Tag Archives: sketchbooks

Frogs, Cats n Grats!

Gratitude wells up

like fresh water in a green pool.

Heart, be a frog!

The Frog and Cat poems and photographs on the left page of my Gratitude Art Journal
The Frog and Cat poems and photographs on the left page of my Gratitude Art Journal

Cat curled around stone

announcing “POETRY! in case

we had forgotten.

A view of the Gratitude Art Journal double page layout.
A view of the Gratitude Art Journal double page layout.

 

Gratitude Journal page with my "Gratitude Jar" poem
Gratitude Art Journal page with my “Gratitude Jar” poem. The Tumbling Jars sketch on the right is a Prismacolor pencil drawing I did in 2011 that I suddenly remembered and retrieved from my Flickr account, where for once organizing my photos paid off!

Canning Grats

After canning peaches, I had one

clear jar left. I put my grandmother

in there along with the apples

she was peeling. I added a sharp

handful of mint from my husband’s garden,

a tube of Opera Pink Paint

and the shadow of a summer

fern on a slate rock face.

The sound of a train,

dawn light over the Three Sisters.

I found five memories that would fit

and slipped

a whole head of garlic down the side

along with a feathery branch

of dill and something

like a song. Pressure

cooked by time,

labelled, shelved, ready

to be given away.


NOTE: In a previous post, Creating a Gratitude Art Journal, I posted a short video explaining that I am taking a Meditations on Gratitude Photography class online with Laura Valenti. She asked us to find a repository for our “grats,” or items for which we feel gratitude on a daily basis, and I began with the Gratitude Art Journal, although I’m not sure how I’ll go forward. She suggested a Gratitude Jar, which gave me the idea for the poem “Canning Grats.”

Example of a Gratitude Jar. Image: Cathy Colangelo, Clarity Coach
Example of a Gratitude Jar. Image: Cathy Colangelo, Clarity Coach

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

  • I use a large Moleskine watercolor journal.
  • The pages were first prepared with white gesso
  • then a watercolor wash background laid down
  • then a sheet of yellow tissue paper to cover most of it to add texture.
  • Across the top I carefully stamped “Meditations on Gratitude; Poems N Pixs N Such.”
  • I drafted the poems in my regular journal then wrote them directly on the prepared surface.
  • I printed out my photographs, and they came out looking a bit sketchy, but I thought that added to the “folk art” quality of an art journal.
  • I used Mod Podge (sealer, glue, and finish) to glue the images down,
  • and then I covered the entire page with Mod Podge. BIG MISTAKE! And I knew better! I should have used a spray fixative first but forgot and the ink on the stamping and photos ran. I replaced the photos and started over, but the stamping was a write off. So…
  • I re-did the photos
  • Added strips of tissue paperand sprayed it with Windsor Newton Professional Satin Varnish
  • THEN Mod Podged the whole…letting it dry between stages
  • Sprayed it a few more times and called it good…

 

I was reminded of the value and fun of a List Poem by Natalie Goldberg in her book The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language.


Where do YOU collect gratitudes?

Tell us in the comment box directly below!

Lake and Mountain

This is an overview of my current art journal page. It's a landscape-oriented big watercolor Moleskine book.
This is an overview of my current art journal page. It’s a landscape-oriented big watercolor Moleskine book.
This is the right hand page of Lake and Mountains
This is the right hand page of Lake and Mountains
This is the left hand side of Lake and Mountains.
This is the left hand side of Lake and Mountains.

Lake and Mountains

I just finished reading the 1980 Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe by Laurie Lisle, which I highly recommend for anyone just wanting to wrap their head around the life and legend of this phenomenal artist.

I just returned from a pilgrimage to her two houses in New Mexico, one at Ghost Ranch where we stayed a few days to explore and photograph “O’Keeffe Country.” Then we visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. It was there that I bought the book as well as many prints, cards, and additional art books focusing on this artist.

My trip was so visually rich that I have been floundering, trying to figure out how to integrate all the visual and intellectual information I’ve taken in. One thing I did was buy a big landscape view watercolor Moleskine sketchbook and began art journaling.

I title all my journals, and this one is called “Working Into My Own,” with an O’Keeffe quote that is meaningful to me at this stage of my life:

“I was alone and singularly free, working into my own–no one to satisfy but myself.” —Georgia O’Keeffe Some Memories of Drawings

Now that I’ve finished the biography, I am looking deeply at her paintings. For this art journal page, I was studying the composition of her “Lake and Mountains” because I was fascinated by the egg shape. It took me a long time to figure out it was supposed to be a lake:

O'Keeffe Lake and Mountains
By trying to copy O’Keeffe’s composition and color scheme in “Lake and Mountains,” I was trying to learn from her about soft rounded shapes pushed up against sharper, jagged shapes.

 

O’Keeffe is the Queen of Simplicity, of smooth, pared-down abstractions and a flawless surface application of paint, all of which I admire but do not personally aspire to.

I added mysterious dark shapes into my landscape using torn tissue paper. I love the spontaneous, unexpected effects of torn paper and the full range of playful collage tools and techniques that typify the art journal aesthetic.

Have you been doing any art lately? Discovered ay new artists or fun techniques?

Successful Seattle Art Event

On March 5, 2016, Daniel Smith Artist Supplies in Seattle, WA, sponsored a Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal workshop by Cheryl Renee Long and Sandy Brown Jensen. This video captures that event and the spontaneous art produced by the 13 participants. The pool is still open–jump on in! The registration button is on the home page of this blog post.

Finding the Doorway to Mythtime

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“The Doorway Between This World and the Other World” Prismacolor on black art paper by Sandy Brown Jensen

Finding the Way In

Your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal is not like any other art you’ve done or seen before. Because the soul is always dreaming, awake or asleep, the stream of images is always available to you. Just as the stars are still out in the daytime, Dreamtime is always with you. However, the bright sun of your awake mind dims them to view. You need a reliable entry point, a way in,

In all shamanic traditions, there is a gateway to the spirit world. It could be a crack in a cave wall or a burrow under an old growth tree. Maybe it’s at the bottom of a lake or a back door to your own home you never noticed before. Whatever it is, you can draw it and come back to that drawing over and over as your own unique doorway to your imagination.

Prepare a quiet space to work in your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal. Make sure you will be undisturbed. Leave your technology in the other room, turned off, so you won’t be distracted. That includes cats, dogs, and kids!

Spread your tools out before you: black paper, gel pens, colored pencils. Light a candle if you want. Now, breathe and center yourself.

Let the image of a doorway, gate, or other portal form in your mind. No judgment or editing! Let it be what it is going to be. Stay with it a while. Do you need a password or special key to get in?

Now, wait for it to open. Be patient, and when it does, go through.

“Finally, your patience is rewarded: the ancient stone door creaks open, the drawbridge is lowered, the boulder magically rolls away from the mouth of the cave. However you visualize your portal to the mythic realm, see it as inviting you to adventure.”

–Jill Jepson Writing as a Sacred Path

Now, quietly pick up your pen and begin to draw. Become as immersed in your drawing as you did when you were a kid.

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“The Blue Door” Prismacolor on black art paper by Cheryl Renee Long

This is important work, this building a portal to the world of waking dream.

Report back here with a comment: what was your experience? Describe your portal to your imagination.

How to Do a Scribble Drawing

Getting started with your Mysterious Night Vision Journal couldn’t be easier. This short video will get you up and running in no time.

Here is the drawing I did for the video in sequence:

First: SCRIBBLE!

image

Second: Let spontaneous play ensue!

Use whichever colors appeal to you. Bring out faces or landscapes or whatever you “see” as you scribble.

image

Keep on going!

image

Give it a title! Sign and date it.

 

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Last but not least: Do a little write about your image. Who or what emerged? What might that mean to you?

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Hooray! You’ve begun your beautiful Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal!

How  did that go for you? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

 

Jitterbug Dancer

"Jitterbug Dancer" Gel pen on black sketch book paper by Cheryl Renee Long
“Jitterbug Dancer” Gel pen on black sketch book paper by Cheryl Renee Long

 

JITTERBUG DANCER

By Cheryl Renee Long

Before I could talk, even before I could walk, my young mother would scoop me up and dance with me in her arms. By 3 years old, I was her tiny dance partner. I knew all the big band sounds, the crooners and the words to the popular songs of the 1930s and 1940’s. I didn’t learn to dance – it was full immersion from birth.

The Jitterbug Dancer sketch came from a Mysterious Night Vision gel pen scribble. I did it with my eyes closed. The fun and the creativity came when I “saw” something in the scribble. I used Gelly Roll gel pens and Prismacolor colored pencils.

image

Our mom is now about to turn 90. She still loves Glen Miller and she still dances in place. She is my Jitterbug Dancer.

How to Get Started With Your Mysterious Night Vision Journal

NOTE:  Cheryl Renee Long’s “Color Your World” Colored Pencil Sketching class begins Jan. 4, 2016 and is only $50. Click here to view the sales page and/or to enroll: https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/11010/about


NEW CLASS ANNOUNCED

In late February 2016, Cheryl Renee Long and the hard working behind-the-scenes crew at Toucan Create! will introduce a brand new online class on how to loosen up your creativity and really explore your artistic imagination drawing with gel pen or colored pencils on black paper. This is your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal!

GETTING READY FOR THE CLASS

Here are some tips about some supplies you might like to get you started.

MNVFJ_Title _Sandy_11_15

TALKING ABOUT PAPER

First things first! Check out the Toucan Artists Bookstore or your local art supply store and buy yourself a black sketchbook. Size is up to you, but personally I like something small that says “field journal” to me. The one I just started is by Artagain and is 9″ x 6″. It’s pretty spendy at $29.70. If I had my way, it would be about 5 1/2″ x 5 1/5″.

If you like working on a little larger format, the Pacon Basic Black Sketch Book, 8.5″x11″ is a good choice and only costs $4.99. I have been known to buy a sketchbook this large then take it down to my local copy center, cut the pages in halves or quarters and have the resulting custom-sized sketchbook spiral bound with my own cover on it.

Sandy_Return of the Night garden_11_17_15
After a break of a year or so, I (Sandy) came back to my Mysterious Night Vision Journal with this image called “Return to the Night Garden.” A “night garden” is another way to think about your imagination or soul. In this image, I am showcasing Sakura pens.

TALKING ABOUT GEL PENS AND COLORED PENCILS

When it comes to gel pens that glow in the darkness that is your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal, one pen rules them all: the one, the only, the fabulous Sakura of Gelly Roll fame. Their huge line of pens glitter, glow, and pouf. Here are a couple of charts to help you better evaluate which pens do what:

sakuraonblack
This chart by Rachel Johnson shows what you can expects from the various lines of Sakura pens on black paper.

Of the pens that look great on black paper, Moonlight at $6.99 for a pack of 10 is the best. I know Souffle looks good, but it is a weird, three-dimensional ink that takes a couple minutes to dry, and then if you flip another page down on top it, the poufiness crushes down into a peculiar mess. Proceed at your own risk!

sakuraonwhite
This chart, also by Rachel Johnson, shows the effects of the same pens on white paper.

On white paper, again, the Sakura 10-Piece Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Ink Pen Set rules.

However, gel pens are not the only choice for your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal; colored pencils work great, too. Cheryl Renn Long recommends Prismacolor:

Prismacolor

Prismacolor has bright, true, rich color that glows in the nighttime sky of your Journal. You can get 24 pencils for $14.35, and that is the deal of the century, in my humble opinion.

farm scene sketch
“Country Farm Yard” is a sketch by Toucan Create! art instructor Cheryl Renee Long that shows off the versatility of Prismacolor. She used a pen to touch in her first outlines, as you can see by looking closely, then she used Prismacolor pencils to lay down color on color in places and to blend in other places.
The Sky Inside_Sandy_11_18_15
A great way to get started with your Mysterious Night Vision Field Journal is to select a pen, close your eyes, and scribble. Then open your eyes and have finishing your scribble as a kind of coloring book page. What do the various shapes suggest to you? Which colors are calling your name? When you are done, give it the first title that pops into your head and write it down. Add the date and you’ve begun a great journey into “The Sky Inside”! (Image is from Sandy Brown Jensen’s MNVFJ.)