Busy art journal days

I need to find a better posting schedule for my blog. I have so many daily art projects happening and a large amount of work each week that I could post and discuss here. Fitting in weekly blog posts hasn’t been my best skill set these past two months.

I was happy to find this app by Diptic that allows me to create a collection of pages for viewing that will help me get caught up with sharing the latest art pages. Have a wonderful Friday and weekend!

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Miniature Paintings

The obsession with tiny art

I’ve always enjoyed painting in miniature and have worked as small as 1 x 1 inch. It is a tiny space to fill, requiring some very small brushes. But the reduced canvas or paper size allows one to simplify the beauty of a petal, or the essence of a landscape to a sometimes minimalist interpretation.

Working small also allows the artist to complete a work in a few sessions, sometimes even just in one morning of studio time. The art techniques and talent required remain the same. It’s just a smaller art expression, a slice of beauty… captured with the tip of a watercolor brush or the slightest press of a painting knife.

I will forever be fascinated with what one of my dear friend calls… “wee” things. Yes, the small treasures of the miniature world.

Here are some that I painted this week. Original miniature paintings are currently available in my studio318 Etsy shop.

Thank you for visiting and reading my blog. Have a beautiful weekend.

Speedball lino carving some new stamps

Speedball carving tools for mixed media projects…

Today it was rainy and quite dreary looking outside here in Central Florida, not to mention a few powerful thunderstorms rolled on through. I decided to stay inside for the day and play in the art studio. I had a small piece of Speedball pink carving rubber that I found in “the” closet, and I thought carving would be a great way to relax and listen to the rain while keeping myself busy.

There are a lot of wonderful YouTube videos on how to use lino cutting tools, so I won’t give a detailed account of technique. Just remember to keep your fingers out of the way. And when you want to make curved lines, turn the rubber underneath the cutting tool… things go a lot smoother that way. 😉

For this coffee stamp I must admit that I did not sketch on paper and then transfer onto the rubber, but you should. I figured it would be easy enough use a smooth ballpoint pen and just draw on the rubber directly. Luckily for me, my brain flipped the letters around correctly, and when I printed the stamp the word “coffee” was readable. This is no small miracle. But some days, art studio magic happens.

I also just used the direct “draw on the rubber” technique (do not judge my impatience!) LOL for the rest of these stamps. I was on a roll, finishing quite a few designs today. But I am almost out of tins–my tin stash is slowly being depleted. Sigh. I guess I will have to go tin shopping again soon! For those who know me, there aren’t enough tins in the universe. Tin obsession!!!!

Happy carving friends. Please keep all your fingers!

Calligraphy practice is my meditation

How I use my art journals for calligraphy practice

Every since third grade handwriting class, I’ve had a love affair with letters and making beautiful script. Mrs. Patterson’s class with the letter charts decorating the wall above the chalkboards (no white board then people) was my favorite time of the school day.

Throughout my early school years and then into college, I practiced a variety of styles and kept a keen interest in alphabet forms and the history of calligraphy in general. These days, I blend my art journal images with calligraphy practice in various sketchbooks and planners.

365 days of art journal designs

I currently have four different diaries, or journals that I have committed to practice in daily throughout the year. Most spreads are not planned out and grow intuitively as the verse, or song, or image is chosen. I have a small box of ephemera which contains paper images that I have made, some that have been rubber stamped, and older pieces of my art that have been re-purposed as “collage” material.

Most often, it is simply a process of reaching in and pulling out surprises. Yes, a small pile of bits are often sifted through and more often than not, a page direction is serendipitously created. It truly is a joy to see things come together as paint, paper, and ink are merged into an artistic message.

Simple, slow living–mindfulness and art as meditation. The joys of art supplies and streaming music in my studio, playing with color, form, line, and words. I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

 The art and calligraphy journals of 2017…

Sumi ink with a dip pen in my Hobonichi Techo. Watercolors.

Washi tape. Watercolors. Sumi ink and colored pencil. Moleskine pocket-sized daily diary.

Watercolors and brush lettering in the beautiful Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.

Watercolors and dip pen calligraphy in a Leuchtturm sketchbook.

Watercolors in my daily Hobonichi art and quotes journal. Moon Palace Sumi ink.

I ordered a blank, wooden oblique holder from Paper Ink Arts and hand painted acrylic florals around the base. Practicing curly a alphabet style in my Peter Pauper Press grid notebook.

… and so continues the 2017 art and calligraphy journey.

Art journal process in my Traveler’s notebook

I bought the 2 month, daily Midori insert (005) for January and February. Each day has a header along with a gridded page. Each day I am trying to create art, log about the events of the day, or use the space to write notes from my reading selections.

I decorate the pages using various stickers, rubber stamps, altered magazine images, and ink pads.

I found these alpha cling stamps at one of the craft stores (yes, I forgot which one). The clear acrylic blocks help me to keep the letters lined up well.

Stamping the finished lettering on an old atlas that had been printed several times on my Gelliplate.

Most of the time I used a simple glue stick for journal work. This one seems to do just fine, although there is a Craft Bond which I have used in the past too.

Inexpensive fountain pens can be purchased on Ebay. This one is a Jinhao with a fine point. I bought it some time ago, and cannot remember the specific number. I filled it with Noodler’s Lexington Gray that arrived in the mail the other day. The good think about this Lexington Gray ink is that it is waterproof. So if I needed to, I could go over the writing with watercolors.

I usually journal in a variety of books, but I guess my go-to choice is usually the Midori inserts. I enjoy the paper texture and the shape of the regular Traveler’s Notebook. For my sketchbooks and more painterly journals, I enjoy Stillman & Birn, Strathmore, and Canson brands. What are your favorite art journals and tools?

Hobonichi Art Journal Flip

Patience is the name of the game when uploading videos to YouTube, but due to several requests, I’m giving YouTube another try. Unfortunately, uploading speeds are notoriously slow, at least for me here at home, and the frustration level peaks when dealing with the wait times as the videos process at a snail’s pace.

But it’s there! Finally! The YouTube video has processed. It is just a flip through of my Hobonichi Techo Art Journal so far for 2017 with some commentary on the techniques and supplies that I used. If there are any specific videos you would like to see, please leave me a comment below! 🙂

Printing with craft foam

For many people in the mixed media world, this is nothing new. But I find people are generally amused by the use of simple materials to create impressions and designs in mixed media art journal spreads.

Although I have demonstrated this on Periscope, I thought a quick visual overview on the blog would help you get started.

Any craft foam found in the craft stores will work. I’ve used the thinner foam, and it was just okay. I guess you will have to experiment, but I personally like the medium-thick kind. And of course, I threw out the label, so… ahem–yeah, I can’t tell you the exact thickness in any helpful measurement form. Aaaagh.

Select any stamp pad ink, depending on your personal preference and paper needs. In this demonstration I am stamping directly into my Hobonichi Techo with VersaMagic Gingerbread chalk ink.

Just trim off a little piece to desired shape, and use a blunt, yet pointed instrument to press a design into the foam. I like using a steel crochet hook. Press hard enough to leave a mark, yet not so hard you rip right through to the other side! That’s really all there is to it… tap the finished design onto an ink pad like you would with any rubber stamp and print your original image on ephemera or directly into your journal.

Sometimes if I want to keep my fingers clean, I will use double-sided tape on the back, which makes for a cleaner inking and stamping process. It’s a quick, inexpensive way to add an artsy, one-one-a-kind look to your journals. I store my foam stamps in pretty boxes from Tuesday Morning–beware, it gets addicting. Have fun!!!!