August 6th - September 18th

So, if you are keeping track, the last 30 or so days did not go how I intended. My 15 images in 30 days challenge got to about five images before the wheels* started to fall apart.

I'm not as surprised or disappointed as I probably should be. I had a lot of external stressors, including getting very ill.

However, I did get all of my 15 images started, meaning they are still works in progress, emphasis on progress. 

Which was my goal all along, to streamline my process, to get faster, to get organized. Put some pressure on to see where I did well and where I could do better. I made progress on all of those intentions. So I'm counting it as a victory. 

I also filled a sketchbook full of ideas, ideas that are just waiting to come together. 

Here's a peak of some of the work I did finish, my very first repeat pattern. (More of those to come!) 

-MJ 

*wheels = me

RepeatX.png

August 4th - August 5th

3/15

On yesterday's date, years ago, someone I trusted and loved passed away. This person is important for a multitude of reasons, but for one, he had acted as my reliable protector for my entire life up until that point. 

His death marked the start me having to learn to build and enforce my boundaries on my own, without the support I was accustomed to. 

Years later, I'm much stronger and capable, and that's in part due to his influence. 

"Fortified" is a gentle reminder that boundaries are valuable and that making space for yourself is knowing your strength. 


It takes a village to make hands out of flowers. Every single one reaches a point where I don't think it will work -- and then it does. 

Each time I start one, I find that the rules I followed for the last one won't work, and I'll have to re-figure out how to do it. 

And Cthulhu bless the patience of my friends who are often sent a work in progress screen shots asking, "...what does this look like to you?" 

It feels like a miracle when it pulls together. Every. damn. time. 

"Fortified" // Digital Collage in process. 

"Fortified" // Digital Collage in process. 

August 2nd - August 3rd

2/15 

"Wishing Ghost I" is a concept based on a particular conversation I recently had about the positives of knowing you will die. 

(Spoiler Alert: you will die!) 

This is obviously something that will make some uncomfortable, and I understand that, but for me, my death is the end of my work and my purpose, so while I am alive, that labor and purpose must be addressed. A deadline is just that, and I do not see that as a negative. It keeps me honest. 


I knew I wanted to portray these ideas in some way, but my immediate concepts felt too easy, perhaps a bit of low hanging fruit. 

Further more, I don't ever want my work to portray death as scary or evil; there is no value in using my art to villainize something that we will all do. 

So I scrapped those plans; and decided to start over. 

Whenever I do that, I like to take Gus on a walk to mull things around immediately and start fresh. This time he (of course) walked right into an over grown patch of the sidewalk that was full of seeding dandelions. It was the contrast of the seeds against his dark fur that got my brain thinking. 

By the time I got home, I didn't even need to sketch out my idea. I found the perfect broken doll feet on Etsy and told my apartment complex not to be worried if they see me out weeding. 

Within 12 hours of the feet arriving I had the finished work in front of me. 

I just love this little guy; these simple ones are often are the hardest to trust my instincts with, but as soon as I saw this in my head, I knew I'd be happy with it. I plan on making more soon!

"Wishing Ghost I" // Digital Collage // 12" x 12" (Edition of 5) // 2017 

"Wishing Ghost I" // Digital Collage // 12" x 12" (Edition of 5) // 2017 

July 16th - August 1st

This will probably be the most coherent I am for this entire month as I've decided (on a whim no less) to partake in fellow photographer, Brook Shaden's 15-day creative challenge. 

That said, I can't do what I do and make 15 images in 15 days, it takes a bit too much time to nail the illusions I create, so I'm aiming to complete the 15 images by the end of August. Which still puts me under pressure, but at a more realistic timeline. 

Today is the first day, and thus, I completed an image I have wanted to tackle for months. (!!!) 

My intentions just happened to line up with the challenges first day's suggested theme, so I sat down and sussed it out. I'm delighted with the results, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. 


Sometimes the best ideas come to you as separate little nuggets that are pieces of the whole, that you don't see until later. This image is no exception. 

Mr. J found these thorns for me last winter at a job site; he knew I would find a way to use them, and I was indeed excited when he brought them home. However, I found that the color didn't photograph well, and I didn't have any plan that could involve these huge thorns in the works, so I just parked them in storage until I came up with something. 

Sometime later, while watching an old art history documentary, I heard the phrase, "She was in a gilded cage," or at least something similar to that, and I knew I had to make something with that idea. I quickly scribbled the phrase down in my sketchbook and went back to watching the documentary.  

And like ideas are wont to do, my brain eventually put these two together while in the shower. I don't know what the trigger was, but I came out with freshly washed hair, and with a fully formed idea. 

From there, all I had to do was spray the thorns gold, which nicely addressed the problem of the thorns natural dark red/brown color not photographing well. 

I debated between using one of my butterfly images, or one of my chrysalis images. Both options would have worked well enough, but I decided the delicate wings against the sharp thorns adds more tension. 

-MJ 

"Gilded Cage"  // Digital Collage in process. 

"Gilded Cage"  // Digital Collage in process.