Why Keep a Journal

Your journal can be a memory keeper and a tool for inner exploration.  It is a receptacle for your hopes and dreams and an incubator for your creative expression.  You can create a journal meant for public consumption, as an Art Journal would be, or it can be private, a place where you can bare your soul.  You can use it to hold ideas not quite formed… a place where you can return time and time again to revisit those ideas and build on them.

In the last few weeks I’ve watched this video innumerable times.  It speaks to me.  I do bind my own journals, not exactly like these, but my intent is the same.  My journal is my friend and accompanies me as I travel through life.  A place for reflection.

Many thanks to Mary Ann Moss of Dispatch from LA for bringing this to my attention in her blog post.

I’ll show you a few of my journals next time… ’till then, please enjoy listening to the birds and visualizing yourself inside these lush images of Penland, North Carolina where Paulus and his students create their books, or as Paulus says himself… “portable studio”.

Soul’s Kitchen from TOTM Film on Vimeo

Watercolor Paint-along

I’m still on a John Singer Sargent high!

On the MFA website there’s a “Learn Sargent’s Technique” video where an artist, Monika de Vries Gohlke, demonstrates John Singer Sargent’s wet wash technique.  I watched it a few times and this morning decided to paint along.

Have I nailed it?  … not by a long shot!  But it was fun and that’s what matters.

140116jss technique

Last days at the MFA!

Road trip! …words that make my heart sing!

We set off Monday morning on a long awaited excursion to see the John Singer Sargent exhibit at the MFA… Museum of Fine Arts.  And oh what a glorious day it was!   Sunny and warm and no accidents on the highway to slow us down.  We did make a wrong turn but even that surprise didn’t ruin our day.  Google’s map girl to the rescue!  She led us through downtown Boston twisting and turning past plenty of city landmarks.

140113a Prudential

Thank goodness for smartphones with navigation.  She led us directly to the museum.

140113b MFA

It does my heart good to see how many young people were in line; the gallery was packed!


The John Singer Sargent Watercolors exhibit was everything I expected and more.  Almost 100 pieces are exhibited in the Gund Gallery on the lowest level of the Art of the Americas wing.


Museum rules prevent me from sharing the photos I took of his work but follow the links here to see two of my favorites.  La Biancheria (1910) shows laundry drying in the sun. JSS is masterful as he paints the whites of the shirts and sheets along with the shadows. Boboli (1906) is a painting of a statue in the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy.  I was completely taken by his treatment of the shadows on the pedestal.  If you zoom in to see either of these images just imagine me, my eyes just inches from the paper.  I was mesmerized.

I highly recommend a visit but unfortunately, there are only days left to see the exhibit in Boston… it closes Monday January 20th.

Of course, if you prefer, you can always see it in Houston, Texas, March 2 – May 26.  The drive may be a bit longer.  I’m sure Google’s map girl will help you too.

Sketchbook Project 2014 Finished!

I’ve been absent these last few days as I finished working on my entry for the Sketchbook Project 2014. I felt the need to paint and decorate the covers… make it a real atlas.

This was my first time using colored gesso and boy. was I surprised how gritty it was! The book just wasn’t pleasant to hold. But how to fix it? I tried many things out on one of my journal pages.  Do I letter directly? Which pen? Should I stamp? Collage?

What a mess!

140109 test page

But now I had a plan! On went the stickers and the stamped lettering, layered between coats of matte medium. StazOn is my friend. It truly is permanent… no smearing as the matte medium was brushed on.

But I still wasn’t happy. The matte medium made the book feel slightly sticky in my hand. Krylon Workable Spray Fixitif to the rescue. A single thin coat was all it needed.  Remember, this stuff can be flammable and toxic, please spray in a well ventilated area.  I did a quick spray outside and then brought it into dry on the stove with the exhaust fan on. After an hour it was completely dry.

SBP Cover

SBP Cover

I’ve had these stickers for years just waiting for the perfect project.

SBP Eiffel TowerSBP SphinxThe workspace isn’t as neat as it was before and that’s a good thing!

140108 studio

I’ve Chosen My Word for 2014

Intentions, not resolutions… that’s what it’s come down to.

Resolutions often focus on the negative, on resolving to fix something wrong, to quit something.  Often these resolutions are broken in under a week.  Sigh… more negativity.

But an intention is positive.  I will… I can!

Each year the blogosphere is buzzing with choosing a word for the year. It’s meant to express an intention for the upcoming year and become a mantra to help each of us stay the course.  In 2012 my word wasn’t a word, it was a phrase. I just couldn’t seem to distill it down to one – single – word.

If not now… when?

It propelled me to participate in the International Fake Journal Month and led me to sign up for book binding classes among other things.  It served me well.

2013 arrived and my word screamed to me!


Out with the old and in with the new. It’s been a year of change and decluttering, so much that I actually feel lighter. My quilting UFOs were weighing me down and all the fabric I was never going to use, a bookcase full, found new homes with my fellow quilt guild members. The decluttering went deep and beyond my studio and extended to divesting myself of family items I thought I’d carry around forever.  Now, a photo, a sketch and the memories of good times are enough.

So 2014 arrived and my word came to me immediately!


This blog is a stretch.  Yes, I’ll upload my artwork but writing about it and sharing a bit of myself?  Oh yeah, it’s a stretch alright.  Baby steps.


This is a year of possibilities for all of us. If having a word intrigues you but you need ideas then please take a look at the words Jane LaFazio accumulated.  Maybe one of those words will speak to you.

What’s your word for 2014?