Daj'zha Vu

Daj'zha Vu

the artist's endeavors

Days 15-28: Layers of Work in Progress

Okay, I promise that I have been working everyday still on this 100 days of art project.  I'm really sorry that I haven't posted in a minute, but the numerous projects that I have been working on just haven't gotten to a point where I want to put them out there yet.


You know I've been working on a web comic and that I'm painting digitally for the first time.  Hate the process!  I am not a computer person.  It takes too long, so I really have to work in short bursts.  It's looking good but it's still not finished, and I don't want to show it until it's done.  So stay tuned for that and know that this has taken up several of my days so far.


I created a really hot logo to go with the web comic, and I hope to digitally paint that, but it's still waiting in line behind the actual web comic.  I don't want to show it till it's painted, so it will debut with the web comic.


When I get tired of sitting in front of the computer pointing and clicking a paintbrush, I am working on an actual oil painting.  I love to paint, by hand!  It's very therapeutic.  So to relieve myself from the pixel blues, I started a painting that's been in my head for a while.  It's inspired by one of my favorite classic paintings.  I didn't sketch it out first.  I was so frustrated with the whole digital thing that I just broke out the materials and went for it.  I'm making it up as I go.  I already know the name of it and the meaning behind it but that's a secret to be revealed later.  The woman in center my look familiar and is a clue to the classic that is inspiring this "rebirth".


I'm still in the beginning stages.  I've only toned the masonite board and drawn a rough outline of the basic elements.  I'm a slow painter.  I have to let the canvas speak to me with each brush stroke.  Right now, this painting is whispering.


No matter what I'm working on, I'm always dreaming of making ball jointed dolls.  My art buddy, Lauren Brevner uses paper clay to make her sculptures, so I thought I'd give it a try to see what all the fuss is about.  You should definitely check out her blog, she's doing this 100 days of art thing with me and she is so talented.  Her blog is awesome and she's running a blog contest right now so if you subscribe and comment you could win one of her awesome sculptures!  You can see it here.  You have until Dec. 1st to enter! 


I'm really feeling the paper clay.  I'm using Premier clay by La Doll.   It's really squishy and takes some getting use to but it's fairly easy to work with.  I love that I don't have to bake it, and that it sands so easily.  I've found the trick is getting the basic structure down, then adding details once it's dried.  It takes some time to dry so it helps to work on parts in stages so you can keep it moving.  It also helps to have other projects to fall back on because it can get a bit monotonous.  The details are so time consuming, it takes weeks for me to notice my progress.  Which is another reason I haven't posted.  Just like painting, it involves layers and layers of work, so progress is slow.  I'd like to take more progress pics but when I'm working with clay, I get so caught up in the process that I forget to take pics along the way.  Here are a couple WIP pics.




This week, I'm focusing on the limbs.  I'm so proud that I have hands for the first time.  I avoided making hands like the plague, but I finally bit the bullet and went for it.  I still have a lot of work to do.  Endless hours to put in, but this is a good sharing point.  So, I've been bouncing back and forth from these three projects over the past 2 weeks.  I wish I had more to show you but sometimes it's like that, and that's the way it is.  Later homies!      

Day 14: Fly Girlz Webcomic

So I've been wanting to create a web comic strip for a while now.  It's been on my "to do" list.  I was racking my brain trying to figure out exactly what I wanted it to be and while talking to my ace boom Jennifer on my birthday, she reminded me of a sketch I did of us a while back.  We are the "ride or die" kind of friends which I think is captured so well in this sketch. 


I absolutely love this drawing.  It's us up and down and it's got so much sass!  We always refer to ourselves as Thelma & Louise.  I love that movie.  So I sketched this out for our personal pleasure to cheer us up once when we were pissed off.  It always makes me feel better to imagine us against the world, driving off that cliff, and surviving somehow.  So when she reminded me about it on my birthday, I dug the old sketches up and realized that I had the makings of a really great comic. 


I prettied it up and it's exactly what I want my web comic to be.  Honest, empowering, and just plain out hilarious! 


Fly Girlz is for mature audiences.  It features beautiful, talented, fly ass divas who juggle family, careers, friendship, and life's hurdles.  Once I add color, I will have a space designated for the comic on my website, and you will get to indulge in the adventures of the flyest girlz you've ever met! 


So stay tuned and here's a sneak peek of the first installment!





Day 13: Paper Doll

My 1st paper doll!




Day 12: My Born Day

I'm a fall baby and my favorite thing about the fall is the beautiful fall trees.  Fall will be gone soon, so I spent my birthday trying to capture my favorite thing about fall, before it's gone.  Enjoy the pictures I took on my nature walk! 





Day 11: Daj'zha's Birthday!

Today was 11/11/11.  We won't live to see that moment again, but my babygirl can say that she celebrated her birthday on this day!  Didn't have too much time to do art because we were too busy ice skating and celebrating.  I got to be eight again! 

We had a blast.  I love experiencing life through her eyes.  She has such a great imagination.  For Halloween she was a spider fairy.  Something we pieced together.  Look at this face.  (Makeup by Mommy) 


There is one drawing that I have in my sketchbook that I drew from a picture of me when I was eight years old, and my daughter is the spitting image of me.


My daughter is my greatest inspiration.  Seeing her everyday is really like experiencing Daj'zha Vu. 

Day 10: Introducing Israel

Since I'm on a character study tip, I thought I'd go ahead and introduce the main character in my book, Israel.  She is so special to me.  This drawing is my favorite of her so far. 

This is a major scene in the book. 

I love drawing in my sketchbook.  It's where I get some of my best drawings...


This little girl is "The Chosen One".  She's gonna save the world some day...


Day 9: Kali

My favorite Hindu goddess is Kali.  She's known to be the goddess of death, but she doesn't go around killing people, she brings death of the ego.  She helps us overcome the I-am-the-body idea by reinforcing the awareness that the body is a temporary condition.  It is our attachment to the body that gives rise to the ego.  Kali removes the ego and liberates the soul from the cycle of birth and death


My fear of death seems to follow me everywhere that I go.  That's how Kali became a character in my book.  I recently stumbled across my first attempt at drawing her.  She's so beautiful in my imagination.  Naked without inhibition.  Skin so dark black that it's blue.  Hair so ferosciously wild that it has a life of it's own.  These characteristics stood out most in my head.  I started to wonder what she would look like as a teenager and came up with this drawing back in the day.  



In my story, she has to have wings so I remodeled and updated her a bit using my handy dandy watersoluble crayons.  I thought since her hair is so wild and long, and has a life of it's own, it can actually form into wings!

I gave her a veil, because I figured her to be self conscious about her non traditional beauty.  She was probably an awkward teenager who didn't start off knowing what she came to know as a full grown woman about the body.  So she's modestly trying to cover up her private parts, instead of letting it all hang out.  As a young girl, she's in the process of becoming, she's not fully aware of her power and purpose yet.  So she is probably as awkward and shy as the rest of us!  At least in my mind, she is. 

She's going to make a beautiful ball jointed doll when I get around to making her.  I can't wait!  She'll be covered in jewelry from head to toe, as you can see with her awesome foot bracelets. 

She has a lot to learn about herself, but an awful lot to teach.  I love this girl!  I can't wait to write her story and turn her into a doll.
She's gonna show me how to keep my third eye OPEN!



Day 8: The Three Tree

I'm drained, and I feel like I'm back where I started energy wise, so for the next few days I'm lolly gagging on the 100 days of art project.  I'm going to revisit some old sketches and play around a bit, just to get my juices stirring again.  So here's an old sketch I call The Three Tree.  I used my Neocolors successfully here.  They are much better for sketching.

I'm a colorist, I love vibrant color combinations.  With the sepia ink on top, I just want to lick this picture it's so yummy with color!


This is a character study for my book.  Not quite in full character mode, but these ladies are wearing these colors well.  You'll find out more about them later.  For now, just enjoy the view!


Still not feeling completely out of my funk, but at least I don't want to melt my watersoluble crayons anymore. 



Day 7: SmART rock!

Okay, this one sucked the art making life out of me.  I don't know why, I just did not enjoy this as much as I thought I would.  Maybe because I attempted to use these Neocolor Watersoluble crayons that I have, because I have yet to use them on a major project. 


Well, I found out that they aren't for major projects!  At least not alone.  They make for a good top coat or a good bottom coat, but you're gonna have to use several coats regardless if watercolor is involved!  Bummer!  Yeah, so what!  I was being lazy, trying to find the easy way out of watercolor and I got hit in the head with a SmART rock.  That happens occasionally.  There is no easy way out of watercolor.  Layers on top of layers is the only way out!  LOL!  And since I wasn't feeling this drawing from the beginning, seeing as how I was looking like a distant cousin and all, what you see is what you get.  One layer of watersoluble crayons and I'm moving on to the next one. 


I'll revisit Ingenue later.  When I feel like it.  Now is just not the time.  She totally took me out of my zone.  She looks better than the 1st painting, but she's still got a long way to go.  Oh well, next!  Gotta love the smART rocks!

Day 6: Ingenue

I've been digging through a lot of my old art from when I first started art school.  Although it's painful to look at, because I had no clue what I was doing, I am inspired by the fresh ideas and creativity that I had as a budding young artist.  I would try so hard to turn these huge detailed drawings into paintings,  I wanted to be a painter so bad.  But nobody teaches you how to paint in school, you get the basics then you're thrown to the wolves.  So I tried it, failed miserably, and then hid the results from myself and everyone.  I messed up plenty of great drawings trying to paint them.  It got to the point where I would have to redo every drawing that I did.  I finally got a technique down, but I never revisited some of those beginning drawings that I am revisiting now. 


So during this 100 days of art challenge I am going to revive some of my old pieces and try to make them into the masterpieces that I'd hope they'd be back then. 


One piece in particular was this self portrait that I drew in drawing class.  It was inspired by a magazine spread dedicated to Frida Kahlo.  I am really inspired by fashion photography.  In this particular issue, the models were dressed and posed as Frida during her hay days .  There was one picture that I fell in love with where a very young Frida was standing at an easel, smoking a cigarette, and painting.  Her outfit and jewelry looked like she was going out on the town as always, but she was in her zone.  I love Frida.  I love everything about her, but most of all her spirit.  This woman was so feminine and fly even when she was in the middle of creating.  I saw that picture and I wanted to be like her, so I drew myself in the same pose without the cigarette.  I wish I would have kept the cigarette, because it was so gangsta.  She was just holding it in her mouth, painting away, looking all sexy and artsy!  But I took it out because it was hard enough to draw me to look like me, much less me smoking a cigarette, lol!  Needless to say, the hardest thing for me about drawing people is making them look like themselves.  I always draw them to look like distant cousins unintentionally.  So this was the me that I wanted to be when I first started art school.



As you can see, my watercolor painting skills sucked back then!  And she looks like my distant cousin of course, but I still love this drawing.  So much that I redid it and I hope to make it a really great painting now that I have better painting skills.  Not much has changed about me since then.  I still want to be fly, still want to be a painter, and still want to be both simultaneously some how.  I look so young and innocent.  Untainted by reality.  Fresh and hopeful!  LOL!  So I had to name the piece, Ingenue



As you can see, I changed the eyes.  In the first picture she was looking down because my eye drawing skills weren't that great!  Ha ha!  So, I've graduated and now I'm looking at the viewer with "knowing" eyes.  Like, "I know something you don't know!"  Hee hee.  



I still don't look like myself.  I'm going to do a updated version of the same pose, sort of like a then and now series.  I'm going to work more on this one this week, and maybe get up to nerve to paint it!  Yes, I still hesitate when deciding to paint a drawing because I don't want to mess it up!  Having flash backs still to this day!  Hoping I can do Frida, the queen of self portraits, some justice.  I may just screw it up again, but it'll just get better every time I try at least.  Maybe next time I'll add an eye squint and the cigarette!  That would be so hot!   

Day Five.COM!

Well, I've spent my whole Friday night and SaturDAY making Daj'zha Vu a dot com site.  I've had the domain for years with the hopes of making it my website, but I freaking hate computers!  I hate trying to figure all of that crap out!  But I found a template that is so me, a while ago, and since I've been blogging my booty off because of the 100 days of art challenge, I figure there's no time like the present to get it on and poppin!  So my Day 5 challenge has been to get Dajzhavu.com up and running.  I finally figured it out sort of kind of so here it is, MY NEW WEBSITE!!!!  A tad bit under construction, so bare with me, but stay with me.  I'm a big ol' ball of work in progress. 


So that old place that I was sending you to view my blogs is history.  You can go there and get a glimpse of the beginning of my blogging experience, but from now on all future posts will be on this site, so bookmark it!  I know a lot of friends tried to subscribe to the other site and had technical difficulties, so hopefully you'll try again and this time it'll work.  Hit the comments button after each post, subscribe to the RSS feed, respond through face book, the google thingy, and the tweeter thingy!  "I don't care how you get here, just get here if you can."  (Sanging in the background!) 


No but for real.  I'd really love to get some feedback and constructive criticism on my art projects.  I'm gonna work on the portfolio link tomorrow so I can get my work up on the internet, it's long overdue.  And hopefully after this 100 days of art challenge, the portfolio will thicken.  Now, I am not a computer person so it may not be real high tech but it's visually stimulating.  It's quite busy and scrap bookish, but I like it like that.  It goes with my aesthetic and it's cheerful so smile through it.   


The blog will be featuring the top 10 things that inspire me most, and they are as follows (with subject matter and "place cards"):  I'm going to try to come up with an illustration for each and create a lovely site map at some point too, so stay tuned for that.


Dajzhavu.com will be featuring:

1)   Motherhood:  The River of Chaos

2)  Trees and Nature:  The Upper Room

3)  Journaling:  The Road to Awe

4)  Ball Jointed Dolls:  The Dollhouse

5)  Children's Books and Graphic Novels:  The Book Nook

6)  Painting and Illustration:  The Gallery

7)  Fashion:  The Dressing Room

8)  Sculpture and Architecture:  The Spirit House

9)  Home Improvement:  The Inner Sanctum

and last but not least number

10)  The Creative Crock Pot:  which I'll call "The Brewery"


That's where the gumbo of creativity simmers and you can get a taste of my "bitch's brew".   The recipe calls for a little sewing, dancing, music, cooking, photography, word studies, and a side of Frank's Red Hot Sauce!  "I put that ish on everything!"


These will be the tag lines/road signs to maneuver your way through my world.  So, "kick off your shoes and relax your feet, party on down to Daj'zha Vu's beat, just kick it".  


Don't forget, no more dajzhavu.blogspot.com.  Now it's DAJZHAVU.COM


So come on over and hollah at your girl!  Enjoy! 

Day Four: Ahoy!

In 2007 I finished the first draft of my soon to be published (fingers crossed and speaking it into existence) book.  Back then, the biggest project of my life was an extravagant book dummy that had to be finished before I graduated college.  I had three kids and was a full time student, trying to get that degree.  Life was in disarray, my load was heavy, and my knees were buckling.  I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I was just walking blindly by faith.  I drew this picture of my kids and dedicated the 1st draft of my book to my three babies, urging them to never give up and to believe in themselves.




I just ran across this picture yesterday and realized that since then my boat has gotten a lot bigger.  I have more kids to haul, the waters are rougher than they were back then, and what didn't kill me made me stronger.  I've got muscles like a mug from the many voyages that I have been on in this lifetime!  There are still no paddles, my hands are too full to hold any. 



I'm just holding on for dear life to my crew, trying to keep us all safely inside the boat, as we ride the waves on this river of chaos!  God is my Captain.




The storm has been upgraded, so I had to upgrade my boat.  Ahoy matey! 

Thar she blows!  LOL!



Surrender: Day Three

Surrender:  To relinquish possession or control of to another because of demand or compulsion.  To give up or give back.


This work has served as a reminder to let go.  I am not the one in control.  Given time, what's ornately on the inside, will find it's way out.  So that's why that little morphed figure showed up and wouldn't go away.  It's my spirit, struggling to break free.



I didn't expect the feeling of relief that would come out of producing this drawing.  It started off one way and took a turn for the better.  I have so many images that I'd like to create jumbled up in my head all the time, that it gets constipated.  I hardly find the time, make the time, or take the time to get any of it out.  So it just builds and builds and I get more anxious and agitated by the second.  Committing to do this 100 days of art challenge will force me to release some of this stuff that's been bursting at the seams to get out, little by little.  I can only imagine what will come out of this journey.  Hopefully, it will be a sweet surrender.  I know one thing, I'm laying it all at the foot of the cross!  "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." (Psalms 121:1)



It's funny how in the beginning I started out feeling stressed and inadequate and ended up feeling encouraged and renewed.  There are so many subtle nuances that showed up in this drawing unintentionally.  I'm disappointed when people feel the need to tell you what to look for in their art.  I'd rather find it myself.  Art has to be experienced individually by the viewer.  To me, a great illustration has you seeing something more every time you look at it.  So I won't point out all of the symbolism, I'll just say it's there for you to discover.  I hope it makes you feel something because I poured a lot of feeling into it.




I'm looking forward to the next project.  I'm gonna have to purge and see what comes out.  I hope to turn this sketchbook drawing into a beautiful painting someday, but for now...it is finished.  Amen.  Next!




Sacrifice: Day Two

Sacrifice:  Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.


I often do these word studies that lead me to much needed revelations.   Lately I have been feeling a sense of frustration about the process of becoming a woman.  Motherhood is a huge responsibility and with five kids, I'm pulled in so many directions that I don't know which way is up or down.  It's a constant struggle.  I try to do right by my kids, say the right thing, make sure I don't mess them up for life, but the truth is, I never really know what I'm doing.  Sometimes I find myself thinking about where I would be and what I would be doing with my life if I didn't have this huge responsibility and there was just me to think of.  I have so many hopes and dreams and things that I want to do in this lifetime, but time keeps passing me by.  I wake up and before I know it, it's bedtime and the things I hoped to accomplish towards my personal goals just get sat on a shelf for tomorrow, then tomorrow never comes.  Now I'm looking at a shelf full of unfinished business and the only word that pops out in my head is "sacrifice". 


That word birthed my latest drawing.  "Sacrifice" has been a reoccurring theme in my life.  I know it's kind of weird but lately I've had this image in my head that I can't shake.  Me hanging on the cross beside Jesus.  I know, it's dramatic, but more times than I'd like to mention, that's exactly how I feel, like I'm suffering, hanging on a cross.  So I've finally gotten the image that's in my head, out on paper.



Now, I did a little research about the two men that were crucified with Jesus and found a quite wonderful story behind them.  They were both criminals and the one guy to His left was mocking Jesus with the rest of the sinners.  Silly rabbit, up there hanging with his Savior and he had the nerve to join the crowd.  But the beauty in this story is found with the criminal who was hanging on the right side of Jesus.  He spoke up for Jesus and proclaimed that He shouldn't be there because He had done nothing wrong.  Then as an act of faith, he looked over at Jesus and said, "Remember me when You come into Your kingdom."  And Jesus said to him, "Truely, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."(Luke 23:43)



Now when I think of sacrifice, there is no greater sacrifice than Jesus giving His life so that I might live.  Jesus was a beautiful green tree growing and thriving in the prime of His life when He was cut down.  He knew what was going to happen to Him, but He did it anyway.  He carried the tree that the soldiers cut down for Him, hung on it, and died so that my tree could continue to grow, forever.  And when the women were weeping with sorrow, mourning His predicament as He carried his cross through the streets, He told them, "Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children.  For the days are surely coming when they will say, "Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed," for if they do this when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"  (Luke 23:27-31) Now if Jesus had to suffer so terribly when He was innocent, what should my sacrifice be?  Did He really believe that my life was greater than His own?  Clearly the right man was chosen for that task, and clearly the right woman was chosen for this task.  We all have our own cross to bear.



So I weep for myself and my children because I am a good mother.  And I will suffer because suffering is my blessing.  And I will be the woman hanging on a green tree, to the right of Him, defending Him until my last breath so that one day, I can be with Him in Paradise.  Gotta keep my eye on the prize and don't look back!  Let the church say Amen!   

The Force: Day One

Nov. 1st was the start date of my 100 days of art challenge.  To explain, a few of my art buddies and I have decided to vow to create something every day for 100 days and blog about the journey.  I've decided to work on something for a week at most, then move on to something else after a week to keep it fresh.  I'm going to try to blog as often as possible, at least weekly.  My plan is to spend at least an hour everyday creating something.  And I am already discouraged because I didn't have a free moment to myself until 11 pm last night and even then it wasn't really a moment to myself because I was drawing in the dark holding the baby trying to put him to sleep at the same time.  Seems like when I make up my mind to do something that I know will be good for me , some unknown force gets in the way and messes it all up for me.  I wanted to give up since the baby and my support system didn't seem to comply with my desires to take a few moments out of my day to fulfill myself, but instead, I kept pressing on... with one hand.  After erasing over and over again, I came up with this half way sucky drawing of how I feel right about now.  It's not what's really in my head, I still have to find a way to get the real image out but "The Force" is present in this rendition, so it's fitting.



I was trying to capture a mother's sacrifice.  I'm going to keep working at it this week to see if I can get what's in my head onto the paper.  I need to hire a nude model because I also realized after erasing so much that the lines were indented into the page, that I suck at drawing what I love to draw most, the woman's figure.  That's really the foundation of all my art.  That little figure that looks like it's morphing out of her chest came from all my erasure marks.  I thought it was kind of cool so I penciled it back in.  I'm gonna do something with it, I don't know what.



So what was supposed to be a relieving moment became a painful realization as always, that I have a lot of work to do to become the artist that I want to be.  But I be darned if I let "The Force" stop me from trying!  I'm gonna fake it till I make it and pray that the next 99 days are not as miserable as the first one.

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