Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bike Touring Journal

bicycle touring journal
day one, orcas island tour

Last week we took a four-day bicycle tour to Orcas island. I'll spend the next few weeks adding more photos, drawings, and collaged pages. Above is the page I finished today.

Orcas Island is the hilliest and largest island of the San Juan Islands in Washington state. You can find my photos and blog about the trip on my photography blog.

orcas island journal
orcas island journal cover

I wanted to keep a journal devoted to this trip. So the week before we left, I gutted a thin old book and added some pages and collaged the cover. I used my birch trees collage as the focal point on the front cover. (above image)

trees and notes, orcas island journal page
trees and notes, orcas island journal page

Each morning of the trip, I wrote notes on what had happened the day before and did some simple sketches.

My muscles are still recuperating but I am already planning another trip! I hope everyone had a good week.

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Friday, August 8, 2014


progression I
Progression I, 7 x 10, collage by juana almaguer

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful.
Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path.
You know you will never get to the end of the journey.
But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
Winston Churchill

I started this collage several months ago. It's an odd shape for me to work on (7 x 10 inches) and I got stumped at one point and set it aside. For a few weeks I deliberated what to add next and nothing came to heart. It eventually went in the drawer where I put my works in progress and completed works that need varnishing.

I came across it again this past week while collecting the pieces I was going to varnish. I kept it on my art table for a few days and even played with the idea of cutting it down to 7 x 7. Then one night at midnight, as usual, while I was trying to fall asleep, I got an image of what to do next with this collage.

This week I learned about diffuse vs. focused thinking. My midnight thoughts are the diffuse thinking. That is when I am not pushing my thoughts in any particular direction, and so my ideas have the freedom to take their own route.

I got up the next morning and completed the Progression I collage over the next two days by adding more washes of acrylics, enso stamping at the top and the circles at the bottom.

I wonder where you got that idea from? 
I mean, the idea that it's feeble to change your mind once it's made up. 
That's a wrong idea, you know. Make up your mind about things, by all means
 - but if something happens to show that you are wrong, then it is feeble not to change your mind, Elizabeth. Only the strongest people have the pluck to change their minds, and say so, if they see they have been wrong in their ideas.
Enid Blyton, The Naughtiest Girl in the School

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

memory and mapping the mind

mapping IV, galleryjuana
Mapping IV, 8 x 10, by Juana Almaguer

Forward, not permanent, 
sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute;
No more.
Shakespeare, Hamlet

This week I finished Mapping IV for my series of female portraits exploring the connection between the physical world and the mind's reality.

This one focuses on memory. I drew the hippocampus, amygdala as well as a neuron with its cell, axons, dendrites and terminal buttons. I monoprinted a leaf and drew a cross-section of galvanized wire rope and added dripped watercolors.

I added a knot that I puzzled together out of pieces of paper and collaged that onto the drawing. Trying to match the knot diagram and pieces of paper was definitely an exercise of my working memory. I have always wanted to be able to make various knots. I remember how my mother loved making all sorts of knots. I think she'd be proud of this paper knot:)

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