Ophelia, You are truly living a creative life! Please introduce yourself and your art.
I am Ophelia Staton living in Creedmoor NC with my husband Stephen, two children Stephen 10 and Madison 5. I came upon the art world by way of quilting back in 1996 when I took my first quilting class at the local parks and recreation department. I was hooked from the beginning and found myself traveling everywhere I could to learn more and buy even more. I started teaching quilting classes and selling my quilts but found that I was still searching for something different.
I realized that I felt too restricted with the 1/4″ stitch (I really was no good at it) so, I ventured away from my traditional quiltmaking beginnings and found the whole new world of “art” quilting…and once again, I set off to learn as much as I could and as you may guess…buy even more. I traveled to QSDS in Ohio, the International Quilt Festival in Houston and other local quilt shows to take in as much as I could.
In my travels, I picked up a book on Art Journaling – Artists Journals and Sketchbooks and was blown away…you can probably guess by now what I did. Indeed, I traveled to retreats such as Art & Soul in Hampton and Portland, and took my very first art journaling class with yours truly – Jeniffer Hutchins! I find art journaling so freeing…there are no rules and absolutely no way that you can mess it up.
I love making my art journals for me…I have not been bold enough yet to submit my work to any publications. You can follow my art making journey on my blog at www.opheliasart.blogspot.com
I teach workshops and hold demos at Jerry’s Artarama in Raleigh NC – www.jerrysartevents.com
Finish this thought: For me art is…
Everything. I live, breath, and dream in color. I absolutely love art and all things art. I don’t recall as a child being artistic or surrounded by artsy things. My grandmother and aunts were quilters, but I was too busy climbing trees to actually want to sit with them and learn. My art for me is such a passion. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t long to be in my studio, and that is usually how I begin my day. Once my children were born, I had to shift my schedule to allow for uninterrupted art making, so I now get up extra early – usually at 4am to get in my art time. I find that I lose myself when I am in my studio….there are no worries there, no frustrations, no real life hassles…just freedom to be.
4 AM?! Now that is dedication!
Many people have not heard the term Visual Journals. What does Visual Journaling mean to you?
For as long as I can remember, I have kept a diary. I find now that it is the same concept, but now instead of just writing my thoughts, I use paints and collage to express myself and tell the story of what’s going on with me.
What themes or ideas do you tend to work with in your collages and journal pages?
My journals are a safe place for me to dream, work out problems, have pep talks with myself, celebrate things that are going on, and basically record my life. I usually have several journals going at one time…right now, I have a Dream journal just where I record how I am working toward some giant goal/dream for myself, and then my other journal which is really a brain drain.
I once sat down with slips of paper and went through my notebook (where I record various ideas that come to me during the day – I have this little purse journal with me everywhere and it holds my to do lists/grocery lists, quotes that I hear or read, etc.) I wrote down all of the ideas for journal pages that I had written down in my notebook on these slips of papers and put them in a jar. Whenever I am feeling uninspired when I head to my studio, I go to my jar and draw out a slip of paper – which could contain anything from work only with watercolor crayons, or Blue paint – or describe your perfect day. These little slips have challenged me and helped me so much!
Another thing people may be unfamiliar with is the creative online blogging community. Can you describe your experiences with this?
Blogland… I found out about blogs a few years ago, and was way too intimidated to even try one of my own. Once I finally took the leap and joined, I really didn’t do very much with it. I now absolutely love blogging! I have met some of the most wonderful people through my blog, and blogs offer such inspiration. I can literally get lost and spend an entire day clicking just one more link. Blogging has been my gallery, where I show some of the pages that I have made. It really is an online community. People in blogland are so very supportive, and are so very, very kind. The generosity and thoughtfulness of the blog community have been amazing to me.
Your expressive creativity is inspiring! Who has inspired you?
I continue to grow and learn so much more everyday in the art journaling world and I am continuously inspired by blogs that I come across. I found out about art journaling from the book Artist Sketchbooks and Journals by Lynne Perrella at http://www.lkperrella.com/ and Teesha Moore at www.teeshamoore.com.
I also have come to love and adore artist like Kate Crane at www.thekathrynwheel.blogspot.com. Kate is such a giving person…just amazing how much she is willing to share. Pam at http://pamcarriker.com/ has wonderful artwork that keeps me inspired. Julie Prichard at www.julieprichard.com and Carmen Torbus at www.carmentorbus.com offer some amazing online workshops that keep me filled with inspiration and new ideas. Once again, I am just amazed at how much both Julie and Carmen are willing to share.
There are so many artists out there that inspire me in one way or another…even if it is by just having great eye candy on their blogs.
Are there any other tips to living a creative life that you’d like to share?
Just do it….I know that sounds goofy, but its true. Get into your space and just put paint on your page and glue down pieces of paper, and add more paint, and just keep going….ideas will come. It doesn’t have to be perfect in anyway…it is you and your art. No one else has to see what you put in your journals, so feel free to just be you. Search Youtube for Art Journaling and right there you have instructions for starting. The internet is amazing. Search art journlaing in Yahoo Groups as there are some great groups out there as well and members are more than happy to teach you everything they know. Find classes and retreats that offer what you are looking for…once again, an internet search will get you where you want to be.
Fabulous! I actually got chills reading your answer to “art is…” Wow! Thank you Ophelia.
“Inspiring Artists!” will be an ongoing series. It will run as long as there are inspiring artists out there wanting to share their stories. If you are an artist and would like to participate please contact me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!!