A few weeks ago, I mentioned my notebooks and sketchbooks. I also keep a calendar-style scrapbook, using a 9” x 12” wirebound mixed media Strathmore Visual Journal as the substrate. Each two-page spread covers a single month. I glue in decorative paper, photographs, ticket stubs, and ephemera I’ve found along the way. By the end of 2013, my scrapbook documented two years of my life. It had grown fatter than its spiral binding could accommodate,…

Have you ever thought about what the phrase “You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear” really means? It’s another way of saying that you can’t make a high-quality product from poor-quality materials. Don’t waste your time and money using cheaply made, sub-standard materials; it will only cause you frustration and end with work you simply aren’t satisfied with. If you want to produce quality product, use quality materials. (If you are patient…

My first attempt at the Strathmore Visual Journal workshop exercise was less than satisfying. I didn’t like working with the oil pastels. I thought the charcoal dirtied up the page. I didn’t have gesso, so I used a semi-opaque watercolor instead. So I decided I needed a do-over, using materials that I’m more comfortable with. After all, they keep saying it’s all about the process, right? Steps from Lesson 1 I resized the sketches and…

In an earlier post, I shared my work-in-progress for the Strathmore Visual Journal Workshop 1. Picking up where I left off, I began adding other media to the now-dry collage page. Lesson 2 called for adding more layers and color to the page, such as using gesso to paint over unwanted elements, adding “under-journaling” using graphite, enhancing the depth and shape of the elements using charcoal, adding color with oil pastels, and pulling it all…

I’ve been doing an art journal workshop, which specified oil pastels in the materials list. The object is to add color while also providing a water-resistant quality in the work. I’m not a fan of oil pastels. I find them greasy and unappealing. I bought a set of Cray-Pas a couple of years ago at Cargo Largo, but I’ve hardly used them. They are just not “my thing”. Being open to new experiences, I dug…