Month: March 2013

Visual Journal Page 36: If I had a Bucket List… copy

This all began with my love for sushi. I could eat it every other day, filling in the off days with pizza and steak, never getting sick of it. However, the reality is I can’t eat it every other day because on a good day it costs $25-$30 every time I go. Despite the $30 price tag I still yearn for sushi. I love the flavors, the texture, the color combinations of the different varieties of fish.

One day while indulging my most recent sushi craving, a friend and I got to talking about how her brother periodically makes sushi. My interest was peaked, it never occurred to me to make sushi. The fear of hygienically working with raw food was enough to keep the thought at bay, until this particular day.

I went home that night still thinking about sushi, could I actually make it myself? This thought turned into a goal once Christmas came and went, and left behind a sushi cookbook and sushi making supplies, thanks to my brother. It was a sign and it was time, I was going to make my own sushi.

I did research, I visited my local farmer’s market for fish, I prepared, and finally I dove in headfirst and gave it a shot.

Nick, Elly, and I were crammed into our small kitchen slicing, steaming, and rolling. In order to create three different rolls we made more sushi than three people can consume in a week. We carefully laid out the rolls, set everything out in the dining room, and admired our handiwork. Piles of sushi covered the table, I was so proud, starving, and ready to dig in.

Despite a great deal of time and effort our sushi rolls were not pretty. The rice was everywhere, and rice was rolled about an inch thick around each piece. Insides were falling out as we desperately tried to move each piece from the plate to our mouths before the contents scattered. Chopsticks were abandoned for fingers, and our mouths were stuffed.

The end result of the grand sushi experiment was an incredibly messy kitchen, sink pipes clogged with rice, piles of leftovers, and a new appreciation for why sushi costs so much. The time and effort needed to make each biet size piece is amazing. The amount of ingredients required to make a variety truly is amazing. I now gladly spend $30 on my delicious, no-effort, take out sushi.

Since this experience we have made sushi one more time, with a larger group of people. It won’t be my last time, I plan on more sushi experiments in the future, but for now I am satisfied knowing that if I had a bucket list I would be able to check something off…


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Prisma colored pencils


This page did not require a lot of materials, but it did require a lot of time. I only used colored pencils, I drew each item separately, cut them out, and layered them together.

I started with the background, I drew out the counter, cabinets, and stove with a pencil, and then began coloring. I sat in my kitchen, and used it as a reference while I drew and colored, to make sure it was accurate. I added a base color to everything, starting with the background (tiles) and moving forward (to the cabinets). In order to get depth, strong color, and a nice blended texture with colored pencils you have to layer. I start with a base color and slowly add on top. I never use just one green, I chose at least five shades, layer them, and as the pigment builds up, they will begin to blend together. I always start with darks and add lights on top, if I have highlights white is the last color I add.

It also helps to have a nice set of colored pencils. I am a Prisma brand fan, and will always buy their colored pencils. The pencils are a dollar or two apiece (crazy!!) but it is worth every penny! Once I had my background complete I drew my pieces of sushi, pot, knives, and cutting board on a separate sheet of paper. When the drawings were complete I cut them out and glued them on top of the background, to give it a collage feel.


Use colored pencils to create an image in your book. Remember to use a variety of shades, and build them up slowly! Thin layer on top of thin layer will create a nice smooth look!

Thanks for reading today’s post! I hope it has inspired you to create a page in your journal, or start your very first journal! Help me spread the word about my blog by liking, tweeting, sharing, emailing, commenting, and subscribing!


Mixed Media Art: Encaustic Water Tower

Mixed Media Art- Encaustic Water Tower


This is the second piece mixed media art I want to share with you from my new series, mixed media objects. This one is made using similar methods as my chair painting (click here to see it).

I collage patterned paper to create a base and switch between melting layers of wax and cut outs to create a sense of depth. To top it off I painted a water tower, using oil paint.

This is another addition to my “mundane object” series. Water towers have always been intriguing to me with their round, cylindrical shapes dotting the horizon, intermixed with tree tops.

I love how they can become a town landmark, or transform into golf balls, peaches, and a variety of odd shapes. However, my favorite are the old, abandoned, rusted through towers. The once beacons of forgotten towns and abandoned warehouses.

This piece reminds me of an afternoon walking through the abandoned warehouse across from my apartment complex in college. Nick, my roommate Theresa, and I spent the day walking through falling in rooms, photographing broken windows, and graffiti. It began as a plan to fulfill my photography class homework assignment, and ended as a mini adventure. One of my favorite photographs from that day is the old water tower, paired with a large oak. Both co existing, somewhat forgotten, yet still standing tall and proud.

If you would like to participate in my new series share a memory, thought, or a simple word association with this piece or water towers in general. I would love to include your comments in my next piece! Thanks for your help and your support!


Visual Journal Page 35: Making Things a Little Bit Brighter


Something was off that day. I don’t know if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, didn’t get enough sleep, or if my students were really being that bad, but this particular day was a rough day. I truly don’t remember a specific event making things go bad, all I remember is the feeling, the exhaustion, the seconds slowly ticking by. My classes seemed a little more wild, my projects weren’t going perfect, and all I wanted to do was go home get under my covers, and wait for the day to end.

When the 3:30 bell finally alarmed I didn’t feel the sense of relief and freedom I typically feel. I still felt the heaviness of the day weighing me down, I felt the length of my car ride home adding on top. I slowly picked up my room, checked my email, shut down my computer, and gathered my things. I made my way to my car, and had to sit for a moment as I processed my forty minute ride, wishing for the ability to transport myself home in an instant. The radio droned on, cars flew by, and yet my car felt like it was heading down I-20 at 5 miles an hour.

Eventually I found myself driving down my street and pulling into the driveway. Nick was home, still working his serving job he had some weekdays off. I walked inside, dropped my things, and looked for my husband, ready to transfer the weight of my day onto him through complaints, rants, and a down right bad attitude. I was annoyed to find him not in the house, and after he had the entire day off the house was on the messy side. I searched the house to no avail, with my annoyance increasing with every step, every room. I finally made my way outside, and the puppies daily bombardment and excitement for my return only increased my annoyance rather than relieving it like most days. I looked towards the back and there was my hub, covered in dirt from head to toe, in the very back of our yard, standing in what had previously been a wisteria jungle, but was now transformed into tilled dirt, and open space.

It was that moment I smiled, I smiled for the first time that day because I saw my future garden. Since we bought the house the previous May all I wanted was my vegetable garden, but the unruly yard held back plans, Nick convinced me it would be another year before we would be able to get it under control.

He lied.

He surprised me with my garden, and he immediately made my day perfect. I will never forget his goofy grin, his dirt covered self, standing in one pocket of our messy backyard. He made my garden possible that year, and each year since he has taken the time to clear out the leftover wisteria, till the dirt, and get everything prepped for my plants. He is a wonderful husband because he puts himself out to make me happy. That day has become one of the best days, and fondest in my envelope of happy moments, nine hours of bad was wiped away by two minutes of surprise revelation. My hub, you have the ability to make even my worst days a little bit brighter. Love you!


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Magazine images
  • Sharpie


This page took a long time to make, despite the simplicity of the design, because I had to find a pile of tomatoes in magazines. For a few days I dug through magazine after magazine, cutting out every tomato I found, big or small. When I finally had a stack big enough to cover a portion of the page, I began looking for my sky and ground. Blues, greens, and fencing were discovered, ripped out, and cut up.

Once I had all of my pieces I began constructing the image. I started by gluing down ripped up shades of blue for the sky, followed by ripped up grass for the ground. Rather than covering the entire page I decided to just create a stripe of image in the middle, which allowed me to find less images, and created a different look. Once the sky and ground were complete I glued down the images of fence posts, and tomatoes. I carefully cut out the larges tomato image I found, and glued it to the bottom left page to create a focal point, and starting place for my words. To top it off I added the words along the bottom of the page with sharpie.


Create a visual journal page about a happy moment in your life. Take a piece of your day and reminisce on happy times!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I hope it brought up your own happy memories. Help my spread the word about my blog by liking, tweeting, commenting, subscribing, whatever you want to do to contribute!



Visual Journal Page 34: Putting Things Back Together


It was spring semester, my second year teaching. My first year dragged on in the begnning, and flew by in the spring. I felt like this entire year was flying by faster than I could sit back and process it. Spring semester meant an entire new group of students, and a fresh start after Christmas break, I loved the block schedule we were on.

Having a new group of students also meant starting from square one once again. All of the projects I just finished up were going to be repeated by the end of the year. Introduction to Art moved from more advanced painting to step one shading, contour line drawing, and covering all of the basics. It begins to get a little repetitive after awhile, but it is nice to already have PowerPoints made and materials prepped. However, n order to maintain a little bit of excitement in repeated projects I cover the same basics, but with different topics, and this visual journal page is an example of one such project.

The grid method. It’s a blessing, a curse, a tool, a crutch, and something I cover every year in Introduction to Art. It teaches students how to break down an image into smaller squares, and re-draw it using the intersecting lines and shapes as a guide. The grid method is a confidence boost, because at least 90% of my students create a successful work of art and learn how breaking down an image can help re-create it. The downside is when I have students in my advanced class wanting to continue with the grid, rather than even attempting to try to draw it without that crutch. I like to think of the grid as a learning tool, it helps you learn to break down images, it teaches proportion, but if you always depend on it, you are only going to be able to develop as an artist to a certain point.

Despite this I enjoy seeing my little artists’ confidence grow as they see how their drawings are coming to life, and beginning to resemble the original image. I introduce this drawing tool by doing a collaborative class project, and I love collaborative projects. Each student gets one piece of a larger image, one 1″x1″ square. It’s impossible to tell what the image could be, all they see are shades of black, white, and gray, and a stray line from time to time. Each square has a letter and number on the back, a clue to where their piece will end up being placed. They must take this square and enlarge it eight times, to an 8″x8″ square. They must use the edges of the square as a guide, where do the lines intersect, where does the color begin to change, in order to re draw it larger.

As they finish their pieces they eagerly turn them in, and I start the reconstruction process. Each square is taped together, each piece is added to the whole, and no one can’t wait until the big reveal day. Even after teaching this project 5 times, I still love the day I get to stand in front of the class, and slowly turn over our now very large image. The lines never line up, the image always looks wonky, but you can always tell what it is. This time a Ferris wheel is revealed, and I bask in the oooohs and ahhhs and the pointing out of their squares.

Each student is creating one piece of a whole, each one is responsible for a part, and the image will not work without their effort. The collaborative aspect drives them, it encourages them to try their best, to meet the standard put in place by the best artist in class. I love seeing the sudden recognition in their eyes as they see what their piece created, and see what an integral part it plays. Through this assignment I hope they learn how to enlarge an image, maintain proportion, understand techniques to re create an image, and above all I hope they see that they can work together to create something beautiful, important, and one of a kind, and that sometimes it takes a group to piece things back together.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Xacto Knife
  • Ruler
  • Book Pages
  • Sharpie


This was a painstaking page to make. It took a lot of time, a lot of small cuts, and a lot of patience. Every time I do this project I print off multiple images of the original, grid off at least three copies, and cut up at least two. It is inevitable that a student will lose their piece, or forget to label the back. This time around was no different than the others, and I was glad to have spare pieces to hand out. Although at the end of the assignment I was still left with one uncut image, and one cut up image, and I decided to make a page about it.

I wanted to create an image that appeared as though it was falling apart, or coming together depending on how you look at it. I started by gluing down the cut up squares on the right side page. I started by keeping them close together, perfectly aligned, and slowly spread them out, making them look more chaotic. Once all of the squares were glued I ripped up a few pieces of my book pages, and glued it down along the edge. I wanted it to look as if the squares were pushing the words around on the page.

I then decided to glue the uncut image on top, which was easier said than done. Because I didn’t want to cover the background I had to cut all of the background out of the original. This meant cutting in between each spindle, line, and skinny shape. I put my Xacto knife to good use that day. Once I finally finished, I glued the final piece down, and wrote my words in sharpie.


Create a page about your favorite art project. It can be from Kindergarten, college, or a craft project you did last weekend. Have fun!

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Mixed Media Art: Encaustic Chair

Chair Painting

I am very excited to share my most recent art series. I began experimenting with encaustic collage with my fork and spoon paintings (click here to see them) and recently tried out patterned paper collages, and fell in love!

I have always enjoyed collaging, which is evident through my enthusiasm for visual journaling, and I am excited I have found a way to merge my two art styles. For a long time I created figurative works of art, and it is time to move away from that and challenge myself to do something new, which is where the objects came from.

For each painting I will focus on one object, it can be anything from a chair to a key to a clock. Through this series I hope to take these mundane, everyday objects and transform them, and  bring attention back to them.

I am also interested in other people’s interpretation of these everyday things, which is where you come in. I would like to know what these objects make you think of. Does a simple picture of a chair bring to mind memories, comforts, or images of your own favorite chair?

These objects that we use on a daily basis inevitably become a part of who we are through repetition, tradition, memories, or even our daily needs. Whether we recognize it or not these things plant themselves into our minds and memories, and may one day come knocking when we see a similar teapot, which could remind you of celebrating your American Doll’s birthdays with annual tea parties, at least that is what it does to me.

A thought that has crossed my mind with this series is to create a response piece to each of the originals, which will incorporate other people’s perspectives on what these objects mean. I hope to collage these written responses into the background of the response piece.

Good, bad, or mundane I want to know! If you would like to participate in my next work of art all you have to do is comment below about what this chair, or chairs in general make you think of. Thanks for your assistance in my creative pursuits! On your way down to the comment area enjoy some detail shots of my recent work of art!

mixed media art-encaustic chair

Chair Painting Detail 3

If you fell in love with this piece and have to have it, you can buy it! It is now listed on my Etsy shop here! As always, thanks for stopping by!