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. 


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. 


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. 


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.


Drew lines with Neocolors, painted with water.


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


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.


Neocolor drawing, painted some areas with water to soften.


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.


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

Tiny Museum, a Peek into my New Abstract Painting Workshop

A fresh video peek into the new Tiny Museum Workshop. This is a brand new workshop where we will work with gouache or watercolor to create tiny abstract works using a variety of painting techniques. My goal is to inspire you to experiment with your art materials, to get immersed in the process of painting. 

Watch at Vimeo or YouTube

Tiny Museum launches on September 6, 2015. 

We'll go on a treasure hunt for inspiring ideas and create tiny abstracts with watercolor or gouache paint. I'll share ideas galore in a warm, nurturing environment. You can work in a taped, wire bound, handmade or store-bought bound journal with watercolor paper. 

Get information about all available Daisy Yellow Workshops.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Save $10 or more thru
September 2 on Tiny Museum registration.

All workshops include a 24-page supporting document about the art of watercolor/ gouache, with tips on selecting colors, creative examples and a list of sites for reference as you gain experience and want to learn even more.

Tiny Museum: $35 {$10 off }
Watercolor Playground: $25
Painted Paper Paradise: $39 {$10 off}
Watercolor Playground + Painted Paper Paradise Combo: $54 {save $10}
Tiny Museum + Painted Paper Paradise Combo: $62 {save $12}

Select one option:

If you'd like to take ALL of the abstract watercolor/gouache workshops {they are all completely different!} register for the triple-pack! That's Watercolor Playground, Painted Paper Paradise & Tiny Museum: $75 {save $24 off sale prices}. All workshops include a 24-page supporting document about the art of watercolor/gouache, tips on selecting colors, creative examples and a list of sites for reference as you gain experience and want to learn even more.

Each workshop is taught via video tutorials posted on a private blog. Upon registration, you'll receive a login and password for each workshop. Please allow up to 48 hours to receive your login/password information. You'll need internet access and a high speed internet connection to view the videos. The workshop will be "rolled out" over the course of two weeks. You'll then be able to access all of the materials through December 2017. I will participate in the Facebook group and respond to questions and add inspiration & ideas:) FB access is NOT required to take the workshop. Please note that workshop fees are non-refundable.

What materials will I need? You'll need watercolor paper, tubes or pans of watercolor or gouache {which is like opaque watercolor, better for layering colors} paint and a few watercolor brushes. A detailed material list is available upon registration. 

Facebook/Flickr Group? Yes! The group will be a space for you to share the work that you create for the workshop. I'll send a link to the secret FB group so that you can join if you so desire. On Flickr, the group will be combined with the group for Painted Paper Paradise.

Feedback from Watercolor Playground and Painted Paper Paradise workshop participants:

"I have never had any formal art training and have always felt deficient for this, and also a yearning to study art. Your tutorials are simple to understand and follow, you give clear and practical guidance and all videos are professional and fun to watch. The system you've developed of sharing and supporting work via the FB page is an excellent way of gaining insight into others techniques, styles and interpretations of projects you suggest. Emphasis is put on the process, practise encouraged and also exploration. You teach vital skills to understand the properties, potential and limitations of working with water colour and emphasise the delight of discovery and free expressive painting. I feel indebted to you, as you reignited my creative flame and gave me an outlet for this vital self expression." 

"Thanks, Tammy for such a wonderful & positive experience in your Watercolor Playground and Painted Paper Paradise workshops. As a loyal member of Daisy Yellow for quite some time, I am always inspired by your work, your talents and your ability to teach, coach & mentor in a way that is easy to follow and understand, no matter the difficulty of the technique to be conquered. I will continue to recommend any of your workshops with high marks!" 

"I’ve been a fan and follower of Tammy/Daisy Yellow for many years and recently completed her Watercolor Playground Workshop. Tammy has a fun and playful style of teaching. She manages to make you feel like YOU can do this. I’ve always felt intimidated by watercolors-but after taking Tammy’s class-the apprehension has been kicked to the curb! (and I love the music she plays during a time lapse segment) Thank you Tammy-for creating this class and sharing your passion and inspiration. It’s contagious :)  You are a treasure!"

"What I love about your videos so far, is that because I have a smidgen of knowledge I love how your exercises are teaching us basic steps of controlling the paint without making it boring.  We end up with something that is cool to look at and can be used.  I don't know if teaching comes easy for you but I would say that you definitely have a knack for sharing in a creative and interesting way!  I have learned a ton just watching your videos and can't wait until I dip my brush into water and some beautiful paint.  Now maybe I will get those expensive paints I bought out and take them for a spin."

"I really enjoyed this exercise and I am finding that the exercises are really helping me to practice mixing my paint with water to get the right intensity of colour."

"I can't tell you how much I enjoyed doing these pages. My only other attempt at doing watercolor was based on learning from a book, and it was so abysmal I put it away and never got back to it. Thank you so much for these brilliant ideas/exercises, Tammy! I am hooked on watercolors."

"Thank you for making watercolor fun! I was getting too stressed trying to get things to come out like the original picture in other watercolor books. I wish I started with this class first before trying to learn from books."

"I loved doing this and find using watercolours oh so relaxing! I know I will be using this technique A LOT in my journalling to come. I love the rawness and roughness of your work Tammy." 

"Tammy, you created such a delightful and fun class for us to learn in and I now have a new "love"!!! Thanks so much for sharing your passion with us all!! It has been so refreshing."

"Your class was like no other I've taken. Maybe because I was so keen on learning how to paint with watercolors, and you really instructed us! I learned so much."

Get information about all available Daisy Yellow Workshops