Saturday, April 27, 2013

And a splash of color...

Well, a little more than a splash, I think...  

Despite the fact that one of the prompts I did the self portrait for (from the last post) was black and white, I couldn't leave it alone...I REALLY wanted to color the self portrait in...  I had to...HAD TO!!!  

And so I did.  I know, I know...what can I say?  I'm a rebel.  So here it is in all its technicolor glory:

Did I mention in the last post how very apt I feel that quote is...especially in regards to this self portrait...

Coloring this in proved very interesting for me.  In some aspects, it turned out well.  I like the way the lips turned out (although I wish I hadn't outlined them in the Pitt pen...or would have used brown instead of black).  I like the coloring of the skin in certain places, especially the forehead  and the cheek (the one on the right in the above photo).  The shadow from the jacket (on the right side of the neck in the photo) is good.  In general, the shading is not perfect, but I can see that I'm improving, which is nice!

In other ways, the coloring highlights the flaws in the drawing part of it.  I made the head too round and too small. The forehead is too short (I noted this on the last's still true...).  The eyes are at too much of an angle, giving an alien appearance *insert spooky X-Files music here*  My nose and mouth are a little closer to my eyes in real life and my nose is wider as well.  My lips are also a little fuller.  The hair is not quite right, although it's hard for me to tell if this is  due to the roundness of the head/shortness of the forehead or if the hair not being right is what contributes to those problems.

In the end, I'm actually very happy that I colored this in.  It's given me some things to think about and work on next time.

I sometimes get frustrated when I hear people say (or read it, whichever the case may be) that it's important not to be critical of your work.  I think what people mean to say is don't be overly critical, but that's not always the way it's said.  

When you learn to read, you start off with the alphabet, one letter at a time.  Eventually, you learn to put those letters together and you can read small three letter words: cat, dog, mom, dad.  Further down the line, it gets harder, but you learn more.  The words you can read get longer and your sentences more complex...and (if you like reading) you never quit learning new words and new ideas thanks to your ability to read.  But what if you stopped along the way?  What if you decided those three letter words were all you needed?  You'd never know g-o-o-d or f-r-i-e-n-d or c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e!!!  And those are very nice words to know!  

I think that art is the same way.  You learn to draw a line and a circle.  Then you put them together and have a stick person.  Then you learn about other shapes.  And then, although not necessarily in this order,  you learn about colors...then shading...then better shading...then perspective...and the list keeps going.  If you like art, you keep learning and part of learning is figuring out what you are doing wrong so you can learn to do it right.

I'm pretty lucky in that I have a wonderful sister that I love and that I respect as an artistic person.  My sister is a talented artist and she's also...what would you call it ...a passionate learner, perhaps?  She has this awesome tenacity in regards to finding out how things are done and why they are done that way. She's very good at researching things and I'm lucky enough to get to share in the spoils of her efforts.  

The following paragraph is an example of my sister's amazing insights (it's a direct quote...I copied and pasted it right out of the email she sent): 

Yes, all of  your apple issues were lighting/shading issues.  And no, it would not fix it if your apple was lit from behind because there would not be perimeter shading in the way you did :-p    Whether it's a ball, apple, face or anything, the same principles apply when it comes to lighting/shading.  If a person draws using proper skill in lighting/shading; a second trained eye (person) will be able to tell you where the light source is coming from.  If the lighting/shading is wrong, an untrained eye can often feel that something isn't right, even if they don't know what.  You cannot skip the basics.  Lighting/shading not only gives dimension, it also contributes to the mood of the art piece.  That's part of why I so like the quote, "One eye sees, the other feels."  Whether a drawing, photo...whatever...what we see evokes some type of emotional response.  As the artist in control of your work, you decide what you want to convey and then need to understand how to make that happen.  Again, it is a process that comes with time and should never be a roadblock to your creativity.  Once you know and master the "rules", then you can learn when & how to break or manipulate them and do something wonky like this:"

Yes, she really talks like that...I know, it's hilarious, right?  She could seriously write a book on being creative, and it would be a book I'd actually want to read cover to cover.

Despite her scholarly way of speaking (or maybe because of it, who knows?), I really appreciate this kind of email from my sister.  Actually, the thing that I appreciate most about her in regards to creative things is her ability to give good criticism.  I've always emailed her pictures of my various creative endeavors, and she's always critiqued what I've done.  In all honesty, if someone else told me some of the things she's told me about my art, I would have been either really discouraged or seriously annoyed.  The reason I don't get annoyed or discouraged is because I know she tells me these things because she believes I can improve.  I've come to the realization that I'd be more discouraged or upset if she stopped critiquing me...because then I'd know she felt I'd reached the limit of my abilities and that I'd never get any better.

Because of the much appreciated constructive criticism of my sister, I can now look at my work much more objectively.  I can see what I've done well and what still needs improvement.  This is probably the best gift she's ever given me...(although she shouldn't quit trying...I hear that I'm a big fan of money in large amounts, so if she ever wants to try that I'm open to the idea...)  It's a really good thing to have someone be honest with you about your work while still being kind in their criticism.  It's an even better thing if you can be that person for yourself.  

There are so many different styles of art, and so many different views on what is good.  We all like different things and that's what makes the world interesting.  It's also what makes learning to give yourself an objective critique worthwhile.  

I hate sauerkraut.  Loathe it with a passion beyond words, as a matter of fact...  So if you asked me to tell you what to do to improve your sauerkraut, I'm not going to be able to tell you anything useful, because to me it will still be disgusting sauerkraut.  I'd actually not be able to tell you much of anything at all, because I'd be in the corner dry heaving at the thought of sauerkraut.  In order to improve your sauerkraut then, you're going to have to find some recipes and through trial and error figure out what works for you so that you can finally have some sauerkraut you're satisfied with.  And trust me, I will STILL think your sauerkraut is disgusting.

Artistic critique is similar.  Perhaps you don't have someone in your life that you get useful input from concerning your art.  The internet is a wonderful place for learning how to do things...usually at the low, low price of free.  You may find some nice people (but be aware that there are also big jerks out there) who will give their opinion on how to improve.  Even if you can't find someone with a helpful opinion, you will be able to find a ton of tutorials on how to do just about any type of artistic thing your little heart could desire.  

Watch enough videos, look at enough examples, read enough articles and eventually you'll be able to give yourself an honest critique of your own work.  You're the only one who knows what the idea in your head looks like. You're the one who has to practice getting what's in your head onto the paper.  And once it's on that paper, you're the one who decides whether it's good or not.  If it's exactly how you want it to be, that's awesome!  If it's not, look for what worked and what didn't.  Congratulate yourself (get excited!) for the good parts and figure out why you don't like the bad parts.  Then try again.  Repeat those steps enough and you're eventually going to have a whole piece that you're really proud of!

While you're busy practicing, remember to have fun and be kind to yourself.  Too much criticism is a bad thing and will discourage you.  Look for the good first, then find areas for improvement.  Be critical of your work, so that you can keep getting better, but not overly critical to the point where you become discouraged and want to give up.  

I'm going to get off my soap box now and work on improving my self portrait...after I take the time to appreciate the good parts again... 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

This is my with it..

I got to do a really fun set of prompts for my most recent journal page: black & white, self-portrait  and favorite quote or saying.  My love of faces is well documented, so I was excited to get to do another one.  A lot of my recent posts have been me being pretty introspective, so a self-portrait prompt seemed to fit right in with my narcissism!  

I tried to find a good picture, but then remembered I am the most non-photogenic person in the entire I changed the plan and tried to find a decent picture instead...the goal was much more realistic at that point...  Here's the one I ended up picking:

My blurry no attention to the mess in the's an illusion...

If you ignore the blurriness of it, this is probably the best picture I've taken in the past 5 or 10 years...seriously...  Most.Non-photogenic.Person.Ever.  It's not a joke people.  Aside from being a decent picture, the other/main reason I picked this one is because it shows the highlights and shading really distinctly.  Thank you, blurry cell phone picture!  You've made my task infinitely more easy!

After all the blabbing to get to this point, here's the page:

My self-portrait...not perfect, but good (enough)
Not too shabby...  Not perfect (I'm looking at you forehead that I made too low!  And you, nose that should be bigger!), but pretty good.  Now that I've taken the picture (thus completing my contractual obligations to the prompts), I'm totally going to colorize this page (with my watercolors, I do believe).  I think that will help to make the page look a little more like me...or at least that's my hope...

As I was in the middle of drawing my face, I realized how little attention I actually pay to my own face.  I mean, I see it every day...I look in the mirror, you know, to make sure I don't have a booger hanging around or something stuck in my teeth and the like, but I don't think I've ever really made a close examination of it before.  I think it's an odd thing to live with yourself all your life and not really know your own details.

I've come to understand that I don't have much knowledge of myself.  I don't really have an awareness of my own opinions on things, or if I do, I don't generally make them known.  I push them to the back-burner.  I suppose it's never been important to me before.  Maybe I'm having an early mid-life crisis, but I have the sudden compelling desire to figure out what it is that I want, who it is that I am (if I was wealthy, or not tied down, or more adventurous, this would be the point where I backpack across Europe...), not the person that I show other people...  I'm well acquainted with that version of me.  I'm longing to get to know the one on the inside...the one I'd be if I wasn't so worried about the thoughts and opinions of others, because let's face it, the one I pretend to be is mostly made up of things I think other people want me to be.  I want to start paying attention to my thoughts and feelings a little better and then let that girl out...I don't want to say the 'real' me, because in the end both versions are technically real...the way a character in a book or play or a movie is real...but I want to quit playing the part.  I want to see who I am when the curtain comes down and there's no audience judging my performance.

Isn't it funny how the mind connects things?  One little blurry picture at the right time spurs a huge idea.  And one huge idea has the potential to slowly bring about change and to set something free that's been locked away for far too long.  

To be honest, I'm's not an easy job to hold up a mask all the time.  And it's even harder to let yourself take off the mask and examine what's behind it...and it's scary too.  Truth is scary.  Change is scary.  If, as John Wayne said, courage is being afraid and saddling up anyway, then I'm feeling pretty courageous right now.  For the first time in a long time, maybe for the first time ever, I'm feeling powerful.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Letting Go

With the completely horrible version of the prompts (neon, money, stickers) for this week out of the way, I shook off the ugly page mojo and made this page:

She remembered that it was ok to let go of things when the cost outweighed the benefit.

I would have never guessed it in a million years, but I am really enjoying the neon backgrounds...even on my previous know, the shamefully horrible one...  

I like this page SIGNIFICANTLY  better than the first one.  It's much more 'my style' than the last attempt was for sure...I don't know what my creativity was doing the day I made the first page, but good gourd, don't let it leave me like that EVER AGAIN!!!  

I like that this page is another step in the direction of my personal goal to remember the journal part of art journaling.  

I've been thinking recently about how much I struggle to keep things (and people, sadly) in my life that don't really need  to be there.  I chase after things that don't want to be caught, and fight as hard as I can to hold onto them, to keep them around no matter the consequences.  Part of it, I think, is that I'd feel like a failure if I couldn't maintain these stressful relationships.  I've always kind of been the glue that holds things together...and having one side do all the work is not easy and it's how it should be at all.  In the past few weeks, I've been kindly told by several dear people that things 'are not always about me'.  I don't know why I have such a hard time accepting that.  It's a simple fact, really, but also profound.  Sometimes we just get the brunt of conflict that has little, if anything, to do with us.  We're just the person that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

It can really stink to be a caring person, because there's a very thin line that separates being caring and being codependent, where I start to think that I can change someone else's attitude and outlook.  And that's a bad place to be.  It's not my job to continually try to fix other people's problems.  Not that there's anything wrong with helping people if I can.  The problem is that it seems to be all I ever do.  For starters, it's kind of's like saying I can live that person's life smarter than they can...  I've got my own problems!  O meed to go fix them!  Additionally, if you start bailing people out too often, they quit trying to help become an enabler and you start drowning in issues that were never yours to begin with.  And a person can only give so much...eventually, if nobody returns the favor, you're completely empty.  I've been riding on 'E' for a while now.

So I've decided to quit being glue-like and start being more like velcro.  Because velcro has two parts and neither part sticks without the half it matches.  I have needs and wants and problems too.  So I'm going to work on finding things that have a give and take.  This doesn't just apply to people either.  

There are other things I can think of that have no real benefit...I just do them because I've always done them.  And, honestly, there's not time enough in the day to do things just because they should be done or because it's the way it's always been done.  I'm going to liken this to making your bed in the morning.  Your whole life you've woken up and made your bed.  What's the point to it?  You're just going to get back in it and mess it up again!  But you've heard 'GO MAKE YOUR BED!' every day since you were a kid, and it's a habit and it's just the way things are done.  But really, why?  The world isn't going to stop if you just toss off the blankets and walk away.  I'm going to try to get rid of all those little 'go make your bed' situations in my life.

Some person out in the world, who is much smarter than I am said: When you say no to something, what you're doing is making room for yes.  Basically, you're making room for more positive things.  I've come to the realization that there are some things I'm finally ready to scream "NO!" at.  And I'm sitting here tonight, dreaming of all the good things I'm making room for, just by simply letting go.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Extreme Brightness

Here's a page for one of the Facebook groups I'm in...the prompts were neon, stickers, money.  In an odd turn of events, I have very few stickers...  This realization was very disturbing to me!  When did I become the kind of adult that can buy stickers at will and yet has NO STICKERS???  I am going to have to work on adult with no stickers...I feel like a monster!!!  My nine year old self is shaking her head in disgust at me!

This picture does not accurately portray the EXTREME brightness of this page...

Aside from my limited sticker collection, I had a hard time with this page...the neon is NOT a comfortable color choice for me.  I like color...but oh...oh, so very bright!  I have to admit that as I flip past this page in my journal in search of a blank one, I stop and admire the background quite a bit...  It turns out I must like those frighteningly bright colors after all.  It makes me wonder why I don't use them a little more often...and it makes me afraid that I'm becoming a boring adult!  No stickers, no crazy colors...WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?  

In searching out something to use for the money part of the prompt, I kept coming across these insightful quotes about money...but I couldn't do it!  My funky stickers were mocking me and my grown-up then I had to search jokes about money instead...and I think I agree with the raccoon in the apron... "Ugh...that's so corny."  but it works well for my animal related stickers and the brightness of the STOP JUDGING ME RACCOON!!!  

I had a stroke of brilliance and a stop at the local dollar store (to get stickers) so that I can do another page for this theme.  I don't care for this page very much, and I want another shot at doing these prompts.  Where were you over the weekend inspiration?  Taking a vacation or something?  Get back to work!

Sometimes I think it's kind of refreshing to do a page that you just don't's visual motivation for me... I feel like I can do better, and I know it can't be worse than that hideousness!  This is not the first bad page I've made, nor will it be the last sadly...but it feels freeing to get the ugly out of the way and move on to making better pages.

I wonder if the other ladies in my group had as hard of a time on this week's prompts as I did...probably not, they are creative and amazing and resourceful...and they probably had better stickers... 

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Little Black Book or An Almost Tutorial

I just wanted to share a little project that I did Saturday night.  I wanted to do something creative, but didn't have my usual journal page mojo going.  My mojo was eluding me all weekend actually, like a big jerk...  Usually, when this happens, I can look through my buckets of random supplies and find SOMETHING that gets me all worked up.  Or I go look at my Pinterest boards and get inspired.  Or, as a last resort, I tell myself if I don't think of something I'll have to start cleaning...that's usually a no-fail  way to get my brain working...anything is better than cleaning.

But, alas, even the threat of cleaning did nothing for me this time.  So I made good on my personal threat and started cleaning.  

I was going through the stacks of junk on my desk and came across a pocket calender similar to this one (I had two, because I like to hoard things with the thought that one day I will use them for something.):

Cheapie little pocket can pick them up for a dollar just about anywhere...

Between the find of this provocative little calendar, and the large amount of small scraps of patterned paper that were roaming about everywhere, my little brain devised a plan.  

Because the pages of the calendar were very thin, I glued two pages together and let them dry...afterwards I realized that I probably would have been ok not taking this step and just having more pages, but it was too late to unglue at that point...

Anyway, after the glue dried, I just took my random bits of patterned paper and started gluing them down all willy nilly and in the end, here's what I came up with:
At this point, I feel the need to mention that A) I should have cleaned my desk, because if anybody looks in the background of these pictures, they're going to think I NEVER clean...and that's not true, I just use spray ink and glue instead of lemon pledge...don't judge... B) you will probably notice how messy and uneven the edges of the pages are...which is true, but this is just my little scrappy book that will get tossed into the bottom of my purse for creativity on the go (at least that's the plan at this point) and will get beat up, and ripped and torn and bent anyway, so I'm ok with messy/uneven edges (if you're not and you make you own, go ahead and trim those babies's ok, I give you the green light...) and C) you may have also noticed that some of the pages are less...cohesive(?) than other pages...I'm planning on fixing that with a color wash or some other sort of easy background technique that will probably involve gesso to make it meld together...or maybe not...random isn't so bad in my eyes.

I also wanted to make quick mention of my cover for this little monstrosity.  I went with a solid color black card stock, and not because that was the only piece of scrap paper I had that was big enough to recover the book with...although that was a big part of it...  I like to save the outside of my journals as the very last thing I decorate.  That way when you're in the midst of doing fabulous messy art journaly things, you're not worried about screwing up whatever awesome artwork you've done on the covers...because you haven't done anything to it yet...  I say save that for the end, so if you get a big blob of accidental paint on it, you can work that into your cover art and say it was your plan all along to do it that way...  That's right!  Lie!  Lie like a dog!  Oh, and just for your amusement, here is a picture of my boring black cover:

I hope this little almost tutorial thing was interesting to read.  Really fast, before I go, I want to mention before I forget that over the weekend, I had a neat milestone thing happen for my blog, I hit 1,000 page was actually like 1,012 when I saw it...and that feels pretty neat!  So thanks everybody who comes to see me and my artsy made me do the happy dance this weekend!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


The challenge this week for one of the Facebook groups I'm in is My All-Time Favorite Song.  

The hard part about this challenge for me is how do you pick just one?  I love music and lyrics!  It's literally impossible to pick my absolute favorite song!  It's a thousand way tie!  Maybe if you told me pick your favorite song for when you're in this mood or that mood or this situation or that situation I'd have a better chance at narrowing it down...but absolute favorite above all others?  IMPOSSIBLE!!!

I feel multiple journal pages coming on...

Here's what I have so far:
"We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year"  ...I love that line!

This page is inspired by "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd.  

In an odd turn of events, I had actually started this page before I found out that the theme of this weeks challenge was music related.  (I feel like I cheated a little bit!)  Many of my pages have started out because of the words to a good song.  I'm always listening to I write this, I've got my Spotify mix going in the background.

How does music manage to move us so completely?  Why does it lift our spirits when we're down?  Why do I put on a sad song when I'm in a melancholy mood?  How can it call to mind things from the past so easily? Whatever it is about music, I'm so happy that we have it to soothe, to comfort, to energize, and to punctuate our lives so well.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April showers...the second...

This is my second attempt at the "April Showers Bring May Flowers" theme that's happening this week on one of the Facebook groups I'm in:
"It's always raining in my head."
It always pays to read instructions...although the weekly challenge is just a suggestion, I want to 'do it right'!  And if I would have read the my defense I did read about two in the morning...(so, let's just say if I would have read them while I was coherent...), I would have noticed that they said "include flower and umbrella"...  The first page I did had a flower...and rain...but sadly, not an I just had to do another page!

This time, the flower is the umbrella, as suggested by one of my FB friends, who said in my first page the flower was an umbrella for all the little bugs hiding in the grass!  Genius, I thought, and wanted to make a page that showcased that brilliant idea!  So my little fairy has herself a flower umbrella, and that's that!

The quote is from a song by Staind.  "It's always raining in my head" is just written over and over again.  I have always heard (though I don't know if it's true) that if a person's favorite color is grey, it is a sign of possible mental illness, so I did the grey background and the quote repetition to signify depression and when I look at it, that's what I see.  I like the contrast between the bright, happy fairy colors and the bleakness of the background.  In my mind, it has the message that what we show on the outside is not always congruent with what's happening inside of us.  

It's been on my mind a lot lately that I wish people would just say what they mean.  I am THE WORST person in the world for not always having a 'filter', some kind of alarm that goes off in a normal brain that tells the mouth what's ok to say and what's better left unsaid.  Instead, my thoughts tend to shoot out of my mouth without that warning bell going off.  And it tends to lead to awkward situations, because for the most part people are not used to hearing things this way, and I've always thought of this tendency as a bad thing.  But recently, I'm starting to wish that more people were like me in this regard.  It could save a lot of time and energy.  

Not that people should say every thought that comes into their brain...dear goodness, how exhausting that would be!  But think how nice it would be if people were just honest with each other.  I'm not saying forget manners and give me brutal honesty; there's a kind way to do it.  But really, at this point, I'd take rude truth over sweet lies.  I've been lucky enough in my life to know a few people who I could trust to always tell me the truth, even if it's not what I wanted to hear.  But it's not a trait you come across every day, and I don't know why.  

And the why is what always gets me.

Today, I was having a conversation with one of my work friends about the whole 'why' question.  We were observing that another co-worker (whom I love ardently) either likes people or doesn't like people with no apparent rhyme or reason.  She meets you, and makes up her mind in that instant whether she is going to like you or not, and there is pretty well nothing you can do to change her mind about it.  I mentioned that I was so happy that she decided she liked me, for the simple reason that it would drive me crazy to know I was disliked but not know why.  And the friend I was talking to said to me "Sometimes there is no why."  And my brain stopped.  Because I can't imagine my head, there's always a reason.  We might not get to know what it is, but it HAS to be there.  And my friend couldn't understand how that one little phrase bothered me so much.  But the truth is (to me anyway) the why is a resolution.  If a person gives you a reason, in this instance as to why they don't like you, you have two options.  You can decide if the person has a valid point and work to change your perceived flaw.  Or you can decide that person's reason is stupid and either work to change their mind about said reason or let it go and move on.  Whatever you decide, whatever way you go, that one little 'why' is the solution.

And I say that to say this:  I've recently lost a good friend of mine over a stupid and inconsequential spat.  I've done everything I can do to reconcile, but to no avail.  Not only will this person not talk to me, but they even refuse to look at me or be in the same room with me if they can help it.  Though I don't feel like I was in the wrong, I sincerely apologized, because this friendship was more important to me than being right.  I was told to 'let it alone'.  

And I therefore conclude two things:  that whatever this is about, it's not about this little tiff (I won't say what it actually was, but let's say it was as stupid as someone being mad at you for saying the sky is blue or saying that you don't like to wear hats...just something as stupid as that)...and that's where the why comes in.  I think I could let it go, I could have a little closure at least, if the person would just tell me why they're so mad.  What did I do that's so bad they can't even look at me?  Because I honestly don't know.  And in not knowing the problem, I will never be able to find a solution, or know if I even want to find a solution.  

The second conclusion I've drawn from this is that clearly I valued our friendship much more than the other person did.  If they were truly my friend, they would at least give me some kind of reason for their sudden disdain.  But, sadly, not so much.  And that's brings us back around to my wish for people to just say what they mean.  If I don't like someone, I wouldn't be rude to them, but I also wouldn't choose to spend any significant amount of time with them either.  I wouldn't make conversation with them, and certainly wouldn't seek them out.  But maybe that's just me.  And that's why I'm wishing people were a little more like me right now.  If at the beginning I would have heard, "we're friends because it's convenient and that may or may not last", I'd probably be a lot less hurt and disappointed than I am right now.  Another of my friends told me that I should pretend that this all doesn't bother me.  And honestly, there's nothing more I can do, even if I wanted to.  I've said all I can say, and so now, anything other than apathy will come across as the desperation of a crazy person, and while crazy, I'm not desperate.  

In the end, unless the other person has a change of heart, I really do have to find a way to let this go.  That's what this page is really about for me.  On the outside, I'm going about my daily life with a smile on my face acting as 'normal' as my version of normal ever is.  On the inside, there's a constant hurricane blowing in my head, with "Why? Why? Why?" circling around in there and it's hard to find peace with all that noise.  Eventually, none of it will matter anymore.  There will either be a reconciliation or the death of what was, for me at least, a beautiful friendship, and it will get buried in the mental dirt that daily life provides and the only memory of it will be a small tombstone that reads "what might have been".

At least doing the above journal page and writing about it has proven mildly cathartic.  Mildly akin to flatulence, emotional turmoil like this is always better out than in.  Sorry you had to listen to my mental farts...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stop looking for roses and 'April Showers...'

Just wanted to share a couple pages really quick.

This first one is all thanks to my friend Boo and her lovely comment on one of my recent posts.  I was contemplating my old lady-hood and feeling a little blue about my life, and her comment made me feel so much better.  Ok, first it made me cry, but then it made me feel so much better!  Boo, if ever we meet face to face, you must be prepared for the most gigantic squish you have ever been squished!

And so here is my Boo inspired page, to make me always remember the kind words she said:

Everybody should be lucky enough to have a friend like Boo to tell them just what they need to hear at just the right time!

My second page is for the prompt "April Showers Bring May Flowers" in one of the wonderful Facebook groups I am in:

My poor flower is a little droopy, but she's been rained on all day!  I think eventually I will add more to this page, but I'm not quite sure what to do with it yet...  Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I want to make sure I don't forget the journal part of art journal, and I completely do that a lot of the time.  I get caught up in the pretty or the practice of the art and totally forget to put something about myself in the page.  I'm working on it.

This page has been in my head for a long time, and yesterday it finally managed to escape:

There are certain things in life that I don't ever want to forget, and this page represents one of those things.  It's a rough sketch of one of the best memories I have.  I don't care who you are, but you've either had or one day will have a similar memory: the kiss.  Not your first kiss, although you'll probably remember that first real kiss was when I was 16 or 17...I was a late bloomer...  The boy's name was Davie, and all I remember was that he was nice to me.  And the fact that, when he put his tongue in my mouth, I pulled back and shrieked: "I don't know how to do that!"...  Yes, I am forever awkward...  

But I'm not talking about your first (awkward) kiss.  And I'm not talking about the wedding kiss in front of a bunch of other people, making you feel like all your family and friends are a bunch of lechers and you just didn't know it.  

This is about the best kiss you've ever kissed.  The kiss by which all other kisses will be measured.  The kiss no other kiss will ever live up to.  The kiss you will think of on your death bed, when you look back on your life and remember that day and you will know that you were good and truly kissed.  

This page represents that kiss for me.  This is my memory of THE KISS.  

I'm so happy with this page, not because of the art, because I think I've done better.  The lines are off and the coloring is mediocre.  But I love this page because it really represents me and something that happened in my life that shaped who I am.  I got the journaling part of art journal right on the nose at last!  It makes me smile every time I look at it for what it represents.  And maybe in the end, that's what good art should do.  It's not necessarily what's on the page that matters, it's what the page evokes; it's what the piece makes you feel that matters.  It's always the thought that counts. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Magenta Doodle Numbers

Hehehe...that post title sounds like I have some sort of Tourette Syndrome.  But's the prompt for today's pages!  I may have some sort of Tourette's, I think people call it Verbal Diarrhea, but I don't think that's a diagnosable disease at this point.  And really, when they finally do make it an actual medical condition, they'll have a better name than Verbal least I hope so.  Because who would want to have to tell other people "It's not my fault...I have VD."  Yeah, that would be awkward.  But I digress...and offer you pretty pictures to make you forget about my VD. Hehehe...

Magenta, doodle, numbers prompt #1:

I really like the bottom...the top...meh, it's ok.

I wish I would have just continued the flowers all the way to the top, but the great thing about art is that you can have as many do-overs as you that flowers to the top thing will happen soon!  Apart from that, I've been pondering my impending old lady-hood...the big 3-0...  

When I was a kid, I always thought there'd be some sort of turning point...something would click in my head, and suddenly I'd feel like I was an adult.  But that hasn't happened yet...maybe it never will...maybe that's a good thing, I don't know.  Sometimes I feel like I'm a plant that keeps growing and growing, but for some reason never blooms...I keep waiting...  And waiting...  And waiting...  I'm starting to wonder if I'm just some kind of dumb plant that will only ever have leaves and never flower!  

That sounds really depressing, but I don't mean it that way.  I'm still growing at least.  I've got some things figured out, or at least much more so than when I was younger.  I'm much more comfortable in my own's not perfect, but it's mine.  I press ever forward and all that jazz!  

I guess I'm not really a non-flowering dumb plant...I'm more like the tulips in my yard.  All this week I've been looking at them.  Every day I said to myself "I bet those are going to bloom this week."  And they didn't...and they didn't...and they didn't...and I started to have my doubts.  Then finally this morning, I walked out of the house to go to work, and was accosted by yellow and orange!  All at once, full on colorful fabulousness!  And maybe that's what I'm like.  I'll bloom out eventually, I just need a little more patience.

In the mean time, I'll keep doing my thing, as described in my other page for today:

There was a little girl ,who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very, very good.  And when she was bad, she was horrid.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Singing in the rain...a couple times, plus a magazine collage and a new to me watercolor technique

One of the lovely groups I am in on Facebook had a suggested theme of 'Singing in the Rain'.  This theme must have struck a chord with me (unintended musical pun...bwa-ha-ha), because I could not stop with one page...I did far...

First page, is watercolor in the background areas.  Then, using tinted modeling past, I did the girl, her umbrella, and the black thing to the right...which I am undecided as to what it is (originally going to be a bench, but it doesn't look very bench-like), but I like it there, so I left it alone.

Next, I did this girl.  She's watercolor and gouache.  I like her hair and her rain coat.  I used a dry brush dipped in watercolor and flicked it over the page to give the impression of multiple raindrops...because I discovered that I find making raindrops kind of tedious...or I am lazy...but let's go with raindrops are tedious...

And this is my third page with the 'Singing in the Rain' theme.  I saw the zentangle-looking clouds on Pinterest, and thought how perfect it was for the theme.  I used an ultra fine blue sharpie and watercolor for this page.  The journaling is mine, and it says "It's a lonely song, but I keep on singing."

I had so much fun with my previous magazine collage thingie (inspired by Teesha Moore's work) that I decided to do another...  The journaling (my words...but you can use them if you want, cause we're friends like that) says "One day, these teeny tiny wings will fly me away."

And finally, here is a watercolor fish I did using a new to me technique.  My sister sent me a link to a video (you can watch the video HERE) from Lian Quan Zhen, who is an awesome artist, and seems like he'd be so fun to take a class from!  His bio is also very interesting.  My fish painting was done using the first technique on the video.  I had so much fun doing it, and will be working to get better at doing this style of watercolor.

That's all I've got...what have you been up to?