Reasons Why

My last post was February 21 of this year. On February 24th my dear father was diagnosed with primary liver cancer. Since then much has happened in my life. I've been teaching, visiting colleges with my youngest son, welcoming my middle son back from a semester in India, visiting my father in Boulder, CO, attending the commencement ceremony at University of Maine that presented him with an honorary doctorate degree for his work establishing Hospice care in the United States. I gave the keynote speech at the Michigan Hand-weavers Association's conference at Hope College. And alongside my step mother I helped my father step over to the other side. Since June 16th I have been grieving. They tell me it will take a long time before I can even begin to not miss his weekly phone calls, his stories of the past and predictions for the future, his advise, his care and his love.

But I can start to step away from the darkness by making an art journal entry and posting it here to share with you.

This spread started when I decided to try using one of my detailed stencils with pan pastels. It worked so much better then I had thought but of course it changed and morphed in such a way that those initial images are now completely cover.

This is the stencil I used. For materials I used pan pastels, Golden fluid acrylics, pages from an old telephone book and a Montana acrylic paint marker. The paint marker is new to me. I only bought one to try it out. So hence the blue lines. I loved using it and love the results.


Full page spread

Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view and thanks for looking. I am thinking that because each individual page I make goes through so many changes before being completed that I will try at some point soon to start video taping the process.

New Pens and a Marker.

Oh my gosh - here I am!

This was a doodle around page for me. It was a reject page to begin with. In other words, a page I had already started but was not particularly happy with it. So I over painted. But also I wanted an opportunity to try these 2 new pens and marker. Pens and markers had never really been my tools of choice but so much technology has happened to them over the last decade that I find there are some great products out there.

This is the 2 page spread

2 page spread

Hand carved CherScapes (that's me!) stamp

CherScapes (Me again!) Stencil

This is a list of the products I used to create this spread.

Pitt Artist Metallic Pen 1/Pkg-Copper

Uni Gel Ballpoint Pen Uni-Ball Signo Bold 1.0mm Gold (UM153.25)

Speedball Speedy-Cut Block 4 X 5.5 Speedball Speedy-Cut Block 4 X 5.5

Pitt Artist Big Brush Pen 1/Pkg

Moleskine Classic Notebook, Extra Large, Plain, Black, Soft Cover (7.5 x 10) (Classic Notebooks)

Fw Acrylic Artists Ink 1 Oz Prussian Blue

Page Review

Sometimes it happens that I think a page in my art journal is finished. I may be so sure that I will even put a completion date on it. But often, when I flip back through the journal I see a page entry with fresh eyes.

This is what happened with this entry from August of this year.

It seemed very graphic and "urban" to me. So I really liked it for those reasons. But I also didn't like it for the very same reasons! Man, can't a girl get it right?!?!

Fast forward to today and this is what I have now.

The two page spread

After a little bit of white paint and some pencil drawing this is the real finished spread. It still looks graphic and "urban" (whatever that really means!). But it feels more like me.

Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view.

Fun Foam Goes Retro!

So this isn't really from my art journal. But it could have been!

One day I was fooling around with my stamps getting ready for a week long workshop I was about to teach. Before a new workshop I always like to bring something new that I have created, even if it is a workshop I have taught many times.

I have had these stamps for a few years now. I made them out of Craft Foam or sometimes known as Fun Foam, but never really used them. I always thought they were kind of weird. When I made them I was trying to see if one could cut the foam with scissors in a kind of free form method. That part worked out just fine. But I never really liked them. Never even used them!

So I took them out when I was packing up. I had just packed my stamping sketch book, but I hauled it out of the box and grabbed a couple of Ancient Page stamp pads. I love what happened. Sometimes the best things come about when you aren't really taking yourself very seriously.

Anyway they look very retro to me. I can't wait to use them as a new fat quarter design!

 These are the stamps. They are so uninspiring, don't you think?
But now I love them!

The little blue grid stamp was actually one of my students. She was stamping blue ink to try it out and I saw that it was just the thing I needed!

Working Within a Square

I recently came across a rubber carving block called Moo Carve. I was attracted to them because they are square. I know that sounds funny but sometimes you just want a perfect square!

While I was away at my last teaching gig I decided to try my hand at a stamping block carving that utilizes the corners for a repeat. And although this little experiment isn't over, I do see potential.

As far as the Moo Carve product goes I am still unsure. At first I thought it was a bit rubbery or stretchy to carve into but dosen't crumble - even a little bit. However, the surface of the stamp has little tiny scratches in it. I haven't weighed in yet on whether that is a bad thing or a good thing. The scratches show up when you use ink pads but not with textile paint.

Here is what I did with it in my art journal. We'll see where it takes me.

If you would like to read about how this blog got started click here.

While Away

While I was away teaching for the week at the Fletcher Farm Art School in Ludlow, VT I had time to work in my art journal.

Inspired by my students, I carved a few new stamps and took out a stencil. This is what I came up with.
I added the little bit of turquoise when I get hone.

Remember to click on the images for a larger view.

For whatever reason the textile paints used directly on the paper (without gesso) leave a rough and matt
finish. It almost looks like the surface of stucco. I am not sure why that happens but I love the results.
I'm thinking this would make a great fat quarter design.

What do you think?

Using Stencils for Layout and Design

A few months back I purchased a Cameo Silhouette die cutting machine for stencil cutting. I started with some basic shapes to get the hang of it all. So of course my beloved pear found its way in. I used it for this page of my art journal. I used the stencil to map out the basic shapes and layout, then I did my own sketchy/collagey thing.

I used left over fabric paints, pencil, Golden Fluid Acrylics, old postage stamps, a few pieces from my written journal and some snippets of paper I found nestled in with the postage stamps.

Click on the images for a larger view.

I'm linking this post with Off Friday The Wall.
Check out what some other artists have been up to.

New Page!

One of the things I love about working in my art journal is the fact that I don't have to stay true to my style (whatever that is!). It gives me a chance to breathe, have fun and just doodle around. New things happen. Exciting things happen! I let myself try out new tools and mediums as well.

Soooo, I am just loving this page! Now if only I could figure out how to make it large and with fabric?! 

Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view!

If you would like to see my latest art quilt project click here.

Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do here. Although I haven't been doing much posting I have still be hard at work in my journal except for my vacation week when I gave my brain a break from everything.

This one is dated January 6th, but I never posted it. I kept thinking that I would add a little hand drawn butterfly to the blank area on the middle left. I may still - but until then it is time to post it as it is now and has been for the last 5 months.

Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view.

I realize now that I forgot to photograph the materials I used.
I'll do that tomorrow.
Until then my list of supplies is:
hand cut stamps, butterfly postage stamps, juice from a used tea bag and pieces of
writing from an old written journal of mine.

If you'd like to learn about my history of journaling and art journal keeping please click here.

To see my latest art quilt project click here.

I thought I would try photographing outside on the deck this time.

I have a busy day today so I will just leave you with the images of a finished Art Journal page.

I used pencil, Golden Fluid Acrylics, Ancient Page stamp pad with my hand carved stamp, 
and of course,
torn pages from an old written journal.
I like the rough and heavily textured aspects of this page.

Don't forget that you can click on the images for a larger view.

So I have already dated this art journal entry,
but it may not be quite done.
If you scroll down to the post before this one you can see what it looked like.

And although I love this, 
I see how much spontaneity and movement I painted over.

I may just leave this one alone
 and work on a new entry with similar brush strokes to how this one began.
Then see how I might find the calm without sacrificing energy.

I used Golden Fluid Acrylics, a hand cut stamp with Ancient Page ink stamp pad,
 several postage stamps and pieces from my old written journal.
I'm thinking it needs just a bit of pencil line work.

Any thoughts?

...started a new page.
There are a couple of pages still unfinished,
but because this journal doesn't have any rules,
 I can start a new page whenever I want!

Not too long ago I splurged and bought myself some Golden Fluid Acrylics.
So I am trying them out.
Even if you use them without any medium they have a wonderful luminous quality.
They are buttery and so fluid.

I am not quite sure yet how I will incorporate the torn pages from my written journal.
I'll keep you posted!

I have linked this page up with Off the Wall Friday
where you can look at what other fiber artists are up to this week.

See you next wednesday!

...been working on this spread for a number of days.
15 minutes a day.
the cream colored paper is working against me here, so I am adding a lot of white.

Art Journal Post February 8,2014 ??

Yesterday, in my hast I accidentally posted this on my regular blog. 
Here it is:

So I thought this page was done on January 26th.
But I guess not.
Click here to see what it looked like before today.
Perhaps it was better then.
But I must move on. 
This is what I do - continue to work on a piece until it is just perfect.
But this is my journal. It is about progression and doing.
I am supposed to just move on.
And so it goes...

However, I see from all this travel back and forth between blogs and 
back and forth in my journal that I may just not be able to leave this page alone 
until I feel good about it.

I'll let you know what happens.

Art Journal Page January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014

This journal page was a bit of a surprise.
While using up some left over lumiere textile paint 
on a blank journal page several days ago,
 I discovered how beautiful it is on paper.

The paper fully absorbs the paint rendering the surface matt 
while still retaining the inherent luminosity of the paint.

So this time I purposefully painted some of Jacquard Pearl Turquoise Lumiere textile paint
on a blank page in my journal.
The rest came so quickly and easily I barely had time to enjoy the process.

After the background turquoise was painted
I used my stamp a few times.
Then I added some stencil work but it was horrible!
So I added the white Golden acrylic paint by scrubbing the brush
with a small amount of paint to cover up the stencil work.
I used it almost like a dry brush technique.
I loved the movement it created.

I added the pencil marks and tiny little pieces torn from my old writing journals.

I loved how simple, fresh and alive it looked.
The whole thing barely took 10 minutes.

And sometimes that's just the way it is.

Remember to click on the images for a larger view!

January 26, 2014

Journal Page January 22, 2014

The stamp at the top left hand corner has always been one of my favorites.
I carved the original one years ago but it had become brittle and crumbly.
I finally cut a new one this past week and am so happy to have it back in my repertoire
of stamp images.

I think I did this page over a 3 day period.
It started with some left over Jacquard Lumiere paint before I washed out my brushes.

So here we are at my desk.

Click on any of the images to get a larger view.

If you'd like to read about my own personal history of journaling click here.
See you tomorrow!

This posting has been share with Off the Wall Fridays. Check out what other creative people are doing there!

My History of Journal Keeping

Many years ago I kept both a written journal and what I called an art journal.

Entries were made in the written journal in the evenings until
I read Julie Cameron's book "The Artist's Way."
At that time I took up her recommended practice of keeping morning pages. 
This meant writing in the morning - before doing anything else except
maybe brushing your teeth and starting the coffee brewing.

The practice ended when the demands of motherhood started my days in the wee hours of the morning.
But during the years I wrote my morning pages my life was transformed.
Why was this?
Because when you write at the end of the day you tend to write about the day.
It makes sense.
But if you write first thing, before you do ANYTHING else your mind is clear, an open book as the saying goes.
The idea is to simply write three pages long hand every morning.
It doesn't even matter really what you write. 
If all you can think of is your to do list for the day,
you simply write that, as long as you fill up three pages.
It took me about half an hour. 
But the impact it had on my day was monumental.
I felt that it grounded me some how.
It gave me the power to move forward and tackle anything. 
It made me start my day as a thinking person instead of simply a feeling/doing person.
And as it turned out,
 I soon discovered that many of my dilemmas were worked out with ease and relative calm.

The art journal was a sketchpad.
I started keeping one in my high school years, carrying it with me wherever I went.
It was a place to draw in during the day,
write some poetry or jot done some notes about an art piece I had rambling around in my head.

Now a days I have several notebooks that I keep.
For now the morning papers will have to wait until I suffer from empty nest syndrome.
But the other note books have been solid for quite sometime.
I also have a brand new one that I am quite excited about.

One notebook/sketchbook is mostly an idea journal.
It has notes and drawings of art pieces I want to create.
It also has images I have cut from magazines and printed out from the internet.
Sometimes those images represent color palettes I am intrigued with.
Sometimes I have the work of other artists who have inspired me.
This book is your standard hard backed, black spiral sketchbook.

Another book I keep is in a spiral bound "Stonehenge" sketchbook.
I like this book because it has 90lb paper in it.
I use this book to draw and paint elements I might use in another piece.
Elements I might print out on fabric and incorporate into an art quilt or 
perhaps make into pillows for my Etsy site.
Because it is spiral bound I can easily take out the pages and scan them into my computer,
then reinsert them

You might wonder why not just use piece of 90lb paper.
This would be a point well taken except that I have found that working in a spiral notebook
is less formal then a single sheet of beautiful white paper and thus 
less restrictive.
I am not apposed to working on a single sheet of white paper for a piece of finished work.
But this note book is for elements - visual inventory if you will,
to use on or incorporate into other finished pieces.

(Once a collage artist, always a collage artist I guess.)

I have another blank sketchbook that is suppose to house patterns.
I have been really interested in how fabric collections and patterns come to be 
and thought this sketchbook would be a place to put my patterns.
It is still empty, but I am hopeful!

The journal I am most excited about right now is a direct result of all the art journaling
that has become such a craze!
I am calling this my art journal. But it is predominately only visual.
Not too long ago I was thinking about all those notebooks I have 
with many years worth of morning papers in them. 
I didn't want to throw them out.
But really didn't see a need to keep them.
I definitely didn't want to leave them to my children one day.
I got to thinking about all those words that needed to be written, 
that sometimes even begged to be written,
but really don't need to be read - at all.

Last December, while out Christmas shopping I bought myself a large (8.25" x 11")
moleskin notebook.
This is my art journal.
I am taking pages from the notebooks of my morning papers,
tearing and cutting them up,
then using them as elements on a page that may be painted and drawn on.
I love painting right across the stitched spine.
I love that the pages can't come out!
I love that this is just about this sketchbook.
It isn't meant for, or to be anything else.
I am letting myself use elements and bits and pieces of things that I did not create. 
Such as old papers and stamps, a snippet of someone else's hand writing.
I am also letting myself use imagery that may not really be all that sophisticated after all. 
Trained as a painter at one of the most highly acclaimed fine art schools in the country
I have dragged around with me throughout my life 
an attitude about what is and is not fine art worthy.

The point of all these words in this blog format
 is that I am going to share the contents of this notebook with whoever is interested. 
(I may even share the contents of some of the others as well.)
None of the pages are completed in one sitting.
Many are done over several 10 minute to half hour intervals.
Some of the pages are started simply by using up bits of paint on brushes and palettes
from another project before washing everything out.
NONE of them started with a plan.

The idea is that I do a little bit in this journal every day.
But the reality is that some days I do a little bit,
some days I do a lot,
some days I do too much,
and some days I don't enter anything.
Everything is dated the day it was completed.

So here we go.
If you are still reading this THANK YOU!

I have a little catching up to do.

This is dated Dec. 20, 2013.

It has fabric with my image printed on it,
old postage stamps, bits of old envelopes, stamping, drawing,
gold leaf, an ink jet print of an older piece of mine and acrylic paint.

Click on the images for a larger view.