Month: June 2012

Mixed Media Art: Phone Lines and Birch Trees

This is my most recent mixed media painting. I was commissioned to create something with blues, greens, and yellows, but other than that it was up to me. At first I was stumped. Whenever I take a break from painting sometimes it takes a minute to get my creative juices flowing. However, even in my most stumped states I generally have a rough concept… but even that was lacking in this painting.

After putting it off for awhile I decided I needed to get started. I went to the store and picked up a variety of things I could incorporate into whatever I decided to create. I chose fabric that included the colors I wanted to use, went home, and got to it. I slowly made my way to this composition, the girl on the right, and the trees on the left. Slowly, but surely, everything began to work itself out.

I am very happy with the end result. I was nervous going into it because I didn’t have the idea completely worked out. However, I think that is part of the success. I was able to be loose, experiment, and in my opinion the result was very successful. Often times people go into a work of art with a specific concept in mind, and that is often their downfall. If the end result doesn’t match what is in their head they may consider it a failure. I hope my future paintings work themselves out as well as this one did, I enjoyed the creative process much without the preconceived concept.
















I started by loosely drawing everything out with pencil and followed by painting in the background. I  wanted it to be dark behind the trees, so I used Paynes Grey, Pthalo Blue. and Pthalo Green. I faded these colors into a more turquoise blue and Naples Yellow. After I had the background color I began building up texture on the trees using melted modeling impasto. I layered paint and wax, and used a heat gun to melt it in-between layers. I ended with a final layer of oil paint on top. To read more about using encaustic click here.


Once I had my trees worked out I began working on the girl. At this point I already had a base color for her skin, and I began adding details. Once I completed the girl, and allowed it to dry, I began constructing her dress. I cut out the flower pattern from one fabric, and layered it with a neutral color fabric. I used a hot glue gun to attach the fabric to the wood board. Once I had the girl complete I added the wire and the bird silhouettes. Last but not least I used a transparent encaustic wax, painted a layer on the top and bottom of the wood canvas, and used a heat gun to melt it. I turned the canvas upside down to make the bottom portion look like it was dripping up.


Visual Journal Page 69: Basic Crafts

I finally reached the end. I reached the end of my journey, the end of my first visual journal. I worked cover to cover until every page was filled with my life.

This journal, this book, reflects one year of my life. It is a snippet of who I am, my struggles, gains, quirks, and life events. A lot of time and effort went into chronicling my life happenings, into creating images, trying new techniques, and working through successes and failures. I had reached the end; I finally reached the point I had been working towards since the minute I started.

I should’ve been excited. I did feel a huge sense of accomplishment, but I was sad. It was the end, what would I do now? The answer was simple, I was going to find another book, another base to hold my life, my future events. I would soon be on the hunt for the perfect book once again.

One of my friends decided to try out visual journaling after she saw mine. She also went out, and carefully selected a book. After awhile I checked up on her progress. She had created her first page, and she said it was a dedication page to the book. She said she didn’t feel right changing the book without first recognizing it. That stuck with me, and for my last page that is exactly what I did.

The book is the most important part. It is the base, provider, the shell for your artwork, reflections, and venting sessions. I carefully selected this book and it inspired numerous pages. It allowed itself to be transformed from it’s original intent to an object that reflected me. Every page was changed; every piece of the book was altered into something new. I couldn’t have accomplished this project without this book.

Because of that, I wanted to end with a page dedicated to my book. I wanted to include the pieces that I saved from it, and create a new page from its former insides. From the moment I picked up this book it inspired me, and I wanted to take a moment and thank it for doing that. I couldn’t have done it with you.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Book pages
  • Sharpie


To create this page I used only paper and images that I pulled from the book. I held onto anything I thought was interesting as I covered up each page. When I decided to create this final dedication page, I kept everything I took out of the book, just in case I needed it later.

I pulled out my favorite pieces, cut them out, and collaged them. My favorite piece that I found was a black key. Since this book was the key to this project, I put it to the side, and emphasized it by gluing ripped up pages behind it.

To finish my final page I wrote my words with sharpie. It was bittersweet writing them in, but it did feel good. Thanks for inspiring me… It was as simple as that, and I truly meant it.


Create a dedication page for you book. Put it in the beginning, middle, or end. The placement is up to you. Make sure you only use items from your book to create the page.

Visual Journal Page 68: I Will Always be a Daddy’s Girl

           I was married, a wife, had my own house, and my very own husband. I had grown up to be a big girl. My parents married me off and set me off on my own, to start my own life, and my own family. I was excited about that, but my life will always include my parents.

They have loved and supported me my entire life. They have given me everything I have. They gave me a roof over my head, toys to keep me entertained, vacations at the beach, a good education, a love of books, an interest in art, my sincerity, character, kindness, humor, and goofy nature. I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for them.

I am lucky to have a good relationship with my parents, have both parents around, and parents who are there for me through thick and thin. I will always be their baby girl. I will always go home and visit, call them with good news, and I will always have urges to call them when I’m sick, or when something else happened to my car.

I am now married, but I am still their baby girl. They shouldn’t be worried about my future because I married an amazing man. I married someone who is intelligent, driven, hardworking, funny, kind, caring, a problem solver, handyman, I married a man just like my Dad. That was no mistake, I sought those qualities out, because I love my Dad, and I love the man he represents.

My Dad is my real life superhero, he is my Harrison Ford, swinging through jungles and flying through space to save the day. My Dad is 10 feet tall, and will protect his family no matter what. My Dad is everything to me.

He made everything fun. He built us fires at a moment’s request, played endless games with us at the beach, and tossed us around in the pool. We watched endless movies together; he loved scaring us and showed us Hitchcock classics such as “Psycho” and “The Birds”. He showed us the movie “Jaws” while we were at the beach, and loved every minute of watching us hesitantly get into the ocean the next day. He introduced me to “Indiana Jones”, “Star Wars”, and other classic movies that are now my favorites.

He could fix anything. Whether it was a problem with my computer, car, or T.V. He could do anything, make an amazing meal, toss around a softball, help me with lacrosse, and attempt to teach me math. He taught me so much. He showed me how to grow a garden, drive a stick shift car, and use a toolbox. I never got tired of following him around, watching him do all the things he did, and learn how he did them.

He has created distinct memories in my childhood. I will never forget him rocking me to sleep, singing about ice cream castles and angel hair. I will never forget the Jasmine shaped shampoo bottle he gave me once when I was sick. I will never forget the beautiful necklaces he gave me for my 13th, 16th, 18th, and 21st birthdays. I will never forget him showing me how to sucker a tomato plant, or when to pick squash. I will never forget how he talked me through my teenage angst moments and bought me beautiful flowers with a card that said, “I miss your smile”, when I was doing nothing but being a bratty teen. I will never forget how I wrecked the car he bought for me, twice in one weekend, the first weekend I was left home alone, and came home with flowers instead of angry words and lectures.

I will gladly give up plans any day to put together a puzzle, watch a movie, or help make a gourmet meal with my Dad. He is everything to me, he helped mold me, and I can’t wait until he can do all the things he did for me, for my kids. Even when I’m all grown up, perhaps a Mom myself, middle aged and supposedly mature, I will still be learning from him. He will still be ten feet tall. No matter what I will always be a Daddy’s girl…


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Book page
  • Construction paper
  • Laser printed photograph
  • Mod Podge
  • Sharpie


This page is my other favorite page. I love it not only because I am so happy with the way it turned out, but also because of what it represents. My Dad has done so much for me, and this was a small thank you.

I started the page by layering the brown colored book pages. I wanted to create a space to incorporate words, so I glued down whole pages on the corner of the left page, left a space, and ripped up and glued down pages from the left to right page. I decided to incorporate a bit of color by ripped up and gluing down blue and black construction paper to help highlight the photograph. To mirror the left page, I glued down whole book pages on the right side. This also created a nice, flat page to put an image transfer on.

I printed out an image of my Dad and me at the beach on a laser printer. I ripped the edge, so it wouldn’t be in a rectangle shape. I put two coats of Mod Podge and let it dry, put a final coat, and placed it face down on the page. After it dried I wet the back, and peeled off the paper (to read more about mod podge click here).

I added the words in the space on the left page with sharpie. I also added an excerpt of the song we played for our father daughter dance at my wedding around the picture. Rolls and flows of angel hair… ice cream castles in the air.


Create a page about an important family member, someone who impacted your life. Be sentimental and include sentimental images and words.

Ceramics: Alice and Wonderland Tea Set


My niece Riley is about to have her first birthday, it seems like yesterday she was born and I can’t believe this day is already here. Her birthday theme is “onederland” and my sister-in-law asked if she could borrow a few of my teapots for decoration. I thought I would do one better and make her an Alice and Wonderland themed teapot with two teacups for a birthday present.











I wanted to make sure I included every character in the original Disney movie, so I created a scene that wrapped around the teapot, a quick progression of the movie. I started on the right side of the spout and had the characters go in order of their appearance in the movie. Besides Alice, the characters that are seen throughout the movie are the white rabbit and the Cheshire cat. Because they are such important characters I decided to turn them into the teacups.














I started with a tree that wrapped around the spout. I decided to do an upside down, right side up tree… Which means If you hold the pot upside down it looks like the top of the tree, and same if you hold it right side up. Essentially the roots on both ends turn into the branches. I did this because Alice falls down a rabbit hole, and her world is turned upside down. I have her cat sitting on the upside down side of the tree, to show where she started. From there I did the door, key, and cracker that made her grow. I then added the do-do bird sitting on top of the door.














From Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum I moved to the White Rabbit’s house with the lizard that tried to get Alice out of the house. I decided to include the White Rabbit a little further in my progression, because he is shown throughout the movie.












After the house and the lizard I moved to the garden with the roses and pansies. This was one of my favorite parts of the movie growing up, and I wanted to make sure it was part of the teapot. Of course the caterpillar had to make an appearance, and I have him towards the top of the pot, stretched out on a leaf, holding his hookah.















The Cheshire cat is a big part of the movie, and I knew I wanted him to be a big part of the pot. To do this I added him to the handle and had his tail wrap around it. Since the white rabbit is also a big part I have his pocket watch wrapping around the handle on the opposite side.



After the pocket watch I moved into the tea party, which celebrated all of the characters “un-birthdays”. Of course I had to include the Mad Hatter, hare, and field mouse, this was another of my favorite scenes. In addition to having the characters I also included teapots and teacups scattered around to reflect the tea party. I included minor characters as well as major characters, and one thing that has always stuck in my memory was the butter bread butterfly. Because this stayed with me since childhood and wanted to make sure it was part of Riley’s teapot.











Finally the white rabbit makes an appearance on the teapot! I have him running towards the section with the dreaded Queen of Hearts. The chain on his pocket watch stretches all the way from the handle to his pocket, to make it lo0k like it’s flying behind him while he is running. Above the white rabbit is the Queen’s rose tree, being painted red by the black playing cards. They are shown holding paint buckets and brushes, looking awfully frighten because the Queen is approaching.














To finish the decor I have the King of Hearts, Queen of Hearts and the flamingos used to play croquette. Behind all of the characters I have the colors progress from blue to pink to purple back to blue. I did this to show a progression of the day as well as a progression in the story.

To finish off the teapot I added Alice on top as the handle for the lid. She is the main character of the movie, and is in every scene, and I thought there was no better way to include her than on top of everything, watching it all happen below.

I made the body of the teapot and lid on the pottery wheel first. I then made the handle by hand and attached it by scoring, slipping, and blending the ends of the handle to the body of the pot. I have some characters painted on, others stick out, and some have a little bit of both. To create this affect I sculpted some characters and then attached them. To create the painted on affect I used underglaze, then coated the entire teapot and lid with clear glaze. Underglaze doesn’t move when you fire it, it stays exactly where you put it, which gives you the ability to paint designs.

I know a one year old won’t be able to play with a fragile ceramic tea set. But I hope it will be something she will cherish and have forever… and hopefully one day be able to use. I loved making it especially because it was going to someone I love so much!

Visual Journal Page 67: Wifely Duties

         I was officially a wife. I had a husband and we lived in a house. We did husband and wife things, like make dinner together, had move nights, went on dates, and gave goodbye kisses before work. Things weren’t too different post wedding.

I was happy things didn’t change. I loved our relationship before we got married, it was why we got married, and I didn’t want it to change. I had been in wedding visual journal mode, and decided I needed to round it off with a good post-wedding page. But, I wasn’t sure what to focus on, and that’s when I decided to pull out my folder.

As I was sifting through my folder, I realized I had a lot of images of women. Some were vintage, models from the 50’s or 60’s modeling shoes and handbags, but most of them were just strange. I had pictures of stuffy, old-fashioned women playing archery, picking out refrigerators, and helping geese cross the street. But, by far my favorite image was this crazy looking woman washing her dog in the sink.

When I laid them all out to take a good look I realized I had picked out images of crazy housewives. I’m not sure what possessed me to rip out each image as I ran across it, but there was a distinct pattern I couldn’t ignore. The question was what was I going to do with them?

After contemplating my mental state and the journaling possibilities, I came to the conclusion that these women represented everything I did not want to become. There is a possibility I will stay at home for a little while when we have kids. There is also a possibility I will teach until I retire. All I know is I won’t turn into one of these crazy housewives.

I will not wear a frilly apron and vacuum all day. I will not waste my spare time window-shopping for handbags and refrigerators. Archery could be fun, but I will not wear skirts to my ankles and crazy hats. There is a chance I will wash a child or small dog in the sink, but I will try hard not to make that face while I do it.

I will not become a crazy housewife, however, there is one thing I will do. I will bake. I will bake fresh chocolate chip cookies, biscuits, and cakes. In the process, I will cover the kitchen, myself, and at least one dog, in flour. Even though I will never be one of those housewives, I promise to always make cookies.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Magazines
  • Sharpie

How to

 This visual journal page was simple enough. Every image in the collage was pulled from my folder. By this point I had my folder for over a year, and it was full. I had things in there I forgotten about, and things I don’t even remember stowing away. I loved going through the stack, searching for inspiration.

I love this page because I loved discovering something about myself. In the process I didn’t even realize I was collecting all these crazy images. I didn’t realize I had a subconscious obsession with crazy housewives. I’m glad I did, because it created a very entertaining page.

I cut out all of the crazy ladies; in some instances cutting them all the way out, in others I left some of the background. To round it out I decided baked goods were a perfect backdrop for a crazy housewife page. Luckily, I consciously collected images of cookies, because I love making them so much, and assumed I would eventually make a page about them.

I laid all of the images out, and carefully collaged them together. I placed the vintage looking images in the background, because they blended well with the book page. I followed them with the cookies, and the other housewife images. I ended with the largest image, the woman with her dogs. It was the perfect focal point, and pinnacle to my crazy page. I added the words last with a thin point sharpie.


 Create a page about a future you don’t want. It could be a job you don’t want, a place you don’t want to live, or a person you don’t want to see.