Monday, January 27, 2014

filling a page

I really am liking this new coptic bound journal I made.  It lies pretty flat thanks to the sewn binding.  Here I did some stenciling and am arranging some border collage papers:
First a bit more stenciling, then I painted a few birds.  then a circle. . . . 
and a Rumi Poem.  Hard to see, can you find it?
A bird makes great sky circles of it's freedom.
A bird makes great sky circles of it's freedom.
How does it find it?
It falls.
and in falling, is given wings.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pages with pizazz

I like to start a journal page with color already on the paper, that empty page syndrome is then easily averted. 
Splatter and stencil are my favorite way to mess up the page before I even start.
and I want to show you another easy way to add fun to a page - using an eraser carved stamp as a border.
Here are three stamps that I carved from a white eraser.  (Use linoleum carving tools.)
You can make a pretty simple spiral, but by repeating it, you have an awesome pattern.
Another way is to stamp a plain white paper, and use a few different stamps to get a pattern.
Then add some wasabi tape to make the border more ellaborate.
Scan your little border and print enough that you can throw it in your collage bag and use bits and pieces on many future pages.
and you'll also save all your erasers to use over and over in the future.
even better, have an eraser carving party with friends and then share all your images.
One stamped image scanned can provide many many uses for papers you make from photoshop and your printer.

It's very addictive.
"I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I've written for myself... and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part." 
--Shirley MacClaine

Monday, January 20, 2014

Developing a style

I am taking an on-line class called "Year of the Fairy Tale" with Carla Sondheim.  (There is a link to click to on to learn more about it over there on the right.)
I just finished the first lesson, and already I am so inspired and motivated, realizing that my drawing process can be much stronger and intentional.
I often sketch in my journal, and am almost never happy with what I draw.
I usually just start drawing right in my book, expecting my brain to pop out something perfect, then I am sad when I ruin the page with a drawing I don't like.  

Carla is taking us step by step through a process of how you develop an illustration style.  Her very first lesson already showed me things I never considered doing (and I have years of drawing training as part of my art degree): using sketching from photos on the internet to discover a face style, drawing first with your non-dominant hand to loosen up, doodling the face over and over to sort of crystallize what about that face is interesting, repeating that style until your inner eye knows what details it wants to focus on.  Her process helped me find a face I love to draw.  Repeating something over and over helps solidify what is important about the face.  Using throw away sketch paper, also, helps to not be so precious about results.  Something I had sort of forgotten in my journaling process.

Here are the three phases of finding a face to draw:
and in the same lesson, we worked finding a frog style - first just by sketching, and then exaggerating a feature we like.  In just a few sketches, I came up with a frog.  I couldn't resist adding some collage texture to my favorite sketch (Sorry, Carla, I am getting ahead of myself but I couldn't resist):
Her teaching style is so calming, and encouraging.
and did you guess that the first fairy tale she is using to teach us is "The Frog Princess"?

Another assignment is for us to go to the library and look at great illustrations, make notes of what we love.  Such a simple thing, yet something I don't ever do.

I am so happy to be in this class, as a teacher I rarely take classes these days.  I think that needs to change.  Inspiring teachers are such gifts, I am so looking forward to this year of learning from Carla.

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”  
-- Bertolt Brecht

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Making a Journal

The beauty of this video made me cry.
Please watch it if you have ever kept a journal, or ever want to keep one.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Journaling in community

Today we had our monthly journaling group, 8 ladies sitting around a table, cutting and tearing and painting and pasting and writing.

We start with a check-in, we have a reading and a chalice lighting, we work in silence, then we share our work, practicing deep listening.  I always am amazed at how our ideas overlap, like somehow our concerns float around in the room and lodge in each others' brains. The beginning check-in tunes us a bit, like an orchestra, I suppose, and we seem to end up just vibrating in the same frequencies.

 I love this group, and I always am pleased with the pages that come out of it.
 If you can find a journaling group, try it, it's pretty awesome.
"Pilgrimage to the place of the wise is to find escape from the flame of separateness." --Rumi

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I have been drinking tons of herbal teas.

I found at the local Pacific Ocean Market (an Asian grocery store) that their selection of medicinal teas is amazing - I am using the Blood Pressure Tea, and the Detox tea, along with my beloved French Verveine, which I swear, cures everything.  Saving the paper tea bag wrappers, of course, was inevitable.

So here is a page in my journal, this tea bag collage will be the background, and more will happen on top. Maybe it's time to carve a tea stamp out of an eraser. When themes keep reoccuring, I have learned to pay attention. Or perhaps this page will be my shrine-page to tea, and I will add nothing more.

Time to get get a cup.

"A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." --Eleanor Roosevelt