Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Is it Time to Quit?

Is it Time to Quit?

Hi there. How are you? 

It's been almost nine years since I entered my current "Mixed Media Period." It was the summer of 2006, and I spent part of it living in Portland, Oregon. I had a lot of time on my hands and I was itching to make. I brought my watercolors, but never used them. Instead, I started cutting up the Domino magazines I was reading.

Here are some of the first pieces I made:


After that summer, I was hooked. It was a flurry of magazines, glue and Micron pens. And it was all about flowers. All fast, loose and gestural. I loved what I was doing and was making every chance I got.  

Then I made this chair.
It was a one-of piece I did for a friend. The image ended up in a brochure for a local gallery walk. People called the gallery wanting more chairs. So one chair turned in to years of chairs.


Enter the ball point pen.
My technique changed, but my primary subject did not. I still enjoyed illustrating chairs, and people were buying. So, I kept making. 


Then it was birds.
Matt (my husband) is a bird lover and encouraged me to try illustrating his feathered friends. Despite the fact that I didn't particularly care for birds HATED birds, I drew some. People loved them, so I continued. (After drawing birds for 2 years now, I will admit that I have more of an affection for birds than I used to. I think they're pretty darn cute now. I just don't want to touch them.)


There were abstracts too.
Throughout the whole 9-year creative phase, I've always made abstract work and drawn abstractly in my sketchbook.  I've made abstract collages, all about shape and color.


I've made abstract line drawings, all about form and movement. 


9 years is a long time to work without a plan.
I've flitted from one subject to the next, one show/event/fair/project to the next without much forethought. I've delved into wholesale, Etsy, a new website, new products, more art fairs, less art fairs. I never took the time to make a solid plan. There was never time. I wanted to make art, I wanted people to buy it, and I wanted art to be my main gig. I've had some successes, lots of failure, and I've learned a lot. But right now, I'm feeling burnt out and uninspired. I'm not confident about my current work and feel like I'm just going through the motions.

It's time for a break.
I'm not quitting art. I promise! I just need time to regroup, think, and plan. I won't be making any more mixed-media pieces for a time. Instead, I'm going to polish up that new website I started working 6 months ago, continue to blog, and do a lot of thinking. You'll still be able find and purchase my existing work on Etsy, at Dayshift and Bricolage, or directly from me. (If you've been wanting to purchase an original piece from me, now is the time! Get in touch!)

But I will be back. 
When I reemerge from this break, I'll have new, exciting, and most likely, very different work to show you. I promise to keep in touch and share my insight along the way.

Now it's your turn to talk. 
How did you know it was time to quit or take a break? In your work? In your life? In your education? I'd love to hear from you! 

Until next time. Ta-ta.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Coachella 2015 - Fashion Fails of the Festival

Hi there. How are you?

A few weeks back, Matt and I attended Coachella, the huge annual music festival in Indio, California. Someday I'll write about the music, but first I must tell you about the fashion scene, or lack thereof. Maybe I'm just getting old and don't understand, but we saw a lot of bad trashy style and not much good.

I couldn't get over how many young girls were dressed almost exactly alike. It's like Coachella had a uniform/dress code that I wasn't aware of.

I made a Polyvore mock of the Coachella 2015 "uniform."


The Coachella 2015 Uniform
1. It's hot and sunny in the Indio desert, so you if you must wear a hat, it must be black, floppy and made of felt. (Makes perfect sense right?) If you decided to deviate from the black hat, you must wear a flower crown.

2. The desert is dry and dusty, so wear a bandana over your nose and mouth. Makes you look so mysterious and gangsta! Show a little American pride by wearing one featuring the starts and stripes.

3. Underwear makes the best outerwear at Coachella. The skimpier the better......It's too hot for anything else. Visible side boob is a plus.
4.  Add a touch of bohemian to your look with a practical fanny pack. (Actually, this is the only sensible part of the Coachella uniform. You've got to do a ton of walking and standing at Coachella and a purse gets hot and cumbersome.)
5.  White, high-waisted lace shorts make perfect sense when sitting on the dusty ground, waiting for the next band to start. The only other acceptable form of shorts are acid washed jean shorts. Extra points if your shorts are cut so short that your butt cheeks are exposed.

6. Gladiator sandals make the most sense for the many miles you will walk during your weekend at Coachella. If you must have a little more support, wear ankle boots. If you're a real slob, wear Chucks.

Here are some of the actual pics I snapped at Coachella:



Don't worry, I picked on the boys too.


And lastly, here's what I wore. Aren't I so hip?




Though this post was incredibly fun to write and I so enjoy people watching, I post about the current "bare it all" trend because it alarms me. 

Do young girls think this it's necessary to be scantily clad to attract the male gaze? If you ask my husband, he'll say that all a girl needs to do to catch his eye is a wear a sundress. It doesn't need to be super short or revealing, just a well fitting, flattering dress.

Girls, you can be sexy without being skanky.

So readers, what do you think? 

Am I old and and just overreacting? Is it just a generational gap? (I went to high school and college in the 90's when oversized overalls and flannel were all the rage.) Do chime in!

That's all for now. Enjoy your weekend. Ta-Ta!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Better Late than Never - A New Mother's Day Card


Illustrated Mother's Day Card with Female Cardinal

Hi There. How are you?

I know I am super late to the party, but I decided to whip up a new Mother's Day Card. Featuring a sweet momma cardinal, this is sure to please your bird-lovin' momma. I actually made this with my grandmother in mind. She loves all things birds.

These cards are up for sale in my Etsy shop and can be purchased at Day Shift, right here in Carbondale. I will also be selling these in my booth at the Art Fair at Laumeier,  which happens in St. Louis over Mother's Day weekend. You won't believe how many of these puppies I'll sell there. Yahoo for procrastinators!

OK. Gotta get back to pumping out artwork! Ta-Ta for now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bird Alert!

"Chickadee 2.0", Mixed Media Illustration by Jennifer Johansson

Hi there. How are you?

I've been neck deep in art fair prep. All studio time has been spent pumping out new work for my first show of the year. (If you're in the St. Louis area, do come see me at the Art Fair at Laumeier Sculpture Park over Mother's Day weekend.)

I've made a flock of new birds. Well, maybe not a whole flock, but some! I've been having a tough time capturing the actual look of the graph paper on these pieces. It either shows up a little too strong or drops out entirely when I try even out the white balance. Even so, I'm still really liking working on gridded paper and have done most of my new work on triangular isometric paper.


Mixed Media Bird Illustration by Jennifer Johansson
"Red-Breasted Nuthatch" Mixed Media Illustration by Jennifer Johansson
Mixed Media Illustration by Jennifer Johansson

This new collection is a bit more minimalist than those I have done in the past. I'm trying to simplify in my art these days. I have to constantly fight not to over-do things. To read about how I create these birds, click HERE.

All of these new pieces are for sale, but are not listed on Etsy. If you are interested in purchasing, do give me a shout!

Hope things are well and springy in your world. Ta-Ta for now!

P.S. Do you Pinterest? I've got a great "Bird Nerd" board going there. Go see and follow along!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Things and Stuff: A Studio Update

A new shot of me in my studio, taken by Matt (my husband.)

Hi there. How are you?

I've so much to tell you since we last chatted! First off, I've got a new job! I'm now the Teen and Youth Program Coordinator at the Carbondale Public Library. I program and implement weekly programs for middle school and high school students at the library. I'm just a week in, but so far so good! The students and my co-workers are great.  My schedule is fantastic.....I work Monday through Thursday afternoons and early evenings, which means I have time every morning to work in my studio!

I've still been plugging away at my Every Other Day Sketch project. Do follow me on Instagram to see them as soon as I post them.


My sketchbook drawings have very much been influencing my work in the studio.

"Infinity and Beyond", 8"x8", ballpoint pen illustration.

"Looped", 8"x8", ballpoint pen illustration.
Yep. I've got a thing for yellow at the moment.
"Fruit Loops" 4"x4", ballpoint pen illustration.



If you are interested in purchasing any of these finished illustrations, do get in touch.

Well friends, that's all for now. Stay tuned for some new bird illustrations! Ta-Ta!