Archive | March, 2013

The one with layout challenge #2

31 Mar

Happy Sunday.

Today, I share the second layout from my journal challenge (read the original post here). I shared my process with my women’s group and ended up with a a layout from start to “finish” on 5 sets of pages. Since I didn’t want to end up with 5 similar layouts, I challenged myself to come up with 5 different layouts.

Here is where I started last week:
journal 2

I thought I had this layout all figured out in my head. I had a few elements to use (some scrapbook paper a friend gifted to me, a bird from an art mag, a scrap piece of a magazine page with a cool design) so I thought it was going to come together pretty quickly. I was wrong!

Challenge 1

I drew the scrolly element in by hand in pencil first then painted with a black acrylic.

Challenge 2

Next, I added some blues and yellows in to pick up the color of the scrapbook paper. And then I got stuck. For a week. Nothing looked right. So I left it alone (well, truth be told, I tried working on it a few times over the week with no luck)

I was inspired by some new paints I found during a few trips to the art store and ended up with a different color palette.

Challenge 3

At this point, I thought  I was just going to go with a different palette and continue with the scrolly element. Nope, still wrong. (oh, and by they way, the Matisse is a new brand for me and I LOVED it. Really smooth texture and the color (Mineral Blue) is fantastic!!! I am also really enjoying the Winsor & Newton acrylics and this Prussian Blue Hue is amazing!

Challenge 4

On this layout, I called upon my inner child and did some finger painting. It allowed me to add some really cool texture and mix the  colors randomly.

Challenge 5

I am loving this layout now!

Challenge 7

And 2 out of those 3 original elements work with this new color palette. I went through my pile of “stuff” and found some stamps and this cute piece of tag that fit in well.

Challenge 9

I continued the scallops from the tag up to the stamped element (I used a few Tim Holtz acrylic clear stamps)

Challenge 8

Challenge 11

The bird and stamps looked like they were sitting on top of the page instead of being a part of it, so I added some paint (with my fingertips again) an now it looks like a part of the layout.

Challenge 12

Close up of those stamps….

Challenge 13

and of the super cool bird.

So, what do you think? I LOVE this layout. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get there, but this is a perfect example of how sometimes you think you have it all figured out till you actually start working on it. nstead of forcing it, I kept playing with it till I worked out right and I ended up with a layout much better than I originally imagined.

Till next week,

The one where I’m a guest blogger

26 Mar

Happy Tuesday.

Recently, my friend, Danielle asked me to be a guest blogger for her. She writes about her adventures in scrapbooking on Scrapper on the Street. She’s recently blended her love of scrapbooking with a new appreciation for art journaling so check her out. And you can check out my post by clicking here.

Let me know what you think!

And I’ll see you back here this weekend. I’m working on another made from a cereal box canvas (well, I guess the last one was made from a granola bar box, but it’s the same concept).



The one with layout challenge #1

17 Mar

Happy Sunday!

A few weeks back I shared 5 layouts that were part of a visual aid to explain my process (read that post here). I also shared that since I ended up with 5 layouts that were similar, I challenged myself to come up with 5 completely different layouts. This week, I finished my first layout.

I started with this:

journal 1

You may recall that I covered these pages in gesso to show my starting point (or how sometimes you can reuse pages when what you once did doesn’t still resonate with you – or in this case, covering up some doodling).

Here’s where I ended up:

Challenge 11

And this is how I got there:

Challenge 1This layout begin with newsprint. I covered it with a layer of gesso and after letting it dry, I used 3 different colored spray acrylics (which were an experiment of mine. I like the idea of alcohol inks and thought I could achieve something similar by mixing 1/4 fluid acrylic paint and 3/4 water. I’m not so sure that it’s close to those cool looking alcohol inks, but for this layout, they worked just fine). This is a few layers of the spray acrylics…..

Challenge 2And a close up while it’s wet. It looks a lot different when it dries (which was a bit disappointing)

Challenge 4Once it was completely dry, I tore it up into strips and secured them to the pages with (my fave) soft gel medium.

Challenge 5

Another layer of color,

Challenge 6Next, I covered the page in circles, using a paper towel tube for my “stamp”. Which I have to give credit where credit is due;  I saw this on my friend, Danielle’s blog (Scrapper on the Street), and had to give it a try myself. By the way, Danielle asked me to be write a post as a guest blogger so I’ll let you all know when it will be posted. But in the mean time, you should check her out. She’s just started incorporating art journaling with her scrapbook pages and the results have been a lot of fun!

Challenge 7So now, the background is complete. Next, I chose my subject.

Challenge 8I love wild birds. Maybe because they tend to be so colorful. Possibly it’s because some species of birds are so community oriented (don’t get me started on my LOVE of Turkey Buzzards – yes, you read that right). Anyhow, I printed this little guy on regular printer paper and then painted right over him. Added my own colors and made him a bit more abstract.

Challenge 9I decided a border made out of ribbon was in order. I searched for a thick ribbon in a color that would compliment the rest of the layout and found this lovely charcoal one.

Challenge 10The final pieces were the addition of the tag that reads “Everything grows better with Love” and the green eye. I know, kinda random. But I found it looking through scrap papers for something to finish off this layout and for some reason, I liked it. Could be cause the green matches the background behind the bird so well. I’m not sure. And I’m not even sure that this layout is finished. I just know it’s finished for now.

I’d love to hear what you think. Leave me a comment and tell me if you think it’s finished or not.

Till next week,

The one with the canvas made out of a granola box

10 Mar

Good morning and happy Sunday!

This week, I’d like to share something a bit different. I was inspired to paint on canvas recently. But not just any canvas! Nope, I made this one out of a granola bar box. Yes, you read that right; a granola bar box. I believe I was inspired to make this canvas by Jennibellie, but when I went searching for her post to share, I came up empty handed. If anyone knows of this post (or if Jennibellie by chance sees this) I’d love to link to it and give her proper credit.

Once I had the canvas made, I knew I wanted to try a mixed media piece inspired by Christy Tomlinson. I am still trying to find my own unique style and sometimes imitating an artist you like is a good way to find it (thank you Julie Fei-Fan Balzer – it’s validating to hear someone else echo this). So, here is my piece inspired by Ms. Tomlinson.

canvas 1There are a lot of steps from start to finish, so we’ll start with the granola bar box. To begin, I reinforced the sides with masking tape.


C4After I felt like the canvas we sufficiently reinforced, I cut the bottom out with an exacto knife. I added a layer of masking tape to that edge so it also feels finished.

C3A few layers of gesso and we’re ready to go!

C5The first layer is newsprint and scrapbook paper.


I then added some texture with a stencil and Golden Course Molding Paste.

C7And then, I just added elements and color until I was happy with the background.

C8You’ll notice I changed the color palate up a bit. I wasn’t happy with the purples and reds, so I went with yellows and oranges.




C12Here’s where I got a bit nervous. I really liked the background, but I’ve never included a person (that I made) in my art. I was sure this would be were I screwed up.



But, what do you know? She turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. I made this piece with a friend in mind who among other things, is helping me express my inner artist in the way I dress and show myself to the world on a daily basis. I thought this quote from Coco Chanel was perfect for her. She’s one of the most stylish women I have ever met and  her style enhances the beautiful woman she is inside and out. C15

So, not a bad first attempt (and I hope my friend likes her!). Thank you to Jenniebellie, Christy and Julie for their inspiration and helping me find my style.

Till next week.


The one where I share my process

2 Mar

Good afternoon and happy Saturday.

It’s been snowing all day here but luckily it’s not sticking. Nashville gets a bit crazy when there’s snow on the ground. I was lucky to find milk and bread at the grocery store today!

So, today, I’m going to share something from my work life….kinda. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is designing new programs ( we focus on ethics, morality and leadership). For the last year, I have been part of a team of women who gather regularly to design a women’s leadership group. We are working to create spaces where women can form small group relationships to encounter different life experiences and foster honest conversation. One focus of our group is to re-imagine the relationship between creativity and the ways we lead. (If you are interested in more about our group, click here.)

During one of our Core meetings (formally called the steering committee), my friend Nancy shared that because I introduced them to art journaling over the summer, she wanted to  start one her very own (which she did and we now have art journal dates!). She then went on to walk them through my creative process. It was fascinating to hear it in someone else’s words. I’m not sure I would have been able to capture it as well as she did. She shared my process as an example of how what we are doing in our group can be used in our  work lives or wherever we are leaders. The rest of the Core thought we should present it to our larger group (our Circles). Since I work with paint, I had to do it cooking show style; that is to say, I prepared the pages ahead of time to show while she narrated my process.

Except that now, I have 4 layouts that have the potential to end up very similar. So, I’ve challenged myself to end up with 4 completely different layouts. I haven’t had a chance to work on them, but I thought I would share them so you could see how they started out. I will be sure to post them when I finish.

journal 1

At our meeting, Nancy explained that I start with a blank page (or in this case, cover over a page of doodles) and put down my first layer of gesso (but you all knew that!).

journal 2

She shared that the next layer is often times a layer of color and can sometimes inspire the whole layout.

journal 3

Sometimes I get to the next layer with an idea (in this case, using news print and wrapping paper) and sometimes I don’t. When I don’t have a clear vision, I will look for outside inspiration. I love to scroll through Pinterest or go to the blog of an artist I love (Donna Downey and Jennibellie are who I usually go to first).

journal 4

She loves that I used found objects in my art (peanut butter lids, starbucks cup holders etc) – like here I used a few different size lids for the circle details on the edge of the layout.

journal 6

Sometimes, I find the inspiration I need and I end up with a great idea. Other times, that’s not quite the case. Anyhow, the idea is that if you’re using this model at work, for example, you start with an idea. Sometimes, you work on it on your own, other times you need to call on your team or experts outside your team. Sometimes, you need to be creative with your ideas, resolutions, etc. I’m sure I’m not conveying it as well as she did, but then, I’m just the visual artist. She’s the wordsmith!

journal 5

So there you have it; 4 layouts that started out basically the same. The challenge begins! I haven’t had that spark of inspiration just yet, so it may take a while, but keep checking back for the reveal!

Till next week,