Tagged art journal

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Tales From The Creative Nomad Retreat

Whew!  I’m back from hosting my first art retreat – The Creative Nomad Art Journaling Adventure!

It’s been so long since I last posted here – but now you’ll know why. I’ve been WAY busy prepping for the retreat.  All my “free time” has been devoted to it.

And what an incredible ride it’s been!

The retreat was for four days with colorful, friendly and creative people in one incredible location.  

What?  THIS is my job?  I’m one lucky girl!  Dreams do come true.

Artist (and fellow art journaler) Sabrina Ward Harrison once famously wrote “Don’t take a job, make a job.”  I took that advice to heart and I’m so so glad I did.

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Our “studio” was at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.

Nearly everyone stayed at the hotel as well.  So yeah, we kind of took over.

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So here’s the “calm before the storm” – a clean workspace laid with goodies.

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But before long, it looked like this.  Creative chaos.  Yum.

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To stretch our legs and breathe in the warm desert breezes, we had a large balcony all to ourselves.  An extra 1000 square feet overlooking the Ace’s main pool.  Magical.

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We had two guides for our “art journaling adventure”.  They each led a two day workshop.

First up was the (adorable) gifted teacher Brian Kasstle.

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And the (uber-badass) talented guide Roxanne Coble.

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These two were soooooo passionate and generous.

I loved that their workshops were so different yet played so well with one another.

(I definitely did a GREAT job recruiting them if I do say so myself!  Uh huh.)

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As for the attendees…..wow!

It was incredible to finally meet some long time “online friends” and several of my creative “she-roes”.  You may recognize a few from the art journaling world.

The crowd also included a hand full of first time art journalers.  This thing could catch on ya know!  LOL.

Just look at the beauties that gathered.

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Above is my mom (life long painter/never before art journaler) Caroline Bell, my bestie Deby Scatchell (our retreat assistant/art journaling virgin) and yeah, happy me!  

Somehow, I found time to art journal while hosting the retreat!  Ah the power of pre-planning and great assistance!

(But the works in progress below ain’t mine….)

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above art journal spread in progress by Dawn DeVries Sokol

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above art journal spread in progress is by Carrie Todd

Below is a collaborative piece in progress . . . we all put something into this one!

I won’t tell you what we did with it after!  What happens in Palm Springs stays in Palm Springs.

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So here’s the class picture from Brian’s class called “Totem”.

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And here’s Roxanne’s class pic – her class was called “Adaptations”.

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We’re one happy bunch of creatives!  I loved loved loved every minute.

And while I’m still lingering in the afterglow, my heart is already dreaming of what will come next.

I’ll be sure to let you know – the ideas are a’swirling!

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Stacking Up (aka The Making of 2 Series)

I generally paint with no plan whatsoever.  Which means I have no idea of what subject I’ll paint.  I think the only time I’ve ever done that was for a class.

My plan is simple.  Choose 3 colors I’m drawn to, and add black and white.  That’s it.  Next, I begin smooshing the color onto the canvas in any way that feels good (expressive) in the moment.

I also try to keep my body moving and my head out of the game! Eventually a direction reveals itself and I go with that – until, and unless, it changes – and it often does.

So when I’ve stacked up a few paintings, it’s always a surprise to find similarities among them.  That’s how my “series” come to be.

I do recall painting the one below.  It was a dark and grey summer afternoon – a BIG storm was blowing in.  I had all the windows in my studio open to enjoy the breezes and tingly electric atmosphere.

It rarely rains in Southern California, so when it does it’s an event!

Newscasters excitedly repeated their “storm warnings” and bragged about their modern (but seldom needed) radar system.  No wonder “Storm Chaser” came into being.

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“Storm Chaser”

I remember feeling in my bones that my next way to paint was revealing itself as I blended the many shades of blue.

I was “in it” – the flow, that is.

That doesn’t always happen, but I always pray for it.

There’s no more joy-full feeling!

“Storm Chaser” framed (SOLD)

Since then, a few paintings have the same aerial feel.  As I paint, land and seascapes emerge from under my brush or fingers.  Hence, the “Bird’s Eye View” series is born.

(The painting below was four-different-paintings before this finally came!  I’m learning patience y’all.  Really – painting teaches you stuff.)

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“Thunder Island”

 

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“Indigo Harbour”

 

During this same time period (since June) another series is taking shape…..one probably influenced by my daily walks – during which I’m amazed by the beautiful vegetation in my neighborhood, or in the wetlands and beaches I frequent.

I’ve taken so many photos of flowers lately, I’m sure it is the inspiration that’s become visible on my canvases.

This series, I’m calling “My Secret Garden”.

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“Under the Willow”

 

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“Honeycomb & Fae”

 

Even my art journal pages seem to fall somewhere between the two series now.

It’s all a mystery to me.

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I never know what’ll show up!

If I’m not in love with a painting or page, I simply add another layer of paint the next day or flip the page.

Non-attachment is necessary, or I’ll make myself crazy – which is so NOT the point of creative expression.

“No worries,” I repeat under my breath.

“Breathe,” I tell myself.

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No worries.

It’s just paint.  

Let it go.  

Let it go.

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Tomorrow, I’ll share something new and exciting – I’ve been interviewed by Creative Life Coach, Jamie Ridler, for her weekly podcast!  OMGosh she’s about the most supportive and creative person I know!!

And guys – there’s 1 seat open for the upcoming art journaling retreat I’m hosting in Palm Springs in January.  I KNOW it’s waiting for just the right person…..if it’s calling to you,

Snag it here!

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A Mixed-Media Life

There’s been so many different things happening in my world lately.  It’s a mixed-media-life dontcha know!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a class with Misty Mawn.  I’d never met her, but had done her online classes.  Misty is so funny and a truly generous soul.  The girl over-delivers let me tell you – I have enough ideas to keep me busy for the next year!

The combination of story and painting is something I’ve been musing on lately.  Misty’s class dove deep into that process.  I will share more as it unfolds in my studio.  Meanwhile, here’s a couple of quick sketches and a small painting from the class.

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Tomorrow, I begin another workshop with Katie Kendrick!!  I went to one last year too – but couldn’t resist another opportunity. Katie is beyond talented!

Ya know, I have done many classes, both online and in-person.  But I dig the in-person workshops so much, I’m trying to do that as often as possible.  Being in the company of other artists touches my creative soul like nothing else can!

There’s also been art play in the journal too.  The writing journals I use are hand made by Jenni Bick and are a combination of writing and “artist” papers.  My latest has so many watercolor papers, I’ve been inspired to do more “art” than I usually do there.

A bit of paint or marker, some quick and clean collage and ta-da!

Purty pages!!

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There’s been work on the easel too.  I think my daily walks are leading to lots of abstracted flowers and nature-inspired paintings.  Here’s a new one.

"Honeycomb and Fae"
“Honeycomb and Fae”

Speaking of walks.  I believe today is day 141 of my self-imposed-daily-challenge.  Because I can never resist starting my day like this….

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As for who I’ve been hanging with, a stray kitty has adopted me.  Sigh. He’s the loviest-most-affectionate cat ever!

Too bad my mean dog won’t have him in the house.  I’m working hard to find him an inside home.  It’ll be safer for him (and the neighborhood birds).

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And well, these birds – they may be the funniest/coolest people I know!  They keep me young and maybe a bit hipper than I would’ve been without them in my life.

Yeah . . . I’m probably not ever been hip.

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Scenes From The Road

Over the past week,

we’ve roamed the Southwest US . . .

from Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico

to Monument Valley, Utah

through Flagstaff, Arizona and the deserts of California.

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I’ve spent a few days circling with friends, old and new,

rediscovering my sense of “play”.

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I’ve over-indulged my photographic

obsession with doorways and windows.

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And seen more stars in the night sky

than I EVER knew existed!

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Even piles of rubble are made beautiful

in the hands of local southwestern artists.

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My “well of inspiration” is running over . . . 

I may burst!

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I’ve seen such diverse beauty.

Sacred and profound and quiet and simple.

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I’ve hardly had time to “process” or capture my thoughts,

but I may not stop painting or writing for months

– okay, maybe NEVER!

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The “big sky” country is incredibly gorgeous.

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The hues – so deep and rich.

The architecture and decor – so magical.

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Even the food is color-full and spicy-delish!

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Icons are everywhere – appearing in art and on buildings.

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Around every bend, more beauty, more embellishment.

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Overhead – underfoot.

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Textures, both velvety and rough.

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A single art journal spread

is all that I’ve worked on during my trip,

as I focused on gathering inspiration and beauty.

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Here’s the same page AFTER 20 fellow retreat 

goers added their mark to the page!

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I’m aching to get back in the studio!

So that’s happening NOW!

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Art-On-The-Go “Kits”

I do have some mad organization skills!  That, combined with a lifelong purse obsession, a tendency to hoard art supplies and a desire to tote them everywhere is the “perfect storm”!

It’s manifested in an crazy array of “art to go” kits.  Perfect for jaunts to desert or beach, art journal picnics or attending yet another art retreat.

I thought I’d share them with you today.  I’ll put some links to various supplies in case you’re interested – and BTW the links do NOT earn me affiliate fees.  They are things I really use and love.  Almost everything can be had on Amazon.

This first kit is for “traveling light”.  I use this set up most often – it’s great for road trips or for a sketch date at the beach.

In this hand painted clutch I can fit a travel set of watercolor, a sketchbook or journal, and a zip case full of pens, tape, scissors and glue.  I also love to include my portable photo printer.  It prints pics from my iPhone and even has sticky back paper – perfect for sticking straight into my journal!  

It’s not unusual for me to pack an inspirational book – this one’s about Dan Eldon – the guy who first inspired me to art journal!

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In my world, everything is an art project.  I love to take canvas or cotton totes and alter them with paint.  I use regular acrylic paints and find they do not fade or wash out.  The flowered tote below was originally a gift-with-purchase bag from Victoria Secret – it’s at least 5 years old and hasn’t faded a bit.

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What’s organization without a pen bag?  It holds more than I really can ever use – it’s awesome!  My husband’s bag (the green one) is filled with his cigar accessories and other man gear.  No, I do not smoke cigars lol!

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My second art kit has many more supplies to choose from.  It’s the perfect “portable studio” for longer travels or for an in-person art journaling class.

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The organizer is really cool!  It has a lift out tray for sketching or art journaling in my lap – and of course being plastic, it’s waterproof.  It holds quite a lot.  In it goes tapes, a sharpener, glue, water brushes, a spray bottle of water, standard watercolors, little jars of shimmery water colors and water-soluble markers and pencils.

There’s plenty of room for a sketchbook or two – I may even throw in a guided journal like one from Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  Again, I love to carry a camera for taping in photos.  This one prints self developing mini’s similar to the old polaroid cameras.

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This final kit is full blown!  This amazing box allows me to carry everything needed for a days long painting retreat, except the canvas itself.

In it, I can carry paints, brushes, paint pens, a painting shirt or apron, an art journal (or two), a full size camera and more.  Pretty much anything can find a place.  Well maybe not the humungous inspiration book . . . it’s an incredible collection of art journal images by Peter Beard – another favorite artist of mine.

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I bound the journal to the right of the white camera myself –  it’s soft and mushy which I love.  I ripped the cover to size from one of my own un-stretched paintings on canvas.  I filled it with luscious creamy 140 lb. hot press Fabriano watercolor paper – the best paper ever made in my opinion!!

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They even make the box in other colors and sizes.  I’m seriously lusting over the turquoise one. There’s even a cool fabric one (that I will not admit to owning – uh huh).  I believe this box may have changed my life – well, my creative life – a bit, anyways!  

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Tell me . . . do you HAVE to tote art supplies wherever you go too?  Am I alone in this?  Do you go on sketching dates and art journal picnics and painting retreats?