Monday, October 20, 2014

Manila folder journal tutorial and giveaway!

Hello lovelies,

I have been on a tear making art journals lately.  Funny how things go in waves isn't it?  Anyway, I made a manila folder journal this weekend and I'm raffling it off to one lucky winner.  I had so much fun!  The pictures are not the greatest, but I had only artificial light when I took them.  I wanted to show the step by step process.

Speaking of cameras, I was talking to a geeky friend the other day about buying a new camera and what kind I should buy to get better a resolution for my online prints.  I don't like it when only small prints are available.  Anyhoo, he gave me the low-down and I realized it would cost me about $200 to get a decent enough camera to capture my art work.

Then I went to lunch yesterday with a dear friend and she handed me a bag with a black pouch inside.  What is this? I asked.  She said, open it, which I did.  Inside was a Nikon camera!!!  It will fit the ticket perfectly.  She was gifting it to me since she just got a new camera herself.  I had no mentioned that I was looking for a new camera.  Talk about manifesting.  I have been working on the law of attraction a lot lately. 

Now for the tutorial...

I started with a used manila folder and blacked out the text on the tab.  I used a liberal amount of Mod-Podge to glue the folder together, being careful that the edges stuck well.  I still ended up with some air bubbles once it dried.  Grrr.  

I used a strip of washi tape over the uneven edges and glued down some white cardboard to reinforce the tab.  I made sure to lay down a strip of glue to hold down the washi tape forever, lol.

I used a bone folder to really press down the fold hard once the Mod-Podge had dried.  This was before the washi tape obviously...

I cut the white cardboard to the shape of the tab and now had a very sturdy tab.

I now laid the folder flat on my table and spread out a layer of paint...

I spread some paint on the back of the folder.  I like the shabby uneven look.

I used several layers of paint, mostly spread with an old gift card.  Both sides are similar, just a slight difference in the colors.

I painted the tab purple and wrote the words "Good Dreams" on it.  I stamped the front cover with the word Imagine, and there is plenty of space for embellishment.  The back cover has only paint on it, so you can fix it up the way you like it.

I cut out some paper stars to cover the air bubbles (grrr...) on the inside cover and stamped some inspirational words.

I used card stock paper for the signature.  There are 24 empty pages to embellish when all is said and done. They are a bit narrow, but that's the shape of the folder. Card stock is not as durable as watercolor paper, but you can certainly use wet medium and paints on it.

I tried to get a picture of the various paper colors, but it is not so good.  There are two sheets of green, two yellow, and two manila colored.  I thought it was fun to add varied colors.

The inside front cover adjoins a green paper...

And another close up of the back inside cover.  The picture is pinkish, and I blame my camera for that (my old

So, enter to win!  By entering you agree to receive my newsletter, which is filled with great stuff. :)  If you don't want to enter the raffle, you can subscribe in the window at the top right hand column. Good luck!

Monday, October 13, 2014

A new free mixed media tutorial for you!

Everyone likes a freebie, right?  I thought I'd go over this mixed media piece, since it' was somewhat of a challenge for me.  I had a lot of fun making it. :)  It's a stretched canvas, 12x12".  I started by spilling paint and dribbling and spreading.  I don't have a picture of that part.  It's just to cover the dreaded white space quickly.

I then tried to see some possibilities in the forms that came up, but nothing really struck me.  I painted in a face outline and some flowers.  Looked like crap, so I decided to cover the mess with some pages from a paperback book I once wrote.  Then I spread some thin paint over those to make them blend in better.  I now had a background I could work with, and I kept thinking what now?  I had an old journal page with a face that I liked.  I was not about to cut up my journal though, so I made a regular photocopy on printer paper.  It came out really pale...  We're going to pick up the canvas with some pictures now, but I took a photo of the journal page so that you could see the original:

I used colored pencils on this drawing.  I was trying to learn shading by going over the page lightly with various colors.  I was happy with the result. 
 Then I decided to cut up and glue the photocopy to the canvas. Scary, and I was a bit worried about the paper wrinkling with the Mod-Podge that I spread liberally on the back, To my surprise, it didn't wrinkle, but I got some patches from the glue, so when I spread paint on the face, pale spots showed up.

You can see here how pale the face is to start.  I brought out my Prismacolors and shaded the face some, and then I blended it with the background colors with paints and a baby wipe.  I like to have uniform colors pretty much.

Above you can see the odd spots that I covered with green and yellow just to get rid of them.  I gently added a tiny bit of paint to the eyes, and painted on the hair. Nothing fancy...  I saw some greenery that could stay on the right hand side and outlined them in white.  She was going to read a book, so I painted some yellow book covers at the bottom.

Can't say I liked the "blemishes" on her face, so I blended and smoothed that with some white paint when the green paint had dried.

I outlined the book and stamped on the letters with Staz-on ink.  The bird is decorative paper, which I painted with light blue paint.  The legs are painted on.  I painted a faint outline to the girl's eyes.  I didn't want them to stand out more than the rest, but they looked kind of pale.

I added on more lettering by tearing out paperback pages and stamping them with words.  Reading gave her ideas for her own stories.  And to break up the space in front of the bird, I cut out a piece of paper for bunting and painted that to match.

I enjoyed using the photocopy for the face.  I made sure it was very well glued down, with NO air pockets.  I don't know how well it will hold up in the long run, but I plan to varnish the whole thing with acrylic varnish.  I also found it interesting that the face ended up so different than the original even though they are identical.

Since I'm both an artist and a writer, I'm often torn between the two.  Should I be writing more, or do more art?  It's not easy to have several interests.  I just take it day by day.  I will soon have a new fantasy story out on Amazon, the sequel to Trials of Hallion, Two of Swords.  I actually painted the book cover for it.  When it's complete with graphics, which an artist friend of mine will create, I will put up a picture.  Writing is more of a chore.  Once you start a manuscript you can't just write randomly.  You have to follow a schedule every day to get anywhere.  Writing a book is a massive effort!

With mixed media art or painting, I can flow more, and I like that.  And I like lots of color!  :)
If you would like more tutorials and other news from me, please sign up for my newsletter!  Top right column.  Thank you. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

The winner is...

We've got a winner for the art journal raffle, Beth Bowkett in Scotland.  She is an artist who paints gorgeous whimsical landscapes.  Check out her etsy shop The Artful Bee.  Congratulations, Beth!  :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Giveaway time! :)

I have been planning to arrange a giveaway on the blog for a while, and I came up with the idea of making you a beautiful handmade art journal with all the backgrounds all ready for you to embellish.  I actually got really excited about it, and spent hours making one, forgetting time, and forgetting to eat lunch. Maybe I should make more of these?  (Less calorie intake.)  I used Strathmore Bristol watercolor paper, really heavy duty.  After making the backgrounds, I folded and sewed them together with embroidery thread.  The journal measures 7x11" - that's what you get when folding a 11x14" sheet of paper.  There are 16 pages, 18 if you count the inside covers.  You can of course embellish the outside covers too.  Yay!  It's a $30.00 value.  Here are a couple of pictures.

When you enter, please respond to this question in the Rafflecopter window:  What is your favorite kind of art to make? By entering you agree to receive my artsy newsletter.  Good luck!!  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 21, 2014

On the hunt for the perfect opaque white marker....

If you enjoy art journaling as much as I do, I'm sure you have been trying to find the best permanent white marker (that actually works.)  I have tried a bunch, and here is a review of some of them.  The pictures aren't that great, but they will give you the names of the company that makes them.
I will start with the worst ones...

This is Craftsmart by Michael's.  One time I came across one that really worked well, but lately I bought two that are AWFUL.  You push the nib down and expect to get a good flow, but you get a huge blob and no flow.  I'm taking them back.  They were $3.99 or $3.49 (can't recall exactly.)  This pen does not work well on canvas either if you're trying to outline something.

You would think Prismacolor would have a great pen, but this does not work on paper, or any other surface.  Just don't buy it.

Pen-touch by Sakura.  It's goes on in blobs and it's hard to use.  I regret buying that one, and I don't remember the price. 

Gelli Roll pen works ok on paper with a very thin line.  Great for doing fine work and outlining.  Good flow and lots of pigment.  Doesn't work on canvas.

I used to LOVE Elmer's Painter's pens.  I would buy the box of various colors when I had a 50% off coupon.  They lasted for a long time and the paint spread consistently.  The white worked like a dream.  The quality has gone down considerably in the last two years.  I'm so disappointed.  They don't last, and they spread blobs too.  You start a line and it's ok, but fizzles out after a couple of inches.  I have not seen an improvement in the quality, so I'm going to quit buying the brand.  I didn't have a white pen to use in the picture because I threw it out in a fit of

The Faber-Castell pen is good.  The only set backs: the nib is thick and you have to apply the lines a couple of times to get a solid white line.  But it spreads evenly without blobs. 

DecoColor also spreads a good line, but you have to apply a couple of times to get the solid line.  It also smells vile of chemicals...  I aim my fan toward the table when I'm using it.

The winner is:  Uni-ball Signo.  It draws a really good line, but is not permanent.  Unfortunately.  For paper work it's great, but not on canvas if you're going to apply something else on top.  It smears.  I did get a whole box of them for $23.00 at Jetpen's and if you buy, make sure to get the Japanese version.  See the lettering on the box?  Free shipping if you spend $25. I had some of their other colors as well, and they are great for writing, so smooth and easy.

What is your experience with white pens??  I would love to know since I'm still hunting for that perfect PERMANENT marker.  If you want to keep in touch, please sign up for my newsletter at the top right hand side.  :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Art by some of my favorite artists...

Who is your favorite artist, or type of art?

I have a long list of favorite artists, but you would have to spend a week reading this post, so I will keep it short and sweet.  Lately I have been doing a lot of art journaling and mixed media.  Everything seems to go in cycles, so acrylic paintings could be next.  Here are some of my favorite artists:

Iris Fritschi-Cussens lives in London, England.

There is a tutorial on how to make this lovely image on her website.  She also has lots of fabulous how-to videos.  Check out her website HERE.

Another favorite is Christina Colwell in Oregon.  I love her whimsical style and happy colors!  

You can check out her Facebook art page HERE.

Tracy Verdugo is from Australia.  I love it that you can find artists from all over the world via the Internet!  She is teaching a really cool ecourse starting on September 24.

Check out her Facebook art page HERE.

Tamara Laporte has a massive blog hop going.  Check out all the wonderful art.

This picture is by Jane Davenport.  She is part of the blog hop and ecourse:

This looks like a really cool course.  Lots of great teachers involved. 
Check out Tamara's Facebook page HERE.

More about the Life Book course HERE.

Willowing and Friends community page on Facebook, HERE.

Those are just a few of my favorites.  I'm a huge fan of Flora Bowley too. Here's a short 
video of her by Zipporah.  Click HERE.

Who gives you inspiration, or nudges to keep on going with your art?  Please comment 
and share.  :)  Have a great day full of inspiration!  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Guest post by LisaDiana Delaney, No More Working 9-5...

There is more to life than working 9-5. I came to this realization when I was very unhappy and terribly exhausted. I had spent many years striving, working, and achieving a lot in my chosen career only to collapse on the couch at the end of the day and sleep all weekend. I was too tired for joy. 

“Find your passion,” everyone said. I had no idea how. I tried everything to remember what made me happy. I came up with nothing. Why? I had lost myself in the daily ins-and-outs of living. I had given to everyone else and lost ME. 

I had no idea how to unblock my memories of what made me happy. And, oh how I despised the people who said, “Live your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.” So, I spent a lot of time and money spinning my wheels trying to make a life that was fulfilling. I couldn't because I was blocked. 

But, my choices were clear: stay miserable or get unstuck/unblocked! So, I read, surfed the Internet, cried, slept and wasted money trying to get unstuck. Since, I’m a problem solver, I kept looking for an answer. I tried: self help books, journaling, yoga, Reiki, EFT, jewelry making, dog grooming, vet tech school, make-up school, another masters degree, one on one counseling, gratitude journaling, spiritual counseling, direct sales, health counseling and career counseling. 

NOTHING made me happy. Finally, it hit. Something inside said, “Search all you want, but if you are blocked from remembering your joyful childhood moments or from experiencing joy in the present you’re going to stay tired, fat and broke.” 

I needed to get away and figure things out. I used my last dollar and took a trip to Puerto Rico. I stood in the warm water, buoyant in the waves and gazed at the majestic horizon. The final fa├žade of inauthenticity fell away and dissolved in the baptizing Caribbean water.“There is so much more!” rang in my head. 

That vacation, I sat on the beach, floated in the water, zip lined, ate on the balcony and sat under a waterfall in the rain forest. “Why can’t life be like this?” I wondered. “Because, this is vacation and not real life!” I told myself. I shook my head and refused to accept that life was only meant to be enjoyed on vacation. We have it wrong! 

We are not  meant to live to work. Our precious time in this realm is finite. Why am I accepting fat, tired and broke? Because I was blocked from remembering what made me happy. 

I came back to NY and work wearing the fedora I had purchased in PR, a reminder to not lose what I had figured out, what had been my epiphany. It was a piece of armor against being sucked back into the inauthenticity of 9-5 or for me, 4-4. 

I surfed the Internet again and found people who use planners to stay organized. Oh, I used to do that! Then, I found others who decorated their planners. What fun! I started to remember. I sat in the backyard and gazed at nature’s colors. Oh! Those bold colors were beautiful! And, slowly, I remembered little by little what I used to enjoy. My grandfather’s very small art studio! I was always inspired by the space and just as dejected when my art never matched what was in my head. 

I looked at school supplies for work and remembered how inspired I was by a blank notebook. And, then how dejected I was when I had no “Othello” to write. Planners, decorating pages, art, bold colors and the blank page. How did any of this fit together? Then I found it---women who took the blank pages of their planners and used bold delicious colors to decorate the pages with art. ART JOURNALING!!! 

What have I learned? So many of us are stuck in the day-to-day details of life, job and family. We have forgotten we are creative beings who need to express ourselves. “There’s no time.” “I can’t even draw a stick figure!” “I have 4 kids.” I know. I worked until I collapsed. 

But, I believe in you. I believe you deserve to be happy and to do that you need to get back to your authentic creative self. Ten minutes a week. That’s all. We will start with that even if it’s in the car waiting for the kids’soccer practice to end. Give me ten minutes and I will help you art journal your way out of being stuck! You deserve to be happy.
Check out my website for more information: 

Thank you Lisa Diana!  I loved the post and resonate with it completely. :)  I LOVE art journaling!