The theme for April is being present. In the moment. Tam had a terrific definition for being present, so I’ll save the Buddhist commentary for a moment. What the April lessons have in common is being present by following your artistic impulses, experimenting, playing. Remember how carefree you were as a kid drawing? Before some inconsiderate external critic suggested that your creations could only be loved by your mom?

I’d like to go find that teacher and kick ’em in the junk, but that’s not a very friendly thing to do but the idea does put my inner critic on my side for a change.

Being present.  It’s bit scary posting this set of pages. They are not finished works, nor are they meant to be. They are play-time with personal words and symbols. Experiments with color and form with little regard for composition. Visual expressions of the moment, what I saw and felt on the days I made them, using colors that struck my fancy in the moment.

These are mixed media pages: acrylic paints in liquid, ink, spray, marker and heavy body formulas, Stabilo All pencils, Pitt Pens, Neocolor2s, Gelatos, Distress Stains, tissue, collage, pastels, watercolor pencils, colored pencil, graphite pencil, alcohol markers.

Week 14: Field Journaling with Alisa Burke.  To be honest, I was having lunch at work, read the pdf and had ideas. I didn’t watch the video for this lesson. I’m sure I’ll go back and watch in order to take notes at some point. I like the color and elements of this page, but feel value is somewhat lacking.



Week 15 Little Things, with Tam.  3/4 face, two page spread.  Tam’s definition of the present is pretty terrific and I’m mostly paraphrasing, but goes something like this: the present is real while the past and future are imaginary.  Since I’m working in a large (9×12 journal), I decided to do the 2 page spread.  And struggled with working more loosely, simpler face shading, more black and white.  I had to set this aside for a couple days to appreciate it. I added more little black and white doodles after this photo.  I also re-worked these pages in another journal because i felt the version here, in my Life Book art journal, the pages, well, sort of work together, but not as much as I’d like.  I love Tam’s art so much and want to buy an original piece someday. In the meantime, for the Life Book lessons, I tend to copy her composition, in my style, doodles, writing, and darker color scheme, which brings different problems.



Week 16.Being Here Now with Alena Hennessy.  I enjoyed Alena’s class last year.  For me, I find Alena’s lessons are like Jane Davenport’s, with tools, techniques, and inspiration to create a page all your own. I may use some of her elements or maybe not.  When I’m watching the videos and taking notes, I sometimes get ideas. I make note of these ideas so when I sit down, I can try them out. Alena’s lesson involved working 15 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes, so I did 2 versions, 15 and 10 minutes, on 9×12 watercolor paper.  I liked the first one so much, I taped it into my journal.  When I finished the background, pan-galactic gargleblasters popped into my mind. I looked over the page and thought that the world must look like this page after having one.  It made sense at the moment. Which is the point of the lesson, init?



Week 17 Feel the Moment with Jenny Wentworth. As I watched Jenny’s video, I had the urge to work the page in Quin Magenta, Payne’s Grey, and Pthalo Blue. Why? Cuz I love those colors.  I gesso’d my page and started to work. Jenny used charcoal to sketch her gal, then activated it with a wet brush. My charcoal didn’t work very well wet, so I switched to my trusty Stabilo All pencil. Many layers commenced because I had to bring light to her face.  Most of my heavy body acrylics are Amsterdam brand. I love the colors and most of the time, they work quite well for my needs. Today, though, we were having a struggle.  Perhaps I wasn’t letting layers dry properly or perhaps I used too much water to thin them on the page, but I had a lot of trouble with them lifting off the page and behaving more like water soluable Neocolor 2s than acrylic paints. Her eyes are the color of the original background.  This gal is growing on me. It’s been a long time since I created a face without mapping it out in painstaking detail – erasing, drawing, re-drawing. I worked very quickly on this page.  Three of the pages were worked fairly quickly. It seems I spent a rather long time on Tam’s lesson, but it was a 2 page spread.



This sort of in-the-moment play-time is good for the soul. It’s liberating and expressive.  Whether or not you share such pages with anyone doesn’t matter, but give it a try. A little expressive freedom just for you. But if you want to share, I’d love to see your pages.