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Weeks 31-34

Hi ho, my lovelies.

I thought by grouping my LIfe Book posts, I’d discipline myself to post more frequently and cover more artistic ground.  Not so much.

Ah well, try, try again, right?

Today’s post is Life Book 2015 Weeks 31-34.

Week 31 Hamsa Protection with Rachel Rice

Week 32 You are Wise with Tam

Week 33 – haven’t started this lesson

Week 34 Painting the Muse with Alena Hennessy


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Weeks 26-30

Week 26. Inner Warrior Princess with Andrea Gomoll. I’ve been a tad obsessed with creating a Klimt-inspired Pallas Athena since I took Tam’s Magical Mythical Makings class.  I’ve sketched a number of variations and tried again when this lesson came up. Klimt’s Athena was a bust portrait with her in a helmet. That’s a tad complicated for my skillset, so I propped her helmet on top of her head. I doubt Athena was a ginger. As you know, I have a thing for gingers, so mine is. Owls are often seen with her and she is the goddess of the arts, among other things. The text is ancient Greek and the very loose translation is “be fearless.” A little influence from Kelly Rae Robert’s Mantra class.  I had some trouble with the shading, but I think I could go back and tone it down by doing more work on the Neocolor/white acrylic technique that Tam teaches. I was trying to do this with Gelatos and Inktense pencils, but as mentioned in the previous Life Book lesson post, this paper is not good with wet media.

Week 27 was an artist interview. Week 28. Layers of You with Tam. Paint over collage. Rather than use a selfie, I used some Vogue magazines. At this point, of course, I’ve lost track of the number of Tam classes, I’ve taken, so I feel quite comfy running with the technique and doing the pages my way. I like to swim, so my inner me is a Naomi Watts mermaid. Obviously.

Week 29. Tiny Story telling with Danielle Donaldson. My hands have recently been pain-free, so I’m hesitant to spend a lot of my art time with fussy-cutting elements. In fact, I haven’t put this lil gal in my official journal. She is in my Moleskin watercolor journal. But, she’s so adorbs, I had to paint her and give her a little phrase and include her here.

Week 30 with Flora Bowley. I enjoyed Flora’s lesson last year, but I still struggle with the free-form, intuitive painting style.  Ideas come to me while I’m watching the video. I painted 2 pages and this is the one that came out. The other one is waiting to be finished. This one, Serene, was one of the ideas I had.  Of course, the idea of having a plan is contrary to Flora’s style, but it was an urge and I followed it. I’m grateful that Flora included a real-time bonus video – I watched it twice and will go back to this technique to try and wrap my art brain around it.   Perhaps that is what the other page is waiting for – unplanned inspriation.

After spending Saturday on Flora’s intuitive lesson, I needed to get back to familiar ground. I worked on Week 2 of Tam’s Fabulous Faces class, so you have those pages to look forward to.

In the meantime: fly, be free, my lovelies.

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Life Book Weeks 22-25

Hi my lovelies. I can hardly believe that July is nearly over. It’s time for another Life Book 2015 post. It’s been nearly 2 years since I started on this mixed media art journey. I find that I’m copying less and taking inspiration more from the lessons in 2015.  Here are the next 4 pages.

Week 22 with Jeanne Oliver.  It’s a paint over collage using a self-portrait.  This has never been my favorite style because I don’t feel photographs of me don’t capture me well.  So with these projects, I tend to create a new portrait or print a color copy of a previous work. For this lesson, I created a new face.  I made the first version in my other 9×12 Leuchterm 1917 journal.  I really liked Jeanne’s technique for making your own background paper and I made 2. I’m still getting a lot of use out of those pages. I had some trouble with this gal’s face, although I don’t now remember the specific trouble I was having.  This is the page from my ‘official’ 2015 class art journal, also a Leuchterm 1917 in 9×12 size.

Week 23 starts the month of June, I believe, which was focused on the boys.  This is a Tam lesson.

I really should write these posts closer to when I create the pages, but we were in the middle of SIFF, and I started a new job in April, so my brain is working overtime these days. Anywho, while watching Tams’ videos, I had the urge to make a Buddha-inspired page.  I am particularly please with this page and like using a floral design in place of wings, you can expect to see more of that element.

Week 24 was with Juliette Crane.I have been quite happy with the male faces I’ve turned out.  We had 1 lesson with a male figure last year, but it was a rather complex piece and I never got back to males as I’d hoped. This was also the week of the ATC swap, but as we were in the middle of SIFF, I didn’t participate.

Week 25 was with Lynzee Lynx.  A couple weeks after this lesson, I signed up for Kelly Rae Robert’s Hello Soul Hello Mixed Media self-study class and was pleasantly surprised that Lynzee took part in the class, representing the students. But, that is work for another post. I have stencil paper on hand but chose my designs rather poorly and had quite a lot of trouble with them. The cutting stencils part is pretty labor-intensive. However, since taking my new job, computer work is considerably less. Nearly 2 years post-surgery, my hands finally are pain-free so I feel I could explore making more of my own stencils.

You can expect more posts about the output from Kelly Rae’s class. I think I have 3 or 4 pieces in progress, but 1 or 2 completed paintings. Having continued painting more freely since Kelly Rae’s class, I would call it the next turning point in my artistic journey. I am also planning a journal flip video.

In the meantime, fly, be free, my pretties!

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Life Book Weeks 18-21

Week 18 was 2 bonus lessons; I did the 2nd lesson with Kristin Van Valkenburgh. I used fiber paste, stencils, acrylics, Dina Wakely scribble bird stamp, washi tape, Shiva oil pastels, collage, and more. It’s a many layer piece that the photo doesn’t do justice to.


Week 19 was with Jessica Swift. This was a personal art journal pair of pages, so I’m sharing a closeup.


Week 20 was with Jenny Doh. A very free, expressive lesson, which is harder to do than it looks. The background was done with fluid acrylics and acrylic inks. The angel was drawn with Prisma and Stabilo All pencils.


Week 21 was another 2 bonus lesson week with the very fun Lynn Whipple and painting an apple with Tam. At this point, I’m caught up with the lessons, so I did both.


This is another more personal journal page, so it’s another close-up.


While watching Tam’s How to Paint an Apple lesson, I had the urge to do a mixed media on wrapped canvas. The apple I chose as a model was an odd shaped one, and I spent a lot of time working on this painting. I like the way it turned out. Might take it to my new office.

Next up includes 2 lessons I am very excited about. I just finished the lesson with Jeanne Oliver and Tam’s lesson on drawing a male, front-facing portrait. You can see my first sketch for the lesson here.We have 2 movies left for SIFF 2015 and then, it’s a photo field trip to try out my new wide angle lens, so stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

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Life Book 2015 Weeks 14-17

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.



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Life Book 2015 Weeks 10-13

Here are the next batch of pages. Theoretically, March.

Week 10 Layers of Your Heart with Tam, featuring the lyrics to Big Audio Dynamite “Push Those Blues Away.”


Week 11 Your Inner & Outer World with Jane Davenport. One of my favorite pages.


Week 12 was an artist interview, which was good because I spent that time working on the side facing bodies.


Week 13 is Happy Painting with Juliette Crane. I’ve enjoyed Juliette’s art for a while so I figured I would sign up for Life Book 2015 when I saw she was one of the teachers. The page happens to be next to Week 12 and uses similar colors so they look good together.  I’ve been making these whimsical stump figures since my first class with Jane Davenport. I’m enjoying learning new tricks for them.

The critters remind me of my late Great Aunt Mary, who loved stuffed animals, a trait I inherited from her.

On to the April lessons!

Happy arting.