Something’s afoot in the studio and outside. It’s still cold outside, snowy even but I can feel the quickening of conception, growth and the birth of new ideas and new life germinating beneath the frozen surface of the earth. For many months I have worked hard on a few different series of ATCs. Now it is time to trade those and put aside the making of the cards. The cards have stirred many ideas for other media and formats. I may even be teaching it in an afterschool enrichment program for children. ATCs are a way of working I hold dear and I know I will soon return to them. I have blogged about how they remind me of working with metals and how that similarity makes me yearn to return to cloisonné. That is one of the new mediums it has spurned—something I am eager to explore in 2012. I also want to return to one foot square patterned mandalas. This time though I am going to use some of the ideas I learned about in a workshop on aqueous media while attending the Illinois Art Education Association’s annual conference. I will try the mandalas with gouache instead of acrylic on some new Ampersand Aquaboard I just bought. I love how gouache lends itself to water so beautifully yet it holds its opacity. Gouache is a media I explored on the surface in college in graphic design but I haven’t taken it very far yet in the studio. I want to see what can be done with it, in relation to pattern and mandala vibrancy. What are its blessings and its limitations? I might incorporate casein as well. I have been going through my creative resources and inspirational sources, readying patterns for integration into this new work. I am looking hard at repeating patterns from the period of 1100 to 1800. Eggs are reappearing in my blog imagery, in part because they symbolize this idea of germination, conception, growth and development I am experiencing in studio practice. This Prismacolor pencil drawing on colored pastel paper I am posting today was done a while ago. This morning I was called to revisit it. I was immediately struck by its subtlety and delicacy. As a very lucid drawing, it holds space well and has a lingering quiet spirit like a whisper. There can be such strength in silence and pauses. I respond to how it grows out of ether, revealing some things but still very much a symbolic vessel for what is to come.