Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Begin with a Border

Not sure where you want to begin when you pull out your journal?  Begin with a border.   Here, I've wet my pages with a little water and randomly dropped in splotches of watercolors.

I decided to make the interior of the border darker, and lifted the stripes with water while the page was still damp.  At this point, I'm still not sure where I'm headed, but I'm sure the muse will direct me.  Check my Weekend Journal to see the final pages.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend Journal

This unfinished journal spread began with poured paint and the front of a Christmas card.  Can you spot the Christmas card?

And speaking of poured paint, remember this spread from Tuesday?  I found a woman living in this page, along with another woman who has her back to us, and a seated figure to the right.

I did a rough outline of her features, and after a few adjustments, I painted her by doing a blue undertone painting.  I like the way that she turned out so much, that I've decided to leave her "as is".  Now to complete the rest of the pages.

These pages were completed in my class this morning and also began as poured paint pages.  I used violet and crimson for paint pouring, but as you can see, I ended up a different color palette all together.

She's quite unlike my usual style.  I couldn't help but think of Modigliani as I began sketching her features that I could see through the poured paint.  I fell in love with Modigliani's women in high school.  I was thinking of studying him for my next "Messin' with the Masters" series.  Maybe that's why she showed up on this page!

Sketchbook Update

I haven't been sketching every day - but almost!  I tend to do two or three drawings at a time though.

Through the miracle of DVR, I'm able to record shows and pause them when something catches my eye.  Here are sketches from a show called "Concrete Artist".

I thought this famous actor would be easy to capture - WRONG!  None of the attempts capture him at all, even thought I think I came close to capturing his eyes in one attempt.  I'm not going to give up though.  He's  "larger than life", so I think I'll have better luck trying to use a full page.  Any inkling who it might be?

I've been practicing more with my pastel pencils, learning what they can and can not do.  I'm really enjoying working with them.  I'm betting I'll enjoy them even more if I use pastel paper (that has a better tooth for grabbing on to the pastel.)

So that's about it for this week.  I did venture down to the beach one day (Monday, I think).  It was sunny and warm, and hard to believe that it's January.  I had a nice walk at the beach, and of course, there was beautiful beach glass to be collected.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll see you again on Monday with mandala number 14, is it?  Over the hump for winter - YAY!  


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Pour It On!

If you're looking for a textured, spontaneous background, pouring paint is about as fun and spontaneous as you can get!  I've used this method with watercolors, artist and craft acrylics, and acrylic inks.  Today, I'm using craft acrylics.  I mixed the colors ahead of time.

I've diluted the acrylics to a 50/50 mixture of paint and water.  I've used old pudding cup containers. I usually use only two colors, but I opted for three today.  Before I began pouring the paint, I used a light coating of heavy bodied gesso to both pages and let it dry (with some help from my hair dryer).  That was my first layer of texture.

I wet both pages before I began pouring my paint.  This enables the paint to run more freely as I tilt the pages.  I was pretty liberal with the water.

I used yellow first, pouring only on the left side of my journal.  I then took the right page and pressed it into the left side rubbing the pages together before opening again.

I then applied the pink paint to the left side, letting the colors pool and run together. Again,  I pressed  the two pages together.

I added the blue last, and this time, I added it to the right page.  I began to drip water into the wet paint to let it spread more as I began to tilt the pages from top to bottom and side to side.  Once again, I pressed the pages together.

The pages were becoming a little saturated with both paint and water, so I decided to lift some of it off with dry paper towel.  As an added bonus, the pattern of the paper towel left behind interesting texture.

I also used the paper towel like a mop, blending some of the paint and also leaving some hard edges behind.

I added additional drops of paint for deeper color and texture, filling in some of the areas that were too white.

Here's the final product and some close ups of the wonderful texture achieved using this method.   It's messy, but loads of fun!

Give this method a try!  You'll have a lot of fun playing with the paint.  It's also a great background for intuitive pages.  After the pages dry, sit back and have a look - what do you see in your background?  Expand upon it.  You can also add collaged elements on top of it, more gesso, and more poured paint.

And don't even think about throwing out that yummy paper towel!  After it's dry, (if you're using a 2-ply paper towel, it can be pulled apart) you can collage it into later pages.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekend Journal

It's been a quiet week and a contemplative, melancholy week.  Winter does that to me and I don't like it one bit hate it.  It's like fighting an upper respiratory infection.  You feel the first signs - that tickling, scratchy feeling at the back of your throat, the slight heaviness in your chest,  but you try to ignore the symptoms and pretend you're going to be fine.  Of course, all the pretending in the world doesn't postpone the inevitable.  Before you know it, you're hunkered down in a pile of blankets trying to make sense of your surroundings as you try to mask your symptoms with medications that make you feel like you're in a Tim Burton movie.

So here I am, feeling like I've fallen into the rabbit hole and am late for afternoon tea with Johnny Depp.  "There all mad here!" (all the thoughts that rattle around in my brain), but I hold on to the little bit of sanity I have with journal and piano in hand.


I've begun working on the pages for my fabric journal and I'm having quite a lot of fun with these pages.  I'm making the pages as bright and colorful as the cover.  Here are a few snippets of what I've been doing.  I'll show you the journal in it's entirety as soon as it's finished.


Remember the sketchbook Keith gave me during my birthday week and my pledge to sketch every day?  Well, it took me a while to get going on it, but I've been on a roll the last few days.

I couldn't get motivated to sketch at first, so I just began doodling and writing thoughts down.

I thought it might help to add some color to the background.  Good idea except I used water soluble pastels - NOT a good idea!  My pens weren't too happy on that surface.

I used a fine point Sharpie on the left, and General 's charcoal pencils on the right.

I brushed black India ink on the page and drew in the face with a General's  Charcoal White pencil

I used my General's Pastel Chalk Pencils (another birthday gift)  for this sketch
I'm now enjoying sketching in this book once or twice a day now.  Maybe I'll get a handle on using pastels by the time I reach the end of the book!


Have I mentioned that I've been teaching myself piano since early May?  I've wanted to play piano since I was probably four years old. (I say four because I know my brother wasn't around yet).  I recorded myself on video yesterday thinking that I'd share it with you.  NOT going to happen!  Even though I hit every note perfectly, I was quite reminded of Frankenstein's monster.  I'll spare you - for now.  I'm a little annoyed that I can't play like Mozart yet, but to my credit, he was MUCH younger than I when he began playing!

The truth of the matter is I may never become anything more than "competent" on the piano, but that doesn't matter.  The great joy it gives me is priceless, and it puts a smile on Keith's face as he listens to me stumble through my debuts on "the newest song I've learned".

So that's what's going on in my neck of the woods this week.  How have you been?  What are you doing in your journal?  Do you play piano?  What are your favorite tunes?  Do you have a favorite website for piano tutorials?  I'll see you again on Monday with mandala number 14.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Create a Series

Monet did it.  Picasso and Matisse did too, among others.  Create a series.  Monet created 250 oil paintings of  his beloved water lillies.  Picasso stayed in the blue period for over three years, and Matisse created 20 of his large paper cut outs after his illness.  Why not try creating a series of your own?

Choose a technique, medium(s) and a color palette and experiment on your journal pages.  Maybe the technique will be the main focus of your work, or maybe your chosen focus will be the mediums or colors you choose.  Whatever you decide to do, dedicate some spreads to exploring something specific.  You might even learn something new!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Weekend Journal

Well, here we are again - another week has seemingly flown by and we find ourselves here in mid-January already.  It was a busy week, and I have this strange sensation of time being a figment of my imagination.  Things that I know I did this week seem like they happened weeks ago!  Have you felt it, or is winter making me a little nuts despite the nice weather we've been having?  Nice weather - until now, that is.  Today's talk of the town is the weather, but we'll get to that later.


Here are three journal spreads from this week, all in three different styles inspired by subject matter and imagery.  Do you recognize two of the images that I used from the calendar pages I posted last week?

Collage, gesso, Pitt pen, acrylic paint

Gesso, collage, acrylic paint, Sharpie fine point marker.

Acrylic paint, water soluble pastel


My class continues to work on fabric journals throughout January.  We are all having a great time with these!  I have assembled the cover for my first journal, and I'm really pleased with the way it.  I can't stop looking at all the bright, patchwork of colors, and I can't stop running my fingers over the embellishments!

There are sequins, buttons, fibers, beads, lace, and charms sewn to the cover.  That's Christmas garland sewn along the edge of the front cover.   I can't wait to show you the finished product!

Here's what it looks like opened with both the inside front and back covers.

Here's the outside back cover.  I'll be adding a couple things to it, but not much.  I have the signature pages prepared to sew inside of my journal, but I've decided to complete the journal pages before attaching to the book.


As I said, today's big story is the snow.  Snow is usually no big deal here - after all, I live in the Northeast Ohio snowbelt!  What makes this a big deal is that we've gotten use to 40 degree weather, and we got absolutely hammered with snow overnight.  Keith measured 18" this morning around 8am.  I'm just a little annoyed as I was supposed to be judging an art show this morning.  Que Sera, I guess.  It finally stopped snowing about 2 hours ago, and now that I've resigned myself to the fact that I am indeed snowbound, it's really beautiful.

Keith finally got a path cleared to the bottom of the deck stairs.  It's been a very long time since we've seen this much snow!

My little red zoom, zoom (Mazda) looks like a mini van sitting in the driveway!

Standing at the end of my driveway looking west at snow-laden pines.  Gorgeous! 


I'm really excited to share my son's video with you.  It's really artsy, and this proud mom has watched it....well, let's just say a lot!  I can't wait to see Mike's next artistic endeavor.  I think he's found his creative niche, don't you?  I suggest watching on YouTube and in HD if you can.  The video is set to a musical score, so you'll want to turn my blog radio off.  Please comment and "Like" (if you do!) to encourage my budding artist!

Well, I guess that's about it for this Weekend Journal edition.  I hope you're snuggled in and warm in your neck of the woods, and I hope your creative genes are bursting with inspiration.  Until next time, much love and many blessings to you!


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