Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back to Photoshop

So this art journaling stuff is a lot of fun, but I think I am realizing that my true love is photography, especially playing with images in Photoshop.  I happened upon Kim Klassen's Photoshop Skinny Mini e-course and decided to brush up on my photoshop skills.  I find that hours fly by when I'm working with my images.  It doesn't feel as raw or organic as applying paint to paper, but it's very rewarding.  Here are my latest photos for Kim's class:

And now it's time to go clean the house . . . there's a time for everything!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

More from my trip

One of the days in California, we took a train to San Juan Capistrano and toured the mission there.  These two pages are from that trip.  By the way, my cousin let me know today that the swallows are due to return this Saturday.  That would be amazing to see.
Here's some pages I did after I returned home.  I only brought back a few shells and bits of beach glass.  I had a hard time not scouring the beach each day for treasures to bring back home.  Instead I tried to just find a few really special ones.  And then I found the quote by Anne Morrow Lindbergh I included, which summed it all up nicely.

I experimented with cutouts in my journal, which I've never done before.  I'm not sure I like the look, but at least I got my treasures in the journal.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

California Journal

I haven't quite finished the journal I began on my Calfornia trip at the end of Janury, but I fully intend to.  My mantra everytime I wrote in it was "be fearless".  This was going to be an exercise in not worrying about how perfect I thought the pages were -- it was just a matter of capturing images, feelings and ideas on my trip.  And I don't like all the pages, but they did serve to capture a lot of what I experienced on the trip.  My goal is to finish it by Sunday -- too much time has gone by and the memories are fading!  (Guess I need to go back and get re-inspired -- I wish!)

The journal was hand-made by my friend Joyce.  She did a beautiful job, and the paper on the outside is from Italy.  Isn't it gorgeous?
I brought along colored pencils, some watercolor pencils, a few markers, scissors and a glue stick.  Here's some pages I made while there.  This first one I did in the airport while waiting to board the plane.  Outside I saw slushy snow.  But I was already dreaming of sunshine and the ocean.

Could anyone ever get tired of watching the sunset over the ocean?  I can't imagine it.
Trying to be more fearless about drawing, so this was a study in contour line drawings of tropical plants:
Just playing with a brochure I picked up at a nature center -- adding some thoughts and doodles.
Paging through this is a great way to remember those sun-drenched days.  (Spring is arriving slowly here in Illinois -- we're still in the mud stage right now.  But soon flowers will follow!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Signs of Spring!

It's been so nice to walk the dog around the neighborhood and see all the little green shoots coming up.  The willow trees look like someone took a light green highlighter to their hanging vines -- soon they will be filled with leaves.  And there is a whole tree-full of Cedar Waxwings that I see almost every day gorging themselves on berries.  I really want to get pics of them, but they are kind of shy, especially around me and my hyper dog!

Today was the day Don and I went to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.  Now that is always a wonderful sign that spring is here.  Here's some pics from our fun day:

Tulips -- and they were as fragrant as they were beautiful.

This is called a Lenten Rose.  It's just stunning!

They had fauna as well as flora.  Last year I held her -- and I was scared to death.  This year it was fun.  I even surprised myself.  She's the same one I held last year, so I guess now we're BFF!

They had a display of unique hats created by a fiber arts group.  Don decided he liked this led powered one.  It changed color!

Although it was rainy and rather cold outside, we were able to forget the dreary day and enjoy the beauty around us.  But I can't wait until I can get some pictures of the flowers coming up in my yard.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Journal Page (the first of many, I promise!)

It's the first day of Lent and, as usual, I have chosen a book to be my companion through this holy season.  This year it's Labyrinths, Walking Toward the Center by Gernot Candolini.  Actually, this book chose me.  I ordered it months ago, and I guess it was stuck in the USPS system.  I had already received a reimbursement from the seller and had given up on receiving it.  Then it showed up a few days ago, voila!  Perfect for Lent.  The first chapter shows you how to draw a simple Cretan labyrinth, so I knew it would be fun to put in my journal.  Here's the two pages I did this morning:

I'm sure you can't read the text in the labyrinth, so I'll include it here. "This is the day that lies before you. These are the hours. How will you meet them? Ask questions. Ask, what waits for me in the middle? What do I meet, deep in my soul? Do I move on? Do I follow the path? There's no right, no wrong. Just being on the way. Just keep walking. Think about what you'd like to risk in this lifetime. The path will offer everything you need. Walk, and look within." (from the foreword by Paula D'Arcy)  (I didn't plan out the spacing.  It's purely a result of divine grace that the quote ended up exactly in the center of the labyrinth!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Visual Journaling Class

I just finished up a 4 week class with Laura Lein-Svencner that was absolutely delightful. (You can find her blog here.)  First of all, it was held in an old Victorian mansion that is being restored by the forest preserve district, which provided lots of beauty and inspiration.  And, although the winter weather kept us from going outside to enjoy the grounds, the windows let in plenty of sunshine and lovely views.

In the class, we all brought blank journals and learned lots of techniques for filling them up.  Here's a few pictures to give you a flavor of what we all learned together:

Here, Laura uses a rubber stamp she has made out of an art gum eraser to add interest to a page.  You can get the erasers at any art store, draw a design on one edge, and cut carefully around it with an exacto knife.  You can see a few more of her home-made stamps in the upper corner of the picture:
This page was created by Liz, who was great at using color and symbols to create beautiful pages.  (Sorry it's upside down).

 This was one of Joan's pages.  She used vibrant colors and images, along with text.  Can you see where she reinforced her page by stitching a red plastic mesh produce bag to it?
 A couple more (sideways, sorry!) pages from classmates.  Joan created the one with the graceful stencils.  To do this, we cut figures out of magazines and used pastels to outline them.  We sprayed them with fixative between coats so they wouldn't smear. 
 A final (sideways) page from Caroline. She has a great sense of layout and design.
I don't have any pictures of my journal pages, but I'll try to take some and post them soon!  Laura is such an amazing instructor.  You can practically feel the creative ideas flying around the room!