Saturday, May 31, 2014

28 April 2014 Journal Pages

I removed the cards from the plastic envelope so you can get a better look:

“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Friday, May 30, 2014

May Collage Sheet of the Month Club

Thanks to everyone who signed up for my April Collage Sheet of the Month! I'm very excited to share with you the collage sheet for May.

You can sign up on a month by month basis (I'll announce when the new sheet is ready on the blog.) You'll receive via email a digital, high resolution PDF file of an 8 1/2 x 11" page collage sheet (of the 8 1/2 x 11" image shown but without the art supplies around it and at a much higher resolution) You can download your sheet, save it and print it out as much as you'd like. 

Please allow up to 24 hours for me to respond to your order.

This collage sheet is exclusive to the Collage Sheet of the Month Club and is only available here (it will not be passed out in classes, etc...).

You can order May's sheet for $4:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Empty Montana Markers Full of Candy Colored Goodness

It's no secret that I love pens and markers. When I find something that I love, I tend to fall hard and fast for it. 

I've been experimenting with empty paint markers off and on for the last couple of years now. I've tried a few different brands and hands down, the best (so far) are the empty Montana markers. My main problem with the Molotow markers is that I had one "eat" the tip when I pumped it on scrap paper, I must have pushed it so hard (which I don't really push them that hard but whatever I did was enough) that it fell back into the barrel of the pen. Now, I'm recommending the EMPTY Montana markers. I don't love the Montana inks that much but their pen design is fantastic. They're too chalky (for lack of a better word) for me. My favorite paint marker is the water based Sharpie paint markers (especially the extra fine tip ones.)

You don't have to take the metal ball out. I'm just showing you the marker components.

If you've never used a Montana marker, you should know that the pen screws counterclockwise. Confusing at first but you get used to it. Don't lose any of the pieces that are in it. You unscrew the pen. Then take your fingernail and pop out the little piece of plastic that is at the top of the barrel (see photo above.) Leave the little metal ball in there. Before you fill the pen, shake up the ink or paint that you will be pouring into the barrel. Fill up the barrel about 3/4 of the way (do NOT fill it up more than that. This enables you to shake the ink in the pen. Some ink will settle so leaving this space is important.) Pop the little plastic piece back into position. Make sure it's pushed down tight like it was before. Screw the top of the pen back on. Put the cap on and shake it to get the ink moving. Take the cap off and on a piece of scrap paper, pump the tip up and down to get it flowing down through the tip of the pen. You may need to pump and shake a few times to get the ink going (ALWAYS shake with the cap on unless you want ink splatters all over you and your walls.)

Not only have I been experimenting with different empty markers and pens but also different inks and acrylics. I've created a two page color chart of various pens and markers testing them across plain white cardstock, coated black paper and handmade paper so that you can see how each ink works on the different surfaces. I've also told my students that if they're not sure if a pen will work, test it on a similar piece of scrap paper first. ALWAYS TEST YOUR PENS before using them on your artwork! Keep a piece of scrap paper handy. I can't stress this enough:

Each pen will do something different based upon the kind of pen/marker it is, the surface that you are using it on and the ink/paint that is inside of it. 

Inks and Acrylics Tested (letter grade next to each brand*):

Higgins-my least favorite. Very watery. The color is barely there. Don't like how it flows in the marker.  F

Dr PH Martin's Perma Draft-*LOVE* this ink (best on light color, uncoated paper.) This is an old bottle that I've had for several years. Dr PH Martin's has always made great inks. A

Liquitex Ink-So far, I am frustrated with the Bright Gold (opaque). It's not flowing through the pen even after pumping and shaking the pen. The Deep Violet (transparent) works fine but the Bright Gold isn't working flowing right in the pen. C

FW Acrylics-Another fine maker of inks. Flows well in the pen. Yummy colors. A

Golden High Flow Acrylics -Great colors that flow in a pen. Keep in mind that these are transparent colors. A

Noodlers Ink- Not shown. Works great on light color paper. Does not come with a dropper. B

*The grade reflects how the ink worked for me in the pen as well as on paper. 

This page is full of "as is" paint markers. I didn't fill them with anything special. They are the paint markers (all extra fine or fine.) Top to bottom:
Water based sharpie extra fine
Montana Fine and extra fine
Molotow Fine and extra fine

Overall? When I want a paint marker (not a gel pen or my trusty Rapidosketch) I still reach for my water based sharpie paint markers first. If I was heading to the store in search of a new color, I would buy Dr PH Martin's, FW Acrylics and Golden High Flow Acrylics before any of the other inks. I also have bought Molotow refills and poured them into empty Montana markers. Just remember, it all depends on what YOU want and need. 

My favorite white marker? I buy either the Molotow or Montana white refills and put it in a Montana marker. The white water based sharpie gets too watery over time (this ONLY happens with the white markers.)

I color the end of the markers (see the top picture) with whatever color is in the pen. I also label the side of the pen with a piece of tape stating what kind of ink/acrylics it is and the color.

If the ink that you are buying to fill your pens with doesn't come with a dropper or the nozzle won't fit the barrel of the pen, buy a few empty droppers. It will make your life so much easier (all of the inks above came with a dropper or were easy to pour *except* the Noodlers ink. I should've taken a picture of the contraption I rigged up because I didn't have any droppers on hand.)

If you use the Golden High Flow Acrylics, only pour a little bit at a time. If you pour it really fast, it tends to flow quickly and it can spill. Just be careful with it.

Make sure that the inks or acrylics that you are using are fluid like. You don't want to use anything too thick in the pens (regular acrylic paint is too thick.)

I use my paint markers on paper (of all kinds), tape (of all kinds), transparencies, canvas, dried acrylic paint and mediums.

Always make sure that your surface is completely dry before you use a pen or marker on it. 

Always make sure that you cap the pen tight when you are done.

Store your pens flat and in a cool place (don't leave them near a heater.)

Shake and pump the markers before you need to use them. This will get the ink flowing. Remember, inks and paints settle so this gets the pigment moving.

If you buy the fine or thicker paint markers, you can use them on your rubber stamps as ink pads, too. Just make sure that you clean them immediately afterwards.

One funny story, I bought the empty markers at a few local L.A. art stores. I had the same reaction at almost every store I went to! The looks on the employees faces when they realized what I was doing was priceless. I love watching others get excited about new possibilities with art and art tools!

I hope that this has been an informative post. I do NOT work for ANY of the companies. I work for my students, my family and for me. All of the products above were bought, paid and tested by me. I have NOT been compensated for this post.

You may also be interested in:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

28 April 2014 Journal Page

I'm in full prep mode for my summer workshops. Writing up handouts, buying and prepping materials, etc... I'm a bit behind on that new pen post that I promised you but I hope to have it very soon. Thanks for your patience. 

Last night on Instagram, I posted a page in progress. I spent a (rare) two hours working on it. It was a sad and frustrating day yesterday and nothing was working out right. I finally dripped ink on the page and hated it. I took a baby wipe to it and started rubbing and wiping it off. Hated it some more. I took scissors to it and started scratching into the page. Interesting. It's still a work in progress (I'll share it on the blog when I am finished.)


If you don't know, I post my in progress pages on instagram and the finished pages eventually get posted to the blog. I post all of my pages to encourage folks that if I can do it, so can you!

“this is my life. it is my one time to be me. i want to experience every good thing.”-Maya Angelou

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

27 April 2014 Journal Pages

No flaps or extra pages added here. Instead I added a tag, collaged on both sides and tied it to the thread that holds the book together.

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."
— Walt Whitman

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Art Journaling with Friends

An excellent way to spend the day.
"Life should be an aim unto itself, a purpose unto itself." -Montaigne

Saturday, May 24, 2014

24 April 2014 Journal Pages

The top flap lifts up to reveal the secrets on the other side.

A few new books and DVDs that may be of interest to some of you (I don't have any of them yet but I hope to soon!):

The Art of Neil Gaiman by Hayley Campbell


Genius, Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth


Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Catherine Jones DVD

Thursday, May 22, 2014

23 April 2014 Journal Page

I'm often asked if I make color copies of my images before I use them. Rarely is the answer. My exceptions are if there are images on both sides of a page that I absolutely adore. Then I'll hit the copy shop but mostly I try to make it work without having to make copies. If I want to use an image again later on, I can always make copies of my journal page and rework it. I've also used parts of images so I may get a full image on one side and half or a quarter of an image from the other side. I always make it a point to look at both sides BEFORE AND AFTER I cut up a page. You never know what you will find!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pen and Marker Tips

22 April 2014 Journal Pages and Pockets

I often receive emails from folks who have questions and pens about markers. I've compiled a little tip sheet that I hope helps:

1. Make sure that your surface is completely dry if you're using acrylics or acrylic mediums.

2. If using watercolors or watercolor crayons, go over the surface (when you are finished and everything is dry) with a thin coat of gloss medium to seal the watercolors and give it a surface that has some tooth. Keep the application thin and you may have to work in small sections so that the watercolors don't mush around.

3. Keep an even hand. I've noticed that a LOT of folks are heavy handed with their pens. The ink should flow from the pens. 

4. Keep a piece of scrap paper that is uncoated nearby so you can test your pens on it.

5. Test your pens on similar color/kind of paper before you use it on your artwork that way you can see if the color is what you want and if the pen/marker does what you want. 

6. Keep your pens capped and stored flat when not in use.

7. If you are using a paint marker, shake (always with the cap on) the pen and pump the tip up and down on scrap paper to get the ink flowing.

8. Keep the pens in a cool, dry place (away from heat or anything that will dry them out.)

My List of Favorite Pens can be found here (there are lots of links in this post.) I also added some tips for using my favorite pen, the .35 Rapidosketch to this post.

My List of Favorite Supplies can be found here (as well as a small button on the right hand side of this blog.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

21 April 2014 Journal Page

Sorry if anyone had trouble trying to sign up for my Fremont classes. I don't know why the buttons stop working like that sometimes. It should be fixed now.

I've been reading Anaïs Nin's earliest diary, Linotte, the past several days. It's definitely a far different read than her later, more famous diaries. It's still a glimpse into the heart and mind of a young girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century. She doesn't sound any different than most young girls that age would sound in their journals. 

"My diary knows my thoughts as well as I know them myself."-Nin

You can read excerpts of the Linotte journal here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

20 April 2014 Journal Pages

WonderCon 2014 Adventure Post is here.

The glassine envelope contains business cards from Genevieve Santos and Jessica Grundy


I have two classes left in Southern California before I start trekking around the country for my summer classes. This Saturday, I'm at 1450 Ocean in Santa Monica and in June, I'm at The Word is Art Gallery in Culver City. My Fremont classes are quickly approaching and filling up. You can find out more about my summer classes (NY, MA, CO, NM, and AZ) on my blog here. I hope to see you there. If you're not local to any of these classes, I also have online classes including my new class, Ways of Seeing. You can see the links to all of the online classes on the side of my blog.

Blog Love:
Damn Good Creativity advice

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Thoughts

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about." -Rumi

Saturday, May 17, 2014

20 April 2014 Journal Page

"The art of living is based on rhythm — on give and take, ebb and flow, light and dark, life and death. By acceptance of all aspects of life, good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, the static, defensive life, which is what most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, ‘the dance of life,’ metamorphosis. One can dance to sorrow or to joy; one can even dance abstractly. … But the point is that, by the mere act of dancing, the elements which compose it are transformed; the dance is an end in itself, just like life. The acceptance of the situation, any situation, brings about a flow, a rhythmic impulse towards self-expression. To relax is, of course, the first thing a dancer has to learn. It is also the first thing a patient has to learn when he confronts the analyst. It is the first thing any one has to learn in order to live. It is extremely difficult, because it means surrender, full surrender." -Henry Miller

Thursday, May 15, 2014

14 April 2014 Journal Page

“One advantage in keeping a diary is that you become aware with reassuring clarity of the changes which you constantly suffer and which in a general way are naturally believed, surmised, and admitted by you, but which you’ll unconsciously deny when it comes to the point of gaining hope or peace from such an admission. In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today, when we may be wiser because we are able to look back upon our former condition, and for that very reason have got to admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance.” -Franz Kafka

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Journey Into the Self

I call this journal, "Journey into the Self." 

I like to name my journals after bits that I find within their pages. There is a small bit of a Rumi poem on one of the pages, "Unfold your own myth." Wheels churned. Another bit of Rumi popped into my head: “And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” Light bulb.

Our journals are our journeys into the self. They are our places where we unfold, become and discover. We give birth to ourselves repeatedly on the pages. We push and pull. They are bits of us and they are us. 

Blog Love:
This site is stunning. Lots of images but some are NSFW.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

12 April 2014 Journal Page

This is the last page in my Breaking Open: A Precious Journey Journal. I hope that you've enjoyed seeing the pages. I'll be teaching this class a couple of times over the next few weeks (Northern California, Los Angeles and Colorado.) You can find out more here

I'm teaching a rare painting class this Sunday at The Word is Art in Culver City. We'll be experimenting with a variety of wet mediums (gouache, watercolor, masking fluid, watercolor crayons, paint pens and more) and creating a little book at the end. More here. You can sign up here.
I am working on a new pen post that I hope some of you find to be of use. I've been a bit obsessive about these pens lately and hope to share the info with you within the next week or so. We'll be using them in my class this Sunday. This is when I get to pretend that I'm a "Mad Scientist" with my pen ideas. Yeah. I already know that I'm weird but at least I have fun experimenting and sharing it with you.

Blog Love:
Strawberry Popsicles with Greek Yogurt (It's in the 90's this week in So California.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Loveland, CO Workshops July 18-20th


I will be offering fresh, new workshops teaching a variety of NEW bookbinding, collage, creative processing, self expression, composition, design, layering, mixed media painting and much, much more.
My workshops are always process-based learning while creating a unique product. I am well known for not traveling light and bring a large variety of supplies including (but not limited to) collage material, rubber stamps, stencils, pens, markers, tape and more. There is a small supply list below each class description.
Interested in signing up? Please click here. Questions? Please email Kelly for more info!

The Schedule is:

Friday, July 18th
Discovering My Truths: Lessons in Bravery
Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

followed by
The Painted Book: An Exploration in Layers
from 3 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 19th
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Layers of Me: A Lesson in Unraveling

Sunday, July 20th
10 to 2 p.m. 
Breaking Open: A Precious Journey

A Closer Look at the Classes:
 Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 Discovering My Truths: Lessons in Bravery

There's always something delightful about holding a book in your hands and turning the pages. Imagine if that book was created entirely by your own hands. Prepare to make magic! You will explore luscious layers of paper, pen, expressions of the self and much, much more in this four hour workshop.

Supply list: scissors, small selection of favorite collage ephemera, bone folder, cork back metal ruler, roll of waxed paper, roll of paper towels OR an old rag, permanent black inkpad,  1" brush to glue (I like chip or bristle brushes), a few of your favorite glue sticks, an old catalog or magazine to glue on (if you don't want to use all of your waxed paper for this.)
 followed by 
 from 3 to 7 p.m.
The Painted Book: An Exploration in Layers

By popular demand, I'm teaching a brand new mixed media class. Roll up your sleeves, don your aprons and prepare to get messy! We'll explore a variety of mediums including watercolor, gouache, and much, much more. Create richly painted pages which you will assemble into a canvas covered book. Learn new ways of exploring color and layering in this unique four hour workshop.

Supply list: Apron, tacky glue, scissors, bone folder, cork back metal ruler, roll of waxed paper, roll of paper towels OR an old rag, permanent black inkpad, and 1" brush to paint and glue (I like chip or bristle brushes).
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Layers of Me: A Lesson in Unraveling

Small bits of paper and the boxes that contain them have always fascinated me. In this special eight hour workshop you will create your own treasure: a deck of cards completely unique to you and a sturdy box to keep them in. We'll be learning a wide variety of techniques in this class including (but not limited to) art journaling, self expression, collage, composition, design, pen work, and much, much more.
*Students in Layers of Me have the option of making (along with their box) either a deck of cards or a small paper book. When you sign up, please let me know which you would prefer to make: a deck of cards or a small book.*

Supply list: 3' of your favorite ribbon (if you have it), scissors, small selection of favorite collage ephemera, bone folder, cork back metal ruler, roll of waxed paper, roll of paper towels OR an old rag, permanent black inkpad,  1" brush to glue (I like chip or bristle brushes), a few of your favorite glue sticks, an old catalog or magazine to glue on (if you don't want to use all of your waxed paper for this.)

 Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 Breaking Open: A Precious Journey

Peel back the layers and prepare to discover new possibilities on your pages. Learn how to use your new, made by you art journal to experiment in a wide variety of techniques that can be applied to any art form. Learn color, composition, design and more as you fill your pages with unique expressions of your self.

Supply list: tacky glue, scissors, small selection of favorite collage ephemera, bone folder, cork back metal ruler, roll of waxed paper, roll of paper towels OR an old rag, permanent black inkpad,  1" brush to glue (I like chip or bristle brushes), a few of your favorite glue sticks, an old catalog or magazine to glue on (if you don't want to use all of your waxed paper for this.)

I hope to see you there!