Pillows

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Well a couple of weeks back I made some pillows on Zazzle using my artwork. They came yesterday and I have to say I’m extremely happy with them!!

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So you know how it goes, you post it on Facebook because that’s where all the fun is happening lol.

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Several people messaged me and asked on my post if they were going to be available to purchase and to be honest I’d not even thought about doing that,

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I just wanted some new pillows for home and thought it would be fun to have some arty ones,

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but I listened and went ahead and opened up a shop and listed my pillows there. I hope you’ll check my  SHOP out:-)

Color Shaper Journal Painting

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I was messing around in my journal a couple of days ago and wanting to play a little differently I grabbed my Colour Shaper tools to paint this portrait without using brushes. Several people have asked about both the Colour Shapers and the method so I did another quick journal page in my Extra Large Moleskine Sketchbook (11.5 x 16.75″) and took some step out pictures to show the process.

Most important I think to using the Colour Shapers in this way is not to get bogged down by details, stay loose and go with the marks that they make!

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The Colour Shapers are some of my favorite art tools and I keep them handy by my work table on my Raskog cart from IKEA.

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Here are the sizes I like, and note that they come in both firm and soft tips and it’s good to have both as they will work differently with the paint.

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I’m using my Fluid Matt Sheer Acrylics in Mustard Seed, Barely Black and White Washed. You can see that these are very fluid and also carry a high pigment load. You can try any acrylic paint and you will get various results depending on the viscosity of the paint.

I love this color palette as the Mustard Seed and Barely Black mixed together make a really warm gray color.

FullSizeRender_3My model is my Asaro’s Head. This is such a wonderful tool for seeing how light hits on the different planes of the face. Here I just sketched the actual head, but you can use it to also sketch a more realistic face and get some great references to where shading and highlights should go.

FullSizeRender_2Using the larger 1″ and 2″  Colour Shapers, I start to block in the dark areas. Note all of the cool marks the tools leave in the paint-I don’t try to avoid them, this adds to the overall look.

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As I work I wipe off the tool onto the background to start that off. By adding small amounts of White Washed to the gray mix I get various tones of color that I add the planes of the head. Switch to smaller tools as needed.

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You can also wipe a bit of each of the tones you mix on the page somewhere to help document them. I do this a lot in my journal work.

(and yes, that’s a glass of wine in the background-keeps you loose while you paint😉

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Remember to stop! I am not at all going for some finely detailed painting, I want it raw, so remembering to stop is important. In all this took less than hour from sketch to finished painting. Now I’m going to let it dry and then add some journaling to the page. This is a fun journal exercise to help you loosen up and play with shading and tonal values.

 

 

Making the Journal…BIGGER

So as I said in my post yesterday, one way I want to make this journal different is by making it bigger. This is the standard journal size that I like to make. It’s big enough to have lots of room to play, but not overwhelmingly large.

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Original Journal from my book Creating Art at the speed of Life

 

 

 

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The journal size I usually make

I used 90lb Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor paper. This is still my favorite for journal making because it’s not too heavy but the pages hold up very well to all sorts of media. It’s also easy to fold, tear and punch through. I get asked about this choice often and I’d like to insert that any paper that you like to use for mixed media art can be substituted. Your journal is a personal place for you to make art and the substrate you choose to work on is a personal choice. I just share what my favorite is:-)

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To make the 7 1/2″ x 11″ journal that I made, tear four 22″ x 30″ sheets of paper into fourths, you’ll use 15 of these torn down pieces of paper. I used a tear bar but you can fold and score with a bone folder tool, wet the fold with a sponge and tear. Remember that this journal can be made in any size you want so if you already have a pad of paper you like you may just want to tear out pages and fold them in half.

 

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Fold each piece of torn paper in half and score fold with the bone folder tool to create 15 folios. Nest three folios inside of each other to create 5 signatures of three sheets each.

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Punch a center hole and one hole from each end for three holes total in the spine. (You can find complete instructions on stitching this in my book. Use waxed linen thread to bind each signature with a pamphlet stitch, tying the not on the inside of the signatures.

I like to store my awl and binding needle in a cork to keep them together and myself safe from being poked.

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I get my waxed linen thread from the jewelry section of Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.

 

Because this is a larger journal and the stitches on the outside are a bit larger than my 2″ cloth tape, I’m going to use two pieces of tape in each stitch for a total of 4 pieces.

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I find it helpful to use a piece of 2″ by 8″ piece of chipboard to act as a threader for the tape. Simply stick the edge of the tape to the chipboard and thread it through the stitches on the outside of the stack of signatures. Remove the tape from the chipboard and stick one side to the outside of the signature on one side of the stack. Then compress the stack of signatures and stick the rest of the tape to the other side of the stack. If needed use a second piece of tape beside the first one. Repeat for second outside stitch.

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For the covers I like to use mat board or the heavy boards from the back of drawing pads. Just cut to the size of your journal. For the larger journals like this I like to have a nice sturdy cover so I wouldn’t recommend using just canvas as in the smaller journal in my book.

 

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Use Yes glue or other good strong paper glue to attach the cardboard covers to the front and back of the signature stack.

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To cover the spine I like to use Gaffers tape but any cloth tape including the one you used for the binding will work. Duct tape will even work. Just cut two pieces the length of your journal. Place one piece sticky side up on your worktable and then tear about a 1″ strip from the second piece of tape. Place this sticky side down, down the center of the piece on your worktable.

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Set your journal, bound side down on top of the tape, it should be resting on the non sticky middle strip. Carefully stick the tape to the front and back of the journal.

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Sometimes there’s a bit of a gap between the signatures when you ope your book.

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To fix this I just add a strip of the cloth tape I used for the binding.

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Let the glue set up overnight if possible, I like to weigh the journal down with a book or two on top of it. Then you’re good to go!

You can decorate your cover or leave it plain. For complete journal making instructions remember to check out my book Creating Art at the Speed of Life 

 

AWOL-Time To Get Back In the Habit of Art Journaling!!!

What a crazy busy summer! We moved, into an apartment waiting for our house to be finished, then moved my mom in Washington and then moved ourselves again into our new home! And in the midst of all of that I did the photo shoot for my next book, finished my manuscript, edited my manuscript, taught several workshops around the US and very nearly went crazy lol!

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Now school is finally back in session, and we are feeling pretty settled in our new home and I am looking forward to actually making some art of my own. I have 3 more teaching gigs before the end of this season (you can find them listed on my ‘Teaching’ page) and I’m really looking forward to spending time at home with my family for the holidays. 

I must admit that I feel in a bit of an art slump. I love teaching and writing books but I really am feeling the need to explore where my own art is going to go from here. I have a beautiful new studio space in our home that is as yet untouched where making art is concerned. 

I’ve been thinking long and hard about how to get back in the swing of things so to speak and while unpacking my journals I looked at the journal that I made for my book Creating Art at the Speed of Life. I’m thinking that it would be fun to make a new journal and create pages inspired by the techniques and exercises from my own book. It’s been a couple of years since I actually made that journal and it’s always great to revisit things and see how much your work has evolved. 

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To set myself up for success so to speak, I’m going to keep my book out on my work table with my new journal. I want it right there so each day I can try to work in it but I’m going to allow that some days will just be too busy to do so but I want to see it every day.

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I also thought I’d change the size up and make a larger journal to work in. If you want to join in I’d love it if you’d share a link to pages you’re making in the comment section so we can all go and see your progress too! It’ll be a sort of a blog hop where we can all share with no fear of commitment!

I always get in the mood to do something new at the beginning of the school year so I think it’s a perfect time to revisit the lessons in my book and expand on them! I hope you’ll decide to join in and please feel free to join the Creating Art at the Speed of Life Facebook group where you can always share your work and ask questions.

High School Art Class

I’ve not taken many Art classes past my high school days, but I loved walking into the Art room way back when. It had a smell to it, kind of earthy like clay and crayons. It was always kind of dirty in a cool way and finding an unbroken crayon, pastel or piece of charcoal was rare. I vaguely remember the funny little square Conte Crayons and have to admit, back then a paint brush interested me far more.

I bought some a while back and thought they’d be good for on the go sketching in my Moleskine journal so the other day I had a few minutes to play in my journal and I pulled them out. They were laying in the box, pristine and unbroken, each one nestled in its little compartment. I started to sketch and was quickly engaged, surprised at how smoothly they laid down on the page. I was even more impressed with the detail I was able to get with them. These pages took only a few moments, some Conte Crayons and a blending stump.

This medium will be perfect for working outside in the sunshine. I love to sneak out for a few minutes of solitude and vitamin D every chance I get. I’m liking these crayons so much I went back and ordered a box of colored ones. Sometimes the overlooked, simple supplies can be just the thing to inspire you to go back to the basics.

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It’s that time of year I guess, battling a nasty head cold.  Ugh!  I did feel a tad better yesterday though and was able to finish a couple of journal pages.  I love being able to make art even when I don’t feel good.  I have a little tote bag that I threw a few simple tools in and went downstairs to sit in my comfy chair with my feet up, jammies on.

Inside the bag were, water soluble crayons and colored pencils in my favorite colors, a graphite pencil, blending stump, XS Pitt Pen, Signo White Gel Pen, and a water filled brush.  

And my Moleskine journal.

Having only a few tools is stress relieving and relaxing.  No decisions about colors, pens, or paints, just freedom to create. 

I started with sketches and built on that adding color with the crayons,
doodles, and journaling.  I found an interesting trick with the White Gel Pen:  you can write with it and then use the water soluble crayon over the top and it acts as a bit of a resist allowing the pen to show through.  Just make sure it’s dry first!
I hope you are feeling well, use that hand sanitizer for more than transfers!!  And find time for art today, even if it’s just a few minutes.  It really is the best medicine:-)