Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Journal ~ Starring Paper Clay

Ok, so, after my informative and experiential class with Cathy Dorris (the "Queen of PaperClay"), I'm ready to get started in my brand-spankin' new journal.

My first plan is to use the "frame" I've created out of paperclay to frame my "illuminated letter" with which I start my page entries. I'm so in love with stitching things into my journal - that of course that's how I plan to insert my paperclay frame. I did push a small hole into the edges of the paperclay before I dried and painted it - but when I try to pull a threaded needle thru my teeny holes - I find the holes are too small. I once again work thru a pin to enlarge my holes, and in the process, tear the edges of the paperclay. I use my "Yes" glue to gently glue it back together, then let dry. Finally I get my "frame" stitched into place with brown button-hole twist. I liked how it accented the brown undertones in my paperclay piece.

I love how the frame boarders my letter and move on to elaborate more about the paper clay process (and actually, to honor my paperclay teacher). So I replicate, as best I can, Cathy Dorris' marvelous "Mermaid" piece and then, her "Ram's Head". I'm pretty happy with the page layout, but still find myself scratching my head, pondering how to invite readers and introduce them with my very beginning page.

BING!!! I remembered another fascinating yet, delicate piece from Cathy's Studio that would "dance" my viewers into this new journal. Cathy makes these charming wall dolls with playful metal hooks attaching their arms, legs and feet. I'd portray those happy, colorful feet, tap, tap, tappin' right into my new journal.

This set of pages just brings a smile to my face ~ playful, joyful and elegant. Love to hear your impressions - oh, and any questions you have about paperclay!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In Preparation for a New Journal ~ Paper Clay

Usually, I don't put alot of effort into planning a new journal ~ but this one I had something new and exciting (for me anyway): paper clay!! For me it's one of the coolest media on the planet right now. If you've worked with polymer clay you know the succlent colors and diverse things you can do with it, right? Well, as far as I'm concerned, paper clay is even more perfect as it doesn't require baking and it's completely organic! Yep, it's safe/good for our planet!

With this idea of incorporating paper clay into my journal, I took a private class from the Queen of Paper Clay (again, in my estimation!), Cathy Dorris ( She's warm, playful and an endless source of info on paper clay. Both of these pieces, the mermaid and ram's head are pieces from Cathy's studio. Doesn't she do fabulous work? So, here's the mess I created in just a couple hours in her studio and here's the resulting small pieces Cathy coached me in making.

You'll have to tune in for the next blog post to see what adventures I created with these lil objects. It's pretty diverse media - I encourage you to check it out for additons to your journals, your 2d paintings and heck, even sculpture!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Journal Ends ~ Rocks 'n Mountains

When the ending of one journal comes ~ I like to close with a quiet image but lofty thoughts. This particular two page spread does just that.

These two images were created in sheer joy. Working, well, more like play actually with my dear friend who pays me the compliment of taking private watercolor lessons from me had requested we work on rocks and mountains. Two of my all time favorites (maybe along with clouds and flora)!!

She'd selected an English rock wall that we started upon ~ and it turned into hilarity. We both developed the shapes with drawing and textures, aided with wax crayons. When we examined our paintings, hers only lacked in darkening the grout between the large rocks. What began with me just wetting the "trail of grout" between her rocks ended with her chasing my wet paintbrush with her heavily pigment loaded paintbrush - - like a game of cat and mouse. We both ended laughing near tears!!!

The rigid mountain peaks were a different story. On one ridge we used a white wax crayon, the other just discipline of "saving the white". The afternoon wained and so did our energy. We were most pleased with the wax crayon peak, as it leaves a fuzzy edge, more appropriate with a distant ridge. But what really helped was adding the closest, shadowy mountain, which helped establish the foreground of the far-away scene.

Ending my journal entry, my mind wandered in gratitude for such a precious friend and all I've learned from her and then, to a bumper sticker I'd recently seen and loved, "The more you know, the less you need."And on, to the next journal . . .

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Returning ~ A Friend's Visit Unfolds To Kid's Camp

OH MY ... I clearly have been missing. I send apologies, for I have not forgotten all you loyal followers nor my discipline (and pleasure) in keeping my personal blog going. But as some of you know, my now Annual Women's Journaling Alpine Retreat ( crept upon me late August. Then, the very day I returned (from an incidentally, FANTASTIC retreat) our visiting guest, the Mexican Artist, Efren Gonzalez (, arrived at our home for a near two week stay. But, w-h-e-w, I'm nearly back and partially collected. So, let us return to where I disappeared!

Last day of June a delightful friend (a previous Alpine Retreat attendee from last year) was in town visiting. She too loves to paint plein air so I set up a paint date with her and I to nest into my neighbor Mary's full bloom garden. We settled in with this upward vantage of poppies. With a lovely day and good friend chatter, I end up with this loose but happy sketch.

Later that evening we meet other friends. Following a breezy picnic, we head for the opening show at a local small theatre. If any of you have seen "Sweeney Todd" you may understand why I chose to split the ticket and position it rather uncomfortably disjointed. That was how I felt after the performance ~ an experience to remember. Well, maybe to forget ...

The adjacent page picks up in mood ~ ~ and invention. A mom who'd long ago purchased a "3-Lesson Series" Christmas gift for her daughter returned, pushing me to invent a "Kid's Camp", five days of focusing on drawing skills with some fun mixed in. Ok, I'll brave something new and challenging.

Each of the days we work on different segments of drawing (contour, value, shapes, gesture etc.) and for fun, I plan the creation of a paper doll, for which she'll invent and paint outfits/costumes. Each day I'd bring home her creations and cut them out with my exactco knife.I'm unclear who learned most from this Kid's Camp experience but my student surely looked forward to the paper doll part of the day.

When our week together was all done, I was at home picking up my workstation ... and deliberated with what to do with the very cool negative images created from the cut-out costumes. ZING!!! What if I added them to my journal as part of the daily dialogue of the week. And so this is how this page evolved ... I'm actually very pleased with it.

What you all think? Isn't it beyond belief what amazing invention is channeled thru us when we are open. That must be that "gift that keeps on giving" thing?!?!