Frederick Franck’s Big Ten

I’ve been a huge fan of Frederick Franck ever since I discovered one of his books, The Zen of Seeing: Seeing Drawing as Meditation. This book has moved with me many times; the spine and cover are quite faded in spots.

The contents will never fade; they’re as relevant today as they were when they were written. I’m not the only fan, just the other day a friend shared Franck’s ten commandments from his long out-of-print book, The Awakened Eye. As with all interesting quotes, I documented them in my journal!

Like Frederick Franck, I believe everything and anything is worthy of being truly seen, even for a few short minutes.

If you’re interested in a text version of these ten commandments or learning more about Frederick Franck and The Awakened Eye please check out this wonderful website. There’s a lot to explore!

L is for Lettering (Blogging A to Z)


This quote has resonated with me ever since I first saw it on Roz Stendahl’s blog.  Please see her take on her mentor’s quote and be sure to read the last paragraph…  you won’t regret it!

Lettering quotes in my journal is meditative.  It takes time, time to reflect on how the words are a part of me.  Time to reflect on the soul of art.



Happy New Year!

Another bit of inspiration from Neil Gaiman’s Journal, this time from 2007.

And now it’s in my journal too.

2015 Gaiman


“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

— Neil Gaiman

Thoughts for the Eve of the New Year


From Neil Gaiman’s Journal 2011… transcribed into my 2014 journal. I couldn’t have said it better.

2014 Gaiman


“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and for all of us, and for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

—  Neil Gaiman

Journaling Current Events

Are you having trouble coming up with an idea for a journal entry? Are you looking for journal prompts?  Sometimes the best ideas can be plucked from the news. It can be as simple as adding an image, as in my quick take on Monday’s Super-Moon.


Along with my soluble ink and watercolor wash I used a bit of Titanium White gouache for the moon. Nice and opaque… I’m liking that.

And today is the third annual World Elephant Day. A little web search found a host of activities going on… too bad the day will soon be over. Instead I created my own homage. A few years ago I inherited a lovely book, The Eye of the Elephant by Delia and Mark Owens; it tells the personal story of the authors’ quest to save the endangered elephants of Zambia. I’ve always loved their cover image… to me elephants really are the soul of Africa. My copy of it became a way to remember how treasured they should be.


And then there’s Robin Williams. As one who’s had friends and family members who suffered with depression, and ultimately suicide, my wounds go deep. There will be pages. Reflections, maybe even images.

Quinn McDonald said it well today.

None of us knew Robin William’s suffering, but we know that silence is a killer. Our culture doesn’t approve of any perceived mental weakness, and the more the secret of depression is kept, the bigger the horror of it grows.

Allow the pain in your life to speak. Give your friend, your relative, your lover, your partner the gift of the question that heals: Why do you suffer so?

If you know someone who needs to talk, or if you do, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255). The group is a series of 163 crisis centers in 49 states. Your call is confidential.

Think You Can’t Paint? Just Try the Waterlogue App!

Have you ever taken a photo and said… “I’m going to paint this scene after I’m home!” … and then never did?

Well, that’s TOTALLY my M.O.! So many photographs, so little time! I took this photo of shorebirds on my recent trip to San Diego. (I tried looking them up… are they Marbled Godwits?)  I was definitely going to take my watercolors out and paint them.

Marbled Godwit

BWA-HA-HA!!!!!     … that was a month ago.

Enter the Waterlogue app. First off… you’ll need and Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 7. The two creators, John Balestrieri and Robert Clair are working on a version that will run on a desktop/laptop Mac running OSX but it isn’t available yet. And sorry, you Android folks are out of luck.

Waterlogue will allow you to choose from 12 algorithms and paints an image as you might, sketching first, then painting light to dark.

Click each image to enlarge.

Waterlogue - Natural

Waterlogue – Natural

Waterlogue - Bold

Waterlogue – Bold

Waterlogue - Luminous

Waterlogue – Luminous

Waterlogue - It's Technical

Waterlogue – It’s Technical

Waterlogue - Travelogue

Waterlogue – Travelogue

Waterlogue - Rainy

Waterlogue – Rainy

Waterlogue - Illustration

Waterlogue – Illustration

Waterlogue - Soaked

Waterlogue – Soaked

Waterlogue - Shallow

Waterlogue – Shallow

Waterlogue - Color Bloom

Waterlogue – Color Bloom

Waterlogue - Fashionable

Waterlogue – Fashionable

Waterlogue - Blotted

Waterlogue – Blotted

I’m rather fond of Natural and Color Bloom but each choice is amazing!

Is it original art? No, after all, it’s still a copy. Will I give up my watercolors? Heck no! But this is so much fun just for the immediacy of it, I envision using it as a model to emulate with my brush and paints.

It’s the best $2.99 I’ve ever spent! Find it in the App Store and prepare to lose yourself as you play. Isn’t that what art’s all about anyway?

Stephanie Reininger – Watercolor Demo at Long River Studios

Saturday, April 19th was the date of World Wide SketchCrawl #43! Coincidentally, I went to an artist demonstration at Long River Studios, a gallery in Lyme, NH that specializes in works by local artists. Hmmmm… two birds, one stone?

Long River Studio

Stephanie Reininger, a watercolorist, demonstrated her loose and expressive style for a group of avid admirers. I did a quick gesture sketch to document my day and then settled in to absorb her fluid watercolor technique and try to grasp as much technical information as possible.



S.R. Palette


Thank you David and Lisa Chelone for bringing this unique experience to your gallery!  We all were blown away by your open and welcoming friendship, and of course, the awesome blueberry buckle!

And special thanks to Stephanie Reininger! You’ve inspired me to work larger and outside my beloved sketchbook!

S.R.5One last thank you… to Michelle Goldsmith, who spied the advertisement and gave me a quick email!  You’re the best!



More EDMs and a New Challenge

140227 edm17I’m still working on my EveryDay Matters Challenges.

140304 edm16There’s never an excuse for not having any inspiration for drawing; the EDM list is long and varied. So I figure… if one challenge is good why not another? I just found Journal52. One prompt and a little inspiration each week… check out the blog to see what has been suggested this far.

140303 j52-1I’m not much of a mixed media artist so I’m doing it my way. Am I behind? You bet but I’m undaunted; catching up is fun!





Watch… Then Draw.

I’m a big fan of an artist from the Netherlands, Koosja Koene. She’s a prolific artist and blogger, teaches online classes and submits recipe pages to They Draw and Cook. She is one busy woman! I really love her short drawing videos she uploads on Tuesdays, appropriately named:  Draw Tip Tuesday!  They’re so much fun and her enthusiasm is infectious!

Last week I spent an afternoon with Koosje and my watercolors.  I watched her paint an orange and then tried it myself.  It’s not really a paint-along technique since her videos are greatly sped up but it’s helpful to watch her technique.  I’ve nowhere the skill as Koosje but I’m still rather pleased with my first attempt.

140202 orange

I then watched one on Do It Yourself Postcards.  She divided the page and drew small simplified thumbnail sketches of shirts… all types of shirts.  Koosje colored them with colored pencil but I chose to use watercolor.  I might try her suggestion to paint a collection of shoes next time… or even handbags.  Goodness knows I have TONS!

140131 shirts

She’s a wealth of knowledge and inspiration and her videos are a sure bet to kick you out of the winter doldrums.

Koosje’s collected videos can also be found on her YouTube video channel as well.  There are over 50 but they’re short.  If you have self control you won’t have to watch them all in an afternoon like I did! 😉

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