Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I'm having a delightful time working in the art journal today. It is so easy to lose myself and the sense of time in these pages. (Using the Stillman & Birn Alpha series.)

Update, February 28th: I happened to choose the word "honor" to focus on this year and then Dawn decided the February challenge for Dawn's Journal Journey (see her badge in left side bar) would be to choose a word for the year and create a journal spread based on that. Must've known what you were thinking Dawn. These pages worked perfectly for that.


January Journal Theme: NEW!

Hey, the January Journal theme for "Dawn's Journal Journey" and "Zinnia's Journal Journey" is the same: NEW!  So I am using this spread for both. The text reads: I give thanks for the years gone by and open the door to a new year. Every new year offers the delight of new ideas.

Basic Process:

-The sketchbook is a Stillman & Birn Alpha Series.

-Spread color with Yarka watercolors using a brush.. any colors I felt like. No plans.

-Spread bits of colors here and there using a charge card and Golden's fluid acrylics. Again no real plans.

-Spread Gesso with card, then smooth a bit with a foam brush. I applied gesso to the two center areas of page. Two coats. Don't let dry inbetween coats.

-Hurry! Before it can dry write text or draw images into wet gesso with a ballpoint pen that doesn't write anymore. Wipe tip of pen free of gesso periodically so you get a clean line. The colors of paint beneath the gesso show through.

-Dry gessoed areas with heat gun, then add Golden fluid acrylic paints with your finger and wipe with paper towel, and rub extra paint into marks of writing as you wish. Wipe bits of areas with a damp towel so it takes more color. I used Raw Umber,Van Dyke Brown, and Burnt Umber Light.

-Use Goldens Molding paste to apply numbers, letters, or other shapes with stencils. Dry with heat gun. Iused metal stencils: number 4 and the letter D

-Add some splashes of iridescent colors (Goldens fluid acrylics) as you wish. I used Iridescent Copper (fine) and Iridescent Silver (fine).

- The stripes of color are added with W&N inks and a soft brush. Also add ink color to the stenciled paste, and any other areas on your pages to help blend it all together. I used white, ultramarine blue, sunshine yellow, violet and green.

- Use a PITT Graphite Pure 9B pencil (Faber-Castell) to shade stenciled paste areas and to outline face details. Use this pencil in certain parts of your lettering that you want to stand out, too. For example, I may only trace one or two letters of a word.

-Use a soft brush to swipe areas with the W&N white ink. Then gently wipe with a paper towel. This helps blend and softens areas where maybe the paint color was too bold.

-And last, use Caran D'ache oil pastels to highlight face and background colors to pull it all together and to add shadows or highlights. Use your fingers to blend.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Balancing Creative Life and Day Job in the Studio

I have set up different work stations in my studio. It keeps me focused and helps me to balance the creative life with a full-time day job. I only buy antique or vintage pieces to work at and to store items in (except for those plastic containers holding supplies in my drawers). I always have more than one art project going, plus I write. I would loose time and focus if I didn't pre-set areas specific to a project to work in. For example, I'm currently taking the PEZ Totem altering class with Michael DeMeng. Before the class started I set up this area. This is an antique writing desk. The top piece where the paint is will flip forward to add a work table if I like. I have set out the paints, dremel, pliers, etc that I will use. I tend not to create if I have to go hunt down supplies or materials. You can see the start of a PEZ creature to the left.

The bottom of this piece has a big open space and some cubbies perfect for holding Dap, compound, medium, molding paste, Aves Apoxy, etc. I can wallk in from work and sit down and start working without hesitation. If I had to spend twenty minutes setting up I may lose the power of wanting to create.

Here is one of my favorite flea market finds for the studio. A rusty carrier. You can see how divine it is to hold my jars for water. And it makes it easy to carry to the kitchen to clean and refill. Something like this makes it fun to rinse my brushes.

This is my favorite chair in my studio. Technically it isn't mine. It is my daughters. Hopefully I can buy it from her...but I doubt it because she used it during college years in a studio. This is another station. I tend to sit here to do watercolor work...right now it is illustrations for my book. This is an old table I got at a yard sale. See the green garden door? I have some old wire shelves that I will attach to this to hold watercolor journals. The stone column to the right of the table holds that rusty carrier with the water jars. I tend to move those jars around to where I happen to be working. (Another good reason the jars are in a carrier.)

 Come back to visit for some more peeks into my studio. I want to show you more of the old pieces I use.


Studio Organization

It seems January is a good time to clear out and maybe rearrange in the house...especially in the studio. Easy way to keep supplies organized in these drawers with plastic, hinged-lid boxes.

Pens of all sorts. This drawer will hold ten containers. More photos to come on how I organize all those art supplies.


Studio Organization

This is an old piece I primarily work at in my studio. It has twelve deep drawers that help me stay organized and plenty of space on top to create on.

I found these plastic containers in three sizes at Pat Catans. I use two of the sizes. I can easilystack them in the drawers. They have a hinged lid that flips up. When I need something I pull open a drawer and work from the supply box right there, or I may pull the container out and set it on the work space. Typically I hate plastic but the "see through" option was necessary if I'm going to stash supplies away in a drawer. Here is a container with bookbinding supplies.

This drawer holds inks, glitter, pan pastels, etc. The bottom container has tubes of watercolor and gouache. See the smaller containers in the front? I can stack four of these. I can keep like items in one container.

A drawer for paints.

I have two large containers in this drawer. One for colored pencils. The other for pastel pencils. Upfront I have eight small containers holding watersoluable crayons, oil crayons, pastels, charcoal, etc. I always know where things are. I like that I don't have to stop creating to look for something.