Spotted Photo: Bicycles

I'm playing along again with Hanna's Spotted Photo Theme Meme! Because, well, I have a soft spot for photographing bicycles. There is something so interesting and intriguing about these transportation devices that I cannot resist.

2015, London

2015, London

2015, Prague

2015, Prague

2014, Long beach Ca {my daughters are on the right}

2014, Long beach Ca {my daughters are on the right}

2013, Pittsburgh, PA

2013, Pittsburgh, PA

2013, columbus, OH

2013, columbus, OH

2015, Strasbourg

2015, Strasbourg

2009, Amsterdam

2009, Amsterdam

2015, London

2015, London

2012, Florence

2012, Florence

2015, Paris

2015, Paris

Just a small subset of my favorite bicycle shots!

Art Journaling is Not a Pass/Fail Course

"In art, as in life, the best way to remedy
mistakes is to take advantage of them."
Darby Bannard

This is not an art form that is about perfection. 

2011, 5x8" moleskine, ink & watercolor

"A non-doer is very often a critic – that is, someone who sits back and watches doers, and then waxes philosophically about how the doers are doing. It's easy to be a critic, but being a doer requires effort, risk, and change."
Dr. Wayne Dyer

2015, moleskine, collage

2010, altered book, collage, acrylics, ink

"No story is a straight line. The geometry of a human life is too imperfect and complex, too distorted by the laughter of time and the bewildering intricacies of fate to admit the straight line into its system of laws."
Pat Conroy

In your journal? There are no grades, no awards, no certifications, no multiple-choice tests requiring a #2 pencil. You don't get a passing or failing grade. A missing letter, missing word, an ink splotch, bleeding markers, smears, incorrect lyrics, incongruous color palettes, lack of a focal point.... whatever.  It's not like you've been hired to paint a monogram in platinum-diamond-encrusted ink on a Swarovski chandelier. Thankfully... art journaling doesn't have a million bucks riding on the outcome. 

All About Neocolor II Wax Crayons

{originally posted January 2015} These intensely saturated art materials are beloved by art journalists far & wide. Neocolors can be blended with fingers, used to sketch, smeared and dissolved with a brush or used to paint like watercolors. There are 126 Neocolor II Water-Soluble Wax Crayons, and they are bunches of fun. 

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The background for this simple journal page was scribbled with Neocolor IIs and painted with water for a dreamy look.

Here are some examples made with Caran d'Ache Neocolor II wax crayons, index cards & water. These cards do not provide the perfect substrate for mark-making and -{that}- makes for fun + free experimentation. 

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First lined card...
Left: Painted the index card with water, then drew the rainbow on top. Right: Drew the rainbow on a dry index  card, then painted with water. 

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Second lined card...
Left: Drew the rainbow on a dry index card. Right. Drew the rainbow on a dry index card then rubbed to get a softer look. No water used.

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Drew lines with Neocolors, painted with water.

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Drew lines with Neocolors, smudged with fingers. There's an errant drip of water on the top right... ignore that! 

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You can also use Neocolor IIs kind of like pan watercolor paints; use a wet brush to grab color from the crayon and paint! The result is muted, soft watercolor and extremely useful on-the-go, in a creative travel kit instead of toting around watercolor paints. I drew a mandala with india ink while the neocolory-paint was still wet. 

8 x 10" loose art journal page dated 2009; one of my early art journal pages.

The papers are edged with Neocolors.

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Neocolor drawing, painted some areas with water to soften.

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Some of the lovely Caran d'Ache Neocolor II colors {notes below on some duplicates}. You can get small sets, huge sets or get them in singles. My suggestion is to keep it simple. Unless you are planning to do entire pages or drawings using Neocolors where you would find value in a wide array of colors, 10-15 will be more than enough for art journaling. Get the colors that you LIKE and you'll use them! Random thoughts? Dark colors are lovely for adding emphasis and grunge to papers in a collage. Bright colors are lovely on black or dark backgrounds. Whites and grays are lovely for edging on dark papers. 

Some notes on particular colors.

For lemony yellow: Either #470-spring green or #010-yellow... they are similar. Chinese green is yellow but a tiny bit green. For bright red: Either #290-ruby red or #070-scarlet... they are similar. Ruby red is a touch darker. Nice-to-have: #407-sepia, #131-periwinkle blue, #160-cobalt blue , white, black.

Use them to highlight art journal pages, edge images, paint them with water for a watercolor look, draw on a wet page for intense color. If you prefer the non-water soluble type, get Neocolor I instead. The colors are exactly the same. 

PS. Neocolor I crayons work the same BUT they do not dissolve when wet. 

Here's a video tutorial: Neocolor Rainbow Mandala.

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Snowflake Mandala

“Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, 
is what separates the truly alive from those who
are merely going through the motions.” 
Tom Robbins

Started this mandala on a 97 degree summer day. I was sitting in the shade on pool-supervision duty as the girls and a friend splashed around. This is drawn on top of a page that I'd painted with gouache months ago. The mandala-work went on for days and days, round and round, until the pen ran out of ink when it was almost finished. What a treat when I saw the shine of the masked areas in the sun! 

So much art to do, all of the time:) 

PS.  My new painting workshop, Tiny Museum, launches Sept 6th!!!
PSS. Check out my interview with Connie of Dirty Footprints Studio, my first video interview.
PSS. I've started drawing/painting from reference photos with interesting results.

A Collection of Randomness

"Creativity is about play and a kind of willingness to go with your intuition. It's crucial to an artist. If you know where you are going and what you are going to do, why do it?"
Frank Gehry

An assortment of random groups/collections like squares, tiny leaves, rainbow pinwheels, dots, fans, bubbles, mandalas, ladybugs, stripes, houses and a blue nautilus. No focus on anything other than practicing brush work. Asking, "What will happen if I.....?" This might be fun to cut up for collage. Undecided. That will be a game-time decision on some future date. Gouache on 9x12" Clairefontaine watercolor paper. 

Newsletter Number Eight

Disclaimer: This image has nothing to do with the following post. 

9x12" watercolor paper, gouache

The latest Newsletter is now in your inbox if you signed up before today... if you want to get the next one automatically, pop over to the Newsletter page and sign up. It's a good idea if you prefer not to read every blog post but want to stay in the loop for the big stuff. I send one every two months or so... with updates about workshops, Zines & challenges. This one has some prompts as well! You can also read it online