Saturday, December 29, 2012

Latest Obsession

mosaic_12_29 by sirens_idyll
mosaic_12_29, a photo by sirens_idyll on Flickr.

The past six / seven months I have been concentrating on simplifying my creative process. Ink, graphite, a swipe of watercolor has been the recipe for my recent pages. I also find myself battling between illustrative and a more realistic approach. It's become frustrating but that's the point where you push harder. Make ugly and sit in the ugly for a while and still continue to create.

Not an easy road but a deeply satisfying in the end.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

BeFunky Original on Android

The evening star, love's harbinger, sits before me and does not even waste a smile upon me.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Journal's Manifesto

Spring is here
My journal is ephemeral by nature. It waxes and wanes with each phase of my life. It is mercurial in it's temperament. It is a journey that claims a destination before one is actually found. By its very nature it is transient - betwixt and between the thoughts that compound themselves in my mind.  It is a snapshot of a moment and that moment is fleeting, fading the moment it has come into being and gone before one can truly register and reflect on it's existence.  This then is the crux of my mission when I journal. To quickly record a visual representation of my thoughts and feeling and to add words that then give a key to my personal code.  Later on, if I choose, I can then go back and reflect on the moment or close the book on it and move on. In the end it is all the nature of life that we are in constant flux and so why should our journals not be the same as well?  Let them patina with time and display the signs of wear and tear.  I want my life to be well lived and so why not my journals as well?
Don't worry about what will happen when you've reached your destination. Instead, why not enjoy the journey?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Artist: Andres Amador

What if your art was washed away every morning with the coming of the tide?  What if your ritual was to spend 2 hours every morning creating something only for it to be gone by midday?  Would you still want to do it or would your creativity wane with the ephemeral nature of your work?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blog Circle: A picture is worth a story

Watch "Blog circle: Photography and the artjournal" on YouTube

My laptop died before I could put up my post.  I've instead created a vlog post about the subject.

Please check out both Less Herger (  and Traci Bunkers (  for their posts.

Also, I invite you to check out for more information about visual / artjournaling

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Photography Circle: Process, Create, Alter

In part two of our week long discussion about photography and the artjournal, we will be discussing how we alter our images, if we even alter them at all. Check out Traci Bunkers and Less Herger.for their thoughts on this subject.

Part of the call of using photographs in my journal is the ability to alter them to my hearts content.  Can I use them straight out of the camera?  Yes and I have done so on occasion but the transformation lures me – small stories that evolve with the right tone or crop.

I cut my teeth on digital photo manipulation.  This is my home base.

There are a few ways you can alter your photos depending on what you have available to you and how much time you want to put into it. I’m going to go over  my favorite ways of digitally altering my photos. (Physically altering is a totally different post for another time.)

Originally, I would download my photos into my personal computer and use a program like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop to alter my pictures.  The great thing about these programs is the amount of control you have over your pictures.  You can create any look or correct almost any flaw with them. The downside?  The time you spend altering your pictures to get them just right.  I find myself using this method less and less as my time gets taken up by other responsibilities.

Picture of my daughter altered in Photoshop

Then I discovered the smartphone and my way of dealing with photos changed.

Smart phone Apps:

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love, love, love, love my smart phone for one reason and one reason only.  APPS.  I have many photo apps that I use and it’s like an addiction. Give me more apps.  (I’m not shaky right now, I swear!)  

As I mentioned in the previous post, my smart phone has allowed me to document my everyday and the apps that alter my photos spark my creativity in so many ways.  It feeds the artistic soul when she has no other place to go. Two of my favorite phone apps are:


Vignette using their retro filter with a grid option. (take four pictures and  have it show up next to each other)

Vignette is a cool little app that offers a free and paid version to Android users. The app gives you a few options that mimic certain types of cameras:  Holga, Diana, Polariod. More importantly it is very customizable and once you get the hang of it creates amazing pictures.  The paid version offers more options and allows you to save your pictures at a larger resolution, which the free version does not.  Another thing I really love about this app is the fact that is allows me to load pictures from my gallery and alter them as well.

Retro Camera (free and paid)

Morning fog

Photo taken with Retro Camera - The Bärbl

Retro Camera is an app that - you guessed it - mimics the look of cameras of times past.  The free version offers five options: The Bärbl, The Little Orange Box, Xolaroid 2000, The Pinhole Camera and The FudgeCan  The sixth option: Hipstamatic only comes with the paid ad free version of the app.

There are many more apps, so many in fact that I could not even begin to list them all.  No matter what you're looking for though, you'll find one that fits your needs.

On Friday we'll talk about how we use our photos in our journaling practice.  Leave a comment to add to the discussion.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Photography Circle: Cameras, Cameras, Cameras

One of the things I truly enjoy doing is talking to my art friends on how we approach different mediums. It's amazing how the same tools translate very differently from person to person. It is this fantastic dynamic that has inspired me to collaborate with two other artists, all uniquely different in their vision to talk about one of my favorite mediums: Photography. More specifically how we use photography in our journaling. From March 5th through March 9th, Less Herger from Comfortable Shoes Studio, Traci Bunkers and I will be discussing our own personal views on the subject with a three part blog hop (or circle as we like to call it).

March 5th: Cameras, cameras, cameras – Will be discussing the types of cameras we enjoy using and why.

March 7th: Process, Create, Alter - Our discussion will continue with the different ways we choose to alter our photos. What type of programs allow us to alter our photos to fit our vision.

March 9th: A picture is worth a story and then some – In this last segment we'll touch upon the various ways we've incorporated our pictures in our journals.

So, I hope you will join in our discussion and show us your ways of using photography creatively in your journals.

I have three cameras that I use. They all have their pros and cons and work well in different situations. I will only touch upon the types of cameras I use but when it comes to cameras there are so many choices that it is hard not to find one that will work for you.


My big investment was a Canon Digital Rebel XSI.  This was a huge jump from my point and shoot because now I had complete control over my camera. This requires forethought on my part. To think through what it is I am going to take a picture of. When this camera comes out, it's about creating a moment instead of capturing one.  I see photography as a artistic medium.  Creating a moment (as I did above) means orchestrating the scene in a picture to convey the emotion and story in your head. I have a number of lens with this camera.  I have a zoom lens, a fixed focal length lens (50 mm) and a lens baby which is a tilt shift lens.

Point and Shoot: 

 My first digital point and shoot camera was a Kodak 2mp easy share camera. It was only capable of printing out 4x6 pictures but from the moment it came into my hands I fell in love with it. This camera was artistic freedom. I no longer had to wait to see my pictures or worry about wasting film if I didn't get the shot right. It was instant gratification at its finest. Nowadays the type of camera you can get for less than 130 dollars is impressive. They are thin, sleek and compact and even take video as well!  I currently use a Canon powershot 12mp point and shoot.  I use this camera as a backup to my cellphone camera and since it records 1080 hd video, I film videos with it as well.


 I have an android smart phone and to say that this little device changed the way I take photos is an understatement. As smart phones become more sophisticated their cameras become better. My phone currently boasts an 8mp rear facing camera which is pretty amazing considering that it is, in fact, a phone. I can see why they say that the point and shoot cameras have taken a hit in terms of sales. Why have a point n shoot when you can have pictures of comparable quality come out of a phone? It is one less thing to carry around.

The best things about smartphones when it comes to photography are the many applications (apps for short) that are available for free or a small fee. From vintage to faux lomo photography, you can find an app that can alter and change your photos in a way you'll find pleasing.  This currently my favorite camera because of ease of use and availability.  It is always with me and so I rarely miss an opportunity to take a photograph.

But this is only my way of using my cameras.  Hop on over to Less Herger's and  Traci Bunker's blog to see how other artists use their cameras.

Next:  What types of programs we use to alter our photographs.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The art of Inspiration

A question was made on twitter by @RitaHCobbs about what inspires us and I replied that in order to do the question justice it would have to become a blog post because 140 characters would not cut it. So here I am, making a blog post about it.

The problem is that now I've lost the essence of what I wanted to say. Typical really. My mind goes a thousand miles a minute. Where the words flow with eloquence and poise now they move like sludge making its way to the underground never to be seen again. SIGHS

So, dear reader, I am going to begin again. Take a few deep breaths and center myself as I remember last night when I was reminded of this very question.

Moments inspire me. They link together to form a chain of memories that become a connection to my inner voice - the unique viewpoint of my creative self. They are not marked by momentous occasions or events, although they can be. Most often than not, they are the small but precious moments of human life where everything balances in such harmonious perfection. A moment in which you are taken out of yourself to experience the now in a manner that seems hyper focused and surreal. The moment can be short live, perhaps a few seconds that stay with you for the rest of your day or a number of hours that you wish would go on forever. In any case, I find it is these small moments of pleasure that inspire in me the desire to recreate the moment for me and the feelings it sparked within me. Last night as I arrived at my home it had begun to snow. The air was fairly warm making it comfortable to stay outside and watch the small flakes fall, biting against my cheek. All I could think was the perfection of that moment – to be able to experience something so lovely that it immediately became more than visual in my head. Dark midnight blue skies, the white snowflakes as they wink in and out with the soft golden glow of the street lamps. The snow falling against me was a spark of glittering ice as it made contact with my skin. I can see this so vividly that I moved to create it on canvas or more expediently in my journal where I can capture that moment of wonderment over and over again until my ideas on the subject are spent.

So to answer the question; this is what inspires me: the human experience. You just have to be smart enough to stop and pay attention to it.

What inspired you?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mail art and Postcard exchange

Mail art is one of those things that I’ve always had an interest in but never had the opportunity to participate. Now I’m not saying that there wasn’t anything available to me - there are many lovely swaps and exchanges you can participate in -  the issue lies in my own reasons for wanting to receive and make mail art.  Something about mail art makes me think of the old and I feel lost art of pen pals. An exchange between people and with each exchange a small bond is formed until a friendship flourishes. So, I was waiting for that moment I knew it would be a great time to get involved. That moment came when Tammy from daisy yellow invited Leslie from comfortable shoes studios and I to a postcard exchanged. The moment she asked I knew I wanted to do it. I not only love both of their websites and personal artwork but more importantly they have similar ways of thinking when it comes to art and where we should focus our energy when it comes to the choppy waters of this online world.  The parameters of the exchange were simple.  We were to do postcards with perhaps a pattern or three color theme and send them out by January 31st.  

I’m going  to talk about the two that were sent to me and then I’ll discuss a little about the ones I sent to them with links to their blogs so you can see it.

The first postcard I received was from Tammy.  She sent her postcard in an altered envelope. Inside was a beautiful card of various found and made papers that were stitched together and then circled with a gossamer bow. Also included were a lot of cool papers that were made by her and one of her signature mandalas on a paint chip card.

I received Less’ postcard a few days later.  Now Less has already gifted me more than one piece of art.  She is amazingly generous and unbelievably supportive and so I knew whatever she was going to send me I was going to love.  Leslie sent me one of her fantastic automatic drawings on watercolor paper.  I love this as it personifies who Less is right now at this moment. It’s like having a photograph of a moment in time. 

To both ladies I thank you. Let’s do that again!

Now as to my own postcards you’ll have to visit Less’ site ( and Tammy’s site ( to see them but  I at least can talk about them a little bit.

I don’t really plan what I’m going to do ahead of time but there are certain themes that pop up in my art consistently and it was no different here.  I didn’t make the connection until I finished Leslie’s postcard. Both postcards have a watery deep theme to them.  Where as Tammy's card boasts a mermaid like portrait, Less' card has a pirate theme.  I wanted the cards to look like they could have been found in a trunk of some large ghostly ship at the bottom of the ocean floor.  Did I accomplish that?  You tell me.

In the end it was a lot of fun and I am sure to do it again. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Radiant Child

"I don't think about art when I'm working. I try to think about life." - Jean-Michel Basquiat

"EARLY MOSES" - 1983

I am convinced were he alive, Jean-Michel Basquiat would have been enamored with the sudden surge of people creating art in their journals. Truly ahead of his time Jean-Michel combined words, color and bold imagery that hinted at a deeper meaning. Something to scratch at until it bled. In the movie, "Basquiat" there is a scene where he approaches Andy Warhol in a restaurant and asks him if he would like to by some, "ignorant" art. When questioned, he responded, (link) "you know, like stupid, like ridiculous crummy art." This made me laugh as on the surface it seems self-effacing but if you think about it, how freeing is it to already say to yourself, "I'm going to create crummy, ridiculous, stupid and ugly art."  The pressure is off, there is no expectation to create some masterpiece just the void left where true expression can bubble forth.

While I find the movie a little pretentious it still has its moments but if you really want a wonderful view into the man they called, "The Radiant Child"  I highly recommend you watch the documentary that was released about two years ago by the same name.  I found myself charmed and fascinated by an artist that I never truly paid attention to before.

"Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump" - 1982
So open your journal page, better yet, get some canvas, paper, board or piece of wood and create a journal page you can hang up on your wall.  In the end, your expression - your view of the world and your place in it - should be seen and felt even if the only person who sees and feels it is you.

"What is it about art anyway that we give it so much importance? Artists are respected by the poor because what they do is an honest way to get out of the slum using one's sheer self as the medium. The money earned, proof, pure and simple, of the value of that individual, the artist. The picture a mother's son does in jail hangs on her wall as proof that beauty is possible even in the most wretched. And this is a much different idea than fancier notion that art is a scam and a ripoff. But you can never explain to someone who uses God's gift to enslave, that you have used God's gift to be free." - Basquiat Movie

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New year, new endevours

Mobile Art Box

I’ve been quiet for the last few weeks. Lots to do with the coming new year: Children off from school, my own job becoming hectic as well as some personal issues that resulted in getting myself hooked up to a heart monitor. (I’m fine, if you’re wondering). Anyway, lots of reasons why it was best to put the blog on an impromptu hiatus but I’m back and ready to kick off the New Year with some pretty cool things to share.  Two of these things I can’t currently share as I have to wait for the people involved to give me the okay but let it be said now that it is full of art and positive vibes and I’m excited to be part of it.

One of the things that I can speak on that I will be doing this year is hosting something on my blog as well as that will involve creating an art/visual journal out of a composition notebook. This of course is not a new concept but it’s been a long 7 month process of answering the question: Do I really need all this “stuff” to create something that holds meaning and is aesthetically pleasing to my eye? 

This is something I hold close to my heart.  When I asked the question, I was actually answering it for my daughter, who is a very creative soul. How can I look at a 10 year old and say, “Well, you’re going to need some gesso and some golden acrylics and if you’re going to get watercolors best to get the Winsor and Newton ones.  You can ask your parents to buy them for you, right?”  Obviously that’s not exactly encouraging or motivating. The same can be said for adults who perhaps are not brave enough or financially secure enough to justify buying expensive artist grade supplies. It’s a scary world out there, when certain industries have picked up on the fact that there is a market for those who enjoy journaling visually and have decided to make bank on it! What is a person to do?   I’ll tell you what you do – Ignore them all and do your own thing!  And that, my friends, is what I hope to encourage others to do.   So, stay tuned it’s going to get interesting up in here.