an "art" journal, but we feel that the writting is a key component of the visual journal. It is this merger of the image and the word that gives the visual journal its power. Many visual journalists use writing and words as the final layer of their pages, but often times, writing can be used as a beginning layer. In this page, Dave began with a stream of consciousness writing in pencil using the prompt "I need..." He then used ink and metallic marker to highlight key words, and then used watersoluble graphite and watercolor pencil on top of the writting. This obscured some of the writing, but it is not importanat that the writing stays legible. It is important that it was written. He finished off this page with a packaging tape transfer of a photocopied photograph that I had taken of him.

The stream of consciousness wrtiting is a great creative writing technique, and it is a good way to "brain dump" all the stuff that floats around in our minds. We use a timed, 7 minute writing that seems to be long enough to get at the heart of an issue, idea, or concern.

Try allowing a spontaneous writing to be the spark for a page.

Product of the Week - JFJ Postcard Set

This week's featured item is a set of ten (10) Journal Fodder Junkies postcards - 5 of mine and 5 of Dave's. Each full-colored card is laser-printed onto 4"x6" photo paper and packaged in a self-sealing poly bag. Each set is $10.00 USD plus shipping and handling. If interested in this and other JFJ merchandise, visit our online shop. We can accept all major credit and debit cards as well as PayPal.

IF - Late

Lately, I've felt that my life has become very hectic and crammed with things that just need to be done. I have even felt that my journal pages have become very layered, complex, and busy. I have even felt somewhat stagnant with both life and journal lately. And so today I wanted to take some time to slow down, simplify, and meditate somewhat. So this spread is simple done with Prismacolor watercolor pencil and colored pencil - specifically indigo blue with a touch of black.

I've been inspired as of late, by the line work of milo aka Michelle White. I've done some experiments in a pocket-sized Moleskine sketchbook, and I used the same type of lines to begin these pages, but with watercolor pencil. I slowly built up layer after layer of indigo blue leaving the white rectangles as places for the eye to rest. And I finished off the spread with colored pencil allowing the rich, vibrant pigment to build up in select areas of the pages. I tried to do something different by using very limited media, color palette, and concept.

It's good to change things up, experiment, and simplify.


Beginning pages in a journal can be extremely daunting. The perfect clean, crisp pages seem to draw out the inner critic, and it can often stifle us into submission. We get so caught up in doing something great and something worthy that the blank page becomes so intimidating and stops us from committing to the page. That is when we can just do something random to take the blankness away. The examples below are just random pages started with one of the simplest media - watercolor.
Each two-page spread was started with some random colors and techniques, and there is no preconceived idea of what these pages will evolve into. You can use any material or technique. Try drawing random lines and shapes to ease into a page. Or collaging random elements to a page. Or using random words. But whatever you do, allow it to be random. You are planting the seeds for pages, and with the right care and nuturing those seeds can grow into rich, beautiful, grown-up pages.
For more ideas check out the "How-to Posts" to the right - especially the ones labeled "Encountering the Blank Page."
So, when you are at a loss, try something random.

Product of the Week

This week's featured product is a small booklet of select pages from both my and Dave's journals. Each 4.75"x6" booklet is laser printed in full color on 32 lb paper with 20 pages of journal pages, and each booklet is hand-assembled, saddle-stapled, and hand-trimmed. Each booklet is $10.00 USD with shipping and handling, and payments are handled through our PayPal shop with domestic and international shipping. Each booklet makes for a nice gift for anyone who admires the journal pages of the Journal Fodder Junkies. Please visit our website and online shop to purchase the booklet and other merchandise.

IF - Strings

This weeks IF journal page started off with blind countour line drawings of a table top vise and an old telephone. Since I draw blind contours with one continuous line, I am always reminded of strings. I love the tangle of lines that result in not looking at the paper as I draw. As I worked on the quality of lines, I began to think of how strings can tangle and bind. And recent events in my life brought to mind how so many people are trapped and tangled in the the mediocre, and how they try to bind and tie down others. These are naysayers - people who can never stand up for your vision and will give you a hundred excuses why it won't work. Instead of giving you wings, they give you rhetoric and excuses hoping to tie you to their mediocrity. As I bulit layers of graphite, ink, and watercolor pencil, a tangled figure came to mind, so I created the figure with acrylic, and tied the acrylic into the background with colored pencil.

Although the figure is bound, it struggles against the tangle of lines, and stretches upward. Despite the naysayers and the unbelievers, we all must dream and struggle against the ties that bind us to mediocrity.

A Shout Out

This blog has been up and running for about a year and a half now, and I'm finally figuring out what I want it to really be. I posted a lot when I first started because I had so much to share, but over the months, with the commitments of life and feeling like I didn't have much, I really hadn't posted much. I really want this to be a place that people can come and find some inspiration for journaling as well as for art in general.

So, over the coming months, I am going to try to ramp up my contributions to the blog in a few different ways. First, I want to continue with Illustration Friday. It is a challenge and a push to journal more often, and I know that it has drawn more folks to the blog. Second, I want to do a bit more self promotion and encourage people to stop by the Journal Fodder Junkies website and online shop by posting a "Product of the Week" type thing. And finally, I want to include more posts that are more of journal prompts - ideas, techniques, and concepts to inspire people to work in their journals and try new things.

I am also very appreciative of all of you who have taken time to visit the Journal Fodder Junkies. So, I want to thank all of those people who have stopped by over the last 18 months or so, and a special thank you and shout out goes to all those bloggers and individuals who have linked to this blog or the JFJ website.

A special, special thank you goes out to a friend I have known since college and who has been constant encouragement, and that would be the Turtleboy himself, Go Flying Turtle blogger Steve Loya. Steve encourage me to start blogging, and has also done a great job of helping to promote the JFJ. Stop by his blog, and read the Artist Spotlight he did with me.

Please find a list below of blogs and sites that have linked to the JFJ or included a mention to us. I encourage you to stop by and have a look around. And if I missed your site or blog, please let me know.