Friday, March 31, 2017

Nature Drawing Class

My drawing class this week focused on birds.  Some of the class chose cardinals and I chose the bluebirds.  It certainly takes patience and time to draw with colored pencils.  I enjoyed this weeks' class and am happy with my birds.  Learning, learning, learning...

Close up of the female.  Grey tone paper used.


Mixed Media
In my Journal
I'm going to post some photos, probably not in the right order, but I had way too many on my smartphone and it was giving me messages that I was running out of space.  So....I just downloaded all of them to my computer, but my photos are not well organized.  The above piece includes a napkin, some ribbon, dyed cheese cloth, mini eggs, washi tape and watercolor.  As spring is here, at least on the calendar, ones thoughts turn to birds....

Drawing Class
Colored pencil on tan toned paper
I'm taking a drawing class and this tree turned out pretty well!  Now I am one of those people who is used to working fast, (which is why I like paint), but this class has taught me to slow down and really look at what I am drawing and lo and behold....I'm enjoying it!  My instructor, Cindy, is an amazing pencil artist and I feel very fortunate to have her as a teacher. 
Hand in my journal
"I think that I shall never see
a poem as lovely as a tree"....
Joyce Kilmer
I try to include my hand in all of my journals and since my focus has been on nature and trees in my drawing class, I decided to incorporate a tree inside my hand.  Around the fingers I have written some of the words to Joyce Kilmer's 1913 poem, Trees. 
Nature Drawing Class
This little 5 x 7 drawing is from my current class.  It fits just right in my art journal so I glued it in.
Found art at my library
I've been working in the "back room" at my local library, where we accept books on a daily basis for our annual book fair, which is huge.  It's so much fun seeing what comes in....and what gets left behind in books such as these cute little paper dolls I found recently.  Now I could not throw these away so they found a home in my journal...
I painted a child-like background and glued the paper family into the book and attached a note about my "found art".  They make me smile.
A monkey and Captain Kangaroo
Ideas for my art and journal pages come from so many different places.  I found a post card in a donated book at the library.  The post card was of a painting called the Death of Jack...Jack is a monkey....a scary looking one at that.  But he reminded me of an earlier time when I used to watch Captain Kangaroo as a child and on occasion, he had a monkey on the show....she was cute and wore a dress and would sit on his shoulder.  I thought it would be fun to have a monkey as a there's my painting and on the left, a cuter monkey than the one on the postcard.  The monkey page is done in watercolor pencil and watercolor.  I attached the postcard to the journal (on the right), but not visible here.
Snail Mail in my journal
Dianne (my sister) and I have been exchanging some snail mail recently and the above is her March missive.  I loved what she did on her envelope and added it to my journal, coloring the space around the envelope and adding some small yellow flowers here and there.  She also had the quote about art....I love the whimsical look of her art.
Package from Japan
I recently ordered some washi tape from an Etsy shop in Japan and it came wrapped so lovely!  The Japanese do things with such care....
Included was a nice little note thanking me for my order as well as some samples to try that were wrapped around this plastic piece.  I can see how people can become addicted to washi tape as it comes in so many patterns and is a nice addition to journal pages.

OK, this is enough to catch me up on what I've been up to creatively.  Love working in my journal!

Saturday, February 25, 2017


I absolutely loved this movie.  I don't usually give movies reviews on my blog.  I wish I could go into details about it, but I don't want to spoil the story for you if you want to go and see it.  This is a simple movie about life.  It tells a story about a bus driver in Paterson, NJ.  Now you might ask, what is there to tell about a person who lives such a simple life?  And in the movie, we go with him to work every day as he goes about his daily routines.  I love that it's a movie that doesn't require special effects or doubles or anything.  As I tells a story.  And I loved it.  Go see it.  It spoke to me.


When I get behind on my blog....arghh....where to start and what to post!
I'll start with best friend, Jan's, birthday!  I did a sketch (truly just a sketch) of her to post on her Facebook page this morning....friends for almost 29 years!

I feel like the way I approach my art is constantly changing.  I'm taking a nature's sketchbook drawing class.  Art imitating life.  The class just started so I don't have anything to show yet, but it's drawing things and making them life-like.  My style has been leaning towards illustrative, but anything I can do to improve my it a try.  I'm also taking a fun clay class.  Hope to glaze and paint what I've created this week.  We'll see!  When I'm not journaling or playing with clay, I'm having a great time volunteering at my local library.  Our local paper did a story about my art journaling....
Me - Art Journaler
I wish "journaler" was an accepted word.  It always ends up with the squiggly red underline when I type it....but that is what I am, an art journaler.  It encompasses so many aspects of art...acrylics, inks, water colors, stamps, collage materials and art supply dream!

Can't do February pages without having some hearts.  The left page is a simple tree with hearts growing on it  On the trunk (too small to see here) it says "love grows and grows".  But my favorite page is the right-hand one that includes the LOVE napkin and a quote from Maya Angelou.
"I have a son who is my heart.
A wonderful young man, daring and loving
and strong and kind."
--Maya Angelou (and me)

Re-purposing snail mail
My sister Dianne and I starting exchanging once a month snail mail.  On these two pages, I've re-purposed items that she sent in the February envelope.  
This is the outside of the envelope I sent to her.  I had a lot to put in it, so this is a large, padded envelope.  And this last photo is a little sketch looking out my kitchen storm door.  The snow has melted....hopefully the last we'll see of it until the end of the year!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Artful Prayer

I love that I can incorporate art into my prayer life.  Lent is coming!  Last year the project I came up with was prayer flags which we invited the parishioners to get involved with.  We had crazy busy coffee hours after Sunday services with adults and children cutting fabric, drawing, painting, name it.  We strung the flags and hung them up between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.  So...when do people pray more if not during Lent?  We have lots to pray about.  This year the project is prayer tags.  These are made from the manila shipping tags you buy in a store like Staples.  This morning I spent time making some so everyone will get some ideas on what the possibilities are.  I have beads, buttons, fabric scraps, rubber stamps, paint, collage, etc.  They are colorful and fun and the prayer intentions will be written on the back and will hang on a large board for display and actually taken into church to pray with.  There's no limit to how many tags anyone wants to do.  The wonderful part about a project like this is that while you're making your tag, you're thinking about the people/cause that is near and dear to your heart.  Can't wait to make some more!

JANUARY - Recording History

Boomer Showing Solidarity
for the Women's March

Duly Noted - Election day

CAUCUS - cawcus
Lots of noise in Washington

Boomer and I meet
nice people on our walks
Boomer and I went for a walk this week and met Ann, a grandmother visiting her family here and she was walking with her grandson.  So we ended up walking together!  It was so nice.  Her grandson had on his yellow rubber boots and chatted up a storm.  I'm at the very back of my journal so it doesn't lay flat anymore.  That makes it difficult to take a photo.  So February will start a new book!
Pages I retrieved from a water damaged book
These beautiful pages were from the inside front and back of a hard bound book that was donated to our local library.  The book itself was water damaged so unable to be set aside for our book fair.  Before putting it in the recycling box, I did save these papers to use in my journals.  So beautiful.   Volunteering at my library definitely has its advantages. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Reflecting on neglecting.....

Sunday Morning
I've been neglecting my blog.  It's already January 15!  The photo is my church...I do a lot of reflecting there, needless-to-say.  I'm still rolling around in thoughts of what do I want to paint, what do I want to say.  I'm not short on fact, probably have too many of them.  What do I want to DO????

While I'm thinking of my next painting subjects, I want to share some things I've come across.  I started volunteering at my library recently.  We have a HUGE book fair each year and people generously donate their books (albeit, some donate them because they're moldy and it's the easiest way to get rid of them.  Sigh).  But it also gives volunteers a first peek at the books and what an amazing variety to be found.  Here's one that I wanted,
This lovely book is from the UK.  Because I'm a person who loves art journals and sketchbooks, this  book appeals to me.  Not so much the gardening aspect,
but the pages in this book look handwritten.  It seems that perhaps photos were taken of the writer's actual written pages to achieve this effect.  Her watercolors

are actually quite nice.  And there was another book that came into my possession.  Not a book for resale as it's someone's personal journal or diary.
I am fascinated by what must be the story behind this journal.  It covers six months starting in the spring of 1977.  The day before my birthday in fact.  It's written by a 20 something year old Jewish female named Sue.  And it's an interesting read.  She writes about her Jewish heritage, her love of jazz and going to the beach, her friends, the NYC blackout, Son of Sam (for those of you old enough to remember), her job search, wanting to be in love.  And here and there she has glued in cartoons, news articles, doodles, quotes.  I haven't finished reading it, but I feel like it could be a play, a retrospect if you will.  I'm enjoying it. 

But here's the rub....I'm guessing Sue was in her early twenty's (perhaps a couple of years younger than I) so how did this journal end up donated to a book fair in a neighboring town?  What person who kept journals would do that?  Peeking at the last page, she says it's "time to start a new journal."  What happened to her other journals as I suspect there are definitely more.  Sue would be in her 60's now if she's still alive.  I can only suspect that this journal was with a "bunch of old stuff" that someone was cleaning out and it wasn't Sue.  I can only hope Sue found her perfect job, fell in love and lived happily ever after listening to jazz and enjoying many days at the beach.  At least that's my hope for her.
Moving on, as I'm trying to catch up here....

My sister sent me this picture she had of Boomer, my dog, that she had been playing with in photoshop.  I love it so I bought a frame this weekend and I'm getting ready to hang it up.
I haven't done any art to speak of, just the doodled flowers above so I could see how some of my new watercolors look. 

And I did this fun envelope (left) and enclosed a small collage for my sister, Dianne.  Thought it might be fun to exchange artful snail mail each month.  I painted a snow scene on the envelope, cut out the cute Mary Engelbreit painting and added a snowflake stamp (bottom right). 
And last but  not least, we always try to start the new year off with better eating habits, so....CHEERS to the New Year!

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Christmas in my Kitchen
A few of my favorite things
I can't believe Christmas has come and gone....and I never posted anything until now!  I've taken down my was getting a bit dry, but I still have my kitchen hutch decorated and the mantel in my living room....both with my favorite things.  I'll keep these as they are until the Epiphany and then all will be put away. 
I opted for a smaller, live tree this year and decorated it with red and white lights, lots of glass icicles, red and blue balls, some birds, and some of the "natural" things I found on my walks this fall.  I know you can't distinguish any of that in this photo....but it came out nice if I say so myself. 

I did this sketch in my truly is a season of joy and a season of sorrow.
Tom came home for the holidays which is the best part of all.  When our children are small, we're always asking (telling) them to put their things away....but seeing these boots under the kitchen table was just pure joy.

One of his gifts from me, the latest Anthony Bourdain cookbook. He loves to cook!
Gifts from my sister - looking forward to using them

I received some pj's from my other sister...not pictured here but they're cozy and I love them.  I received some wonderful gifts from both family and friends.
Some little sketches and the bear I collaged....thought he was cute.  I didn't do much cooking as we were invited out to family and friends....both wonderful, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Tom and I attended the late services at our church on Christmas Eve.  We missed having my Maryland sister and husband this year, but due to a health issue, were unable to make the trip. 

Today marks my one year of's been a challenge on many levels.  It's a different way of spending your days and I'm still trying to figure it out.  I've definitely been more creative and I've read tons of books!  And...the company/program that I worked for folded....I spent 18 years there.  I knew it was coming.  I post much of my art on Facebook and Instagram.  I have so much fun that I hope I can inspire others to give it a whirl.  Art Journaling has been a wonderful outlet for me to express things that I'm thinking about.  Some of my art is random....and some is definitely not.  We are all creative beings and everyone can do some form of art...most people just don't believe they can.  It's really rewarding. 
So....a quiet New Year's Eve here.  I have a yummy stew cooking.  I'll have a glass of Prosecco...and Boomer and I will see the New Year in.  Happy New Year.
Ready to be put away for another  year....

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Snow is falling here...Boomer is checking it out.  I've been putzing around in my art room and baking shortbread in my kitchen and now have a big pot of chicken tomato basil stew on the stove. 
Today is my sister's 70th birthday and if it weren't for a slight snafu in her husbands' health this week, they would be here and we would be celebrating!

This card is on its way to her.  As soon as I found out they wouldn't be coming, I packaged their holiday gifts and sent them off.  She's obviously a cat lover.
I did this sketch of Boomer earlier in the week.  It looks like him when he was a puppy; not currently.  I should have made his eyes and nose larger.....I still like it.  It's fun to take a black pen and make squiggle marks for his fur!
As the snow was falling, I sketched my cup of coffee and a gingerbread biscotti baked by my friend, Cathy.  Listening to The Hounds of Winter, by Sting.  A sad tale....maybe I need to switch it up!

I did this little scene as in the forest, snow falling. Christmas
is definitely not all "comfort and joy" and rockin' around the Christmas tree.  The memories of previous years really start to pile up and there are fewer people around to share the stories and memories with.  I surround myself with my favorite things that remind me of some wonderful times and look forward to another season of hope.