Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Greatest Photo Paper for Art Journals . . .

OK, I am always saying “greatest”. But I only say it when I believe it.

My internet business, basically consists of two parts:
One part is made up of Art, Photography, and Journaling instruction via online workshops.

The other part is about paper, and of course, the star is Sheer Heaven, which has become famous around the world.

But the rest of my papers are also wonderful – for many projects – and also different from anything else out there. They just haven’t had the “press”.

So, now and then, I am going to let you know how I use some of these papers, and why I think they are best for the job.

I am not a fan of books that are splayed and straining to burst their bindings. I understand that some folks have learned to love such things, but, especially with my art journals, I like books that can sit neatly on my bookshelf, since I have so many volumes to store.

I also use lots of photos in my art journals. Some I transfer in with Sheer Heaven, and some I print and attach with double-stick tape.

I much prefer matte prints for my journal because they do not fingerprint and I handle these books a lot. I also do not want the photos to smear if they get a drop of water on them because I may be using watercolor right “next door” to them, so to speak.

There are many brands of premium matte photo paper in the world, but most are quite thick – at least as think as cardstock. I might add more than a hundred photos to a single volume of my journal. Picture the thickness of a stack of 100 sheets of cardstock! That’s a binding breaker if ever there was one.

Also, prints on these papers are not smear proof if they get wet.

So, my favorite photo paper for my journal photos is from my own line of “Magic” papers, Magic Matte Collage 36lb.

Although the coating produces a photo of premium print quality, the paper is only slightly heavier than copy paper, so when it is adhered to journal entries, it adds very little thickness to the page.

And, the print is also waterproof. This is double protection for me because I already use a pigment inkjet printer with waterproof ink. But if I used an HP, a Canon, or any of the other dye based inkjet printers, the coating of Magic Matte would make even those notoriously smeary inks waterproof.

In the journal spread above, I have done a typical thing for me, and combined photo prints with watercolor sketches. In the continuation of the table surface, I was able to start drawing my lines right on the photo without disturbing it, and in the sunflower at the upper right, I actually cut the metal sunflower out of its background, glued it in with gluestick, and painted all the reddish petals right up against the photo with a waterbrush without any fear of running the ink on my print.

Even on pages where photo prints are facing each other, not much thickness is added to the spread.

I love this paper so much that I have put it on the supply list for the Travel Journaling Workshop coming up, and offered it in a special Student Package.

Because I love my readers too, I am going to offer you that same package up until July 15, the start date of the Workshop. Consider it a Subscriber Special.

This special package contains a Ten Pack of Sheer Heaven and a Ten Pack of Magic Matte 36lb for $15.

You can look at this as getting $1 off a Ten pack of Sheer Heaven and getting the Magic Matte free.

Or you can look at it as buying the Ten Pack of Magic Matte ($5) and getting the Sheer Heaven for $1/sheet (just like the 20/20 sales I have every now and again). Usually, you have to buy the 100 Pack to get that sheet price.

Either way you look at it, this is a very good deal.

So, even if you are not able to take the Travel Journal workshop at this time, if you are reading this, you are invited to take advantage of the paper deal until the workshop starts.

You will find it in the Online Workshop part of the Shopping Cart here (It will be the third item down):

Paper Package

Why is this paper called Magic Matte Collage instead of Magic Matte Journal?
Well, when I named this paper, I was not yet an art journaler and did not know how important it would be for that purpose, but I did know it was a Godsend for collage work.

Because the print is waterproof, it will not smear when painted over with acrylic medium, and it won’t wrinkle either if you first apply a thin coat of medium to the back, place the photo in the collage and let that dry, and then apply medium over the top. The color is fabulous too.

And did I mention how wonderful this paper is for scrapbooking?

A Great NEW Art Journaling Workshop


Interesting how this workshop came about!

The first thing I did when I started art journaling back in 2006, was take a trip. My friend, Sue, and I went up to Salida Colorado for a three day week-end.

We rented a cabin with a nice big kitchen table for artwork, and spent half the time exploring and the other half journaling at the kitchen table.

i got that whole trip into that journal right then and there.

We all know I have taken a lot of trips since then – and I am still trying to repeat that feat. Or rather, I was.

On this last road trip, I failed again – instead coming home with armloads of photos and stuff and souvenir things and memories, and a timeline that I actually kept up with.

Once again, I will be doing this travel journal at home.

I do know a few people who take a trip and stop and sit on a rock and sketch things. I try that too. But then, a chipmunk comes up and begs to have his picture taken (he is not interested in sitting around while I sketch him!), or as I’m sitting there, I spot a trail sign to an old mine cabin or a waterfall, and off I go. And pretty soon, the day is over and it’s a choice of a great dinner and wine somewhere, or grabbing fast food and going to the motel to journal. Hauling ALL the supplies I bring up the stairs and into the room, and then staying up too late trying to get pages done.

So, it just “ain’t happening” like that for me, and I may as well face it.

My way of travel journaling is different. I have a lot of fun before I go anywhere (anticipation is a huge part of an adventure) looking places up, mapping routes, making maps, getting facts – imagining all the stops I’ll make.

And then I have a lot of fun while traveling – seeing things, collecting things, discovering things, taking pictures of things, having conversations with strangers, meandering far from the plans I made.

And then, I have a lot of fun when I get home – printing out my photos, putting pages together, making paintings from some of the pictures and rough sketches I did, following silly themes like the ongoing exhibits in my “Motel Art Gallery”. I am working in my studio with every art supply known to woman, I can interpret things however I want and take as much time as I want, and I am happy.

And I got to thinking that I bet most of you are like me, and you would really enjoy getting your past trips into journals, getting your future trips dreamed up on paper, and having great tricks for mining the essence of wherever you go.

So, I have made a workshop for just such things. It will run through the “vacation” time of the year, so it should intersect at least part of yours. And many folks can’t afford the travel and might enjoy reliving trips they have made in the past – with the souvenirs and photos rotting away in a shoebox (or digital shoebox somewhere.

You can enjoy this workshop without going anywhere by journaling a trip around your own town – or a day trip to a town nearby. You can use it for a road trip to many places, or a plane trip to one place where you will spend a week, or you can just pretend you are taking a trip. All of it is fun and all of it is the “Art of the Trip”.

At least for now, this is a guided, scheduled workshop so lots of sharing and inspiration can happen in our group classroom. Some day it may become a stand-alone workshop, but not for now.

Hopefully, before, around, or through your Summer vacation, you can join us on this learning journey.

There is also a SPECIAL PAPER deal that goes with this workshop which I will share tomorrow.

AND, three of the first 15 students to sign up will win prizes by random drawing.

The three prizes are:

A Moleskine Large Sketchbook in red (like the one in my kit).

A Strathmore Visual Journal in Smooth Bristol

A Journal Student Special pack of Sheer Heaven and Magic Matte 36lb for journal photos.

Here is the full workshop description and supply list (art journalers probably have all the supplies already).

Virtual Relationships and Imaginary Friends . . .


I am in my 10th year of active participation on the internet. It has been an amazing journey from a time when just a few folks knew enough to find bulletin boards and Yahoo Groups based on their interests, and join them in search of new information and other people who shared their passions. And now we live in a virtual world in a time of social networking which has everybody connecting to everybody for reasons known and unknown.

I have had some interesting conversations lately which have gotten me thinking about this new society and what it means to the quality of our lives. I know that is a HUGE topic and I can only nibble at it, but it is a fascinating topic nonetheless.

Remember all the old novels about folks who were thrown unceremoniously into new levels of society which they knew nothing about – the servant girl who marries the rich guy, etc.

Everything was a mystery – from which fork to use or hat to wear, to just how something should be phrased, so as not to offend.

Well, it seems to me that our whole society has married into an alien one in which all of the rules of behavior are just being written as we go.

Remember when all capital letters was determined to be yelling, and “flaming” was a terrible thing to be avoided at all costs? Netiquette rules have been written as things came up, and now we are dealing with whether semi-porno photos should be tweeted to school girls.

But a steady trend through all of this has been the development of online relationships – with people we probably would never have met in the course of our daily lives.

My Mom and I were talking about my childhood a couple weeks ago, and I was surprised to learn I had an imaginary friend (Dear Me! came along much later). My Mom didn’t know her name but I talked to her all the time, and I evidently though she talked back.

It’s  sort of like now, Mom said. Now you have a couple thousand imaginary friends!

She was talking about you of course.

And one of you imaginary friends asked me the other day what sort of people my readers and customers are. “Wonderful people,” I replied, and that is certainly true, although I have actually met only a fraction of you in person, and a few more by phone, I just know it’s true. I haven’t met any of you yet that I wouldn’t choose to hang out with if geography allowed, and a few of you have become very treasured friends. That’s pretty darned amazing when you think about it.

And I wonder how much of this comraderie is because we have such common interests, and we know that because we are hanging out online together. It seems as though translating these online friendships into real world relationships is an easy road.

But, what about the other way around? With the ubiquitous Facebook, anybody you have ever known can find you. That has happened to me a lot, and I find a certain trend interesting. Someone is excited to make contact. You exchange a few lines to catch up for the last forty years (grin), and then that is pretty much it. Everybody goes back to their lives. Truth is, if you had had enough of a connection way back then, you would have made the effort to stay in touch. Coming together at this point usually does not render enough talking points to get a good conversation going, let alone a renaissance of the relationship.

So you wonder what is actually going on between all these folks and their lists of “friends” on Facebook. From what I can see, it seems that the virtual friendships are based on real world relationships between relatives and friends who already have a common bond, and who are keeping up with each other as we may have done by phone years ago. Again, relationships based on having something in common.

And online friendships can drift away as well. The great drawing at the top of this post was created by a friend I met  online years ago. I did get to visit her home and really enjoyed meeting her in person as well. We kept in touch for years and now, I can’t find her at all. Her name is Angie Black and she is a wonderful artist. Are you out there, Angie?

This just has to be one of the most interesting of times, doesn’t it?

What do you think about it all? Do you have any good stories about virtual relationships or imaginary friends?

What’s In My Journal Kit? Part 1

Pitt Artist Pens . . .
When I told you about my end-all journaling kit earlier this month, I promised to share some of what I feel is essential in it – can’t leave home without it supplies.

The first section of my Global Arts portfolio holds the essentials. I unzip this section to work in my journal, and go to the back section for extras. That saves hunting around for what I really need.

Located in the place of honor, directly beside the current Moleskine Sketchbook are my very essential Pitt Artist Pens.

To start with, I need a permanent ink pen that absolutely will not smear when I use the water brush over it, but I also need a pen that will not bleed through the page because I use both sides of all pages.

Original Sharpies and other permanent pens are dye based and do bleed through and sometimes even smear when wet. Pitt Artist Pens are pigment based ink, which is thicker and does not bleed through even thinner pages than the sketch book. I also have never experienced smearing. I would say they are water-proof.

Sharpie now makes pigment-based pens, but I have found that they do tend to smear when painted over. More about that later.

Pitt Artist Pens comes in a good selection of point sizes, from a Brush Tip to Extra Small.

I carry these four in my kit: Brush, Medium, Fine, and Small . . .
but my major workhorse is the Fine Tip, and I keep the Medium in front also for emphasis in sketches.
The Fine Point makes an excellent writing instrument as well as being great for sketching, (see the sample page below left) so if I could only carry one, this would be it.

My journaling students will be familiar with my favorite use for the Brush Tip – dividing my pages into grids of one type or another to organize my thoughts (see the right page above). You can frame anything with a thick/thin wiggly line made with the Brush Tip and give your grids some style.

I carry both other tips in my extras section of the kit. The Small tip is great for small detail lines or for sketching, and the Medium tip is good for emphasis in writing or sketching.

The Pitt Pens are on my best journaling tools list for these reasons, but perhaps what really throws me over the top on them is the fact that they transfer completely and perfectly of Sheer Heaven. This means that I can trace any drawing in my journal (or anywhere) and instantly move a copy to any other page. I got so excited about this, I made YouTube video some time back . . .
If you haven’t seen this, it will open up a lot of possibilities for all your art projects!

Exciting News! Art School 101 for the Sketchbook and Journal is now available anytime!
Summer is a great time for drawing! It’s so pleasant to be outside (in most places), and there are so many pretty flowers etc.

I get more email requests for this workshop than any other except Love This Journal, and scheduling all these workshops for everyone’s schedule just doesn’t work. So, now you can take the workshop and complete it on *your* schedule! And the Cre8tive Drawing Workbook, a perfect companion to this workshop is available at half off if purchased at the same time.

Get the complete description by clicking the workshop in the sidebar, or at this link:
Get out those pencils and draw!