Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another published piece

I got published! Submitted a piece for an art journal book. Just received the book and it's wonderful and inspirational. Page 61!. http://www.northlightshop.com/art-journal-kickstarter-grouped

It was created for a fabric art journal swap. I layered fabrics and stitched my pattern then snipped away layers to reveal  various colors. Birch twigs wrapped in thread frame the window. A scattering of beads adorn the new growth. Every birch grove holds a window into spring. 

Spring Window

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's fun to get published.

I entered a piece in a reader challenge for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and was chosen for the November issue. It's really a blast to open a magazine and see something created by my own two hands published in a national magazine. Made me smile.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Visually recreate fall in your journal

All roads bring blessingsFall is so visually delicious because of the contrast of wide open intensely blue sky and the layers of colored leaves littering the ground. The intricate twining of branches against the open sky, and the smooth reflections in a pond. All are contrasts of wide areas and intricate detailed spaces.

Think of your journal page this way. Balance open areas and detailed areas. Try repeating shapes surrounding areas of color.

Is your life also a contrast of smooth times and tightly orchestrated moments? Calm and chaos? Peaceful afternoons and rushed mornings? How would you represent these times on your pages?

Take a deep breath of cool, clean fall air. Spend some time looking, really looking at the rich tapestry of fall. Contrast the big panorama to the small window of a forest path. Breath the air.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall is definitely here

This weekend we made cider. It was a group activity and we all got a chance to stuff apples in a hundred and fifty year old apple press, turn the wheel and stick our cup under the downspout! That fresh apple juice was heady and gave a blast of the turning seasons to my life. The setting for all this fun was an off the grid farm in Maine with a wonderful group of people.

My eye was constantly caught by the colors, the browns, the tans and the splashes of red and orange, yellow and gold. I wanted to run to my studio and make things with leaves and earth tones. I've gathered leaves to press as I always do and they will find their way into my journal pages...probably when the snow is swirling down.

So celebrate fall, the turning and the nesting. Enjoy the fresh air, the apples and pumpkins and reflect on, well, just about everything.

Check out the new link on the right to PixelScrapper. This is a great source for fantastic patterns and designs for scrapbooking, journaling or just plain fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I am an artist!

I just spent a week at a women's music festival enjoying friends, singing, drawing and of course great music. New friends would ask what I did and I always answered with my job. But that is not who I am. I am an artist. As I age I identify more and more as an artist.

Why is it so hard to say those words....even to a stranger? Art is what feeds me, keeps me happy, keeps me engaged. I love having a project to mull over in my head as I drive or fall asleep at night. I love the inspiration, the planning and the creation and of course the satisfaction of the finished item.

So what do I do? I am an artist. What do you do?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Small journal for small, quick thoughts

I wanted a small fun journal for our upcoming trip. Something that would fit in a backpack, be light, and be ready to jot down thoughts and small sketches. I love to start with some kind of background and used paperbag drop cloths are wonderfully painted on, stained and make perfect starting points.

I take a small set of colored pencils and a fine point black marker pen. I like the R@ Rollerball .07mm pens by INC? Hard to find. Might be a Pentel brand as well. I also made pages with pockets for stashing ephemera. It is about 5 1/4 x 3 3/4. Spine has bead, paper bead and floss embellishments. See the foil off of a wine bottle on the back?

Art Journal of recycled cereal boxes, paper bags and fun. Cover.
Art Journal of recycled cereal boxes, paper bags and fun. Cover detail.

Art Journal of recycled cereal boxes, paper bags and fun. Inside page.Art Journal of recycled cereal boxes, paper bags and fun.
Art Journal of recycled cereal boxes, paper bags and fun. Inside page.
Art Journal of recycled cereal boxes, paper bags and fun. Inside page.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer bench sitting

I just spent a week and a half on a jury doing my civic duty. Tough case, tough decisions. But the bright part of the day was lunch in beautiful summer weather downtown Hartford, CT. I live about 10-15 minutes from downtown Hartford and in 10 years in Connecticut have not spent much time getting to know the city. Now, a bench in a green space near several courthouses is maybe not a typical city setting, but the mix of people is interesting.
I joined a grandmother and her 4 year old grandson on a bench in the shade. We talked a bit with the little boy as a great conversation opener. He was very interested in my lunch especially the fruit cup of fresh melon. He started angling for some strawberries..there were none, but there was watermelon and that was just as good. I let him work his way around letting me know he would really love to share some of that watermelon. I finally relented, asked his grandmother if it was alright and he got his treat.
How wonderful to be able to talk a bit with strangers, exchange a bit of news, laugh at the antics of a child and then go our separate ways. I did leave an abandoned art piece behind! #abandonedartct or Twitter @abandonedartct
Thank you strangers on a bench for a pleasant lunch break.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunny day in Hartford, perfect for abandoned art

Dropped a few more in Hartford last week. I have a few more days of being downtown so I need to find some more drops. It's fun to wander around and scope out drops. It is easy to drop a bird here and there, but photographing them draws attention. Hope they found a good home, there were lots of children on the sidewalks. #abandonedartct. On Twitter @abandonedartct

Abandoned art Connecticut, #abandonedartctAbandoned art Connecticut, #abandonedartct

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Abandoned art, the right kind of littering

I involved myself in an abandoned art project. You make a piece of art then leave it for someone to find spreading joy along the way. It is a fun way to pay it forward and bring some fun into someone's life.

I decided on little fabric birds. Easy to make, all from my fabric and felt stash, and bright and colorful. I've made about 18 and abandoned 6 around Connecticut. Check out @abandondedartct, #abandonedartct.

Here are some recent abandonments.

abandoned art, art abandonent, abandonedartct, fabric birdsabandoned art, art abandonent, abandonedartct, fabric birds

abandoned art, art abandonent, abandonedartct, fabric birdsabandoned art, art abandonent, abandonedartct, fabric birds

abandoned art, art abandonent, abandonedartct, fabric birdsabandoned art, art abandonent, abandonedartct, fabric birds

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fabric Art Journal...a different medium

art journal, fabric, fabric art journal, fabric journal
Fabric Art Journal pages are pages with a definite fabric origin. Starting with a fabric base, you can stitch, glue, embroider, decorate in any imaginable medium. Just like a paper page. I have seen prayer flag type pages, quilts, beaded creations, embroidery, added paper, ephemera, charms, natural objects, buttons and more.
It changes the creation process. Rather than starting with a doodle, a word, a stain and adding outlines, colored pencils, markers, paint and ephemera, I need more time to gather fabrics, plan, stitch, actually design the page. The final product changes and grows as the page develops, but it is not as fluid and spontaneous. On the other hand, I can rip out stitches and change easier than ink on paper.
Process decisions are more complicated, how to add words, machine stitch, hand written on fabric, embroidered? How do I attach something that has no loops like sticks and feathers? Will glue hold or ruin the piece?
But the result is amazing. A piece with a tactile presence that paper doesn't have. Give it a try.
  • Start with a favorite piece of fabric or muslin. Don't forget old favorite shirts or dresses for backings.
  • Gather buttons, ribbon, beads, ephemeral, lace, embellishments from old clothes, old jewelry, fabric scraps.
  • Layout items, rearrange, add, subtract. When you are happy with the arrangement. Take a picture.
  • Now remove the top layers. Hand or machine stitch the back objects. 
  • Using the photo, add another layer and stitch or glue the items. Add another layer. By this stage, you are probably hand stitching. Tuck in ribbons, feathers, add beads to dangling items.
  • Stand back. Add something else. Think about it, add more.
  • Don't forget pockets (stitch 3 sides of a patch or scrap, leave the fourth open) to tuck in tickets or memorabilia. Buttons off those old clothes add depth. Pressed flowers can be secured under netting or a piece from an old sheer curtain. 
  • Write a word with Sharpie on a scrap of fabric and secure. Or stitch a phrase with embroidery floss. 
And then again. Use the same techniques with paper. What have you got to lose? Let yourself go.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Everything becomes an art journal

Spirit Doll, Air, Carol Marion, Intention Doll
"Air" - Spirit Doll
My children loved a book called "A House is a House For Me" by Mary Ann Hoberman. As the book goes, everything is a house for something. I feel that way about art journaling. Everything becomes a journal, a piece of me is in everything I write, I collect, I create. 

I never really liked dolls, yet I played with trolls, Baribie, various ceramic animal sets. My sister and I made houses, clothes and furniture for them, but did not really play with the dolls...the dolls were just an excuse to create. 

But now I find myself drawn to dolls, art dolls, rag dolls, monsters, animals, Junker Jane style dolls and spirit art dolls. As long as they do not look to lifelike, I am happy. A bit of me goes into each. A story is told for each doll. They take charge and become what they want to become. Many journal pages do the same thing...just take over and become. 

So I am opening up a gallery of art dolls here in this blog. Who knew this is where I would journey?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring has sprung and how do I journal when I am digging in the garden?

Early Crocus
Time speeds up in the spring. We wait for so impatiently for the first crocus and then so quickly the trees are all green. Still fresh light green, but they are thickening up so fast. A spring thunderstorm is passing over right now and I relish the thunder. No matter how fast it moves, I love spring.

I am looking for inspiration in the garden. seedlings curling up, the first true leaf on the cucumbers, rich dark earth and fat earthworms. Flowers everywhere. Not hard to find some inspiration, just hard to find the time to journal.

Notice the air, the angle of the sun. Draw something small. Sketch something big. Can you capture the perfume of the lilacs or the air after a rain? Do some fast line drawings of a robin or sparrow. Trace the line of a hawk's wing. 

Spring is fleeting, capture it in quick lines and refine later. Let the season inspire you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Round Robin Journaling

What a fun idea. Start a page, pass it to the left. Take the page passed to you and add some fun. Then pass it on.
We may try this in a future class. Try it with a friend, try it with yourself. We all have an alter ego.

Check out this blog.


Journaling When Traveling

Spring is here and so are spring vacations, day trips, summer vacations and family cookouts. How can you keep a journal with so much happening?

  • Take a small journal or notebook everywhere. Have at least one pen or pencil attached to your journal for quick notes and sketches. Add impressions, note colors, jot down ideas.
  • Assemble a small bag, zip lock, makeup bag, or gift bag full of several pens, colored pencils, a marker or two, an eraser. Look into a small set of watercolor pencils, Crayola has a set for very little. Add a paintbrush, and you can add water at anytime to create washes and add color. Or just use the pencils as pencils and add water later. Don't forget glue dots or glue sticks. Maybe a roll of patterned tape/washi tape to liven things up.
  • Tuck a small envelope in the journal to hold ephemera. Tickets, pressed flowers, flyers, candy wrappers. Whatever will remind you of the day or location.
  • Take snapshots of things you want to sketch later. You can either use them as reference or add prints to your pages to draw around or incorporate into a collage.
  • If you are too busy when traveling, jot down at least the place, a word or two about your feelings, an impression or color that struck you. This will help enhance your journey and help bring back the moment.
So have fun journeying and art journaling this season.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Week someting! Must pick up that journal again. Spring has arrived.

The weeks go by so fast when you are busy. Lots of crafting and lots of singing, seldom at the same time though. My journaling is more sketching ideas for dolls, cute monsters,  fabric journal pages, prayer flags and decorated puzzle pieces. Fun items, but hardly the satisfaction I get from finishing a page.

I have more paper bag drop cloth backgrounds and I want to get out my gel plate again for more mono prints. I love having papers ready to cut up and add to any project.

Next week is our final class and I am thinking of Spring! Warmer air, blustery winds, soft rain, early spring flowers, crocus, snow drops and daffodil spikes pushing up. The grass is even beginning to green. And have you noticed the blush of red in the trees. You see it start to cover the hills and woods with a light red haze.

Sketch that first flower you see. Use the colors of purple, yellow and white, the dominant colors of early spring flowers. Draw the words that enter your heart when you breath warm fresh air. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Week Four and Five - Lettering and Style Journals


Last week's class was small but fun. We explored using lettering in our journals as a design or focus point in an art page. Write big, trace over your letters. Use magazine letters to spell out your message. Print using wide letters, stretch out your cursive. Mix upper case and lowercase. Mix thick and thin. Practice different styles until you have developed your own style. Have fun!

Style Journal

Teag, a fellow Craftser member created a journaling techniques journal, a place to keep ideas so she remembers them and can refer to them when inspiration hits. Her pages are art in their own right and she has lots of great ideas to share. Take some time to scroll around the site as there are even more ideas to get your going in earlier and later messages on this Craftster message board. 

Art Journaling Techniques by Teag 1  (scroll down the page to find teag's post)

Art Journaling Techniques by Teag 2  (scroll down the page to find teag's post)

I have mentioned Craftster.org before and I encourage you to visit. It is an amazing place to wander around in and if you want to join in, membership is free.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Week Three - Have a song in your heart?

Or your head. I always have fragments of songs running through my mind. The direct result of choir, women's singing circle, radio, TV and even that constant music overhead when shopping.

Those fragments of songs make excellent starts for a journal page. Hand letter the words, decorate around them with drawings or collage, add some color over the top. Or write out all the lyrics (if you know them, if not, try Google) across the page and paint or collage over them, leaving your favorite bit free.

Tips for lettering:

  1. Cut out words and letters from magazines to spell out your message.
  2. Write lightly and big in pencil. Draw an outline around the letters with pen and color in.
  3. Start with a highlighter. Write or draw your letters, outline and add embellishments.
  4. Write big with a pen then go back and make some strokes darker and thicker.
  5. Print out your words and tear or cut them out to paste down. Break them up in to individual words and place down one side of your page or flow across the page.
So as you listen to that song in your heart, pick up a pen and put it to the paper. Visit the gallery for some examples of lettering. Or visit these links for more ideas.

Jennibellie: turorials on making books, lettering and recycling into crafts: http://www.youtube.com/user/jennibellie?feature=watch

Easy lettering techniques: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th_2HvOnoO4

More lettering techniques: http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/blogs/clothpaperscissorstoday/archive/2012/06/25/how-to-make-art-journal-lettering-look-like-art.aspx

More: http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/blogs/clothpaperscissorstoday/archive/2014/01/17/handmade-cards-an-easy-creating-lettering-technique.aspx

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week Two - In Love with UpCyling

I recycle all I can and probably could do more. But my favorite is turning trash into art. Making those cardboard cereal boxes into books. Transforming magazines into pages of our lives. You get the idea. Check out this link for other ideas.

Journaling through the snow

 We are looking at lot of snow time this week. Snow always seems special to me, snow transforms a gray/brown landscape into something astounding. And there is always that feeling of specialness....breaking the routine. Brew a cup of hot chocolate with little marshmallows and try some visualizing exercises.
  • Take time to look at the patterns trees and snow make. Can you mimic this in some way in your journal with strips of paper or streaks of paint or pencil?
  • Look at the shadows, what color are they? Look at the neutrals in the trees and ground. Use a monochromatic (shades and tones of one basic color) palette in a page.
  • Use an old artist trick and look at the landscape through a small empty picture frame or a camera viewfinder. Frame your world. Look at the balance of light and dark. Use the shapes of light and dark in your page.
  • How does a snow fall make you feel. Like a special day? Closed in?
  • Focus in on something small. A bird print in the snow, a twig poking up. And have you noticed the buds on the trees starting to swell? They know spring is coming.
  • And oh yes, use some of your stash to add to the fun. Corrugated cardboard makes a great forest background. 

And check out the gallery!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Week One Thoughts and Assignments

What a fun class last night. It was so great to see you all dive in and play. I think we all needed a chance to access that pesky inner child in a creative way.

Keep on Journaling

Your assignment for the next class is to have at least 4 pages completed (or mostly completed) by Feb. 18th. If you are comfortable, you can share with the group.

Things to think about and do:

  • Experiment,experiment, experiment! Dig through your drawers and desks and see what you have on hand. Try every pen, pencil, marker and look for fun paper finds.
  • Create several back drops. Cover pages with collage, paint, scribbles. Add another layer. Paste down something from your ephemera stash. 
  • Start gathering that ephemera. You know you want to keep those pieces of paper, envelopes, labels, tickets, etc.
  • Use a prompt or key word and write over one of your (completely dry) back drops. 
  • Fill a page with stream of consciousness writing. There is a reason why therapists have you do this kind of exercise, it loosens up the thought process. Then collage over the top, or tear up and use in a collage.
  • Go to the links page at the top of the blog and click on a few links. Treat yourself to a few a day.
  • Go to YouTube and search for Art Journal Pages or book binding. Get a cup of coffee or tea first, there is a lot to see.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Gathering the Bits and Pieces of Your Life

Collecting the ephemera of your daily existence consists of holding on to those interesting bits and pieces that come your way. Interesting labels, bottle caps, bags from a favorite store, receipts from a book purchase, tickets, fun post-it notes, box tops, brochures, pages torn from a magazine, fortunes from fortune cookies. This material is called ephemera.
“Ephemera (singular: ephemeron) is any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day. Some collectible ephemera are advertising trade cards, airsickness bags, bookmarks, catalogues, greeting cards, letters, pamphlets, postcards, posters, prospectuses, defunct stock certificates or tickets, and zines.” Wikipedia
Keep an envelope with you to corral these interesting bits of life. Admit it, you usually keep these items in the bottom of your purse or pocket, or the floor of your car! Check that stack of papers on the kitchen counter or coffee table...you know what I am talking about.

Incorporate them into a collaged journal page, tuck them into a small pocket on a page or attach with a small brad. Browsing through your journal these bits will bring back memories, make you smile, add texture to the page of life.

So, give yourself permission to keep the flotsam and jetsam of daily living and re-purpose it into art.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January Assignments

Start your Practice Journal
Coffee cup art journal page by CArol Marion

This is your sample journal, your junk journal, your "give it a try and let it fly" journal. Use a notebook, an old address book, an old day calendar.

Keep an envelope with you or in your car to gather ephemera, the throw away items that mark our life. Receipts, tickets, brochures, post it notes, fortune cookies, shopping bags, junk mail, greeting cards, anything can find its way into your journal.

Jot at least one thing in your journal every day. Complete a page each week. Pages in your practice journal can be transferred or used in a more permanent journal.

Exercises. Pick one or more a week to try:
  • Build a page with collage around a prompt.
  • Use only one color on your page. What mood or subject does it suggest.
  • Cover a page with any negative or critical thoughts that have popped up when journaling. Cover with positive images or words using collage, paint or markers.
  • Pick one object on your table to draw. Draw it again, use color to enhance. Draw it again. 
  • Trace an object...your hand, a spoon, a key. Make a pattern of the object. Add words.
  •  Use every type of pen you have on a page. Write big, print, write small, write with your left hand. Test out each pen. Find your favorite.
  • Doodle. Simply doodle. Start with a shape, repeat it. Go in another direction. Leave no space unused on your page.
  • Become a teenager again and write your name over and over. Try different signatures, draw your letters.
  • Artists choice.
Make no judgements. You are practicing and exploring. No one learns a craft in one day. 

Welcome Art Journalers

What is an Art Journal?

A journal, diary or smash book is a journal that has a strong visual element to it, an expression of your artistic creativity and imagination, not filled just with words. It's using your art to express your memories, dreams, and thoughts. There are no rules. You can paint or draw, use pen and ink, photos, collage, add lettering, doodle, stickers, found objects, crayons and colored pencils...anything and everything. 

One thing I have discovered is that an art journal must be what you need it to be. Search for art journals or art journal pages and the variety is astounding and a bit intimidating. A range from drawings only to mostly text, collages and found objects, paint, crayons and markers. Even fabric and sewing makes a statement. 

So let's start our journey into the world of art journaling. Find prompts, exercises, quotes and links here. Share your thoughts and experiences with us as well.