Art Journaling by 5’s, Session 3

Pattern.  Using stamps or stencils.

I used stamps.  I worked quickly, often cross-contaminating my ink pads (of which I have precious few) and was unhappy with the way the stamping turned out.  I went over every page with a stamp pad, inking the edges and adding color to the page.  I liked that much better.img_1398.jpgNow they all seem equally “grungy” which is what I like anyway.  This was a more difficult one, I think, because my pages are so textural my stamps wouldn’t really take on them.  But once I added the ink from the stamp pads to the page the images seemed to show up much more…Go figure.

Next session:  Focal Point



Journaling by 5’s, Session 2

Session 2:  Collage or recycled materials.

This annoyed me no end.

You cannot dry your pages within the time limit, so I laid waxed paper between the pages to prevent them from sticking together.  I only did one side of a two page layout, rather than try to collage the whole book.


I think when I do this again, I’ll use 20 separate sheets to work on, then add them to a journal.  That way you can lay them out to dry without them sticking together and ripping pages.  I just spent 45 minutes drying everything…

I began by gathering all kinds of scrap paper to collage into the book.  I had piles of tan, white, and metallic blue tissue papers, words and sayings tissue paper, doilies, napkins, kraft paper and book pages. I cleared everything unnecessary from my work table and got out my DIY mod podge, brush and gift card scraper.  Since I am making a 25 page journal rather than a 20 page book, I added 5 minutes to my time.  So I had to do 25 pages in 20 minutes.

I did it, then I went back through and glued the stuff down better than when I just whipped through it the first time.  I began drying the pages long before the timer went off and continued until they were all reasonably dry.

Next up:  Stamps/ Stencils


Art Journaling by 5’s

Here’s a challenge for today:  art journaling by 5’s.  The concept is simple,  you have 15 minutes to do 20 pages.  Each 15 minute segment is a spent on one of the sessions.  Here they are:

The five sessions  of Journaling by 5’s are

1 – background – apply Paint and/or ink: 20 pages in 15 minutes

2 – texture – collage recycled and/or other materials: 20 pages in 15 minutes

3 -Pattern – use stamps and/or stencils: 20 pages in 15 minutes

4 – focal – apply words and/or image as focal point: 20 pages in 15 minutes

5_ detail  – pen and/or ink: 20 pages in 15 minutes

when you’ve completed all 5 sessions you can go back and repeat any if you want.

When you have completed the sessions you have a completed art journal.  There is no time for fussy, detailed, or complicated things.  This is just get it down and get it done.

We begin with the art journal I made yesterday.  I used a composition book, glued four pages together and ended up with 25 pages for this particular art journal.  I will prep my pages with gesso prior to starting, because these pages are just lined writing paper rather than a heavier watercolor paper.

I suggest you gather your supplies ahead of time, making sure you have plenty to choose from.  There is no time to go searching for materials, since each page takes less than a minute to complete.  Since I have 25 pages, 50 1/2 pages, in this journal I will be adding 5 minutes to my time for completion of each session.

I began with Charvin Water-Soluble Pastel Painting Sticks.  I actually did every single page in the journal, each two-pager the same color so they were pressed together when wet.  First I took a stick and smeared it over the pages, each two page spread a different color.  Once each page had color on it, I went back through the journal with a large, wet paintbrush to liquefy the color.  I don’t consider drying your pages to be part of the time limit, so I began drying during the timed part and just continued after it went off.  I cannot let the pages stay wet in the journal, they would mold and stick together.

The backgrounds are really lovely.  Some of the prettiest I’ve made so far.  The variation of color over the gessoed pages is quite stunning.  Some of the pastels ran at the edges of the pages, which gives it a really lovely border-type look.

IMG_1396 (2)

Next up:  Texture and Collage

Get to Know Your Supplies: InkTense Pencils and Blocks

Inktense pencils and blocks are made by Derwent and are a unique medium.  They are a water-soluble material, but unlike other water-solubles these dry permanent and will not budge once they are dried completely.

You can use these pencils and blocks like any other water-soluble, which is wonderful and they dry permanently which is also wonderful.  I have found nothing like it in any other media on the market.

Most people recommend you begin with the pencils.  (I find I use the blocks more but I, too, recommend you start with the pencils.)  I sharpen my pencils with a knife, rather than a pencil sharpener, to save every bit of the color in the pencils.  You can use these as you would any other water color pencil.  The colors are vibrant and intense.  And it does not take much product to achieve stunningly rich color on your art work.  If you want light color, just use a light touch when coloring with them.  If you prefer darker colors, press harder for more color.

You can scribble some onto your craft mat or ceramic tile and add water.  You can paint with the wet color, press a stamp into it and stamp your work, use as a stain or dye on fabric, paper and trims.  I particularly like to use these for shadows and details on my work.  If you have a circle, for example, and add color to the interior edge you can wet the color and pull it out into your piece.  This gives you a darker color, fading to a lighter one.  Beautiful!

Begin lightly with your colors and add to them if you want darker values.  There are endless possibilities with these wonderful products.  The pencils can be purchased as open stock, which means individually.  So if you find yourself using one pencil all the time, you can purchase that pencil by itself rather than having to purchase an entire set.  This is great.  I find I go to the same colors again and again, but have not had to replace any of them yet.  These pencils last a very long time.

You can dampen the tip of the pencil and use with a paint brush-like you would color in a paint palette.  You can dampen the pencil tip and color things that way.  You can use them just as colored pencils and not wet them at all, although I feel that is not using the material to it’s full potential.  You can use them to correct or enhance your watercolor paintings.  You can whittle shavings from your pencil and add to distilled water for a spray ink.  You can scribble a piece of paper with the colors you’re using and use that paper as your palette.  ( I have made small water-soluble materials books for plein air work and travel.  They are terrific for carrying a lot of materials in a very small space.)

Inktense materials are not cheap.  In fact, I would consider them expensive and I saved a long time before purchasing them.  You know me-I will not recommend you spend money on something unless I think it is a really good investment.  The Inktense are worth every cent I spent on them.

Graphitint pencils by Derwent are also excellent.  This is a combination of graphite and color.  These colors are far more muted but become more vibrant once you add the water to them.  They are in no way as intense as the Inktense, but the colors are absolutely stunning.  You can do the same things with these pencils that you can do with the Inktense.  And once dry they don’t move either.  You can also buy these in open stock.

In both products, I have found nothing at all like them in any other medium.  They are unique and spectacular in every way.  I highly recommend both, although I don’t recommend the metallic pencils by Derwent.  Admittedly I only have two, but I find the metallic look pretty much disappears with water.  This is the only product by Derwent I have not been impressed with.

Derwent is a company from Britain.  They are outstanding in both products and customer service.  If you are looking for water-soluble media, I highly recommend Derwent.

Get to Know Your Supplies: Gelato Techniques

Here are some quick, easy techniques for use with Gelato’s, Portfolio Water-Soluble oil pastels, NeoColor II’s, Lyra Water-Soluble crayons, Reeves water-soluble crayons, Crayola Twist Stix’s, Tim Holtz Distress Crayons and any other water-soluble crayons or sticks.

  1.  Slice a chunk off the stick/crayon and put them into a cheap closing palette.  Put the chunks of each color in their own separate well.  Spritz with water to activate.  Use as a watercolors with a brush. Let palette dry before closing to make sure you don’t get mold.
  2. Slice a chunk off the stick/crayon.  Drop into spray bottle, fill with distilled water.  Shake well.  Now you have a spray.  You can add cheap Dollar Tree eyeshadows for shimmer.
  3. Put a chunk in a bottle with a dropper-add distilled water-and drop and drip over your art work.
  4. Stamp an image with waterproof ink.  Use your above mentioned paint palette and paint the image.
  5. Cover your background with color from your stick or crayon.  Lightly spritz with water, use your finger to blend and meld the colors at their edges. Apply a sealer-spray, gel medium (with a palette knife to prevent bleeding), something to seal the layer.
  6. Mix your color with mediums.  Slice a chunk from the stick, smash with your palette knife.  Mix into texture paste, gel medium, iridescent medium, mod podge, gesso, whatever mediums you have.  Apply to your art work.
  7. If you have colored a background with your crayon/stick of color, you can lay a stencil over top of that, use a baby wipe to remove the color beneath the stencil.  Now you have your stenciled image showing where you removed the color.
  8. Color around the edge of your page/project.  Dampen your finger and rub/smear the color inward.  This gives you greater color on the outside and it fades inward.
  9. Lay a stencil down.  Color the top of the stencil.  Use your damp finger to smear the color into the stencil pattern.
  10. Scribble, then blend and smear the colors to create water-color effect background.

The beauty of these materials is the ability to blend them easily with your finger or a brush.  (Oil based sticks often require the use of a solvent of some sort-gamsol, rubbing alcohol, goo gone, something like that.)  I will add more techniques as I think of them.  This is just a few, simple ways to use a more challenging medium.  The truth is you can use any of these above items as watercolor.  Just remember, they will reactivate with anything wet, so seal it before you go over it with something else.

Get To Know Your Supplies: Back To School Basics

Now is the time to stock up on commonly used supplies for your art practice.

Glue sticks, glue, pencils, ink pens, markers, paints, composition books, loose leaf paper, rulers, tape, air dry clay, you name it-it’s on sale now.

Glue sticks are wonderful temporary adhesive for art journaling. I wouldn’t use them as your only source of adhesive, but they work great to hold your pieces in place while you build your pages.  I always go over my pages with gel medium or clear gesso to seal them and I make sure the edges are secured on all my pieces.

Composition books make great art journals!  They are currently on sale in my area for fifty cents each.  The composition books have 100 lined pages per book.  I use DIY mod podge and a gift card scraper to glue 4 pages together.  This gives me an art journal with 25 thick pages to work on.  The glue adds to the heft of the pages, and they are ready for gesso and whatever else you want to add to them.  I made one this morning and it takes me about 45 minutes to glue all the pages together.  I put waxed paper between the pages while they are drying.  When I’ve finished gluing all the pages together I go back through the book and gently pull the pages from the waxed paper so they don’t stick.  Often there is a bit of paper stuck to the waxed paper, but that doesn’t bother me because it will all be covered.  The pages can become a bit wrinkled while you’re gluing them-again it does not bother me in the least, just adds texture which art journalers are all about anyway.  So for less than a dollar you have a nice sized art journal with 25 pages to work on.

Cheap markers are perfect for adding color to your art journal pages.  Use as they were intended, as markers.  Crayola markers can be smudged around for a short time after you lay down your color, which is perfect for art journaling.  Or color the marker onto your craft mat or a ceramic tile, add water and use.  Use with a paint brush, press a stamp into the puddle and stamp your images, dip paper, coffee filters, doilies, lace into the puddle and create one of a kind everything.  Mix colors to create your own unique ones.

Cheap White Glue can be used as is for mod podge.  I find the inexpensive Dollar Tree glue is runny enough to put into a container and use it exactly as it came from the bottle.  If you have thicker white glue, add distilled water to it to make it the consistency you want.

Colored Pencils can be found for .50 cents per package.  You can also find watercolor pencils cheap, cheap, cheap.  Both these items are staples in art journaling.  The colors might not be as vibrant as artist quality materials, but they will work for the same techniques.

File folders can be used for countless things in your art practice.  I use mine for tags, cards, make into art journals, use as the base for embellishments and pockets.  I was so fortunate to have been given at least a hundred used manila file folders.  I have used nearly all of them in my projects.

Crayons, air dry clay, craft paint, watercolors, etc are all on sale now and very useful to have.  I often use white crayon as a resist on my projects.  I’ve melted the crayons and made art pieces on canvas with them.  There is a lot you can do with kids crayons and art materials.  Air dry clay is one of my favorite things to make embellishments with.  You can press it into a mold and make all sorts of cool stuff.  Press a piece of jewelry into some and make a simple mold.  Craft paints are used in nearly all my art journal layouts.  They are perfect for all kinds of stuff and I really cannot go a day without using them.  Any watercolor pan palettes work for watercolor techniques, you can also find gouache’ paints (Reeves brand is my favorite) very inexpensively and they work for other watercolor techniques as well.  The gouache’s is opaque, sort of a mix between watercolor and tempera paints.  You can also buy (Reeves brand) water-soluble crayons, which gives you a wonderful, wide range of technique options.

White Correction Pens work well as white pens for art journaling.

Black stamp pads from the office supply area will also work in art journals for a fraction of the cost of the craft store kinds.

Printer Ink, which you can find in liquid form to refill your cartridges, is also on sale now.  These can be used to make your own spray inks.  Works great!

These are just some of the things you can find right now at a fraction of their usual price.  If you begin looking at things with an eye to how you can use it in your art practice, you’ll find you have a much larger, and often less expensive, selection to choose from.


The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

The first thing I did this morning was carry the stuff from the Art Market downstairs to the table I have set up for just that purpose.  Second trip down and I actually did just that.  I had the box of altered paint brushes on top of the tote I was carrying, along with a small pour painting.  The box with the brushes began to slip and I lunged to prevent it from falling.  Instead I missed the next step and careened down the stairs.  Now the tote, the box of paint brushes and the painting were in a heap beside me.

Other than wounded pride, nothing was seriously injured.  My spine and neck are quite stiff from the jarring when I landed, but there are no broken bones or anything like that.  My femur isn’t sticking out of my butt, thank goodness.

So I picked everything up and continued my day.

It began with recycled stamps.  I have done this many, many times in the past.  I could do it in my sleep, to be honest.  So what do I do?  Shoot molten lava hot glue onto my fingertip and under the nail.  Blisters, but that’s about it.  I continue.

Next is recycled paper flowers.  Not one single flower looked the way I wanted.  They all looked weird for some reason.  And this is another something I’ve done many, many times.  The flowers in this post were from a previous flower making session because I tossed everything else in complete frustration.

Last was the wonky houses.  I had made several last week, they just needed the details.  Do you think I can find them?  Absolutely not.  They have vanished completely.  I tore the workroom apart looking for them and they are no where to be seen.  Now my work room is in utter chaos and I started the wonky houses all over again.  These, too, did not turn out to my satisfaction.  However, they are finished which is something…

Between frustrating moments, I went upstairs to read a bit.  I am reading a book series recommended by my daughter.  The first book includes this woman being beaten to within an inch of her life, shipped off to some remote desert for further training, comes back and realizes she is in love with a guy she’s known since she was 6, and the wretched pig who beat her senseless takes all her money and spends it all on a woman she despises.  Now she’s living in poverty with her newly discovered love and he’s about to die.  Seriously, I can see this coming a mile away-he’s toast.

I hate it that I can always predict what’s going to happen in movies, TV and in books.  Hate it.

And I have to finish books-even the lousy ones-this one isn’t lousy, it’s actually really interesting.  I cannot leave a book in the middle.  Or in this case with two chapters left…It’s a series.  Which means I have six or seven books left to read.  Here are the things that have to happen at some point:  she gets revenge against the evil skum-bag who beat her and took all her money, she needs to find love with someone else and heal her broken heart, and she has to make it in life on her own-without dependence upon anyone but herself.  I am all about strong women who over come adversity.  In fact my book-the one I’m writing- is all about strength and overcoming all the crap life can throw at you.

This makes me want to get back to my writing, which I’ve neglected because I’ve been so busy making stuff.  Maybe tomorrow will be a writing day, rather than a make stuff day.  We shall see how I feel in the morning, and if I am even able to get out of bed.  The tumble has left me aching.


It’s All About Recycling, part 1

Today’s art is a few different uses for your recycling.  Right now I am making background stamps from scraps of fun foam and thick Styrofoam packaging from a computer part which arrive in the mail.  I am cutting the shapes from the fun foam, adding a daub of hot glue to the back of the shape and sticking it to the thick foam packaging.  You can also do this with heavy cardboard-just glue the shapes to that.  I have a drawer full of these types of stamps and I use them in art journaling all the time.  You can find shapes and patterns in copyright free images, print them out and copy to your fun foam.  Cut out the shapes and attach to your  Styrofoam or cardboard.

Earlier this morning I cut out flowers from junk mail.  You cut out the shapes, decorate them in whatever way you choose, and when they are all decorated you layer them on top of each other.  This makes your flower.  I cut a circle and draw the flower petals on the circle.  I try to make the petals an even number because I pull one petal over onto the next one and glue them together.  This gives your flower some shape, and I like the flower to have odd numbered petals.  I also roll the ends of the petals over a pencil to round them and give them some shape.  When my flower is layered to my satisfaction, I may attach it to a bamboo skewer which I may or may not paint.  Then I make leaves from junk mail and add them to the stem.  I like to decorate these too.  Now you have a flower on a stem which can hang out in any vase you have or make.  Otherwise I just attach the leaves to the bottom of the flower and use it that way.  You can use these delights as embellishments for your art journal covers or pages, as embellishments for tags, in flower arrangements, name tags for gifts, bows on gifts, as Christmas garland and ornaments, as jewelry pendants or pins, on frames, mirrors or lamp shades, to decorate hats, anywhere you would use a flower would be the place for these.

Third project for today is wonky houses.  I began these last week, but ran out of energy to complete them.  Using recycled boxes (cereal, macaroni and cheese, etc.).  I like to gesso the chipboard, dry, add color/texture/paper scraps to cover the chipboard.  Dry.  Then I flip the chipboard over and draw the wonky shapes on the back side.  I cut them out and you have the base for your wonky houses.  I often use a separate piece of chipboard and add modeling paste textures all over it.  Once dry I cut out the roof of the houses and the chimneys.

Today’s wonky houses began with gesso and paint.  I used the chipboard from a 12 x 12 package of patterned paper, gessoed and painted with three different colors.  The second piece is one of the manila file folders, gessoed then covered with tissue paper, music papers, book pages, and things like that.  I’ll use this to make the doors and windows for the houses. Then add them to the houses, let dry and doodle, paint, spatter, and anything else you can think of to do to the houses for decoration.  You can use these as art journal embellishments, tags, add to home decor projects, use as wall art, make an entire village and use as a Christmas village scene, use as ornaments, bookmarks, recipe cards, there are all sorts of things you can use these little cuties for.

Just a few more ways to use recycled materials in your art practice.



Art Market Experience

Laurie and I were both able to rent a booth at the Art Market.  Our information had not been processed but Laurie brought our applications and photographs with us to show the organizers.  They allowed it and we were in.

We set up our tables, beside each other, and prepared for the day.  The learning curve wasn’t that steep, thankfully, and we were able to jump right into the swing of things.  The lady in the booth next to me goes every week.  She mentioned this particular Sunday was unusually slow.  The word she used was “dead”.  This lady didn’t actually sell anything this past Sunday.

Nevertheless, both Laurie and I sold things.  Laurie sold several pair of socks and a beautiful shawl and I sold two watercolor paintings.  While this is very little given the huge amount of stuff we brought, it was still very gratifying to sell something our first time out.

We cannot attend next weeks Art Market, but will hopefully attend all the rest until the end of the season.  We were also told of other opportunities to bring our things to sales events.  One was focused on recycling and things made with recycled materials.  This is, of course, what I do.  I even came up with several more ideas while waiting for my treatments at U of M.  I sketched out my thoughts, wrote down others and was generally a creative “ball of fire”.

Scott and I stayed in a hotel last night near U of M and this morning went to Ikea (the only one in our state) which is near by.  I picked up another cart, which I find incredibly useful, and we walked around looking for display solutions for the Art Market booth. Because I have such an unusual collection of things, I need some rather interesting ways to display them.

It’s amazing what ideas will spark another and then another.  I would see something which was close to what I had in mind, but not quite…I’d explain my idea and Scott would either tell me why that wouldn’t work in the space or how he could make what I wanted.  Then Scott would come up with ideas on how to tweak my original thought to make it come apart and go together easily and store in a small tote, or make it hang from the upper bar of the booth, or something equally genius.  He’s the most talented man I know.

Laurie is the most talented woman I know.  (And now you know too.)

We spent a great deal of time discussing the art market and the booth and the other options available to us.  Because unless I sell enough stuff to afford the trip to Arizona in late December, first part of January-we are not going.  We cannot afford to take a trip at this time.  (Well, we can never afford to take a trip to be honest with you.  When we stay in a hotel it’s free.  Scott travels for work and earns points, which we use for the hotel room for the U of M visits.)  So my hope is to sell, sell, sell so we can check out Arizona.

I do have several new ideas and plans for new projects.  This week will be busy creating, creating, creating!  I will share everything with you.

And thank you so much for your encouraging words, thoughts and prayers.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me.  It gave me the strength to keep pushing through the challenges of pulling it all together.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The art market was a success; we got in, next to each other, and we both sold things-what more could we ask for?  It was perfect.


Today’s Art Challenges

include finishing up all the bits and pieces of all the things to bring to the Art Market tomorrow.  IMG_1373 (2)

Here are the finished people to go with the Hogwart’s Castle.  They are:  Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Neville, Dumbledore, McGonagal, Sirius, Snape, Voldemort, a Dementor, Hagrid and a Troll.  Dobby didn’t work out, impossible to make his ears stand out the way I wanted.

I was up until 4 a.m. getting things finished up.  I am completely exhausted, but feel good about my stuff.  There is a huge amount of it, so getting it out and into the public is a tremendous relief.  I don’t want to bring one thing home-so I’m pricing the stuff well.  Not so cheap people don’t think I respect my own work, but reasonably enough that people could buy something at a big box store for about the same price.  Only my stuff is art and that stuff is massed produced.  If a client is looking for a picture for their home, they can buy hand crafted art for the same price as one from Walmart or Target.

Well, Laurie just left with all our stuff packed into her SUV.  And it’s packed full!  Not a bit of extra room.

Here’s what happens now:  Since we haven’t heard back from the organizers of the Art Market yet, we will be bringing all our paperwork and applications along with us, proving we have applied and are just waiting for their word.  If they refuse us because the paperwork is pokey, we turn around and go back home.  Simple.  If they say we can go ahead and rent a space, we will unload, set up and hopefully sell everything we have brought along.

If that’s the case I will be equally as busy next week, re-stocking.

Here’s the updated list:

watercolor paintings, matted and in bags

watercolor cards

acrylic paintings

art journals


bohemian beads

altered paint palette

altered paint brushes

Hogwart’s Castle and play pieces

Wow!  That’s a lot of stuff!  My hope is there is enough variety to appeal to a wide range of people.  If I only sold acrylic paintings, only those interested in purchasing an acrylic painting would check out my stuff.  Now I can reach a far larger audience.

The real kicker is I need to be in Ann Arbor tomorrow night for a treatment Monday.  So immediately following the show, we will pack up and Laurie will head home.  Scott and I will head to Ann Arbor.  Erin will be home to help unload the stuff from the SUV.

Once at the hotel, we will relax in the hot tub, enjoy the pool and probably grab some dinner.  Head to the hospital in the morning.

It will be a busy day but, hopefully, worth our time and effort.  If not, there’s always next week.