Category Archives: Art Journaling

A Garden Collage – Tubac

gardencollageThis page was done 2/3 from memory, and 1/3 from a reference photo (the Red Yucca).

On my last afternoon at the Tubac Country Inn, I sat on the veranda and quickly sketched a couple of little scenes along the adobe wall of the garden. I didn’t have time to finish and for some reason, I forgot to shoot reference photos to work from later.

This past Saturday, I sat down with that journal again to finish the page. It had been a week and already, my memory was forgetting a lot of detail. I almost made that Red Yucca upper right into a green leafed plant!

Some details are very different, but the feeling is there.

I call this style of journal page a “collage” even though there is nothing glued on it.

The elements of the collage in this case are the separate little paintings that are combined on the page, but not in their real spatial relationship to each other. Notice the blue sky appears again through the nicho below the tiled area – not so real.

But the elements work well in this new relationship because they have a harmony of color palette, theme, and style.

I did work from a reference photo for the flower detail . . .

redyuccaWhen working from a reference photo, it is not only ok to simplify things, it is desirable. I dropped the background for a simple green wash, and moved some buds completely to a new location.

I love Red Yucca and am hoping for the success of two new plants I put in last Fall.

I promised last time to show you some photos from the Tumacacori Mission site near Tubac, that you can sketch from.

When making a sketch from a photo, the most important thing is to simplify the photo right down to the basics. At that point, you can “see the forest for the trees” and draw the subject more easily.

I have simplified these photos for you, and I give you permission to draw and paint them to your heart’s content.

Pretend you are sitting on a camp stool or park bench at Tumacacori and one of these beautiful, Southwestern scenes is right in front of you. The sun is shining and the weather is balmy. Your journal is open in your lap, and your pencil is in your hand . . .

tucbell tucstair tucdoor tucnicho tucpotsGo for it . . . and have fun.

P.S. Because our Tubac Retreat was SOOOOOOO amazing, I am working on setting up two more – one in the third week of October this year, and one the third week of March in 2015.

Because it’s the most fun to stay at the Tubac Country Inn, and because there are only 4 rooms available there besides mine (3 of those can accommodate 2 people), these retreats fill really quickly. If you think you would be interested in either date, please email me ( and I will put your name on a “first notify” list. This last Tubac Retreat filled by rumor (word of mouth) and I never even had time to get a details page up!

Also, the Santa Fe Art Journaling Retreat in September is close to full, but there are still a few spaces left. Tubac is absolutely wonderful, but there is no place like Santa Fe!

Postcard from Tubac, Arizona

room2It went so slowly – and it went so quickly. And it was the best of times.

We have just wrapped up our Tubac Art Journaling Retreat and NOBODY wanted to leave.

It is Sunday morning in Room 2 here at the Tubac Country Inn and strangers inhabit the other rooms, something which feels, well . . . strange, after a whole week of “family” filling this place with art and laughter and just plain joy.

The retreat in Santa Fe last September was such a wonderful experience that you think such a thing can’t be as good again. But it can.

We all arrived last week-end and were so excited to see each other again. For those who arrived on Saturday, Sunday was a relaxing time to “come down” from our daily lives and enjoy the weather and the garden while we waited for the others to arrive.

Tubac is a small village jam-packed with great shopping and great restaurants, and it is amazing how much there is to do within about six square blocks. You can easily walk anywhere.

Our workshop ran from Monday through Friday, and we headquartered in the Gallery building at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park – a block from the Inn. The Gallery building is open and light, and full of fresh air – a perfect place to learn to “dance” with watercolors.

otero otero2We learned some tricks to draw even the most complicated lettering by copying the Presidio sign itself . . .

presidiosign1 presidiosign2My sample is not perfect but it’s pretty darn close.

The grounds of the State Park and museum are bursting with interesting little scenes to draw and paint like these . . .


gourdsAnd one of our first assignments was to capture a minimum of five little scenes on a single page.

Here’s my example . . .

presidioWe spent the first two days learning everything we could jam into our heads about using watercolor, and practicing by painting scenes from the Presidio grounds.

There was much more to be painted, but Wednesday, we went out into the village of Tubac with a “scavenger hunt” list of things to put in our journals. We met up on the covered porch of Vesta’s gallery to share the challenges and see what everyone had found.

On Thursday, we went on a field trip to the Tumacacori Mission, which is a National HIstoric Site, with a beautiful old church and several adobe ruins.


Again, the grounds are so rich in history and beautiful things to sketch and paint, that it is hard to know where to start . . .

lynn tumacacori1 carolkayAnd everywhere, there are wildflowers . . .

wildflowerI am out of time this morning because Vesta and I are going to an art show up in Tucson. Thank heavens my friends Vesta and April are here or I think I would be feeling pretty lonely!

I have more photos to share – and some may even move you to pick up a pencil or paintbrush. I’ll show you some of those next post.

The next retreat will be in Santa Fe in September, and I wonder if I dare hope that we can have this much fun and wonder yet again!

The Last Tomatoes . . .

One of the blogs I read regularly is the Susan Branch blog – not because I aspire to be as sweet as she is, or to become a domestic goddess, but because I love her watercolor illustration.

And, there is something about living in someone else’s shoes for just a few minutes, that is refreshing. I don’t wear shoes, of course, but you know what I mean.

This lady publishes books and calendars, designs products, and works her butt off – so I identify with that last part.

And she appreciates the small things in life – like cats and squirrels. I identify with that too.

The weather has been terrible on Martha’s Vineyard, and Susan said this:

“This is when the little things in life are really all there are . . .”


We got our first snow in months this week, and really have to celebrate it, even though it came with bitter cold, and wind. With Susan’s thought echoing in my head, I spent some time in my garden room appreciating the small things – like I still had three tomatoes on the vine and it was February 5! Yes, we ate them and they tasted like Summer.

We didn’t eat these, but I was thrilled to have bright red Impatiens to gaze at in February . . .

redimpatiensfebAnd this little bird is still nestled in purple Bacopa blossoms . . .

claybirdAll while it looks like this outside . . .

winteragainSo, I appreciated the heck out of all of this, and then left for Tucson where it is much warmer.

Also, where I am exploring the Gem & Mineral Show.

Then, to Tubac for their Festival of arts, and to strategize my Art Journaling Retreat which will happen there at the end of March.

Sorry I never made that one public, but it sold out to former students before I had a chance, and became a “graduates” retreat. It will be a great creative “reunion”.

And, speaking of workshops, by popular request, I am leaving the reduced price on the Sketch Journal Workshops until Sketch Journal 2 begins on February 15.

These workshops are the BEST and easiest way to learn to draw and use watercolor in your art journal, and that’s the truth.

To clarify because I have had so many former students ask, these Sketch Journal Workshops are brand new. You may have heard some of the principles before, but this is ALL NEW content. Even if you have taken ALL my other workshops (and many people have!), you have not had any of this.

Sketch Journal Workshops 1 & 2

I’ll let you know the best things that happen here in Arizona!


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Creative Process, Part 2

leafdrawingWhenever I create, I watch myself carefully to note the steps I take.

This practice comes from being a life-long teacher. How can you explain how to do something if you aren’t keeping track of the steps?

I am always trying to improve my teaching by making it more and more simple and easy to understand, so I have come up with several methods of art instruction over the years, and my newest is most closely aligned with how creative process actually works.

I was sketching and painting Wildflowers last Summer – meandering from one thing to another along the creative path of that, when it struck me that this very thing I was doing, was the best way for someone to learn to draw and paint.

I learned long ago, in the process of teaching PhotoShop, that it is a more effective thing to learn what is necessary to the task at hand, and put it to use immediately – than to learn “all about” each part of a process and then try to store that knowledge for when you actually need it in the future.

That last sentence was very wordy, but I think you know what I mean.

So, while sketching my Wildflowers, I was thinking how much fun it would be to teach drawing like that – just meandering from one thing to another, and asking the students to just follow along – step-by-step.

In the process of drawing and painting one thing, you may learn a little bit about perspective, a little bit about shading, a little bit about watercolor and color usage – but not EVERYTHING about all those things.

Just enough to get that flower done nicely.

Of this was my Sketch Journal One Workshop born. It  was a great success, and is now a self-paced WHENEVER workshop.

On February 15, I will launch Sketch Journal Two to continue the journey.

It will pick up from where we left off and continue with 15 more lessons over a 30 day period.

My biggest challenge has been to explain to you how fun and effective these workshops are – without actually showing you.

Seeing is believing after all.

So, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, I am sharing an actual, complete lesson from the Sketch Journal One workshop – FREE for everyone.

I chose a lesson which demonstrates how easy it is to draw an ordinary thing, and how many little pieces of art knowledge you pick up in the process. Of course, some of the knowledge was presented in the lessons preceding this one, but you will be able to follow along just fine.

AND to sweeten the pie even more, I have put the workshop on Special for the rest of January – $15 off the $65 tuition!

To make this  more fair to students who already took Sketch Journal One at full tuition, I am extending the same discount on Sketch Journal Two if you register during January.

That discount is in the Shopping Cart here:

AND anybody feeling that they will probably want to take both workshops, can purchase both during January for the reduced tuition.

Without further ado, here is Lesson 10 from Sketch Journal One. I hope you have a lot of fun with it:

If you want to learn to draw and paint – particularly for the sake of your art journal, this is the workshop for you. If you know how to draw and paint, but want new idea starters, tips, and incentive, this workshop is for you also.

Sketch Journal One, Drawing and Painting for the Art Journal and Sketchbook.



Night Lights and Printers and Minivans, Oh My!

nightlights1OK. Cue the Christmas Music . . .

“Night lights drying on a paper towel . . .
Jack Frost nipping at your nose . . .
Yuletide carols . . .”

Enough already. That was terrible, but I couldn’t help it. It got you humming, though, didn’t it?

So, there you have 16 night lights – fresh out of the kiln this morning, washed and ready to be glued to night light hardware like this . . .


Then Mark will attach the rest of the parts when the E6000 cures.

I am loving this way of making images, which is called kiln carving. Basically, you create the image using cut up pieces of fiber paper, which does not burn up, and the glass slumps over them when it fuses.

You can use punches or draw things and cut them out. That is what I did with my signature Jessica bird on some of them . . .

nightlightbirdThe little bubbles are a given with fused glass and are called champagne bubbles.

I have been firing every day to keep up with sales at the gallery. Customers in our village out here are more prone to buying art they can USE, so I have been making things like night lights and cheese plates . . .

cheeseplatesI took another workshop on Reactive Glass Special Effects which was really fascinating. The amber white and turquoiseI  plate shows some of that effect – reaction is what causes the dark outlines around the turquoise bits.

have SO MANY ideas for more artistic glass pieces but I shall wait until we are downtown again, where art lovers are happy to buy something just to look at it – without having to slice cheese on it (grin).

Tuesday, the 10th, Was A Very Fine Day . . .

We got back the money that was stolen through online credit card fraud a few months ago. It took a long time because the bank does not cover a business account with a provisional refund like they do a personal account. That’s a federal rule and I did not know about it before this happened. It took so long I sort of gave up ever seeing that money again, but it came back! Yay!

And I bought a new car (more about that in a moment).

In the process, I found out I have a really high credit score (How did THAT happen? Who knew?) so I could get a car loan for 1.9%. Actually, could have gotten 0.0% but the term was shorter and the payment was bigger and I guess I should make sure I can keep that good credit score.

That was like Santa Claus saying “You’ve been a very good girl this year, so you won’t get coal in your stocking”

And then, they called my insurance company to transfer my policy from a 2003 Caravan to a 2014 Caravan and I was cringing, waiting to hear how much my premium would go up . . . AND . . . they have built so many new safety features into these new vehicles that the rate stayed the same!?!

Geez – could it get any better?


Phone rings while I am waiting for the new car to be vacuumed because there was a piece of lint in it (if they only knew what my van usually looks like!).

It’s Mark at the gallery and he’s having a good day. This was the first day we had put any of my glass pieces in the gallery and he had sold SEVEN of them!!! Talk about some nice validation.

Days like that Tuesday are worth a lot of mileage.

And speaking of mileage . . .

My beautiful ice-green van had 153,000 miles on it.

When a cylinder went bad a couple weeks ago, I fixed her because I love her so much.

Some of you will remember when I first brought her home back in 2005 . . .

mistylattenewThe only thing I did not totally love was the tan interior (Really? With a jade green exterior?) Have the automobile designers run amuck?

mistylatteinteriorBut I got around it by giving her a beautiful name – “Misty Latté”.

She was used, but she had only 31,000 miles.

I used her a lot more for 8 years. We went a lot of places together and the miles piled up.

After I got her cylinder fixed, she ran great for two days.

Then another cylinder started misfiring. Drat!

With my lifestyle, I have to know that a car is not going to strand me on the side of some lonesome highway somewhere.

I had to think about buying a new car.

And THINK I did.

I drove my dear husband crazy. He was in the car business for 40 years, remember, but I can still drive him crazy.

I am not a soccer Mom. In fact, not a Mom of any kind, unless you count dogs and cats.

So, why have I been driving a minivan instead of some sexy SUV all these years?

Maybe it was time for a sexy SUV.

ME: Maybe I should get an SUV this time. I like the Lexus.

MARK: SUVs are much smaller.
The Huskies won’t fit.
You can’t afford a Lexus.

ME: Picky . . .picky.

MARK: A new Caravan will have those seats that fold into the floor and we won’t have to get a divorce because you make me take seats out one more time.

ME: I do like those disappearing seats.

MARK: We ARE moving the business in two weeks.


I still did go out and test drive some SUVs though (don’t tell). DH was right – the cargo space is on top of fold-down deats. The Huskies would be “floor” to ceiling and I wouldn’t be able to see through them to drive.

So, here is my brand new Dodge Grand Caravan . . .

bluenew1It’s rather boxy and the same color as the only nightmare-citrus-fruit vehicle I ever owned, but these headlights are sexy . . .

blueheadlightAnd the interior is beautiful black and light gray . . .

blueinterior1And it has Stow-n-Go seats (the back two are “stowed” in this shot) so I won’t have to get a divorce (for that reason anyway) . . .

bluestoragespaceLots of room for my Trader Joe’s freezer bags.

And the BEST thing of all . . . it has that “new car” smell.

What IS that “new car” smell anyway? Such a mysterious thing. It doesn’t really smell like anything else. And no matter what kind of new car you get, it smells the same.

It is a HAPPY smell. Like Sara Lee, nobody doesn’t like it. All my friends have come around sniffing.

I like the new car smell a LOT.

In fact, I like just about everything about this new car, BUT . . .

ME: “I just have one problem with this car. I think it’s a boy.”

MARK: (eyes crossed a little): “What?!”

ME: “I’ve always had girl cars before. I feel a little peculiar about this.”

MARK: “You should feel a little peculiar about that.”

So I showed the car to my friend, Betsy, without telling her my suspicions.

“I love this new car,” she said, “HE is going to be very happy with you for a long time.”

AHA!  It IS a boy. Women just know these things.

Now I have to be careful picking a name. Can’t be anything too foo-foo if this is a boy car.

Do you have any suggestions?

Printing from Your iPad . . .

Thanks for your great response to my latest Workbook – and for your emails saying it is the best toy you’ll get for Christmas. It is.Unless you are getting an iPad for Christmas, that is. That’s the best toy ever!

To answer a question asked in Comments last time, the Workbook is a PDF. Therefore, if you put the download link you get on check-out into the Safari address window on your iPad, the PDF will open there with a button to tap to “Open in iBooks”. If you tap that, the Workbook will be in your iBooks library.

Your download link is good for 30 days, so you can also download it to your PC to have a copy there too. Just go to the Download link again and enter your Order Code again (NOT your Order number. The Order Code is a long number with hyphens – easier to copy/paste it, in fact.)

And now, for some more great news . . .

If someone can still spend $59 on you for a holiday gift, I’ve got just the thing.

epson310XPEpson Expression Home XP-310 Small-in-One™ All-in-One Printer

Have to credit my sister-friend, Vesta, for this one. It is the PERFECT printer (since my Kodaks are a goner).

Sells at Walmart for $59.

Sells on Amazon with Prime Shipping at this Link

Total ink refill cost on Amazon $37.00 (Same at Walmart.)

Wireless and great app for iPad and iPhone with EASY print window.

Durabrite Waterproof and archival ink.

All in one that makes copies and scans.

Great pass-through paper feed which handles card stock better.

I bought one to make sure it was the right answer and I love it.

IMPORTANT TIP: Choose “Best” quality when printing. “Standard” is not good.

AND, this printer is not real fast, but that’s ok, because we are part of the “Slow Art” Movement. Right?

To be honest, I  just wrote that Workbook for me September Retreat and did not have time to actually do too much playing and printing with it myself for my journal.

But now that I have, I think this whole thing is an iPad life changer.

So many times, I skip a photo that really would enhance my journal page because I don’t feel like going through all the steps of Dropboxing it to the computer to edit and resize in Photoshop and print.

But now, I can just do all that right in the iPad where the photo or illustration resides and send it right through the air to the printer. TOO cool. And I know it will  fit exactly the space I want to put it because I planned all that on my iPad.

This printer is small and lightweight too.

With my new Workbook and this printer, you can have anything from your iPad (or iPhone) in your journal in no time at all

Here, again, is the link to the Workbook (it will be on the website shortly):

And get you a little Epson to go with it!

Maybe it will have that “new printer” smell.


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Can you have fun Resizing Photos?


As all of you know, I have been teaching computer graphics online for a LONG time. And I am pretty good at explaining stuff that seems complicated.

But there is one thing that remains unteachable for the most part, no matter how hard I try.

That thing is resizing photos. I have taught myself blue in the face and still, most folks just glaze right over when the subject comes up – or God forbid, the need arises.

I was reminded of this again the other day when a nice customer at the gallery offered to send me some pictures of a rusted raven he bought from us – now nicely ensconced in his garden. He said he would just send them all since he hadn’t really edited them yet.

OMG. I got almost a gigabyte worth of email with HUGE photos that took forever to download, and when they did, I had to scroll to see them – on my 24″ display!

Sound familiar?

So the irony is that we now have more photos than at any time in history, and yet we don’t use them or print them much because we can’t figure out resizing.

I also teach art journaling, as you know, and when we had the Santa Fe Retreat last September, I knew that people were going to want to take pictures of Santa Fe – AND they were going to want to put them in their journals. AND they all had iPads.

So I wrote a book about it – and gave it to them – and they loved it – and NOBODY had a problem about their photos being the right size to fit on their journal pages – regardless of what space they had to occupy. And nobody wasted any photo paper because we could print a bunch of photos of varied sizes on one page.

And nobody had to even think about pixels or resolution or anything else like that. They just arranged their photos to fit their pages layouts. And it was fun and intuitive and creative and artistic. All of that – really.

So, I updated the book and added some helpful templates – for cards and things as well as journal pages, and I have published it just in time for the busiest PHOTO season of the year.

And some of you might get iPads for Christmas if you haven’t got one already.

But for sure all of you are going to greatly increase the number of photos you don’t know what to do with during this holiday season, so you NEED this book.

You don’t need any background or to have taken the iPad Studio Workshop. This book stands alone.

If, however, you don’t know squat about photos and images on the iPad – like where they are kept and how to move them around and stuff like that, you might also want my iPad Studio Workbook 1 – which covers all that stuff. Therefore, I am offering a bundle of the two which will save you $5. It’s in the Shopping Cart.

SO, here is the link to this revolutionary Workbook. You will never have to worry about pixels again!

Printing Photos from Your iPad

What else is new . . .

Tis the season to be SO busy. I’ve been making art glass, buying a new car (had to), and planning the big gallery move.

I have things to share but it will have to be next time because the timer just ding-a-linged to tell me my famous baked potatoes are done and there are people around here who cannot wait!

Here’s that recipe in the Wisdom Woman Archives . . .


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Ho Ho Ho – Art Journaling We Will Go


A couple of months ago, on a whim, and because the Santa Fe Art Journaling Retreat was coming up, I did a post about my favorite artist-made art journaling bags – which I sell at my gallery.

I said I would place a custom order and you all blew me away with your enthusiastic response. I also blew the artist away by placing such a large order. But she recovered.

I then reordered for my gallery, but the Retreat students wiped that order out before it ever got to the gallery.

These are GREAT bags that weigh almost nothing.. See the full description in this post:

Now, I am getting requests for more bags because they make great gifts for artist friends.

I have just gotten a new shipment of two each of the bags you see above and one green fern bag is already sold.

I also have orders for some other color combos, so I will be placing one big order early next week for the holidays. Because poor Corrine has to actually make these by hand – even printing her own fabrics – this will be the only order I place for the holidays. Turnaround will be 2-3 weeks if I don’t have what you want in stock, but we will get them to you in time for gift giving.

This is also a fabulous iPad bag. Fits the iPad in a folio – with lots of extra room for stylus etc.

Here’s the Shopping Cart Link

Custom Made Art Journal Bag

Feeling Like An Idiot . . .

We all know how a new art form can grab us by the heart strings and pull until we say yes.

I have really tried to fight that lately – in the interest of concentrating on just my painting… and journaling… and photography… and jewelry making… and . . . you get the picture.

Anyway, a couple of weekends ago, when Lynn was here, Betsy and I took her to the Galisteo Studio tour. Galisteo is a lovely village, very scenic, and home to several of our most treasured artists around here. In fact, I am going to share some photos next time, but on with this story.

We walked down a long, tree shaded path along the river to the studio of Judy Tuwaletswia. Judy works in natural media and does amazingly beautiful works that may take her 5 years to complete. There are fibers and textures and there are stories.

When I saw these pieces on her wall, I loved them



The first piece looked like paper and the second like corrugated copper with a “strange” glow to it

Judy said it was glass.

“Glass on what?” I asked?

“Glass on nothing.” she replied.

PING went the heart strings!

I was in trouble.

This is fused powdered glass fired directly on a kiln shelf. I can’t even say how much this excited me! My mind just about exploded with possibilities.

But I know NOTHING about glass. I don’t even LIKE most fused glass that I see.

Judy gave me the name of our local Bulls Eye Glass Resource Center (there are only three in the country and we have one here!). When my DFFL, Valerie, was in town last weekend, we trotted over there. Valerie is a potter and owns some kilns, and owns a fabulous gallery in Durango, CO, so for all those reasons, she was interested.

There was a workshop on the schedule about how to create these sheets of glass and also how to screen print on them with more powdered glass.

Valerie and I always get in trouble together and this time, we signed up for an expensive workshop right there on the spot. It’s not ENTIRELY our fault, They told us there were only two spots left. Who can resist that?!?

So, she is coming back to town tonight and we will be in class for three days. I’m excited.

I was SO excited, that I signed up for a short and inexpensive workshop yesterday – on how to cut glass sheets.

Here comes the IDIOT part . . .

On my first try, I dropped and SMASHED a large sheet of glass. OMG.

Lots of noise – glass smashing and the other students’ jaws dropping.

Something in my brain had not gotten the concept of hanging on to a sheet of glass WHILE you dropped it on the table edge.

“Someone does that in every class,” said the instructor kindly. (I bet she says that to all the idiots.)

So, I was the SOMEONE for that class.

At least my feet didn’t get cut up.

They FORCE you to wear shoes in these classes, and it was a good thing. My flip-flops would have led to my wiping out the large supply of bandages they have close by. LOTS of bandages.

Maybe someone DOES do this in every class.

The teacher said they had felt foolish putting the closed-toe shoe requirement in their class description at this time of year. Who WOULDN’T be wearing closed-toe shoe?!

They hadn’t met me yet – grin.

But now they have.

So, I apologized the whole time the teacher swept up all that broken glass, and “felt like an idiot” while the other students all looked smug with their nicely “dropped” but unbroken sheets of glass on the table in front of them instead of on the floor.

I was telling Val all about it on the phone last night, and she was giving me lots of sympathy.

“You must have felt like an idiot,” she said.

“No,” I said, “I actually did not feel bad or embarrassed at all, now that I really think about it.”

“Sure you did – you must have.” she said.

But the truth is that you can reach a spot in life where you can find your idiot moves entertaining instead of embarrassing. My “feeling like an idiot” was actually fun.

And the best part was – I didn’t have to worry about doing something stupid. I already had that out of the way. I was sure to make other mistakes, but they would likely be quieter.

What a sweet thing that is

It’s taken a long time, but when you have made enough mistakes in life, you get pretty comfortable with yourself in your own skin, and it really doesn’t matter what other people think of what you do.

Are you there yet?

Can you have dinner alone at a restaurant without feeling funny?

Do you still get embarrassed if you do something like I did?

What’s the last “sheet of glass” you dropped?


Who Am I?


It’s Halloween.

I don’t like Halloween. I don’t like masks and have nightmares about people who take their face off and they’re someone else. I don’t like things dark and scary. I hide from trick-or-treators.

I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t care. My pumpkins go in pies and don’t have faces. So there.

While hiding from trick-or-treators 24 years ago, I met my wonderful husband, and that is the one thing I do like about Halloween. Now, I don’t have to hide from trick-or-treaters alone.

Anyway I did this journal page today because I got thinking about costumes. I don’t like costumes either.

It all started in my bathroom.

I always hang my clothes to dry because they are cotton and I don’t want them to shrink. You can tell when I do my laundry because there are clothes hanging all over the place – on doors and towel racks, on hooks and in crannies.

You know a lot about me when you see this laundry hanging. You know that I am NOT a fashionista. You know that EVERYTHING is either black or blue. You know Steve Jobs wasn’t THAT original with his fashion statement. You know I have multiples of the SAME black and blue things.

OMG, I’m boring.

Let me digest that for just a moment . . .

OK, so, it all started in my bathroom where I inadvertently hung one of my black shirts over one of my pairs of jeans because there happen to be two hooks on the back of that door.


I felt like I ran into myself as I was leaving that room. It was especially unsettling because I had just run into myself in a mirror in that room. Maybe there are more than one of me after all.

I looked at that door and thought “hmmm . . . that’s me, but I’m not in there.”

I hooked my reading glasses on the hanger and put my flip-flops on the floor below.

I brought Mark into the bathroom, and said “Look – it’s a self-portrait without me in it!”

He gave me one of “those” looks (you know the ones where one eyebrow goes up and the other one doesn’t?) and said, “You know, you really should start using the dryer.”

I don’t forget about these “Aha” moments so easily, however. I started thinking about how our “costumes” really do define us, and also how they don’t.

I won’t put you through all that, but think about it. If you hung your clothes on a bathroom door, would people know whose bathroom door it was? A bathroom door that isn’t in your house of course, because then it wouldn’t be much of a contest. Especially if you are the only female in your house, and your husband’s not a cross-dresser. But I digress.

I thought about having a clothesline, but with the wind and dust here, the clothes would just cycle between the washing machine and the clothesline, and there would be no time to wear them.

I needed an imaginary clothesline for all of this, so off to my art journal I went. Because it was imaginary, I got to add my bird to the self portrait and make the poles more interesting than ordinary poles (see above).

One of my friends, who will remain anonymous, is dressing up as Mother Nature tonight. (Let’s see . . . which of my friends is a nature lover? Hopefully, no more birds chase her around.) She doesn’t like costumes either, but she is being forced into this.

She’s off at a spiritual retreat.

“Why on earth would they make you wear costumes at a spiritual retreat?” I asked her.

“Because it’s Halloween maybe?” she asked.

Ahhhhhh. That.

How would I dress up like Nature if somebody made me? . . .


No, I have not been drinking any wine.

Maybe I should.

Yes. I’m going to.

Right now.

Just one more Halloween thing to say.


Art Journaling at Walmart . . .


Lynn Pauly fell in love with Santa Fe during the Art Journaling Retreat last month, and has already come back for a visit!

We had a field trip planned to the little town of Madrid, and a good place to meet up was the Walmart parking lot near the highway.

When we pulled in, Lynn was sitting on her camp stool working in her art journal. Something about this just struck me so funny. You come all the way to Santa Fe to journal because it is such an unusual and exotic paradise for artists, and you end up journaling at Walmart!? What kind of hostess am I?

At least, it’s an adobe version of Walmart – vigas and all. (Vigas are those big logs that stick out at the top of traditional adobe walls.)

I was excited to see some of Lynn’s finished pages from the retreat. They are really great, so I will share a few with you . . .


We drew some of our art supplies at the beginning of the retreat, and Sandy Bartholomew, CZT extraordinaire, did a whole ebook on the common design elements found in Santa Fe, which she gifted to our students. Lynn’s right page is embellished with some of those design elements.

Sandy’s book, The Tangles of Santa Fe is available for purchase and download here:

The Tangles of Santa Fe

It’s a wonderful book – check it out.

Here’s Lynn’s sketch of the Horno at the Pecos Historic Park. An Horno is a traditional oven which is still used by Pueblo people today for baking bread. Lynn loved being quiet and alone with the history of the moment, and what a gorgeous spread!


Here’s a spread of an afternoon on the Santa Fe Plaza, which is the center of downtown. There is always lots going on . . .


I love layouts like this, where so much information is artfully arranged in one space. Here is a detail close-up so you can see how complex this is . . .


And here’s a spread dedicated to an unusual variation of a treat we all love . . .


Yes, they put Chile in chocolate here.

I commend Lynn on creating a fabulous journal that truly captures the moments.

So, we met in the Walmart parking lot and headed off for lunch – at a very amusing place called the San Marcos Cafe. It is located next door to a feed store along what is called the Turquoise Trail, and is as rustically charming as can be.

Part of the charm comes with their big cinnamon rolls, and another part is the fact that Peacocks and Turkeys wander freely on the grounds. Like this guy . . .


Betsy decided to share a bite of her cinnamon roll with a couple of turkeys who happened by . . .


And then another couple came along . . .


OK – some for them too. And then . . .


She better grab a bite for herself before it’s too late!


Lynn figures we ought to document this.


We don’t even have a final count, but when they chased Betsy back to the van . . .


We knew it was time to get out while we could. A couple of these cinnamon-sugar-crazed whackos tried to get IN the van. Shades of Alfred Hitchcock!

More adventures in paradise to come.


Sketch Journal One online workshop starts tomorrow. You can start from the beginning, or join this workshop in progress anytime during the following month. If you want to have a lot of fun learning to draw and paint in your journals, this one’s for you!

Sketch Journal One


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You Don’t Have To Have an Exciting Life . . .


You don’t have to have an exciting life to have an exciting art journal.

In fact, although travel journals are wonderful things, some of my favorite art journal pages are about nothing at all.

The amazing success of the TV show, Seinfeld, was due to the fact that it was about nothing – just the everyday life moments of the characters.

On Tuesday, October 8, a very ordinary day, I felt the need to point out to myself that I actually had gotten many things accomplished since greeting the dawn.

Enough for a whole journal spread, in fact. (Done with ink and water soluble markers used from a palette, in my Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook).

Let’s take a closer look . . .


The window in my studio is double hung. This means that both sashes move. Every Fall, it is a major, two-person production to shut the window for the Winter, because when you shut the bottom sash, the top one moves down enough in sympathy, that you can’t lock the window. Usually, I have to use a broom handle to hold the top sash up tight while Mark leans over the bench shears in a very dangerous stance to pull the bottom sash down and lock it. So far, no body parts have been cut off, but we still face this task with great trepidation.

JFTHOI (just for the hell of it), I thought I would give it a try by myself last Tuesday. I got on a step ladder, leaned carefully over the bench shears, and snuck up on the bottom sash, slamming it down before the top sash had a chance to notice. The lock could be set!

I danced for joy, but got off the ladder first. This little miracle deserved a journal entry!

Earlier in the day, I had packed a whole box of colorful sponge balls to send to my sister. That was just plain cute enough to go in the journal.


Tax Extensions always seem like such a good idea in April, but the devil comes back to bite me in October! A piece of everyday has been about THAT. I hate THAT.

To escape THAT, I wrote and published a blog post, did a couple greenhouse chores, and went over to the gallery to help Mark move a cabinet. It was heavy and it hurt and I got a sliver. Had we only known a lady would buy it the very next day!

Then, I stopped in the market for some *essential* vittles.

All of that could be easily forgotten in the flotsam of my days. But, now it never will be.

This is the best part of sketch journaling (my name for illustrated art journaling). Everyday moments and everyday things are great subjects for drawing and painting.

Because I know how to draw and paint everyday things, I am able to record my everyday moments.

So, I have created a BRAND NEW art journaling workshop series about just that . . . learning to draw and paint everyday things in your art journal.

I am very excited because I will use a BRAND NEW blog format for the workshop, and I have lots of BRAND NEW tricks and tools to make my teaching even better.

Better still, there is just enough time before the official start of the HOLIDAY SEASON which eats everyone’s life it seems. Not mine, but most people I know.

So, I will run the live session of this BRAND NEW workshop between October 26 and November 23, 2013 (four weeks).

The workshop will be held on a private blog. Conversations will be in the Comments. Lessons will be videos and slideshows and PDF step-by-steps. All lessons can be downloaded so you can keep a copy. At the end of the 4 Weeks, the blog will stay there permanently so you can always access it.

I am currently trying to find the best place for students to upload and share their journal pages. Any suggestions?

Note to all former Love This Journal students: This is all BRAND NEW content, but with the same great FUN content as the Love This Journal workshops had.

We will learn to draw and paint things and then explore ideas for basing journal pages around these illustrations.

CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW to see the detailed Workshop description page . . .



Let’s sneak in a fun workshop and a lot of art making before the HOLIDAYS are upon us! Sneaking up on my window worked, so sneaking might be in season!


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