Influences from Daily Life


Food Fun Friday

This weeks food item is Pakora Pancakes.  The latter photo was sent into the Art House Coop because I participated in The Meal project.  The project requires participants from around the globe to share a meal together at a predetermined time.  Participants photograph themselves with their meal and send it to the Art House.  All photos are compiled and displayed on line.  The project is also designed to raise awareness of world hunger.


the meal 2013

Neighbourhood Fire

Last weekend my husband Eric and I were awoken in the early morning hours to the sounds of clanging metal and loud voices.  I assumed it was someone with car problems and the vehicle was either being towed or a tire changed.  However when I opened my eyes the room was filled with red and blue lights creating swirling patterns across the walls and ceiling.  We knew the lights were coming from emergency vehicles so we peered out our bedroom window.  There were firetrucks directly outside our place and further down the road at an apartment complex.  We watched as the firemen attached hoses to fire hydrants.  I was so impressed with how calmly and coordinated these firefighters worked together.  The next day we realized the severity of the fire.  It was actually a three alarm fire and the building was completely destroyed.  Thank goodness the firefighters managed to get absolutely everyone out alive from the apartment building.  The residents are now without accommodations and there are local radio stations accepting donations and funds for these people to start over again.  Devastating!



Influenced by Literature

I absolutely have to share a book I read this month.  It’s called The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.  I thought it was absolutely wonderful and so insightful.  The author is a philosophy instructor and she deals with philosophical themes as they play out in the lives of her unique and endearing characters.  It is definitely not a light and frivolous read so I would not recommend reading when you are tired.  However this book is definitely worth the work if you can set some time aside to indulge in this fictitious world.  Once you’ve read the book I highly recommend listening to Robert Adams.  He provides wonderful insights into the themes and characters of the novel.  Just a warning though…he does give away the ending so if you want to listen to his lecture I suggest you read the book first.  You can find Robert Adams’ lecture here. 

Update: Not everyone in my book club enjoyed this book.  Some found it too formal, stuffy, and pedantic.  Oh well to each their own.  If you do read it drop me a line and let me know what you thought of the book.

Wordless Wednesday

Raven Grouse 3

Chinese New Year

Gong Xi Fa Cai and Gong Hey Fat Choy! I sure hope I wrote these correctly. They both mean Happy New Year in the Mandarin and Cantonese Languages.  It’s Chinese New Year this week and there are plenty of red and gold colours to be seen around town.  These pictures were taken of a neighbourhood temple.  Originally the building was an Anglican church. I often think if  this building could talk it would have an interesting story to tell.  For me, this building truly represents a place where Eastern and Western cultures, traditions, and religions meet.

laterns in window

entrance way


Food Fun Friday

Here’s a quick but yummy desert my husband made for a recent pot luck dinner.  It’s simple to make by alternating layers of sponge cake, custard, and field berries and topped with whip cream.  Delicious!



Mid-Week Arts and Crafts

Once again I collected discarded cracker boxes and applied old craft paint to both sides of the box.  The paint covers up the print and strengthens the cardboard. Once dry, the paper can be used as a base to draw, paint, and collage on to. Painted cardboard can also be cut with decorative punches and used for embellishments in future projects.  At this point, I’m not really sure how I will transform my painted cardboard but I am toying with the idea of converting it into a booklet about crows.  I live on the roosting path of crows and each night I see hundreds of them flying overhead.  They are beautiful and I would love to pay homage to them at some point through my art.  Hmmm seems I may be more inspired by Edgar Allan Poe than I initially realized!

Wordless Wednesday: Influenced by Edgar Allan Poe

fence art

Doesn’t the top of this gate look as though it should have a raven perching nearby?  I don’t know about you but I immediately thought of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe when I saw this gate.  I loved it! If you would like to read the words and hear a great reading of Poe’s The Raven by James Earle Jones you can find it here


January 2013 Back to Basics: Looking for Lines


Wordless Wednesday


Food Fun this Friday

This Friday I simply collected cardboard cracker boxes to paint.  Not sure exactly where this will lead but will keep you posted.

food packaging

Wordless Wednesday


Training the Eye to see: images in continuous line drawings

Sometimes just a pen, paper, and drawing a continuous line lends itself to an exercise in looking for interesting shapes and images.  Here’s a few continuous line drawings.




I see an animal in the line drawing above.  I drew a few more and coloured in the shapes I liked.


The next continuous line drawing reminded me of snakes.  I coloured them in and when the picture was completed I felt they needed a context.  I traced the image again onto another paper and the three snakes became history graduates at convocation. Ah such fun!



Food Fun this Friday

This Friday the focus is on wood carving lines into bamboo cooking utensils.  The wooden spoons are much easier to wood burn than these bamboo ones.  I love my wood burning tools and the effects they make.  The idea is not original for this craft.  Credit goes to the amazing Alisa Burke.


Wordless Wednesday

grass and logs

Training the Eye to see: images in scribbles

Scribbling is a great way to use line to generate emotional energy and spark some creativity.  Here are my top five reasons for incorporating scribbles into my art practice.

1. Loosens your muscles to create random marks on your page.  Scribbling frees you to put more of your physical energy into your mark makings.

2. Experiment with new materials and mark making tools.  Make quick and random marks with pencils, brushes, markers, and ink.  Play with new colours, inks, and dyes.  Drag string or plastic forks through gesso.

3.  Scribble daily over a period of time.  Observe the emotional energy represented in your scribbles.  The pressure of the pencil strokes and the weight of our lines reveal more than we may have initially realized or intended.  Keep these scribbles for a reference when trying to capture a mood in your work.

4.  Look for interesting shapes and designs in your scribbles. What can you do with them?

5. Scribble, crop, and replicate these lines into other pieces of art.

Here are some examples of my recent scribbles. I really liked the shapes and highlighted some of the spaces with red markers.





The scribble below was cropped from a larger scribble drawing.  It reminded me of the face of a male super hero.  I traced over this cropped image to make the image of the man made with candy wrappers earlier this month.  Here he is again.



I continued to crop with a makeshift viewfinder and found some interesting shapes that I may replicate and use in pendants. Here’s a few samples below.



Food Fun this Friday

lo-cal oatmeal bars

These are great low-cal oatmeal bars.  I can’t remember the original source for this recipe otherwise I would certainly cite the author.  I do recall it was from a cookbook featuring low-cal meals and snacks.  My husband makes these weekly and they are tasty and provide a really nutritious boost to your morning.  I love them! I also really appreciate my husband making these for us each week.  Try them out and enjoy!

Low-Cal oatmeal bar recipe

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups large flake rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2. In a smaller mixing bowl, cream:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine

3/4 cup suclarose (e.g. Splenda TM)

1 egg

1 cup non-sweetened apple sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring

3. Place the wet ingredients from the smaller bowl into the dry ingredients of the larger bowl; stir to moisten and add: 3/4 cup dried cranberries

4. Line a 12×8 baking pan with parchment paper and fill with the mixture.  Smooth evenly.

5. Place in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees farenheit and bake for 25 -30 minutes or until slightly brown on top.  Be careful not to overcook!

6. Remove and cut into squares.

7. Eat and enjoy!

Training the Eye to see: images in sidewalk cracks

Carla Sonheim is an artist who paints whimsical creatures.  I love her work!  She has written three books: The Art of Silliness; Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals; and The Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists.

drawing  lab coverImaginary AnimalsARt of silliness cover.indd

Carla provides such fun and easy ways to create various creatures for all ages and all skill levels.  It’s all about playing with shapes, colours, and lines to create art.  Recently, I signed up for Carla’s newsletter and joined her Crack of the Month club.  It’s free!  Once a month Carla sends newsletter subscribers a picture of a sidewalk crack to transform into an image generated by lines in cement.  It is fun exercise and trains the eye to observe and the imagination to soar.  You can check out Carla’s blog here  I did several of my own that I used for this year’s sketchbook challenge over at  Arthouse Coop.  Here are my interpretations of sidewalk cracks morphed into a variety of people, animals, mountains and flowers.

side walk crack bird image from sidewalk crack 1

sidewalk flowerIMG_2698


sidewalk crack sealIMG_2702



 Wordless Wednesday

The long and winding road.

The long and winding road.

Training the Eye to see: Line

Ever have those moments where you are stuck and can’t seem to come up with a new way of seeing something?  Well I do, so I have come up with one hundred adjectives to describe line.  The next time I want to try drawing something familiar but with a fresh perspective I can refer to my list.  Hopefully it will become a useful reference to try creating something with lines which  I do not typically use in my drawings.  I am fine with straight and crooked lines but how about joyful lines?  Hmm… Well here’s my list:

1. straight 2. broken 3. zig zag 4. wiggly 5. dotted 6. sharp edged 7. curly 8. fuzzy 9. continuous 10. thick 11. bold 12. faint 13. thin 14. fleeting 15. fluid 16. calculated 17. architectural 18. controlled 19. reckless 20. loose 21. rigid 22. relaxed 23. smudged 24. blurred 25. coiled 26. coloured 27. perforated 28. swirled 29. whimsical 30. rapid 31. melodic 32. jagged 33. horizontal 34. fanciful 35. purposeful 36. confident 37. timid 38. messy 39. circular 40. spirals 41. twirly 42. choppy 43. whispy 44. rugged 45. flowing 46. parallel 47. diagonal 48. vertical 49. perpendicular

50. gentle 51. smooth 52. joyful 53. angry 54. bee line 55. dynamic 56. passive 57. quivering 58. shaky 59. consistent 60. invisible 61. invasive 62. elegant 63. ornamental 64. decorative 65. bumpy 66. bended 67. crooked  68. intersecting  69. undulating  70. wrinkled  71. scalloped  72. frizzy  73. direct  74. short 75. long  76. infinite 77. criss crossed  78. wavy 79. energetic 80. forceful 81. weak 82. flimsy 83. rotating 84. static 85. erratic 86. flickering 87. double 88. harmonious 89. deliberate 90. traced 91. fragmented 92. even 93. hazy 94. shivering 95. perpendicular 96. hesitant 97. crisp 98. slow 99. quick 100. delicate 

Here’s a few exercises made with line.  One is simply practicing a few lines from my list above.  Another is a simple design made with various lines.  The third is using black bold lines to create another face.  I call her zebra girl.

line practiceline designszebra girlclose up of zebra girl

Food Fun this Friday

Each Friday I plan to post something based on the topic of food.  It might be a recipe, photograph of a food item, simple print from the end of a vegetable stalk, or it may be an inspirational source generated from some of the wonderful packaging out there. Who knows?  This week was easy because I was  motivated to eat more chocolate.  The wrappers were converted into a headdress and inserted into a simple collage.  Yes it is only a simple project but it helps just a little to justify all the chocolate I ate over the holidays!

Candy dish with chocolate.

Candy dish with chocolate.

candy wrapper collage

This month it’s all about training my eye to see more of the basic elements of art that I encounter each day.  It’s about getting back to basics.  I’m starting the year by looking for the element of Line.  I found a wonderful example of crooked lines and straight lines right outside my home.  It’s a beautiful representation of the union between nature and human construction.  It’s also my submission for this weeks Wordless Wednesday.


Happy New Year!


Happy New Year! 

What a year this has been.  When I first started this blog it was to challenge myself to get out of a bit of a slump and rejuvenate my creative energies.  “Did it work?  Did I successfully meet my initial goal to: “ incorporate more creativity and playful imaginative musings into my life for one year…and blog about it!“  Well if I am honest I would have to answer yes and I would also have to answer no. 

Confused?  Well let me start with my affirmative answer.  I did indeed incorporate more creativity and playful musings into my life this past year.  Although I must admit I felt a little like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who realizes that what she needs most is already buried deep within her.  However, I do think it is important to cultivate what is already there and for me here’s what I did:

1. Entered  short term art challenges to get myself doing some basic projects…otherwise I’d just think about doing some fabulous project at another time…that day never comes.  There are hundreds of challenges available online and a simple Google search will yield lots of results.  The challenges I entered benefited me in four ways:

i)                    Required me to commit my free time to a creative task.

ii)                   Silenced my inner critic.

iii)                 Ended procrastination.

iv)                 Introduced me to others with similar goals and obstacles in their creative life.

2. Entered a photo exhibition at a local art gallery.  Four of my photographs were featured in a public screening.  This was a great boost to my confidence.

3. Contributed to the sketchbook challenge and was featured in a local art news report.  This project also really reinforced my belief that art is a powerful healing conduit…for oneself and others.

4. Participated in ATC swaps.  This was a great way to connect and share my work with others.  I met some interesting people and learned some new techniques.

5.  Maintained an art journal.  This was wonderful to try out new techniques and work out some ideas.

6. Took some online classes for new ideas, techniques and inspiration.

7. Discovered tons of freebie tutorials via you tube and other blogs.

8. Practiced singing weekly with other singers and performed in a local venue and house concert.

9. Most importantly…found inspiration everywhere!

Here are some of the sites I participated in if you would like to check them out for yourself this year.

art every day of the month

This is Leah Piken Kolidas’ annual challenge starting in November.  You can find Leah here


This is the annual sketchbook challenge that is sponsered by the Brooklyn Art House Coop.  You can find them here

The Brooklyn Arthouse Coop also sponsers many other challenges.  Some that I entered are featured below:


letters to home smallphoto art response inspiration

the adventure project

Another free project that I recommend is the Strathmore art journal series.


There are also numerous challenges hosted on various blogs but my favourite was held in May and hosted by Ayala.  You can find her here


All of my widgets on the side bar represent the challenges I participated in during 2012.  They will all be removed soon to make room for new widgets in 2013

Now onto the second part of my assessment of accomplishing my goal “to incorporate more creativity and playful imaginative musings into my life for one year…and blog about it!“ Well I didn’t meet my goal. I didn’t blog consistently and stopped completely this summer.  Considering I do want balance in my life and my blog is to merely track some of my experiences…well I did track some of them 🙂  I did manage to blog for half the year while maintaining my daily responsibilities.  It’s a start so I am not going to be too harsh on myself..after all there’s always next year 🙂

All the best for 2013!

May is all about making 29 Faces


Day 26 Already!! Whoa I can’t believe it is already day 26 of this challenge.  Unfortunately I came down with a nasty flu bug and fell behind in creating more faces.  However my personal goal is to use the time and resources I have and make whatever I can during this limited time.  I’ll just pick up where I left off and keep going. So with that in mind here goes…. I took a former sketch done on Day 3 and reduced the size, printed it, copied it onto tracing paper, transferred  it onto a rubber block, and converted my sketch into a stamp.  Here’s the before and after photos.

The next face is another sketch of a stylized face.  I repeated the same process as above.  I also made another stamp using the same original image but used some type of foam material I found at the craft store.  The technique for the foam stamp was really easy.  I simply placed my image on top of the foam and traced over the lines with a ball point pen.






Next I took another sketch done on Day 3 and converted it into a stencil using an overhead transparency sheet.  I have not yet painted with it so no idea if it will work or not!






I f you are interested in making your own stamps I found many free tutorials on youtube.  All of the techniques I used and mentioned above came from free internet resources.   However if you are serious about learning more advanced techniques and applying them to mixed media work I highly recommend Monica Zuniga’s “Be Unique” stamping class.  It is well worth the money.  I have learned so many things from Moni and highly recommend taking any of her online classes.   You won’t be disappointed 🙂 You can find her here

Day 16  Vampire sketch.

Day 15  Watercolour portrait.

Day 14  Just a simple sketch done during my lunch break at work today.  It reminds me of an Egyptian pharoah.

Day 13 I added colour to the faces I drew on days 8 and 9.  Once again I copied and printed onto card stock and coloured with paints, markers and glitter glue.  These faces were also reduced in size and will be used for artist trading cards at the end of May. Fun! Fun ! Fun!

Day 12  This series of faces I call, “Make Over Girls.  They are all of the same face posted on day 3.  I reduced the original size of  9x 12 to wallet sized images, printed six copies onto cardstock, and painted each girl differently.  They will be used for an atc swap later in the month. Bonus!

Day 11   Here’s looking at you!  This face is made with water colours and pastels.  It is based on techniques introduced in Traci Bautista’s Fashionista course.

Day 9   Another clown!

Day 8

Send in the clowns!  Here’s two sketches I did of clowns.  I then printed the images out and went over the copies with markers so they would show up better on my post.  I plan to paint and embellish them at a later date.

I love clowns…traditional, rodeo clowns, and the cirque du soleil clowns and performers.  One day I hope to do an entire series of paintings, mixed media,  and one of a kind dolls based on the theme of clowns.  I’m getting a little old to run away with the circus so this is the next best thing!

Day 7

I am still not feeling well physically and “feeling a little blue” emotionally too.  Sometimes when I am not feeling well it affects my moods.  I drew and coloured this face today with crayola markers and pencil crayons. It’s a little reminder to myself that  “Blue is just a colour.”

Here’s a copy of the same face done with markers.  I have a pack of water based markers stashed away in a cupboard that have rarely been used.  I wanted to see if the colours would blend when water was added.  I’ve never tried it before so I thought now might be a good time.  It was a total disaster!  I call this portrait, The Marked Woman. LOL!

And just in case you are interested…no the markers do not blend…only wash off your hands easily…and let’s face it some art days that’s exactly what might be needed!

Day 6

Thank goodness for the two days grace on this challenge…sick all day 😦

Day 5 

Too tired for colours!

Day 4

quick sketch today too!  Looking forward to the weekend and possibly applying colour to some faces 🙂

Day 3

A few drawings I did during my lunch break at work 🙂

Day 2

A quick ten minute sketch done today.  It’s all I have time for today because I am off to a singing  practice.  This girl was drawn at the end of my work day just before I headed home 🙂

This month it’s all about making faces …29 of them!  That’s one face per day except for two of course… but who’s counting right?  Ayala from Ayala Art is hosting the 29 faces challenge.  If  you would like to play along then click the badge on my side bar and it will take you directly to the information and sign up page.  The more the merrier!  The timing for this challenge came just at the right time.  I was planning to practice drawing faces so  it will be great to join along with others and share ideas, tips, and techniques with one another.  It’s also just good to see what other people do within a limited time frame.  I personally find it rather inspiring and encouraging to track bloggers as they engage in a challenge…gets my own ideas going and motivates me.  However there is nothing like entering a challenge…exhausting and rewarding!  Feel free to join, follow along via my blog, or other bloggers via Ayala’s blog.

Day one

Tonight I made three faces on ATCs.

These three artist trading cards are destined to find a new home with Darlene over at Freeniebelle.  Darlene has some wonderful mixed media pieces and I am thrilled to be exchanging cards with her.  I really enjoy Darelene’s art.  It is colourful, whimsical, and basically makes me happy.  I will treasure her three miniature pieces of art in exchange for my cards 🙂 You can check out Darlene’s work here

ATC Exchanges and Art Challenges


This year, I set a goal to make and exchange approximately 50 – 75 Artist Trading Cards (ATCs).  Sooo…I’ve starting making some and been kept fairly busy participating in ATC exchanges and weekly art challenges this month.  Here are the ATC cards I made based on the theme “Famous Artists.”  I paid homage to textile artist, Sonia Delaunay.  I love her use of geometric design.  I submitted these ATCs for a recent exchange.

In exchange for my cards I received these beautiful ATCs: Anna’s card honors Jackson Pollock. Linda pays tribute to Richard Deibenkorn. Amy’s card features the work of Currier and Ives. Barb based her card on Georgia O’Keefe’s painting entitled, “From the Lake.”  Kay entitled her card, “After Whistler “and fiber artist RPL created a beautiful card inspired by Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.  I love them all!!

Janet the organizer of the ATC trade, sent a beautiful postcard featuring a quilt she made of  Frida Kahlo.  Here it is below.

In addition to ATC trades, I also participated in weekly challenges hosted by Art House Co op.  These challenges were offered for the ten weeks leading up to the launch of this years Sketchbook Project.   Although my intentions were to participate in all ten events, some projects filled up rapidly and sign ups were closed.  Most of the events I entered are represented by the corresponding widgets on my side bar. I have already posted about The Meal in February’s blog.  In March, I participated in The Fridge and Letters Home.  The fridge challenge was a simple activity… just take a photo of the inside of your refrigerator and send it in. 🙂  The letter home challenge required participants to craft a letter to their first home.  This proved to be a really interesting experience for me.  Initially I wasn’t sure what I would do so I started drawing a little house and before I knew it I was reminiscing about my childhood.  I drew my picture based on memories of drawings done during my early childhood.  Following the activity I did a quick search of the meanings associated with symbols used in children’s drawings and incorporated some of them into my letter.  My materials were crayons , paints, and pencil.  Unfortunately in my efforts to preserve my letter with fixative and gesso the graphite smeared across my  page.  Oh well…I grew up on the Westcoast and believe it or not I have fond memories of the rain!  I will just tell people my smudges were actually intentional to represent streaks of rain 🙂 Here’s a picture of my Letter Home.

I also entered the 4 x 6 exchange which is similar to an atc except the size is slightly larger. Here’s my picture of what I sent in.  I will post the card I receive when it arrives.

April 30th

In the past two weeks I made a few more atcs…I affectionately named them the bling bling sisters! Here they are…

I received six cards in return from Pat,Cathy, Penny, Amy, Lizzie, and Grace.

If you are interested in making and trading ATCs I recommend the following two books. Artist trading card workshop by Bernie Berlin.  This book provides wonderful visual demonstrations of techniques for ATCs.

1000 Artist Trading cards by Patricia Bolton does not feature techniques but photos of wonderful ATCs that fuel one’s creative imagination.  It is truly inspiring to look through Bolton’s book.

I also recommend ArtTrader Magazine.  It is a free magazine with wonderful tips and articles for ATCs and other art exchanges.  You can find them here 

In addition to the ATCs I participated in more challenges from the Art House Co op.  I completed a mind map for my creative life for the mapping challenge and a Brazilian carnival mask as a response to a photo of palm trees.

I also participated in the Art House Co op’s adventure project.  Participants make a video in 30 seconds or less of an adventure.  My film is of a cat day dreaming of becoming an immortal deity for all to worship!  You can find it here

Besides participating in a few visual arts and crafts activities this month I also performed in another concert with the group I sing with.  I guess my goal of incorporating more creative activities into my life this year is moving along! I am taking advantage of most opportunities that come my way.   Next month I will participate in drawing one face per day.  If you’d like to join in the link is via the widget on my sidebar.

My favourite Resources for Art Journaling…And they are FREE!


Recently a friend of mine announced her intentions to begin an art journal.  This was a new direction for her so she asked me for tips and resources for inspiration and techniques.  

Here’s my advice to her as well as anyone new to the world of art journals, particularly if one is not yet comfortable expressing themselves through the visual arts 🙂

I. Decide the purpose for your journal.  Is it for private or public viewing?  

i)  Is your art journal intended as an outlet to express your thoughts and ideas through visual representations? Will your journal feature some written text to accompany your images?

ii)  Is your art journal designed to explore and experiment with new art techniques?

iii)  Will you keep one journal or multiple journals?

iv)  Is your journal to be a keepsake or a temporary piece?

II.  Choose your supplies wisely…You could spend a fortune on new materials!

Here’s what I recommend for the newbie art journaler:

i)  Be sure to invest in a commercially prepared mixed media journal. You cannot afford to cut corners on the journal because the quality and weight of the pages is crucial, particularly in the beginning stages of your journaling experience.  There is nothing worse than pouring your energy and time into your pages and having them ruined by some unforeseen mishap. I remember working an afternoon on a page in my more expensive moleskin journal.  I was really pleased with the outcome of my hard work but when I closed the book the spine broke and my pages began to fall out.  Very disappointing!

As you become more familiar with your supplies and paper weights you will have greater control over your work. You can easily adapt papers and alter old books into journals once you are comfortable with the supplies.  But for now keep it simple, stress free and an enjoyable experience.  I recommend a commercially prepared journal such as Canson XL Mixed Media 98 lbs. 

This journal will permit you to add paint, pens, glue and other items to your pages.  The coil ring spine also provides some flexibility to the journal when the book is closed. It is a really good journal for the beginner.

ii)  If your journal is a keepsake then invest in archival inks, pens, and gel medium.  Avoid white PVA glue because it will crack and discolour over time.

iii)  Use the supplies you currently have available.  There is a strong overlap in supplies required for crafts and fine arts.  Use them all!  Some of my best supplies come from the dollar store or children’s toy and craft sections of department stores.  My favourite supplies from these stores include: children’s watercolour sets; crayons; gel pens; and white glue, particularly when I want the crackled aged effect 🙂

iv) Recycle or Upcycle: Save the greeting cards, food packages, magazines, decorative papers and envelopes that come from various sources including junk mail.  These materials can be used effectively to embellish your pages.  Here are some photos of embellishments made from the interior of envelopes and yogurt lid liners.

You can also photograph or scan your previous artwork.  Print it out and use as backgrounds and borders for future journal pages. Here’s a few photos I took over the Christmas holidays that will be used as backgrounds for my journal pages.

III. Play, Explore, and Experiment with New Techniques.

There are so many techniques and courses available on line for art journals.  Some of the online courses are well worth the money but before you spend your money check out the many free resources available. Here are my top ten free resources and sites on line to learn about beginning an art journal:

1.  Teesha Moore is certainly one of my all time favourites. Check out her video demonstrations to make a 16 page journal and learn journaling techniques here.

2. Traci Bautista hosts a free journal group. You can find more information here

3. L.K. Ludwig is the author of several books on visual journals but offers a free tutorial here

4. Susan Buckner offers step by step instructions for making journal pages here

5.  Tammy over at Daisy Yellow offers a free online course called journaling 101.You can find the course and many other free journaling tutorials here

6.  Strathmore journal online courses are available here

7.  Sue Bleiweiss offers a free pdf of a mini journal to make. It can be downloaded here

8.  Sketchbook challenge is a year long commitment to the art journal. Check out the free tutorials and challenges here

9.  Art journaling with hostess, ComfortableShoes is a free online social group with monthly challenges. You can find it here

10 . Clothpaperscissors offers free ebooks to downoad, tutorials, and a good forum to join. You can find them here 

If you are willing to invest in some magazines and book here are my top five recommendations:

1. Journal Bliss by Violette 2. Pages.  This ebook is published by clothpaperscissors

3. Art at the speed of life by Pam Carriker

4. A new interactive ejournal with many videos embedded is available at the interweave online store for the  incredibly low price of $5.00. I just purchased it and loved it!  It is called, Art journaling Exposed Volume 1 emag. You can find it here

5. Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts

Also don’t forget those Childrens arts and crafts books you can find in libraries and bookstores.  They are filled with great ideas and tips to incorporate into your journal work.  The best thing about Children’s arts and crafts books is that they often use inexpensive items and are projects are foolproof! Bonus!

Finally if you do decide to start an art journal and use any of these sites and resources to help you please write and send a photo to share here on this blog.  I’d love to hear from you and see your work 🙂