100 Vis Js 4 NC

Dave has the 100 Visual Journals for North Carolina blog up and running. Inspired by the 1000 Journal project, Dave launched 100 journals out into the state of North Carolina - one journal for each county in the state. He found willing volunteers to step up and be guardians for journals and to be regional coordinators. For anyone in NC who wishes to be a part of this project as a guardian of a journal as a regional coordinator, or as a contributor to this project, wander over to check out the latest information.

In other news, I found out that my artwork was accepted for Patti Digh's new book. I am very excited. See this post to see the art that I submitted.

Feeling like an Artist

Nothing beats the feeling of creating when I am in that zen-like state where the painting, drawing, or sculpture is just taking form effortlessly and it just finishes so easily. It's like the work is creating itself. Of course, I have a lot of unfinished work stacked up in the studio that started out flowing like water, but quickly got dammed and came to a screeching halt waiting for completion some day. Both of these feelings - the free-flowing creativity and the blocked creativity - are part of being and feeling like an artist.

And there is such validation when someone else thinks so highly of your work that they want to own a piece. I was fortunate to sell two pieces this past weekend at the NCAEA conference. Modus Operandi 123 above was an 11x14 piece that hung around my studio for a couple of years before I finished it for an exhibit last winter, and Personal Excavation below grew out of my Excavation Series and is a small 4x6 graphite piece that I finished relatively quickly. I appreciate anyone wishing to own a piece of mine, and there is such a release when the work is sent out there to live somewhere else. That release is also part of being and feeling like an artist.

This artwork would have never existed if it were not for the visual journal. The ideas, techniques, and concepts that I have developed in the journal over the last 11 years have laid the foundation for the artwork that I am making now. The journal has been such an integral part of my personal artistic growth. And I am happy to share my art and my journey.

Thank you to all who have supported my artistic endeavors.


Dave and I just got back from the North Carolina Art Education Association's annual Fall Conference in New Bern, NC. The setting was great, the weather was beautiful, and the attendees were highly motivated. We were part of 4 presentations and workshops spreading the power and importance of the visual journal.

Our 3-hour, hands-on workshop was filled with excited teachers - many of whom keep coming back year after year and some of whom came on the advice of a friend or colleague, but all of whom dove into the variety of media and techniques we shared. Our 45-minute presentation on our journey to publishing The Journal Junkies Workshop brought out quite a few people early in the morning as we traced our path form the visual journal to the book. Many stayed for Dave's presentation on 100 Visual Journals for North Carolina (Dave's hand-drawn logo for the project can be seen above). Basically, Dave envisioned one journal going to each county in NC (there are excactly 100), getting filled by teachers, students, and the commuinity - ages 2-102 - and then making its way back to him where they will be donated to the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching as a means to raise money for the center. We thank all those who took on the role of Activist to become guardian of their county's journal. We thank Cheap Joe's in Boone for the donation of the 100 journals. Finally, we supported our good friend Sam Peck in his presentation Fight Club=Graduate School where he credited his acceptance into UNCG's MFA program in part to the visual journal and in part to the discussion he had with the interviewers about the book/film Fight Club and Postmodern Principles. Tying the book/film to Olivia Gude's "Postmodern Principles: in Search of 21st Century Art Education", Sam led a great talk about his journey to and through graduate school and back to teacher.

Thanks to all who came out to be part of a great conference, and we hope to see you all in Charlotte next year. The support, enthusiasm, and motivation keeps inspiring us to continue to push the visual journal further and further.


I have been finding my balance more over the last few weeks. Life can be so overwhelming at times when things are stacked up and everything is a priority. Unfortunately, many people want their priorities to become mine. So, it is nice when life balances itself out for a while. Balancing teaching, spending time with family and friends, working around the house, making art, and finding some quiet time is a difficult task at times, but that is what life is about - seeking balance.


With school in full swing, I have been busy to the point of being almost overwhelmed. Things are finally settling down, and it isn't so much work and struggle keeping up with the day-to-day. I have actually found some time work on my art. Besides working in the journal, I have been able to start a 22"x30" piece on watercolor paper (pictured above). I tacked the paper up behind my desk at school, and over the last week, I have been slowly adding layers of watercolor and watercolor pencil with much of the work over the last two days. It has been a nice lift in the spirit to find time to work on some art.

I am a big believer that in our lives we give priority to things that we value. Unfortunately we often give priority to things like TV, cell phones, and computers, and to some degree that is what we value at the time even though we may say otherwise. If it was something we did not value, we would not dedicate the time. It is that simple. Actions speak louder than words.

Too often, I have paid lip service to the importance of my art, but I have not dedicated the energy. So, on some level, I was not valuing it at the time. I am not criticizing myself because life easily gets busy and one aspect can quickly take over our focus. I am simply stating a fact, but I am glad that at least for now, I am finding some balance in life with work, play, art, family, friends, and so on. It's not all perfectly balanced, and there will always be ebbs and flows. But I feel more in touch with myself and more centeredwhen I am making art.

Here is to finding balance and prioritizing the things that truly matter.

What I Wish For

In mid August, I submitted my name to create a work of art for Patti Digh's new book What I Wish For: Simple Wisdom for a Happy Life. After an overwhelming response, the editor randomly selected people to submit work, and I was lucky enough to be selected. Now there's no guarantee that my work will be selected, but the artwork above is my submission.

Patti had readers of her blog write essays for her older daughter giving her advice as she graduated from high school and transitioned into college. She then, selected many of the submitted essays to publish in book form, and then solicited artwork.

I received an essay a couple of weeks ago to illustrate, and it posed a real challenge. First, the essay contained some very literal imagery, and my art is not very literal. Second, the art could not use any legible text, and my art often uses text. After working on it for several days, I think that the resulting work reflects the essay pretty well. But I'm not going to share that.

What do you think the main theme of the essay was?

The work was created in a 9x12 Strathmore Mixed-Media Visual Journal.

Rudy Scott is raising money for 2011 "Cancer Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down" Calendar

I'm not one to make a plea to all my friends and blog readers, but this is very special to me. Many of you know that my wife and I lost our dog Rudy to cancer last spring. As a tribute, we entered him for consideration in the 2011 Cancer Can't Keep a Good Dog Down Calendar. It is a fundraiser to fight cancer in canines. We are asking for help to raise money for a cure but also to win Rudy a place in the calendar. Voting takes place through September 12, and each dollar donated counts as a vote. We would appreciate any help, even if it's just the five dollar minimum donation. It's a good cause, and a great way to honor our special boy. Just click the Donate Now! button on the widget above if you would like to lend your support, and please share this with everyone you know. Cancer is not just a human disease.

Thank you.

Walk Unafraid

Today it's all said by the R.E.M. song "Walk Unafraid" from their album Up

As the sun comes up, as the moon goes down
These heavy notions creep around
It makes me think
Long ago I was brought into this life, a little lamb
A little lamb
Courageous, stumbling
Fearless was my middle name
But somewhere there I
Lost my way
Everyone walks the same
Expecting me to step
The narrow path they've laid
They claim to
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me
Say keep within the boundaries if you want to play
Say contradiction only makes it harder
How can I be
What I want to be?
When all I want to do is strip away
These stilled constraints
And crush this charade
Shred this sad masquerade
I don't need no persuading
I'll trip, fall, pick myself up and
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me
If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go
I just want to hold my head up high
I don't care what I have to step over
I'm prepared to look you in the eye
Look me in the eye
And if you see familiarity
Then celebrate the contradiction
Help me when I fall to
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me

Spiritual Process

The older I get, the more I realize that life and art are both spiritual processes, and the visual journal has solidified that attitude in my mind. Except for an agnostic/atheist phase in my late teens and early 20s, I have always been a spiritual person - not in an organized religion or new agey kind of way. But I have always felt that the world was held together by forces far greater than we as individuals, and that feeling was always reinforced on solitary hikes in the woods or while leading journal workshops. I have been awed by nature and my connection to it, and I have been awed by the power of the journal. I have seen lives change because people have connected with themselves in the journal.

I think for me that is what this spiritual process is all about - connecting. It is first an individual process - a looking inward and connecting with all aspects of ourselves. Then it is an external process of connecting with others and helping them on their individual journeys through life. Happiness is within us and not with material objects, the love of another, or ordained on us by fate. All beings want to be happy and do not want to suffer, but that happiness cannot come from wealth, electronic gadgets, fancy cars, a young, attractive spouse, or a lavish home. It comes from turning inward and helping others.


It seems that every waking moment our minds are occupied with a tremendous amount of thoughts. No matter whether we are driving in the car, taking a shower, or trying to go to sleep, our minds are awash in a whole range of thoughts. Much of time we think about the past - the would'ves, should'ves, and could'ves - as we relive various moments regretting some and reveling in others. And the rest of the time we are occupied with thoughts of the future whether it's a mental to-do list for the day or the dream of when we have more time and money. But it is fair to say that we think very little about the present moment which leads to the paranoid feeling that we forgot to lock the front door or that we have driven many miles and are surprised when we suddenly arrive at our destination with no recollection of the journey. We seem to be on autopilot as we go on with the business of our day worrying and thinking about so much other stuff that we forget to live in the moment.

Recently I have been working on being more mindful of myself in the present moment. It began dawning on me recently during a vacation to the beach as I sat and watched the waves. The waves rolled in one after another, and though I began to think about riding my body board, I quickly found myself just being there watching the waves. Thoughts about grabbing my board, where we would eat lunch, or what waited us when we got back home just slipped away. It was as if I had become part of the wave as it moved toward the beach. I felt that sensation several times during our six day stay, and each time I sat for hours just watching the waves, listening to their crashes, and feeling the breeze blowing. I was very present in the moment and very mindful of the waves, the sun, the breeze, the people, and the sand.I have also been reading quite a bit of Buddhist writings including the Dalai Lama, and mindfulness is a key component that these various writers bring up. Being present for each moment and being mindful of that experience whether it is eating, meditating, or walking can help eliminate distracting thoughts and dispel afflictive emotions.

So, I have tried to be more mindful as I go through my days. My biggest mindful experiment was a recent hike. Usually as I hike, thoughts of all kind flash through my mind - everything from thoughts about previous hikes to imaginary conversations to ideas for future books and blog posts. And often miles can go by and I find myself thinking "How did I get here already? I don't remember passing that one part of the trail." Basically my thoughts take over, and my body moves through the woods without paying much attention to my surroundings. I find that I often cannot remember large pieces of the trail.

This past week I tried to hike while being more mindful of myself and the hike. It wasn't easy. I found all kinds of thoughts entering my mind, and I simply acknowledged them, and let them go always bringing my thoughts back to the hike. I looked around much more as I hiked, I "listened" to my body so that I did not get winded, and I trusted that my feet would find the best spots to step so that I wasn't hiking with my eyes staring at my feet scouting out each step. And whenever a stray thought entered, I just tried to let it go. I didn't allow myself to follow the thought and get caught up in reliving the past or trying to plan the future. I let it go and turned my thoughts back to the hike. I found myself hiking more softly and gracefully. I didn't plod along tripping over rocks and stomping down the trail. I felt much more like a deer moving through the woods ever on the look out for trouble.

It was an amazing experience, and though I hiked that section of trail a hundred times or more, that was the first time that I really experienced the hike. I can remember the hike much more vividly. Everyday now, I try to find more ways of being present and being mindful.