Behind the pages: NaNoJouMo 5-8

“The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.” Anonymous

Have been journaling with the NaNoJouMo prompt every day this month, but I’m still catching up on photographing and posting pages.  Partly because we’ve had painters and plumbers and extra projects going on here at the house getting ready for the Christmas Journal Workshop.  Despite the fact that I’ve been feeling the stress of deadlines and extras, I’m excited.  We’ve put together some really great give-aways for the attendees and the studio is looking great!

I’ll share more in the next couple of days, {seriously excited about what’s coming for Christmas!} but in the meantime, here are some pages.



{watercolor, Pitt pen, Staz-on black ink & butterfly rub ons}

Added definition and text to an existing mandala page.  The color on the page started with blue, but the orange made sense.  Text reads as follows:


[ee-kwuh-nim-i-tee]  noun. 1. mental or emotional STABILITY or composure especially under tension or strain; CALMNESS; EQUILIBRIUM.

I don’t think I possess this quality… Rands does.  I usually crumble with an almost audible IMPLOSION.  I wish I responded to life with equanimity… I don’t.   But I also believe that my “SENSITIVITY”  is part of my art and how I do life.  It’s WHO I AM WHEN I TUNE IN.  Actually, Life makes me SIZZLE.”

Life makes me sizzle



oh hey scary thoughts... page detail

Earl Grey tea tags

ESOTERIC mandala detail

{index card, masking tape, tea tags, Crayola crayon, watercolor, 6B pencil}

Hit some deep {and private} thoughts in my journaling, so I taped them up…  Text reads:

“Oh hey DEEP & SCARY thoughts.  Sometimes you creep up on me.  I want to keep you, but I think I’ll use some tape.”


MOMENT {NaNoJouMo 7}

MOMENT detail

MOMENT detail

{gesso, watercolor, gel transfer, ink, Tattered Angel Glimmer Mist in Graphite w paper towel press for texture, tissue paper and scrap Excel doc as underlayers, acrylic scraped w credit card}


VIRTUE {NaNoJouMo 8}

{masking tape, Pitt pen, security envelope scrap, gesso, gel transfer}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00November 16th, 2010|Journals|0 Comments

Behind the Pages: TRUST

A few pages into the Canson Mixed Media book.  This is the first time that I’ve journaled extensively in a spiral bound book.  Wow, I didn’t realize how often I create double page spreads;  I’m having to get used to the wire in the middle of the page.  {Although so far, I love the weight of the paper!  It’s been great for both watercolor and acrylic.  Want to see how it handles marker soon.}

This spread is for a weekly prompt group on fb created by my friend Lee Ann.  It’s called Joy in the Journey: Art Journal Prompts.  Lee Ann is a dear friend from college; a natural creative who is relatively new to art journaling and is handing out weekly prompts to dive into her journal.

This past week’s prompt was the word TRUST.  I’m posting these almost finished pages, so that I can share supplies and technique with the group.  As you can see, this was one of those pages where I had to work around the wire…


{background is Winsor & Newton Phthalo Blue Red Shade It’s from the Infinity Artists’ series, but I mixed it down with white craft paint and water and applied it like watercolor over a layer of tissue paper.  The tissue layer is adhered with matte Mod Podge.  Just a note – paint, especially when watered down behaves differently on the surface of the sealer, so you’ll get a different color and texture than on the neighboring unsealed paper.  I added an thin white layer on top of the sealed tissue to create contrast for the text.  Top layers:  Pellegrino label, stickers, torn paper sack and bird punched out from a piece of saved stationary.  Black lettering:  Ultra Fine Point Pilot G2 0.38 and white lettering: ZIG Opaque Writer

Text reads as follows:

It is amazing to me that I have boarded an airplane and crossed over the ocean when {I DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND} the intricacies of aerodynamics…

I believe the information on a nutrition label. {or is it that I ignore disbelief?} I will even eat in a restaurant without ever examining what is behind the kitchen door… but I don’t trust you.

Are we born without trust? Or do we have it and then lose it?

How do you move from here {nest} ———> to here {flying}


...but I don't trust you.

TRUST.  How do you move from here ---------> to here

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00August 21st, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|0 Comments

Behind the pages: Move.

A very dear college friend has discovered the world of art journaling.  {Yay! LA} And she jumped into the deep end of the pool by creating a facebook group that gives weekly prompts.  She’s asked me to help administrate, which I am joyfully doing!  This past week’s prompt {and the first of this journey that she and I are sharing} is the word, MOVE.

I had a decorated page with no text that was waiting at the very end of my current journal, so I used it.  {since today is Saturday and LA is giving us a new prompt tomorrow.}


The written text reads as follows:

“I am a thinker and a planner.  I like to UNDERSTAND before I take Action.

just MOVE ——->

sometimes I will think and plan AND NEVER START.

I don’t like mistakes and seemingly perfect people really freak me out.  Which is all a jumble of the same idea.

Nothing will ever be PERFECT.

{Detail added to background word PLAY:  On a side note, I forget to play.}

"Nothing will ever be PERFECT"

on a side note, I forget to play

Materials:  Background painted with Delta craft paint color Territorial Beige, layered with Windsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours and Staedtler Watercolor Crayons.  {the black circles are from the bottom of the watercolor crayon twisted dry onto wet paper.} Grey circles are from the dirty water swirled around on the page.  The green collage element is torn from a yoga magazine and glued in with matte Mod Podge.  The gold is tissue paper.  {Even  though it’s matte sealer, the page is still shiny and hard to photograph…}  Pens used:  ZIG Opaque Writer in white and a Pilot G2 {0.38}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00August 14th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|3 Comments

Behind the Pages {Jan 10-18}

I am slowly falling into the groove of putting everything into one place.  {currently the Exacompta journal}  Slowly.  It’s like learning a dance; I now know the steps, but still step on toes.  Often.  Here are last week’s pages.  I’m a little slow in posting them, because Rands & I took a weekend trip and I was away from the scanner and comp.  And actually, it’s more than a week’s worth of pages because I’ve included pages {in progress} from the trip.

Scanned Image 100210000

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Soren Kierkgaard   This quote has been my facebook status for a week now.  It’s what my journals are about: living and simultaneously making sense of it.  This page is combination of a Sudoku page that I worked in the middle of the night + gesso + watercolor + ink + an image.  The writing is done with the fountain pen that Rands got me for Christmas.  The ink is Sailor Jentle Ink in Blue Black.  I love this ink on the plain Exacompta pages but on top of the paint & Mod Podge… not so much.  Have switched to Sharpies, Faber Castel PITT pens & Prismacolor Premier Markers {LOVE the brown ink}

Scanned Image 100210006

This was another learning page.  I started out with some old scrapbook paper that I just wanted as an under layer, but it acted funny in the crease, so I tore {or tried to tear} off a strip.  {See the interesting texture top-middle}  Am finding that I need to be a bit more gentle with this paper than the cardstock in the Moleskine sketch.  Especially when using glue & watercolor.   Layers are from watercolor, acrylic, coffee sleeve, tea tag and a 2004 photo.  {My brain randomly remembered the green sweater…Note to self:  The color green is showing up again.}

Scanned Image 100210002

Tabbed Master-To-Do-List & a diary page.  Sketch on the right is detail from the fireplace in our room.  {I love the paper in this journal for pencil sketches!}  Another note to self:  #4B Tombow drawing pencil needs to be sealed.

Scanned Image 100210003

Notes & diary entries on an almost plain page.  {Giving myself permission to do this.}  Am learning that sometimes the thing is to capture information and moments.  {Not every page has to be an Extravaganza; at times a simple capture is enough.}

Scanned Image 100210004

Raw Umber watercolor pencil & coffee wash.  When I keep things like doilies with coffee rings & coasters, I can frustrate R.  I think it’s better if I make a page right away rather than keep a stash of stuff that looks like trash to him.  {at least when we’re traveling together.}

Scanned Image 100210005

Pencil & ink.  & more proof that drawing pencils must be sealed.  “The natural rhythm of this stage is slow and if you can come to  appreciate this and accept the gifts of deep rest then this experience can even be welcomed.  The tasks for stage one are:  Waiting, keeping faith, trusting the process and being patient with poor performance.” {Quote from The Mandala Workbook by Susan F. Fincher}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:40-04:00January 21st, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|10 Comments

Behind the Pages {this week in pages Jan 3-9}

janus_smallPulling out old articles and writing new ones…

Same with blogs & journals.  A few old and some new.  {the archive will be here soon!}

I guess there’s a lot of that in January, looking back & forward at the same time…

Here is last week in journal pages.  Mostly pages without writing, but I made a page, took a photo or wrote every day this week. {which was my goal.  yay! me.}

Scanned Image 100080001

Sometimes I just wear myself out.  I’ve been thinking a lot about my journals and how I keep them.  {too much I think…}  In an effort to loosen up, I’ve been doing free drawing in my Morning Pages  and current journal.  Just put the pen down and see what happens.  No filtering thoughts.  These swirls & dots {that’s what came out} drawn with PRANG metallic brush markers on a watercolor wash.  The “stars” in the upper left-hand corner are made by dropping kosher salt on the wet wash and brushing off when dry.  Tea tags and stars from my stash of random stuff.  Quote:  “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” I love Oscar Wilde.

She will show you who she is

Colors & thoughts from the kitchen/great room.  A designer from Ethan Allen made the comment, “She will show you who she is.”  I like to think he was talking about me and not just the house.  😉

I'm wrestling with body imageI want to use this journal to capture conversations & ideas as well as make art pages.  Page on the left has a quote from my friend Amy {“They handle the transition because instead of getting smaller, their world gets bigger.”} plus the time for our next get together so I won’t forget.   The doodle that I doodled while talking to her looked like a calamari appetizer gone bad, so I covered it up with layers of paint & tissue.  I guess I didn’t have to mention it, but it’s what I’m wrestling with these days.  Rough drafts, mistakes & messiness.  {that and body image…}

Fossil packing tapeThe oldest Brilliant ordered some cool belts from Fossil that came in a box with this awesome packing tape.  The page is waiting for words.  Btw, I also love vegetable stickers; these are from avocados & a pomegranate used to make Liz’s Pomegranate Guacamole.  So good.  {I’ll post the recipe soon.}

Scanned Image 100080005

This Exacompta journal is already getting bulky and I still have about 90 double page spreads to go… so, I cut out some pages and made some list pages.  Have decided that this will be my Read-in-2010 list.  {I also want to add a Books-I-Want-to-Read list & a Movies-I’ve-Watched list.}

Lady Grey Tea layer 1

This page is called “Lady Grey Tea – layer 1”  I don’t know what it’s going to be yet.  I included it because this is the kind of page that is new to me: a page that is in process & not finished all in one go.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:40-04:00January 10th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|8 Comments

Behind the pages {Exacompta: The next journal}

Scanned Image 100040000I started a new journal for 2010.  Which also means that I finally broke into a box that I received weeks ago from Karen at Exaclair.  I was delighted to find an Exacompta Basic Sketchbook in the more than generous box full of goodies.  {I was expecting one journal and ended up with several notebooks!}

At first glance, the gold edge on the pages and the yummy paper made me think of a traditional sketchbook, but then I remembered this review from Biffybeans over at Spiritual Evolution of the Bean and thought I’d use the notebook for my Life-catcher/ARt Journal of 2010.

I’m a few pages in and am thinking that I may end up tearing out every 10th page or so to make room for my fat, curling pages.  {Usually the pages that need to come out reveal themselves in the way the book falls.}  I knew from The Bean Blog that the pages would take more water-based media than appearance indicated so I pushed a little further.  I used several of my favorite techniques to see how far I could go with the pages.  Here’s what I found:

DSC_3531-3* Tube Acrylics applied with a heavy hand and a palette knife:  Beautiful texture after scraping with knife {especially on the side of the page where the laid texture is more evident}  Page curled immediately, but once dry was easy to flatten with a heavy book overnight.  Could easily add a couple more layers of paint

DSC_3499-1* Mod Podge:  Using lots of glue or mod podge is definitely at the end of the amount of wet the pages can handle.  I added some tissue paper layers and put a hole in the page when I went back to sand some bubbles & bumps.  {Moleskine sketchbook pages are still at the top of my list for handling this type of treatment.}  The hole was easy to cover up with another piece of tissue, so I don’t anticipate that those types of accidents will keep me from continuing to experiment & glue things in the book.

Scanned Image 100040002* Embossing:  Paper initially curled under heat gun and did start to show a little bit of burn when I held the gun in one place for too long, but the page responded well to being under a dictionary overnight.  Also, heat passes through to the other side pretty quickly so I did have to reattach some melted adhesive.

Scanned Image 100040001


* Inking:  I like to use ink pads around the border of my pages and to stamp shapes that I can go back in and write text in.  Some of the stamped ink from a new, wet inkpad showed through the page. But it was easy to cover with subsequent page design.

I’m currently carrying fewer notebooks.  Which means reconciling the Chaotic Artist with the Sort-and-classify Scientist.  So far this notebook has beautifully handled my moving back & forth between art pages and life pages.  {are they really all that different?}  In addition to gluing and painting, I can easily see myself writing a list or making a diary entry in pen & then moving on to a pencil sketch.

Incidentally,  this notebook came with beautiful green leather cover which I took off to manipulate the book.  The cardboard cover would easily lend itself to an altered cover, but since I plan on carrying it around I’m going to stick with the plain cover for now.  I’ll probably alter it at the end or start some Sharpie doodling… we’ll see.

For comparison, here’s a side shot of partially used 3.5″x5.5″ Picadilly {had to glue 2 or 3 pages together to create art pages}, the Exacompta & a partially used Moleskine sketchbook.


I know that some people are jazzed by new beginnings.  I am actually a bit intimidated by them.  New notebooks {especially beautiful and/or expensive ones} can be tough for me to start. {Yes, I was that kid that stood by the side of the pool dipping her toe in, trying to decide…} But my inner child, like the real 9 year old me, has jumped in {going in slowly via the steps is just torture!} I’m splashing around with this elegant sketch book and can’t wait to create in it further.

An idea that is developed...

** This blog post is included in The Sixth Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper.  Cynthia over at Journaling Arts is this month’s host and has gathered links to beautiful journals, pens & inks and articles for those who love them.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:40-04:00January 4th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|5 Comments