Artist in Residence

Things are a little weird out in the world right now. Like a lot of folks during the Covid shutdowns, I have found myself with an abundance of time on my hands. To get my art fix I have turned to online classes and YouTube videos. I’ve been working on a variety of projects, and I have revisited some mediums that I have ignored for quite some time. I thought it was time to share what’s been inspiring my studio time.

My first projects were handmade books. I have been binge watching The Paper Outpost, Johanna Clough, Moonside Parlour and Amity Bloom as well as others. Give them a look see if you have time. Plus if you are having any worries about the future of our world, Nazi at Amity Bloom is pure sweetness and light.

I’ve made recycled paper bag journals, a huge Field Guide with removable watercolor notebooks to record flora and fauna and some altered book junk journals.

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I got on the mask bandwagon for a few days too, making sure that my peeps all had the protection they needed. I’m not the best seamstress, but they are cute and they work. It was a good excuse to dust off my sewing machine and sort through my fabric stash. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while.



I’ve also dipped my toe back into the mixed media world with some collage and Gelli plate printing. There are some really fun new techniques out there for your Gelli printing plate, including magazine photo transfers and alcohol ink printing.  I especially enjoyed combining all three techniques. There are a ton of videos, so search around. I used the collages and prints to make cards and book covers.

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I have taken a few really nice online workshops including Wandering Muse from Jeanne Oliver and Sketchbook Revival from Karen Abend. Wandering Muse had several lessons on drawing faces in different mediums, plus finding your artistic voice, block printing, creating an inspiration board and sculpture…. very cool stuff. She also has many free classes to get you started. Sketchbook Revival was a free course with lots short lessons on working in your sketchbook, taught by teachers from all over the world. Something for everyone!

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I’ve also been working on a few new paintings. Its been a few years since I really painted, so I’m a bit rusty, but it feels good to slow down and paint again. Here are three I’ve completed.

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And, don’t worry. I have also been spending some time outside when the weather allows. We have been kayaking as often as possible.

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Some of my other favorite instructional sites are:
Carla Sonheim
Ivy Newport
Flora Bowley
Susan Lenart Kazmer

Some of my other favorite YouTubers are:
Illustrator James Luke Burke
Illustrator Leigh Ellexson
Resin Artist Artsy Madwoman
Watercolorist Watercolor MIsfit
Journaler Ali Brown
Crazy Creative Struthless
Jack of All Trades and a Voice Like Butta TheCrafsman SteadyCraftin

I hope you enjoy some of these fabulous teachers. Sandy

Studio Assistant, Sparky

no excuses art journaling

BOOK REVIEW: ‘NO EXCUSES ART JOURNALING – making time for creativity’

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If you have ever started an art journal (or any kind of journal for that matter), you know it takes commitment!  Every time I pick up a beautiful new journal full of empty white pages I just know that THIS TIME I am going to stick with it. After all, the book is so beautiful and I have so much to say…

After a few days or weeks of diligently working in it – pouring my heart and soul into it, covering pages with gorgeous colors and textures, and making art JUST FOR ME, I get excited about another project and leave my book behind. I don’t mean to abandon it…. it just happens.

This time has been different! With Gina Rossi Armfield’s No Excuses Art Journaling – Making Time for Creativity I have been working in my new journal EVERY DAY since October 1st. I look forward to getting home from work and playing in it for a few minutes each evening! On the weekends I watercolor the pages and work on the weekly and monthly prompts. It doesn’t take long, and it is truly a labor of love. It has been such as rewarding experience, and I love to look back on my brightly colored pages and see what I have accomplished.

The NO EXCUSES website describes the process like this: Using a day planner as your art journal, you’ll find daily, weekly and monthly prompts that you can adapt to fit your real-life, busy schedule. Along the way, you’ll learn fun and convenient techniques to add sketching, watercolor painting, collage and more into your journal, all while setting goals, creating art and chronicling your unique life.


Of course, there are lots of ways to make the journal unique to you! I started out in a small watercolor journal just to see if I would keep up with it. I really loved the paper in it, so for my 2015 journal I chose a larger watercolor journal instead of a planner and I draw the boxes and dates in each week. This gives me the freedom to spread glorious watercolor all over each page!

If you have ever been interested in starting an art journal I would highly recommend this book and Gina’s process. From getting your book ready for use to inspiration each month, she really does take away the “I don’t have time”  and the “I don’t know what to write” excuses! Gina’s website also has a gallery of artist’s pages for you to find even more inspiration!

ps…. this process offers lots of practice drawing, writing and painting, and it’s a great project to use your rubber stamps and stickers again!