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This is one of those posts I’ve wanted to share but really unsure of how to share it.  So bare with me, it’s going to be unorganized and probably very chatty.

When we closed the store in September 2014, I was an artist reborn.  I had so many items at my disposal for creativity but not enough time to realize those ideas (and no organization to find all the parts to anything).  I had to do something.

So I bought this:001

This was something I could carry around.  When inspiration struck, I could sketch, take notes and generally save all those ideas.

The first few pages look like this:


Then they started to look like this, less full projects and just stuff:


Then nothing.  The book sat unused for months.  When I became re-inspired and began making my own supplies and experimentations, the book came back out.  It was a perfect place to play.  But you can only play so much, right?


Okay so maybe not.  There are a number of really colorful pictures.  I even started doing what I like to call art prayers (some day I will share when I can figure out how to).


But then those experiments gave way to new experiments that I didn’t want to or couldn’t do in the book.

Then came the idea to use the book to help save all those ideas and experiments.  The pages started to look like this:


Above is a series of ATCs I did early in my ATC career.  I love ATCs because I can experiment with techniques.  The problem is, I forget what I have played with.

This gave way to playing in my pinterest account to seek out techniques to play with that I didn’t have any projects in mind.  Such as these embossing experiments:


Or learning how to mask with rubber cement:


The great thing is that I can play with a technique with no pressure to create.  I can learn the pros and cons of a technique.  By putting them in the book when done, I can make notes about what I learned.


I can use the book to assess tools.


I can play with creating art that doesn’t feel perfect without feeling like I’m unsuccessful or that I have to add it to the pile of failures (everyone has one but what fun it is to give it purpose).


It’s become a place filled with inspiration.  And a collection of fun pieces that I haven’t made decisions about what to do with them.


It’s become a place to play.  A place with no rules.  A book that I can flip through and be inspired.  More importantly, it reminds me of why art is so much fun.  It’s not always about creating a piece that can hang on the wall.  It’s about playing with color and texture and whatever.  It’s about going back to a mature version of kindergarten when all that mattered was getting something on the paper.

There are still many blank pages in my book.  And so many more experiments to be had.

Now, I will admit I bought a book for this because I didn’t know what I had or needed.  As I have been playing with what there is in my room, I’ve discovered several art pads and books that would work just as well.  I’m also a big fan of making my own books.