Thursday, February 28, 2013

Playing with Doodles

I've been noticing Zentangles (formerly known as doodling) a lot on Pinterest and the net in general lately, and I figured it was about time I gave it a go myself.  I think I like the term tangling better than doodling...for no other reason than as I sit here reading the title to this post, I realize that 'playing with doodles' makes me either sound like a perv or just really darn gross...

My first two attempts are on cheap 4 x 6 index cards from the Dollar Tree (which are really thin and clearly need some gesso to give them a boost!) and the third is in my art journal.

Here's my first attempt:

Nothing to write home about...but it was my first try...

It's pretty rough around the edges...too much white space between the doodles, maybe?  I don't know, but it was my first attempt...I thought I could do a little better:

A little better, I think...I am digging it more than the first attempt...

The second one gave me the gumption to try a bigger page of doodles:

Woo hoo!  I am really happy with all the different patterns!

Pinterest is a great source for how to make different patterns.  Right now, I have a couple pins on tangling on the "Art and Word Journal" board if you want to check that out, I've got a button in my side bar or just search Sweet Red Clover on Pinterest.  I'm liking this so much, I may have to make a board just for Zentangle/doodle patterns!

Monday, February 25, 2013

I've Got Mail (Art)!

Saturday, I walked out to the mailbox and found something something really awesome: Mail Art!  I am EXCITED!

This is the first mail art I have gotten, and my lovely friend Cheryl actually sent me two separate things!  On Saturday, when I first opened the mail box, I saw this peeping out at me:

My band-aid collage from Cheryl!
I love the girl's face (I have a thing for faces...aka an obsession) and I really admire Cheryl's collages...she is one of the people who inspired me to try my own collage that I shared a few posts back!  The ephemera on this piece is so makes me wonder if Cheryl has a big huge room full of old magazines and newspapers...and then it made me wonder if I can go visit Cheryl and her room and swipe some good stuff! (ha ha)

And then, today when I came home from work, as I was looking through the the mail, I was super surprised to find another piece of mail art!  (She's so sneaky!  I didn't know there were going to be two!) I saw this beautiful diamond among the coal (aka a big stack of for bills!):

An envelope busting at the seams with goodies!!!

So, I opened (extra carefully) the envelope (because it's so pretty, I want to keep it!) and check out all the neat things that it contained:
Some really great sheet music...I don't know what song this is, but if I remember music class correctly, I bet it's a peppy song...IF I remember right...just know that music class was a long time ago...

This sweet patchwork heart napkin!  I also sew a little, so this is very cool  on two levels!

This beautiful bird napkin (I can't wait to use it!)...I am really going to have to check out the napkin section next time I go to the store, because I am missing out on some really cool stuff it seems!

This wonderful ATC (artist trading card)...I love silhouettes!  And this one has just the perfect amount of sparkly goodness...I wish I was a better photographer so you could see just how perfect it is!

And this amazingly gorgeous ATC, which I love, love, LOVE!!!  There really aren't enough exclamation points or letters UPPER CASE enough for me to express how much I love this ATC!

I am so happy and excited about receiving such lovely art!  Thank you, Cheryl, so very much for making my day with your beautiful pieces and fun goodies too!  I sent my mail art to Cheryl this morning before work, and I was so excited, I actually forgot to take pictures!  I was literally skipping into the post office...for the record, when an adult skips into the post office, the man at the counter looks at her very oddly...and that's ok...I was too excited to care!  

So, in a few days, Cheryl will get my mail art to her, and I hope that she will like hers as much as I like mine! (Or at least close to as much, because I REALLY like mine, so she'll have to pass out from excitement to be able to like what she's getting more...and while I hope she likes it, I don't want her to pass out...hehehe!)

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Cheryl!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gaudy Girl

Hey fabulous and glorious and magnificent people!  First I want to say thanks for all the kind words concerning my last post.  You all really brighten my life up in amazing ways...and I appreciate it so much!

I just want to share my entry to the Daisy Yellow "Gaudy" challenge (learn more HERE):

Yowza...that's pretty darn gaudy...

This was a fun challenge for me, especially considering the droopy way I've been feeling lately.  I needed a little pepping up, and I think this is definitely fun and peppy...and bright.

I used a much bigger brush than I'm used to on this page, and I had a good time with it!  I actually like how the hair turned out, so I may have to finesse it up a little bit and add the big-brush-hair to my regular rotation.  I also like the way some of the paint scraped started out as an accident, but then I thought it was kind of interesting looking, so I scraped off a little more in different places.

When I thought about gaudy, all I could think of was red and gold...for some reason, that color combo stuck in my head.  But when I went to use my gold paint (which is a hundred years old and a cheapie paint to begin with), it wouldn't show up on the then I thought about it some more and thought of a person with way too much make-up on...and this is what happened.  She is completely frightening...and I kinda like her for it!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Sad Girl

Here's my most recent art journal page:

Prismacolors and acrylic paint on ultra matte black background

And close up:
The Sad Girl

I've been having a bit of a rough time lately, and I didn't want to make a happy page feeling the way I do.  It would be a lie.

Two years ago this May, I lost a very dear friend.  He was the best man I have ever had the privilege to know, and it hurts every day not seeing him and hearing his voice.  

The way my friend's life ended, by his own hand, makes the loss of him even harder to deal with, to find peace with.  I think that the people close to one who commits suicide probably always blame themselves in some way.  You ask yourself if you should have seen something, if you could have said or done something that would have stopped them from doing what they had done.  And the truth is, you just don't know.  You never get to know, and even if you could have, it's always going to be to late to change it.  That's a hard reality to come to terms with.

It's gotten easier overtime, or at least I don't think about it every second of the day.  But still, and probably for the rest of my life, little thoughts pop into my head and there it is again.  I try now to honor his memory, to think about the good things and not the way it ended.  I think it's funny how a certain smell, or the way the light shines, or the way I see the movement of another person can call him to mind so quickly...and I don't think that's a bad thing.  I don't want to forget him.

I've just been having a hard time lately with him not being here.  He always gave such good advice, it was one of the great things about him, and I could use some of his words of wisdom right about now.  I guess that's what I've been thinking about lately and what led to this journal page.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Was it just...a collage?

I have some loverly internet friends that I met by doing art journal challenges.  I am so happy I get to see and be inspired by the wonderful things they make!  

One thing I've seen and really enjoyed are the wonderful collages done by some of my facebook friends...and they inspired me to try my own:

The over view...

And the gratuitous close-up:
I believe I will call you...Puppy Love...

I had so much fun doing this collage...minus the cutting...I tried to go zen with it and just zone out and snip, but I don't think I accomplished that...I was pretty happy when the snippy snippy was done...

My favorite thing is the image of the boy and girl, which I did using the packing tape transfer method.  If you google it, you'll get much better instructions, but basically, all you do is take a toner-based print (go to the library and make a copy if you need to...or do it at work like I did...shh...don't tell!), put clear packing tape over the top of it and then wet the back of the paper.  Wait a minute or two and then start rubbing the wet paper and the paper part will come off and leave the toner behind on the packing tape!  I think this is so neat, because you get to see whatever's behind the image (if you have light spots in the image anyway)!  On a side note, this doesn't work with ink jet printers *sad face*...the internet told me so, but I had to try for myself...the internet was just all comes off when you start adorable goodness gets left behind...

I had a blast doing this much so that I think I will have to do another one sometime!  Perhaps I can handle the snipping, since the rest of the process is so much fun.

Oh, and before I forget, I would like to give an unpaid (although if they want to pay me that would be great) shout out to YES! paste, which is this awesome glue stuff that didn't wrinkle the paper AT ALL!  Take that Elmer's glue (just kidding Elmer, I love you too...just for different applications...)!  I am definitely going to be using the YES! paste from now one, it works so nicely!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Here's my latest page, done and done:

I actually made this art journal (the book itself)...I'll have to post about that some time...


A couple things about this page...first, pink is NOT my favorite color.  I had done the girl before I did the background and given her pink eye shadow just for kicks...then when painting the body, I had a massive error involving ripping the paper (UGH!) on accident.  I was looking for something to cover that up, when I saw a card one of my coworkers gave me that had a similar coloring to what I had done on the eyes.  So I got out my watercolors and painted the background pink.  I cut up the card in manageable pieces and gave them a little bit of a wash (they were a little too pastel in the beginning) and glued away.  

Second, I am in the process of working on layering.  It's a skill that has eluded me for far too long.  In the past, it's always seemed like my ephemera was just sitting there on the page, not looking like a part of the page at all.  This is the first page I've done where I'm reasonably satisfied with the layering looking like it's part of the page and not an afterthought.

Third, the journaling bit in the lower left hand corner is a quote from a song by Mama Kin.  It says "Love was a cruel mistake."  The irony of it is that while I was writing the quote, I accidentally smeared the pen on the word mistake, so I scribbled it out and rewrote it it's one of my favorite parts of the hooray for some mistakes!  

Be THAT person.

Who are you when no one is that person much more often.

I finished this page last night, staying up to the wee hours of the morning to finish...I have got to stop doing that!  At least today was Saturday and I could sleep in and make up for it...

One of the things I'm working on is making interesting backgrounds.  I am bad for drawing the main thing first and then trying to fill in a background and not mess up the main image in the mean time...  With this page, I did the background first (like a normal person!  ...for once)...and it was a different experience for me, because I kept seeing parts of the background I really liked and didn't want to cover over...which shaped the way I decided what to draw.

My favorite thing on the page happened by accident (that's always the way it goes, isn't it?).  I was writing the quote journaling in a light colored marker, so it would blend in, but it was too light, so I wrote over it in a slightly darker color...still too I wrote over it again a couple more times.  I like that you can kind of see the original writing a ghost image...or when you're taking a picture and the camera is shaky!  I think it looks pretty neat.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Heart Failure

So, here's my Daisy Yellow Prompt6ix #7:

Heart Failure

The prompts this week were:
  1. Science - The writing on the parts with drawing.  The top one says "He" (Helium on the periodic table of elements) and "emulsion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium (latex)".  The bottom one says: "Family-Hominidae, Species-Homo Sapien,  Orientation - 2 X chromosomes (female), Age (approximation) -29 years, Status- Deceased, Preliminary exam indicates early life demise due to heart failure, a result of repeated breakage."
  2. Balloon - The top drawing is a heart shaped balloon
  3. Garden - alluded to (garden/roses...I took some liberties with the interpretation of 'garden')  in the quote (the smaller writing reads: "Heap not on this mound roses that she loved so well.  Why bewilder her with roses, that she cannot see or smell?  She is happy where she lies with the dust upon her eyes." This is a poem by my favorite poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay)
  4. Sketch - both images are quick sketches I did, I added the lines/arrows to make it look more like a blue print...I don't know if that comes across well, but I like how it looks and am going to practice this idea more...
  5. Resume - everything is written/sketched on watermarked resume paper
  6. Argyle - is in the background paint... (you can kind of see it behind the paper with the smaller quote on it)
  7. Orange/green - ok, this was by total accident, because I didn't see the notation in the prompt page when I read it, but I actually have orange and green in the background paint! ...I almost didn't add the orange when I was doing the background, but now I'm glad I cannot trick me sneaky, sneaky Daisy Yellow lady...I'm one step ahead of the game I didn't even know we were playing! (haha)
I liked this challenge...I thought of the idea for it pretty fast, which I've not been able to do as quickly with the other two challenges I've either this was an easy one, or I'm building some brain strength!

I'm liking the elements of this page, but I am having a hard time with the "layering" kind of looks like the papers are just sitting on the page, not really part of the background...does anybody have any thoughts on  how I can fix this?  It's one of those things I haven't learned yet...  I'd love to hear any thoughts on this, because it's driving me NUTS!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fish Kiss!

I have been sickly and gross feeling for a week and a half now, so it seems I've been much less prolific than usual.  I did manage to get the Daisy Yellow Prompt6ix challenge done, so here's my page:

"Fish Kiss"

This time, the prompts were:
  1. Leaves -Pattern in the scrapbook paper hair
  2. Job -It's in the quote in black, which says "It's your job to be yourself in a world that's full of everybody else."
  3. Brushes - The girls face is completely painted in acrylics (I didn't use my trusty number 2 or my Prismacolors (as is my custom) at all for this!)
  4. The Mail -Part of the quote is cut from junk mail
  5. Textures -The hair is cut and layered pieces of scrapbook paper and the red background paint is actually crackled, although it's hard to tell in the photo
  6. Red -I know it may be hard to see, but I did use some red in making this page. :)
My favorite thing on this page is the two fishes, which are from a scrapbook paper I've had FOREVER... literally the first piece of scrapbook paper I ever bought...and I have been in love with those fishes for a long time.  I especially like the bottom fish, because it looks like he's giving her a little kiss!  So I think that's the name of this piece!

I am having a lot of fun with the challenges and am always on the lookout for other challenges, so if anybody knows of some good ones, I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I guess I was in need of a challenge...

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get stuck in a rut.  Or just stuck...where inspiration doesn't come.  Or there's so much going on in my noggin that I can't pin down one idea and do it.  I'm very bad for that last one.  I want to do EVERYTHING right the point where I do nothing but think about doing things instead of actually doing them.  

I was feeling that way earlier this week.  Stuck.  I was doing a million things at once, on little sleep, after having two wisdom teeth pulled (I have found I hate teeth, by the way, but that's a story for a different day...),  working overtime and Saturdays at my day job for a while now, dealing with some stress at home...the list goes on and on...just like everybody's list of frustrating things, I know!  Art and other crafty things are such a nice way to get through life's little frustrating moments without FREAKING OUT too badly.  

But even being artsy fartsy was not helping me that day.  Because I was sitting there putting pencil to paper, but not really thinking about it at all...thinking about all the frustrating things instead...and getting more frustrated because I was just in a puppy-kicking mood...and I love puppies (I would NEVER kick a's just my phrase for a really bad mood...don't go kicking puppies when you're frustrated and try and tell PETA it was my idea...I'm telling you now, don't kick puppies...)  When I realized what I was doing I stopped being artsy fartsy and went online to try to find puppies to kick zone out and think without wasting precious art journal pages on angry-pants, messed-up looking doodles.  (If my pencil would have broken on this particular day, I would have found the nearest person and stabbed them with my messed up for my husband's sake, I put down the pencil and got online.  It's much harder to stab somebody with a keyboard...they're not near as suitable for stabbing as a pencil is!)

In roaming around, I saw something that had never occurred to me to try.  A Challenge!  An art journal challenge to be exact.  It was perfect because I would have to stop thinking about all this dumb daily life stuff that I could do nothing about, so that I could use my brain for more productive things.  I have to admit that I was a little resistant to challenges for a while, because a) I don't usually have a hard time finding something to put on paper, and b)I don't like other people telling me what to do.  Apparently, I can be a real brat sometimes!  

A wrong, wrong, wrong, brat!  I made myself do the first challenge I saw, which happened to be THE PROMPT6IX CHALLENGE challenge by DAISY YELLOW.  You can click the link to find out the specifics of the challenge, but basically she gives you six words (or phrases) to use in your creative endeavors in some way, and in each set of words, there is one color to use and one technique to try.  I kinda got excited about the technique part, because I love to try out things I've never done before!

So this time, her challenge consists of these 6 things:
  1. aquamarine
  2. peaceful
  3. stamped circles
  4. cactus
  5. symbol
  6. blossom
to be used as the artist sees fit.  I almost stopped in my tracks when I read the list...I was a little intimidated by the cactus things, I think...  But because I am stubborn, I MADE myself do it (and ended up having a lot of fun and getting myself out of the funk I was in)...and here's the result:

"I found I had developed a prickly skin that nothing could penetrate.
It was peaceful but lonely.
I needed more.  I needed to bloom."
-Quote by me

The cactus thing was a little tricky for me, like I thought it might be, and my brain kept going 'this is stupid, this is stupid' every time I thought of something cactus I thought ok, what do you know about  the cactus (cacti?)...and the first thing that popped into my head was 'they are prickly'...and I knew I could use that in my challenge piece!  Hooray, inspiration achieved!  And honestly, the cactus/girl head/cactus hat turned out to be my favorite part!  The cactus thorns reminded me to go shave my legs that day, so it was a doubly helpful exercise!

Did I achieve all the required parts?  Let's see:

  1. Aquamarine-  I had a little trouble with this, as the internet seems to debate on what color aquamarine is...I took it as a light blue/green color, and the quote is written in that color (although it may be hard to tell, I had bad lighting...) and the stem of the flower is made from 'aquamarine' glitter... so check!
  2. peaceful- I used it in my quote, plus blue and green are calming, peaceful colors, right?  Check!
  3. stamped circles- I used an empty tp roll to stamp in some circles (taking away some of the background paint) and used a yellow to stamp in some color, which turned out too bright, so I twirled them in with the blue and green background a little.   Check!
  4. cactus-  Clearly, I drew one, but is also referenced in the quote as well. (Prickly) Check!
  5. symbol-  The cactus body and hat symbolize the thick skin, and the tall flower in the piece indicates the blossom part of the CHECK!
  6. blossom - Again, drew one and referenced it in the poem in the piece.  Final Check...

And I was done!  I really had a lot of fun doing this challenge.  It got my mind off of the stinky week I had and it made me do somethings I would have never done otherwise, and I am super happy with the result!  

So what about you, what do you do when you're in a creative dry spell or having a bad day/week?  Do you participate in any challenges or have any special ways of dealing?  

As always, any questions, comments, or critiques are welcome!

Words, words, words and a naked lady

I have a deep and abiding obsession with words.   If you think about it, the purpose of words is only to convey a thought.  And words can be meaningless.  If you spoke to me in another language, those words would be useless, because I wouldn't understand what you were trying to tell me.  Yet words are functional.  You can learn how to do something new, you can communicate your thoughts and feelings, or find out where the bathroom is when you really need one!  So, words can be functional and useful, but that's not why I like them.

I like words because they can be more than just functional.  The right words can paint a picture in your mind more beautiful than any artist could ever create on a canvas.  They can make you connect to a person you've never met or bring to mind memories you had forgotten for a time.  A line or two of words, strung together in just the right way, can inspire us or defeat us.  

I've collected words and quotes for a long time, way before I started art journaling, before I started doing anything artistic or crafty.  I've also been writing (or trying to anyway) my own poems from pretty early on.  (You can read my poetry at my other blog HERE if you'd like to check it out.)  So I have this huge collection of words floating around in my brain (and on scraps of paper, and written in the margins of books, etc.), and so now, if I see something new or rediscover an old favorite, I am trying to put it into one of my art journals and illustrate it.  I find words I love everyday, sometimes multiple times a day, so if I make the effort to slap a quote onto paper and then take the time to modify the page (e.g. -work on drawing, or some new technique I want to try for the background), I should be an expert in no time!

So, here's a recent thing I'd seen while scrolling around the web late one night.  I just love that first line, "I think of you in the in-between spaces, ..."  It's so perfect that I can barely stand it! :
"I think of you in the in-between spaces,
in the pause before the next heartbeat,
in the clench of my chest before I exhale,
in the swell of courage before I say hello."
-Quoted from Kitkat Pecson, originally
seen HERE
In my last post, I mentioned that my black illustration pens were water 'resistant', not 'waterproof', and there's a BIG difference between the two.  Then I realized I had a set of sepia toned micron pens and when I checked, I saw the magic word (waterproof), so that's what I used for doodling this.  I did, sneakily, drive to Michaels after work on Saturday to look for a waterproof black pen.  I ended up getting two Pitt pens, a 0.1 and a 0.6, and now I understand why people love the Pitt pens so much!

The other page I've finished was another learning experience...very similar to the 'resistant' does not equal 'proof' in terms of the water solubility lesson that I learned last time...I've learned that gesso (or at least the brand I have) is not super waterproof (it will take a little water, but a VERY little only...)  ...I think I've fixed it enough that it isn't too obvious, and now I know for next time, right?  Not a mistake, just a new way NOT to do something...  :)

So here's the page:
"It's much too risky to let myself be vulnerable,
to lay there bare, naked and prone,
without any defense from the outside.
Ah, I have built up a tough hide.
And now you ask I feel...
and you expect me to lay aside the thick skin
I have acquired through years of hard work and let you in!
...I can not say 'I love you', my dear one.
But I can try, slowly and scared,
to undress down to my soul
and let you see the truth for yourself."
-Quote by me, and you can see the entire poem HERE
If anybody out there would like to share any techniques or quotes that they enjoy, I would really love to hear them.  I'm always on the lookout for something new...and please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think of my stuff, good or (nicely) bad...I'd love to hear what you think either way.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Muse

The internet is a fabulous, glorious, wonderful thing...also a time waster, if you're not careful...  I have a love/love relationship with my computer, possible to the point of being a little codependent.  Don't judge me too harshly...

It's just that there are all these amazing things to be seen and read with just a few clicks.  You can find tutorials on how to do just about anything, whether it's how to draw a face or how to birth a calf (seriously, it's out there).  For me, I love that I get to see beautiful art work from amazing people that I would never get to see otherwise.

So, in my wanderings around the internet, I came across the BEST THING EVER!  Well, I think so anyway.  I love this picture so much, words are incapable of describing it!  Don't get me wrong, I really like the current trend of layering colors/texture/words/etc. as the background of people's work, but when I saw THIS, it was like a breath of fresh air!  It just looks so clean and fabulous and wonderful.  She knew what she was doing...she embraced the white space and it was so perfectly executed that my heart skipped a beat!  And I knew I had to blatantly copy what this amazing person did try the technique out from myself.

So here is my blatant copy version based on the inspiration:
Quote by me...I wrote it in a poem I was writing and then couldn't get it out of my head
Clearly, not as great as the original, but I am so thrilled to have this in one of my art journals.  If you look at the dark flower in the bottom left corner of the page, you will see where I discovered that 'water resistant' does not mean water proof when in comes to my illustration that point, I also discovered that hairspray (while it will yellow over time, which is not a big deal to me) will seal the ink and that's why there's one DARK flower amid many other light colored ones.  At the top of the page, toward the middle, you will see a pink squiggly thing, which is supposed to be an earthworm...I think it is my favorite thing (even though you might not be able to tell what it is by looking at it) because it is just silly, and I am a big supporter of silly!

So thank you wonderful person at (who's name is possibly Lori, although I am not sure), because you are internet gold, and my new art crush!