Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dancing Chickens

This is the last page in my current everyday matters journal. I had been saving this picture of the dancing chickens for years. It was just what I needed to accompany this recipe for Parmesan-Seared Chicken. You'll have to try this. It's great!

Going now to my teaching mode...I encourage my journaling students to tie two pages of a spread together. That's what I did when I used the red from the chickens' combs to outline the recipe.

Medicare? Yikes!

Yes, this is a picture of me as an infant. I was a WWII baby and will be 65 in December. How impossible that seems!

The white was written with a Sharpie Poster Paint Pen. I've found they are the most reliable thing out there for writing in white.

Liking Has To Be Earned

I've always loved this quote by Colleen McCullough. It's from her book The First Man in Rome. For several years now, I've felt that my daughter is my best friend, so this page seemed the perfect place to write it.

The inner parts of the flowers are a rubberstamp that I heat embossed with copper, then drew the outer edges with a black pen, and colored the white parts with a Prismcolor pencil.

Spray Paint Stencil

This was my first experiment with making a spraypaint stencil. As you can tell, I didn't quite get the hang of it on this one. Here are some things I learned by trial and error:

1. You can make a stencil by directly cutting from a magazine photo, but it may be easier to see what should be removed by tracing just those parts.

2. You will get a cleaner image by using repositionable spray adhesive on the back of the stencil instead of removable tape.

3. You can use adhesive to stick down any part you accidentally cut off, or to mask an interior part (such as a thin line to demarcate the two lips.)

4. Wear gloves when using spray paint (unless you're into black fingernails.)

Sept. 2-5

This spread was painted with Anita's 'Periwinkle' and 'Melted Butter' acrylics. Just squirted them on and spread with a 1" flat brush. For the date lines, I made a stamp by cutting diamonds out of a craft foam sheet and temporarily mounting them to an acrylic block with Scotch Removable Poster Tape. They were tricky to align just right, so I was sorry to have to remove them from the block. Next time I will adhere them to a piece of acetate and stick that to the acrylic block so they will be easy to remove and reuse.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Writing Samples

This page is where I've tested several different markers, especially to see how well they show up on darker painted pages. For white, my favorites are gouache, Sharpie Poster-Paint pen, and Uni-ball Signo in that order. The worst is the Permapaque, the Gelly Roll, and the Gell Xtreme. I'm just talking about white. I like these brands in other colors.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

This spread is an example of "featuring" a mistake. While the paint was still quite damp, I somehow managed to pull on the right side and a hunk of the page tore loose. Instead of thinking I had ruined the page, I picked a contrasting color to paint the underneath page (purple) so that it shows through the torn place. When everything had dried sufficiently, I used a lilac colored pencil to create feathering around the edge of the tear. I could have also fixed the problem by gluing on a border.

At a class I taught a couple of weeks ago in Austin, one of the students had a magazine cut-out where she liked both sides. I thought she was very inventive when she tore a hole in the middle of a page and positioned the picture so both sides could be viewed.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I don't usually use this many different colors on a background, but it's fun to get wild and crazy sometimes. I added the flower just because I thought it was pretty and reinforced the bits of purple in the background. The picture of the mockingbird is to remind me of just how sassy they can be. Recently, as we drove up to the house, we saw a squirrel running along the power line and a mockingbird was flying behind nipping at his butt. I've seen them dive at my poor old cat who was just minding her own business, but this is the first time I've ever seen one harass a squirrel. Maybe it got too close to her nest, although I would have thought it's too late in the year for her to be raising young. However, now that I think about it, it was just two weeks ago that I saw a mourning dove sitting on her nest in Missy's pear tree.

June 20-22

This spread is to remind me of some memorable meals that we had when we last visited my sister and brother-in-law.


This spread was painted with raw sienna and cad yellow. When it was good and dry I swiped a couple of rubber stamps with white acrylic paint and randomly pressed them on the page. Just a note of sure to wash your stamps well immediately after using them with acrylic paint since it dries permanent. I colored in some of the spaces with Prismacolor pencils.

Camp Cheerio

In May, I went to Camp Cheerio, which is a breath-takingly beautiful place in the mountains of North Carolina not too far from Winston-Salem. However, it was remote enough that my cell phone couldn't get service and too far up a very winding road to rule out dashing into town. My friend Jennifer Phillips and I were there for a calligraphy workshop. The organizers tried something this session that I feel sure they won't repeat. They had engaged two instructors as usual. But instead of assigning half of us to one and half to the other for the whole week, or dividing the week in half with each teacher...they divided each day in half so we had to totally shift gears in our thinking because the subjects being taught couldn't have been more diametrically opposed. Worst of all, the students had to move instead of the teachers. So here's 40 mostly middle-aged to elderly women, and even a man in his 80s, packing up and moving our multitudinous art supplies up and down stairs every single day and sometimes twice a day!

They said they had to do it this way because the techniques that Brody Neuenschwander was using needed drying time, so dividing the week in half would have been a problem. But as it was, no one finished their projects anyway. His class needed full days all week long. The things he taught were extremely intriguing, and he has such a brilliant mind, along with being a wonderful human being. It was a joy to be exposed to his techniques.

As bad as not having a permanent situation in class was, the food almost made up for it. Camp Cheerio has lucked out by accidently hiring a fabulous young chef. Martyn, who is English, was between semesters in college and not looking forward to spending a summer at home, so he applied to be a camp counselor in the States. At that time, Cheerio had a cook, who by all accounts, made school cafeteria food seem downright tasty! Martyn insisted that he could do the job when the first cook left...and was everyone pleasantly surprised.

Since most of the time, he is cooking for teenagers, he goes all out when he gets the chance to cook for adults. The ingredients he used are what you would expect in a 4-star restaurant and each meal was more amazing than the one before. He served such things as a leg of lamb, baked salmon, grilled strip steaks, portobello mushrooms, fresh asparagus, and parsnips, in addition to a 30 foot long salad bar. Breakfast was French toast with fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries; bacon & sausage; Belgian waffles; real whipped cream, cheese grits (not sure what the Yanks thought about those, but we southerners ate them up.) And he always had a fabulous dessert at both lunch and dinner. There was a mixed fruit cobbler that was better than any I've ever had. The crust did literally melt in your mouth. The bread pudding was to die for (and I'm not even a bread pudding fan.) If all this wasn't enough, there was a coffee machine with about a dozen selections that could have competed with Starbucks.

Monday, May 21, 2007

3rd Week of April

This spread is about my spring cleaning efforts in the yard and garage.

Since this involved moving some of my daylilies, I found a pretty picture as illustration. I like how the colors in the background complemented those of the flowers. That was entirely random, as the spread had been painted long before I recorded on it. It was just the next one in the notebook. I love when that happens...and it does more than one would expect.


This page tells of our battle with the squirrels who were systematically trying to make our house their house!


This spread will be a reminder of the first time I saw my great-nephew in person. That's my baby sister Jan holding him. She's his grandmother and that's our mother sitting next to her. On the opposite page you can see a photo of my daughter with Mother and me, and on the bottom is Mother's new dog "Miss Daisy."

Callen at 3 Months

Here's a great picture of my first great-nephew! I drew basketballs and stamped stars to accentuate the designs on his shirt.

Dawn Burgess

With the death of Dawn Burgess, only two of the Coquettes' mothers are still living...Donna's and mine. This page just commemorates some of my memories of Mrs. Burgess. What a wonderful teacher she was! I'm so sorry that her last few weeks were so painful.

Babbo Bruno

We were thrilled to discover this wonderful little Italian restaurant for JT's birthday.

This subtle background was created by overpainting reds and yellows with a taupe wash. The illustrations came from food ads, and I wrote the title with a broad-edge pen and black gouache.

Patchwork Frame

To create this very colorful page, I first painted with cadmium red, overbrushed with yellow while still damp. While this dried, I cut rectangles and squares out of a Target catalog. I adore their catalogs for the fabulous colors and designs. These were arranged and glued in place with matte medium, interspercing a couple of circular patterns . Then a black Neocolor II crayon was used to outline the frame and smudged with my finger.

Chairs, Chairs, Chairs

My daughter works for an interior designer who often gives her the opportunity to do special projects on her own time for extra income.

This background was several shades of medium greens, with bits of pale yellow and cream brushed on, and topped with a white wash. The title was done with a greenish-gray Tombow brush marker, shadowed with a lighter gray, and outlined & embellished with a black Uniball pen.

Aunt Mildred

I created this page in memory of my aunt who died in February. The background was painted by alternating two colors. Over this, I laid down a cut-out of flowers with matte medium as the adhesive. This has become my favorite way to apply cut-outs in my compo journals:

1. Position the cut-out where you want it on the page and hold it in place with the fingers of one hand while lifting one edge with the thumb.

2. Dip a flat brush (I use a 1/2" or a 1", depending on the size of the cut-out) in matte medium.

3. Brush both the underside of the cut-out as well as the place on the page where the cut-out will lie.

4. Once this bit is stuck down, you can more easily lift up the rest of the cut-out to glue it and the underlying part of the page.

This works so well for me. The cut-out almost seems to sink into the page instead of just sitting on top. When I want to reduce the shine of a glossy magazine cut-out, I also coat the top with the matte medium. Also, with this method, you avoid the curling that happens when you apply the glue all over the back and then try to stick it down. And since you are applying just a bit of adhesive at the time, it doesn't dry out before you can get it down on the page.

Note: This cut-out was from a paper bag that Hobby Lobby used to put your purchase in.

January 2007

The background was painted yellow, and after it dried, I masked off the edges and the gutter and then painted the center with black gesso. Because this dries a very matte black and looks like old-timey chalkboards, I wrote with a white Sharpie poster-paint pen (extra-fine point.) The decoration around the edges was done with a rubberstamp and colored with brush markers. The title was written with RoseArt ColorSharp metallic markers.