Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Prize Winners!

Chosen by random draw, the winners of the June prizes are...
(click on the winners names to see their sketchbook page)
Winners must email Sue at with their full name and mailing address by 7/14/11 in order to claim their prize.
 From Joggles:


From Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution:

Threads: The Basics and Beyond
Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond
3 spools of Star variegated cotton thread in luscious summer colors
1 pair of my favorite embroidery scissors by Havel ’s Scissors
(check out the forum at Textile Evolution where you can participate in a free online study of both of these books!)

From Renaissance Dyeing:


An Elizabethan Hand Dyed Embroidery Thread Range
25 exciting new embroidery thread shades plus 2 from the existing naturally dyed range. They are hand dyed using the mordants and natural dyes available in the 16th century

From ArtPlantae:


A copy of "botany for the artist"  an inspirational guide to drawing plants by Sara Simblet
Thank you to everyone who posted photos in the flickr group and congratulations to all the winners! 

Thread Paths-susan sorrell

When I was thinking of my sketch for June's theme..I had decided to simplify my designs. I think I was getting overwhelmed by all the wonderful work I am seeing by the others here on the I am taking a deep breath and slowing down. Plus, I am on vacation and my brain is on coasting mode. ;)

From this sketch I developed a piece, using a linen napkin as a background I had brought at a thrift store. I am going to add some more stitches to it..but right now I am letting it percolate. :)

Scribble Collage in Guilford, CT

Jane Davies here. Here are a few more pictures from the Scribble Collage workshop at the Guilford Art Center in Guilford, CT. To see the first post on this workshop, click here.

Sharon's papers:

A demonstration:

Alice applying a second color of paint:

Papers on the lawn:

Doreen's collages:

Diane's collages (I hope she will scan these and post on her blog, so that we can see each piece individually):

Cathy's collages:

Alice's collages (this back-lighting does not do them justice):

Sharon's and Diane's collages:

Mary's collages (Mary LOVES bright colors!):

We did stain tissue papers, but nobody got any pictures of that process. We did use the tissue papers in our collages, though.

I will be teaching Scribble Collage again at Art Unraveled on August 8, and at Art and Soul on September 29. I'm also teaching a shorter version called "Scribble Paint" at Art and Soul on the evening of September 29. Hope you can be there!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

follow your own path

 When the Sketchbook Challenge first began my goal was to get better at rendering realistic drawings.  I tried my best to force myself to draw something every day but it became obvious pretty quickly that no matter how hard I pushed myself it just wasn't the right path for me because I prefer to work in abstract imagery.  I did discover however that there are two methods of working in a sketchbook that do work for me - photography and watercolors. 

Over the few years I've found that I really enjoy taking photos, especially ones of texture.  I print them out on 4x6 photo paper and the put them in a large sketchbook and when I work with them to create a new piece of artwork I also attach a color card that has a swatch of the surface I ultimately create inspired by the photos along with paint samples that have notes about any color mixing I did .

 “in the tall grass”
30″ x 40″ hand painted silk mounted on stretched canvas

 Working with watercolors allows me to explore shapes and colors quickly and loosely letting the flow of the paint be the guide.  I've created several pieces of fiber art based on my watercolor paintings, the most recent being from these:

 These were just quick and easy shapes drawn while chatting with my friend Kathleen while she was working in her sketchbook at a recent sketch-in.   I did a few pages of these and ended up translating them into fabric and then into this quilt:

"stuck in the middle" hand dyed sandwashed cotton 59"x39" machine quilted

So my point of all of this is that there is no one magic formula to keeping and using a sketchbook that works for everyone and that each person has to follow their own path to discover what methods and techniques work for them. As for me, I'm going to stick to the photography and watercolor path because that's the one that works for me!

p.s. if you'd like to explore using simple abstract or non representational watercolor paintings as a jumping off point to creating new fiber artwork then check out my new online class Watercolor explorations for the fiber artist here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Continuing a Path

Hi folks, Diana here with a continuation of this post here. Drawing, at first they stones were heavy - grounded (so to speak - hah!).

writing, drawing and pondering. And then a stone floated up into the sky and became the moon ... 

Looking at connections here
and here.

Remembering ... it started in Italy. 
There is more about stones on my blog. I'm deep into planning a sketching, book and papermaking excursion to Fabriano, Italy next June, see here.

Unrelated but fun: a Recycled Tee Shirt necklace tutorial on my blog here and YouTube here .

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tree lined pathways ~ different interpretations

near the lake montecito
Jane LaFazio here. I just returned from a fabulous gig as 'artist of the week' at Montecito Sequoia Family Summer Camp, near Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks in California.
near the lake
I taught two classes each morning, and above are the two demos I did. Below is the scene we worked from.
lake view page

@lake view students
Some of my students
Student work ~ the dad    student work~ the dad's 7 year old daughter
Above are two images from my students of the same scene. The one on the left is the dad's and the one on the right, his 7 year old daughter. Pretty darn cute, huh?
hiking boot
Above is a 'straight to pen' using a Tombow pen, water soluble pen...of my hiking boot.
montecito journal
Another quckie, in my journal.
It was a fabulous week of teaching people (from age 5-75) to see and draw and paint outdoors, chronicling their vacation.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Greenville SC Sketch In

Carol here.
This past Monday was the day of the Greenville SC Sketch In. We all met at the Furman University Asian Garden. The grounds of Furman are just beautiful and the garden was no different. Check this link out for more info.

You can see the Bell Tower from the entrance to the garden.

I stopped to sketch that (I do love buildings!) but just couldn't get in the "groove" of drawing a building for some reason.

So I moved on.

Looked at this...

While watching Nancy do this...

Stopped for lunch (well, it was 11:30 by then!) and then went back to this sight.

Notice the Buddhist Temple in the upper right hand corner of the photo.
You can read about it on the link above as well as view the many photos of the building of the temple.

Quite fascinating, isn't it?

I am always amazed at the things people do to preserve their share with others (or new generations).
I think it is an internal desire or drive.

To show the paths that our lives are on.

Our Pathways are so very important.

What pathway are you on today?

an incomplete (kinda wonky) rendition of the sculpture

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jane Davies here. Thanks for all your feedback and commentary on my Solstice Series. I am happy to hear so many of you are interested in a tutorial on this technique. I'll post the video first, and then a few finished pieces and pieces in progress.

Here is the piece demonstrated in the video. It is just the beginning of a piece:

A piece from my post the other day, only developed a little further:

This one makes use of the same technique, plus the gooey stuff in the middle, which is a demonstration for another time.

And one more in this Solstice Series:

FYI: My online workshop "Unlocking the Secrets of Color" is still open for registration. It begins June 29. The same is true for "Keys to Dynamic Composition". I have great groups in both workshops already signed up, and if you care to join either one, click here.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Profile of Sketchbook Artist

Hi. Jane Davies here. I want to introduce you to Autumn Hathaway, one of our sketchbook followers and a very productive artist. Instead of telling you all I know about Autumn, I'll let her tell you:
I am a designer-artist living in the North Shore area of Boston. I am a transplant to New England from Texas via Napa Valley by way of Seattle. While living in Vermont during the mid-90’s as a restless stay-at-home Mom, I satisfied my artistic appetite by painting and drawing. We moved to Cambridge, Mass, where I thankfully discovered the world of stamp arts which then opened up to me paper arts, and book-making which guided me to many passions in mixed media. I have found tremendous joy and satisfaction in stamp carving, and art journaling (which I do almost daily). My other joyful explorations have been collage on canvas, arylic painting on canvas, quilting, quilted books and spirit dolls (art dolls). I also satisfy the folk artist within with primitive rug hooking, and wool needle felting & applique. After all my creative experiences I can honestly say stamping is my first and true love. I tell my kids "Life is all about stamping!" a metaphor of course but for me it's true.

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
To maintain my sense of personal creative expression. I found that once I started art journaling it was an unrestricted creative journey without judgment. I work in them several times a week, often daily but that can depend on the time of year, like end of school year or Holidays, etc. when my time is less free.
Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
I always have several going at a time Having several to work on keeps my momentum going so that I don’t have to wait for pages to dry. I think this is common with many art journalers. And now I have gotten to the point that I don’t worry about the chronological order of my entries. I have many volumes that are filled, I even two that are unfinished after several years and that is ok. Like with all well loved books, my filled journals “yawn” meaning they don’t close completely, because they are filled! And of course, during the summer I keep the “Summer Journal” for the family which usually ends up with more writing and less artwork.

Do you differentiate between a sketchbook and an art journal?
I do in that my sketchbook is for drawings of reference and my art journals are for my creative collaged expressions with personal thoughts, like a colorful diary. I keep a few larger type of sketchbooks in my studio for design ideas and I always carry a small one in my purse for the same which inevitably gets used for list or note making as well.

What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet, spiral bound etc?) and preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?
My Mom bought me my first Moleskine Sketchbook about six years ago and I can seriously say I will never be without one again. The large size is appox. 5x7” and I love this size and the pages hold up to every medium. I also have wire bound books too because I make them quick and easy with my Zutter Bind-it-All. I make small ones with this method from blank index cards and that is what I keep in my purse. 
As far as mediums go well, I allow myself the use of just about anything. Stamped imagery is a must for me. Gessoed pages are great to watercolor on and give weaker papers more strength. I always enjoy collaging several items with gel medium, add paints and whatever else and then finish with some words, which could be stamped, collaged or written. I guess my preferred medium is “mixed”. Sorry Jane, I couldn’t resist the pun.

Do you make your own sketchbooks?
Yes, and this is probably the one impetus that got me going in the art journaling direction. Making books is so much fun and I even have my kids make them for me for my birthday. (See photo) With Mother’s Day coming up they better get ready because I am in need of more, besides it is one of the few ways I can get them to craft with me. But I so love the intimate feel of a handmade book with random decorative papers and they lay flat when working on them.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
Get a book or journal you love and start by coloring, collaging, etc. on the inside cover with your name and email. That way you have started. Then color in some backgrounds on several pages and even glue random ephemera in the first couple of pages. Do not over think this or give any attention to how or what, just get your hands moving. Keep a box of watercolor crayons, pencils, pens and glue stick readily available with the journal at all times. When I first started journaling I kept my box and journal on my coffee table. Open the book often and make a mark or many, it doesn’t have to be profound. Give yourself permission to be childlike about it. And finally, each day try to start a new adventure… turn the page and keep going! Trust me you will be so glad that you continued.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Art journaling has truly broadened my sense of self awareness. I see my growth throughout the years and they give me the ability to look back on these journals and reflect, laugh and of course pat myself on the back for having the courage pursue my creativity.

Autumn's work is featured in my two most recent books, Collage Journeys, and Adventures in Mixed Media, and I am very grateful for her contributions. Definitely check out her web site for art journaling inspiration!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tutorial: Super Easy Watercolor Birds

Hello! (Carla Sonheim here!)

This little tutorial will hopefully dispel some myths about watercolor being "impossible." Yes, it does have kind of mind of its own sometimes, but that's part of the fun (and is usually completely "fixable," as you will see)!

These birds are super easy. Follow the steps below, but remember your birds will (and should) come out differently than mine! The way you lay down the paint, the colors you choose, the shape of your bird, and your unique "hand" when adding pencil detailing will all contribute to a bird that is uniquely yours. And that is a good thing!


1. Gather your supplies. You will need a pencil, a set of watercolors (cake or tube is fine), some watercolor paper (I like using a "hot press," which is smoother), a rag or paper towel for blotting paint, a container with water, and a watercolor brush (I use a #12 round).


2. Using lots of water, mix up a little pool of the color of your choice. Test the paint on a scrap piece of paper. The pigment should be watered down and the color should be quite light. (This will feel strange to Bright-Color People, but don't worry! It won't stay this pale.)


3. Load your paint brush. Blot a little of the excess water on to your rag or paper towel. Your brush will still be quite wet; this just takes the drippiness out.


4. Start painting a bird. I usually do not draw in pencil first, as I like to see how the bird unfolds using paint only. (But you are allowed to draw it in lightly first if you must!) Work fairly quickly; you want the paint to remain wet as you move it into the shape of your bird. If desired, leave a space unpainted for the eye, as shown here:

In the case of my first bird, I the paint was a little too wet... I wanted it to dry a bit more before I added the next step, so I used this time to paint in a second bird.


5. While the paint is still wet, go back to your watercolor palette and grab some darker pigment with your paintbrush (not watered-down this time). Dip the heavier pigment into the wet paint here and there (I like to go around the eyes and on the bottom edge of the bird). Just dab it; the watercolor will begin to spread out on its own. Repeat with the second bird:


6. Let dry completely. (Very important!) You can see here that the green spread out quite a bit when it dried. This wasn't exactly what I intended (oops), and occurred because my original layer of paint was "too wet." No worries, though! We can fix it on the second layer.


7. Now you are basically going to repeat steps 2-6, but with different colors. In this case I used a very light orange-red for my second transparent layer (steps 2-4)...

... and a darker blue for my more pigmented drop-ins (step 5).

Repeating now for the second bird.


8. Once the second layer of paint is COMPLETELY dry (very important!) you can add details with pencil. I usually add the eyes, some shading around the eyes perhaps, and some shading on the wings and bottom of the bird.

Keep your hand loose; if the pencil lines seem too harsh, use your finger to soften the effect:


10. Finished! Here's a detail:

* * * * * * * * * *

This tutorial is part of Make It Easy, an 11-day tutorial blog-hop journey! But I thought I"d post it here as well. I can't wait to see your birds! Leave a link in the comments if you end up trying this.