Cutting up pieces of my abstract paintings into polygon (ish) shapes and then creating collages is one of my favorite ways of creating art. I love mixing and matching colors that I wouldn’t usually think to put together- although, sometimes my OCD kicks in and I spend hours gluing and ripping off, and cutting down shapes, hoping to make the “perfect” piece.
As usual, I left things till the last minute…I don’t know how to do it any other way. Under pressure is usually when I am most motivated and inspired. I got a little carried away with my Gold Leaf paint and pens and painted just about everything in it last night.
The start of a new year means a new sketchbook. I get really excited about starting a new journal- especially at the beginning of a new year. It literally allows me to turn a fresh page in my life and re-organize, reflect and motivate. I’ve been slowly compiling pictures of some of my sketchbook pages from this past year or so and funny, I never realized before just how often my pages center around a quote or lyric that is inspiring me at that time. I think because a big part of the reason I keep a journal is to motivate me and to help me stay positive. Oh, I also apparently am big on bright colors and florals.
I put together a little Holiday Themed Art Journal Idea List, some of the ideas are a bit simple but fun.
I always find myself journaling and sketching a lot over the Christmas and New Years breaks. I think it’s my way of reflecting on everything that happened over the past year as well as gearing up for the new year ahead (also because I usually like to start the new new calendar year off with a fresh journal so I try to fill up the remaining pages in the old one). Also, I am one of those people who religiously comes up with New Years Resolutions every year…The older I get, the more it’s becoming a bucket list and a reminder for me that life is moving fast. I am a big list person too…I just feel better about my lack of organizational skills when I can cross off even the most mundane tasks.
I also rounded up some of my favorite journal pages from this year….they are nothing like some of the pages I see of other artists on pinterest or tumblr…but they make me happy 🙂 Some of them can fit as examples for the Winter themed list so Ill note them if they do…
e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page
One of my favorite things to do is write down inspiring quotes, passages, poems r song lyrics I come across and then create some sort of art around it.
I can’t help that my natural artistic impulses are the same as every 2 year old who has just been given their first ever box of crayons (to take all the colors, smash them together, color all the paper, mess all over the floor and then take a nap curled up in the eye of the hurricane). I swear I have every intention of trying to become a decent artist when I get out my graphite pencils and little eraser to practice sketching. Somehow though, I always end up on the floor surrounded by paint in every color and shade available. But Im at my happiest and most inspired making my kaleidoscopic messes…
I happened to spot the inspiration for this DIY art project in an advertisement in House Beautiful magazine for minted.com. I ripped it right out (don’t worry, it was my copy!) , taped it to my wall and started to go to work on my own version. Later, I was able to investigate further and discovered (thank you pinterest) that the Artist’s is Yao Cheng, she specials in beautiful watercolor paintings and her online store on Minted’s website is FULL of stunning watercolor prints. The above piece and the object of inspiration is “Hexagon Cluster,” and you can purchase her Limited Edition of Hexagon Cluster print on Minted (or click through the links) for anywhere from $20 to $200 depending on size and finish.
Here is everything you will need to make it:
1) watercolor paints (the Kids Crayola watercolors work just fine) and paper (brushes and cups of water as well)
I suggest the following liquid watercolors for bright, vibrant colors:
Sargent Art 8-Ounce Watercolor Magic Set (10 different watercolors for $49.95)
or Dr. Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (my personal favorites) They average about $5.00 a bottle or a set of 14 is around $69.99.
2) Watercolor Paper Pad
For the best price and quality, I suggest Strathmore 360900 Cold Press 140-Pound 12-Sheets Strathmore Watercolor Paper Pad, 9-Inch by 12-Inch, which is only around $7.00, also available on Amazon:
3) Thick, heavyweight white paper Mixed Media paper works well, just something to hold the weight of mixed media and glue without tapering.
4) Scissors and a gluestick!
The How To:
The steps to making this DIY project are super simple. But since I’m not sure of how the original artist created her stunning piece so I’ll tell you how I made my version.
1) Get out your watercolors and watercolor paper and go crazy (this is one of my favorite things in the world to do). You don’t need any fancy paper or expensive watercolors. In fact, I mostly used plain old, reliable Crayola Washable Watercolors (available in probably every single pharmacy and grocery store in America). because I had just moved to Grand Rapids from Chicago when I got this project itch, I had none of my supplies and couldn’t wait a few days till I went home again.
* Try experimenting with colors…I love playing with colors and mixing and matching up colors I wouldn’t usually put together while doing this…I tend to lean towards bright, bold, colors but what I love about Cheng’s is that she uses subtle, subdued colors with a pop of bold color that makes the piece stand out. Her use of subtle tones and light/grey hues accentuates the rich blues and the subtle use of warm orange colors all come together to create a vibrant, yet refreshingly simple and peaceful piece of art that would compliment many differently styled rooms.
2) Using a ruler or something to help you draw straight lines, trace out 20-30 hexagons (6 sided shapes). Make sure to make all different sized hexagons..the sides don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical or have all equal lengths..this will help to add to the abstract and organic feeling of the piece.
3) Arrange them in a way you like on your heavyweight art board..the only rule I used for myself was that each shape has to be touching another shape by at least one point..I think this helps adds continuity and fluidity of the artwork and helps guide the viewer’s eye from each unique hexagon to the next.
I also tried another technique and did one piece where all the sides of the shapes had to be touching sides perfectly..this one took a little more time and a lot of cutting down shapes to fit better…
4) admire, frame and hang!
Here are a few that I did, as you can see, I have a hard time using natural and subtle colors- which I think makes my finished pieces a little to “in your face.” But to each their own!
Last week, I visited the absolutely amazing Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan with some friends for the first time to attend a workshop called How to Build A Terrarium. If you are ever in Grand Rapids, you have to visit the Downtown Market. They have the indoor Market Hall, a “culinary collective” of artisan products including a Bakery, Juice Bar, Coffee Bar, Wine Bar, Meat Market, Bake Shoppe, AND gourmet restaurants including: Fish Lads, Rak Thai, Sushi Maki, Tacos El Cunado AND even a Creperie.
In the summer, they have an Outdoor Market three times a week and in the Fall, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
Finally, they also offer a full schedule of classes, programs and workshops which include everything from: yoga, cheese making, Introduction to Aromatherapy & Essential Oils, Cooking Classes, Mommy and Me Activities, to Greenhouse workshops. Click Here to see their schedule of upcoming classes. This is where I went with two of my friends to do the How to Build a Terrarium Workshop. I put together a cheat sheet of the ingredients you will need based on what I learned at the workshop to share with you:
1. First, start by putting about 1 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of your container, to fill up space in the jar and to keep the soil from being to damp.
2. On top of the gravel, put approximately .5in to 1.5in layer of activated charcoal, also to help soak up extra water.
3. Add your cactus/succulent potting soil. The amount of soil you want to use really depends on the size and shape of your container. You want a nice, thick layer so that the soil comes up about to the bottom of your opening.
4. Plant your succulents in the soil. Give them space to breathe.
5. Add your decorative items on the top of the soil after you planted your succulents. This will help weigh the soil down.
* Most succulents need about 6 hours a day of indirect sunlight. Make sure your terrarium is in a cool, well ventilated area.
* It helps to place your terrarium near a south or east facing windows in the winter in order to get maximum sunlight exposure.
* Observe your succulents when they are by windows, as sunlight may be magnified in the glass and can scorch leaves. Adjust accordingly.
* In the winter, you may water just once every 2-3 weeks.
* In the summer, it is closer to once a week. Water in the morning.
* If you are unsure, poke your finger in the soil and if it is completely dry then it’s probably a good idea to water it.
And voila! You have a start on a green thumb with a lovely & easy and organic terrarium, all your own. Does anyone have any other tips for making terrariums? If you have one, or make one, I would love to see pictures of them!! succulent
Ever since I had the ability to write (non-sensical scribbles of a four year old count) I have kept a “diary.” I don’t know where the compulsion to keep a list of the daily mundane activities as a child: “Today I had rice crispies for breakfast…” The older i got, the more they developed into a living memory box of my life at that moment in time; and perhaps it started as my first paltry attempt at creating a sense of order from my distracted thoughts and messy brain. I have over 30 completed journals, which is roughly one per year. The style and format of my journals adapts to the seasons of my life. During college and Graduate school, my journal functioned as my day planner and the keeper of my sanity. During periods in my life where I have been happy, I notice that I do more art and very little journaling. During tough times however, my journals are filled with sad song lyrics, to-do lists and life questions.
Do you like to look back at your journals? If so, do you do it often? Is creating a written record of your life to reflect back on a reason for your journaling? I am very interested to know. I can honestly say that, that is not the case with me, as writing for reflection at a later period of time would require to much forethought and planning for me. My journal has become one of my few necessities which I carry with me at all times in my bag. It is given the impossible responsibility of keeping me sane (emotionally balanced and organized enough to survive) ..so when I complete one journal, I see it as a memento of the craziness which is my life- maybe one day, when I am normal, I will want to look back at my journals to feel sorry for my crazy self.
Here are a few of my own art journal pages:
Anyways, I love nothing more than seeing pages from other peoples’ journals. I feel like I am getting a naked glimpse at their soul. I am always so amazed and inspired by the creative, beautiful things that people put down onto pages. One of my favorite artists, Geninne Zlatkis, has the most beautiful and awe inspiring journal pages. I love all of her work and I also LOVE how she adapts her art journal entries into a day planner. Genius!!
Here is the link to her flickr account for you to check her out more!: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geninne/sets/72157594514015991/
Another one of my favorites is Guilherme Dietrich. I fell in love with the bright, bold colors and vivid pieces. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after I saw these. Unfortunately, his flickr account is no longer active and the website I found him on, isn’t either. But here are some of his beautiful pages to feast your eyes at (pangs me to know I will never create something this beautiful)
What inspires you? Why do you journal? I would love to see!
I love the brightly colored maps she used. They are the most vibrant map hearts I have found so far.
So, for Valentine’s Day, I decided to go all out for my colleagues and make mini-heart cards- I love when friends give me beautiful cards that double as art- so I thought this might be a nice gesture…turns out I love making them…
and of course..super easy to make. All you need is some patterned paper (I got mine from Paperchase).
and some blank note cards. (and scissors and glue). They are quick DIY projects with big impact!
There are alot of fun and lovely ideas using cut out hearts. Here are a couple more that I want to try soon…although I think I should invest in a heart shaped whole punch, to save myself some extra time!
Like this one by Katie Mccaw at KatieMccaw.com:
Using a heart punch, she cut out hearts from every card she received from her wedding shower and wedding.
And, this upcycled heart garland I found via etsy.com:
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds is not only one of my favorite childrens’ books, but it is also one of my personal favorites. As a teacher and an artist, I find it incredibly inspiring for both children and adults. The Dot is a story about a little girl named Vashti who doesn’t have much faith in her self as an artist. One day at the end of art class, Vashti has yet to draw anything but her art teacher encourages Vashti to “make a mark, and see where it takes you.” Frustrated and annoyed, Vashti slams her pen down on the paper creating a small, single dot.” Her art teacher sees something more than just a black dot and Vashti comes to art class next week to find her dot framed in gilded gold and hanging behind the teacher’s desk. This sparks Vasthi’s creativity and her belief in herself. From there on out, Vasthi can’t be stopped!
I love it because it inspires the reader into believing in themselves. So, for the last art class, I read the book at the beginning of the class to the students and then let them go crazy with markers and pens. They took their assignment very seriously and came up with some beautiful and unique “Dots”:
I was so impressed with how much they loved the book and how excited they were to do this activity. If you need a filler or an opener for an art class, I would def. recommend it. Just read the book, and let your kids go crazy with blank paper and markers.
Also, worth reading to your kids is Ish also by Peter H. Reynolds, and it has the same sort of artistic inspirational message. Reynolds has a great website that is full of ideas and activities. He also answers questions from students: http://www.peterhreynolds.com/dot/
And of course…I had to do some of my own Dot inspired artwork: