Diana Trout Spills about Journaling, Art and Life

I caught up with the madly busy Diana Trout, author of Journal Spilling (watch for my review later this week), and poked her for some answers. Here's what she had to say.

Hey Diana! All of us continue to change as artists. How would you describe your recent work?

For some years now, I’ve been working on an on-going series in drawings and mixed media collage and paintings featuring an imaginary place I call the NorthEast Kingdom. I’ve been drawing and painting the citizens as well as the flora, birds and architecture.

That's amazing. How did your style evolve?

After art school, I experienced a terrible block. For years, I did realistic paintings and pencil or charcoal portraits on commission, but felt sorta lost in terms of my own voice.
About 15 years ago, I had a terrible shoulder injury and couldn’t work in my usual manner. I couldn’t even hold a pencil or paintbrush. I began working with my left hand and cutting and sewing my paintings. Clearly, I couldn’t do portraits! This was a real turning point for me. I just kept up doing and a style began to emerge. Lucky injury!

What fascinates you?

Right at the moment, I have been looking at the Japanese boro cloths. The layering of these rags is something I’ve been working on in my artwork. Layers of patterns under layers of cloth. It’s like an archeological dig. Matisse has always spoken to me, especially his later cut out paper work. His organic shapes are endlessly fascinating to me.

What are your artsy business goals?

Over the past few years, I’ve been teaching at more Art Retreats. I love it! My local workshops are wonderful. I work with teens, adults and even get to work with kids over the summer at my local library. I guess to just continue on, balancing artwork sales with teaching and writing. Perhaps to be a bit more organized? That would be a relief to my accountant.

How about your personal goals as an artist?

To continue building my little world in the NorthEast Kingdom. There are two other areas there that I want to have more time to explore: the Flatlands and the Southerly Counties. It is a source of inspiration that could be mined for the rest of my life. The mixed media approach gives me plenty of leeway.

I made a goal this year to work larger and I’m currently working on two paintings for a show that are 20” square. Very large for me! It very exciting to see what is happening next on the canvases. I’m sharing this process with my readers here on my blog.

Futuretalk. What is coming up next in 2010?

I just completed a DVD for Cloth Paper Scissors called Playful Paper Backgrounds. It will be available at the end of July. I’m super excited about it as it has some of my very favorite techniques with watercolors, inks and paste paper. There is also a short bit on designing and carving eraser stamps.

I’m teaching at Art Is and Journalfest in October. That should be a very busy month. I have a few other irons in the fire for more local workshops. I’m hoping to carve out some time to restock my Etsy shop with cloth bracelets and journals and more small paintings. (hmmm.... that may be a lot!).

This year I made a resolution to follow my whims more freely. I think that, truly, this is just the next step in working with my critic. That is tops in my mind when I am working on something. I guess you might call it honesty.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I guess, really, thank you to all of the nice folks who have bought my book, taken my classes, visited my Etsy Shop (currently empty) and read my blog. I’ve received just so many kind comments. It feels so great to have had an impact on journalers. I feel really lucky!

You've been cleaned out! Let me take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate all the wonderful tutorials you share on your blog. You are both talented AND generous! Thanks for stopping by.


CREATE! with Me

Here's a little preview of some of the fun scheduled for CREATE with Cloth Paper Scissors in Rosemont next month. There are still a few seats left in my classes if you want to join in. On Thursday we'll be making a trinket journal like the ones shown here. We'll decorate some stitchpaper then sew it into a soft journal with pockets. The pockets will hold some sheets of watercolor paper for notes or drawings.
Below are some of the goodies I'll be bringing to my first ever stitch alchemy vendor table, including altered spoon magnets, hand stitched gossamer headbands, create journals, many paper and fabric quilts, oodles of paper beads, pin, bookmarks and more!


Tempest of Roses in a Teacup Tutorial

In honor of my stint as Art Saves guest curator at CrescenDoh, I've put together a how-to project that makes use of pretty vintage teacups. Teacups are plentiful at antique malls and they look so delicate and appealing. They hark back to a slower time when people spent time sipping and chatting over the latest gossip. But if you're not a tea drinker, you may not have a good way to put them to use. With this adorable vessel full of felt roses, you can turn a tempest in a teacup into a reason to celebrate. Make one for a friend who needs cheering and tie a personal note to the handle. Pile some chocolates on the saucer and leave one for a co-worker you appreciate. Or whip one up for yourself in your favorite colors. You'll find the illustrated directions here. Crumpets anyone?


Canada Day Book - Captured Moments

Here are some captured moments from our Quebec City and Niagara Falls trip. From the brightly colored old town windows to the delicious herb-infused croque monsieur at J.A. Moisan Epicerie and B&B, wonders were continuous. We love Canada; both the land and the people. Thanks for having us! Bonjour!