Grey Toned Journals

Stillman & Birn Nova Series

I had a chance to try out the grey-toned Nova Series paper by Stillman & Birn this past weekend. I tried using various materials, including: water soluble oil pastels, grease pencils, regular graphite, colored pencil, gouache and acrylic paints.

I liked the way the paper handled all the materials, and the colors contrast nicely with the grey background. So far, nothing has bled through to the other side!

Walnut ink drawing

Sketching with a Brause 66EF nib

I was inspired by our walk Sunday through Wekiva Springs State Park where the vegetation was showing much decay from the frosts we have had this winter. It is a transition we are used to here in Florida… the winter turns most of the tropicals into mushy pools of brown, but there is beauty in the turning towards spring.

This walnut ink color is rich and warm, and I enjoyed trying to capture some of the beauty found in our Florida winter season. I used a walnut ink that I mixed myself and a Brause 66 EF nib in a straight holder. The paper is an insert by the Traveler’s Company in Japan (Midori).

Soon, all of Florida will be green again, so I’m going to enjoy this color variety while it is here.


Today in the art studio

Small works in oils

It was a good day for the small works projects–I managed to add some more to each of these oil paintings.

Working in oils takes more time to allow for drying, but I enjoy everything about the texture of painting alla prima with oils. I often work in acrylics and watercolors in between the oils–it gives my creative brain a different outlet and keeps my skills expanding in other mediums.

Watercolor painting with Schmincke

Layers of transparent paint create interesting…

happy surprises

transparent light stories,

the magic of watercolor…


Finished painting is available on Etsy… have a beautiful Tuesday. 🙂


Friday in my art studio

Painting and staying warm

I know that I have nothing to really complain about when it comes to cold weather, but seriously, this cold snap in the south is getting old. The little space heater in my Florida home art studio is helping me cope. I just keep thinking about our brutal summer temps and 5K training in the heat last year, and I think I’d rather be sweating than freezing. Yes, I’ll take the heat. I’m no longer a New York winter girl. Waiting for the warm up–come on Florida!

Here are some photos of the things happening in the studio this week! I’ve finished submitting my paintings for a competition (more about that later), and I’ve started some small works (5×5 inch) mixed media studies on canvas paper. It’s so much fun to work in the square format–and working small allows me try new things and experiment for larger pieces.

Have a wonderful Friday everyone!

Contemporary Charcoal Drawing Video

The beginning of a contemporary abstract painting…

Yesterday I was reorganizing the studio, going out to look at art supplies, and generally not painting anything at all. Some days you just can’t force the process–even with a painting deadline on the horizon. An artist learns to trust that ideas will happen only when the time is right…

But this morning the muse “magic” that totally defies logic kicked in at 5:30 am. Yes, creativity demanded attention–before coffee–before I felt even half-way human; yet, who am I to argue the time of day that inspiration decides to appear?

I figured if I could get this charcoal drawing idea out of the brain and on to my paper, then I could happily stumble to the kitchen and fix myself a cup of morning coffee.

So it happened. And the coffee was good. And the day will be filled with painting.


Art Education – John Muir Laws

Self study online

There are so many wonderful, free resources on the internet for people who want to learn art techniques and how to use new materials. It just takes a bit of commitment to research the available training and then carve out the time to watch, take notes, and put into action the new ideas.

In my quest to find some more information about gouache, I came upon some excellent material and videos by the awesome John Muir Laws. I sat for several hours, just soaking up various information he has on the internet and totally enjoying his teaching style. If you haven’t invested in your art education journey yet, you are missing out on some fantastic opportunities!

Here are just 2 of the art education note pages that I scribbled down while watching his videos. Gouache is a super fun material, and I’m loving it more each day as I discover ways to utilize it in my journals and mixed media projects.

I think it’s important to keep learning and growing as an artist. There are new ways of using materials that seem to come just from experimentation alone. But more importantly, there are so many wonderful, helpful artists out there who have provided tips and research so we can all improve together.