The long lost month of August!
Hello Folks! I just realized that we’ve come to the end of January! Boy, did this month really fly! Even though this has been a busy month, the new year has actually gotten off to a good start, and I feel like I might be catching up on some things around here. The Christmas decorations are all packed away in new matching clear plastic bins (Hooray for the new Dollar General just down the road from us!), ten year’s worth of reenacting clothing from various centuries has been washed, ironed, and folded, and the utility closet has been thoroughly cleaned. I’ve even had a chance to work some more on this year’s art journal. Here’s a peek into the “January” pages…
I used one of the Bare Books for this year’s journal, divvied up the pages to about 4 per month, and added some tabs so I could easily find my place throughout the year. I’m not sure how the tabs will hold up over an entire year, but they are a fun addition! (Thanks, Martha!)
The tree sketch was a simple line drawing exercise… The crabapple is my favorite tree in our yard, and I think it’s been here since our first year in our home. I wanted to capture the movement of the twisty, tangly trunk in simple lines for this first sketch, instead of being super detailed about it. These pages also include a quote, and a poem, and a prosy little bit about the snow we’ve had this month. For more January journaling ideas, follow this link… Or for February, head here instead! Or, for all the art journaling posts, scroll down and click on the “Art Journaling” category in the sidebar!
Something I noticed from my original January Journaling page… the Doodle of the Month for January was “Snowflakes.” And I doodled snowflakes all over that page. But all those snowflakes had a major flaw. Silly me… Snowflakes have 6 sides, not 8! They really should look more like this…
I drew the mittens from “out of my head.” Don’t you just love mittens strung together? I was *ahem* 20 years old before I knew WHY mittens came on strings. Here in Delaware, where snow is not usually a huge part of our winter, we snipped those strings as soon as a new pair of mittens came home from the store. I honestly thought it was part of how they were packaged. Then I got married, moved to upstate New York with my new Hubby, and got a job working at a nursery school. And guess what? There’s a reason for those strings, and I think preschool teachers in snowy regions must be the most appreciative people in the world FOR those mitten strings! All the little children in that school kept their mittens strung through the two arms of their coats, so when they put on their coat the mittens were dangling from the sleeves, just waiting for their little hands! No missing mittens! No wondering whose mittens were whose! Amazing!
I tried to get a little bit of shading and texture on the mittens…
…maybe you can see it if I crop the photo…
I tried to think of the mitten as a “round-ish” object, and darkened the color around the edges to give it a bit of depth. And then took a good look at a knitted sweater to see what the texture looked like… Knitting sort of looks like little “V’s,” so I used a darker blue colored pencil and made a bunch of rows of V’s, sort of following the contour of the mitten. It took less time than I thought it would to add that little bit of texture. And I think it made the mittens look just a little bit warmer.
Something else I’m doing with my art journal this year is adding in little thoughts about habits I’d like to establish or goals I’d like to accomplish. I do have a “written” journal where all that daily stuff gets recorded, but sometimes things get lost in there amongst all the wordage, so tucking goals in my art journal makes them stand out a little more. The little boxes with “#2″ and “#3″ written in them are actually mini summaries of a really great blog series I recently discovered… Click on the picture below to visit Daniele’s 52 Ways for More Serenity in Life and Home! She’s adding a new tip each Monday, and they’ve been a great encouragement to me so far this year! Go visit if you get a chance! (Daniele writes much more graciously to her readers than I do to myself… I need some “tough love!”)
How about you? Anybody doing some Art Journaling?
We’d LOVE to see it!
Hello folks! I was hoping to get the December Art Journaling page up early this month, but due to computer issues, I haven’t been able to scan things from home. So… here is my early Christmas present to the families that are using the art journaling pages! (Though I wish it could have been much earlier!) Enjoy!
Only two more months missing…
…Hoping to get them up soon!
Thanks for being so patient!
I received an e-mail that I’ve been getting every Friday for quite a few months. It’s an e-mail I’ve thought about responding to, but never quite pulled myself together enough to sit still and work on it. Every week, Illustration Friday sends out an e-mail with a topic to illustrate in whatever medium you choose. It sounded like a really neat exercise to do… right there next to “Daily Painting”… so I signed up for the e-mails. And every week I’ve read the e-mail, thought about how it could be illustrated, and promptly filed those thoughts in the back of my head. But not this past Friday. I think I was still dealing with jet lag, and sitting still to doodle was pure therapy. My next-to-last math lesson is late, but I got the sketch finished. And even before they sent out the next topic! This week’s Illustration Friday topic is “Hurry!” and it is based on the quote…
All things will be clear and distinct to the man who
does not hurry; haste is blind and improvident.
~ Titus Livius ~
The quote is the antithesis to the topic, so I figured that I could go either way… To Hurry or Not to Hurry… if I claimed artistic liberty. So I pulled out an older papercutting design of mine and turned it into an ink & wash sketch… I’m going to try to link it in their “Pen and Ink” category.
Be still and know that I am God.
Traditionally, Ink & Wash sketches are done with India ink, water, brushes, and dip pens with a variety of nibs. It can be a little messy, and take a little time…
One of my favorite new materials to use (at least new to me) is General’s Sketch & Wash pencil. It’s a graphite pencil with a nice charcoal gray line, but with just a dab of water, the lines can become an ink wash! It’s super portable, much less messy than India Ink, and if you’re sketching out and about, you can wait until you get home to add the water! This is a GREAT material for nature-sketching kids!
And my brand-new absolute favorite art supply is the Micro Pigma BRUSH pen! I’ve used the Micron Pigma pens for years in place of technical pens that have to be carefully cleaned and maintained, but had never tried out their Brush pen. I bought one recently, and it’s incredibly awesome. The point is extremely fine, but with a smidge of pressure, you can vary the width of the stroke…
Very cool. It helps me work a bit looser and heavier, since I tend to lean toward very fine, precise lines. And “loose and heavy” definitely helps in the therapy area for uptight artists. Waaay more relaxing. The Micro Pigma BRUSH would be a good material for older kids to use… they run around $3 a pen, so share them with kids old enough to understand not to put too much pressure on the brush/nib. I think it might squash easily under the control of a heavy-handed six year-old. I’d definitely recommend it for the “Twelve and Above” crowd, unless you have a very careful younger artist.
In other news: Our oldest daughter Jordan is blogging about our California trip, and our young friend Kati did a post on our youngest daughter Kate’s Etsy Shop! If you get a chance, go check them out! You might even win something!
Three years ago (Really, has it been that long ago?) I started posting Art Journaling Ideas every month, and somewhere around mid-year, life must have gotten a bit crazy, because the last one I posted was June’s! A few weeks ago, those old posts were resurrected on Pinterest, and we’ve had quite a few e-mails asking where the other half of the year was! I pulled out the file, and found that November still needed some work, so on our way to church and back I finished it up, and it’s ready to post…
We actually started the art journaling project back in the late 1990′s, and the children of several online friends tested out the journal ideas and sent me their drawings! I was originally going to organize all these into a book… and still may someday put it together into an easily downloadable ebook… but for the time being, you can find all the art journaling posts HERE or by clicking on the “Art Journaling” category on the right sidebar!
I could only find one submission for November…
~ Joseph C., Age 7 ~
(Joseph’s probably married by now!)
Below are the September and October Journal Pages…
…July and August need a LOT of work, so hopefully next summer!
December is coming soon!
Here’s September’s page…
P.S. You know how I’m always saying
“Practice, Practice, Practice”
when it comes to drawing?
Look at the difference between my November drawings
and my September and October drawings.
(done over ten years ago!)
Draw lines, young man, many lines;
from memory or from nature -
it is in this way you will become a good artist.
~ Jean Auguste Ingres, to the young Edgar Degas ~
With only three days to go in June, I’m FINALLY getting this month’s art journaling page up! Forgive the tardiness… this is definitely going to be a long-term project, as I’ve not had much time to devote to adding extra art journaling commentary! (And I’m running into a few of the old monthly pages that weren’t completely finished, so adding drawings and ideas is necessary before posting!)
One idea mentioned below that we did quite often throughout our years of homeschooling was making small journals for special activities. Believe it or not, having a small journal to use for just a week at camp or for the summer only makes a big difference in your attitude toward journaling! Our girls had art journals that they worked in over long periods of time, but over time, pulling out those journals can become monotonous. Having something new to work in can be fun, but you can also vary the type of entries. Some ideas that are interesting “breaks” from the norm:
Reading Response Journal (Be Laura Ingalls as you read your way through the Big Woods)
Nature Journaling (While on a hike, record your observations of flora and fauna)
Historical Journal (Keep a journal specifically for living history activities… Write in first person!)
Science Journal (Record details about experiments during a science unit study)
Camp or Trip Journal (Write each day about where you’ve been, and what you’ve seen)
Field Trip Journal (Keep a special journal just for writing about field trips)
You get the idea! The main thought behind this is to keep it small if it’s a short-term journal. It’s easy to carry with you, not intimidating, and easier to stay focused on a specific type of writing or artwork. We used to make our little journals by folding paper in half and stapling on a construction paper cover, but the opportunities are endless now… check out the scrapbooking section of your craft store for ready-made tiny journals!
And here’s June’s Idea Page!
Yesterday, Mom & I made our first trip to the greenhouses. Well, actually Mom beat me to it by a couple of visits, but it was my first official trip of the season. We went to two local nurseries, and this was what I came home with…
Now to get it potted and looking pretty! I’ll be so glad to see something living at my back door! It’s always nice to get the entry ways looking welcoming. That’s one of my most difficult homemaking tasks, since for some reason I’m just not an “outdoors” person. I like the outdoors… but I’m perfectly happy puttering around inside and sometimes forget to even poke my head out all day long!
Amazingly enough, it is still just the first week of May, and I’ve got the May Journaling Ideas page all ready to post… so without further ado…
I think it’s supposed to rain again today. I keep reminding myself that “April showers bring May flowers.” We’ve had quite the dreary beginning to this month! However, yesterday the Crab Apple began to show some blooms, and today it’s nearly completely opened. I took a picture, just in case the predicted storms later today knock them off. We call the Crab Apple tree “Dad’s Topiary,” because of the trim job he gave it a couple of years back. It was very bushy, and difficult to mow around, so one day we girls came home to a beautiful Crab Apple Topiary. It was a bit of a shock initially, but I love how the new trim job showed off the twisted trunk! (Dad also made a topiary out of Jo’s pine tree next to the garden, and that tree STILL looks rather interesting!)
The Crab Apple tree has just the perfect setting… right in a little nook in front of the barn. For years it served not only for decoration, but for goat containment. The door just to the left leads into the goat shed, and as a few of you know, we used to have four goats. (Only April, our noisy little alarm clock goat is still with us.) And as some of you may know, goats are good at escaping. They even sometimes escaped, and then let the horse prisoners that lived next door out as well. However, we foiled them with the Crab Apple tree. As soon as they would sneak out of the barn door, the four of them would spy the Crab Apple and forget all about the wonders of the great beyond. They would eat themselves sick, and we could walk right up and get them one by one and put them back behind bars. Very convenient. My only issue with the Crab Apple, is that it’s a flowering Crab Apple, and the fruits are tiny… maybe cherry size? I’d really like to get an old-fashioned Crab Apple, with actual Crab Apple sized fruits so we can make Crab Apple Jelly.
And now, with no furthur ado, here are April’s Art Journaling Ideas! It’s not quite the middle of the month, so I’m not too late!
I’ve not posted much lately, but I have had some rather random potential post ideas floating around in my brain. I actually logged in to post a very random, unconnected sort of post, but then I looked at the March Journaling Idea Page and decided to use one of the ideas!
One of my very favorite folk artists is Edward Hicks. He’s famous for his “Lion & Lamb” pictures, as I call them… his Peaceable Kingdoms. It’s interesting to note that in the actual Bible verses (Isaiah 11: 6-9) that inspired Hick’s artwork, a lion and lamb are not actually paired up anywhere in the text, but the two animals seem to typify his work. The Bible text prophesies of a time when there will be peace on Earth… when the most ferocious beasts will eat and sleep alongside the most timid. Something we all long for!
Edward Hicks was orphaned as a baby, and was raised by a Quaker family. He eventually became a minister in the Quaker faith, but earned his living as a sign and carriage painter. He endured a lot of conflict over his chosen profession, as the Quakers felt that artwork and embellishment was too worldly. Because of that, Hicks refused to do portrait work and for the most part, painted religious scenes. (Although he also did several incredible patiotic scenes and landscapes!)
His most famous paintings were his “Peaceable Kingdoms”… and Hicks painted at least 62 of them! As an artist, I’m completely amazed at the idea of producing that many paintings based on the same text, yet, I can also understand how God’s Word can literally be “alive” and can inspire painting after painting.
The story of these particular paintings is very interesting. Our family got to see a selection of them up close at the Abby Aldridge Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg. If you study them closely, there are some really interesting details! Most of the Peaceable Kingdoms include a group of white men and Indians, which portrays the signing of a peace treaty between William Penn and the Lenape Indians. For the Quakers, who were persecuted in Europe because of the religious beliefs, Pennsylvania was their “Peaceable Kingdom.” Literally founded on the idea of freedom to worship God, the colony was populated by those escaping persecution. The prominence of the treaty signing varies from painting to painting, as does the landscape. The version that we have hanging in our home has a landscape feature that resembles Natural Bridge… perhaps Hicks was inspired by other artist’s paintings of this natural wonder? We do know his Peaceable Kingdoms were inspired by the engravings by English engraver/painter Richard Westall.
One of the most fascinating things to me is the animals in the paintings. It’s thought that Hicks used the lion to portray himself, (don’t you think his eyes look like the lion’s?) and that the other animals and their actions represented members and happenings in the Quaker denomination. It’s interesting, when viewing the paintings in chronological order, to watch the animals’ expression, to see who is quarreling with whom, and to see them age and sometimes become resigned. There’s also quite a bit of symbolism connected with the animals… for an interesting article check out THIS.
As an artist, it’s also good to know that other artists were inspired by other artists. Looking at early American folk art, it’s easy to see that the artists got their inspiration and their references from engravings and prints that they saw in books or possibly hanging on their walls. They may have even based the bulk of their work on another’s artwork, yet they made it their own.
Copy and recopy the masters.
Another thing I love about Hicks’ work… and probably the thing that drew me to his art in the first place… is the writing around the edges of most of his paintings. Most likely, he included it because of his sign painting background, but for some reason he felt the need to add a caption or explanation to his paintings. It just adds an element that intrigues and inspires me, and I think has perhaps inspired our family to write on the walls and hang quotes, sayings, and Bible verses all around our home. We at the Frey Haus like “signage.”
So… if you get a chance, study more about Edward Hicks! You will be inspired, I promise! Click HERE for a great book about his life and works!