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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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Six Life Changing Books

llife changing books

Books saved me. For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading. I genuinely cannot remember a time when I was without books. Even Before I learned to read, I made my mom read my favorite children’s books to me, over and over, until I had  memorized all the words. I would stay up with my lamp on, flipping through each page and narrating my version back to myself.

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”

When I learned to read a whole new universe was open to me. I still remember the first book that transported me completely and utterly into it’s world, a world I never wanted to leave: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I spent months after finishing that book, opening closet doors, shifting through clothes, praying to find a secret passage that would lead me to Narnia.

books

As a child (and still to this day) much of my reading took place late at night. Even as a kid, I had trouble turning my mind off, different anxieties and worries all piling up in my brain and unable to sleep. Books saved me and showed me for the first time, that I wasn’t alone.

Before the wonderful world Goodreads, I compiled a list of every book I read, including the date I finished it and a short review, in notebooks that sat on my night stand. In a separate journal, I still write down quotes and passages that stick out to me, in the books I read (although, Goodreads also has an extensive library of quotes from every book imaginable and allows you to create your own quote list).

A few months ago on Facebook, someone tagged me to come up with Five Books that changed me in some way and that got me thinking……so…. I  came up with a list of six books I’ve read through out the course of my life that have changed me in some way:

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Up until One Hundred Years of Solitude, the only “classic” novels I had read were the ones assigned to me for classes in high school.  In fact, it was Mrs. Barney, my English Honors teacher and favorite teacher who mentioned in class one day that One Hundred Years of Solitude was one of her favorite books…I checked it out from the school library that night.

One Hundred Years chronicles the epic rise and fall of the mythical South American town of Macondo, while charting the history of the extensively populated Buendia family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the BuendĂ­a family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.” (Goodreads)

One Hundred Years of Solitude is the very first book I read as an adult, in which I became completely engrossed in the magnetic, magical, alluring world Marquez created, a world I never wanted to leave.

I had never encountered a writer like Marquez, a genius storyteller, brilliant writer, with questionable sanity.  It created in me a passion for all Gabriel Garcia’s books and introduced me to my favorite fiction genre: magical realism. Solitude was responsible for deepening and broadening my passion for reading and sparked in me a love of words.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez taught me through One Hundred Years of Solitude how to  to look beyond what you can see in the everyday to peer into the beyond.

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Chbosky, Stephen [Paperback(1999£©]

.

 Where One Hundred Years of Solitude is vast and wordy,  making your head spin with detail and complexity, Perks of Being a Wallflower is breathtakingly simple and pure.

The main character and narrator, is Charlie, Perks of Being a Wallflower is responsible for introducing me to  is one of my all time favorite literary characters: Charlie, a shy, introspective, socially awkward, but highly intelligent incoming high school freshman, with a unique and refreshing view of the world.

While Perks of Being a Wallflower is no doubt aimed at younger audiences with it’s simplified style and diminutive number of pages, everyone can identify with the ‘coming of age” themes in the book and misfits trying to fit in.

What endeared me so much to Charlie and Perks of Being a Wallflower was his struggle to understand and deal with his fragile mental health. I am probably not the only one who sees themselves in Charlie, as he tries to understand who he is, why he feels so different from everyone else, desperate to find where he fits in, and to make sense out of life. I wish I had read this book while I was in high school, it would have saved me a lot of stress.

 

East of Eden

3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden is undisputedly one of American Literature’s most esteemed masterpieces, Steinbeck’s “magnus opus.”

Out of some strange book stubbornness, I avoided reading East of Eden for many years. Post college, I think I had burnt myself out on trying to only ever read the classics, I was worried East of Eden would let me down, but of course it did not.

But in Steinbeck’s sprawling Eden, some of fiction’s most mesmerizing characters are born. “He expertly explores :explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.”It is a sprawling story of two families and their intertwined destinies.  East of Eden is often referred to as the “classic retelling of Genesis’ story of Cain and Able” through brothers Cal and Aaron. But Steinbeck goes much, much deeper.

Timshel, my friends, timshel.

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

4. The Waves by Virginia Woolf

One of my favorite past times is underlining beautiful passages in the books I read and write them in my journal….While skimming back through my old copy of The Waves, I noticed that almost every page had at least a few lines underlined, while other pages were almost completely underlined.

The Waves is a novel unlike any other. More poetry, than novel, The NY Times calls Woolf’s writing style in The Waves as“poetic brilliance…a symphonic poem” There are six main characters, although Woolf is not concerned in character formation and is written from the perspective of each character’s inner monologue, in which they think and express themselves in a poetic manner. The Waves focuses on the poetic symbols of life. The language is beautiful, sensual, lyrical ,deeply philosophical and life and nature are interconnected.

Geek Love

5. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn is probably the most disturbingly dark and wonderfully strange books  I have ever read (and I’ve read some weird stuff!) Let me explain why:

Geek Love follows the Binewskis, a  traveling, carnival “freak” show family. And by freaks, I mean freaks:  the narrator and heroine, is Olympia, a deformed, albino, humpbacked dwarf, her brother is Arturo, the Aqua-Boy, born with fins for limbs, the Siamese twin sisters, Electra and Ipheginia, and Furtuno, who, in his family’s eyes, is born disappointingly normal. If that isn’t enough, the parents and the owners of the “Binewski’s Fabulon,” are also lacking in genetic flaws, but addicted to meth-amphetamine among other drugs, in hopes of creating more genetically mutated offspring to boost their business and beat out competitors.

Ahabs Wife6. Ahab’s Wife, or, the Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund

Ahab’s Wife tells the life story of the woman who would marry the sea captain who battles Moby Dick, but she is so much more than that. Ahab’s Wife follows her on her journey to find love and tranquility:

“A magnificent, vast, and enthralling saga, Sena Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife is a remarkable epic spanning a rich, eventful, and dramatic life. Inspired by a brief passage in Moby Dick, it is the story of Una, exiled as a child to live in a lighthouse, removed from the physical and emotional abuse of a religion-mad father. It is the romantic adventure of a young woman setting sail in a cabin boy’s disguise to encounter darkness, wonder, and catastrophe; the story of a devoted wife who witnesses her husband’s destruction by obsession and madness. Ultimately it is the powerful and moving story of a woman’s triumph over tragedy and loss through her courage, creativity, and intelligence.”