Art Journal Recommendations

I created this mixed media painting in my art journal yesterday.   I’m curious what thoughts or feelings it might evoke for you?


I also couldn’t resist giving Strathmore another plug.   As some of you know, I absolutely love the Strathmore Visual art journal series.    I’ve now filled my second one and started on my third, which really has me stoked!   The Visual journals come in several flavors.  I started with the Drawing product, then tried the Mixed Media, and now I’m hooked.   So I ordered a couple more, in two sizes.   Why?  I’ll tell you.   I can throw any medium at this paper:  pen, watercolor, acrylics, colored pencil, graphite, Tombow markers, water soluble oil and wax pastels, even collage.   No bleed-through. Is there rippling?   Sometimes, but only a slight bit.   I’ve worked with (140 lb.) watercolor paper that has buckled a lot more.

While working in this journal, it seemed to me that every medium I tried just loved the paper.   It is smooth, with just a slight tooth.   It reminds me of Stonehenge paper, which is much more expensive.   And yet, these little journals (the 5.5 x 8″ size) start at just over $5.   I definitely had to have more of this paper.   So I called Blick, and talked to a product specialist (Blick-speak for artist).   Long story short, the paper in the Mixed Media Visual Journal is their 500 Series paper.   This is 100% cotton paper, their top of the line!   It’s archival, acid free, and sized for wet media.   It is a joy to touch and to work on.   It turns out that I couldn’t even buy the paper and make the journal myself for less money.   These journals are an amazing deal.   I just had to let you all know!

The painting was a journey.    I needed some space to sort out my thoughts, and my little journal was the perfect way to do that.    It includes watercolor and acrylic paint, as well as water-soluble oil and wax pastels.   I really enjoyed marrying all these mediums together on this delightful paper.   By the time I was finished, I felt like I’d been on a mini-vacation, refreshed and at peace.   Just what I needed.    And I wish the same for you this Sunday.

Tricked-out Toes…

….with foot attached! For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been drawing something every day in my art journal. Really trying to get better at drawing, as I find it a fun and useful skill. I appreciate it even more now, because I told myself all my life (as many do) that I can’t draw! Very cool to prove myself wrong in my journal.

The other night, nothing was calling me to draw it, but my foot happened to be hanging out in the local area, so I drew it.

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Since that didn’t fill the whole page, and looked kinda boring in graphite, I decided to zip it up a bit with some Tombow markers.   And blended the colors out with the colorless blender.

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And since the page still wasn’t full and I was in a colorful mood, I added some Inktense pencils, then went back and liquified it.

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Well, this’ll wake you up on a Monday morning! I hope you got a laugh out of it, anyhow.   What are art journals for?   That’s right.  F-U-N!   Happy Monday! Smell some flowers, hug some trees, make it a good day today. Flinging peace and happiness from my little corner of the world!

Not a Nosegay…

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…but a start!

My watercolor flowers tend to look better at a distance, but I really do enjoy working small. For me, it’s a little easier to go into a painting that way.  So….these are really closeup shots.   (I wish I had photography skills, the way so many of you do!)

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These paintings were each done on business card sized Arches 140# cold press. The paper is a joy to work with. I found it easier to control the paint, and not sure why, but it’s definitely harder to produce runbacks than it was before.  I still have a long way to go with watercolor and with florals, but I’m enjoying the journey.

Happy Friday Eve to you all.  Smell a beautiful spring flower today. Smiles guaranteed. 🙂

Mother’s Day flowers

We need to find God, and He can not be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence….We need silence to be able to touch souls.        ~Mother Teresa

I really wanted to at least try drawing some of the Mother’s Day flowers while they were still pretty fresh.  So, here they are.   Some sketches, at least.  A bit unfinished, but it’s a start!

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They turned out to be rather loose interpretations, but at least you can recognize them…..I think.   I could have gone back and given them a little definition with the Micron pen, but I decided to leave some sparkles of white paper, and see if they could be recognized on their own.  I do think this next one could have done with some definition, but I’m going to leave it alone this time, I think.

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I’m encouraged enough by my progress with flowers to keep on with them, but ideally, I’d love to paint them in watercolor, in a very loose, impressionistic way.

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But that’s a challenge for another day.  I hope you enjoy them.  I’m sure I’ve said this before, but in my opinion, the Polychromos colored pencil and the Stonehenge sketch pads are a perfect marriage of paper and medium.  The first four images were created in this way, and I guarantee you that had I used ink, watercolor, graphite, anything else but the Polys in the Stonehenge….they wouldn’t look nearly as good.

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   Kerfe, this last one is for you:  my very loose Tombow marker sketch of one of Hub’s irises in my art journal.   If you all would like to see some beautiful iris renderings, check out Kerfe & Nina’s blog here.

We’re at the halfway point, people!  It’s all downhill now….  🙂

Draw a Bird Day reminder: Friday, May 8!


Thanks to A-Wing and A-Way letting so many of us know about Draw A Bird Day on April 8, many of us had fun drawing or painting birds on April 8.  Some drew a bird for the first time, and found it be lots of fun!  However, many people weren’t aware of the holiday until it was too late.  So, some of us decided it might be fun to make this a monthly event!   I also want to thank Squirrel Writer for helping to spread the word!

For my friends who may not be comfortable with drawing:  Do not let this sideline you, if you are interested in participating!  Anything goes:  Photographs, stories or poems about a bird, a little sculpture, a nature collage, you are only limited by your imagination.  I think what we’re trying to do here is open the cage door and let the birdies fly.  That’s us!  We all have wings, and sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to open them.  Let the spirit move you as it will.

Friday, May 8 is a week from today, and I hope we can all make WordPress fly to celebrate our wing-ed friends.

Y? Why?

I tried to make art tonight; I had a few things in mind. None of them worked out. But I wanted to post something, so here’s…..something.


My heart is heavy for the City of Baltimore tonight, and for the surrounding areas. What happened to Freddie Gray and to others before him isn’t a black problem; it’s a people problem. It’s a human issue.  We stand together. 

I do feel that there is light, that the light is beginning to pour in, which I tried to show in my artwork tonight. We still have a long way to go, I believe. Peace.

Red, Right, Returning

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I tried twice to capture what I was feeling about this phrase, and neither one turned out as I originally envisioned, but it’s ok.  This one ^^ was done in watercolor, and I went wet into wet and tried to get the red and blue to mingle on the page, but they didn’t wanna be friendly.  Maybe I’m too close to DC?  Lol, not sure. 

So I had to steer the red toward the blue, and at that point, I got those cool stripes, which I decided was fine, and I needed to stop right there, before I fussed with it and killed the spontaneity of the moment. 

Then, all I had to do was put my green channel marker on the left, and I was done.  Which was great, as I didn’t have much time to do art yesterday.   Does it give you a flag feeling, or is it just me?  Unintended, but I do like it!  It may be the closest I ever get to actually painting the flag.

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For this one, I was working on an almost cream colored barely paisley fabric.  I started with Tombow markers on the right, went to Portfolio water soluble oil crayons for the blues in the center, and wound up with Inktense pencils for the left hand side.  I don’t really like the part on the right, but since this is basically a log of my art experiments, and which mediums give me which effects, I decided to post the whole swatch. 

What I like most about the Inktense is that what you see is what you get.  When you wake up in the morning, it’s all dry, and it pretty much looks the same.    There is very little fading, which you see all the time with watercolor paint, as it dries much lighter than it goes on. I bought this fabric over 20 years ago, I really don’t like it anymore, but it’s nice to know that I can still get some use out of it.  

I do expect to use pretty much everything I’ve been making lately (all of the abstract stuff), or pieces of them, in my art quilts.  At this point, I’m just trying to get familiar with all of the different supplies I have.  It’s a fun experimental phase!

So when I don’t have much time or energy late at night, this is the kind of stuff I’ve been gravitating to, just because it is pure fun and exciting (for me) to see what’s going to happen/how it turns out.   I hope I’m not boring too many of you with bad art while I experiment here!  🙂

We are on the hump, and it’s all downhill from here, people! *I live to create* Peace.

Magenta Memories

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Not sure what led me to start sorting through the memory drawer yesterday…I didn’t know a drawer could hold so many things! And there are two more to go!   

I know we’ve saved other shoes from our baby-girl-now-24’s growing-up years, but this pair is a family favorite.   I taught her to say “ma-gen-ta” when we got these (I guess she was around two or so), and boy, she told everyone she had ma-gen-ta shoes.  It was the sweetest thing. 

I’ve never tried to draw a pair of shoes before, but  I couldn’t resist a quick sketch of these with my “ma-gen-ta” watercolor pencil (Derwent non-Inktense).   Just a quick one to remember the moment:

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Then, to cheer myself up:  flowers!

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This is the photo I took a couple of months ago that was the inspiration for the painting.  I love to buy flowers and make my own arrangements.  There’s nothing like fresh flowers to bring positive energy to a space:

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For the background for the painting, I took a piece of ivory lace, painted parts of it with Inktense and non-Inktense Derwent watercolor pencils, then used a few Tombow markers to color through, with the lace acting like a stencil.  You have to hit the Tombowed areas pretty fast with water to fade the spots out, especially since the palette I have is so bright.  I thought it looked nice once it was faded out, though.  

Here’s how the lace turned out:

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I am enjoying every second I can grab with an art supply in hand!  Are we thanking God for a Spring Friday?  Woot!  I hope you set your inner artist free this weekend and make something beautiful.   I’ll be looking forward to seeing it!  Happy Weekend, everyone!

Giddy goofiness

Yes, it seems I’ve officially lost my mind when I’m posting my weird doodles on the internet for the world to see! OK, if it makes someone laugh, it’s worth it. Here goes:

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It’s in a heart because I drew the heart in Micron pen and couldn’t erase it, but I didn’t like it (it was meant for a different post).  But I saved the paper, as it’s watercolor paper, and too expensive to toss!

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You may recognize the owl from my other doodle post.   I kind of like him.  I’ve tried to make him look a bit more scholarly here, but he really is just so happy to be an owl.  I guess if I were an owl, I’d have a bounce in my step, too!  Well, or in my…flight pattern?  lol

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Yeah, a bizarre chicken-rooster-ish thing with hearts on his tail feathers.  Don’t ask.  It’s April.  *shrug*  Spring fever?

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My sister keeps reminding me I used to do “cartoons” when I was younger.  This is the closest I ever came to doing “cartoons”.  These weird little martian creature things.  But hey, they’re easy to draw!  And I was all about the easy last night.

Well, I hope you enjoyed these goofy doodles.  I’m hoping this will be the last Saturday that I work in quite some time!  *clink* Let’s drink to that!  Ta Ta!  🙂