Friday, July 30, 2021

Quick Sketching 1 Adventure starts August 1


Almost time to jump into this adventure--August 1 is our official start date!  Since that's Sunday, we may ease into it, and see how it goes getting everyone and everything up and running.  (It's a LOT more complicated than I'd originally imagined it, ain't that the way things go??  😵)

If you've taken the class before, dig it out of your computer and join us, week by week--no extra charge!  If you want to enroll, it's here: https://cathyjohnson.info/art-classes/ --there IS a charge for the lessons, it's my original self-directed mini-class online.

There's also a Facebook group for enrolled students, so we all have access to the class materials to work with...it's here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/272299307988534  (No charge for our Facebook group or discussions, either...)

 Just a heads up!  There are 3 membership questions that must be answered before you can join the group; thanks!
 

And see you Sunday!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Getting ready to roll with Quicksketch-1

 

So, as I mentioned, I'm needing a reset, just emerging from a bit of a dry spell with journaling (if not with other creative endeavors!) and decided I'd go through my own Quick Sketching 1 class and see if that helps.  A refresher course is always a good idea! 
 
It'll be more fun with people to share the journey with--it's not a class, I'm not teaching, I'm not going to charge extra, I won't try to be here 24/7, we're just exploring together. Having fun, I hope. Polishing those rusty skills. Considering what materials feel best to us, which ones are the most fun, which are suited to quick sketching.
 
When I first mentioned the possibility, someone let me know that some of the links in the self-directed classes didn't work any more, so I've dug out the original class documents, deleted dead or abandoned links, updated others, updated information, and did away with things that no longer apply (like my Amazon A-store, which they deleted for sellers in Missouri a few years back!).  I also did away with passwords, which were a pain, but if you enrolled before 7/22/2021, you'll probably still need the old password; I've left it up in the emails you'll get.
 
If you already own my Quick Sketching 1 self-directed mini-class, which has been out for some time, you're welcome to dig it out and join us! No charge.  (I imagine you will still need the passwords for the old documents, sorry!)
 
If you don't have it already, the mini-class is available here:  https://cathyjohnson.info/art-classes/
 
I've made a Facebook group for discussions and sharing; if you're a student, past or present, feel free to join us there--I know some people aren't fond of Facebook, but it seemed to be the easiest and most convenient place to share what we're up to!  Unfortunately I don't think you can add graphics to blog comments any more, like we used to.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/quicksketch1
 
Again, we will start August 4--just kick back and have fun.  I plan to!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

More Quick Sketch 1 info...

 ...so one of the people who has signed up for the Quick Sketch 1 adventure alerted me to the fact that a couple of the links aren't working in the first mini-class lesson.  One is my old Amazon store, which I no longer have since Amazon closed all the stores in Missouri, and the other is a friend's blog, which no longer is at that address.

I'm working to find the original documents (which have gone into hiding and probably under the Witness Protection plan!), with the idea in mind of updating, but if I can't find them, that's the deal, sorry!

This is supposed to be fun for me, as well, not frustrating...  😓

And hooray, I DID find them, and edited them, and made new PDFs...will get my webmistress to put them up in the next few days...

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Further Thoughts on a Quicksketch 1 Adventure!

 

  https://cathyjohnson.info/art-classes/quick-sketching-1/

 

 Okay, so doing some further thinking on how this will work, since several of you have expressed an interest--

I need a reset, I think.  I need to work through why my recent sketches are often not as satisfying, and some are downright bad, by my lights.  I LIKE quick sketches, mind you, but some of these are just...ick.  Tentative or inaccurate in ways that make me unhappy.  So since I thought I'd go through my own class to see if I could isolate the issue (or issues!), I thought I'd invite you to join me--I learn from you, as well.

It's not really a class, other than the mini-class itself, above--I won't be teaching, per se--it's just a chance to discuss, share, ask questions, help eachother...

We'll start August 1, because why not?

You'll need the Quicksketch One mini-class, linked above...but if you already own it, dig it out, no need to buy again, you're welcome to go through this exercise with us!  If you can't find it on your computer (we always recommend saving classes to your hard drive), we'll work that out.

The QS classes are delivered automatically, week by week, by aWeber, as soon as you enroll--so if you start now, you'll have several ahead of us.  Start if you wish, of course, but we won't be discussing till August 1...I need time. 

We will likely share and discuss here, but I will probably make a Facebook group for our discussions, as well, since it's not easy (or even possible anymore?) for you to share your images here in the comments.

The mini-class is one of several I offer on my class page, and as always, they're self-directed.  I won't be doing this with all of them...I don't think!  I just need a booster shot. 😜


Monday, July 12, 2021

Considering something...

...and I wanted to run it by you, here and on Facebook.

I've been in a bit of a dry spell with my sketching, though I have indeed done more than I've shared online.  I've been involved with other creative endeavors, of course, eco-dyeing, sewing, creating my little fae poppets, but art journaling, not so much, and it shows.  Some of my sketches are downright bad!

Lavender and Rose Mary

The girls...polymer and fabric

Studious and Joyful

Faena Fawkes, who started me on this road...


And then there's sewing and eco-dyeing...

And MORE eco-dying, of papers and cloth, for small journals...

There are a number of contributing factors when we lose our mojo...materials, time, circumstances, practice, tools...but June 2, as I did yet another sketch I didn't like much, I wrote in my journal "I think I need to take my own Quicksketch 1 class!" 

I think I want to revisit those factors and try to sort it out a bit.

So.  The idea kind of took hold.  What if I DID, what if I went through the class week by week as it is delivered to those who sign up for it.  What if some of you wanted to take it WITH me?  What if we discussed it here, and on Facebook?

 Any interest?

 Let me know...I was thinking I might start August 1.  Anybody wanna join me? 

 

 https://cathyjohnson.info/art-classes/quick-sketching-1/

 

I'd love to see your comments and questions, below.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Taking Care of Fountain Pens

 I love to work with a good fountain pen--either a vintage one with a springy nib or a newer one that writes dependably and smoothly.  I also like not adding too much more to the landfill with disposable pens that appear to dry up way too rapidly, but more importantly I like having a relationship with my tools.

Two of the most important ways to keep that relationship a happy one are to clean your pen when needed (probably frequently, depending on the kind of ink you use!), and to match the ink to the pen. Also if you switch inks/brands/types, it's best to clean your pen between fillings, as some formulas may not play well with the residue left behind.

We've all been told that water-resistant inks are not good for vintage pens, and I believe that's sadly true. (Not so great in new ones, either, but for some unknown reason my TWSBI pens seem able to cope.) So it's necessary to be extra vigilant if you insist on using them anyway, which I often do!

Unfortunately one of my favorite techniques is ink and watercolor, so I stubbornly keep trying...

 



 

Of course it's fun to use water-soluble ink too, but it's less controllable and often makes your wash colors muddy. 

It can be fun to use a pen with water-soluble ink...makes shading a breeze!  But as you can see the color is a big muddy.

So when my pens need a good spa day, I use Goulet's pen cleaner solution, a soft ear syringe, and finally, an electronic sonic cleaner, if necessary.  Sometimes it's enough to soak and flush, but sometimes you need to take the pen apart, if you're feeling brave (or frustrated enough!)


Sometimes this is enough, if you can unscrew the nib section and flush it with warm water.  You may need to soak it first in pen cleaning solution or water with a bit of ammonia (for anywhere from a few hours to a few days), and use a bristle brush on the nib and feed.  

Surprisingly even after restarting the cleaning several times I may still get ink coming free from the nib.

Water-resistant inks often have some sort of varnish in them...that's why they say never to use India Ink in a fountain pen, but even some of the other inks like Platinum Carbon Black or the DeAtramentis Document inks can cause issues.  The latter was what was in this pen, from Fountain Pen Revolution--happily NOT an expensive vintage pen.

This is what the feed looked like after I pulled the nib...those grooves or vanes are supposed to be clean and open.  The feed section is stuck tight or I would have pulled it, too...I'm sure there's still gunk back in there.  If it acts up too soon, I'll soak this section in pen cleaner for a few days and try again.

The inside of the nib was just gross!  Gritty ink particles where it should be smooth and shiny.

This is the topside of the nib, with the heavy buildup of ink where it fitted the pen body.

After rinsing with hot water...still pretty stuck...

I had to scrape the dried ink off with my thumbnail, then gave the nib and the feed a good brushing with a bristle brush under running water.

This was DeAtramentis Document Brown...it had dried almost up in the bottom of the closed jar, so just out of curiosity I added warm water and shook it up.  Bits!  No wonder my pens get cranky.  (You don't thin DeAtramentis inks with water, though, but with their dedicated dilution liquid.)

I'm taking a chance and refilling the pens with Noodler's Lexington Grey, which never seemed to give me a problem...I really love a bold black, but I'm not all that fond of needing to clean so often!

I'd be delighted to read your feedback and any thoughts or advice you have to offer! 




Saturday, March 20, 2021

Getting there...

 Who knew that redesigning a website could take more than a year?!  Of course this is a very different year from most...in the past my dear webmistress, Sonya at Morgansites.com and I would mostly sit next to eachother in front of a computer and say "let's change that, can we move this here, let's add the other thing, do you want this, I'd like to delete that..."  

And instead, in this COVID year, we've exchanged a seemingly endless parade of emails and the occasional phone call!

This is both good news and bad news...I can take my time, mull over things at odd hours, and make sure that's really what I meant, and wanted to, say.  On the other hand...the bad news is that I can take my time, mull over things at odd hours, and make sure....well, you get the idea.  

Tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak...but we're getting there, with the help of dear friends and my beloved knight, who have acted as beta readers.  I can't thank YOU enough!

Just had to include my little poppets...

and of course the creatures we live with...

So far, this hasn't made the cut...

...but this has, talking about building our dreams...


There's a new gallery of my work in a number of genres, including journal sketches, paintings, fantasy, pottery, and professional illustrating jobs from years past.  There will be a few videos, mostly of the how-to persuasion; the art tips are all there, so are the mini classes, and a new Bookshop...

Can't wait to show it to you!

Meanwhile my classes, tips, and books are still available on my somewhat chaotic old site, here: https://cathyjohnson.info and I am very grateful to all of you who have visited, reached out, become students and friends over the years.  You make it all worthwhile!

Please do comment and let me know what you think...

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Comments??

 I haven't gotten comments on this blog for some time, and I suspect it's because of the way Blogger has changed moderation.  I've adjusted my settings, but who knows if that will work?

I'd appreciate it if you would post a comment, though...I feel sort of lonely out here by myself!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Loose the Kraken! Or...some of my videos...

 In working on the revised webpage, I realized I wanted to share a few of my videos that have been previously private, shared with other artists, done for a class that never happened, or ones that went privately to my own students, just to give you a taste.

This one is from my Artist's Journal Workshop mini-class, which I've been giving away free during the time of the pandemic, so it may be familiar to some of you--but it's fun and encouraging, and may save you some frustration!  Herein are LOTS of ideas on how to save a journal page or sketch that's gone wrong...

Video link:

https://youtu.be/V7B_kWP2-9A 

(I wish I knew how to embed them here...I used to be able to do that!  But click the link and you'll get there...)   

And meanwhile, feel free to browse my YouTube channel, there's a lot there that IS public and there will be more all the time, for a bit.  It's here: https://www.youtube.com/user/KateJosTube/fea
tured

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Yeah, no big surprise...I do tend to change things!

So, indeed I DID change all the class buttons, as I suspected I might in this post.  I decided to use the same art and font I used for the new class banners, to pull everything together, and I like them!

(And no, clicking on them now won't take you there, sorry!)

Now we're working on mailing list forms, checking spelling and sense, figuring out the new galleries of my work, linking everything...I'll announce when it's finally live!







 And of course my classes are still available on my old website, and will be till we get the new one up!  You can find them here: https://cathyjohnson.info/online.html

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Working on that Website Re-do!

I've been working with my wonderful web designer, Sonya Morgan of Morgansites.com, with a complete redo of all the pages, simplifying, making sure links work, dropping old stuff.  Mind you, we've been dealing with this since right before COVID-19 lockdowns last March...it's not exactly a speedy process, and both of us have other irons in the fire.  Step by step and page by page, we chip away at it, though!

You may have seen my last post on the subject, here: https://cathyjohnsonart.blogspot.com/2020/12/website-redesign-work-in-progress.html

Now, we're trying to reorganize the main class page, updating, cleaning up, bringing it into the 21st century...and hoping to still make it as appealing and informative as possible!  Each class has its own page, of course, and I'm happy with them, but the main page was confusing...

One update--rather than use the old class buttons like the one below, I'm hoping these new ones will be more in keeping with the new site...


This is the old button for the artist's journal class...it's no longer a "new" class, and Comic Sans captions just don't cut it any more...

 

New one--probably, unless I redesign it again!--here:

So, cleaner, fresher, hopefully more self-explanatory.  Some of the new buttons keep the same art you may have seen on my old web page, https://cathyjohnson.info/online.html, some don't, but I thought this really captures the subject matter--so I kept it.    

 

This is the new header for that class page, which will have all the info about how it works, what is included, price, accessibility, etc.

And many MANY thanks to my knight as well as dear friends and beta readers, who have found plenty of things to clarify throughout the new page...maybe in a month or two we'll break a bottle of champagne on the bow and launch!

Pretty sure Joseph's keeping me what passes for sane, fed, warm, and happy, in addition to beta reading and invaluable suggestions of course!


 And of course my classes are still available on my old website, and will be till we get the new one up!  You can find them here: https://cathyjohnson.info/online.html

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