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Abstract Painting Collage

abstract collage

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.

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Some Pages from My Art Journal: Spring 2015 Edition

 

"There is a wolf in me."- Carl Sandburg
“There is a wolf in me.”- Carl Sandburg


IMG_0918



sketchpagesketchbook page: playing with patterns

April 12th, 2015's sketchbook page artist: Jessica Ross
April 12th, 2015’s sketchbook page
artist: Jessica Ross

art journal quote and abstract art

"You touched me and I flew open."
“You touched me and I flew open.”

journal page

 

abstract art version 2

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Current Studio Art Wall Inspiration: A Spring Mood Board Refresh!

Today, the birds were chirping and the sun was out and the snow is melting into muddy lakes, but if that means spring is on it’s way…I’ll take it.

studiowall

Some much needed refreshing of my studio walls and work space. I’d like to try and change my art wall at least once a month but we’ll see how that goes!

art studio work space mood board inspirationThis one day of sunny weather has got me feeling all sorts of alive again.  

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Gold Leaf Holiday DIY Gift Cards Ideas: some (very) last minute Christmas Projects

 

DIY gold leaf Holiday card ideas final

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.

My favorite gold leaf to use is Plaid Craft Liquid One Step Gold Leaf Paint. The gold leaf pens are definitely easier but they dry out so fast. This guy comes in a re-sealable bottle and is about the same price as the pens but will give you more use. It is super rich, and heavy but make sure you shake it every time you use it.
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The cards I used are also available on Amazon and are just regular heavy-weight blank white greeting cards (5 x7″). You get 40 for $14.95 and I ended up cutting some of them into smaller cards too. So they will last a while.
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DIY christmas gift cards GOld
holiday diy gift card ideasI hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas with their loved ones! xoxoxo

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More of my sketchbook pages.

 

 

floral sketchbook page quote

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

sketchbookpagejessross

also, I’m really interested to know (for any fellow art journalists who stumbles across this page)…what your favorite sketchbook/journal is(Mixed media paper, watercolor paper, bound, spiral, small, large….)? I have over 30 journals and have tried all different types and sizes and I am starting to narrow it down to my favorites but I still feel like my perfect sketchbook is out there somewhere undiscovered and waiting. just really want a large sized sketchbook with pages that don’t bleed through…I like the watercolor moleskine sketchbook but it didn’t have very many pages and was quite expensive.
Here are my go tos:

The Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album

(12″ X 8.5″) Professional Folio Series, Hardcover $27.37

click on the picture to view in Amazon

pros: thick, heavyweight, high quality watercolor paper, super absorbent and doesn’t bleed through.

cons: expensive & only has 60 pages while most sketchbooks have at least 100 pages.

 

The Canson 180-Degree Art Book ($13.79)

(8.3′ x 11.7″) 80 sheets 

canson art sketchbook, click picture to view in amazon

Pros:  Lays flat, nice design

Cons: Paper is not high quality, and poor quality paper, rips easily

Strathmore Hardbound 500 Series Mixed Media Art Journal

(11.5″ x 8.5″, 64 Pages)

Strathmore Sketchbook, Click picture to view in Amazon

Pros: Great size and Price

Cons:

 

stormsrootsstitched together quote rjournalpagemixed media sketchbook page lyricsWhat inspires you? Do you have a favorite medium when journaling? What is your go-to when you are sketching or journaling… I always wish I wrote more….  but I never do….abstract ocean blue sketchbook page
journal illustration page

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20 Original Winter/Holiday Themed Art Journal Ideas

20 artist journal page ideas

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

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.

ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with inspiring quote
ink and mixed media watercolor shape collage with quote
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
watercolor flower bouquet and vase
succulent and cacti planters
succulent and cacti planters
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page
floral watercolor artist sketchbook page

mixed media artist sketchbook page

abstract watercolor journal page

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An Easy and Fun DIY Abstract Art Project Tutorial for All Ages!

abstract art ideas

 

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…

Abstract Geometric Watercolor Artwork by Yao Cheng

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)

click on picture to view in Amazon

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.

Dr Phil’s Concentrated Watercolors (click pic to view in Amazon)

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

Click photo to purchase in 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…

DIY abstract art project

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!

DIY Abstract Shape Art Project

abstract diy shape project

 

And that is it my friends!

 

 

 

 

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How to Build Your Own Terrarium Tutorial

howtobuildaterrarium

 

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.

Downtown Market

In the summer, they have an Outdoor Market three times a week and in the Fall, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.

Outdoor Market

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:

terriarum ingredients

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.

Sun Requirements:

* 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.

Water Requirements:

* 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.

succulent terrarum

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

 

XOXXo

jessie. bo.bessies.

 

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art journals.

tried my hand at some abstract journaling.
tried my hand at some abstract journaling.

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:

my art journal page
my art journal page
my colorful cacti
my colorful cacti
one of my favorite quotes
one of my favorite quotes
Frida and Virginia from my journal.
Frida and Virginia from my journal.

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!!

Geninne’s Journal Page

from her flickr account
from her flickr account (October Days) 
more of Geninne's beauty
more of Geninne’s beauty

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)

879094f849e6a1dba2595504a41cbf7e

What inspires you? Why do you journal? I would love to see!

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DIY greeting Cards Idea

I got this fun idea for the above mini greeting cards I made from seeing something similar at etsy.com by Kathy Panton (http://www.etsy.com/shop/KathyPanton?ref=seller_info).

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:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/90153988/garland-scalloped-hearts-from-upcycled

Also, make sure to check my other blog o happy day  for more diy project ideas and home decorating ideas. 
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The Dot & Ish Childrens’ Books Art Lessons

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:

watercolor crayons 

acrylic paints on a moleskin journal