Posted on

Life Book Week 7

Hi art friends,

The main lesson for Week 7 was with Wyanne Thompson, who works in giant wax paintings. Very cool, but it is not even remotely practical for me to have a large hot table in my studio. This is one of the few lessons where I watched all the videos because Wyanne’s work is gorgeous and I enjoyed watching the evolution of her piece.

As I watched, I wondered if I could get something similar-ish using my gel plate. My plate is roughly the same size as my Leuchturm journal, so I threw on some acrylic paints and made portraits of my beloved and myself. They are very loose and sketchy, but I like the way they turned out.


Have you watched someone work then figure out how to achieve that technique using the tools and supplies you have on hand?  Leave a comment and tell me about it.

Happy arting!

Posted on

Life Book Week 9

Hi ho friends.

Life Book Week 9 had 2 lessons.  This post is about the mini lesson with Effy Wild. I’m familiar with Effy’s style, so I downloaded and reviewed the pdf and remembered that I’d painted over some journaling.  This lesson was a great way to make use of the background.

I mixed some gold mica flakes with Finnabair gold mica power and smeared the mixture around the pages with a palette knife.

The flowers were drawn with Pitt big brush pens.  I used Finnabair soft gel to glue down the tissue paper with the words written in Pitt pens.

I enjoyed this lesson and I like the way these pages turned out. It reminded me of one of Effy’s previous Life Book lessons, which I also enjoyed.

Posted on

Life Book Week 7

Hi ho, friends.

Life Book Week 7 had 2 lessons.  This post is about Tam’s mini lesson, featuring a quirky bird.  I loved her Quirky Birds lesson from Life Book 2014 and had a lot of fun with this one.

I watched some of this lesson.  This week was in the middle of Noir City, so once inspiration hit, I got to work.

I’m working these lessons in my Leuchterm bullet journal, which is my planner and diary.  I’ve been journaling since collage, but it wasn’t until I found mixed media art that I realized I could just paint over journal entries that I don’t want read.

Such journaling is the background of this page.  I Golden white gesso mixed with a little bit of Golden Teal acrylic and fluid Quin Magenta, using a palette knife that has a pattern on one side of the blade and if flat on the other.

The bird itself was rendered in Pitt Big Brush pens. I really like the way this page turned out.

Posted on

Life Book Week 6

Hi ho friends.

Life Book Week 6 is a main lesson with Tam.  I love Tam and her videos, but there were 2 hours of video and I had to get my household chores done in preparation for Noir City 2018 the following week, so my time was limited.  I watched her intro video and about half of the first video and got an idea.

I wanted to work with Dylusions sprays and more of the textured stencil designs.  I used London Blue and Bubble Gum pink.  Once the inks were dry, I pushed some modeling paste through the doily-flower stencil and some heavy gel through the smaller flower stencil. I let the gels dry overnight.

When I came back the next day, I found the inks had reactivated a bit with the modelling paste and partially colored the paste.  I really liked how some of the paste was colored and some wasn’t, giving me some contrast. I added a bit more of the blue and pink sprays and added my gal. I hadn’t made a 3/4 face in a while, so it was a nice refresher.

I’m pretty happy with these pages.

Posted on

Life Book Week 4

Hi ho friends,

Life Book Lesson 4’s teacher was Lucy Brydon, another teacher who is new to me.

This was a lesson in making a page with experimenting with acrylic paint layers using a  gel plate prints. This was a lesson where I watched the videos. The lesson involved making a number of gel plate prints then choosing one to feature.

This was the best background page. I added a Stampington tempting template bird, Planner Society confetti, a scrap of Tim Holtz wrapper and a blob of Stickles for the bird’s eye.

I spent the best part of an afternoon pulling prints. The page used half of my best pull so I have a lot of pages for the future.

Overall, I’m quite happy with this page.

Posted on

Life Book Week 3

Hi ho, friends.

Life Book Week 3’s teacher was Ivy Newport, a new teacher to Life Book.  This was another lesson where I read through the handout and took inspiration from Ivy’s art. I was

On this page, I’m still trying to integrate a more assemblage style into the week’s lesson. I really liked using the collaged eyes and hands with my drawn gal. The pages are a bit busy, but, it’s a process.

For these pages, I used some Cricut die cuts, various confetti from my Planner Society stash and some flowers I cut out from heavy scrapbook paper. The background was a light wash of Deco Arts lavendar paint. I also used one of Dyan Reaveley’s background stamps.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with these pages. What I like about Life Book is that it makes it easy to give myself permission to experiment.  I find when I just work on art journal pages that I tend to get into a “make it perfect” mindset.  I feel much more playful and loose when I work on Life Book lessons.

Posted on

Life Book Week 2

Hi ho friends,

Week 2’s Life Book teacher was Andrea Gomoll.  She’s been a teacher on Life Book before and Ever After.  I love how she works with watercolors, deepening the colors further than I thought possible.  Her technique requires quite a bit of patience to letting layers dry then adding layer after layer of color.

My time for watching the lesson videos has been limited since the beginning of the year, so I’ve been reading the class handouts and letting my muse run.

The first layer of the background was with my pan watercolors. Once it was dry, I used one of the butterflies are from Laporte’s stencil set.  I pushed heavy gel medium through the stencils, hoping to get a resist effect.  Once the gel was dry, I added 2 addition watercolor layers.

The resist effect didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, so I rubbed silver Lumiere paint over the top of the gel.  The contrast of the pages was too low for my taste, so I added the stamps with black Archival ink.

When I get the chance, I’d like to revisit the gel resist technique.

Posted on

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Hi ho friends,

For the past month or so, I’ve been enamored with Finnabair’s style of mixed media portraits. They are a combination of portrait and assemblage art.  Anna was one of the Life Book 2014 teachers and I loved her lesson, but never felt like I successfully made it my own.  Check out her blog. This style is totally up my alley – the image is complex yet focused.

Quite unlike my usual work.  Today’s post exemplifies where my pages tend to stop:


The next stage should be a layer of gesso to knock back some of the background in order to bring forward the main figure. These pages were made for fun, in other words, not as part of a class. It’s a small, hardbound journal.  Looking at this photo reminds me how much I like working small.  You’re forced to define your composition.

Inspired by Finnabair’s work, I’ve been picking up some of my previous works and adding new layers, trying to find the focal image.

It’s a work in progress, but I know I’ll be happier with my pieces once I get this down. but that’s the way with style isn’t it?  You keep fine-tuning. Just when you think you’re there, you learn something new. Or your taste changes.

How is your style evolving? Leave a comment. I’d love to discuss style with you.

Happy arting!

Posted on

Glamour girl

Hi ho friends.

Today’s post features one of my oldest art journal pages from Draw Happy, one of the first online art classes I took with Jane Davenport.  Actually, it may have been my first online class. Honestly, I don’t recall – I’ve taken so many classes. This glass is one of my first mixed media portraits as well. I used Prismacolor pencils and alcohol markers.  The funny thing is, I really like my early drawings.  They have a kind of primitive style that appeals to me.  I keep trying to deliberately get this type of look in my work.

I have noticed a few changes to my faces since then: I have lowered the eyes to the middle of the head; the eyes are a bit smaller; and I moved the nose up toward the eyes – closer to where the nose actually falls on the head. I don’t shadow as deeply.

Some of the aspects I’ve kept include: a deep side part in the hair, which is inspired by women’s hairstyle from the 30s and 40s; I’ve kept the nose minimal; the shadows on the face are shallow; one eye is a bit cockeyed; and I don’t use a single light source. In fact, I’m not really interested in the light source.

Which is a bit ironic because I was a theatrical lighting designer, a long time ago.  Lack of a focal light source is part of the look of my work. Combined with the direct gaze of the portrait enhances the disturbing aspect of my work.  Many of portraits gaze directly at the viewer. A sort of artistic standoff.  Who will look away first?

It ain’t gonna be the painting, my friend.

What little things comprise your style?  If you haven’t thought about it, take pictures of your work and look over several pieces.  The things that unify your work will begin to stand out.  When that happens and you see it, you will make your work truly your own.  Leave a comment and link to your latest project. I’ve love to see what you’re up to.

Happy arting!

Posted on

Frolicaholic background

Hi ho friends.

The art journal review continues with a background page I made for one of my first online art classes with Jane Davenport: Draw Happy.  This is the class she recommends as the starting point for newbies and it eases you into drawing with art journals, doodles and very simple faces.  I believe I made this page using homemade acrylic paint sprays, Distress Ink, and markers.  My art supplies were limited at the time.  The art journal was one of the Teesha Amazing 16 page art journals.

To be honest, I haven’t seen the actual art journal in a while so I’m not sure that I ever finished this page.  That’s the great thing about art journals – they are never really finished. I like making background pages, stashing the art journal and then digging it out years later to work on it again.

My backgrounds have progressed quite a bit from the early days.  I’ve learned so much. In fact, one of my favorite ways to start a background is to take an alcohol marker, like a Copic, and doodle.  Any color marker, it doesn’t matter. Then paint or spray ink over it.  The alcohol marker keeps floating to the top.  Well, technically, the alcohol is breaking down the acrylics or water-based materials.  The same is true if you use Alcohol inks, such as Ranger alcohol inks, only you can get a more droppy and spattering effect, especially if you spray water on your page before you drop ink on it.  Try it, it’s fun!

What’s one of your favorite background techniques? Leave a comment and a link and I’ll stop by and check it out.

Happy arting.