Saturday, July 18, 2015


Watercolor Pencils

Practicing some sketching today.  This is another page created from a magazine photo inspiration...

This page was a challenge...the hardest part are the straps on each of these shoes.  Having the inspiration photo...I can't recommend this enough.  I find it's training my eyes to really look at the shadows, angles, negative space, etc. etc.
I sketched them first, and then used my watercolor pencils and, lastly, a paint brush to go over all of the colored pencil work.  The paper in this book is not for watercolor and I did not gesso it...not sure why.  It might have been better if I had put the gesso down first.  All in all, happy with the results.  
A close-up of one of the shoes... Just have to keep practicing my art.  Before you recycle your magazines, see if there are some photos that speak to you and give them a try in your journal.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blue and more BLUE!!!!

Another great find on my trip
to Barnes & Noble today
I love going to bookstores.  I didn't really have anything in mind today....I just wanted to wander and look and touch....after all...the feel of different papers is really sublime.  At least to me it is.  
Before I left the house, I sat out on my deck reading the latest issue of House Beautiful that had just arrived.  The July issue.  Sometimes, I find the designs too modern and cold for my taste;  this issue I loved.  The first house featured is a charming home in Charleston, SC.  Then there's a studio apt in Manhattan (525 sq. ft....for some that's a nice closet).  The resident is a 27 yr old male designer.  I would just like to know how a guy that young could already have acquired what he has and I can only think that he is an "old soul".
There are other sweet designs in the magazine which I won't go into detail on here.  One thing I do often wonder, however, is when they give you the sources for the fabrics, lamps, whatever....they rarely tell you "who painted that amazing painting that hangs over the sofa!"  Why is that!  
Another thing...I love seeing books stacked here and there in these designs.  I have books stacked here and there in my living room and they are a true reflection of who I am and what I like.  When visiting someone's abode for the first time...don't you kind of like to look at the book jackets to see what they've collected?  One last note on the designs...I think that designers tend to put too many chotskies all over the place. Perhaps everyone inside the pages of House Beautiful has someone who dusts frequently.....otherwise that would make me crazy.
So the BLUE book above I spotted today and low and's from House Beautiful!  350 ways to decorate with blue!! Wonderful photographs inside.  The book is 5 x 7.  Sweet.  It's my 2nd "blue" book this year...the other I blogged about fairly recently...from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  While I'm on the subject of books whose title are just a word...I also have a RED book that I bought quite a few years ago.  It has no jacket, just the word RED embossed in the cover.  

It has an unusual assembly of photographs...people, art, fashion.  It says it was translated from the French.  So I have two BLUE books and one RED....I wonder if there's a YELLOW somewhere?  This new BLUE book I'll save for later this afternoon, sipping a glass of wine on my deck and enjoying this beautiful summer day....

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Art Journal
Acrylics with some glass bead gel

From an inspiration page from a magazine:

Love her beach look.  I adore stripes (have a Pinterest board by that name!)
Here she is early in the development:

I cropped the photos when they were in my iPhone and here they're not....not sure why, but maybe will figure it out later....At any rate....still having fun using an inspiration page and then putting my interpretation on the opposite page.
If I hadn't already glued the photo on the page, I probably would have done the hat across the two pages...making it even larger, and then just the top of her cleavage.  I do like the pop of red for her straps.  And I decided to use a deeper shade of blue-green behind her so that she would stand out more.   I really like doing these magazine inspiration pages in my journal.
Oh to be able to wear that suit!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Maryland is for CRABS.....

Art Journal
Memories of 4th of July
at the Delaware-MD shore....

It's not my usual red, white & blue that I would normally do today, but there is an essence of those colors here.  I recently acquired the crab napkin.  First I used my Gelli plate (the red-orange colors) and then I glued the crab on top.  I filled in around the edges with the blue and some yellow ochre.  And I stamped a couple of more crabs unto the page.  This page was a quickie, but I like it.
I haven't had those crabs for several years but they are the have to go there and eat them.  The Fenwick Crab House is the place we normally went for the's a messy job to eat them, but that's part of the experience.  And you need a cold pitcher of beer as the crabs have a lot of Chesapeake Bay Seasoning on them and that has a bit of a kick to it.  On your way back to your beach's a stop at the Dairy Queen for a chocolate dip vanilla cone.  It doesn't get any better than that....Happy 4th!

Mystele is so fun to watch.....

Saturday, June 27, 2015

She's Slightly Bohemian....

Art Journal

I'm back in my art journal today, and decided to try painting one of the magazine photos I had glued in the book.  For the most part, I had fun with her, but she became a bit "labor intensive" (the skirt) and I started to get a little impatient with it.  

Here they are side by side.  The one in the photo definitely has more of an "attitude" than my version.  The "come hither" look?

Here's how she looked in the early stages.....

And here's a close-up of her. No doubt about it, a journal is a great place to practice your art.....

Monday, May 25, 2015

HOME OF THE BRAVE - Memorial Day

A journal page from several years ago
in honor of all who have served
so that we can enjoy the freedom we have

Friday, May 22, 2015


 Iris Apfel  - Designer

I'm back in my art journal today.  I recently read an article in the New York Times about this very interesting designer (now 93).  Iris  is an "over the top" designer/fashion icon.  She is all about color if you've ever seen her NYC apartment featured in a magazine.  The jewelry alone that she wears must add 10 pounds to her weight.  So this was another exercise in my journal where I take a photo and glue it in the book and then do my interpretation on the opposite page....

The hardest part for me is always trying to do the eyes.  

This is how she looked earlier in the process....

And here you have a close-up. She's quite the character and I hope she wouldn't be offended by my interpretation of her.  Her face is such a caricature that I'm sure she's been done by many artists.  She was definitely a fun face to do.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

MOTHER'S DAY - The Girl with the Paint Brush

The Girl with the Paint Brush
24 x 30 canvas
Mixed Media
I've been working on this canvas for a couple of weeks now.  Had to paint it in my kitchen because I don't have an easel so I painted it leaning against shelves in a hutch that I have there.  I kept making trips back and forth from my art room to the ultimately, my kitchen was covered with paints and art know how that goes.  This is one of those paintings where you could keep adding a little something here and a little something a matter of fact, I came back from church this morning and I'm still dressed for church....I didn't even want to take the time to change into some "paint" clothes.  So far as I can tell, I haven't got paint on my skirt!

I'm going to show you a little bit of the progress of this painting...

I knew from the get-go that I wanted a checkerboard pattern in the painting.  I also knew that I wanted to have a female figure.  That is all I knew when I started to create this.  I drew the floor, sketched a female figure on another piece of paper and traced it onto the canvas and added  a simple table.  I hadn't intended, originally, for the girl to be painting the wall...I was going to have the figure standing in front of the wall looking out.  

I made up the flowers and I have a school of fish on the bottom.  After I had collaged the clothing onto the figure, the flowers are what I worked on next....just punches of color in lots of shapes.

A close-up of "the painter" as she works on her flower.  At one point, I had thought to put myself in as the painter, but in looking at the colors I was working with....I opted to give her red hair (not me!) to add more color.  However, I am a lefty, so I guess in my mind....there is a part of me here.
More detail.....

She has a little bird to keep her company as she paints.  The bird is probably thinking that the caterpiller might be a nice treat.  I added 3 to the painting and one is crawling on the floor.  I also added a couple of lady bugs.  

Doing this painting for me was like reading a good book....something I don't want to put down and in some ways, you don't want it to end....because now I have to think of my next idea.

I'm enjoying my Mother's Day.  Mom's put their families first for most of their lives, but I have to say, today is all about me (I have an empty nest)....having the time to do what I love to do.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I'm always finding interesting things in Coastal Living magazine.  You don't have to live on the water to enjoy this magazine.  Whether it's a design inspiration or a recipe (empanadas!) or a story about a beach location from my youth, I love when this magazine arrives in my mail box. Havens or "must haves" as they call it in the May issue, features items for purchase and I saw this book and it was a must have for me!  The UPS man brought it a short while ago.

From the Collection of the
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

I love the many shades of the color blue and this book is a gem.  It's 5 x 8 and, while it may sound silly, it feels good to hold in your hand and the paper is divine...not to mention the beautiful photographs inside.  If you order this book, don't skip over the Introduction or, as they call it Blue Notes.

My very first art journal I called Simply Blue....

All of the art in this journal is about the color blue.  I started it on a beach vacation!  I have one other journal that has a lot of blue in it...actually, red, white & blue....
This book I created for my son....below is one of the pages.

Lovin' the BLUE!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Bathing Suit

Using magazine inspiration
The Bathing Suit
Acrylics and Ink
I have to say....I love these two pages!  Cutting images out of magazines eliminates wasting time trying to "think of what am I going to paint today."  So it was between the bathing suit and the shoe.  I love them both and probably could have painted the shoe on the left page, but then I wouldn't have a place to put the inspiration pieces.  
The suit was fun to do.  I debated what to do with the background....I could have painted a seascape but I wanted the bright colors of the bathing suit to stand out so I decided to use my black ink pen and drew bubbles of all different sizes.  I love the overall effect.  
For the inspiration page, I did add color to the page rather than just glue the shoe and the bathing suit to a plain page.  And, I wrote about the art that I created.  I think you can learn a lot about painting something from a photograph.  
A close-up

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Art Journal
Watercolors and Watercolor Pencils
Using an Inspiration Photo
from Coastal Living Magazine

After I painted the vase of flowers on my previous post with the inspiration photo from a magazine, I decided to go back through a couple of my folders where I keep photos that I've torn out of magazines....sort of like Pinterest...but in a paper file the way we're used to doing.  However, those photos never see the light of day.  That being said, yesterday I took a half a dozen of them and glued them sporadically throughout my journal.  It's a great way to avoid the "white page" syndrome.  
This is where the page started.  
I did a very simple sketch of the eggs and then started to lay in some color.

I added some writing to the left side which I will continue to do when I'm using the "inspiration" photos.  That's where I write about why I chose the particular picture, or comment on the colors used, the medium, etc.  

Since it's the day before Easter....had to get my eggs photo in. 
 Happy Easter to all!

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Art Journal
A Girl, A Table & A Vase of Flowers
Magazine Inspiration
Watercolor pencils, water soluble crayons

Who doesn't love a vase filled with cut flowers in their home....I tore the photo of this vase of flowers out of one of my magazines.  Last night I drew a sketch  and started to color it.  I changed it up a bit.  The background was entirely different shades of water soluble crayons.  There was no girl in the painting when I thought I was finished with it last night.  But when I went to look at it this morning....I could see a girl in the background and I had to bring her into the painting.  It's funny how these things happen.  I still wanted to keep her in the background, but I think she makes the painting more interesting.  When I finished this a little while ago, I didn't want to throw away the beautiful photo, so I trimmed it and glued it to the opposite page, added a little color around the left side of it and then wrote about the art I created.  This is the early stages...

I need a lot more practice with faces, so I kept hers pretty vague.  Actually, I need to work on my flowers too!

Here's another journal entry.  Jungle Boy with Bird.  My sister thinks he looks like Frida Kahlo's son would have looked...she calls him Fred Kahlo.  I have painted this exact same face in another journal with a Russian hat....I really need to work on faces.  I wasn't going to show this one but might as well.  A journal is what it is.

Actually, the picture above...partial face and bird...I like better than the entire head.  I have to remember that next time....not to paint the entire face on the page.  I  do like my bird.

I like making up birds....he looks like he has some place special to go.  Bye, bye birdie!

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Prayer Flags
Displayed in Church
for Palm Sunday

It's been awhile since I posted....not that I haven't been creative, just working on this prayer flag project.  I spent a couple of hours this morning, hanging them with my very creative friend, Meredith.  The prayer flags were created by the youth and adults in our parish over a couple of Sundays in March.  And there are a few flags from non-parishioners. The lighting wasn't conducive to taking great photos this morning because of the bright white from the snow that's still outside.  I like the above photo where you can get the idea of them hanging along the wall down both sides of the church.

There are also torn strips of fabric that parishioners made knots on as prayers were said for their loved ones or for all of the things we know need some prayers.  The strips are hanging in between the flags.  

The eagle flag was created by Audrey;
 photos printed on muslin with a wonderful quote.  

I may not have stuck to what I gave up for Lent, entirely; but what I accomplished  with this prayer flag project was very fulfilling.  Amen.