Category Archives: Stories

Art Journal, Sheer Heaven Transfer, Inktense, and Toilet Paper!

canvastransfersIn all of my art journal workshops and retreats, I stress the idea that you don’t have to finish any page before moving on and starting another one. Same with finishing one book before starting another. I currently have SIX volumes in action. I like it that way.

I find this permission valuable because you have to be able to be spontaneous to enjoy art journaling in the first place, and because I personally find unfinished pages to be the best creative kick-starters there are.

You may be feeling like working in your journal, but nothing interesting seems to be going on at the moment – or something VERY interesting is going on but you can’t think of how you could possibly portray it (see my amazing toilet paper caper below).

ANYWAY, if you sit down and page through one or two of your journals, you are bound to come up with some page that still needs color or some lettering added, or some inking and erasing to finish up.

Easy to start on because it’s already started and waiting for you.

I always find that once I start finishing up an older page, the ideas start coming, and who knows where I might go from there. Might not finish that page this time either. But that’s ok.

Unfinished pages – the key that unlocks journaling blocks.

This time, I found a spread I did over a year ago. It was about a couple of things, and I hadn’t finished lettering the title.

The illustrations were done on raw canvas with Inktense pencils and they were samples for my Inktense Soup-to-Nuts Workshop.

This started me thinking about Inktense because it was the third “reminder” in two days. Do you ever have that happen? Something reminds you of something you have not been thinking about – like Inktense Pencils for example. And then someone emails you a question about that same thing. And then you run into a YouTube video or magazine article about that same thing.

Makes you think that thing wants some attention.

I have a list I have been thinking about – The Five Most Incredible Art Supplies of the 21st Century. I intend to post this list and explain what I put on it.

AHA – Inktense Pencils need to be on it – for lots of reasons.

Then, I started thinking how everybody I know has Inktense pencils.

But not everyone is using them because they don’t know all the wonderful things they can do.

And that led to the thought that my Inktense Workshop was really popular and got a lot of people going.

To celebrate that and because I had to SOMETHING about Inktense popping up all the time lately), I put that workshop on sale for the month of June. Lowered the tuition by $20, so now’s the time if you have been wanting to take those pencils for a spin.

Inktense Workshop Sale

Now, look more closely at this journal spread . . .



I had discovered that Sheer Heaven transfers don’t work very well in my Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook. Pages have a cold press surface and the transfer is difficult. Can be done, but difficult. We don’t like difficult.

So I ordered the Zeta sketchbook because it has paper with a hot press surface – very smooth.

The transfers were amazing as you can see. I took photos close up with my iPad, printed them in reverse on Sheer Heaven and transferred them into the new Zeta book. Both the excellent detail of the iPad photo AND the quality of the transfer blew me away. . .


Isn’t that incredible? You can see every stitch and every pencil mark. You are looking at the transferred image – NOT the original!

So, Inktense was talking to me off that unfinished page, but so was something else – this tree. . .

canvastreeIt was saying “I look famiiar. Can you tell where I came from?”

When this happens, I have to go on a wild search until I find the answer. Like a hyped-up dog trying to find the bone she knows she buried somewhere around here.

One time I found that an enameled light switch cover had inspired a whole series of paintings. You don’t know these things when they are happening, of course. You are only allowed to find out later – through obscure clues and mysterious whispers. Makes it all more interesting.

Where WAS this tree??

I finally found it hiding in my studio . . .


I picked this up at a flea market  2 or 3 years ago because it spoke to me at that time too. I loved the lines. I don’t know if it’s bronze, but it is certainly heavy enough.

And now it was speaking to me again – this time saying “I am the perfect display for those new wrap bracelets you are making!”

And the tree is right. It IS perfect.

Now, how about THAT winding path?!?

You see why I’m crazy and confused, right?

And now for . . .

The Amazing Toilet Paper Caper

We have a group of artist friends who meet at a local coffee shop/bakery on Friday afternoons to sketch and chat and show and tell (and eat delicious, fattening things).

And we try to come up with the most interesting thing that happened in our lives the past week.

Sometimes, my interesting things get those cross-eyed looks that DH is so fond of bestowing – like when I microwaved the ant. (By ACCIDENT!! You know I am not like that! Anyway, he walked away just fine, but probably won’t hide on my coffee cup again.)

So, about the toilet paper. I just don’t know if this kind of stuff happens to everybody, but this is my most interesting thing for next Friday.

It is VERY windy today. And breeze cools things off, so I opened a lot of windows, and went outside to trim my Butterfly Bush.

The other thing the wind does is carry pollen, so when I came in, I went into the guest bath to sneeze and de-pollinate.

Reached for a piece of toilet paper from the roll I had just put on this morning – and there was just a cardboard tube. Huh?

Yes, I have cats, so I looked on the floor. Not there. (Plus, if you remember, I told you my cats roll the toilet paper back UP after they unroll it – not neatly, mind you, but they roll it back up).

Besides, they were both sitting there looking as puzzled as I was.

The toilet is white, and the toilet paper is white, so at first, the three of us did not see the tail end of the roll hanging over the seat – or the rest of the roll lying neatly stacked and soaked in the toilet bowl.


The wind – yes, the WIND – had unfurled a WHOLE roll of toilet paper into the toilet bowl.

“We shouldn’t flush this, right?” I asked the cats.

“No,” said I.

“Meow.” said Angel.

“Quack!”, said Bunnie. That’s what Bunnie always says instead of Meow. She thinks it makes her more interesting, She’s a Cat who looks like a Rabbit and sounds like a Duck. It does make her more interesting.

An ingenious solution was needed for this toilet paper thing, and I did come up with one which involved some plastic bags and a garden claw, and I would share except that this kind of thing will never happen to you.


The Dogs Ate My Homework . . .

This is a mugshot of culprit #1 . . .

chevy2He is a hundred pound Husky-Malamute, usually wearing black and white and a big smile. That is NOT a halo over his head. He goes (not comes) by the name, Chevy.

His accomplice, the famous Teddy of flower-sniffing fame, is a full breed Husky with big blue eyes . . . he’s the very picture of innocence, but don’t be fooled.

teddyblueeyesThe crime . . .

It’s Monday night, 10:30, and I am tired but still going to sit down to do a short post.

All of a sudden, I hear a big “Oh No!” from Mark who has gone out to get the kids from their final potty party in the “Serengeti”, our gigantic 3000 square foot dog run (yes, they do have more square footage than we have in the house).

The only dog he had found out there was this one . . .

skycloseupA Husky tart who goes by the name of Sky, but is also known as Twisted Sister . . .

twistedsisterAt least Sky does not run away.

The other two were long gone – leaving just a little hole they had dug under the coyote fence as a clue.

Huskies are well known for being escape artists and for having a wanderlust.

This has happened before, and Mark and I knew what we were in for . . . hours of driving the streets of our neighborhood without finding the wandering duo.

There are large green belts throughout the community, all the lots are at least an acre and a half, and it is a dark sky community – no street lights and the houses have minimal or no outside lighting.

In the past, people have seen them, coaxed them into their cars, and called us (yes, our dogs are tagged!)

But this was late on Memorial Day and NOBODY was out. Every time Mark or I saw another car, it was us.

I didn’t really expect to spot the culprits, but I wanted to make sure they were not on the busier paved roads where they could get hit by a car, if there were any cars.

By one o’clock. we decided I should stay home in case they found their own way home, and Mark would keep driving.

I was so worried.

By 2 o’clock, I started worrying about Mark too.

But just as he was giving up and making his way home, he got a call. Thank heavens there was one young man who stayed out late, and he had the dogs in his car.

Chevy is a heavy panter and heavy panting was the first thing Mark heard when he answered the phone, followed by “I think I have your dogs”. Oh happy heart!

And when man and two dogs came in the front door at 2:15, I could not have been happier. . . or madder!

But you can’t scold or they won’t come back next time. so dirty looks have to get the message across.

Needless to say, I was way past being able to do a blog post.

I know the dog thing is a lame excuse, but I’m going for it anyway (grin).

I have no excuse for yesterday except a van full of flowers to plant – the first day of no rain since I got back from Durango.