Sketchbook Revival: Day 11 Both Sessions

The first session of day 11 was “From Blobs to Birds” with Terry Runyan (

It occurred to me after I’d started making animals from the blobs that I should have a blob only picture.

Critters Complete

I have some favorites.

This was another great warm-up exercise to break those moments when you have so many ideas that you are paralyzed into inaction. Maybe that’s just me.

I found this a little easier than Esté MacLeod’s 123…Cats method. Saying that means I should use Esté’s method more often, so I’ll probably do Terry’s. Ha!

The second session was “Matisse on My Mind” with Mou Saha (

When you are cutting organic shapes it is helpful to use small scissors and move the paper instead of your cutting hand.

The words: tied, gathered, with, entwined, bound, enmeshed, interconnected, joined, encircled. We really do have a lot of descriptive words to define how we are together.

April Fools Day

No pranks here just Sketchbook Revival Day 10 Session 2 results.

“Mindful Practice: Mixed Media Art Journaling” with Tania Ahmed was some fun with acrylics and a palette knife again…woohoo.

The effect of the palette knife when there is barely any paint on it any more is wonderful!

After the paint smears however, I diverged from her methods only because I didn’t have any materials with which to make stamps.

As a substitute, I tried applying some paint to the bottom of a pencil sharpener I have in a triangular case. That resulted in some white blobs on the page. MEH.

Before the blobs, the page had been a little dear to me. My smears created a person taking their pet seal for a walk in the park! Go ahead, take another look. I’ll wait.

Right? Yeah, fun. So anyway, the piece was no longer as dear after the white blobs. Now I could just play.

I used my favorite paintbrush…

…with stiff bristles and a thin profile to create some angled movement through the blobs. In some cases it just improved my blobs, in other cases some of the blue and green under the white was lifted and blended.

After stamping, Tania moved on to other embellishments for pattern. I always revert to circles…little bunches of them.

I made the bunches of circles with two brush pens and one fineliner. And the Chinese character for person was added to the page to populate the park.

Tania moved on to placing a photograph of a woman (cut form a catalog) in her piece. I have a preponderance of garden catalogs at this time of year. Thumbing through one of those, I passed over quite a few lovely blooms, and found this hellebore bloom in cream and green—suitable for the color scheme.

Once on the page, it looked as stuck to the page as it was. An extra layer, yes, but and awkward and out of sync layer. I put a dollop of green on my palette and blended the flower into the background around the edges. That was worse…like Watergate coverup worse. Fine, maybe not that bad, but not good.

For the briefest of moments I eyeballed the pencil sharpener case and though about adding blobs. Nooooooooo!

Dollop of white on the palette, and more brush work. Yeeeesssss!

A few of the people characters were obliterated in the cover up—isn’t that usually the case?

Overall the piece still felt like a hot mess, and it needed something done to it with intention and not by accident. I fell back to my favorite lettering of the moment. First “motion” in the center, then “forward” to the left. The text was a little too on the nose, and the playfulness needed acknowledgement so “smear” and “streak” were added for balance.

I put on my jammies and went to bed. Got up in the morning, fed the pets and myself, and sat down to photograph this and write about it.

Looking at the page this morning I discovered something I hadn’t seen the night before. One of my bundles of circles in the lower left blob—placed with intention so the fineliner circles would be in high contrast against the white blob—actually echoes the flower above it.

Who knew a blob, several brush strokes, and a bundle of doodle circles could become so dear in a fraction of a second.

Life is weird.

Sketchbook Revival: Day 7 Session 1

Love this!

Wonky scale…yay

Not making it all look the same…yay

Wacky, surreal background…yay

Working in portrait instead of landscape…yay. This surprised me because I didn’t hate working in landscape on the other pieces, but I realized I missed it.

Just a good bit of fun thanks to Karen Stamper ( in “Collage the Street.”

Sketchbook Revival: Day 5 Session 2

Yesterday was a day full of making art, and I’m still behind. That is wonderful!

The marvelous fact about registering for Sketchbook Revival is the flexibility of the program. Karen Abend puts together an intense schedule of workshops with two a day. However, she gives registrants access to the videos for a week or two beyond the event so everyone can work at their own pace.

The Day 5 Session 2 workshop was “Watercolor Collage Fodder” presented by Tiffany Sharpe (

I’ve heard fodder referred to as ephemera as well.

Tiffany breaks her collage work into two parts. The first part is the creation of fodder of all types. When she has a pile of materials (not necessarily related) she proceeds to the second part—composition.

For the purposes of this workshop she combined the two.

There is a lot going on here, and from your perspective quite a bit of it will make no sense at all because there was fodder that briefly appeared on the page and then was removed.

This was another collage I did not like as a whole.

The bits I did like:

The mushrooms were fun.

I am a collector of ephemera.

Last night I went to dinner at my friends’ house. While we were snacking and hanging out, I pulled out my pen and pocket notebook and drew the flower arrangement on the table.

This morning I added watercolor, a bit of cloth from the dog groomer, some scrap construction paper, and an idea, and made a different collage in my altered book.

All the tones are earth tones.

I think the large format of my sketchbook has been working against me where these collages are concerned.

Both of the instructors for the sessions have used smaller format pages for their collages, and in the hour or less timeframe, a few key elements can combine to fill the page.

What I have not liked about mine is they feel incomplete, and the compositions haven’t been coming together overall.

Solution: If there is another collage session, I’m still going to work in the big sketchbook, but I’m going to frame the piece from the very start. Probably a horizontal frame placed on the page in an asymmetrical manner. Hmmm, maybe I won’t wait.

But I have more sessions to do! This is a nice problem to have.