Sunday, August 30, 2020

A small ooops and an apology...

 I keep forgetting on this blog comments are moderated--I get a fair bit of spam, sometimes people selling things not even remotely related to art (or even those that are...this isn't a place for it!), sometimes politics, sometimes who knows what.  It had been quite a while since I went looking to see if I needed to let some through...ooops, sorry!

The comment section, of course, is meant for your reactions to my posts...and I want to see your response!  Thank you for commenting...nice to know someone's really out there.

Finding my way back...

...I've wandered off in some strange directions, and although I'd like to blame it on COVID, in all honesty I know it's been much longer than that.  My "dry spell" with my journal and art has been long and very strange.

Happy to say I seem to be finding my way back, new inspirations, more interest, more of a simple urge to document, to observe, to respond...

Recently, it was sparked by new tools, as it often is.  A new tool, a new medium, a new technique, and suddenly we NEED to try it...

My ever-so-creative friend Elizabeth Lifa Metz (check out her Etsy Shop, Conifer Crow, for some wonderful journals, classes, zines and other goodies!) posted about her new fountain brush pens, and my creative ears perked up!  They're made not unlike TWSBI fountain pens, but with a strong Lamy-like clip, and they are CHEAP.  As in 3 for $15.95.  Had to give it a try...

These were the "Wing Sung 3009 Piston-Filled Flexible Brush Tip Fountain Pen, Fine to Broad For Sketching, Drawing, Scrapbooking and Calligraphy Painting," (brand appears to be Lanxivi) on Amazon, though I'm sure they're probably available elsewhere.  


The pen works a lot like a TWSBI, with a piston fill, which I really like.  So far, I was just playing with one pen and Rose Mary, at the cabin.  To get darker values, I layered.


When I got home I filled another pen with black and punched up my sketch a bit.

This are the three values I'm using now...Noodler's Lexington Grey, De Atramentis Document Black, and the same ink diluted. 

 

S0 far my sticky labels aren't staying stuck.  They all look pretty much the same in the pen, so I'll have to come up with something.  Even though I just had the grey and black, I could see this was going to work!

I loved that you can get such a range of line width with a brush that you can't with a pen.  Yummy, textures!

 

I added just a bit of linework and that 2nd grey when I got home.  Nice that you can do less or more detail with these tools...

Look at the variety of line widths and effects possible! 

You could fill the pens with watercolors, as they show in their Amazon listing, but I chose three values of ink for sketching--as noted, De Atramentis Document Black, and the same diluted with their proprietary dilution solution, and Noodler's Lexington Grey. 

So maybe the moral of the story is if you're in a dry spell, just consider trying something new, kick back, play, get out in nature and enjoy yourself!

 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Virtual Tours, Virtual Classrooms


Not that we're not all about overwhelmed by now with free this and free that, and a million and one webinars and classes, both free and paid, but perhahps you're in need after a few weeks of some fresh options!  It seems everyone in the world wants to offer what we can, during the Coronavirus shelter-at-home edict.

Tour National Parks:

https://crafty.diply.com/121060/you-can-virtually-tour-a-whole-bunch-of-national-parks-from-your?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=diply&utm_content=da005558&fbclid=IwAR3Z6ce7GentwqsgtwyGzHDXYpokTqelsSLhGi3wS-0zVpNFw4M0d5x90lk

Live cams of all kinds: https://explore.org/livecams/currently-live/decorah-eagles-north-nest?fbclid=IwAR0a9xzrXaU-AEaFQfkwQz2-fUqtkyZ34OolTAIUtylwMyd3Gw6jT41dwQM  Browse to find what you're most interested in!

And of course the Trout Cam at my beloved Bennett Spring: https://mostateparks.com/content/trout-cam

Art at home: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EVMQiHHKugF4RQ071DzimkSKn1AuiBNOJ-i6xs1mBts/preview?fbclid=IwAR2Y_Qx1vp2oy-pibip6NfJi37VQWRKLyDzKOf8fswcd_yjSgWXnvd-B7lc

15 Broadway plays to watch free: https://www.playbill.com/article/15-broadway-plays-and-musicals-you-can-watch-on-stage-from-home?fbclid=IwAR1mcBIYUqnt0BaWndyq6aICYC1IQJL2Dh22FdIO8_Hcolm6GmzHNU_eitc

Virtual field trips: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SvIdgTx9djKO6SjyvPDsoGlkgE3iExmi3qh2KRRku_w/preview?usp=drivesdk&fbclid=IwAR2tFDx8xjTYu-zvVZri3NuXm2tqnOka-ccyqtJ_-ufG_dw2epuyr0JAHU0&sle=true

Virtual Museum Tours: https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours?fbclid=IwAR2Adoz4aPRy-CSPvvNNyG4IiM0rRABFyvqN_BulyBpM0u2B8TwTIu8Yyps

Virtual drawing classes from famous illustrators: https://www.fastcompany.com/90478307/stuck-at-home-take-free-drawing-classes-from-famous-illustrators?partner=rss&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=rss+fastcompany&utm_content=rss&fbclid=IwAR0G_dZZhrColfEveBnDhQVyHL-JHVVT7N4cQyol7Aaz4QwLwxN_Ji-vguw 

JUST IN, several tours of the Missouri Botanical Gardens from this site: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/missouri/virtual-tour-botanical-garden-mo/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=missouri&utm_campaign=newsletter

And of course my own free art videos on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/KateJosTube


I was collecting books and manuscripts online too, but seem to have lost them...if you have any favorites to recommend, please do!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

In these pivotal, overwhelming times...

As we all deal with this situation in whatever way we can--and who am I to judge what make you feel better, gives you courage, keeps you sane?--I find I am both heartened by the goodness and generosity and courage of my fellows, and overwhelmed by their offerings.

Not just the kindness of neighbors and friends, the offers of shopping or sharing, but the huge, global outpouring of offerings, opportunities, encouragement, information, classes. Novenas from Abbey of the Arts. A Virtual Retreat from Philip Carr-Gomm. Wisdom from my shamanic friends. Prayers from my Christian friends. Buddhist wisdom. Whimsy.  Music offerings.  Blog posts. Painting and drawing how-tos or sketch-alongs.  Information on home made masks. Gardening advice for those who have never gardened, and those who have. Herbal information. Exercises to stay in shape when the gym is closed.  Posts from doctors, nurses, researchers. Videos. Recipes. Humor, tragedy. The human condition.
So MANY want to do what they can to help. What we can. So many want to make what small contributions they can. I've made videos available to artists, and an eBook for those who want and need to keep a journal of these days--I am, a Pandemic Journal.  I've got half a dozen blog posts in the pipeline here, drafts waiting to be finished, photos found, published...and yet...

Are you feeling overwhelmed?  I am.

Perhaps it's time to step back and focus. Slow down.  Step away from computers and devices.  Pet a cat. Take a dog for a walk. Sew. Chop vegetables. Watch the sun come up again, tomorrow, as it will.  Breathe. Be.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Keeping an Artist's Journal Class--FREE



Many years ago, I offered a very popular interactive class on the old Yahoogroups (remember them?) called Keeping an Artist's Journal--as you know, that's been a passion of mine for many years.

Afterward, I made it into a CD for those people who still wanted to take the course when it was no longer interactive--and then turned it into an e-Book!

Our artist's journals are so important...for our own sanity, for practice, for experiencing our world, for responding to our lives.



In these challenging times of a global pandemic, when we are all learning to cope with the sweeping changes in our lives and in our days, with fear or paranoia or growing courage, when we are seeing the heroism of so many helpers, when we see neighbor helping neighbor and many offers of assistance, help and encouragement (from a safe distance), when our healthcare workers, lab researchers, first responders, veterinarians, grocery store workers, janitors, farmers, truck drivers and so many more are on the front lines doing what must be done to keep us going, our journals will see us through.  Artists are good at coping, I do truly believe.

One of Mark Alan Anderson's delightful coping sketches...
 My friend Mark Alan Anderson is using his sketch journal to cope with self-isolation and the virus by using gentle humor at himself and his situation, as we covered in this post.  It's an inspiration!

Our journals and sketchbooks may also be historically important, as I've said elsewhere.  Think of diaries and journals an personal and tribal records through the ages that have let us have a window on peoples' lives...Anne Frank comes first to mind, but there are so many more!  Audubon, Lewis and Clark, early naturalists and explorers, herbalists, prisoners of war, Lakota winter counts, cave art (not all journals are on the pages of a book!)

Our journals can be a place to record the days, our ways of coping--recipes, observations, research, suggestions, garden plans, projects, a place to capture the images of our loved ones and pets and wildlife, birds at our feeders, imaginal journeys, meditations, prayers...

Write, draw, collage, paint, press flowers...whatever records your days, your lives...it's important, and, I believe, healing.

And so, to that end and to offer help and suggestions and hopefully inspiration...my downloadable eBook, Keeping an Artist's Journal, is free for the duration.

Please, help yourself. http://cathyjohnson.info/ebooks/artistsjournal.html  

The free option is at the top of the page, please be sure to use that!  One lovely gentleman paid--and of course I refunded his money.  Free is free, for the duration of our shelter-in-place order.

(If you've been on this page before, you may need to hit "refresh" to see the free offering--I did.)

This is different from my mini-class by the same name, and from my book, Artist's Journal Workshop. There may be some of the same art, but with more step-by-step illustrations and a different format, as well as a number of "extras."

This journal was made from a single sheet of watercolor paper--instructions in the YouTube video below.

Or cut a long strip of paper and fold it zigzag-wise.  SIMPLE!  Sketch on both sides...

If you don't have a stack of empty journals or sketchbooks on hand, use what you have!  A stack of printer paper will do.  Cut up art paper and make your own--that can be as simple or as complex as you want.  Here's my little YouTube Video on the simplest kind you can make!

The zigzag or accordion-style journal above is the easiest...but so versatile!  Here's a YouTube video of my old California journal.

Feel free to share the book and save to your hard drive. We WILL get through these hard days.



Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Reviving the Strathmore Class--Free! (Lesson 4)





Reviving the Strathmore Class--Free! (Lesson 4)

Hi all...years ago (2012! Time flies!), Strathmore Papers asked me if I'd be one of the artists in their series of free workshops, and of course I agreed!  Watercolor Sketching is one of my favorite things.

There's little enough I can do to help those who are housebound, self-isolating, social distancing* or quarantined, I think now is a good time to make the class easily available again, so for the next few days I'm going to link to one of the 4 lessons...

*By the way, I LOVE referring to our social distancing as being "artists-in-residence!" 

So, HERE is Lesson 4--this one's about collage and mixed media, a whole different way to work and the sky's the limit as you can see from the samples above!  Use stamps, new art tools, acrylics, attach paper, leaves, bits of this and that, and have fun!

And if you want a bit more mixed media inspiration, check out this little bonus video!


(I'm sorry I can't find the original art that I used in the videos, but I'm hoping the ones I find to share here will be inspiration enough to get you started!)

And don't forget, I have a LOT of free how-to videos on my YouTube channel...there will be more available in the coming weeks. https://www.youtube.com/user/KateJosTube

Monday, March 23, 2020

Reviving the Strathmore Class--Free! (Lesson 3)

Reviving the Strathmore Class--Free! (Lesson 3)

Hi all...years ago (2012! Time flies!), Strathmore Papers asked me if I'd be one of the artists in their series of free workshops, and of course I agreed!  Watercolor Sketching is one of my favorite things.

There's little enough I can do to help those who are housebound, self-isolating, social distancing or quarantined, I think now is a good time to make the class easily available again, so for the next few days I'm going to link to one of the 4 lessons...

By the way, I LOVE referring to our social distancing as being "artists-in-residence!" 

So, HERE is Lesson 3--this one's on 3 different ways to work with watercolor, direct application with no underdrawing, one with a pencil guidelines, and one an ink drawing with washes over--two different approaches.  There's no one right way to work, explore and choose whichever fits your vision for the subject.

I just did a light pencil underdrawing on this one of my husband reading one of our favorite books...

For this one, I worked very slowly to add the pattern in the carpet, no underdrawing...fun!

(I'm sorry I can't find the original art that I used in the videos, but I'm hoping the ones I find to share here will be inspiration enough to get you started!)

And don't forget, I have a LOT of free how-to videos on my YouTube channel...there will be more available in the coming weeks. https://www.youtube.com/user/KateJosTube

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Reviving the Strathmore Class--Free! Lesson Two

Reviving the Strathmore Class--Free! (Lesson 2)

Hi all...years ago (2012! Time flies!), Strathmore Papers asked me if I'd be one of the artists in their series of free workshops, and of course I agreed!  Watercolor Sketching is one of my favorite things.

There's little enough I can do to help those who are housebound, self-isolating, social distancing or quarantined, I think now is a good time to make the class easily available again, so for the next few days I'm going to link to one of the 4 lessons...

So, HERE is Lesson 2--this one's on brush strokes, washes and special effects--enjoy!

The brush you choose makes a big differenc in the effects you get...


(I'm sorry I can't find the original art that I used in the videos, but I'm hoping the ones I find to share here will be inspiration enough to get you started!)

And don't forget, I have a LOT of free how-to videos on my YouTube channel...there will be more available in the coming weeks. https://www.youtube.com/user/KateJosTube 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Reviving the Strathmore Class--Free!

Hi all...years ago (2012! Time flies!), Strathmore Papers asked me if I'd be one of the artists in their series of free workshops, and of course I agreed!  Watercolor Sketching is one of my favorite things.

There's little enough I can do to help those who are housebound, self-isolating, social distancing or quarantined, I think now is a good time to make the class easily available again, so for the next few days I'm going to link to one of the 4 lessons...


My beloved old Prang paintbox, with my own colors added...


They're all on my YouTube channel, of course, and you may have seen them already, but this may make them easier to find!  Who's got time for all the searching?  (Oh, wait, maybe we do, just now!)

The first lesson is HERE. And I hope you enjoy it...it's on Getting Started.

I have no idea where the original art is on my computer, the search function didn't help, so I'll include a few pertinent images that you may find helpful!

These are the colors I most often use, though seldom have sap green in my kit any more...

I love making up my own paintboxes!  It can be really simple--as you can see, this is pretty much the primaries plus Burnt Sienna and Indigo...and you can make literally dozens of mixtures.
Have fun, all!

And don't forget, I have a LOT of free how-to videos on my YouTube channel...there will be more available in the coming weeks. https://www.youtube.com/user/KateJosTube 

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Importance of Sketching in Challenging Times...

It occurs to me that our sketchbooks are an amazing tool for entertainment, practice and even mental health and more, especially if we are in lockdown, or self-isolating, or quarantined during the COVID19 response.

A friend of mine, art teacher Mark Alan Anderson, is using his sketchbook to keep his spirits up--and ours!  The cartoons are funny, poignant, and all too honest...and he's given me permission to share (thanks, Mark!) A light in dark times.

I look forward to his sketches every day...you can find him online in our Artist's Journal Workshop Facebook group and other places...






You can see more of Mark's ongoing and delightful coping mechanism on Artist's Journal Workshop on Facebook, or on his always-inspiring blog, here.

------------------

Once during a particularly difficult period in my own life, I kept my sanity and my sense of humor by creating what I called my Fantasy Journal--or maybe I should have called it a Sanity Journal!  My mother-in-law was suffering from dementia of a particularly angry and paranoid sort, and we would get several phone calls a day from her, from her caregiver, from Joseph's sister...it got so I couldn't bear the sound of the phone!







Enter the Fantasy Journal...I kept it right near the phone, with my art supplies, and when I could tell it was One Of THOSE Calls, I'd sit near my poor husband and draw another page!  It made us both feel better.

You may have seen it before, but the current situation reminds me--maybe it's a good time for another one!

You can find the whole journal here on YouTube.



Our journals really can help us find our way through stressful periods...my old sanity map helped me to see I had a lot more choices than I thought I did!  Maybe we could map our way through the days, now...

-----------------------

Think about it.  Someday our journals from this time may just be historically important, too.

Think of how many journals and sketchbooks artists and writers and everyday folk have kept during wartime that give us an inside view of what life was like for them--how they lived, how they coped. Some cartoonist/soldiers that were incarcerated in WWII let us see their lives and times--and their indomitable courage--in a way that newsreels never could.

Think of the Diary of Anne Frank.  

Think of the Native Americans' winter count images...

Think of Medieval monks toiling away on their illuminated manuscripts, sneaking in drawings of cats or or rabbits attacking mounted horsemen.



There are literally dozens of sketch journals kept by farmers, housewives, schoolgirls, travelers and explorers, as well.  They're treasures!

Why not record your own life and coping mechanisms during difficult times?  Fantasize, draw where you'd like to be or what you'd like to be doing.  Draw what you ARE doing.  Draw your toilet paper, if you like!

If nothing else, you will have a record of courage and survival your children and grandchildren will treasure, and that you can look back on and think "Yes.  We survived.  We are strong."

Don't feel up to making a big deal of it?  Feels too overwhelming?  Try quick sketches, or tiny ones to fill a page, in a grid.  

----------------------

And of course there are also any number of groups and individuals stepping up to this challenge, offering prompts or sketchalongs if you're stuck, and those too are valuable.

But think of this as your opportunity to win a moment in history.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Things that capture our imagination...


Wolves--beautiful, wild, intelligent--do it for me.  This one has been part of my imaginal world, as Dr. Sharon Blackie calls it, for years, looking straight into my soul, speaking wild words to me.  I drew this one a couple of years ago, after a soul-journey.


What captures your imagination and won't let go?

Graphite pencil and watercolor, in my journal.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Choices, Time, and life just a bit out of control.

Well, all right, a LOT out of control. What IS this thing called control, and do I even want it?

Too many choices, too many opportunities, and an embarrassment of riches! 

I still feel the urge to journal and paint...
I love learning, and I am a sucker for books...but I have way, way more than I'll ever be able to read, on a wide variety of subjects. 

And then there are the online courses and classes and videos and groups and seminars and docu-series and workshops and webinars and membership programs and "summits" that capture my interest or curiosity...

I am currently in two membership programs and managed to pass on another one yesterday, a supporter of two Patreons with lots of wonderful offerings I am behind on, taking a class in February that requires preparation NOW (and it's fun and fascinating so of couse I make time!), finishing up a course I was behind in, and signed up for gnomonworkshops.com for a month or two to learn some new techniques for sculpting...

...and of course there are my own projects. The sewing, the character dolls, cooking, fermenting, herbalism, tinctures, journaling, painting, meditation, qi gong, tai chi, healing modalities...
This is Faeana Fawkes, who appeared in my imagination last summer and would NOT let go...
Who knew Faeana would bring so many more along with her?!  She was the result of a meditation or a shamanic journey after 3 years of foxes appearing in my life.


She was followed by a number of others, including these two soft-sculpture stuffed foxy girls, Joyful and her sister Studious. 
And then there's sewing for myself...





 
And Joseph...
He loves his warm, cozy short robe...
 
And eco-dyeing, one of the courses I'll be taking...there's a Daily Om one, too (and another Daily Om that Joseph would like to take together)...






I AM getting better at hitting delete delete delete DELETE on lists and offerings and courses, and even book temptations, and  I'm unsubscribing right, left, and center (how DID I get on so many mailing lists?!?), but even so...my poor brain feels like a bit of tasty snack food with a bunch of seagulls gathering to nibble it madly (and noisily!) to bits.  

Awake before five this morning trying to think WHICH of the many things to do...and here it is mid-morning and I've accomplished very little.  Paralyzed by choices...and by the internet...

I can't count the times I have aimed for more focus, stillness, attention, Presence...

"Be here now," Ram Dass entreated us, many years ago.  But where is here...?

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