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.

Second contemporary painting in the Sea Glass series

I finished up this second mixed media contemporary abstract this morning. My current inspiration comes from tide pools and sea glass.

These are artworks on paper using various materials, including acrylics, crayons and pencil. Each piece features colors of the sea and unique, linear abstract drawn motifs.

Living in Florida provides ocean inspiration and an appreciation for seaside hues.

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Month of Hobonichi fruits

Art journaling exotic and familiar fruits

For the month of May, I joined up with a group of Instagram artists to illustrate fruits for each day in our Hobonichi notebooks. Some of these fruits were very new to me, and so I was happy, that along with an artistic prompt benefit, there was an educational perk as well. Now I have several fruits that I am determined to find so I can sample all the delicious qualities that other people have been chatting about on my Instagram feed.

I chose to keep it fairly simple with watercolors, ink, and graphite. And so far, I am happy to say I have kept up with this project. Thirty-one days seems like a more manageable timeline for endurance as compared to the 100 day challenge that admittedly took more tenacity. So… here are my fruity offering so far…

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Ocean art relaxation

Art journal time at Ormond Beach… surfside studio

Living in Florida has its perks. I decided to drive out to Ormond Beach and visit my sister while she was camping with her family oceanside at the Coral Sands Resort. The weather was so lovely, and we even got in a bit of sketching and painting too.

As usual, I brought half the art studio, and I only used 1/10th of the materials I hauled in my art tote. You can never have too many options, ya know? 😉

Calligraphy practice is my meditation

How I use my art journals for calligraphy practice

Every since third grade handwriting class, I’ve had a love affair with letters and making beautiful script. Mrs. Patterson’s class with the letter charts decorating the wall above the chalkboards (no white board then people) was my favorite time of the school day.

Throughout my early school years and then into college, I practiced a variety of styles and kept a keen interest in alphabet forms and the history of calligraphy in general. These days, I blend my art journal images with calligraphy practice in various sketchbooks and planners.

365 days of art journal designs

I currently have four different diaries, or journals that I have committed to practice in daily throughout the year. Most spreads are not planned out and grow intuitively as the verse, or song, or image is chosen. I have a small box of ephemera which contains paper images that I have made, some that have been rubber stamped, and older pieces of my art that have been re-purposed as “collage” material.

Most often, it is simply a process of reaching in and pulling out surprises. Yes, a small pile of bits are often sifted through and more often than not, a page direction is serendipitously created. It truly is a joy to see things come together as paint, paper, and ink are merged into an artistic message.

Simple, slow living–mindfulness and art as meditation. The joys of art supplies and streaming music in my studio, playing with color, form, line, and words. I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

 The art and calligraphy journals of 2017…

Sumi ink with a dip pen in my Hobonichi Techo. Watercolors.

Washi tape. Watercolors. Sumi ink and colored pencil. Moleskine pocket-sized daily diary.

Watercolors and brush lettering in the beautiful Fabriano Venezia sketchbook.

Watercolors and dip pen calligraphy in a Leuchtturm sketchbook.

Watercolors in my daily Hobonichi art and quotes journal. Moon Palace Sumi ink.

I ordered a blank, wooden oblique holder from Paper Ink Arts and hand painted acrylic florals around the base. Practicing curly a alphabet style in my Peter Pauper Press grid notebook.

… and so continues the 2017 art and calligraphy journey.

Hobonichi Art Journal Flip

Patience is the name of the game when uploading videos to YouTube, but due to several requests, I’m giving YouTube another try. Unfortunately, uploading speeds are notoriously slow, at least for me here at home, and the frustration level peaks when dealing with the wait times as the videos process at a snail’s pace.

But it’s there! Finally! The YouTube video has processed. It is just a flip through of my Hobonichi Techo Art Journal so far for 2017 with some commentary on the techniques and supplies that I used. If there are any specific videos you would like to see, please leave me a comment below! 🙂