Sunday, November 24, 2013

Round Robin Journal Project, Round 2

I had wanted to post this weeks ago, in fact, we are already on round five! Alas, I kept forgetting to scan the pages so I'm a little behind on posting the rounds! I hope to catch up with several blog posts over the next week. Click here to read about this project and see the pages for round one. Without further ado, here are our Moleskine pages from round 2 of the Round Robin Art Journal Project:

My page in my own journal for Round 2 was inspired by the day I spent with Luke roaming the back roads in Kansas. It was a fun day, with lots of interesting moments which I tried to capture in these pages.

Nichole's spread in her journal showcased both her voice and her story, but done in a way that still kept it private, while letting the viewer know, through her photography, that the mood was a bit more solemn.

Phoebe's pages included her photography of ethereal dreaminess coupled with a feeling of ephemeral moments with the inclusion of dried flowers. A few quotes and a vintage strip of tape tie it all together.

And round the journal goes...

Nichole's pages in my journal were so super cute! Sisters in Creativity indeed we are! I just love the little figures of us she did in colored pencil. It really matches us! Nice doodling too!

Phoebe's pages in Nichole's journal pay homage to the end of summer, with an excellent playlist and some delicate dried flowers. I love the idea of a playlist!

I did mixed media in Phoebe's journal which I titled "A Whole Century of Ordinary Life" and it included this found poem I created: "With a film of dust upon my memory, poring over forbidden pages, old and stained by process of time. A whole century of ordinary life; all through the years, an exchange of reminiscence and of dearest worth, a kiss of lovers." I included a pocket with a little secret stashed away.

And round it goes again:

I was very excited to see Phoebe also did a playlist in my journal! That meant I got to listen to more new songs on iTunes and add to my own playlist! She also does such great doodle backgrounds and of course, she added a touch of nature for me...a feather and some helicopter seeds! Soar!

My pages in Nichole's journal were inspired by her Facebook status about her son's homework which included rectangles, sight words and the letter M. You never know where inspiration will come from!

Nichole's pages in Phoebe's journal included a great quote by Jack Kerouac, other of On The Road. A deep blue, starry night sky for the background and a great page to remind us all to "just keep on rolling under the stars".

I hope you enjoyed this post of round 2 of the Round Robin! Stay tuned for Round 3 which will NOT take me as long to get posted. ;-)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chillin' Out

It's Sunday! Time to chill out and watch football after two days of birding and spending time out in Nature. It's still pretty warm here in South Florida, but the Fall Migration is in full swing. Warblers are being spotted all around South Florida. This weekend I managed to add four birds to my life list: Swainson's Thrush, Yellow-throated Vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler and the Red-eyed Vireo. Although I didn't get too many pics of the birds (think high in trees, shaded and fast moving!) I did manage to get some half-way decent shots a Great-horned Owl and of this cute, adorable raccoon chillin' out in a tree. Reminding us all that it is important to have some down time and relax. ;-)

Chillin' Out

Great-Horned Owl

Looking forward to birding every weekend possible until Summer, but today, right now...think I'll have another cup of coffee and watch Game Day Morning on the NFL Network. ;-)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Round and Round the Art Journal Goes...

Howdy everyone!
It's been a busy last few weeks of art journal fun! I started an Art Journal Round Robin with Nichole and Phoebe. I chose the Moleskine for us due to it's sturdy, pretty, cream-colored pages that can take pretty much any medium. We each began by doing a two-page spread. Then, our books were sent out...mine to Nichole, Nichole's to Phoebe and Phoebe's to me. We then did a two-page spread in that book before mailing it out again for the next round. Every third week, we'll have our own journals back to work on them! And to see what treasures lay inside! We aren't sharing any pages with social media until each round is complete so that we are all surprised by our pages. That is definitely part of the fun!

It's fascinating to see what each of us create in our own style. And to say it's inspired me is an understatement! While waiting for the journals to arrive, I've been busy working in my other Moleskines (several lay around half-full), trying out different techniques and ideas to possibly use in Nichole and Phoebe's books, practicing my sketching and even writing a nightly summary of my day. Heck, I even sketched in it while waiting for my doctors appointment! I've fallen back in love with the art journal and the process of creating in it and I suspect Phoebe and Nichole feel the same way. ;-)

The Round Robin Journal Project, Week 1

Round Robin by Laura

An introduction to the project and of course, it gave me a good excuse to practice drawing a bird. The quote on the stem reads:
Each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward. ~Vincent Van Gogh

Defining my Creative Self by Nichole

Nichole's first pages show her love for art, photography and writing. I love how she turned her selfie into a cartoon like retro girl! Very cute and clever!

Introduced by Phoebe

Phoebe's pages were so fun to read! It's all about introductions and how she would be introduced as a character in a movie. Who knew she didn't like potato salad? I promise not to make it next time she visits. ;-)

Now our journals rotated...we sent them off with a bit of trepidation but that was soon replaced by the excitement of inspiration!

An Hour with her Sketchpad by Nichole

I thought Nichole's entry in my journal was so clever! The turned-down page revealing the prior sketch, the quote and the little figure sketches...She wanted to show her progression from hesitation to confidence with the pencil and she achieved that quite nicely! And, if I do say so myself, that quote is exactly how I feel!

She Remembered All Those Happy Times by Phoebe

Phoebe wanted her pages in Nichole's journal to resemble an old, vintage scrapbook and she totally achieved her objective! Vintage photographs, yellowing tape, quotes all about time gone by and remembering the younger days. There was so much to look at and to read, which I did many times over!

Paris is Always a Good Idea by Laura

While waiting for Phoebe's journal to arrive in the mail, I had done a travel-themed spread in another Moleskine, testing out whether my idea would work and how it would look as a travel-related spread in Phoebe's journal. When her journal arrived and her first pages were about the French film Amelie, well then, I just had to make it all about Paris! A city we have both been to and love!

Round the journals go again...this time with less trepidation and more anticipation of what we all had done!

Explore by Phoebe

A lot of times Phoebe and I are on the same wave-length and in this round we both did travel-themed pages in each other's journals! Using her own photography, quotes and travel tips, and even an actual ticket, she created a mini travel scrapbook for me!

How Fragile We Are by Laura

For Nichole's pages I was inspired by silhouetted trees. Trees always inspire me. I love them! And I had so much fun creating this that I decided to do a whole Moleskine just on trees and flowers. The more you do art, the more you find inspiration! The title came from listening to Jason Castro's version of "Fragile" while creating this. It seemed fitting. Life is fragile and doesn't last long. Like a leaf on a tree.

Traveler by Nichole

Nichole also created a travel-themed page for Phoebe's journal, making Phoebe's Moleskine the most consistent in terms of overall theme. No theme intended, but it just worked out that way!I love her little traveling jester with pup!

Round 1 was a success and has made waiting for the mail a whole lot of fun! Stay tuned for Round 2! In the meantime, enjoy these additional works of journal art I created over the last couple of weeks:


Trees I

Trees II

Fields of Joy

The Journey Awakens the Soul


And finally, one not done in a Moleskine but on the iPad with Paper 53:

Nature, I love you.

Until the next round, stay creative and in the light! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

22nd & 8th, a Digital Watercolor

22nd & 8th

This week I worked on a digital watercolor for Leanne. It was suppose to be her grad present when she graduated from NYU last May but I had so much going on that I couldn't get it done until this week. It's the view from her window. I wanted her to have an artistic reminder of her life in NYC...where she lived when she went to NYU, graduated, fell in love, made her stage debut and started her career as a working actress. She even rode out Hurricane Sandy here. 

I did it all in Photoshop. It took 6 hours over three days and had 16 layers. I didn't save each layer so I can't show the progress like I did with the lion painting from the last post but if anyone has questions about doing a digital watercolor, feel free to email me. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

King of the Jungle

King of the Jungle

After nearly a year of traveling, hosting company and having my brother diagnosed with cancer, I finally had two weeks to do nothing but take care of myself and indulge in some art!  I started the month with a detox, (my hubby participated as well which made it much easier to stick to) eliminating coffee, tea, sugar, wheat and dairy. Treated myself to a couple of massages to help speed along the removal of toxins. Purchased a juicer, a Vitamix, dehydrator and a bread machine to make my own gluten-free flax-seed bread. All of this was spurred on by my trip this summer to the Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica (I'll share photos of my trip in the next post). In the five days I spent there with my mom and my friend Phoebe, I ate a high alkaline diet, had body treatments and left feeling rejuvenated and a lightness of being. When I got back, the stress hit when my brother Ryan was diagnosed with a rare form of melanoma (his treatment is over, now it's just "wait and see"). Stress can take a toll, causing one (uh, yea, me) to indulge in sugary mojitos and sweets. Thus, the detox. Detoxing is suppose to clear your mind as well, improving focus and clarity. I took advantage of that and the free time to delve into some digital art, creating my third painting done entirely in Photoshop. 

Lita and I got together for a digital art Saturday a couple of weeks ago and each of us picked something to work on from a Photoshop Creative magazine. I decided on a tutorial by Emerald de Leeuw on painting animal portraits. Here's a tip: when following a tutorial where the skill level is "expert", it's probably a good idea to be an expert at Photoshop. Unfortunately, I am not, nor did I notice the skill level until after I started and got stuck trying to understand what the hell they were trying to tell me to do. I *almost* chucked the whole thing but later that night, at home, I decided to just do it on my own, feeling my way through an array of colors and brushes and applying learned oil painting techniques. 

It took me 10 days, 30 hours and 40 layers. Titled King of the Jungle, here's how I did it.

The first step was to roughly sketch out the lion. This need not be perfect, I just needed to get the placement of the eyes and mouth correct:
My starting sketch
Next, I blocked in colors. I chose a variety of yellows, oranges, deep reds and browns. I also started the eyes right away, figuring if I gave him a soul, he would stare at me and demand I finish him. :-)
Now, I used a smudge tool to blend some of the colors together and then brushed in hair using a smaller brush, also adding more definition to the eyes and mouth:
Now I blended all those strokes together using a smudge tool and different soft brushes:

Repeating the two previous steps:

Next it was time to start blending and adding in details:

Next I worked on mouth detail:

Now it was time to get rid of the "teddy-bear" ears by reshaping and continuing the detail work:

Finally added the whiskers and finished off detail work:

Lastly, I adjusted color balance and contrast to my liking:

I even did a version in black and white with selective color:

I could still continue to work on it, smoothing out hair, adding details but I'm pretty happy to call it done! It's come a long way from that sketch!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spring has Arrived!

After a very busy month of March, where I hosted two sets of company and April, where I was off trekking the Pennine Way in the most horrible conditions, I finally arrived back home this week to no least for a month. I was so worn out from the Pennine Way that the last few days here at home I've done nothing but piddle around the house, sipping iced tea on the patio and watching/listening to all the birds in their mating season glory. I've not really been motivated to do much else than relax and enjoy the warm weather, which was missing in action in Northern England and Scotland. I did however, make it out to my garden to snap pics of all the Springtime loveliness that is happening. I even saw two new species in my garden: a Blackpoll Warbler (#255 on my life list!) and a pair of Brown Thrashers. That makes 42 species of birds in my yard this year. That's a pretty good local patch if I do say so myself! So, enjoy these images from yesterday and I hope you are watching your own local patch for all the Springy goodness that is around you!

 I shot this through the window. It's a Brown Thrasher. A pair of them were calling back and forth to each other for an hour the night before. Found this one when I went to close the blinds of the bedroom window, perched in a rose bush. She could see me and after I took her pic, she promptly flew away. I did hear her calling once again this morning so I am hopeful she is making my garden her permanent home. ;-)

 Some birdy deposited a whole bunch of downy feathers and left them in a pile in the yard. I've moved them to one of the birds favorite potted plants so they can take what they need for nesting material.

 This male squirrel was none to happy with me. The cascading water fountain he drinks from was empty and one of the bowls knocked over. I still haven't gone out to clean and fill it up...on my way to do that shortly! Hang in there buddy!

 Four Mottled Ducks have been hanging out on the lake the last few days. The one below spent over two hours standing on the fake wooden goose that marks our sprinkler system and calling for her chicks (she did have three very tiny babies) who have either been taken by predators or who she misplaced. (this happens a lot with ducks, who aren't the best at parenting skills). She eventually joined in with the other three and they all went on their way to the other side of the lake.

 Apparently it must have rained quite a bit during the month I was gone because the Coreopsis wildflowers have run amok and have taken over the stony pathway. There are three colors this year, yellow, orange and pink and there are a few sunflowers sprouting up as well in the mix!

 This dragonfly paid me no mind. He just sat on this stem for a really long time, staring out over the lake. I wonder what he was thinking about? They look like tiny little fighter pilots. Perhaps he was contemplating his last or future flight mission?

 I love in the spider's world that the female is always the bigger, more bad-ass of the sexes. Here are a pair of Shiny Orbweavers. The male is waiting to mate and then I'm pretty sure she'll eat him.

 When I left, the only critters in the garden were birds, lizards and toads. Now there are tons of caterpillars, butterflies, dragon and damselflies! And of course the birds, lizards and toads are all still around. No more Painting Buntings though. They seem to have moved on and I'll have to wait until next winter to see them again.

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” 
― Margaret AtwoodBluebeard's Egg

Off to do just that!