Thursday, July 30, 2015

Getting Started with Art Journaling

My first Art Journal Page. Funny enough, I posted the process of making this page, but never the finished product! 

I'm kind of new to Art Journaling. I've been at it for less than a year. When people find out that I Art Journal they ask questions. Some of the most common questions I receive are:

What is Art Journaling?

(The easiest way to answer this is to show them. And I have plenty of resources on my phone, friends. I'm kind of the Grandma who has an album of her 19 grandchildren. And I'm ready to show it at the least provocation.)

Why Art Journal?
(The answers to this question will have to wait until another blog post.)

Where did you learn?
(The internet, baby! I got hooked on it when I saw some on Pinterest. Since then I have a board so large that I am now separating it out into two boards - One for Journals, the other for Art Journaling Videos.)

How can I get started?
(This is the question I am going to answer in this post!)

My Art Journal Journey

Click here to see my Pinterest boards. 

Pinterest. Pinterest is the root of thousands of women finding new hobbies and neglecting housework.  Some of you Pinterest enthusiasts dutifully perform your responsibilities before pinning that delicious  chocolate cake recipe. I cannot claim to be one of you. Pinterest is a form of meditation for me. It reduces my stress, which is a good thing. 

I pinned Art Journal pages that inspired me for months. I wanted to join in, but didn't feel I had the time. So I looked at photographs and watched videos. (I am shy to admit that I bought a few books, ok more than a few.)

And then Rae Missigman changed all that. I saw one of her 15 minutes of Art Journaling videos. It blew my mind. In a mere fifteen minutes she created a whole spread. I sat transfixed. I was absolutely changed and charged up. I would recommend anyone to watch her videos if you want to believe you can start. If she could do a whole spread in 15 minutes, surely I could slap down one color of paint.

So I started. The first day I gessoed a page spread. I left my space set up. Each night I came home and added something - or not. Some nights I just looked. I just played. Eventually pages emerged.

Now I have several journals going at once. I work on what I feel like working on. I use a page in one journal to wipe of the paint brush I used in another. I love this.

Finally, I was fortunate enough to take a course with Kelly Kilmer in June. I learned so much from that in person experience. It was great.

My recommendation to those who want to start Art Journaling:

1. Go on Pinterest and look at Art Journaling. There are many people posting photographs. Make a board yourself of the ones you like. You'll start to notice what techniques, colors and styles you are drawn to. Give yourself a little time to do this.

2. Watch some videos. Do not miss Rae Missigan's videos. You can really see how much can be done.  Watch some others as well.

Favorite books that add to my knowledge of Art Journaling, Geli Printing and book making. 

3. Check out some books, Art Journaling magazine, the library and the bookstore are your friends. 

4. Get some paint and start playing. Pay special attention to tutorials that show you how to make tools out of ordinary materials you have around the house. Don't start investing in a lot of stuff until you see if you actually like it. Bubblewrap is a great first texture tool.

5. Join some groups online. There are a lot of free Art Journaling challenges/classes/groups. Joining a group that has prompts and sharing of work will stretch you. You will also have a chance to learn from the other members. I've done some of this.

6. Make an effort to do Art Journaling in person. Take a class. Invite a friend to journal with you. Find a group or start one. I find that Art Journaling is great to do alone. It is also great to do with others. They are different experiences and you get different things out of them.

Did you find the courage to move ahead? Does it seem approachable? Do you still have questions? How did you start? When/how did you first hear about Art Journaling?

Thanks to Ricki Treleaven for asking me about my favorite Art Journaling books and inspiring this post. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Love Everywhere

This spread was done during our Artist's Retreat and was inspired by the wonder that is Cindi Huss. Cindi has never ceased to amaze and delight me with her openness to people who have a wide, and I  really mean huge, span of cultural, political, socio-economic, gender, add whatever else I have left out, backgrounds. She helps me to open my perspective and see more love in the world.

Who inspires you to see more love, to be more love?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Artist's Retreat - July 2015

First meal of Artist's Retreat - on the shore at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Photograph altered with Brushstroke app. 
Artist’s Retreat. Doesn’t that sound romantic? Maybe expensive? Certainly illusive.

Well, at least that’s how I felt about it. Every year I’d talk to Cindi Huss, a dear friend who has moved far enough away that we don't see each other often. We’d say how we should run away for a weekend sometime and leave all our responsibilities behind us. Well, this year I called her up and said “Let’s have an artist’s retreat!” She was enthusiastic and so we started planning. Last week was the fruit of all those conversations.

Revel in these paint colors!

We had three full days together. Cindi had seen my art journaling work and was game to give it a go. Our plan was to do gelli printing, art journaling and gelli printing on silk scarves. Cindi also brought matching white moleskins in which we would record our retreat. I found some necklace findings which allow for a picture to be inserted. We would also have these as momentos of our time together.  Our other goals included food and laughter.

Gelli Printing

We took turns. Each of us printed a few and then handed the gelli plate to the other. We never washed the plate until we were done. This method allowed us to rif on each other’s work, gave us the challenge of using what was left on the plate to create a new print and resulted in some pretty amazing pulls in which we could see traces of each other in our prints. When finished we laid out Cindi’s prints to photograph them. Then we did the same with mine. It was amazing to see how even though we had the same materials with which to work, we made very different collections of prints. It was also really fun to see Cindi’s touch in the middle of my creations.

Cindi's gelli prints. 

My Prints. Notice how different the color scheme is. 
Art Journaling

Cindi made her journal by taking large paper, applying gesso, ripping it to size and sewing together. We actually applied gesso the first day so that we could use our pages as a place to blot excess paint from brayers, paintbrushes and fingers.

I suggested the added challenge of each of us using a gelli print the other made as the inspiration for the journal page. Even as I suggested it, I quaked in my boots. Cindi took up the challenge and off we sped. We each offered up prints that we could part with which added another level of structure vs. choice. 

(Left) Cindi's print. Red was going to be a challenge for me, but those shapes! Could be leaves. Could be paisley. (Right) My print. She was already seeing things in this print.

Working with these colors was definitely out of my comfort zone. We added background color, stamping, stencils, spray ink, collage and pen. I regret neglecting to introduce Cindi to the joys of bubble wrap printing.

You can see our pages. 

What do you know? I can use red.

The shapes were taken organically from the print. I stared at it until I could see the lines in the print.

The whole page felt organic to me. It didn't take much thinking. 

Working with Cindi was great. The message came easily in her presence. She is such a fountain of joy and compassion. 

Cindi's journal page. It was fun to see her expand her vision as she added layers. 

Gelli Printing on Silk Scarves

We had seen the tutorial on the Gelli Arts blog that shows using the round gelli plates to print of silk scarves. We both reacted very positively to that idea, so we forged ahead. One of Cindi’s many talents includes dyeing fabric. Go to her website or blog to read more about her work. She had some silk scarves and offered to bring them. 

After brushing on the paint I pressed a piece of lace into the paint. Here is the result. 

This piece of lace is brightly colored now from the number of times I used it as a pattern maker. 

Cindi and I took very different approaches to this project. I started out too rigid and lifeless in my thinking. I used the blocks as the rectangles they are, marking them by pressing a piece of lace into them. 

No limitations for Cindi! She did not conform to the shape of the plate. 

Cindi printed with wild abandon. Eventually I loosened up and added the circles – big and little. The circles were made with stamps I had made from styrofoam trays my vegetables came in. Cindi’s scarf was a wild garden full of vibrant flowers and leaves.

Taking the scarves off the freezer paper was awe-inspiring. We gasped when we saw how different the scarf look as it draped around my neck or on the table.

My scarf unveiled.

Cindi wearing the scarf on the way home. 

Cindi's scarf off the freezer paper. 

Moleskine Notebooks

A silly picture we took with the APP Snap Dash. The caption reads "You're a pig being carried to a luau."

We wrote in our notebooks. What we did. How we did things. Things we wanted to remember. Food we ate. Pieces of the work we did. Photographs of us being silly. Working in these books helped us to think about what we had created and to take it to the next level. They are wonderful reminders of these days spent together and of our friendship. I will cherish mine.


The pieces we gave to each other. (Left) from me (Right) from Cindi.

We each chose a gelli print to cut a piece out to put in our necklaces. We each wrote a message to the other on the piece of paper we gave. Then we put them together with a piece of our own and closed the latch. Lovely charms for us to wear and shine.

It was hard to let Cindi go when the time came. Yet instead of that old feeling that things were coming to a close, I had a strange feeling that something was beginning. Guess we’ll just have to do it again. Can’t wait.

Want to see more about Cindi? You can see some of her work at or her blog Dancing Threads. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Kettle's Still On

I feel a little sheepish, but I realize I didn't include a link to the Mad Tea Party revelers in my Mad Tea Party blogpost. I thought I was being clever in preparing my post in advance, as the Mad Tea Party fell in the middle of my Artist Retreat. The morning of the party I made sure that the post was up and that the URL was sent along. I had forgotten to add the link! 

Please visit A Fanciful Twist for the list of tea parties. I had a fun time visiting the Mad Tea Parties. 

Looking forward: Posts from my Artist Retreat. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mad Tea Party 2015 - Double Vision

"Please come for tea" the March Hare says fixing his beautiful, shiny eyes upon you. How can you resist?

Flowers blossoming in ways that are marvelous to behold.

He hops along the path that leads to a most intriguing setting for tea. 

He moves so fast he is almost transparent. Where did he go? Where has he left you?

As you move through the garden the tea cups seem to appear out of the flowers. 

Suddenly there they are - teacups! But big enough to swim in. 

So you dance on the rim feeling a kind of amazed exuberance. 

It's odd, the flowers seem to talk. You must be getting sleepy. 

Walking through the handle of the teacup. When did you get so small? Or did the teacup grow?

You search for the March Hare and think you see his eyes looking back at you even as you make it to the tea table. 

You are so tired you rest on some of the sweets!

You may be tired, but the March Hare is busy taking tea. 

The teacups are shrinking. Is this good or bad?

You need to get back home. Maybe the stone bridge will take you there. 

Instead you are led to the tunnel in the bay. 

You are asked to stay, but you'd prefer to go home and have a cup in a safe place where you know what to expect. 

Ahhh! This cup is just Assam. 

(A variety of apps were used in the making of this tea party. Diana App for double exposure. Snapeee for decorating. Comics Camera for high contrast.)

Models: Sir Fernly as the March Hare. Madeleine Ooka as You. Lynda Shoup as the talking flower. 
Location: Many of the photographs were taken at Blithewold Mansion and Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island. As magical a place as ever existed. Don't believe me? Go for their Fairy Festival on August 2nd and see for yourself!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Oh Happy Day!

Today is the day that my dear friend, Cindi Huss arrives for a few days of making art. We have talked about taking some time together for a long time. Our "Artist Retreat" has taken some unexpected turns and has toned down from the original idea. I trust that it is unfolding just as it should. Here's proof of my optimism:

The fabric paint I ordered was delayed. The arrival date shifted to a date when it would be too late to use it. Disappointed though I was, I knew we had more projects than time so shrugged it off. It arrived yesterday! In plenty of time. Now we only have to use Hermione Grangers time warp to have time enough to use it! 

As if that isn't enough, tomorrow is the Mad Tea Party. My post will be up bright and early. Be sure to visit all the wonderful parties going on!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Kelly Kilmer Class Part Two - Painted Books & Shopping at Kept Creations


I made this book. 
Read that again. 

I've always wanted to do this. 
I did it in my second class with Kelly Kilmer

I can't wait to make more books. 

Maybe you figured this out already, but I haven't finished this book. Not by any matter of means. 

I haven't had a day out like this in a long time. I had not realized that I have gotten older. It never occurred to me that I could run out of steam - especially when doing something fun. So fun. 

So the cover and the end pages are possibilities waiting for me. Not only that, but all those wonderful pages are waiting for my art journaling.

The pages are painted.

Then torn to size.

Then bound.

Kelly gave us great instructions on methods, 

prompts to move us out of our comfort zones (see it's not entirely pink),

methods to try 

we tried masks (didn't show up well in the pictures, but cool anyway). 

It was surprising to see how some of the random pairings worked so well.

Interspersed with all the joy of creating was the joy of shopping! This stamp stole my hear, so I bought it! The only problem with this hand carved, wooden stamp is that it might just be too beautiful to use! It may remain a piece of decor as I am too shy to mess it up. 

I discovered not all glue sticks are equal. Mine was less than helpful and I ended up glueing things down a second time when they peeled up. Less than optimal way of creating art. Introduce this glue stick from Italy. It was all the rage. Made from almonds, this is a glue stick you could possibly start licking if you are really hungry. Smells like marzipan. Sticks like…glue. I bought myself the long lasting size as I intend to be gluing things down with a passion. 

Kept Creations has a wonderful wall of stencils. It's terribly difficult to decide which to choose, so why not choose three? Still, there's a pattern here - hearts and flowers. That's the way to my heart. 

It was a great day. I was tuckered out at the end of it, but it will be a day I will cherish. So glad I decided to treat myself. 

How can you treat yourself? What have you treated yourself to? Do you participate in art classes? What is your favorite way to learn a new technique? Who would you like to take a class with if you could?