Monday, August 16, 2010

Red Bird

I really like this spread. I first painted the pages with "Antique White". When it was dry, I used Post-It tape to block off sections and painted with "Lime", "Island Green" (which is the aqua), and "Raspberry". The splotchy area was made by dabbing with paint on a wadded-up paper towel.
This technique creating some interesting spaces for the writing instead of my usual boring method.

June 1-3

For the last few days I have enjoyed reading Martha Lever's blog "Art du Jour". She is a calligrapher and watercolor artist who lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
I've gotten some great ideas from her, which she says she's gotten in turn from other folks. All of us seem to "steal" and adapt from each other. In her book "Cover To Cover", Shereen LaPlantz said "One of the great joys in art is transmutation. We all learn from others' ideas. The process of adapting these new ideas to our tastes and needs is transmutation." I especially admire Martha's fun lettering. She has taken Suzy Ratto's brush letters to a different level by adding black micro lines to them in the style of Sherri Kiesel. And who knows where Suzy and Sherri originally got their ideas?
Another thing I really love on her blog are her wonderful watercolor doodle flowers. Since I'm not much of an illustrator, I adapted that idea to make the flowers on the right page. I used HeroArts "A Real Candytuft" stamp, coloring directly on the stamp with Tombow markers, and spritzing with water before pressing it to the paper. This is a favorite technique that gives a watercolor look to stamps. The taller, darker flowers were the initial stamping, while the lighter, shorter ones were the second stamping done without reinking. After they dried, I used a micron pen to draw the black lines to define them. This is what gives a hand drawn look to a stamped image. I had to extend the stems with the pen.
On the word "June", after writing it with a Zig brush marker in one color, I added a new layer by giving a flick on top of each letter with a darker color. This is a trick I've used for years after learning it from Suzy Ratto's booklet "Color Layering System". However, the new layer just sits there. For some reason, this time I decided to see what would happen if I used my Kuratake Waterbrush filled with blending fluid to pull the top color around. It blended nicely, and that was an interesting discovery, which I'll try to remember.

Wilma's First 100 Years

More strange experiments creating backgrounds.
These pages started off by me using up the yellow paint left in my brush. Later, I had some blue left in a brush and I added that around the yellow. On another day, I had stirred some blue Plaka paint with a wooden skewer and rolled it around on the page, making the funny little marks.
My next experiment was a suggestion from Martha Lever. She says that she often uses the cardboard insert from a toilet paper roll to make marks on backgrounds, so that gave me the white circles.
The flowers blossoms were made with a Fiskars decorative punch. It's one of the kind where you squeeze the handles. This type works so much better than the kind where you have to mash really hard on the top of it. The paper I used was made by dabbing stamp pad inks onto cardstock. I cut the leaves out of some scraps of textured handmade paper.

Two Birthday Parties

The circles on this spread came about in an unusual way.
Several months ago, I bought a rubberstamp of a sunflower at Dollar Tree. The stamp itself was okay, but I didn't like the fact that it was mounted on a 2" tall plastic handle shaped like a door knob. That's actually easier to grasp than the wooden blocks that most stamps come on, but it was too tall to fit in the shallow drawers where I keep my stamps, so I eventually peeled the stamp off and just use it on an acrylic block. After I did this, I noticed that this exposed a round piece of black foam on the bottom of the handle. Aha, I thought. I bet I can stamp a circle with this. I spread some white acrylic paint on a piece of plastic, and here's what I got. I like the fact that there are empty spots left inside the circles with lots of texture.

Blake in the Bluebonnets

We took these photos in Granny's field. This was a bumper year for bluebonnets all over the state since the winter had been cold and the spring wet.
The bluebonnets that grow in this East Texas field are daintier than what we see along the coast and in the Hill Country. They are "Lupinus Subcarnosus", while the bigger and showier ones are "Lupinus Texensis".
This was Blake's first experience touching flowers and grass, and she was fascinated, as she is by everything. Of course, she wanted to put them in her mouth.
This spread is different looking, to say the least. I was experimenting with backgrounds, and this is the result. I began by partially painting the pages with red and green acrylics. When those were dry, I brushed on gesso, letting the colored paints show through. The bluebonnet borders were from a rubberstamp, colored with Tombow markers and spritzed with water.

Bunny Ears

For this spread, I carved a rubberstamp from a Speedball Speedy-Cut block. I was inspired by one I saw on Martha Lever's blog. She said she used watercolors to stamp hers, which is what I used on the back egg, but I think I got a better result on the front egg by using stamp pad inks.

Little Piggy

Today Blake was 4 months old. She is so adorable. She grins, grins, grins when I talk to her. She is also trying out lots of new sounds. For the last few days, she has been grunting like a little piglet. It's such a funny little noise that we can't help laughing when she does it.
We had to take her to the pediatrician for her checkup, and she grunted the whole way there. We knew from how she has been outgrowing her sleeper suits that she was getting lots bigger. She weighed 14 lbs & 1 oz. and is 25" long. Dr. G. says that puts her in the 60th and 75th percentiles.

New Books

The art books I ordered finally came, but I have to say that I was pretty disappointed in both of them, but especially the one by Judy Melvin. Her work and her classes are SO GREAT, but her handouts are almost non-existent, so I was really hoping for a lot from this book. Actually, it's just a little 18-page pamphlet, and although the photography of her artwork is gorgeous, each technique is described by only 3 or 4 sentences.

St. Patrick's Day

March 17 has always been a special day to me.
First because it was the birthday of my great grandmother (my mother's mother's mother).
Then later, it became more special when it was Missy's half-birthday. And last year, it was the day when she found out that she was pregnant!
This year, we marked the occasion by taking Blake out in public for the first time. For some reason, she had a screaming fit in the car, but she was super good in the stores. We went to JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby looking for fabric to trim the drapery material that Missy wants to use to make cornices for her kitchen windows.
The next day, Missy & Jerry came over and planted a live oak in our backyard in Blake's honor. They wanted to put it in our yard since they figured that we're here to stay, whereas it's likely that they'll relocate someday.
The shamrocks are a rubberstamp and I created the rainbow with soft pastels.

Peter Rabbit Story

Some of Missy's favorite stories as a little girl were the ones by Beatrix Potter. That's why we used that theme to decorate Blake's nursery.
While Jerry made a trip to Florida to pick up some restaurant equipment, I stayed with Missy and the baby. One night she asked me to read to Blake before she put her to bed. I was astounded how that 3-month-old baby smiled and never took her eyes off my face. I know she didn't understand the words, but she certainly reacted to the sounds. Missy says it's because I read with lots of expression. That comes from having been a children's librarian. Reading to kids was one of the things I enjoyed the most. I really missed it when I switched from my elementary school to a junior high position. I can't wait until Blake can really interact with the stories.

Blake Meets Granny

Alas, another page that didn't photo well. I bought a new camera (a Nikon CoolPix) right before Blake was born. It takes fine pictures of people, etc., but I'm not happy with the results from photographing my journal pages. I think my old Fuji FinePix did a better job, but the little door that holds the batteries in place broke off.

January 2010

This is a pretty page in real life, although it didn't photo very well. The background is a soft pink brushed in the middle with "Seafoam Green" after the pink was dry. You don't want to mix these two colors when wet, because you would end up with a light gray (unless, of course, that's what you're aiming for!) This would happen because all three primaries are present in these colors (red in the pink and blue and yellow in the green). Anyway, the date and the decorative stripe were written with a metallic green ColorSharp marker, and the tiny calendar page was from a shopping list pad.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We get snow so seldom on the Gulf Coast, that it almost becomes a holiday when it happens. It is rare any year, but it never happens this early in the season. It's not even officially winter yet.
I first painted these pages with "Antique White" just to cover up the lines and to give me a base to apply the diluted blue and green fluid acrylics. Fluid acrylics are fun to use. The Golden brand is what I have, and even though they are quite expensive to buy initially, they are very concentrated so you only need a few drops for intense color. They also give a nice sheen to the paper and have a yummy feel. Almost silky. This picture doesn't begin to show the intensity of the color, let along the sheen.
I used a white pigment inkpad to stamp the snowflakes, and a white Prismacolor pencil to journal. The swirly lines were added with FW white acrylic ink.


The photo of this spread is not very good, but I had to include it anyway because it shows Blake getting her first sponge bath and also features the sweet thank-you card that Missy gave me. Inside, she listed in detail the things that she was thankful for that I've done for her lately. I'm thankful that I am so blessed to have such a loving daughter.

Coming Home

The top picture shows Missy and Jerry as they are just about to take the baby into their house for the very first time.
The bottom one shows Alley taking a sniff of this strange new critter that they've brought home.

Ta Da! Our Baby's Here

This spread commemorates the birth of my granddaughter. They'll be calling her Blake, but I'm so honored that they chose to make her middle name Eliece. She is just perfect!

New Camera

This spread features three different days separated by rubberstamped frames.
I first painted the background with Seafoam Green and Morning Blue. When that dried, I stamped the top frame with Kaleidacolor's "Caribbean Sea" dye pad. Notice how badly it bled. Maybe dye pads are not the best to use on top of acrylic paint. I colored in some of the spaces with a "Brite Purple" Prismacolor pencil.
After stamping the smaller rectangle, I added some extra greens to the page with Neocolor IIs and a babywipe. I also used a sponge and ColorBox inks to apply the pinkish colors inside the rectangles.

Coquette Weekend 2009

I used Seafoam Green and Wisteria to paint stripes for the background.
I'm usually pretty good about making notes in the back of my journals that remind me of how and what I used do various spreads, but I fell down on the job for this one. I have no idea what I used to color the rubberstamps used on these pages. It appears to have been a multi-hued pad, but I don't seem to have one with those particular colors. Maybe I dabbed on individual colors.

Granny's Little Rocker

This spread shows various items that I've worked on to get ready for my grandbaby. The photo on the left side shows the dust ruffle on the crib that I referred to in my "Eyelet" post. In front of that is the little rocking chair that belonged to my mother. After refinishing it, I wrapped it up for Missy to open at her baby shower, and included a tiny book to explain it. There were pictures of the three of us as toddlers and this is what it said:
"This little chair first held your granny.
Then me
and you.
Now it's been refinished to the color it was 85+ years ago,
and is waiting for a new little girl.
With love
from Mom"

Flu Shot

This spread is an example of pages that started out so ugly and ended up looking really good.
I began by painting with "Wisteria" and "Moon Yellow." Because purple and yellow are complements of each other (directly across the color wheel), they go well together and make what is known as "neutrals" when mixed together. This is usually some version of gray or brown, and you can see that happening where the two colors came together.
My next step was to brayer some bubble wrap with the "Hydrangea" ink from a Ranger pad. I randomly applied this to the pages and then wiped with an old T-shirt to blend and soften. The resulting dots are quite subtle, so you may have to look carefully to see them.
I used various purple hues of Prismacolor pencils to draw the swirls, which were further embellished with a black Pitt pen. The dates were written with a Prismacolor "Parrot Green" pencil.

Diaper? What Diaper?

This illustration is another picture that I had been saving for years. Little baby butts are so cute!
It was perfect to help tell the story of our search for a changing table that would match the crib, be small enough to fit in the designated corner, and have drawers.
The background paint is "Wisteria" with streaks of "Hi-Lite Flesh". I used a black Pitt brush pen to draw the swirls and to write the heading. These were shadowed with a "Platinum" Brushable by Zig. I used Dr. Martin's Bleed Proof White to paint the white spaces on the swirls.

Eyelet Trim

This spread is to commemorate how I made the dust ruffle for the baby's crib.
I painted the background with dark periwinkle paint. Then I used my "Elegant" multi-punch to cut holes along strips of white paper to resemble eyelet fabric. To simulate the pink grosgrain ribbon that I threaded through the eyelet, I ran a piece of linen-textured cardstock through my shredder to quickly and easily make quarter-inch strips. Cutting the slots to pass the strips through was the tedious part. I wish I'd had one of those ribbon stitch punches to save me having to cut each one of these holes with an Xacto knife.
I attached the shower invitation with a strip of Magic Tape along the side so that it can be flipped back to read the reverse side.


People just shake their heads when I show them this spread. It relates our experience in putting together the baby's crib.
I got the brilliant idea (????) to make a little replica of the crib from glossy cardstock. You can't really see this from the photo, but the front and side pieces are cut separately and layered over the back piece, and the drop-gate folds up and down. Also, I used a ball-tip burnisher to deboss designs onto the legs. Yes...I need to get a life!


The illustration here was an experiment where I cut out a picture from a magazine and applied repositionable spray adhesive to it to create a kind of reverse stencil.
After painting the background with lavender and aqua paint, I pressed the tacky cut-out into place and brushed red paint around it.
This didn't work out quite as I had planned.
I discovered that some of the printing inks had transferred to the background when I removed the cut-out. I didn't really object to that since it created a funky look.
I think I would have liked the red paint better if I had sponged it on instead of using a brush.

Creating Your Own Story

This spread shows a label that I made to go on some copies of CDs of my art journaling lessons that I plan to give the Coquettes when we get together in October.
If anyone is interested in these lessons, you can read about them here:

Julie and Julia

The illustration on this spread came from the food section of the newspaper. It appeared months (maybe years) ago, and I had been saving it all this time because I really loved the look of it. It was perfect for my entry about seeing the movie "Julie and Julia."
I first applied the yellow paint called "Melted Butter" appropriate is that name for this background? Overbrushed that a bit with a wash of turquoise.
I carefully cut around the vegetable drawings and ran them through my Xyron machine. I positioned it just where I wanted it on the pages, and peeled the backing paper away a bit at the time while pressing it down so it wouldn't curl up onto itself.
I added shadows all around the cut-out with a gray Prismacolor pencil, as well as a few curliques and spirals.

M Is for Melissa

The background for this is "Steamed Milk" by Anita. Occasionally, I like to have a plain background instead of something more colorful. This allowed the initial letter to show up nicely. It's an Art Nouveau letter that I colored with Prismacolor pencils.

Multi-Punch Border

The paints for this background were "Spring Green" and "Bright Blue". To make the borders, I used a multi-punch called "Elegant" by The Paper Studio and strips from a magazine page. The top one is the lacey look that the punch makes, but I thought the part that was left over was interesting looking, so I stuck it to the bottom of the right-hand page.
For my journaling, I used Dr. Martin's Bleed-Proof White and a Nikko G nib. It's not necessary to be a calligrapher to use these materials. This is just my ordinary handwriting. It's difficult to find a pen that writes reliably with white fluid. Believe me...I've tried every kind I can find! It's especially difficult when writing over acrylic paints. The Bleed-Proof White works better than anything else for me. I decant some into a tiny container that will hold no more than 1 teaspoonful. You can use the pop-off lid from a bottle of hairspray or something similar. Just so it's narrow and just deep enough to accommodate your nib. After putting a small amount of the BPW into the container, add some distilled water drop by drop and stir it to mix well. Try it with your nib until it flows well, but is still opaque. You'll need to rinse it out of the nib periodically so it won't get clumpy.

Visit to New JoAnn's

The background for these pages was "Bright Yellow" and "Wild Berry" overbrushed with "Cream" when dry. I inked up a foam butterfly stamp that I found in JoAnn's $1.00 bin with the Versacolor "Velveteen" pad.