Sunday, September 27, 2015

What Else is in Your Daily Journal?

I am often asked by friends, family and casual acquaintences if I only "journal" in my daily journal.  Mostly yes, but the journal I am using this year also has some designated art space.  Often, I just keep on writing (due to # of pages in the journal as a whole), but I do sometimes make doodles, or put positivity quotes to remind me to be a kinder, gentler person.

2015 Daily Writing Journal

Early last year, I bought a Picadilly journal from my friend Tina Canupp that she had tarted up and I love the paper in those journals for actual writing. Tina had made some designated art pages in it, just using white paper (copy paper?) and washi tape with tip in flaps and some embellishments here and there. 

Tina actually made me a second custom journal which I will likely use next year for my musings....and it's not that I don't have any journals...... I have a gargantuan drawer full of them.  And I have many journals that friends have made me or I have made, still waiting to be used.  But when it comes to writing and paper, I want and like a certain feel of the paper, and how the pen or writing instrument glides (or doesn't) along the page.  Smooth is the name of the game for me.  And these Picadilly journals are great for just that...writing. 

 My choice of writing instruments varies, depending on my mood of the day, and what instrument is handy beside my recliner.    Most of the time, I prefer to write with a real, honest-to-goodness fountain pen, and my vintage pen and my Mont Blanc pens are my favorites and go-to pens.

Doodle Therapy - PaperMate Flair Pens
A favorite quote - with Prismacolor Pencil
But what else is in there?  Today I decided to show you some of what lurks within my daily writing journal.  Mostly they are just little bits of something.  A note, a quote, a biblical verse that has meaning to me, a doodle, lists of every imaginable type, and lettering practice sometimes.  If I art at all in my writing journal, (because I do not want to bulk it up more than it already is) I do not tip in additional art paper such as bristol or watercolor paper. I use what Tina put there. And because that paper is thin, I use one of these basic pen types that do not bleed through: A Sakura Gelly Roll, regular gel ink pens, Signo Uniball pens, PaperMate Flair pens or a Faber Castell Pitt pen.  If I add any additional color at all, it is almost always Prismacolor pencils, which live beside my recliner so they are easy to grab, relax and "color" when I finish my doodles or whatever. 

I have to admit, I have tried using some acrylic in there, but it wasn't successful and the page warping annoys me.  I also often highlight words within the writing with the colored pencil, or color block certain sections to draw me back to that day or thought.

Doodle on a paint chip tip-in flap
My daily writing journal is a place for me to unload the day, recap the day's events, highs and lows. I get to freely explore things about myself I need to address.  When the journal is all filled up, I will gesso over ALL THE WRITING and then add more art to it.  When I do this part, I will sometimes let some words peek through.  I know what's there. Nobody else needs to know.

I believe that what is written in my daily journal is generally for my eyes only, and rarely, if ever, for any type of public consumption.  I surely don't want to kick the bucket and have my family read all the entries for those "bad" days and the dark words that are sometimes there.  My journal is my healing place, my happy place. It is the one special world all my own, with no interaction with others and I can be brutally frank and honest with myself.  This type of writing is very cathartic for me.  So, all the more reason I add little quotes about positive "being."  I sometimes need those reminders to self.  Don't we all sometimes?  More times than not, I am journaling very late at night, just before retiring for the evening. Some doodles are wins, others are not.  But for me, it isn't about creating amazing art here. It's about relaxing. Unloading. Contemplation of the past, and hope for the future.
One of many lists!

So to continue, here's some more "peeks" at some of the random things that happen in my writing journal.  I don't mind sharing these with you, as a spark for your own journal. 

These snippets are just sometimes for the relaxing pleasure I derive from doodling, lettering practice, or just being creative and adding a little bit of color to my rantings. 

Sakura Gelly Roll and Prismacolor Pencils. Inspired by a printed tag made by Therese Ramsay I saw at an art show.

A not-so-successful doodle on a baby-wiped acrylic background.  But it was relaxing!

More Sunflowers-they are everywhere in my journal

Another quote on the bottom half of a day's writing that reminds me to let go of the small stuff and just don't sweat it.  I need daily reminders!

This page was an epic fail of painted on acrylic on that thin paper, then wiping off with a baby wipe.  The page is wavy, but there is color!

A little reminder at the bottom of a day's writing

Self-explanatory when it comes to who I am and what I drink....

<<A little "Scribble Art" I did the night after I finished my Artful Mail Groupies Scribble Art Swap.  These are fun to why not?

>> I try to keep myself centered with faith-based notes and quotes to myself.  These always seem to fit nicely on the art pages in this journal, and usually just take a few minutes.  Remember, I'm talking to myself...... not making quality art here. LOL

So there you  have it.  A few select items from the pages of my daily life out of my real "journaling" journal.  My reminders. My self-healing quotes.  Things I want to remember to reinforce in my life.  This writing journal is almost full, and soon ALL the pages will be prepped and ready for more art.  Maybe I will do a lot of collage in this one when it's all finished.  Lord knows I have plenty of papers, bits and bobs to create something else! You see I must create. Everywhere.

Keep color in your world, keep artful in your thoughts. And most of all, keep creating and let it all out!

~~Betty aka Arty Auntie

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #39 "Tea Time"

Tea Time... really?  And they (the other girls) are saying this to a die-hard coffee fiend?  Yes, they insisted.  Nobody griped about the prompt.  Except for my private, quiet gritching.  I made something snarky first, but thought.......nahhh.  Better not go there.  But it's in my journal.  Tea?  pfffffffft.  But in the spirit of going along and getting along, I pulled my mind out of the gutter and started over.  And my mind went straight to Alice in Wonderland.  I love that book. I love all the original drawings by John Tenniel.  I love everything about it.  So off I went.

I found the original drawings by Tenniel online and blew up the tea party scene and printed it out on 8.5" x 11" glossy photo paper.  I dragged out all my alcohol inks and a new packet of aqua brushes and my spritzer bottle of rubbing alcohol and got busy.  Oh what fun this was.  Not exactly like "coloring" and not exactly like "painting".  The alcohol ink goes on really smoothly on the photo paper and blends really nicely with a little dip of the tip in alcohol.  Whatever it was in the end, it was great, and I like how it turned out.  While working on this, I recalled this wonderful story and now I have a big smile on my face and the gritching is all gone.  Quote on a shaving foam background on 140 lb cold press watercolor paper with a bold Signo Uniball for the lettering.

Yes, Alice, we are ALL mad here.......

I hope you like what I did this week.  It surely put a smile on my face.  Be sure and go see the fun over on Melody and Shana's blogs, and as always, visit Artful Chicks to see Lynn's.

Have a very artful week, y'all.
~~Betty aka Arty Auntie

Sunday, September 20, 2015


We're thinking about fall this week, although it is still a long way off for us here in North Texas.  We don't have tons of trees that turn beautiful colors.  What we do have is continued hot weather and a drought, so leaves have been falling here all summer, and turning a crunchy, dead brown.  But those of you living where you have beautiful maples and birch trees and others that turn gorgeous shades during the fall, I am sure some of you are already enjoying nature's artful display.

Folks like myself have to create the beauty of autumnal leaves with the bold, warm colors of fall.  And that's exactly what I've done for myself.  I love "fall" in North Texas, although it is extremely short.  Our weather is most predictable during this time of year, we have cool evenings and moderate temperatures during the day.  This is when we go outside to play and work and enjoy a respite from the heat.

For my journal spread, I scraped on some Liquitex Basics in Raw Umber and enhanced with some Dylusions Spray ink in Melted Chocolate.  I used this fantastic advertisement for M&M's candies I saw in one of my new magazines.  If you look closely, you can see that someone has taken an inordinate amount of time and created those fun leaves wholly out of M&M's.  The minute I saw it, I knew I would be using it somehow, and today was the day.

I used some "found" letters to create the word "AUTUMN" down the left margin, and added the words with a Sakura Gelly pen in white.  All my white Signo Uniball pens with the bold tip are out of ink (more online retail therapy needed), so this was going to have to do today.  I added some loose silk fall leaves for additional interest.  The verse was something I was inspired by that I saw on Google.

The verse reads:
A lways catches me off guard 
U nwanted though it is not 
T rees turning color   
U topian weather  
M y favorite season   
N ever lasts long enough

So wherever you are, and wherever you may roam, I hope that you are able to enjoy the splendor of the autumnal art that Mother Nature will be displaying.

Make it a great week!


Monday, September 14, 2015

Artful Journeys, Week #37 "Let's Go to the Fair"

Fair season is here!  Yay!!   I love going to the fair, thinking about the fair, eating my way around the fair.  And yes, I love the exhibits and all the sights and sounds that make up the great State Fair of Texas.

The State Fair of Texas began in 1886 and has continued annually except for a few missing years during WWI and WWII.  It generally always starts the last Friday in September and runs for 24 days. During the run of the fair, there are over 2.5 million visitors, making it one of the highest attended fairs in the world.  The 80 acre grounds at historic Fair Park houses one of the greatest collections of art deco buildings in the world, that have been renovated to their full 1936 visual glory. Many are still undergoing structural renovations.  Fair Park houses the grand Hall of State, several museums, the aquarium, the State Fair Music Hall, Starplex and other attractions.  Many special events are held on the grounds throughout the year and Fair Park has undergone many changes, renovations and upgrades throughout the years.  The first Red River Rivaly (Texas-OU game) took place in 1929.

The Texas Star at night

We had the proud distinction of installing the largest ferris wheel in North America in 1985, known as the Texas Star. It is 212 feet tall, weighs in at 678,554 pounds, at an initial cost of $2.2 million dollars (Things are always bigger and better in Texas, aren't they?) Sadly, the Star of Puebla in Mexico installed in 2013 stands at 250 feet.

The fair hasn't gone by all these years without a few catastrophes, including the collapse of the gondolas (Swiss Sky Ride) in 1979 causing its total removal, several ride incidents, the removal in 1989 of the Texas Comet Roller Coaster that had been in place since 1947.

Debut of Big Tex, 1952
Fire - October 12, 2012

The biggest and saddest catastrophe of all was the fire that destroyed our beloved Big Tex on October 19, 2012. Texans loved and totally identified with Big Tex, who started his life as a big wire framed Santa Claus, but transformed to Big Tex in 1952 and was and still is a fixture at the entrance to the Midway.  Big Tex is a common meeting place to rendevous with friends and family and I would hazard to guess 100's of thousands of photographs have been taken there.

As a child, we couldn't wait until "fair day."  Admission tickets were (and still are) given to all school age children in the state to attend the annual State Fair of Texas.  My mother would take us, with picnic basket in hand.  Back in the day, buying a lot of fair food was just not economically feasible for my mother, but she labored diligently every year making a great picnic of fried chicken and all the trimmings. We would almost always have lunch on the grounds of the Hall of State building that is regal and currently houses a significant amount of historical artifacts for the State of Texas.  How she lugged around that heavy basket all day, in a dress, with heels on, I will never know. Thank goodness I never had to do that.

After joining the band in 7th grade, fair trips were always on the band bus until I graduated from high school. We played concerts at the Hall of State, and we always very disappointed if our time was scheduled for late in the day. We wanted to be one of the first bands to perform in the mornings so we could have the entire day to have fun with our friends.  Bands always marched in the Twilight Parade each evening, bringing a close to a long day of fun and merriment.

I have missed very few State Fairs in my lifetime.  When I was living overseas, and a few years here and there.  When my brother was working the parade with the Scottish Rite band, we would go every day and schedule our visits to exhibits throughout the entire run of the fair.  And our first stop was ALWAYS to the Fletcher Corny Dog stand.  Seems like nowadays, we are planning our visits around the grounds based on what food we want to try next.  And there is always something new and exciting to try.  Dieting during the fair is not an option.  Most everything we want, and we get, is your basic heart attack on a plate.  But it is so worth it.

What I did for my spread this week is based on my fondest memories of the fair.  The food, the rides, the exhibits, The Hall of State.  I tried making a spread all in black and white and shades of gray, but it just wasn't working for me.  So I gathered together some favorite vintage and new photographs and prepared this digital collage, that I have printed and added to my Canson mixed media journal. The background started as a vintage 1960's postcard that has been modified and of course added to and enhanced with some of my favorite fair images.

I hope you like what I prepared and that you will hop on over to see what Melody and Shana made this week too.

Here's hoping you get to go to a fair near you this fall.  I'm definitely making my annual sojourn to the Great State Fair of Texas in just a few short days.  The anticipation is killing me!

As always, keep it artful!


Sunday, September 6, 2015


At last things are slowing down a little from the summer chaos that has been my life lately.  For this I am extremely grateful, as my art life has been suffering substantially.

While my Muse still seems to be on somewhat of a vacation, I have forced myself over the last couple of weeks to create "something" every evening -- for the sake of creating and relaxing.  My first go-to is an Index Card (thanks to Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow for this little addiction) or my pocket journal because it seems lately there has been no time for major art creations.

I have a little Graphique pocket journal I picked up last year at David's Bridal of all places, (and it is almost full) but this little journal has great unlined paper that holds up very well to all sorts of wet and dry media without pilling.  I normally keep it in my purse, handy for a wait at the doctor's office, for an oil change, or easily pulled out of my purse while having some of that quality time in front of the television with the hubs.

Now, when it comes to actual "journaling" I have a special journal that I write in all the time, and it is never for public consumption.  Too much raw journaling in there I think for anyone but me to see. When my true "journals" get full, I gesso over every page, and then art them up.  I sure don't want to waste all that good paper!

Most of the single pages shown here are adjacent to journal entries in my pocket journal done in a modified "bullet" format, but with doodled captions about the day, the weather, perhaps our dinner or the days events. I often draw simple practice sketches there as well...because I need the practice.

Anywho, I can sit in the recliner with some of my favorite pens or colored pencils and doodle away, recap the day and usually I will get some more detailed "art" going on the adjacent page.  Here are a some I've done recently to show you.

Doodles with Signo Uniball pen and colored pencils

Testing out some new "Satin" Azalea pink and Neon Purple acrylic paints from Target.  The pink was really smooth and satiny when dry, and was easy to write on.  The purple had more of a grainy feel, but plenty smooth for writing.

 Practicing some official Zentangle patterns over some leftover paint swiped onto the page several days earlier.  The flowers were created using a modified version of the border leaf tangle

Doodly fish, creating after a Friday night dinner date for some marathon fish eating over at Lake Fork

More of that Azalea pink and Neon purple paint.  This time I was finger painting and dry brushing.  I love to document some of my favorite quotes in my pocket journal for inspiration

Another doodle-thon.  This particular starburst pattern was inspired by Tammy Garcia from a watercolor design she created. By focusing on the lines it helps my mind really relax. Plus, doing these official Zentangle designs and then shading them in helps me to master them. I'm still learning lots of these patterns

Pretty Coffee.  This particular evening I was having "pretty coffee" in one of my antique tea cups. I have collected antique cups and saucers most of my life, and having "pretty coffee" was something I shared with my Mother. We made a big deal out of selecting the evening's perfect cup/saucer and enjoying some flavored coffee or perhaps just some good strong coffee with a little Amaretto or Baileys.  You can thank her for my love of coffee, my propensity to collect many things, and most especially the tea cups.  My favorites are my Nippon footed cups.  A quick sketch with a Sakura Micron pen over leftover Peacock blue paint. Doodles shaded with Warm Gray Copic marker.

Monthly summation in my pocket journal.  At the end of each month, I like to think about the entire month and annotate the positive things that occurred.  I almost always "print" as opposed to cursive writing.  By doing so, I can linger over my thoughts and ingrain those memories into my mind while contemplating the events I am recording.  Then I generally doodle all over the page. This page was done with Sakura Micron pen and Prismacolor pencils.

More practice on my Dolly Pop Girls.  If you know anything about me, you know I love sunflowers. Big ones, little ones, arty ones.  I draw them all the time.  I paint them on anything I can.  They litter my art journals everywhere.  I can't help myself.  This little cutie version has leaves for her bangs (first time) and I like this much better since I just can't seem to master drawing hair.  

More line control practice.  Actually, I do this kind of thing quite often because I have carpal tunnel syndrome and benign tremors in both hands.  I notice the tremors the most when gripping a pen or something small, so this night, I was consciously and most determinedly holding my pen quite loosely while still trying to draw straight, connecting lines.

This page was a little late night, magazine clipping, collage fun.  Another leftover paint background with some fussy-cut images from a magazine advertisement and some "found poetry"

And the next night, more of the same.  My sister-in-law gives me all her People magazines, and for whatever reason, this night I was focused on the eyes in these mags.  Do you recognize any of these eyes?  Some are from very famous folks, others, not so much.....  But it was fun putting it together and then piecing some found poetry to go with it.

That's my late night life around here. Finding a few minutes to make something... anything that is creative, whether just for the practice, or just for fun and whimsy.  And these pages or little creations were just for me...... not in response for any prompts or for any purpose other than the sheer joy of putting pen, pencil and paint on paper.

As always, I'm doing my best to keep it artful!

~~Aunt Betty

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #36 "Travel Ad"

Our prompt for you this week at Artful Journeys is to create a travel ad for your dream destination.

I love to travel and spent most of my early adulthood doing just and traveling all over the world. I don't talk about it very much, not for any particular reason, it just doesn't come up that often. While I was extremely fortunate to be involved in a business that involved extravagant travel destinations around the world, Liechtenstein is one place I never got to go, and is on my bucket list of places I still want to visit.

The central European alpine region is stunning and holds a certain mystique with all the mountains, quaint villages, castles and history.  All of the things I love.  The alpine region around Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany holds some of the most spectacular views you can imagine. And this old flatlander from the dusty wilds of Texas has always been amazed at just the grandeur of it all.

So my travel ad this week is about Liechtenstein.  Line drawing with colorization and typography via PicMonkey.   I love how it turned out...and I hope you do too!  Playing with digital art is sometimes a challenge, but always interesting.

I wish you a blessed and wonderful week, and as always, keep it artful!