I'm Tammy. 


COPYRIGHT INFO:  All content [words, photos, images, artwork, descriptions, designs] is copyright Daisy Yellow. Please use the contact form if you'd like to use content. Copying art + ideas is not cool. If you pin my stuff, please kindly attribute. Thanks!

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    California Mandalas & Index Cards

    A few weeks ago I shared a list of the art materials I brought along on our California vacation, The {not.so.complex} Logistics of Art on the Road. So these mandalas and doodles were drawn with a very small subset of my materials. I had painted the backgrounds of a bunch of index cards with gouache the day before we flew to California. These are 3x5" index cards, Sakura Gellyrolls.

    Click to read more ...



    See the bottom right side of the page? Evidence. The dangers of drawing while sleepy. I was falling asleep yet continued to try to draw an alphabet. Black ink  = Sakura gellyroll. Green ink = Uniball Signo.

    This is the first of a few posts sharing the arty stuff I did while go-go-go in California the first half of July. This is a journal I got at a book store, an inviting journal with pretty doodly waves framing each page. The journal is from Chronicle Books.

    Using a calligraphy book for drawing reference I "hand-lettered" a bunch of alphabets. The idea is not to "copy" an alphabet but to use it as a launching point and alter the letters with ideas from my imagination. So I might turn the page to see an alphabet slanted sharply and then take that and go with it. It's great drawing practice and something that you can do when you don't know what you feel like doing. Calligraphy books & books about fonts/typography are great reference tools. By the way, the calligraphy book I used is called Calligraphy Alphabets Made Easy. And of course I drew some mandalas! I am always trying to develop new ideas for mandalas, so I just let them go in whatever direction they go. Literally and figuratively. 


    Guilt-Free Creative Work

    “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”
    Anne Lamott

    string art mandala, 3x5" index card, stained with tea

    Adding art and creativity to your day will make a difference in your life. To help you do that, I write creative prompts. And I write Zines where I delve deeply into creative ideas to give you a kick-start and a reminder to keep going with your art. I run challenges like index-card-a-day because I want you to PLAY with art materials for the heck of it. Just to have fun. So whether you are a marine biologist or a java programmer or a stay-at-home geometry teacher, I challenge you to make time to create stuff. Trade off something else for art time. If you have little tots at home, set up kid-friendly art materials too; create together. You could learn to draw sprigs of cilantro. Or embroider flamingoes. Without knowing what you will DO with the thing-a-ma-jigs that you make.

    Making space {both physical + figurative} for creativity is not a guilty pleasure.

    Let there be zero art guilt from today forward.


    2014 Book List {Draft}

    The 2014 List of Possibilities, no particular order.

    Stats: {See my 2013 stats at Goodreads}. In 2013 I read 37 books. 2012: 36 books. 2011: 18 books. 2010: 31 books. There are 142 books on my TO READ shelf at Goodreads. This time last year, there were 131. Disclaimer: Books will be added + deleted. I update this list throughout the year. As you can see, this is an annual tradition at Daisy Yellow. I am posting this list again mid-2014 with updates.

    Past lists: 2009 List + 2010 List + 2011 List + 2012 List + 2013 List

    Background: This semi-annual post documents my reading progress. I look back at the books I've read, books I want to read, and update my stats. I love reading books but unless I constantly remind myself, I get busy doing other things and forget to read. It's getting to be more of a habit, which is good. In late 2012 I joined Audible and listen to books in the car; because I'm in the car too much! I'm really into scandi murder-mysteries these days.

    Arty books I'm planning to read in the next few months include One Watercolor a Day, Printing on Fabric: Techniques with Screens, Stencils, Inks, and Dyes , Map Art Lab: 52 Exciting Art Explorations in Mapmaking, Imagination, and Travel (Lab Series) and The Collage Workbook: How to Get Started and Stay Inspired. As you might have noticed, these weren't on my list of books-to-read {below} when I posted this on January 3rd. A healthy addiction?

    I've already read Keri Smith's How to Be an Explorer of the World; it's so yummy that I purchased a copy for a future gift-giving opportunity. My younger daughter and I are reading Illustration School: Let's Draw Happy People.

    a different kind of book, an altered book called The Noticing Journal

    Books to Read {or Re-Read} in 2014

    Art + Creativity

    How to Make a Journal of Your Life, Price
    Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art, New
    Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden, Ackerman
    Collage, Assemblage, and Altered Art, Maurer-Mathison
    Artist's Journal Workshop, Johnson
    Color: A Natural History of the Palette, Finlay
    The Art of Urban Sketching, Campanario
    Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms, Golden
    Raw Art Journaling, McDonald
    Rule-Breaking Quilts, Schmidt
    Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting, Bernard, Capon


    Sense and Sensibility, Austen
    all books i've not yet read by Karin Fossum {read several, 2014}
    Purity of Vengeance, Adler-Olsen {read January 2014}
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Chabon

    A Short List of Wonderful Creative Books
    {♥ = extra super duper amazingly special}

    Art + Creativity

    The Creative License and An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory
    Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself by Sabrina Ward Harrison {a journal} 
    1,000 Artist Journal Pages by Dawn DeVries Sokol 
    Kaleidoscope: Ideas & Projects to Spark Your Creativity, Simanaitis
    Creative Illustration Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists, Dunn 
    Journal Spilling, Trout ♥
    An Illustrated Life (Artist Journals + Sketchbooks), Gregory
    The Art Journal Workshop by Traci Bunkers
    Color Mixing Bible, Sidaway
    Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art, Hinchcliff
    How to Be an Explorer of the World, Smith
    Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking, Berry
    Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists, Sonheim 
    The Journal Junkies Workshop, Scott, Modler
    Artist's Journal Workshop, Johnson ♥

    Writing + Prompts

    Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Lamott
    4 A.M. Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises, Kiteley
    The Right to Write, Cameron
    On Writing, King


    Art Journal: Those Who Dream

    Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.”
    John Ruskin

    So I started working in my altered book art journal again!

    In developing my watercolor/gouache workshops I got so immersed in those mediums that I neglected my beloved acrylics. Switching between mediums is something I highly recommend! Acrylic paint is intriguing, refreshing, challenging and full of wonder and yumminess. 

    I like that you can layer the paints, so that you can cover up and completely change your pages at any time. You can even art journal over a completed art journal page. Yes. And I have. And you should. 

    This spread has involved several iterations, so many that I can't remember what it was when I started this book in 2012! The ingredients include magazine clippings, a quote, Japanese papers, papers {happy mail from Sue} fabric tape, high flow acrylics, heavy body acrylics, neocolors, ephemera. And chocolate truffles. 

    There's an in-depth article about this altered book turned art journal here ---> Daisy Yellow Zine Issue #11


    Teeny Tiny Tea Messages

    I empty used tea leaves and hang lovely little tea bags to dry on the back porch. Each brand uses different material, shapes & stitching. Some like silk with lush stitching. Others simple pressed papers. And each tea stains the paper a different color. I use them on my art journal pages and in my stitched collages just as I would paper or light fabric. I stitched these collages on 3x5" index card dividers.

    Inside? COMFORTABLE WRITER, random fabrics

    Inside? the rules, random fabrics

    Inside? ARTS, random fabrics

    Inside? DREAM. Tucked inside is a photograph of a painting I did on a wood board. The tea bag is painted so it has a blue tint. The last one was one of my index cards for the 2014 ICAD Challenge, the first in this series, technically, but you've likely already seen it. I'm keeping it with the others because the blog is also a form of documentation for me. 

    I love the imperfect tea stains.

    The fact that they are torn at random. That they can house obscure(d) messages and found poetry. That they provide a veil to thoughts, words, patterns, colors. A bit of mystery and intrigue.


    The {not.so.complex} Logistics of Art on the Road

    Doing art "on the road" requires a certified zen doodling coach, 7 strategic planning sessions and FedExing 7 milk crates of encaustic materials to your hotel. Plus the paperwork for all of the governmental permits. 

    OK maybe that's not exactly true! For me the trick is to envision in advance how I might accomplish some art. For example, there's ALWAYS time on airplane flights, so that's a goodie. But car trips... can't draw or even read b/c I get woozy. Some folks take a suitcase of stuff, with a variety of alternatives from crochet to watercolor. Others have the coolest teeny tiny watercolor kits with water containers attached. I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum because although I like having choices, I don't like to lug stuff around!

    You've got to go with the combination of materials that works for you. Each trip, you'll learn and refine the "kit" of materials to squeeze into your suitcase. After bringing along a little watercolor kit on several trips - and not using it - I know better. In fact, I find an ultra-pared down kit MORE creatively productive vs. a huge suitcase of possibilities. So I take stuff so that I can draw, sketch + doodle in some interesting fashion. 

    Here's what I packed for 2 weeks on the road:

    5x8" moleskine journal {which I haven't used}
    a dozen gelly rolls
    two black pitt pens {thou shalt always have a back-up black pen}
    a stack of index cards
    10 index cards painted with abstract gouache backgrounds
    blank, lined journal {intended as a travel journal but I've only documented the first two days}
    two rolls of washi tape
    kid scissors
    guide to calligraphy alphabets {to practice hand-lettering}

    Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to make a stitched travel journal for this trip. I just ran out of time... and that breaks a multi-year streak of travel journals. 

    Here are some of my California mandalas... drawn on 3x5" index cards with gelly rolls on a background of gouache. I'll post better photographs when I am back in front of my trusty MacBookPro, fingers zipping across the keyboard. I *did* purchase some pens while traveling, but I'll share those in a few days! I drew these mandalas and doodles on the plane, in hotel rooms, while waiting at theme parks, at a museum, at restaurants and at the beach in La Jolla! Most of the cards took less than an hour. A few were worked over the course of a few days.

    If you aren't reading the index-card-a-day challenge section, check out the cool artwork our lovely guest artists have created!

    Guest #1: Quinn
    Guest #2: Opal
    Guest #3: Natasha
    Guest #4: Mary
    Guest #5: Gretchen
    Guest #6: Teresa
    Guest #7: Betty
    Guest #8: Robin
    Guest #9: Karen
    Guest #10: Lauren



    At the intersection of synergy & compound interest

    “The most effective way to do it is to do it."
    Amelia Earhart

    How do you roll up your sleeves and DO ART? I mean, what is doing art, ANYHOW? Like if you watercolor a leaf on an index card... is that art, like with a capital A? Or is it DRAFT FORMAT ART? Maybe it's how the English language works, but I don't know what other word to use. Maybe CREATIVE OUTPUT. Almost every synonym to the word art uses the word art. ARTISTIC CREATION. One that does not is NON-TEXTUAL MATTER. Or perhaps GRAPHICS. But here's how I do art. it boils down to simply taking action every day instead of planning to take action. I don't worry too much about what art I do each day. I just work on whatever I feel like working on! Squeezing in some line-drawing, some doodle-painting, some index-card-stitching... it's all good. Do what you can when you can! And maybe skip the dishes tonight. They'll be there in the morning, unfortunately.

    Get a core set of materials in your medium of choice and EXPLORE those materials. Push your art supplies to the OUTER LIMITS. The answer is NOT more art materials.*

    * Unless of course you don't have a bunch of art materials on hand. Then the Jeopardy-style answer is "What is art materials?" So it's sort of a trick question.

    Here are some places to start:

    a) To improve your thing -drawing skills? Grab a small journal {i.e. 3x5" or 5x8"} and a black pen and draw something that you usually have with you {wallet, backpack, $1 bill, keys}. Draw that item every single day for a month. 
    b) To improve your collage-making skills? Put a composition journal or other blank journal, one magazine, some paint chips, 3 pieces of scrapbook paper, random index card artwork, scissors, a black marker and glue/stapler in a box. Use ONLY the stuff in the box to create one collage every day for a month. 
    c) To improve your face-drawing skills? Draw one face every day for a month. To get started, go to the coffee shop and start drawing people. OK just kidding, that sounds pretty scary! Instead, go through your old issues of Vogue and cut out a bunch of reference faces to work from. 
    d) To improve your mandala-drawing skills? Draw 10 mini-mandalas every day for a month. Or start a full-page mandala and make a little progress every day for a month. Don't copy the designs from pinterest or elsewhere. Invent the designs. 

    Ad infinitim.

    Don't let yourself get stuck in the quagmire of GLORIOUS possibilities. If you want to get better, to gain skill, you have to put in the time and do the work. It's not magic. It will seem like MAGIC when you look back a year from now, but it will be ALL THAT PRACTICE not magic. Limiting your materials/focus forms a constraint that pushes you to really think about what you are doing.