Saturday, December 27, 2014

Artful Journeys Pre-Launch Prompt #5 - January Calendar

This week at ARTFUL JOURNEYS our prompt is to create a January calendar in your journal.  I particularly like having a monthly calendar in my journal, even if I never write a thing on it. Of course, I also like to tart up my planners so that built in calendar of events, appointments and jotted notes isn't quite so boring and clinical.  I find that it helps to document the art I am creating in my journal in an orderly way, even if I forget to date each individual page I create.  I know that everything after that page was made in that particular month, so this is something I have always done in my journals.

This week, I used a credit card scraping method for application of my paint.  Doing this can give you a nice, smooth writing surface, as long as you don't leave big lumps of paint.  I particularly wanted this page to be smooth in the daily squares, so I was careful to make it nice and smooth.

Before I applied any paint, I inserted an over-sized piece of parchment behind this page so as not to get any paint on the back side or adjacent page.  It was a little slippery, but as I got to the edges, I held the page stable with some clothespins on the edges.  I started with some Diva Pink and placed a few small blobs of paint indiscriminately around the page and began scraping the paint, every which direction.   Then I added some Flag Red and scraped it in multiple directions as well.  And finally, a couple of blobs of Bright Magenta, and I let the whole thing dry completely.

After the paint was dry, and after referring to a small January calendar for the day placements, I gridded out the blocks using a ruler and a .07 mechanical pencil, using a very light hand for my pencil marks.  I edged with a fine liner brush using Laguna blue acrylic paint and the edge of my ruler so that I could get the lines perfectly straight.  I had a couple of bleed-throughs under the ruler as I was going along, but I had some cotton swabs handy that I just dipped into some clear water and wiped them right up.  I then used the same Laguna blue to do the hand lettering of the month, days of the weeks & the blue snowflakes using a #6 pointed round sable brush.  I then embellished with white acrylic, and added the "Let it Snow."

So, once all that was dry, I knew it needed something else.  Mid to late January is about the only chance we ever have to get snow in north Texas, and of course we're always dreaming and hoping that we get some.  Any amount of snow, no matter how little, is always cause for celebration here! And while beautiful pines are not indigenous to our area, pines and snow just go together in my mind, so I created a little mini-forest, again using Pine and Burnt Umber acrylic craft paint and added some snow with Bombay White India Ink and my #6 pointed round brush.  A little cold color was added with a light sky blue.

Once dry, I was pretty pleased with the overall effect, and I will be dreaming of a snow covered lawn.  If you're getting more than your fair share of the white stuff, send some to the DFW metroplex area, would you?

Stay warm & stay artful!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Christmas Gift

Our big family Christmas gathering happened yesterday, December 20th  with children and food everywhere!  We have two new babies in the family and toddlers running around all excited.  Since I never had any children, I always enjoy watching the little ones, holding the babies (until they start crying or get the poopy diapers, ha) It is always so great to visit with those I don't get to see very often, and get all the Auntie hugs I can get. Sometimes those hugs and loves have to tie me over for a long time, so they are especially important to me!

Several years ago, we made the decision to stop giving individual gifts to the adults and we just buy gifts for the little ones and those kids under the age of 18.  The adults play a "Chinese" gift exchange where gifts can be stolen up to 3 times from someone and after that they are "frozen".  Each male brings a gift suited for a man, and each woman brings a female oriented gift.  Deciding what to bring is always difficult, given the wide age disparity of the adults in the family.  It is always fun when the stealing starts, and to see who ends up with what. Some years, the stealing is wild...others, more tame and less lively.  We always have fun with it, and sometimes some exchanging or swapping goes on after the exchange is over.

This year, we asked all participants to include something that they made or created, either as their sole gift or part of their gift.  I opted for the "part of" part with mine, and also include two nice bottles of wine and some pretty wine glasses.

My handmade part was this mixed media on a 9" oval canvas that I already had a frame to fit standing by!  My great niece ended up with it and seemed happy to have it, although we swapped out the wine and I gave her the gift I received which her mother had actually made.  My original idea for this canvas was to start with a dark red acrylic and move to a lighter color creating a "flame" effect.  The thing just kind of emerged organically and didn't look "flame like" at all when it was finished. I fussy cut out a vintage woman image that I liked, gave her some bright turquoise and lime Prismacolor pencil work and collaged it to the canvas using Liquitex Matte Gel Medium.  The "She" quote was hand lettered on 90 pound cold press watercolor paper with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen and highlighted with Prismacolor pencil in a bold red.  Adding the crown as an afterthought didn't really achieve the look I wanted, but it wouldn't come off easily, so I just left it. It did match the lady's dress pretty well and did serve to bring the quote  "She Always Wore her Invisible Crown" to life a little more.

We all have to remember to wear our "invisible crowns" more, and know that we are always in control of our own lives, our emotions and feelings.  I put mine on everyday and hope that it gives me the fortitude to push through the roller coaster of life every single day.

What are you creating this holiday season for people in your family?

Pre-Launch Prompt #4 - Holiday Madness

This week, our prompt for Artful Journeys is "Holiday Madness."

The "holidays" in general, are many things to me, and I will wax and wane poetic a little further on in this post.  But for the purposes of my art, I took a humorous and more artful approach to our prompt here publicly, and a little more intimate & theologically appropriate approach privately in my journal. We've all seen the hundreds of images of "Santa" racing across the moon in his sleigh on Christmas Eve...on the weather cast, on the news, on the internet everywhere we look.  And now, Santa is racing across my arty red moon in silhouette form against the backdrop of a screaming lime green "night" sky pierced with twinkling gold and silver stars.  He says, woo-hoo, what a ride and is heading home with an empty sleigh.  Sometimes I scare myself when I see what comes out on paper sometimes.  It is madness, isn't it?

This page is a composite of Derwent Inktense Blocks and acrylic craft paint, highlighted with metallic Sharpie pens and a black Signo Uniball pen.

I started with that big red circle.  I know it doesn't look really red in this photo, but it is...with a touch of burgundy / maroon on the edges smoothed out with my trusty baby wipe method.  And then 'round and 'round with the green Inktense block, again with the baby wipe.  Then, Caterpillar lime green acrylic paint, thinned with water and smoothed with a 1/2" flat brush, and again over the whole lime area with yes, you got it, the baby wipe thing again.

I searched for some kind of silhouette I could actually draw and found this rather simplistic one on and because the lines were rather simple, I actually managed to draw it and make it look reasonably like Santa in a sleigh with a reindeer.  Then, I just filled it all in with craft acrylic in black, and highlighted under the reindeer belly and sleigh runner with a silver Sharpie marker and some gold highlights on Santa's pom-pom on his hat.  Additional metallic embellishments added in the form of gold and silver stars and dots and some "rounding" on that Santa-red mood.  Lettering was done with a Uniball Signo bold pen in black.

The overall effect ended up surprising even me.  It is bold, bright and fun.  And even the hubs liked it.

See what my buds Tamie, Melody, Lynn and Terri did in response to this prompt here

Now for the waxing and waning poetic .......

Christmas in my world, first and foremost, is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

I cannot imagine celebrating Christmas or the holiday season in general without my family and a wide circle of friends, both near and far. I cherish both immensely and the holidays would not be the same without either.   Our families bring the holiday season alive for us as small children, and the depth of our knowledge about the true meaning of the holiday season comes as we are educated theologically and scholastically.   As small children, we are enthralled with the concept of "Santa Claus" and his arrival on Christmas Eve and waking to the excitement of those special Christmas mornings.  As we age, we realize that part of the "Santa" charm is the mystique, but we are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and give thanks for the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  The commercialization of Christmas saddens me and with each passing year it does seem to get worse and farther away from that true and real meaning of what Christmas means.  All any of us can do is control what goes on in our own homes, believe how and what we are taught, and pray for those who have lost their way.

As we all celebrate "the holidays,"  my wish for each of you is to have good health, prosperity, good friendships, close family relationships, and a true sense of peace in your lives.  Having any or all of these things is empowering, fulfilling and rewarding.  I am blessed to have these things in my life and for this, I am truly grateful.  Thank YOU for being a big part of my life and for sharing life's adventures with me.  I can think of no better time of the year to express this feeling of gratitude and thankfulness.

I wish each an every one of you a joyous holiday season.

And now, I just have to say it..........  and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Experimenting With Chalk Pastels

Admittedly, I cannot draw worth a tinker's dam.  However, I had this little girl in my head tonight and she just came out on the page.  This is in my "Exploration" journal which is a modified sketch book that I do all kinds of weird things and experiments in.  This book has rather thin sketch paper.  Sometimes I work in it directly, as  I did this time, and sometimes I do tip-ins.

I was generously given some pan pastels by my friend, Susan Miller and I had been itching to play with them ever since they arrived a couple of weeks ago.  So just after eating dinner with the hubs and watching one of our "together" TV programs, this little cutie came out of my head and onto the page.

The pastels I used were Decorating Chalks Kit #3 (pan pastels) by  Craf-T Products.  Kit 3 has 9 colors ranging from pale yellow to charcoal, and Susan generously sent me 4 other individual colors -- a reddish orange, pink,  gold and a soft brown.

I applied all the pastels with a #2 flat sable brush, and rubbed some with my finger to blend.  The sketch was completed with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen in black.

Definitely going to play some more and see where all this leads me.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Nothing speaks to me of winter better than snow.  And snow is something we see very little of in North Texas, so I am always dreaming of it when the holiday season rolls around.

This week in Artful Journeys our pre-launch prompt is "Winter Wonderland" and this is my take on it. I prepared the background in my 9x12" Canson mixed media journal with Derwent Inktense blocks in blue and teal using a baby wipe and took pretty wide swaths of color with the blocks. I didn't want to smooth it all out completely, adding a little more dimension. The tree is hand drawn and painted with Prang watercolors as is the hat and snowman details, arms, "coal", and eyes.  I painted on the snow with Bombay White India ink and a #6 pointed round brush and used the dropper for the dots.

The snowman was created with graduating sizes of circle stencils drawn onto Bristol, then fussy cut and glued to the page. I used a light wash of gray (by mixing black & white) on the edges and around the head and belly to create more dimension and shadow.  I just used some orange cardstock to cut out the "carrot" for his nose and affixed with a glue stick.  Snowflakes were punch cut from white Bristol and vellum and glued to the page with a UHU glue stick.  The muffler is fashioned out of some beautiful yarn I received in a happy mail package.  Maybe he needs a few more snowflakes floating around, but I just have to edit myself before I put too much.

I can't wait to see what you come up to represent YOUR winter wonderland.  And send us some snow to north Texas for Christmas, would ya?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Letter to Santa

December Daily #7 - Write a letter to Santa.

Every year in our local, rural paper, they publish letters written to Santa by the children and I get the biggest kick out of all of them.  I remember writing these letters as a little girl and tried to stay up to "catch" Santa leaving presents under the tree, but of course I always got caught by my Mother.

A simple, childlike letter to Santa on sketch paper with Sharpie markers and a blackSakura Gelly Roll pen.

Makes me smile.  How about you?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Documenting Art Supplies

This week at Artful Journeys we are recommending that you give it a "go" at documenting all or some of your art supplies. Maybe, like me, you have documented many of your supplies already in journals, on index cards or as a separate reference.  I have done all of these at one time or another. Perhaps you want to just designate one page for the prompt and choose to document a specific set of inks, pens, markers, or genre of paint for this prompt.  Maybe you love having references and create a whole journal devoted just for this purpose.  However you choose to proceed is great. There is no right or wrong.

Documenting your supplies can serve multiple purposes. Having a specific medium on one page lets you see at a glance the color ranges available to you in that specific medium.  You are able to compare various hues and shades of one color for a specific project you are working on.  I have even documented all one color family from every available medium I have onto one page.  This is fun, and I use these pages the most frequently of all of my documented supply pages.  At a glance I can know instantly which specific shade of a color family I want to use in project.

For our Artful Journeys Pre-Launch Prompt #2

I have documented a set of Prang watercolors that I have never documented before anywhere.  I applied this cool grid stamp (Northwoods Rubber Stamps, Inc.) into my 9x12" mixed media journal and stamped it the appropriate number of times to use as the base and then applied each color from each pan to an individual box.  Since the colors are not named or numbered, I didn't give them either.  The edges of my blocks are filled in with Prang watercolor in black.  I gave the whole thing a light wash in a cerulean blue.

Since I always enjoy this type of documentation, and since I purchased a full set of Gelatos a few weeks ago, I decided to document those as well.  For this page, I made it a little more complicated.  I prepared the background first with  green & teal Derwent Inktense blocks and a baby wipe, then added some dots with Dr. Phil's Bombay Ink in white using just the dropper tip.  I used an oval punch and cut out the appropriate number of ovals out of 90 pound cold press watercolor paper to the number of gelatos in my set.  Using a broad tip Uniball Signo pen in black, I outlined the ovals and drew a center line, then applied the Gelato colors to each oval.  Then, I used my finger to "schmear" one side "dry" and used a #6 pointed round watercolor brush to the other half so that I would know the color intensity both wet and dry.  Each oval was glued to the page in the order my set is laid out in the box.

A close-up view of the bottom few rows of the Gelato documentation.

The paintbrush was sketched with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen in black, then colorized using the Prang watercolors.

Ta-daaaaaaaa.  Another handy reference is complete!

In case you'd like to see some of the other "documentations" I have done, here is a quick little peek.

Color mixing documentation

Koi Field Watercolor Kit            Single color family documentation

Documentation of my set of Portfolio Oil Pastels


This little "flip chart" documents all my colored pens on high grade 100% rag cardstock. I did a water test on each brand to determine whether or not they were waterfast and permanent as stated, or not.