Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekend Journal

Christmas Commission

We're slowly putting the Christmas holiday behind us as the approaching new year takes precedence over those festivities, and I can finally share the painting commission I completed as a holiday gift.  I know the recipient, Julie, reads these posts, so I certainly didn't want to spoil her Christmas present from her sweet hubby!

This sugar skull painting is a 24" x 36" acrylic on canvas and has found a home in Julie's purple dining room.  It looks fantastic in it's new home, if I do say so myself!  I love doing commissions for them as I'm always given complete freedom of creativity with minimal parameters.  This is the fifth painting I've done for their new home, and it's beginning to look like an "An'Angelia Museum".  They're excited to have them and so am I!

Grandma Gertie's Sour Cream Cookies

Remember the sour cream cookies I made for Keith from his grandmother's recipe?  Well, Cynthea kindly asked me to share the recipe, so here it is.

                                 1 cup butter                                      2 cups sugar      
                                 3 eggs                                              1 cup sour cream
                                 1 Tbsp baking powder                        1 Tbsp baking soda
                               *5 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, until well blended.  Add the sour cream and stir until well blended.  In a separate bowl, add the baking powder and baking soda to the flour.  Gradually add the flour to the butter mixture and incorporate thoroughly.  Drop by big spoonfuls onto baking sheets. (I use parchment paper).  Bake for 10-12 mins.  (My oven runs true to temperature and I bake for 10 mins.) Makes approximately 4 1/2 dozen. Grandma Gertie always rolled these cookies, but Keith's mom used the drop method and so do I.  To roll them like Grandma, use *6 cups of flour.  Enjoy!

MORE Paper Beads!

My muse is a bit of a maniac, but I love her anyway!  It seems she's obsessed with making these paper beads now.  She just wouldn't be content until she painted her own paper for cutting and rolling.  I have to say, I love them!

She actually used glitter glue on these beads, and bright yellow and purple paper is currently drying to make more.  I have NO idea what we'll do with all these beads, but I'm sure they'll be used for something wonderful.

Pillows, Pillows Everywhere!

My Thursday morning art journaling class began making fabric pillows to make Teesha Moore inspired art journals.  Have you seen her wonderful creations?  Have a look HERE.  We've exchanged fabric with each other, and it's been a lot of fun sewing and stuffing our little pillows in class.  I can't wait to see what everyone does!  Meanwhile, I'm just enjoying my bright, cheerful, quilted bundles of colorful goodness and wondering what direction my muse will take with mine.

Looking Back/Looking Forward

I like this week between Christmas and New Year.  It's like taking a long bubble bath after an invigorating day in the hot sun.  Relaxing in the warm bubbles soothes the soul and offers time for reflection of the day's activities.  Snuggling into clean, fresh pajamas lifts the spirit and is the next step towards restful sleep and new beginnings.

My girlfriend, Heather, sent me an email to 2 wonderful worksheets for reflecting back on 2011 and looking forward to 2012.  I think that you'll like them, too!  They come from Eileen at and I hope you'll have a look as I think you'll find them to be great inspiration for journal pages.  The links for the worksheets are towards the bottom of the page.


I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful 2012 filled with good health and prosperity.  I hope you seize each moment as an opportunity for something wonderful, and I hope you overcome any obstacle placed in your way.  I hope you journey with me through another year of Angelia's Art Journals, and I hope our relationship continues to blossom through our sharing.  I hope you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!" EVERY day in 2012. ♥

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Let Your Muse PLAY!

So most of the holiday festivities are winding down and you finally find the time to turn your attention back to journaling.  Where do you begin?  It seems like weeks since you picked up a paintbrush (maybe it really has been weeks!), and you can't remember what you were working on.  How do you get those creative juices flowing again?  Let your muse come out and play!

Begin with a blank spread or some of those pages that you've prepped with left over paint.  Remember easel painting in kindergarten or 1st grade?  So does your muse.  Prop your journal up or use a table top easel - especially if you tend to work with your journal flat on the table.

Let your muse choose whatever colors appeal to her, and put blobs of those colors on your palette. I use a paper plate for this.  Grab a brush and a large container of water and you're ready to begin.

Pick a color and begin applying paint to the page.  No thought.  No rhyme.  No reason.  Just enjoy the process of applying paint to the pages.  Let your hand travel in it's own way.

Rinse your brush.  Choose another color and continue the same process.  Enjoy the movement of your brush on the pages.

Continue with successive layers, applying paint wet-on-wet, or wet-on-dry.  It doesn't matter.  Just keep applying paint.

Use the paint you have on hand.  Here, I'm using tube acrylics, but craft acrylics would work quite nicely too.

Don't be afraid to paint over areas that look "finished".  Just keep applying paint.  Enjoy the swirling motion of dipping and twirling your brush into the paint.  Paint as wildly as your muse dictates!

Don't worry.  Your muse will let you know when she has finished and is ready to move on to the next set of pages.

Add additional paint to your palette.  Add additional colors.  Get as swirly and twirly as you can with your brush, and look at just how luscious that paint looks.

Before you know it, your muse may even produce something that looks recognizable.  Expand upon it if you want.  Here I've spotted two tulips in an Italian vase, and I added the pear as my muse went scurrying off to leave me to finish.  Just like a kindergartner to leave me with the clean-up!

I hope you'll give this a try.  It's great fun, and you'll find that your creative muse is more than willing to come and play when there's no pressure or expectations.

I hope you're enjoying this holiday season, and I hope you're finding more time to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create in your journal!"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weekend Journal

I hope this post finds everyone in good cheer and ready for the holiday weekend.  If you've been as busy with special holiday activities as I have, you've found precious little time to retreat to the comfort of your art journal.

After making a healthy dinner of cheeseburgers and fries for Keith and me, I found myself left with half a left over potato.  I couldn't just let it go to waste, so I grabbed my paring knife after dinner, and I carved this holly leaf and berries.

My plan was to make a greeting card of sorts to post here for all of you; however, I never made it past the background.  I thought I would have time to complete this spread last night or today, but preparing for the holidays always takes up more time than one allows for!

I really wasn't planning on baking any cookies beyond the MANDATORY butter balls, when Keith looked at me with those big, puppy eyes and asked, "Are you going to make some sour cream cookies?"  Well, hell's bells, what was I going to do but bake them after that?  They are from his grandmother's recipe, hand written by his mother, and quite yummy!  It was well worth the effort to see that appreciative, nostalgic smile on his face as I handed him a warm cookie from the oven!


So here I am on late Friday night, keeping my promise to post some art, and hoping you've had enough wine or hard egg nog to read right past any errors I've made and to forgive what I feel is a lot of rambling.  I'm tired.  You're tired.  It's all good!

I was looking through my photos trying to decide what I could post, when I came across some images from -I can't believe I'm going to say this, LAST DECADE! - long before this blog was even a thought.  I thought you might like to see some of them even though they're paintings.

This is a 2" x 2" miniature  acrylic painting.  You may recognize him.

One of my favorite paintings, "Ebony Goddess". 18" x 24" acrylic on canvas.

This is another of my favorites and hangs in our living room. "Never Alone" 20"x24 mixed media on canvas.

This 36" x 36" acrylic painting is titled "Celebrate Diversity" and is currently hanging in an art show at the Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland.

"Grand River Lighthouse" 18"x24" acrylic on canvas.  Family members bought this painting for my father-in-law while it was on display in a gallery.  He carried it back and forth with him yearly as he made his pilgrimage from OH to FL every winter.  After he died, I regained custody and recently gave it to our oldest son.


As you can see, my painting styles have run impressionism to fauvism to probably everything in between over the years.  I can't wait to see where my muse leads me in 2012 and beyond. If I could gift you with anything at all, I would gift you with the freedom to truly express yourself and let your creative muse run amok!  You never know what splendid things will come of that adventure.

My creative muse made me save the turkey bones.  Yep!  I know you re-read that sentence to make sure your eyes haven't deceived you!

It began innocently enough; I put the turkey carcass in water to boil for soup.  Simple enough.  As the turkey cooled, I began to sort the meat from the bones as I have done so many times before.  Only this time, my muse could NOT stop looking at the artistic possibility of every bone, and before I knew it, they were soaking in a bleach water solution.  My muse muttered something about ancestors and spectacular journal covers.  I'm really curious to see where this is going - I'll keep you informed!


Photo: Keith Thompson

From my home to yours, I wish you a safe and happy holiday weekend that exceeds your every expectation.  I hope your days are joyful ones filled with peace and filled with those you love, and with those who love you.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Last Cab Ride

I hope all of you are doing well and getting those final touches ready for your holiday celebrations!  I apologize if you looked for Tuesday Tips & Techniques yesterday.  I suddenly became very ill and was wiped out for most of the day.  I'm happy to report that I'm feeling great today!

I'm not one for forwarding emails, but my cousin sent this to me and I feel compelled to share it with all of you.  Let us all remember the importance of simple kindness to one another.  Blessings to all of you, and I'll be back with more art journaling on Friday!

The Last Cab Ride 

I arrived at the address and honked the horn.
After waiting a few minutes I honked again.
Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a
frail, elderly voice. I could hear something
being dragged across the floor.

a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in
her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a
print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned
on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon
suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had
lived in it for years. All the furniture was
covered with sheets.

There were no
clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils
on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and

'Would you carry my bag
out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase
to the cab, then returned to assist the

She took my arm and we walked
slowly toward the curb.

She kept
thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I
told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers
the way I would want my mother to be

'Oh, you're such a good
boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave
me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
through downtown?'

'It's not the
shortest way,' I answered

'Oh, I don't mind,' she
said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view
mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have
any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..
 'The doctor says I don't have very
long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me
to take?' I asked.

For the next two
hours, we drove through the city. She showed me
the building where she had once worked as an
elevator operator.

We drove through the
neighborhood where she and her husband had lived
when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in
front of a furniture warehouse that had once
been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow
in front of a particular building or corner and
would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was
creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.
 Let's go now'.

We drove in
silence to the address she had given me. It was
a low building, like a small convalescent home,
with a driveway that passed under a

Two orderlies came out to
the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were
solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to
the door. The woman was already seated in a

'How much do I owe you?'
She asked, reaching into her

'Nothing,' I

'You have to make a living,' she

'There are other
passengers,' I responded.

without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.
 She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an
old woman a little moment of joy,' she said.
'Thank you.'

I squeezed her
hand, and then walked into the dim morning
light.. Behind me, a door shut.
 It was the sound
of the closing of a life..

I didn't
pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove
aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,
 I could hardly talk. What if that woman had
gotten an angry driver,
 or one who was impatient
to end his shift?
if I had refused to take the run, or had honked
once, then driven away?

On a quick
review, I don't think that I have done anything
more important in my life.

conditioned to think that our lives revolve
around great moments.

But great
moments often catch us unaware-beautifully
wrapped in what others may consider a small


At the bottom of this great story was a request
to forward this - I deleted that request because if you have read
to this point, you won't have to be asked to pass it along
you just will...
Thank you, my

may not be the party we hoped for, but while we
are here we might as well dance.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday's Mandala

Mandala No 9 in a series of 24
Can you believe 9 weeks have gone by since I began my Mandala Journal?  Neither can I!  

Today's Photo

First snow accumulation of the season!  Photo:  Keith Thompson

Maybe the cold, snowy Saturday we had 2 days ago prompted my use of cool blue and green for today's mandala.  We received about 3 inches of snow, but it has now vanished without a trace.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekend Journal

Well, it's the week before Christmas and all of the final preparations and festivities have been kicked into high gear.  The tree is up, the lights are lit, and somewhere the aroma of cookies baking in the oven fill the air with that holiday aroma.  Personally, I haven't baked one cookie yet, but the tree is up and the lights are lit, so in the words of Meatloaf,  2 out of 3 ain't bad!

I've been working feverishly on a painting that needs to be finished before Christmas Eve, so there hasn't been a lot of art journaling.  I have, however, gotten a good start in my 2012 daily art journal, by prepping some pages with left over paint.  Here are some of the pages that I have prepped with paint.

I just chose pages randomly throughout my journal and using a one inch brush, I randomly smeared my left over paint across the pages in no particular fashion.  I don't know why or how it works, but I do know that when I get to each of these pages, they will be perfect for what I want to express that day.  Synchronicity and intuition are marvelous creative tools!

I did find a few minutes to play with some backgrounds that I had in a smaller journal that I've been working on the last couple months.  I finished the backgrounds intuitively using left over paint from the painting I've been working on and a couple markers.  They were a lot of fun after a tiring, structured day.

I'm teaching myself piano, so it's no wonder to me that I see musical notes wherever I look!  These journal spreads are nothing to write home about, but when you're creating at an intuitive level, the outcome isn't the goal.  The goal is to let your inner child come out and play.  Have you let yourself create some pages in this fashion?  Do you let your inner child just play with your paints, markers, and inks?  


I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what I was doing this time last year, so I took a look through all the images I have stored on my computer.  I noticed immediately that it looks like we already had some significant snow.  We really haven't had any significant snowfall this year although it is lightly snowing as I type this.

I was doing a lot of walking at the beach, and I have to say I really missed it this year.  I was so devoted to walking in 2010.  It's sad that it only took four cold, snowy months to get out of the habit and loose the devotion.  We'll see what 2012 brings.

Here's an intuitive painting from this time last year.  Apparently, "intuitive" is popular with me this time of year!

I did find some time for experimentation though.  I noticed a lot of birds in my pages from last year.  It seems like there were many more birds here then.  I'm realizing that I haven't seen any birds in a couple weeks now, and I miss them.

Take a look at what you created in 2010.  How does it make you feel to look back at what you were creating a year ago?  What new techniques have you tried since then?  Do you feel like you've grown artistically?

I hope this post finds you in the holiday spirit, and I hope you're on your way to making lots of cherished memories with your friends and loved ones.  I hope you're feeling happy and healthy, and I hope you're finding plenty of opportunity to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


A snow covered Headlands Beach - December 2010

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Tips & Techniques: Backgrounds

It's that time of year - the spirit of giving is all around, and I would like to give you, my wonderful readers, a small holiday gift!

Here are two background images designed and painted by myself.  Please feel free to download these background images and incorporate them into your own fantastic journal pages.  I have used the Microsoft Paint program to re-size them for the blog post, but if you have this program, you should be able to make them larger if you would like.

If you would like the original file, please leave a message in the comment box and I'll be happy to email the original jpeg file to you.

These background pages were made using water soluble crayons, watercolors, and alcohol.  What techniques will you use with these images?  Please feel free to share your wonderful works of art with all of us!  If you complete a page using one or both of these images, please post a link to your work in the comments section - we want to see!

Happy Holidays to you all, and thanks for making Tuesday Tips and Techniques a great success.  'Tis the season - get out there and "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


The moon, on the breast of NO- fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
(Sorry, Mr. Moore!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weekend Journal

Journal Pages

It's been a while since I've posted some journal pages, so I thought I'd share what I've been up to in my journals.  I haven't been journaling every day, because as you know, the holiday season is filled with special activities and events that require lots of preparation and time.

Sometimes, less really is more!

I found this abandoned lottery ticket in a puddle of rain.  One man's trash....

Keith has been out of town on business, and I stayed up ALL NIGHT Thursday.  Crazy? Yes.

I'm missing my hubby, but he comes home today.  YAY!

A tad schizophrenic? Uh.....maybe.  But it was great fun.  This might be a Tuesday Technique!

Remember this page from the challenge?  Almost finished but I need some graffiti on my wall.


Playing with my new birthday supplies - Pentel Brush Pen & General's Pastel pencils.  LOVE them!

I finished my pages from Tuesday Tips & Techniques using the die-cut waste.

Paper Beads

We're doing a themed Secret Santa gift exchange in my Thursday Art Journaling class.  Week one was paper so we made   shaving cream/food coloring background papers in class.  We had a blast!  This week, the theme was "Beads, Baubles and Buttons".  Making paper beads was the class activity and that was a lot of fun, too!

It's easy to make a plethora of beads in a short period of time.  Look for the technique in an upcoming Tues . T & T post.

Copy paper with Pitt Pens and Sharpies

Holiday Gift Wrap

Scrapbooking Paper

Magazine Paper

I hope all of you are having a great time with holiday gatherings and the fun things that go along with them.  If you can't find time for journaling during this busy time, keep your mementos in a safe place for journaling in January.  

Have a wonderful weekend, and whether you're shopping, baking, or partying, remember to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


Happy Holidays from my ceramic house to yours!

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