I'm Tammy. 

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    2014 Reading Challenge

    2014 Reading Challenge
    Tammy has read 0 books toward her goal of 36 books.


    Here's the Thing...

    The goal is not to have a perfect journal sitting on the counter gathering dust. To let your acrylic paints dry up in the containers. To have a neatly aligned set of markers. To have a picture perfect art studio with twinkly lights. I urge you to find 15 minutes each day to invest/gallavant/wander in your journal. You don't need antique sapphire ink + translucent origami stencils + vintage letterpress alphanumeric rivets. Or an instruction manual. The value in art journaling is actually opening up your journal* and getting down to work.

    Here's the thing.

    Once you make the potentially life altering decision to do some art... then go ahead and do some art.

    * journal, paper, index card, whatever

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for your kind words the past few days... knowing that you are "still" reading has been an incredible lift for me. It had gotten really quiet around here and I started to question the "point" of all of this.


    9 taxis and a moleskine

    If this works* it will be my first blog post from other than my trusty macbook. I'm typing this on my mobile phone using the squarespace app. I wanted to share some sketches I did a few days ago while waiting at the airport for my dad's flight to land. There was a delay so we had about 45 minutes to hang out. The kids were reading so I looked for something to draw. Before this page was a page of mandalas and another of flowers so I thought I might draw a collection of something. Taxis pulled up, picked up tourists and whizzed away. So I had just a minute or two to draw each one. So that's the story of the nine taxis in the 5x8" drawing moleskine journal.

    Blogging is a weird thing. You can so very easily second guess yourself when comments are few. Thank you to everyone who left warm comments yesterday, to those who emailed to let me know that they were "still" reading, still listening. Your words were warmly received.

    *OK the mobile post sort of worked! I inadvertantly posted to the ICAD section, then moved it to the main section of the blog. 


    The Return of the A4 Moleskine

    “This is Fiction, and the truth is whatever you make it. You can interpret the situation in any way you want, and all of the scenarios could be real -- and what's more, depending on how you act now, any one of them could become real.”
    Jasper Fforde

    A4 watercolor moleskine, pencil, gouache

    Days after this fresh Moleskine Watercolor A4 Journal arrived, I got right down to work. In the kitchen. I know I've got the handmade Play Journal going as well, and so I'm really exploring the same stuff in both journals. The Moleskine won't have stitching, though, since I have reached my stitching quota* for the month already.   I'm exploring shapes and masking and frisket and layering and inking and penciling of paper and paint to create marks. Experimenting with off-kilter shapes and shapes that go off the page {in my imagination}. 

    Art is something that I do for fun, it's not a job. I share my art for this reason... I want to inspire people to add creativity to their days. It's not really that big a deal to keep a journal and markers in your backpack. To draw lines when you have a few extra minutes. Those lines will build until one day you want to draw a house... or sew an art quilt... or paint a bird.... how much magic might a little art inject into your life?

    Sometimes I feel like I am talking to an almost-empty auditorium where someone has a teeny mini-cassette recorder in the back. If you are still reading the blog, thank you! 

    * the stitching quote is a fake quota


    Map Love Madness № 9

    front with charcoal stitching for the top thread

    painted the reverse as well, white thread from the bobbin

     Before the paint, lots of mappy intersecting lines. This reminds me of several of the maps I did in 2012... stitched-map-on-black and the neocolor version.

    Watercolor paper, stitched to look like an {imaginary} city map, painted with gouache on both sides. Why both sides? Well... why not? When I do art with a map-theme, I study a map, any map, and remind myself of the ways that roads and bridges and rivers and intersections look on a map. Then I think of the way that streets look in my imaginary version of Pittsburgh, where I grew up. This looks nothing like Pittsburgh, of course. Because I don't really think in 3D. The streets are disorganized; no rhyme or reason to the layout other than skirting the many rivers. Imagine the streets on this map going up and down hills. Some of the intersections are bridges, underpasses and overpasses. The open spaces are city parks and green spaces.

    I bent a needle making this mappy art, which is really not surprising considering how fast I was attempting to sew. It's comforting to know that I have extra needles, should something go awry. The clue was the hyper-serious thundering noise the machine made when I attempted to make it go. The needle was so barely bent that it looked perfectly straight, but a new needle fixed the problem.

    Good books for map lovers include Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking. I especially loved the portion of the book dedicated to the compass rose on each map. Now I take note of all of the variations! The book containes a variety of map-inspired art. Also, take a look at You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination. This is a quick read; the majority of the book is maps. I'd like to have seen some additional macro views of the maps, to really see the work from an artistic perspective and not only the map as a whole. A lovely collection of quirky and interesting maps.


    The Swish of Color

    "Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated."
    Paul Rand

    When I was first started doing art in 2007, I remember posting a mandala to Flickr {then the hot spot}. A mandala drawn in ink with a watercolor background with a random swoosh of Payne's Gray on the edge of the page. Someone left a comment that the swish of bold color was a marvelous finishing touch. But the truth is that the swishy swoosh of dark paint was a spur-of-the-moment decision. An afterthought. It was not intended to make the work perfect or complete. 

    Some days... some pages.... simplicity rules. And we should have stopped before we added the 87 layers of paint. But we don't know until layer #88 that we've gone over the edge. Other days... other pages... details rule. We leave the page without depth or dimension and could have taken it a few steps further. We could have added words or colors or marks.

    exacompta journal, acrylics, collage

    Sometimes it's just that you continue to look for something to balance your collage, something to bring some harmony to the page. And we don't always know what that might be. 

    acrylics on canvas

    At times a few darker or lighter marks give the work movement or depth. Consider what would take your page or canvas from "work in process" to "finished work" and TRY that thing. You may not succeed. And then you will try again.

    mail art collage

    A quote might give a piece more definition or provide a point of focus. Do you want words on your page? What if you add words and those words look trite and meaningless? What story could you tell if only you included some words? 

    acrylic on canvas

    I hastily tore this large canvas off the wooden frame and stitched circles with contrasting thread. A finishing touch that added texture and definition. What do you NOT dare do to your art? 

    gouache on watercolor paper

    And do you leave white space, elegant well-designed, well-behaved white space? I wanted to embellish this hand-lettered list and there wasn't room on the left. So I added waves of color on the right. What could you risk by leaving more white space? Less?

    colored pencil, Art Doodle Love journal

    The doodles added a bit of fun to the circled names of my favorite artists. What could make your work more fun to do? What makes your work YOUR work?

    So the lines, the waves, the layering, the multiple mediums, the stitching, the words, the swishes, the white space, the lack thereof... remember that it's YOUR journal - your art - and it's all up to you. I guess it's like fashion! You are free to add, subtract, multiply and divide as you wish.


    Fresh Creative Prompt Cards!

    Fourteen (14) new designs! 

    This is my hi-tech inventory management system. 

    New Designs! 

    A new batch of art journal prompt cards has arrived with 120+ designs now available. Such happy little cards with colorful artsy backgrounds created from my abstract watercolor, gouache and acrylic work, with a few funky photographic backgrounds too. You will not get a duplicate* because I prepare each order individually and keep track of the cards that you get.

    What do you do with them?

    Art journal prompt cards kick-start your creative process with an array of 5-phrase prompts designed to work in harmony. Available in sets of  5 cards or  15 cards or 52 cards or even... 100 cards!

    Get a bunch!

    You can purchase prompt cards in my shop at Etsy.
    Read the rave reviews about the prompt cards in this post

    *If you get a duplicate {and have placed your orders under the same name}, just let me know and I'll make it right.


    Index Card Story Challenge

    Devise a story in exactly 25 words. Write the story on an index card.

    Post at your blog or Flickr. Post an image/link in the Mister Linky below! Challenge open until Monday March 17th! Hints: Write a good concise story, limit to 25 words, write on an index card, get the index card in focus.

    If you like working with index cards, the index-card-a-day {ICAD} challenge starts June 1! Read the ICAD FAQ to get an idea of what it's all about.


    The Play Journal Continues

    "Every contrivance of man, every tool, every instrument, every utensil, every article designed for use, of each and every kind, evolved from a very simple beginnings."
    Robert Collier

    This journal is inviting me to "come out and play" so out of curiosity I translated that into italian.

    "Puoi venire fuori a giocare?" Hopefully that is correct; one never knows with translation programs.

    This was going to be a stitched postcard for mail art but I liked it too much to part with and stitched it into the journal. And I thought about all progress in life being comprised of small steps. Everything. Every project, every page, every word, every everything.

    I left some space at the side of the painted lines to write about journaling... how I don't like to document a particular day on an art journal page, because it seems so boring when I re-read it later! I much prefer quotes or general thoughts or phrases or... lyrics.

    Printed some lyrics on a transparent type of paper and sewed to the watercolored page.

    Gouache love.

    Open, the journal is 22x7" This wide shot with the 28mm lens gives you an idea of the full width of the unfolded page. On the left, pencil and gouache; on the right, gouache plus acrylics. Mixing my mediums.

    a bit of random stitching from the reverse side, ink, gouache {tutorial}

    Still unbound. But developing nicely.

    The Play Journal

    That's the name for this super-wide journal, the one with the stitched canvas cover from this post. After toying with "the playground journal" or "the circus journal" I opted for "the play journal." I keep putting away the gouache thinking that enough is enough and then even the same day, out come the paints and brushes and I paint while standing at the kitchen counter. It's an obsession.

    I started with big sheets of Strathmore watercolor paper and cut them down to 22x7" strips. Those strips are the wide open pages, so the closed journal is 11" wide by 7" tall. A lot of page real estate for playing. I like the fact that the journal is not-yet-bound because I feel really free in my playtime. I sewed pairs of pages together at the center so a book structure is slowly emerging from this colorful stack of paper.

    This journal needs fancy schmancy hand stitching to hold it all together. It seems like a big deal, to bind a journal. But not quite yet. I like playing with it in this format for awhile before binding.

    Click here for more pix from the Play Journal.