Tag Archives: Journaling

Art Journal pages 2012


I’ve been trying to be less controlled in my journal pages; more experimental, messy, more spontaneous.  I’ve been working on a larger painting, but its taking a long time to finish so I thought I would share a few of my 2012 Art Journal “Oblique Motion.”  In this journal I seem to want to draw a line through the page.  I was calling them horizon lines – but whose?  Mine or the subjects?

I drew this in the dark with an old blue(which I thought was black) Flair pen then used water on a brush (with the light on) to “paint” the lines in.

This is how I finished it with oil pastel, gouache, and some collage.  I thought I would use more lines this time, not just one.  I liked letting it drip across the page.

I did the same thing with this one, but I didn’t take a picture of the original blue flair pen lines and water.

This is the back of the above page that bled through.  I kind of like the look of it.

PS:  One thing I learned while working on my art journal this year – You can’t iron the pages to smooth out wrinkles if you used acrylic paint on them.  The image comes off on the paper I used over it and then applied the iron to. Lost a couple of very nice images.


Rusty Hearts – revisited


2010. Rusted Hearts – Warning:  Objects may appear closer than they really are.

Collage on paper 9×12 inches

I feel hateful today and my throat is sore.  Its very dark outside, raining in fact, which isn’t much different from most winter days in Portland.  Possible snow mix this afternoon.  I was drawing but every face I drew came out with an oversized head and mean eyes, so I gave that up.  I’m going to read instead I think.

I went to the store yesterday and noticed that men were lined up six deep at the valentine card display; in frantic realization…..

I also saw an ancient woman wearing a full length fur coat (real fur) with the sleeves ripped out.  I wonder if she got that coat 60 years ago as a valentine gift and later had a fit about something and ripped the sleeves out.  I thought about asking her, but she was moving fast for an old woman.  Maybe she had a valentine stashed in her pocket and needed to make a fast getaway.

My aunt once cut all the sleeves out of my uncles shirts and sport jackets, she cut the pants off too, so when he opened the closet all that was there were sleeveless sport jackets and very short suit pants.  He was having an affaire.

I won a valentine drawing contest in the first grade.  I drew a capital R and then I made it into a bride with a long white veil,her one eye suitably cast down.  She carried a bouquet in her hand that showed – since she was made from a capital R she was in profile and only one hand showed.  I drew colored hearts three rows deep around her, with a blue sky in the background, and big red hearts in the corners.  There was no groom, not even a capital R one.

I once put vinegar in my husband’s aftershave, but I don’t think it was valentine’s day.

I sent my beautiful grandson a handmade valentine and a funny faced koala bear which he spent long minutes introducing to his other stuffed animals, saying each of their names and hi, how are you and holding out their paws to each other.  The koala bear’s name is eucalyptus – what else?

“I think I made you up…”


“I think I made you up…”  journal page 11×8.5 inches – gouache, oil pastel, graphite, collage on paper

Reading Sylvia Plath seems to start an echo  – and certain verses or phrases circle back  around inside my head.  Started this with laying down some odd pieces of paper and muslin and gesso over it all.  Sketched out a face and then doodled in another and I was off, but still the words from Sylvia Plath inside my head probably gave some focus to the outcome.  Its a journal page, so it doesn’t have to be perfect, right?  Mistakes are all a part of it.

excerpt from Sylvia Plath’s “Mad Girl’s Love Song”

The artist’s book completed! The Tally Keeper’s Folly – Imaginary People I Know -Will be on exhibit!


Addendum: Since I published this post about this little book,” The Tally Keeper’s Folly,”  it has somehow attracted enough attention to be invited to participate in the April is National Poetry Month.  To celebrate the gift of written word and the beauty of handmade books, the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Or. .http://illahegallery.com/exhibits/2012/february/ The Illahe Studio and Gallery is staging an exhibit of artist’s books of every size and type!  “The Tally Keeper’s Folly” will be there with the best of them!  April 6-28.  It will be a wonderful exhibit if you love handmade books.  Posted Sunday February 12, 1012 at 12-midnight.  Can you tell I am a little bit excited!

Front of Book

The Tally Keeper’s Folly – Imaginary People I Know

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, collage on muslin 5 x 7 inches

This is a handmade muslin book created by Lynne Hoppe, http://lynnehoppe.blogspot.com/ which I won in a give-a-way.  I’ve been saving the book for a couple of years.  I started doing some drawings in it, and saw a loose storyline form.  I have been thinking lately about people who have a very strong need to “keep score” or count up all the “wrong” things people have done, but never think much of all the good things people do every day.  So this little book turned into a story about a woman who was driven to keep her scores of every slight, real or imagined, until it began to destroy her life.  She is visited in the end by two strange figures who tell her of the mistake she is making by counting sorrows instead of joys.  In my version she believes them and changes her ways!  I decided to use another time era ambience for this book, thinking of medieval times when people counted their debts on tally sticks where they would make a mark on the stick for each debt owed, and the size of the mark often had bearing on the size of the debt.

The words in the book were printed directly to the coffee dyed muslin with an inkjet printer.  I ironed 8.5 x 11 pieces of muslin onto freezer paper  then I cut each quotation apart with scissors and used a straight pin to pull threads from the edges – then I just glued them down with matte polymer medium (I used Liquitex).  I think sewing them in would have been really perfect, but I would have had to sew through the illustrations on the other side of the page, and it just wouldn’t have worked, so I glued them in.

Pages 1 and 2 – The Tally Keeper is looking at marks on a stick while her favored child observes.

Pages 3 and 4 –  Portraits of her other children.  A sad lost boy and his older sister, who has little to say.

Pages 5 and 6  The Lost Boy in a younger portrait – when he believed in magic.  The Tally Keeper with little time for him.

Pages 7 and 8 – A study of The Tally Keeper’s jumbled dreams.  The Old King who never kept a count of sorrows.

Pages 9 and 10 – Her favored son again, still watchful, older now.  She cut a paper minion – I just wanted to use the word minion!

Pages 11 and 12 – She continues to count her scores, and keep tally of all her woes.  Her husband begins to wonder if maybe his name is on a tally stick too?

Pages 13 and 14 – Two strange old women come to visit her one night to help her see the error of her ways, after  a few tears she agrees to change.

Back of the book

More Imaginary People I Know


“Fiona Knew Things” from “Imaginary People I Know”

Oil Pastel, gouache, watercolor on muslin 5 x 7 inches

I can’t seem to move past doing these faces!  I am doing them now in a handmade muslin book that I won in a giveaway a couple of years ago.  I was so afraid I would mess it up that I avoided working in it until I did “He Was His Mother’s Favorite,” (below)  that got me started.

Now I’ve decided to fill the whole book with these imaginary faces and add some mixed media scraps, and titles,  after I’m finished.

I think it will be a nice little book of strange people!

“The Boy Who Talked to Elves,” Imaginary People I Know – oil pastel, gouache on muslin 5 x 7 inches

A younger version of “The Lost Boy,”  who is also in this muslin book.  There is something really satisfying about working on muslin this way.  Lynne Hoppe ( see my blogroll for her website)  made the book and decided her sewing wasn’t right so she gave it away.  Yay! – I won it and have saved it all this time.   The muslin is tea-dyed first ( I think) and then each side of the muslin is gessoed and then lightly sanded so the pages are somewhat stiff.  It’s almost like painting on loosely stretched canvas – but the muslin is a smoother surface, more sensitive to oil pastels.  Sometimes watercolor will seep through the page – but this just makes it more interesting!

This is what the outside, back and front look like.  I plan on painting both covers too.

This is what the inside pages look like before I paint on them.


 “She Made Wands from Other People’s Wishes” from “Imaginary People I Know”

Oil pastel, gouache on muslin 5 x 7 inches

2012 Journal – Page 2 – “Going Home”


 “Going Home” – Journal Page, gouache, oil pastel, graphite, collage

Its always seems so much easier to do journal pages, than doing full-sized paintings.  The mistakes I make on the journal page, are either covered up, or not – and become part of the composition.  I don’t worry about proportion, or exactly looking like the things they are supposed to be – its a concept, right?  But I can’t do this when I’m in a full painting mode, and then I lose the spontaneous thing that makes an interesting painting.  Its frustrating, and keeps me going back to the journal pages to avoid solitary paintings.

If you look closely you can see two small torn pictures of doves in the background –  I tore these from a magazine ages ago, and that’s what I modeled my doves from.

I don’t know how to draw birds, so I am practicing in my journal pages to learn how – I’ve recently bought several books of birds, I wasn’t looking for them, it seemed they just turned up wherever I went!  I bought an Audubon box of 50 bird prints in a thrift store for a few dollars, dated from the 1950’s.  They are quite beautiful – and then I gave them away for a Christmas gift.  I found a newer poster sized book later of the same prints that serves my purpose very well – strangely there were no doves in it – pigeons, but no doves.  That’s why I had to look through my torn magazine pages to find some doves.