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Express Yourself, revisited

Hi ho, friends.

I haven’t posted for a while because I am recuperating from knee replacement surgery. Recovery is going well, but it’s pretty boring. 

I decided to spend my enforced rest period on revisiting some of the classes I have access to.

I have an art journal and limited art supplies on hand: black Pitt Pens, Diane Reveley paint pens, a few Pitt Brush Pens in skin tones and a few other colors, a mechanical pencil, kneaded eraser, a few Derwent Inktense pencils, and water pens.

Express Yourself. I took this class from Jane Davenport a couple years ago. I reviewed the Emotion Map and worked on Pouts and Puckers and spent more time exploring pouty expressions. I really liked one of the faces and made a larger version on one of the expression map pages.

I used Derwent Inktense pencils, Pitt Pens, washi, and paint pens. Since I don’t have gesso, I had to leave some of the paper uncolored for white space. Plus a little fiddling with Aviary and Pixlomatic.

It’s an interesting challenge to work with a limited palette. I won’t be able to get to my studio for another week or so, because it is up a spiral staircase. I haven’t graduated to that yet, but I make improvements every day.

I am getting more out of the class this time through. 

Express Yourself is a terrific class once you have some basic face drawing skills in place. 

What are you working on this summer? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to stop by and see what’s up with you.

Happy creating!

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Whimsical Krampus Handmaiden


My friend Marva invited me to join her upcoming Krampus themed show at Bedlam Coffee next month.
Most of my pieces are altered digital photos of Marva in her awesome Krampus costume.

I really wanted to include a mixed media art piece. I sketched a few whimsical Krampuses and they were OK. It wasn’t until I got to Lesson 2 of Radiant Faces with Tamara Laporte that I was inspired.

That lesson produced Inner Child and her dark cousin, Krampus Handmaiden. I have to give credit to Jane and Teesha and Mermaid Circus for helping me with finishing touches. I’ve heard the message in many classes, but it clicked in Mermaid Circus.

This piece is 16 inhes by 14 inches cold press watercolor paper. With collage, stencils, acrylics, Neocolor 2’s, Aquamarkers, Promarkers, Pitt pens, Prisma pencils, and Montana markers.

Edited with #aviary >

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Mermaid Circus Week 2 Face Review


Week 2 of Mermaid Circus is a review of basic Jane style faces and shading with markers, collage Jane style and Teesha lettering.  It’s a full week of mermie goodness.

I used Copics and Spectrum Noir alcohol markers for both, with a white gel pen for highlights and distress stain for hair. I tried to use the same colors for both. And both gals were done in the same journal. 

For the gal at the top, I used Jane’s forward facing girl stencil.

The gal on the bottom is my style gal.

The color of the page is more yellow in the second gal because it was completely dark outside when I finished her so she is lit by the living room led lamp.

I don’t remember the brand of the journal I’m working in. The paper is okay for use with markers,  but it is not made for alcohol markers and  I’m not getting the same blending effect Jane gets. However,I think I did a better job blending on the second gal.

I am slowly enjoying working with markers and am glad I tiik the time for the review.

Edited with #aviary >

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Mermaid Circus WIP


Jane Davenport and Teesha Moore offer a live online workshop called Mermaid Circus. The 8 week class is running right now. This week 2, a review of Jane style faces.

It was Jane’s Whimsical Faces video that started my mixed media art journal journey last year. I decided to focus my main effort on exploring last week’s Teesha style collage.

I have been enthralled with her collages for many years. I haven’t had the opportunity to take one of her classes so last week’s lesson was a dream come true.

This is my 4th effort. I really love the technique and look forward to making it my own. The journal is a Canson sketch. The magazine pages are from August Vogue and September  Harper’s Bazaar. Also used acrylic paint, pastel pencils, Pitt pens, and Neocolor II crayons.

The process is intuitive and I have minimally planned it. I gave thought to composition and the look of the mermaid tail. The rest is unplanned. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Edited with #aviary >

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Life Book Updates

It was about this time last year that I stumbled across Tamara Laporte’s workshops and was intrigued by her Life Book class.  As a mixed media newbie, I was intimidated by the thought of weekly lessons for an entire year. I told myself at the beginning of the class that I would do the lessons that interested me and not beat myself up if I didn’t keep up.

Well, my friends, I’m not having any trouble keeping up.  In fact, I have managed to continue taking other art classes along with Life Book 2014.

What I have fallen behind on is posting my pages here.  Today I thought I’d do a little catch up with the pages I’ve photographed and posted to my flickr site.

Week 25 with Effy Wild. I had a lot of fun with this page and I enjoyed shading my gal in teal.

Week 26 with Kate Thompson.  This was tough as realism is not my strong suit, but I put a lot of time in this gal and am pretty happy with her, even if she looks like a deranged refugee from THX1138.

Week 28 with Tam Laporte. I know, I say I love every week, but I do. I learn something every week.  Sometimes, like this week, I got to enhance what I’d learned with Jane Davenport’s Express Yourself.  The dripping has grown on me.

Week 29 with Marieke Blokland. Ok, I won’t say it again…but it’s true.  While nearly all of the teachers work in a whimsical style, each teacher puts their own stamp on each lesson.  I have noticed that my pages are moving away from strictly copying the teacher and I’m playing with the style and techniques presented.

Week 30 with Carissa Paige, who offered an image transfer technique using clear contact paper. Messy, but super fun.

Week 34 with Catt Geller.  I loved this page so much that I am making a version on canvas. I also want to explore more this visual world I created (more in this post)  It really speaks to me. Thanks Catt!

Week 36 with Tam. Still exploring this complex visual world.

I see I’m still missing a few pages, so come back for another post to pick up the stragglers.  Either I did not take photos of those pages or I did not upload them to flickr. If you’re interested in seeing many of my pieces from all the classes I’ve taken with Tam, I have collected the photos into an album called Willowing Arts.

Even though I was scared when I signed up for Life Book 2014, it has been such an incredible experience.  I was afraid I’d lose interest or just burn out creatively, but that has not been the case. The urge to create art just deepens with each page.

In making this post, I have gone back to pages I haven’t looked at since I made them. Some pages I didn’t like when I finished the lesson, but looking at them now, I like every page.  Although every once in a while, I miss knitting and spinning yarn, I got art in exchange and I couldn’t be happier.

Next Monday, I start Jane Davenport’s class with Teesha Moore, Mermaid Circus. I’m so excited about this class – Jane offered it this time last year, but I was scared to take it.  I still have the last 4 months of Life Book 2014.  In October, Tam and Jane join 7 other artists in Effy Wild’s classroom with Radiant Faces.

If I haven’t mentioned it lately, I plan to take Life Book 2015.  If you have even the tiniest inkling to try art journaling, I invite you to join me.  It’s a safe, encouraging environment and I’d love the company.

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Express Yourself Lesson 9

Laughing Girl.  I made 2 versions of laughing girl and I think this is the best version.  I spent a few days visiting mom over Mother’s Day weekend and made a few background pages in my class journal.  When I got around to this lesson, I made a collage style background, but didn’t like it for this lesson. Instead, I used one of the Mothers’ Day background. For these pages, I used acrylics, my own design and hand carved quail, Prisma pencils, Sharpie white marker, and Pitt pens.

ExpressYourselfLesson9After the struggles of the Chin Up lesson, laughing girl seemed quite easy and enjoyable.  I really loved this class.  Jane has a terrific teaching style and she breaks every step down in easy to understand chunks. Since I’m still a beginner, I put a lot of hours into drawing lots of faces at each step, but the effort is really paying off.

Even though Jane desscribes her style whimsical, she makes use of realistic techniques of shading and creating faces at different angles and expressions.  She explains realistic proportions and how to adjust them to suit what you want.  Jane’s art style makes a nice counterpart to the more whimsical-ness of Life Book.

As much as I want to take Jane’s Print and Scan class, my next Jane class will be I Heart Drawing, where we delve deeper into drawing bodies, which will make all the heads I draw, quite happy.  However, before I can think about the next Jane class, I need to get started on my live art doll class.

My next post will be Lesson 5 of Magical Mythical Makings. After that, I hope to get the first journal video shot and posted.

Happy creating!

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Express Yourself – Growing Up

You might not guess it from the lack of class posts, but I have nearly finished Jane Davenport’s eclass, Express Yourself.  I am currently working on Lesson 9, a laughing face. It has been a blast!  Today’s post is my 2 page spread from Week 5, Growing Up.

I followed Jane’s instructions and traced the young version. I tried several expressions, including the images below.  But when it came time to make the pages, I used different expressions.  I did not get a match on the facial features, but feel she looks close enough to get the idea.

Growing up, alternate expressions
Growing up, alternate expressions

The small picture in the lower right of the second photo is the young version, although I admit it wasn’t easy to make her as young as Jane’s gal.  I’d call the effort moderately successful, but as with all things, practice, right? Since her older selves turn out, shall we say, grumpy, I chose some lyrics from The Clash song, “Train in Vain.” Catchy little tune that regularly gets stuck in my head.  The blue and red borders are Distress Stain in Sapphire and Barn Door, which I liked as a visual connection to the sadness/anger of the song lyrics.

They called it Bard Door because calling it Exsanguination probably wouldn’t sell product. I love the color, but every time I use it, I think it looks like blood splatter, especially when I apply a lot in an area then take some canned air and get that nice veiny spray business.  It blends well with Sapphire to make a beautiful dark violet.

Although I’m sad to finish another Jane class, there are still a few for me to take.  The next one on my list is I Heart Drawing, which delves into figure drawing.  Not sure when I’ll sign up for it, though, because I still have the final lesson for Magicial Mythical Makings, plus I couldn’t resist Tam’s mini class, Quirky Birds. I also made a donation to her water campaign that included a Mermaid miniclass.

If that isn’t enough, with all this face work, I want to explore art dolls and couldn’t resist another class from A for Artistic that started on the 22nd.  The doll is a needle felted, ball jointed doll with watercolor painted face, inspired by the 20s era Boudoir dolls. The class is 6 lessons, comes with patterns, and I have all the materials in my stash. I’m a bit worried about how the needle felting with work with my hands, so it may take me more than 6 weeks to complete the project.  I’ve done a tiny bit of sewing lately and I can only work for 2 hours and have to stop for a week.  It’s just too hand-intensive right now.

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Braid Girl

I don’t have any updated Life Book or Express Yourself pages.  I’m in the middle of Week 12 with Finnabaer. My first attempt was not quite what I wanted but I liked the technique.  I started a new page and like where it’s going but is not ready for sharing just yet.  I didn’t work on Week 13 using Transfer Artist Paper, which I don’t have on hand.

Instead, I got sidetracked this weekend with an incoming dolls: Dollstown Elf body Arin. She is shipping right now but I wanted to have an outfit ready for her.  Gracefaerie Patterns offers 3 patterns designed specifically for that body, so I spent the weekend making an outfit. Pics to come after she arrives.

So, who is this Braid Girl anyway?

Glad you asked.  This is a page from Week 5 of Supplies Me, which was Marker Week. She is on the class Teesha Moore-style journal, gessoed page, face drawn with colored pencil and the rest done with markers.  Pitts and Copics, since I didn’t have my Spectrum Noirs when I did this page.

I liked this gal but something about her was bugging me. Her eyes are a bit uneven, but close enough.  The space between the eyes if fine. I like her shading.  Finally, I saw it when scaling the photo – her mouth is just a bit to the right of her nose.

I do not tend to cover over pages that don’t quite work and I like the image on the other side. I have also been meaning to go back to Marker Week, while I have access to Supplies Me, so maybe I will start a new page and re-create this gal.


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Double Exposure


I found a phone app called photo blender that, you guessed it, allows you to merge 2 photos. This was my first attempt using  2 of my gals drawn by me for Jane Davenport’s Express Yourself class, edited with Photo Blender, Pixlr-o-matic, and Aviary. 

I am enjoying exploring ways to recycle my various creations.

Edited with #aviary >

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Week 7 Body Basics Practice

I am on Supplies Me Week 7. Have I mentioned how much I love this class?  I have enjoyed all of the Jane Davenport eclasses. She is a bit kooky, which I like, but, more importantly, she has a terrific teaching style that gives you simple tools for drawing faces and bodies that is easy to remember and practice. Which is what I am doing today. The Body Basics exercise for this week is to put the whole body together. It is also this week ‘s mixed media project, but I wanted to spend some time practicing bodies before tackling my homework.

For about as long as I can remember, I have loved ripping pages out of magazines, particularly fashion magazines. My first Art Jounal was the place I pasted all those photos, then I wrote and doodled over top of the pages, to varying degrees of success.  As I have struggled with drawing figures over the years, I have gone back to the Vogues, Elles, etc and used those tear sheets to practice. Usually short-lived practice. Until now.

My friend John was kind enough to give me all his Fall Fashion issues, which was a stack about a foot high. As usual, I pulled all the pages I liked. After watching this week’s Body Basics video and practicing a few figures, I decided to give my new skills a test using my tear sheets.

Today’s journal is an 8×10 hardbound sketchbook, unlabelled, so I don’t know the brand. I gessoed a page a while ago and decided to do my body practice on this page.

I flipped through my tear sheets and chose a Gucci wool dress ad or possibly trend page. I like her pose, but am not yet up to profile faces, so I changed it to a 3/4, turned face, and I changed her dress to dark violet because, as much as I love black in my wardrobe, I like color in my drawn ladies.  I have known that my drawing style is not quite realistic and I am not fighting it. It is a sort of whimsical/anime style. Making supermodels the ideal drawing figure for me.

I drew my party girl with my Prisma colorerase in Indigo. Then Prismacolor pencils for her face and dress, both of which I blended. The background is a Pitt brush pen. I initally tried to avoid the black area of the fence she is sitting on, but ended up coloring over it. I like the look it gave the fence. The page is not finished, bit Pittpen on gesso takes some time to dry.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my Party Girl, although I had a little trouble with foreshortened legs, but hey, I tried and its not too bad. I included the inspiration page for reference. There was no photo credit on the page, but they included the jewelry, hair and makeup credit, go figure.

I have a whole stack of pose tear sheets to practice with. I have 1 lesson left in this class, so I have been considering my options.

The next one in the series is I Heart Drawing, where Jane explores the figure in detail, but I want to put in more practice first.

I am interested in Tamara Laporte’s Life Book 2014, but a year seems like a big commitment for a new teacher. I saw some of her whimsical girl art in an issue of Digital Studio and looked at her blog and class offerings. Isigned up for The Ultimate World of Whimsy, how could I not?  The class explores faces but also creatures, art journal page composition, color theory. it is a 6 week, self-study class. If I like it, I will sign up for Life Book.

I don’t know where all this new found art journaling will take me, but I am enjoying the ride.




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Meet Squid Lady


I am on week 6 of Jane Davenport’s on-line class, Supplies Me. This week is working with pastels and drawing the front torso and turned face. I have a handful of pastels in my stash: a set of 12 Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils, 3 Prisma Nupastels, 3 Neocolor 2,  and 2 Stiva paintsticks. I had to pick up some sealer. Fortunately, I had matte medium. I use a really cheap bristle brush, which leaves a nice texture.

I had such trouble with the turned faced. I drew a lot of them, mostly in my Canson mixed media book. My faces wanted to turn down, so I finally decided to go for it and see what happens. I started drawing a girl, intending to work on both the turned face and front torso. And then it hit me: I should try to draw Squid Lady.

My original sketch of her came to me while drawing faces after watching Jane’s Drawing the Whimsical Face. The idea was to merge a whimsical face and one of my favorite tangles, squid. I had not explored her character in a while, mostly because of the torso, so this seemed like a great chance to work on her.The face and figure turned out so well, that I decided to continue working on her into my mixed media assignment, which was to incorporate the week’s lessons and tell a story.

In addition to the pastes and crayon-y items mentioned earlier, I also used prismapencils, Pitt brush pens, white gel pen, and black Sakura micron pen. I love her cute little face and am very happy with these pages.

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What Bo Peep Really Wanted


I am on Week 6 of the Jane Davenport class, Supplies Me, Pastels. I am really getting into creating a whole page. This is new for me as my previous art journals have been magazine pages cut out, glued down then written and/or doodled over.

Today, I gave my Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils a try. My journal is a Teesha Moore style 16 page journal made from Canson Mixed Media heavy weight paper. 14 x 17 with 3″ cut off the long side, no flip out pages and journal size 6.5 x 11.

I laid down Golden Matte media with a cheap bristle brush – I like the texture the brush gives. I used my pastel pencils and Prisma pencils for the girl. I used Andirondak acrylic paint in Pearl and this stuff called Mr. Huey’s Color Mist in a color called Ocean, painted onto the background. While the background dried, I drew the sheep with Prisma pencils and wrote the text in black Higgens India ink in an auqabrush. Peep’s dress is pastels and prismas covered with Mr. Huey’s Ocean.

There is also some Distress Stain in Barn Door. When mixed with the Ocean, goes kinda brown. Not the nice purple I had Hoped for. So the Ocean is more green than blue and the Barn Door is more orange than red. Good to know.

Why Bo Peep? I found some old journals and albums recently that had pictures of me as a kid in Hallowee costumes: Little Red Riding Hood, a witch, and Little Bo Peep. More of those girls to come.

My journals lean toward the silly rather than the inspring, profound words of wisdom and encouragement. I am a goofball and will embrace my inner absurdity.

No doubt, you’ll see more of that as well.