Friday, October 17, 2014

Creative Borders...

Note: If you are looking for Journal 365 information, please click on the menu tab 'Journal 365' above.

Creative Borders
Here is one of my favorite techniques for making borders.
I start with a page in my journal that I've painted with a variety of layers.
Then, from another journal, I make color copies of a few pages. I use pages that have a lot of detail, color and texture. Cut or tear the pages into strips to use as border designs.
First, I place an image, using staples rather than gel medium, and a quote into the center of the page.

Then, I glued the cut strips around the edge of my page, and added another contrasting paper.
Needing to draw the focus inward more, I added a simple border with a white Sharpie poster pen, creating the perfect finishing touch.

Having used the color copies from other journal pages helped pull together this page fairly quickly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Organizing all those small bits of paper

If you're like me, when you're journaling on a daily basis (especially in a small format) you end up with lots of small pieces of paper stacked in a pile along side your other materials. Eventually you don't know what's buried there.

Inspired by a display I saw at The Arts Center here in Corvallis, Oregon, I made a similar display with an old book and then put it to good use. After folding all the pages in half, I had a place to put all those bits and pieces of paper so that I could see what I had. Easy breezy, and a bit more suited to my aesthetic tastes than a plastic box.
You recognize the design. (Remember Readers Digest Xmas Tree decorations in the 70's?) Take any book with a few hundred pages and fold them in half to create this delightful tool to organize bits of paper.

Preparing for my Journal 365: a page a day project, I pre-cut a bunch of paper to size. I then cradled them in between the empty covers of a hand-made journal that I found at Goodwill. The stand that holds the book is one I made from a piece of card stock. Now I can just grab a page and go! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Journal 365- First meeting date is set!

I'm very excited at the soft launching of Journal 365:a page a day! The response has been very positive. And we have our first meeting date set;

Saturday, October 25, 2-4pm at The Arts Center in Corvallis, Oregon.

the new flyer...

Come if you can and bring friends! Meeting is free to members of The Arts Center ($35/year), or $4/meeting for non-members. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Leaf Skeletons

This week I have been busy! I am designing a new community project that should be ready to launch by this weekend, so stay tuned.

But I have also been experimenting with making leaf skeletons to include into my journal pages. My experience so far is that is will always be an experiment as the outcome or success of each leaf doesn't seem to be entirely predictable. And I apologize that the photos aren't very clear, but you'll get the gist.

Start by boiling thick, heavy, wax coated leaves in 4 cups of water and 3/4 cups of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (NOT baking soda) for 1.5-2 hours.  I used Bay leaves from a volunteer tree in our back yard, Laurel and Ivy leaves. Then rinse and lay in a plate with a bit of water to keep the leaves moist. Now the tricky part. Using your fingernail, start scraping away the pulp from the top side of the leave, careful not to tear through the fine veins underneath. It's a tad tedious. Rinse the plate and leaves often so that you can see what you're doing. 
Then turn the leaf over and scrape the finer, thinner membrane off the underside. This is much easier to do that the top part. You'll notice that I haven't scraped the leaf completely clean, I find leaving some of the pulp on makes the leaf more interesting for using in journaling.
These 2 leaves I air-dried overnight. I just re-dampen them and place them in a book to press them flat. 
These are my some of my favorites. At different times of the scraping process I laid them in bleach. I watched them so that they didn't become completely white, then rinsed and continued scraping. I LOVE the varigated results. The 3rd leaf from the left has ONLY had the back membrane removed, then put in bleach then pressed. I didn't remove any of the top pulp.

Let me know about your results! Oh, and of course, I had to use one immediately...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sketchbooks large and small

I do love sketchbooks and notebooks of all sorts whether they are handmade or commercially produced. I tend to gravitate to the medium size for both art journaling and travel journaling, somewhere around 5x9 inches.

My go-to notebook for this summer was the smallest yet. It was a beautiful, Rhodia 2"x3". The pages were coated and smooth, perfect for pen and colored pencil. I used it strictly for sketching wild flowers around Oregon in the early spring and summer. But I usually have 3-4 notebooks active at all times. Some are better for watercolor washes with heavier weight paper, and others are for everyday writing and tracking details about daily events, like the Moleskine below.

More in Black and White

The above two sketches were done with a slightly new technique. First, I sketch the scene with a line drawing. Then I filled a watercolor paintbrush with diluted India Ink (because it's what I had) and painted in the values. Straight from the brush was a medium gray. To get it lighter I rubbed it out with my finger or used water. To made a darker shade, I waited until it dried and layers more black ink. The minimal use of color was added last. This process is a great study in finding value, light to dark. (The notebook used was my everyday moleskine, 3.5x5 in, lined light weight paper, pen was Pilot Precise .5, w/c Cotman travel set)

Hydrangia in layers

This shows the layering process starting with a simple line drawing, then adding watercolor and colored pencils. I chose to use more realistic colors, but another option would have been to use arbitrary colors, a more playful, whimsical approach.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Students share their Map a Day pages

A sampling of stories from our Map a Day class last week. If others from the class have one to share, just email a photo to me, I'll put it up. It would be fun to post them all!
By Karelia Stetz-Waters

By Pauline Conn

By Denise Zipp

By Chris Fegles

By Emily Lawton

Journal page by Robin Havenick. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Minimalist

Sometimes every ounce matters and you need to downsize your travel journal even more. For the 3 day backpacking trip to South Sisters, I chose to bring a very thin, small 3"x5" notebook, one pen and a few colored pencils in a ziplock bag. 

I choose to only use the 'Map a Day' style of journaling as stopping to sketch was unrealistic atop a mountain in the chilly wind. I waited to illustrate my story when I was snuggled warm in my tent. 

I admit, the challenge for me was to be drawing cartoon style images out of my head. But the end result is so playful and quite humorous. And it certainly tells my story! Like anything new, practice will make it easier. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Self Portraits

This week's challenge-do a self portrait. Use either a mirror or even an old photograph pulled up on the computer. High five to anyone who does it!

Map a Day

A fun and easy way to capture the day's events. Keep the sketches simple, spontaneous, and small (the size of a half dollar). Make it easy to follow by using words, arrows or lines between the images. 

I plan to post some of the 'Map a Day' pages from students in this evening's class when we gather next week. However I did a mini page myself (3"x5") after I finished packing for a backpacking trip to South Sisters, Oregon. 
Fun or what! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pen and Ink continued

Notice 2 different pen sizes used (.5, .7). Also study the use of cross-hatching to create form and contrast.

This is how one learns to make consistent lines. Fill a page! Extra credit to those who take it on! (Ok, extra cookie perhaps)


Edward Gorey technique inspired. 

More playing with line (and pen sizes). 

And another page of line play! Some days you just have to explore the pen and how you use it. 

Pen and Ink

As promised I am posting a handful of black/ white pen and ink sketches from one of my notebooks. Use them to learn various ways of playing with pen and ink. It also allows me to learn how to use my blogging app while I'm traveling!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Travel Journaling

It's summer, finally, and for me that means it's Travel Journal time. I put away the multitude of supplies that I use for the Art journaling, and simplify, simplify, simplify. I also move the studio outside and work in the sun as well as the shade of the back deck and trees.

The summer term for Travel Journaling at Linn-Benton Community College, Benton Center has begun! We meet on Wednesday evenings to sketch. I line up students willing to open their backyards and gardens to the class and we gather at a different yard every week to work-I mean play! If you've ever wanted to learn simple techniques for sketching when on the road, this is a great class to take.

Week #1 and #2 we learned about supplies to travel with, the ins and outs of journals, learning how to sketch on the fly, and colored pencils. Whew, that was a lot of information in only 2 classes. But hang in there, we get the rest of the summer to make it all work together.

This was week #3 and we worked with watercolors, the last of the 3 basic supplies used for traveling (the others being good pens and colored pencils-and a journal of course).  I'm posting photos of an exercise we did to explore the relationship between the brush, the pigment, the paper, ink pens and colored pencils. The end goal was to have 4 variations of one picture; pen and ink on white, pen/ink w/watercolor, pen/ink over wash with watercolor, and finally, pen/ink, wash, watercolor and colored pencil.
Using a piece of watercolor paper (this is Fabriano, #140 lb hot press-It's smooooth to the touch and lovely to sketch on), I sketched 2 similar images side by side using semi-blind contour method. Be sure each sketch has some overlapping images. My goal is to have multiple sections to paint in. And yes, you see a sewing stitch down the middle. I attached two pieces left over from tearing up a larger 20"x30" sheet of paper. It's a thing I do... 
Leave the image on the left side as a black and white pen ink drawing. There is power in simplicity and sometimes a sketch looks the best leaving it just as is. In the sketch on the right side I'm using Caran d'Ache water color crayons.  I start applying pigment to each section. The brush I'm using has a water reservoir (wow, say that 10 times quickly). Great for traveling. I don't take the crayons out of the box, I just load up the brush directly. 
Layer color in lightly, allow to dry, then reapply with other colors to create depth and contrast.  My basic rule: Change colors at every line. Depending on the pen, the paper, drying time and the position of the planets, you may find that the ink line bleeds. Let it. Embrace it. Or change the pen you're using. I love mine (Pilot Precise, 1, .07, .05). Sometimes they bleed, sometimes they don't. It's the only pen that can keep up with the speed in which I sketch and not 'skip'.

Turn the paper over. I'm now using a large Sumi brush and my travel watercolor kit. With plenty of water on the brush and only 2-3 colors, quickly brush on a light layer of  color. This should be done quickly with LOTS of water as the paper is absorbing it almost faster than you can apply it and you don't want to have unsightly, over-worked brush marks. It should look loose, varied and light. Splatter it with remaining pigment in your brush by hitting it on the back of your knuckles for a bit of texture. Allow to dry completely. 

Now, again, sketch 2 designs side by side. Go ahead and add another leaf or flower  to add complexity to the  composition. Careful not to have too many tiny little sections (You're going to need to get your paint brush in them) I had students draw their images much bigger if they were new at painting. My drawings are a bit small-but that's how I sketch. 

Starting with the image on the left side of your paper, fill in the sections with color. Treat every section as a separate form to paint. Try arbitrary colors. The undercoat is the magical effect, blending and mixing with the colors painted over them. It integrates the picture. Don't overwork the sections. Practice laying down a line of color. USE the brush as how it's intended. Ask if you have questions!

Now the image on the right. Paint it. Try new color combinations. Try to lay down the color with one stroke. Find the balance of water and pigment. The pigment sits on the tip of the brush, the top 1/4 of it.  Use the side of the brush to draw the water out and disperse the pigment. It's such a lovely process. If you're struggling with it, take another sheet of watercolor paper and just practice 'laying down a line' of color. Know your supplies and how to use them.

On that last quadrant, after it is dried, apply colored pencil. Play with a variety of  colors. Find ones that make the picture 'pop'. Often it will be a complementary color. Or use dark areas to help shade and darken certain areas. More on that next week...
now stop reading and get out and PLAY!