Saturday, October 31, 2015

20 May 2015 Journal Page

“We are all our own graveyards, I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived, and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present.”
Clive Barker

Friday, October 30, 2015

On My Shelf

I started Jessa Crispin's The Dead Ladies Project the other day. I am having a hard time putting it down. 

"It was the dead I wanted to talk to. The writers and artists and composers who kept me company in the late hours of the night: I needed to know how they did it. I'd always been attracted to the unloosed, the wandering souls who were willing to scrape their lives clean and start again elsewhere. I needed to know how they did it, how they survived it...No, if I was going to approach these great men and women, I would need to do it on their territory. I would have to go to them, not expect them to show up here." -Jessa Crispin The Dead Ladies Project

My only complaint is that it isn't in hardcover (I'm one of those nerds. That said I'm very happy to be holding it in my hands.)

I haven't started Patti Smith's M Train yet but at the top of the pile.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jet Pens: Tombow Markers and Guillermo del Toro

Here's the early version of the work in progress page (the almost finished page is at the bottom of this post)
As part of their sponsorship program, JetPens sent me a $25 gift certificate to play with.

Many, many, many moons ago I used (and loved) Tombow markers. The last time I used them was when I taught in a sanitarium (which is a whole other story and seems to be a whole 'nother lifetime ago) and I left them behind for the patients to use. Other pens and markers quickly replaced them and I forgot about them, dismissing them simply as a rubber stamping supply that I didn't need. Oh, how very wrong I was.

My husband was reading Guillermo del Toro's book, The Cabinet of Curiosities and asked if I knew what kind of markers and pens del Toro used. A discussion about art supplies quickly ensued. That week, the JetPens gift certificate arrived in my mailbox. I knew exactly what I was going to use it on.

When the package arrived, I ripped them open and immediately sat down with my journal to play. What I love about the Tombow brush markers is that they work well with the media that I already use. I love blending them with a water brush, combining them with layers of water based paint markers. I started using them on the above page (pink and yellow markers blended into the page.) When you mix them with other media, they are transparent so be mindful of this on your pages. They're not permanent so if you get them too wet, they wipe completely away. If you collage, make sure that the glue is dry and that if you add water to make the markers move that it is only a little at a time or else the paper will buckle. I do like the look of the wash of color that they add to the page. I will admit that I've already gone out and bought a very small handful of a few more colors. I definitely don't need as many as Guillermo has but I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with an old favorite art supply.

Thanks to JetPens, Guillermo del Toro and David!

Almost finished page using Collage Ephemera, Stencils, Water based paint markers, Acrylic paints, Tombow Markers, colored pencils, Sakura Glaze Pens, Decorative Tape and Pencils.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New and Improved: Collage Sheet of the Month Club is Back!

Last year I started something that I called, "The Collage Sheet of the Month Club." I love making collage sheets for myself and my students. I wanted to try something different this time. With the help of my son, Tristan, we've made FIVE new, full color sheets using original images, found images and images of my journal pages. 

I'm offering the sheets in two ways:


1. You can purchase five actual high quality printed sheets that will arrive in the mail. Copies will ship on or before November 11th. 

$25. Shipping is additional. (If you're outside of the US, please email me and I'll calculate postage. Canada is $3. UK is $4.)

Printed Sheets:
SOLD OUT Please email if you are interested.


2. You can purchase a high quality PDF of the five sheets (no actual copies in the mail. YOU print them at home.) You will receive the link within 24 hours from me via email.



Please note, none of the copies you receive via email or in the mail will have the watermarks on them. If you've ordered my self published books or cards before, you know the high quality of these sheets! I love my local printshop!

Thank you for your interest!

Monday, October 26, 2015

15 May 2015 Journal Page

I'll have two big announcements posted to the blog this week. I posted a blurry teaser photo of one here. If you're in Northern California, you may want to make note of Saturday, December 5th when I'll be returning to Fremont for a special one day class. Stay tuned. Apologies for the cryptic posting. Today is one of those limited time days...  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

My Door of Inspiration

When I can afford it, I buy original art. Since I won't be buying originals from any of these artists anytime soon, postcards work rather nicely. I pick up these mini paper canvases when I go to an exhibit. It's a nice reminder of the moment. I started a couple of years ago with Mary Blair but the collection has grown to include Frida Kahlo, Yuri Norstein, Francesca Yarbusova, JMW Turner, Vincent Van Gogh, Corita Kent and Salvador Dali. 

Not pictured but another wall holds Marc Davis from the Disney Museum. My kitchen walls and cabinet doors (both inside and out) include work by my son, Tristan, Juliana Coles, Lynne Hoppe, Roseann Cazares, Suki Moon Pie along with several others. 

I also started collecting magnets from the exhibits that I visit as well. I love filling my little home with art as much as possible.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Doing the Work

One of my hardest jobs as a teacher is trying to get the message across that in order to become "good" at anything, you have to show up and do the work. Taking a class, trying something once, heck, even trying something several times doesn't make you "good" (this is in quotes on purpose) at something. In order to know and understand what you are trying to make (be it a journal page that you are happy with or writing a computer program or learning to bake a cake or ride a bicycle) you have to show up and do the work. Repeatedly. 

You have to make a lot of things in order to make things that you are truly happy with. I'm watching my son work and hang his head in frustration because he thinks he's going to get it right or that he will love what he makes the first time. I keep telling him that it doesn't work that way. Ever. It's all a process and it should be about the process. We experiment. We fail. We get back on the damn bike and try again. We pedal harder.  The more we show up and do the work, the better we get.

In this day and age of instant gratification ("only one click away to get it now!" "Two hour delivery!" "Satisfaction guaranteed!") we seem to have forgotten that it's not only about the destination. It's about the journey. It's about the slow process of becoming, experimenting and trusting that journey. It's never about the pretty or the perfect. It's about showing up, doing the work, trying our best, learning, having a good time and just enjoying the experience. 

Art journaling, art making, isn't something to bang your head against the wall over. It's a process where you learn from your mistakes. You step back and note what you like and what you can learn from. You date your pages so you can see your process. You push. You pull. You repeat. Judgment gets pushed aside. You make and you make some more. It's about letting go and trusting the process. It's about getting messy and reveling in that mess. It's about the discovery of new ideas, new thoughts and the unexpected.

You don't like something? Step away from it. Note what you like or what you don't like. Don't compare your work to anyone else's but your own. If you don't like what you've made, either chalk it up as a learning experience, or try to rework it or leave it alone. (You could make color copies of it and rework the color copies.) After all, you have an entire book to fill with many more pages to experiment with. Don't be hard on yourself (especially if you're a beginner.) Your journal should be a place of truth and the truth is, you're not always going to make pages that you are head over heels in love with and that's okay. With that, I'm off to work in my book. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Kelly's Class Schedule November 2015

Here is my list of classes for 2015.

I'm ALWAYS looking for new teaching venues so if you know of any that may be interested, I'd love to hear. I have taught a wide range of ages from individuals to small groups to large gatherings. I have held classes at stores, museums, schools, backyards, garages, studios and private homes. I also am available for teaching home schooling art classes.

My workshops are always process-based learning while creating a unique product. I am well known for not traveling light and bring a large variety of supplies including (but not limited to) collage material, rubber stamps, stencils, pens, markers, tape and more.

Please note the small supply list for each class.

If you're not near where I'll be teaching, but you're interested in taking a class, I do offer a variety of online classes (27 different online workshops as of March 2015.) You can find out more info on the right side of my main blog.

Thank YOU for your interest!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hou Hsiao-Hsien's The Assassin


Last week, David and I spent three days seeing Hou Hsiao-Hsien in Los Angeles. He was there to promote his new film, The Assassin (the stills shown above are from the film.) 

We started the week at The Academy on Tuesday night. We met up with David's friend, Trygve (a director who was visiting from Norway and wanted to attend the event with us.) It's always exciting when The Academy announces a new line-up of film related events that are not only affordable, but also open to the public. These type of events don't happen often enough, but just the previous week the Academy interviewed Guillermo del Toro, which I wrote about here, and when we scooped up the Del Toro tickets we also got tickets to see Hou Hsiao-Hsien. 

I had never seen "Director Hou's" (as they called him) films. David had raved about his work and I was looking forward to the talk. Between bits of conversation, they showed clips from a handful of his films. I absolutely loved what I saw. Colors. Full frames of perfectly composed images. A moment captured on screen. A painterly tableau. It quickly got me wanting to see more.

One of the gems of conversation from the evening was when Director Hou said, "The script is only a gateway. The script allows you to enter the world. Once you enter the world, you throw the script away." Hollywood focuses so much on script and story. This was an extremely refreshing point of view that goes back to the early, pre-industrial days of the movies when the filmmakers, such as D. W. Griffith, rarely bothered to write a script.

On our way out of The Academy, I noticed a very small group had formed. Director Hou, and his long time cinematographer, Mark Lee Ping Bing (who had joined him on stage for the second half of the conversation), were signing autographs and posing for photos. I ran with my copy of Hou Hsiao-Hsien (an Austrian Film Museum publication) and tapped Director Hou gently on the shoulder and asked if he would please sign the book. He was extremely gracious and nodded at both David and I after signing. I also managed to corner Mark Lee Ping Bing and asked him to please sign the book as well. He worked on one of my favorite films, In The Mood for Love (another must see if you haven't seen it!) It is usually extremely difficult to get autographs or photos at The Academy so David and I were very happy that they were kind enough to sign the book for us.

The next evening we went to The Academy's Linwood Dunn theatre to see Hou Hsiao-Hsien Presents Amarcord. (Yay! More $5 films and talks that are open to the public.) Director Hou introduced the film. I hadn't seen this film by Fellini yet but for the first hour of the film, I couldn't stop laughing. It was a wonderful film (I love Fellini) and if you haven't seen it, you need to.

A few days later we went to Laemmle's The Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills to see The Assassin. I can't wait to see the film again on the big screen.  It's exactly what I want when I go to see a film: images that draw you in and leave you thinking about them days later.

After the film, director Hou spoke and answered questions. If you read some of the articles below, you will get snippets of what he spoke about. He says that he hasn't been to Hollywood in thirty years. I hope that it doesn't take him another thirty years to come back! 

Here are a couple of photos that I took that night:

Link Love: 
Interview: Hou Hsiao-hsien with Shu Qi and Chang Chen
The Assassin – first look  
Killer Technique
The Mystery Of Hou Hsiao Hsien’s The Assassin

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

10 May 2015 Journal Page

This isn't one of my favorite pages but I can see the value in it. All pages have value. It's how we learn, play and experiment. Good pages. Bad pages. They're all of equal worth (besides, there's no such thing as a "bad page" if you think this way.) I can appreciate the playfulness of this page. 

Blog Love:
 Film is Visual Emotion: the Use of Warm and Cold in 19 Films 
(thanks, David, for the link.)
Mary Oliver on Love and Its Necessary Wildness

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Colors of Crimson Peak

Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak Is So Beautiful, It’ll Drive You Slightly Mad 
Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak. 
Tom Hiddleston in Crimson Peak Tom Hiddleston on Crimson Peak & What Lokis Been Up to Since Thor 2 

I can't stop thinking about the COLORS in Crimson Peak. I will admit that I ran to the art store afterwards to buy paint markers in the luscious tones of blue green, orange gold, deep purple and crimson. Colors that I don't normally use but am eager to experiment with.

I love the worlds that only Guillermo del Toro is capable of creating. I lost myself in the film. It paid homage to films of the past: Rebecca. Notorious. The Shining. Hammer Films. Being raised on gothic, horror and science fiction, I didn't find the story completely unique. I was reading Flowers in the Attic at age twelve and horror books since the library started letting me borrow them in 4th grade. I have been obsessively watching horror films since the late 1970's when Creature Double Feature was on Channel 56 in Boston. Have I seen or read similar plots before? Yes. Did that bother me? No.

All that said, do I want to see it again? Very much so, yes.

Am I hoping that the blu-ray has lots of extras? Hell, yes.

Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness is the number one book on my wishlist right now. (Update: Best Birthday Present of 2015! Yay!)

More Inspiration:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Full Tables

What a good day today was. The classroom had four messy tables filled with supplies (above is one of them) and six, fabulous students. It was an excellent way to spend a Sunday. Thank you, ladies.

Friday, October 16, 2015

6 May 2015 Journal Page

I played hooky today from getting any real work done. Instead, I saw two visually stunning films, Crimson Peak and The Assassin. Actually, with regards to the director of The Assassin, it was a full week of Director Hou Hsiao-Hsien in Hollywood. I plan on doing a full blog post about my thoughts and experiences regarding each film within the next week. 

"All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography.-Federico Fellini

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

4 May 2015 Journal Page

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.” ~ Mary Oliver

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

3 May 2015 Journal Page

A quick heads up, I'm teaching a very special six hour collage + paint + bookbinding + more class at Book Arts LA this Sunday. You can find more information and sign up here.  Here's a sample page from my Visual Poetry book: 

Last Saturday, David and I went to Beyond Fest at the Egyptian Theatre to see a screening of Dog Day Afternoon with Al Pacino in person. My two favorite LA theatres are both a part of the American Cinematheque: Aero in Santa Monica and The Egyptian in Los Angeles. I love that they have excellent screenings (35mm as much as possible) and in person guests. I hadn't seen Dog Day Afternoon and I really enjoyed it. It was also a treat to see Pacino in person. The best story he told was about how he's been trying to recapture the feeling of his first time on the stage. We sat in the second to last seat so my photos are ridiculously crappy but it was a great time. 


Monday, October 12, 2015

On My Shelf

I've been reading The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop off and on for the past couple of weeks. As a bibliophile, I'm finding that it is an interesting read. The author weaves the tale of his life as a book lover with the history of books. If you love books as much as I do, you might want to check it out at your local library. Lewis Buzbee even has an extensive list of his favorite bookstores here.

I picked up an inexpensive, used copy of Dali by Dali last week at Iliad (my favorite bookstore.) Had I known that there is a larger, more extensive book with the exact same material, I would've picked that up instead but this I am enjoying this small copy of Dali artwork. 

Last night at Barnes and Noble, with an additional 20% off coupon in hand (along with the 30% off the list price) I finally succumbed to buying Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. I haven't cracked it open yet but I hope to do so later on this evening. I know so many people who have sung its praises. Time will tell if I'll be adding my own voice to that chorus.

(Update on 10/24: I ended up returning Big Magic. I read half of it and then started skimming the rest.)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

2 May 2015 Journal Page

It's Sunday and I'm home so that means art journal pages and listening to Old Time Radio on WBAI. 

I'm still posting work in progress pages on Instagram so you can how this page went from this to what you see above. I always post the pages in progress there and will eventually post the finished pages there.

  Photo from kellytmkilmer

Saturday, October 10, 2015

29 April 2015 Journal Page

"Three films a day, three books a week and records of great music would be enough to make me happy to the day I die.”
― François Truffaut

Blog Love:
Remembering Orson Welles who died 30 years ago today.

Friday, October 09, 2015

28 April 2015 Journal Page

"Painting is not for me either decorative amusement, or the plastic invention of felt reality; it must be every time: invention, discovery, revelation."-Max Ernst

Thursday, October 08, 2015

27 April 2015 Journal Page

David and I went to the Academy last night to see Guillermo del Toro. It was the first in a series of events presented by The Getty in collaboration of the new Academy Museum. We've been saying for years that while we love seeing films (especially in 35mm), we really enjoy seeing the creators talk about their work and process. I am hoping that this is only the beginning of more events like these.

Guillermo del Toro is one of my most favorite artists. He creates entire worlds that are unlike anything you've ever seen or dreamt of and then welcomes you in. Last night he spoke of his Grandmother who would buy him horror comics one minute and then cry when he'd draw monsters. Then they'd read the Bible together and he laughed and said how the Bible was more graphic than the comics he was reading. He talked about Bleak House and even showed photos of the house and his stacks (and stacks) of books. It amused me greatly to see that he has two houses devoted to his collection and (just like the rest of us) he's running out of room. 

One of the (many) things that he said last night was that you can't just focus on one thing. You should be open to more than just one form of art (film, books, music, paintings, etc...) Not being open narrows not only your perspective but also your ability to truly see, translate and create ideas.

"Your mind assimilates everything and you make your own way to express yourself. I am someone who is always hungry for coming up with images. For me, creating worlds is instinctive and I get to talk about them as if they were their own."

He said that his three favorite films that he made are Devil's Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth and Crimson Peak.

He also spoke about how when he was little, he slept on a mattress at the foot of his Grandmother's bed. He would try to convince her to put in a secret door at the base of the stairs. He'd share his plans (and tell her it would be inexpensive and useful as thieves would never find them) as he'd drifted off to sleep.

I'll try to add more to this post when I can. I'm still processing the evening. I'm also still dreaming of an invitation to tour Bleak House.

Blog Love: 
The Real GDT on Twitter
Guillermo del Toro - Welcome to Bleak House  
Here's an article (with lots of photos) from yesterday about Bleak House.
Show the Monster