Let that be a lesson to me…

I’ve been working on both versions of my art journal workshop exercise off and on for the past few days, squeezing in a scribble here, a smudge there, and a swipe of the paintbrush in passing.

Right now my desk is covered in supplies — my color journal and my art journal, various watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons, pens, brushes, paints, and various other implements of artistic nature. And — most significantly for this story — a jar of water to rinse my brushes.

At least, that jar of water HAD been on my desk. When I walked away from the project early last evening, I forgot to empty it. Mayhem (one of my loyal feline studio assistants) took care of that for me.

You know it’s a bad thing when you’re sitting downstairs and hear a hard clink, a soft thump, and the sound of water hitting a hardwood floor in your office above.

The damage to the desk, floor, and supplies was minimal. (The toe I stubbed on the chair in the dark, however, not so much.)

Let that be a lesson to me: empty the water jar. No exceptions!

Art Journal Workshop 1: Do-over

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?

Art Journal Workshop 1.2 - Materials

Steps from Lesson 1

  • I resized the sketches and reformatted the text and printed them out.
  • I prepped a two-page spread with a random application of turquoise watercolor, added texture, stenciled stars, and random sprays of ultramarine blue.
  • Strips of blue metallic tissue paper provided my vertical element.
  • After topping it with my sketches and text, I brushed on a light wash of my turquoise watercolor to tone down the white and darken some of the shadow areas.

Art Journal Workshop 1.2 - Supervisor Art Journal Workshop 1.2 - Lesson 1

Steps from Lesson 2 and Lesson 3

  • I added a few details and “underjournaling” in white crayon, which will provide a resist under the next layer of water-based color.
  • Using Derwent Graphitint and Inktense water-soluable pencils and an unknown brand of watercolor crayon, I added the shading in blue and purple, and highlights in yellow and green.
  • A thin application of white gouache enabled me to smooth out and re-establish the white areas, and to add highlights to the eyes. I then added more shading and color.
  • For the stars, I made a stencil using cardstock and a punch.
  • I used a blue Faber-Castel brush pen to re-darken the text.

Art Journal Workshop 1.2 - Lesson 2 and 3

Lesson 4 is still a mystery. I expect we’ll be able to access the video for it this weekend.

I didn’t do it! ACEO

“I didn’t do it!” by Allison Stein.
ACEO 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches, watercolor on Arches 140# cold pressed paper.

I posted this little darling to my ETSY shop last week. I used a combination of watercolor and watercolor pencil. The texture was created with salt. I love the expressiveness of the eyes and the color, but I do believe I’ve reached the limit of how big I should make them.

Playing Catch-Up….

Posting several ACEOs created over the past month or so. All were created using watercolor on 140# paper. I’ve posted all of them to My Etsy shop (see right column for link).

(above) “Valentine? What Valentine?”
ACEO 2.5×3.5 inches, watercolor on 140# paper

(above) “Gift From The Heart”,
ACEO 2.5×3.5 inches, watercolor on 140# paper

(above) “I Will Find It!”,
ACEO 2.5×3.5 inches, watercolor on 140# paper

(above) “Just One Sniff”,
ACEO 2.5×3.5 inches, watercolor on 140# paper
(above) “Hello in There!”,
ACEO 2.5×3.5 inches, watercolor on 140# paper

(above) “Heart, I Haz It!”
ACEO 2.5×3.5 inches, watercolor on 140# paper

Three ACEOs

Three ACEOs to ponder. All of which should be posted soon in my Etsy store.

Pretty Cleo, 2.5″x3.5″ ACEO, watercolor on 140# Arches

“Pretty Cleo” is another attempt at an image I posted a few months ago. She’s a cutie, isn’t she?


The Twilight Castle, 2.5″x3.5″ ACEO, watercolor and watercolor pencil on 140# Canson

This ACEO started as I contemplated castles and landscapes. I need to start adding more environments to my work. My imagination apparently inhabits a barren, rocky world that has specatular sunsets.



Smokey Joe, 2.5″x3.5″ ACEO on 3″x4″ paper, watercolor on 140# Canson

“Smokey Joe” started as a practice piece, experimenting with wet-in-wet on Canson paper. He’s such a well-mannered kitty.

Two Purple Princesses, 5×7

(top) Purple Princess With Orb, 5×7, watercolor on 140# Arches

(bottom) Purple Princess With Wand, 5×7, watercolor on 140# Arches

I started these two paintings several months ago, but abandoned them. They seemed weak, washed out, and a little cartoon-y. Last weekend I gave them a fresh look. I decided they needed some depth of color, some contrast in tone, and some detail. So, I darkened the darks, built up some depth in the shadows, and added some detail to the face and dress.

They are still in search of a name. She’s still in search of a name. For now, she’s known as the Purple Princess, even though the one with the wand is a little misshapen, like a fairy godmother who has seen better days.