August 30, 2012

just a bit goofy

not every page is some deep, dark exploration of my innermost thoughts! Okay, not many of them are that intense and introspective, actually... but sometimes, they're totally goofy, for fun, random sort of things-

cowgirl kitty image from a free collage sheet I found on
Flickr (I just love her attitude- lol!), collaged paper from
a Teesha Moore collage sheet, butterfly from wrapping paper, and
details made with gel pens and my Signo white en.

This was a funny magazine clipping my mom sent me recently; the
poor bunny had gotten stuck in a fence! I thought it was so cute,
I had to save it for posterity in my journal. Just the thing to put on
top of this crazy-colorful spray inked background.

August 26, 2012

random + unfinished

watercolors + gesso + magazine image
+ scrapbook paper circles + black stabilo
crayon in the corners... 
this page was actually made by loosely following a scrapbook layout that I have pinned on Pinterest as a template. It might be finished just the way it is; I'm not sure that it needs words, or anything else added to it.

watercolor paint + gray Copic marker
+ collaged papers, image, and quote
this one might be finished just like it is, too.

washi tape + scrapbook paper + spray inked
background + magazine image
I'm kinda liking this one just the way it is, too!

watercolor background (texture from plastic wrap)
+ collaged paper + gold and silver pens
This one is unfinished. (I know, because I have since finished it up by writing on it.) The colors on this page make me think of fall. We had our first inkling of fall here a couple days ago: our water pipes are only a foot or so below the ground, so during the summer, it's practically impossible to get cold water from the shower head, and no matter how cool you might want it, it's always warm right away. One day last week, it had actually cooled off enough overnight that we had to run the water for a bit to get it warm! Granted, it's still at least 2 months away from actually cooling off as far as high temps go, but hey, it's a start!

August 23, 2012

too much of a good thing makes for a good news story, apparently

so, we've been having a decent monsoon season so far this summer. We've had a number of storms miss us altogether, some small, quick moving storms, and a couple storms that last for hours and result in more than an inch of rain accumulation. And, since the ground is so dry here, the rain doesn't always soak in, especially if it comes down exceptionally fast.
Because of all this moisture, we've actually got some humidity (ick), lots of mosquitoes (double ick), and some other things going on, as you'll see below:

lush green grass (which = mosquitoes), and some
mysterious white objects... ??

they were mushrooms! not something I would
ever expect to see in the desert, that's for sure.

I removed them from the grass-- I have no idea
what kind they are, and I didn't want the dogs
getting into them. They are cool looking, though.

All the rainwater drains through the west side-yard, which means this
cactus has been in hog heaven. Too much of a good thing (all the water)
has resulted in an explosion of growth-- this arm couldn't hold up its
own weight any more, and slowly sagged down to the ground
over the course of a few days. (so, I had to do some pruning.)

too much of a good thing (Tuesday evening's rainstorm)
led to flooding in a neighborhood on the northeast
side of town that actually threatened a few homes. 

Which led to Maricopa being the lead weather story on the local news, a news helicopter hovering over town shooting live footage, and space on the front page of today's Phoenix newspaper! Apparently seasonal flooding (and a state of emergency being declared by the mayor, just in case it got worse) meant that Maricopa even warranted a few seconds on CNN this morning, as well!
(while I do feel bad for the people who were worried about their houses being inundated with water, I really think it must've been a slow news day- lol!)

5x7 journal pages: "same and different"

Sort of like the 'one of these things is not like the other' segment on Sesame Street, I analyzed the pages I included below and picked out their similarities and differences. 

Same: overall color scheme, yellow + pink. I've been using a lot of these colors in this journal, prompted both by the colors of the Dylusions spray inks I used on the backgrounds, and also by the bright colors of the Arizona summer landscape. 
sparrow journal page
Same: overall page construction = colored background + collaged paper + images (from the internet or magazine) + details. Most of my pages have this overall 'page scheme' to them; it's just a matter of degrees- either more or less of any one (or more than one) of these elements. I rarely use a white background, and I very rarely make a page without collaging at least something onto the page.
Same: all these pages have some sort of Sakura pen on: gelly roll, fluorescent, or glaze... I can't seem to make any pages right now without using them somewhere! darn you, Kelly Kilmer, for getting me addicted- lol!! (by the way, that link goes to Kelly's post on her pen list- great info!!)

yellow rose and graffiti flower-
facing pages in my 5x7 journal
Same: nature themed focal images. My overall 'journaling style' has moved away from using images of people (although I will occasionally still use an image of a person) to using focal images from nature, either birds, butterflies, plants, or flowers. I know some journalers use the 'person' image to represent themselves, but I never felt like that worked for me. Since I've always felt connected to nature, using these images on my pages is more my style.
Different: to me, the bird page has a calmer feel to it. The flower pages feel more 'energetic' to me, both because of the number of colors on the pages, but also the amount and type of patterns I put onto them- the graffiti flower page has quite a bit of scribble-type details on, as well as a more graphic pattern of paper (the zebra-ish pattern was a rug advertisement out of a home decor magazine). In addition, on the bird page I only used one type of black pen for the journaling, whereas on the other pages, there's more than one color / type of pen used. This difference depends on how I'm feeling when I make the pages (good mood or bad), and/or how much time I want- or have-to devote to the small details.

close-up look at the pen details on
the graffiti image from right-hand page-
white Signo pen and gelly roll pens

Different: the bird page is a bit simpler, with less layers overall. It's basically just  stenciled with two colors of spray ink, narrow strips of collaged paper on the edges, small patterned paper shapes (the circles) and the focal image. On the other hand, the two flower pages started with a much 'busier' background that included more colors, and even some gesso and stamping. Even though there's not really any more collaged onto the backgrounds of these pages, they have more pen details (which I consider another 'layer' on the page) including on the yellow rose and on the patterned paper medallions, the 'scribbled' frame on the right-hand page, on the blue deco tape, and in the graffiti flower focal image. (Again, this can depend on my mood and the amount of time I have available. But it also depends on just how 'finished' I think the page looks; it's hard to explain.)

Same: I'm still having fun with this journal! Right now, I really like the size: 5x7 is large enough to allow a decent amount of room for images and writing, but not large enough to be intimidating. Also, the paper it's made of can stand up to a decent amount of different media being used on it- so far, the only medium I haven't used in it yet is acrylic. (I guess I need to change that, and pull out my acrylic paints!) 
I'm close to completing this particular journal, and I'm getting excited at the prospect of actually completely 'finishing' a journal in such a short amount of time (I only started this book in late June)... and that means I'll have to choose which one to work in next!

August 21, 2012

journal pages- finished and unfinished

detail of a page in the 9x12 journal...
bird and flowers accented with gel pens.

5x7 journal unfinished: watercolor background, vintage image
and Figure 16.2 from an engineering textbook.

5x7 journal, double-page spread, unfinished. Collage image
from Kelly Kilmer, various patterned papers

5x7 journal, finished: watercolor background, gel pens

August 19, 2012

random photos- color!!

just some random photos I don't think I ever posted on here before (click on any of the photos to view them larger):

AZ State Fair (Nov 2011)

AZ Balloon Festival Nov 2011, self portrait (that's me in the middle)

wall mural, Sofia's Mexican Food Gila Bend, AZ (April 2012)

the Copper Chopper, custom-built for the AZ Centennial.
At the AZ Balloon Festival (Nov. 2011)

crazy quilt square, AZ State Fail exhibit (Nov. 2011)

fyi, I did some color-processing on all the photos, except for the motorcycle and the crazy quilt square-- they were already quite colorful and didn't need any assistance!

August 17, 2012

random photos: castoffs, cooties, cactus, and clouds

photo randomness for a Friday afternoon!

the castoffs: goodies I picked up recently at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange (a local store where they take books, magazines, etc. in trade and sell the gently-used merchandise). This is scrapbooking paper I would NEVER use on an actual scrapbook page (photo-realistic brick wall? bright orange snakeskin? really?!?) but on a journal page, it's another story... and bonus, it was only 10 cents per sheet!

cooties: Bookmans also has a selection of rubber stamps- I like the spiral flower / doodle, and the cooties are just cute!! (no idea what I'll use it for, but it was so cute I couldn't pass it up... be on the lookout for cooties on my journal pages soon- lol!! plus, this way I got to write the word 'cooties' in my post title- lol again!!)

cactus news from the front yard- our golden barrel cactus is having babies! pups? not sure what you call them, exactly, but I was absolutely thrilled to see this-- apparently this kind of cactus will continue to grow as a large clump... eventually. (click here to see more photos of this type of cactus- some of them are quite impressive!)

 close-up of the babies... the larger one (on the right) is about the size of a golf ball, and there's a really teeny one just to its left that's probably only about the size of a pencil eraser. I'll keep an eye on them, for sure, and post some progress pictures (just don't look for much progress right away, lol!)

clouds! it's been partly cloudy for the past couple days (which is nice; that's rare for us!), and this morning, the clouds were hanging quite low along the Estrella Mountains as I drove to work.

August 15, 2012

scissors + paper + glue + pen(s)

just a few recent journal pages to show that you don't really need a boatload of 'art' supplies to do art journaling, depending on your artistic style and/or mood. Sometimes I really like making pages loaded with layers-- paint, stencils, stamps, collaged paper, tape, images, etc. etc. And then, sometimes I really like just the basics (well, my basics, anyway): paper, scissors, glue, and pen(s) or marker(s). 

Hello, Kitty!

This page is mainly strips of patterned scrapbook paper, a floral design cut from SB paper, and a cute Japanese kitty I got from somewhere (I think it was Japanese note-paper or something), all glued down with a glue stick. (In all honesty, there is also a bit of lime green ink edging the kitty, but that wasn't really necessary.) I may write on this page later, I may not- but I probably won't add much of anything else to it design-wise.


To be perfectly truthful, while the page above is 'only' paper, glue, and pens, there's a lot of different kinds (of both pens and paper). The papers range from origami to handmade imported, scrapbook paper, vintage book text, and hand-made marbled paper (on the right edge of the page). The pens used on this page are mostly Sakura gelly roll glaze pens, along with my trusty Signo white gel pen. My art supply collections have evolved and grown over time (helped along by the fact that I also scrapbook- and the fact that I'm a bit of a packrat, lol!). 
But, you don't need a huge collection of supplies to art journal; you can make journal pages with only plain paper and a ballpoint pen or a pencil if you want, or if that's all you have. (I have quite a few doodled pages in my journals that started out that very same way!)


Another page made with various papers, pens (only 2 to 3 pens were used here), and my trusty glue stick. I made the page frame with various papers, wrote the quote with a black pen, embellished a few of the paper designs with colored pens, and did a bit of doodling with the black pen. A couple more things I want to point out on this page: 1) I made a mistake on this page! I mis-wrote the word 'talk' in the quote, so I re-wrote it on a separate piece of paper and glued it right over the top. 2) my writing is not 'perfect' or 'artistic'  here: I can't write straight, and no matter how much I might try, I don't have a 'flowy, artistic' style of handwriting. 

Just a couple more lessons for me (and maybe you, if you're reading) to take to heart: it's your journal, and it doesn't have to be perfect. It has to reflect your moods and your (current) artistic style, and be full of supplies and techniques that you like. 

August 11, 2012

it wasn't exactly on time...

...the night blooming cereus, that is. It looks like this bloom opened very late at night / very early in the morning, so it was still fully open when I took the dogs outside on Thursday at 5 am. 

while I'm glad I got a chance to see the flower in its 'full glory' due to its late-night bloom, I think this means it opened too late to be pollinated (since these flowers are usually pollinated by moths). I really need to get a yardstick or measuring tape out here, to see how much this cactus has grown- it has to be at least a foot since last winter! (apparently cacti like hot, dry weather! and perhaps, the overspray from the sprinkler doesn't hurt it either- haha!)

August 10, 2012

art journaling- the real deal

This post: Kelly Kilmer: Keeping it Real is a great one, and very timely... since I've been thinking recently about the 'metamorphosis' of my art journaling. Kelly's post talks about putting your 'real' self into your art journal pages, and that not every page has to be fluffy, flowery, and only about happy things. She's posted some pretty 'heavy' journal pages lately, which is understandable- her father recently passed away, and they were very close... 

I wholeheartedly agree with Kelly's point of view: if journaling is about putting yourself onto the page through words and/or art, then you can't ignore the bad stuff. It's part of life, so (I think) it should go into my journal. In my case, it doesn't always go onto the page as words (or at least not readable words)... 

I also do NOT think art journal pages have to be 'pretty' or artistic' when they're finished; that's way too much pressure for me to put on myself! I know some people use their art journals as a place to practice techniques and try out new things (like color combinations) but I don't do that. My journal isn't practice for other artwork, it is the finished product. So, not every page is going to be 'artistic' or 'pretty' when it's done. It took me a long time to be okay with that, but now, it's a place to do what I want-- if that's pretty in the end, so much the better, but that's not my goal. 

Here's a couple of my recent journal pages as an example:

This page was done after a bad day at work-- I needed to get my bad mood out of my head, so I used Sharpie paint pens to do layered writing, so the actual words aren't readable, but the overall 'mood' comes through. It may end up as a background, or it may stay like it is. It's not pretty- not at all- but it shows how I felt, and I felt better after getting it out onto the page.

This page isn't about a bad mood, or being sad, but it does show that I don't always go for the 'artistic, pretty' page. I made this page after going shopping last Saturday and got some cool new stuff, so I wanted to document that on a page. I used scraps of all the papers I bought, and four different pieces of deco tape-- I know the things on this page don't 'match' each other, but that wasn't the point of it.

This page isn't pretty at all! I made it not long after I found out I had an ovarian tumor, and this page was all about getting the fear and negative feelings out onto the page. This page doesn't even have any words, but it doesn't need any-- when I look at it, I remember how I felt. 

Here's an earlier journal page, from 2008. It's another one that's not pretty (in fact, the colors I used are actually kinda ugly), but looking at the topic, I'm pretty sure I wasn't feeling much like using pastel colors and flowers at the time... 

all this is to say, journals are a personal space to do what you want, however you want to do it. Sometimes I do like 'pretty' and 'flowery' but not always-- and that's okay, because the only person I have to please in my journal is me! 

and if you journal, the only person you have to please is you-- so go write some bad words in your journal if you want to, paint with some icky colors if they suit your mood, or scribble over something if you feel like it!  (...seriously, scribbling is such a good way to get out your feelings, and it's fun to do-- lol!!)

August 09, 2012

90 degrees Fahrenheit...

is a decent high temperature; it is NOT good as a night-time low!! Yesterday the recorded high temperature in Phoenix was 116F (we broke the record at 113F or 114F)... with just a chance of rain in the forecast. Thank goodness the A/C is working!

just a couple journal pages from my vintage gardening book that I don't think I've ever posted:

acrylic paint, stencils, and some collaged paper with a bit of ribbon... I love the vintage image of the little boy on the swing!

Collaged paper including magazine image (frog), vintage music paper, and assorted scrapbooking papers.

August 04, 2012

my journals

last week when I took one of my current journals to work, I happened to mention that it was one of my 'latest' journals. One of my co-workers asked, "you have more of these?" Well, yeah- just a few, LOL!! So, the other day when I got out the spray ink and stencils, I decided to take all my journals off the bookshelf and take some pictures.

my journals, getting some fresh air on the patio!
aren't they yummy?? they usually hang out on a bookshelf in my craft room, so it was really nice to get them out and flip thru them... like visiting with some old friends! 

This photo is the journals that are completed- or pretty much completed, anyway-- I arbitrarily decided I was done working in a couple of them so I could move on to a different book... I've felt 'guilty' about doing that in the past, but I finally decided there's really nothing wrong with doing that; they're my journals, after all. Then again, I picked up the my 9x12 spiral journal again after not using it for a year or so, so there's nothing saying I couldn't do the same thing with the other ones. 

And now, for a bit of a confession: the photo above shows journals that I've made in classes but never actually 'used' as a journal. Oh, I may have decorated a page here or there during the class, or even actually wrote an entry or two, but these journals are NOT filled with artwork and/or words. (yet.) I don't know exactly why this is; maybe because I'm usually using a different journal (that I want to finish before using the new journal) when I take the class?? I think the answer is some of that, mixed with a bit of 'it's-so-nice-I-need-to-do-something-really-special-in-it' syndrome. Since I have the paint, ink, and stencils out right now, I've started working in a few of them so once I finish working in the 9x12 and 5x7 journals, I'll actually choose one of these for my next one.  I'll show you some pictures of that soon! (once the paint dries, that is!) :D

August 02, 2012

somewhat random photos of weather and artsy stuff...

just a few random photos from the last week or so--

last Sunday afternoon, it rained in Maricopa; and when I say rained, I mean, it really rained! As with most monsoon storms, the rain just can't soak into the ground, so it runs off. So, the neighborhood streets turn into small rapids... some of the intersections were quite- interesting- to drive through, what with a 4 or 5 inches of rushing water going through them. 

I'm not gonna complain about that, though; it could be worse- a couple days ago, the north part of Phoenix got 5 inches of rain in under 2 hours, which caused a lot of damage to quite a few houses. According to the newspaper article I read, one house had over 3 feet of water inside and the fire department had to make holes in the walls to give the water some way to get outside. (!!!!)

The rain is really nice for the plants; the ocotillo in our front yard is liking it a lot, and has greened up nicely! (notice the well around it to collect the water?? smart, huh? thanks, landscapers!)

our patio table, yesterday afternoon... having another spray ink, stenciling, and painting session. Partly because Tom's out of town so I can leave the mess out all week if I want to (lol! he's not a neat-freak or anything,but when I'm home by myself, I am definitely not neat at all), and partly because a co-worker who saw my journal last week said, "I'd love to have some backgrounds like that in my sketchbook." So, I said I'd be happy to do some for him! (I may have another art-journaling convert, soon- I'll let you know!)

this one is totally random, but I think this photo is hilarious! This is my sister Judy's dog Yogi engrossed in a television program about a family who lives in Alaska. Judy said Yogi also quite liked a nature program about lions that was recently on, too. (Our dogs never do this; the most they ever do is start barking and run for the front door when a doorbell rings on television.)