Monday, September 29, 2014

Saturday's Demo At Keeton's

Sketch and painting fast. The journaling was
added after the demo.
What fun! We had a blast Saturday at the demo on Art Journaling at Keeton's Office and Art Supplies in Bradenton. Lots of wonderful folks showed up and asked all kinds of questions.

We discussed art journaling, materials, tools, making mistakes, getting started, and everything in-between. My favorite question from the audience was "You don't tear out many pages from your journal, do you?"

My response was, "No, no I don't. My sketchbooks are for me and it gives me the opportunity to see where I've been and where I'm going." If I removed pages, it would be much harder to see progress whenever I looked back through them.

My wonderful husband was there as my wingman, cameraman, technical advisor, and all-around supporter. I could not do what I do without him! (Thanks, Honey!)

One of the funny (as in "odd") things to me is always "seeing" myself at one of these events. As I went through the photos (which I hated them all), I could not help but laugh at some of my expressions.

Some of them made me look like I was imploring someone to like my page, others looked like I smell something awful, about to sneeze or was savoring a wonderful bit of chocolate.

I decided to share some of the funnier ones. Most are slightly fuzzy as I moved around quite a bit proving to be a difficult subject to capture. I also noticed I was flapping my hands around in almost every frame.

Well, it was a demo after all!

I hope if you're local or in town, you can join me for "An Imaginary Visit To The Beach" on October 11th from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Calling All Art Journalers, Sketchbook Keepers and Illustrated Journal Keepers!!

If you are a keeper of a journal or sketchbook that has some combination of words AND art, I have something on my mind and I'd like to know what your thoughts are on the subject…

Is Art Journaling an Activity or an Event for YOU?

For the purposes of our discussion, Activity is defined as something that is embedded in your life like brushing your teeth, wearing a favorite piece of clothing. Chances are good you carry a journal with you all the time and may whip it out most any time to capture something that intrigues you.

An Event is defined as something that finds you in a certain place and that might be the only place you journal or perhaps the event only takes place at a certain time such as you only journal at night or when alone. Do you only journal after returning from vacation? That would be Event-style journaling. Do you only take advantage of your journal when no one was home? Again, that's Event-style journaling. Or when something significant has happened—birthday, new car, new baby, new puppy or kitten, etc. That would be Event-style journaling. You may or may not carry your journal all the time, but it's seldom you actually take it out when you're out and about.

If you find yourself in both categories, which style of journaling best describes your style?

One last comment…there is NO right or wrong answer. I'm looking for ideas on what the most common work style might be. If you have thoughts you'd like to add, please leave a comment!

Is Art Journaling An Activity Or An Event?

Monday, September 22, 2014

I'm Gonna Be Live And In Person On Saturday!!

I'm going to be doing a live demo (gulp!) on Art Journaling this Saturday at Keeton's Office & Art Supply!! If you're in the or near the Bradenton area, I hope you'll come and join me. 

At Saturday's Demo, I'm going to be demonstrating getting started in Art Journaling with just a few tools, a good sketchbook as well as discussing some of the common pitfalls folks new to art journaling often get caught in.

I'm also delighted to be doing 4 classes as an Introduction to Art Journaling. These classes are suitable for beginners to advanced artists interested in getting started with a journal:

Introduction To Art Journaling: A Visit To the Beach on Saturday, October 11th, from 9 am - 12 noon. It's always fun to capture our "found" treasures on a page! More info here
Come and visit the beach with me!
Introduction To Art Journaling: A Visit To The Bakery on Friday, October 24th, from 9 am - 12 noon. This will be so much fun because we get to eat the treats after we're finished journaling! More info here
Yummy treats from the bakery—what fun!
Introduction To Art Journaling: A Visit To The Farmer's Market on Saturday, November 8th, from 9 am - 12 noon. With lots of color from peppers, fresh citrus and veggies, it's fun to play around and see what we can create on the page. More info here
There's always such gorgeous color at the market!
Introduction To Art Journaling: A Visit To Autumn's Garden on Friday, November 21st, from 9 am - 12 noon. By the time November rolls around, I'm ready for cooler temperatures and for the trees to start showing color! More info here.
I can hardly wait for the temperatures to cool off
and the leaves to change!
The classes are going to be small with lots of individual attention and time to ask (and answer) lots of questions. I do hope you'll come and join me for some journaling fun!

Click here for directions to Keeton's (just enter your address at the top of the page).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Packing Up The Art Supplies...

Getting ready for my trip to Acadia National Park and trying to decide what to take is so much fun!

I'm not sure what your approach is, but more often than not, we artists seem to adopt the "more is way better" attitude when it comes to packing up for a trip on which we hope to get some sketching done. In fact, we often try to take the whole studio, never considering how much that's gonna weigh!

After the tickets for my trip were booked, I started setting "maybe" art supplies in a pile at the corner of my desk. This past weekend, I pulled them out and sorted them to see what it was that I thought I wanted to pack and schlepp across two airports. Here's the pile:
Possible art stuff for the trip—the sad thing is that this isn't even all of it! Click to enlarge.
Taking a closer look from the top right:
1. Storage baggies and a piece of brown paper from a brown sack.
2. Masking fluid. Ummm, yeah. Moving on...
3. Assortment of pens, pencils, water brushes, charcoal pencils, watercolor pencils, bamboo pens, white markers and colored ink pens, both permanent and non-waterproof.
4. Wrist band for wiping my brush.
5. Two small plastic boxes containing clips, erasers, kneaded erasers, white and wax crayons and small splatter brushes.
6. Leatherman tool. (This will go in the checked luggage. I don't want to get thrown off the plane before I even get to board.)
7. Sketchbook and palette.
8. Assortment of travel brushes.
9. A fountain pen.
10. White post notes and a see-thru ruler.
11. Stamps, stamp pads, extra decorative paper, and whatnot.
12. (which is not marked in the image) Wet wipes at the top middle of the image. Those will go. They're great for having on hand after I pick up something "icky."
13. And right below the wet wipes is a box with several document clips on top. The clips will go. The box probably won't make the cut.

I have to point out that even with what I've culled from the list above that's still too much stuff to lug around. And believe me when I say that unless you're going on an art trip with likeminded artists or have copious amounts of free time to sketch and paint, it's highly unlikely that the majority of stuff you drag along will ever see daylight. Also, it gets damn heavy. What started out weighing 9 ounces will feel more like 9 pounds by the time you get home!

A Different Approach
Rather than approaching the art supply selection process from the "how much can I take" end, I find I do much better if I pull out what I MUST HAVE—something to draw on, something to draw with, something to add color with and color in some form.

In other words, the basics.

The better I do on choosing the basics, the more "extras" I can take to play with if I get the time.

Let's take another look:
Necessary basics—art stuff I won't leave home without. Click to enlarge.
Again from the center top:
1. Leatherman tool. You never know when you're going to have to operate on some piece of equipment that has suddenly decided to be contrary.
2. Baggies and brown paper. Always be prepared to bring home unexpected (but messy) treasures. Likewise with the brown paper. You just never know when you might need to sketch something on brown paper…or cover up a major oops.
3. Document clips. Yep. That wind is wicked to fight when you're trying to hold everything in your lap.
4. Wrist band. With this item, I don't have to struggle with paper towels fluttering in the wind, dropping on the ground or flopping over onto the wet page.
5. Post-It Notes® in white. I won't take all 1,184 notes. Instead, I'll break off about 50 and fold up the last not to cover the sticky strip. Why notes? When I skip a page I use the notes to write down my thoughts on what will go on that page, weather conditions, etc. Why white? Because I'm using water and have found that if the colored notes get wet they are inclined to leave a colorful imprint on my page. Not cool.
6. Sketchbook with extra pages.
7. See-thru ruler. I seldom use it, but when I need a ruler, I need a ruler.
8. Palette. Self explanatory.
9. Water brushes. These will be tested before I go to make sure I don't have any duds or leakers. I use four brushes (small, medium, large, and flat tips) because the handles are all interchangeable. If I run out of water on one handle, I simply change the handles to the preferred tip and keep going.
10. Fountain pen. I still have to make a decision as to which one (or three) fountain pens I'll be taking plus ink. I say three because one is my workhorse for drawing while the other two are great for lettering. Decisions, decisions!
11. White pens, mechanical pencils, stick eraser and (missing from the image) black waterproof pens. I generally take a couple of white pens (permanent and non-permanent), a loaded mechanical pencil, stick eraser (though this item is not strictly necessary), and the missing black pens. I take the extra black pens to make sure I have backup if I should have an ornery fountain pen or lose a pen. If I draw while I'm flying, it won't be with a fountain pen as they don't like pressure.

What's not showing besides the black pens: scraps of Zeta paper for practice, scraps of tracing paper for testing ideas if necessary, white gouache, wet wipes and possibly one stamp and one stamp pad. Maybe a couple of pieces of decorative paper.

Because I'll be staying in one location most of the time, I am trying to decide if I want to take my travel brushes. I can always use a glass for a water container. It will most likely depend on the weight once it's all in my bag.
All art supplies with the exception of sharp pointy things have to go in the bag.
If it doesn't fit, it's not going!
Leaving The Studio Behind
One of the biggest challenges we face when we take it on the road is making the decision to leave the studio at home. For me, getting out and about is learning to use the tools I have as best as I can. That means doing without or making an item do something I didn't intend for it to do.

Sometimes I'm successful. Sometimes not, but I always learn something.

How do you decide what to take on a trip?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's A Celebration Over At!!

Oh My Goodness.

Five years? Really!?!

Yes, FIVE years has flown by and it's time for a celebration of EPIC proportions!

Okay, maybe not epic, but still fun!

I am going to be doing a very special Imaginary Visit to Acadia National Park that will have two bonus assignments (for a total of six visits), fun giveaways each week as well as special pricing for the class!

The class will start on Thursday, October 2nd and close on Thursday, November 20th. There will be lots of prizes* and some lucky folks will even get their class fees refunded.

It's my way of saying THANK YOU for all the good times we've had in the classes. The two sketches in the graphic above are from the very first classes I did at!

You may be wondering what Acadia National Park and five years of classes has to do with each other…well, I seem to have several 5's converging in my life at this time.
Bass Harbor Light House
As I prepared to make my grand entrance into my fifth decade, I was asked how I wanted to mark the "event." I've decided I want less stuff in my life and more experiences, so I opted for a trip instead.

I'm heading for the park and you're invited to come along!

If all goes well, the students may even get to drive the curriculum, but we'll have to wait and see if that works out.

It's a celebration for sure, but it won't be complete without y'all there to make it complete, so please come and join the fun!!

Click HERE to come celebrate!

*You do have to be enrolled to be eligible to win. Each person enrolled is eligible to win once. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Learning New Things I Probably Knew Once Upon A Time...

Maine Things
Double Spread in my Maine Sketchbook
Zeta Paper - 4.5 x 15 inches
Ink and watercolor
You think you know something and then you find out you don't. 

It's a little disconcerting. 

As an example, I thought Portland was Maine's capital. 

It was in 1831. 

Then they moved it to Augusta in 1832. 

I can't even come close to just having the dates confused. 

And I thought a fiddlehead was some kind of soft-shelled ocean crustacean.

Who knew?!

I didn't know there were over 60 lighthouses or head lights in Maine, but I can't say I'm surprised given all the rugged coastline they have.

And did you know there are more moose (why aren't they called meese?) in the state of Maine than there are humans in Portland?

See all this fun stuff I'm learning?

This, for me, is about getting maximum mileage out of a trip. It's about building anticipation. And I will never remember these interesting little tidbits 3 days from now, let alone 3 months, so putting them in the journal makes sense to me.

I've created a collaged spread of the various elements along with some representative artwork. None of these sketches have more than 15 minutes because it was more about the information than the sketch, BUT…by adding the sketches, I've made it a far more entertaining and interesting page.

How do you build up anticipation for your trips? Do you do any kind of "specialty" page?

Please share your ideas!