Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Journal

A Journey Through My Moleskin

You may remember my excitement when I bought my first Moleskin journal back in May.  I pull this little gem out about once a month and let my creative muse run free.  If you haven't seen the first posts about my Moleskin, I'll attach some links at the end of this post.

These two pages were all about color and line.  I randomly pulled tubes of artist acrylics and just played to my heart's content.

I wanted to play with a page from an old dictionary on these pages.  I decided to cut out blocks from the page and let my muse play from there.

Music has always played a major part in my life, and these pages were inspired by old sheet music and a postcard for a gallery exhibition.

I created these pages last Saturday.  I was waiting for a student in my art journaling class and was actually writing about her.  When she arrived, she gifted me with a page that read, "Won't you hand on some of your time?"  It was perfect for this spread and I attached it to the page immediately.   You've just got to love synchronicity!

My final two pages were created with water soluble crayons.  I began scribbling in lines in various colors until what emerged was a scene from a woods.  It's no wonder that autumn's on my mind; the weather here is unseasonably cool and my summer flowers are struggling to hold on for a few more weeks.

If you haven't tried using a Moleskin journal, I highly recommend giving it a try.  They're a little pricey for someone as frugal as I, but they're worth their weight in gold.  The pages are watercolor paper and every medium I've tried on them works beautifully.  I bought mine from Dick Blick, but you may be able to find them at your favorite local craft or art store.


The first signs of autumn are beginning to appear in my neighborhood.  I couldn't help but notice this shock of crimson in my neighbor's maple tree.  What's it like in your neighborhood?  I know some of you are entering spring.  As the weather gets cooler and more gloomy by the day, I'm thinking I'd like to trade places with you!


Here's a shameless plug for my sons' videos.  (Hey, you can't blame a mom for sharing her enthusiasm for her sons' creative endeavors!)  This first video was filmed by my son, Nick, and is footage of Lake Erie last weekend.  It's a little early in the season to see the lake so muddy and active from the north winds.

This next video was created by my son, Mike, who moved to sunny, southern California back in June.  He's having a blast in his new environment and with his new Sony camera.  He's been playing with time lapse and other assorted film making goodies.  This video is from his weekend at Big Bear Lake in CA with his girlfriend, Nadia.

If you've never been to California (as I have not!), check out some of his other videos for a tour of some really beautiful scenery from their travels in CA, NY, and Canada.  They're headed to Europe next week and I can't wait to see those videos.  I'll keep you posted!

My Moleskin Journal Post Links

My First Moleskin
The Black Keys
More Moleskin Fun
Visions of Sugar Skulls
Reflecting on the Weekend

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

I hope you have a wonderful, restful and creative weekend!  Take some time out of your busy schedule to do the things that make YOU happy, and don't forget to spend some time out of doors enjoying the scenery in your world.  Whether it's time to flip through spring catalogs or winterize your deck, I hope you're enjoying every moment of your life as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"  And, hey - don't forget to leave a comment below.   I do so enjoy hearing from you and what you're doing!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Manifest Your Music Muse

When you need a direction for your journaling, manifest your music muse.  Being somewhat of a closet musician, I like listening to different genres of music and discovering new bands.  When I don't having anything in particular I want to journal about, I find new music to listen to and I let my music muse play in my journal.

The next pages in my journal were already prepped with left over acrylic paint from another project, and I thought this was a perfect place to begin.  I put the song (playing now), "If You Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, by My Morning Jacket,  on "repeat" and let it play four times while I completed my spread. Thinking of nothing in particular, I just let the rhythm and lyrics permeate my subconscious as I began adding layers of water soluble pastels and gesso to the page.

As I added more and more color and gesso to the page, I began to see shapes emerging and I began using a scribbling technique as I placed marks and lines on the page to the beat of the music.  

As I added the final details to my pages I suddenly realized that they reminded me of the chemotherapy I had undergone such a long time ago.  It's nothing that I've thought about consciously for a very long time, so I was surprised to find my subconscious revisiting this all but forgotten time in my life.  

The thing I like most about this technique is the element of playfulness evoked by just playing with art materials.  This technique also tends to release experimentation as you explore new ways of using the mediums you have at hand.

Whatever you're doing in your journal today, put on some music, crank it up and manifest your music muse.  It's a great way to play as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Smorgasbord


I want to welcome all my new readers from the Lake County News-Herald!  I hope you enjoy your time here, and I hope you won't be strangers.  Comments and questions are enjoyed and encouraged, and I hope you find some time in your busy schedule to delve into your own creativity.


You'll find links to different pages on this site, including Tuesday Tips and Techniques, Monthly Journaling Prompts, and Class information located on the sidebar.  You'll also find links to my YouTube channel, Twitter and Facebook. Grab your favorite beverage and browse the archives to see what you've been missing!


Are you interested in joining other creatives in a casual class environment?  Are you ready to unleash your creativity and explore new art journaling techniques?  I'm offering three ongoing classes right here in Lake County.  For more information, see the CLASSES link on the sidebar or go HERE.


Halloween is right around the corner, and I have two costume events to attend. Topping last year's costume will be a challenge.  Can't wait to see where my muse takes me this year!

Meanwhile, Autumn stops for no one, and as summer has begun to fade rapidly, I know I have to step aside from the journal and tend to some yard work.  I'm hoping it will stop raining long enough for me to winterize the garden.

Winter or not, there is art to be made and creativity can not be harnessed for too long.  There are always new materials to be explored and new techniques to incorporated to this constantly evolving process.

Shorter days mean longer nights and less time spent outdoors enjoying mother nature.  I'm forging ahead with new ideas and a spirit of exploration as I continue on this creative journey.

I hope you're enjoying the gift of these last few weeks before cold and snow descend upon us, and to my friends who are just entering spring, I hope you're enjoying the lush greens and yellows of new growth as you emerge from your winter hibernation!

Whatever you're enjoying this weekend, I hope you remember to take time to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Puzzle Pieces

I had never thought of using puzzle pieces in my journal before, but when one of my students gifted all of us with handfuls of these brightly colored pieces from a floral puzzle, the challenge was on!  As I dumped my pieces out one Saturday afternoon, I began flipping them all to the right side and sorting them by color.  I noticed that I had quite a few straight edged pieces and I set them aside.

I began playing with the pieces on my next spread - which I had previously given a luscious coat of purple and blue artist acrylics.  Before I knew it, I had arranged the pieces into a circle and a mandala began to take shape. I adhered the pieces to the page with Mod Podge, leaving some of the pieces wrong side up to add some contrast.  I added details around the mandala and remaining page with white colored pencil.

I assembled my straight edged pieces on the opposite page, fitting several pieces together (even though most of them didn't really belong together), and leaving spaces for "missing" pieces.  I embellished the remaining page with white colored pencil as I had on the mandala page.

I finished the pages by writing about life being like a puzzle.  I used Liquitex white acrylic ink and a crow quill pen for the writing.

What are some ways you can think of to use puzzle pieces in your art journal?  Maybe as leaves on autumn pages?  Maybe as Christmas ornaments on a tree?  Hope these ideas get your creative juices flowing as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Journal Your Anger!

If you're a regular reader, you know that almost all of my posts are upbeat and fun; however, let me assure you that my journals are not all glitter, roses and butterflies!  Some of my best journaling is born of anger and of me visiting the "dark side" after being provoked by something out of my control.

One such recent event resulted in one of my favorite journaling spreads.  It makes me laugh when I look at it because I remember how blindly angry I was, and it amuses me because that blind anger almost always stems from "the small stuff".

One of my pet peeves is people who aren't paying attention when they're driving.  You know the ones I'm talking about - they're putting on make-up, eating Whoppers, digging around in the glove box, or (the one that REALLY trips my trigger), talking on their cell phone.

I had initially saved this Vogue magazine image because I thought the costume and photography were spectacular (my apologies for not having the photographer/model/design information), and I thought something similar would make a great Halloween costume.  As I looked through my images to create my pages, her expression was perfect for what I was feeling.  I generally alter magazine images, but I couldn't think of altering this beauty.

So what set me off?  I hate grocery shopping.  I've got my list, I know where everything is, and I'm on a mission.  Ten minutes and I'll be out there. But, NO! There are many elderly couples standing in the middle of the isles staring blankly at shelves, and young mothers with gaggles of children running wild. I seriously want to plow through all of them with my cart, but I smile warmly as I make my way to the cashier.  I finally escape the store only to be confronted by three, almost naked, teenage girls sauntering  through the parking lot in front of me.  They are busy texting on their phones, not paying attention to their surroundings, and I am doing my best not to run them over with my car.

They shout something (thankfully) inaudible, but my temper is still in check as I exit the lot.  The proverbial straw that broke me?  I'm the first one in line at the traffic light. My light is red and I'm waiting to turn right.  I'm sitting at a major intersection, traffic is rolling through from my left, there's someone across the street who looks like they will turn right but I have no clue as they aren't using a directional.  Then it happens.

I hear someone behind me honking.  I look in my rear view mirror.  It's a woman in an SUV, and she's laughing and chatting on her cell phone.  She sees me glaring at her, looks at the light, and realizes she is honking at me for no reason.  She begins waving frantically at me as if to say, "Oh, my bad.  I'm wrong.  So sorry."

But it's too late.  I've HAD IT! I'm in a RAGE, and for a split second I imagine myself shutting off the car, getting out, and walking right back to her window.  I'm Tony Montana and I'm out of control.  "You wanna play games? Okay, I play with you; come on. Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend."  But I'm not Tony Montana, and I have no little friend, so instead, I turn right as my light changes to green.

So that's how this "angry" journal spread was born.  I arrived safely at home, put away the groceries, and had a nice giant "mug-o-coffee".  It was a couple days before I actually created this spread, so I could finally see the humor in the fact that I had become so angry over something so trivial.

Creating bright, beautiful, positive journaling pages is what we like to do best, but don't forget about the value of exploring your "dark side" and journaling about the things that make YOU angry.  It's a good way to release all that negative energy, and you won't find yourself journaling from a jail cell.  Whatever you're doing today, remember to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Create on Canvas!

OK. Before I begin I have to confess that it slipped my mind that it's Tuesday - at least for another few hours!  So, I don't have anything really new and exciting to post for you today, but here is a small tip none the less:  journal on canvas!

Remember the wax/crayon and acrylic paint technique I showed you a couple weeks ago?  I couldn't resist trying it on a canvas board painting I had. (Yes, I sometimes paint over old canvases - sometimes more than once!)  I took this 12" x 24" canvas board of a fish and applied to thin layers of heavy bodied gesso over it letting it dry between layers. (As long as I'm in a confessing mood, I may as well tell you that there's a painting of an African antelope under the fish painting!)

Once the gesso dried, I sketched out my design with an orange colored pencil.  I colored in the areas with water soluble crayons and applied a a moderate layer of black artist acrylic.  I let the paint dry thoroughly before scrapping away the paint with a craft knife.  Once complete, I added a coat of polyurethane for protection. (Hence the glare on the photo)

Here is the finished painting titled, "Skelly ala Klimt".  It is currently on display at Lakeland Community College Art Gallery for the upcoming Skull & Skeleton show.  I'll tell you more about that soon.

Don't be afraid to take your favorite journaling techniques to the canvas (or canvas board).  You'll discover new freedom outside of your journal.  There's no need to be concerned about adding bulky items to your canvas.  Pull out those buttons, thick embellishments and glue guns and have some fun.  You might just create something that you'll love hanging on a wall and even if you don't, you'll still have loads of fun as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Outside the Journal: The Cleveland Museum of Art

This past gray, rainy, Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending the day at the Cleveland Museum of Art with my Keith, our son, Mike, and his girlfriend (our wonderful, new daughter!), Nadia, who were here visiting from CA.  I always enjoy my visits to the museum, and it's been more than just a few years since my last visit. We were there for 6 hours - until our sedentary lifestyles rendered us helpless to take another step!

"Gray and Gold" John Rogers Cox

The museum has been undergoing extensive renovation for several years now, and the refurbished section that has reopened is beautiful.  We spent a great deal of time examining the artifacts in the Medieval, Egyptian, and African galleries, as well as the Near Eastern, South Italian and Roman galleries.  Eventually, we succumbed to hunger and enjoyed a late brunch in the museum's cafe.  Afterwards, we toured one of the special exhibits, "The Indian Kalighat Paintings", one of the museum's rarely shown collections. These drawings were originally created as souvenirs for early 19th century tourists, and contained images of Vishnu and Ganesh as recurrent themes.

After a brief tour of several American galleries and the Armor Court, we finally migrated to my favorite galleries - Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art, where all of my favorite artists live.  Here are some of the photos I took. (Yes - photos permitted without flash - a happy surprise for me!)

It doesn't matter from what direction I enter this room - this Renoir painting always calls to me first.  His use of light and color has been a definite influence in my own work.

Modigliani's portraits always captured my imagination as a young artist, and it was his style the most influenced my portrait style in the early days.

Not my favorite Matisse, but how can I not give a nod to yet another artist whose work was an early influence to me?

My work was heavily influenced by Picasso during my early teens, and I am still thrilled by his vision.

This Picasso, "La Vie", is much larger than I had imagined it.  I'm guessing it's about 8' x 4'.   I don't ever recall seeing it displayed at the museum before.  According to the gallery notes, Picasso was only 20 when he painted this, and it is part of his "blue period" that came about as the result of his friend committing suicide.


We finished our museum tour in the Modern and Contemporary galleries.  It was a good resting place as I sat and contemplated art on a philosophical level and tried to ignore that little voice inside my head that kept saying, "I just don't get it".  There were, of course, some paintings that garnered my attention and made me smile, as well as some old favorites like Pollack and Warhol.

When I saw this large work, I immediately thought that it was an early Pollack - Wrong!  It's actually a painting by his wife, Lee Krasner.

How could this wonderfully drippy painting of Homer Simpson not make me smile?  I wasn't able to get close enough to see the artist's name as there was a mother and her children sitting on the floor next to the plaque making art (apparently they couldn't find the classrooms?).  I searched the web looking for the artist's name.  I didn't find it, but I did find another blog that will give you another view of the museum!

Last but far from least, I return you to the Impressionist galleries where my favorite painting in the museum lives.  The last time I visited the museum I was heartbroken because it wasn't on display.  This small, unassuming Van Gogh painting, "The Poplars at Saint-Remy", is the only painting I have ever viewed that made me feel as if I was looking through the artist's eyes.  The first time I saw it, I wept.

As I studied each stroke, I felt as if I could feel what he was feeling at the time he was painting. I could feel the fervor.  I could feel the moment.  I could feel frustration, joy, emotions from every direction.  I felt the insanity of this obsessive thing we call being an "artist", and I felt the kinship of one who has gone before me.  I felt connected and I have never felt more moved by a work of art.

So that's a glimpse into the Cleveland Museum of Art.  We're fortunate to have such a wonderful collection of artworks so nearby, and it continues to impress me that admittance to the museum is always FREE.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit Cleveland, the art museum is a MUST.  You'll be pleased that you went and you'll find it to be an inspiration as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

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