Flashback Friday: Sing Your Song #art #ink #markers

Everyday brings its own set of challenges that defines us. Some of these challenges can make us strong, make us wiser, and teach us to be okay with ourselves. Some days we are awesome at conquering these challenges, while other challenges can tear us down. Yet even though we can be brought down, we can rise again stronger than ever because we have learned that by falling, we can still survive.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am having one of those challenging weeks. Yet I am still here. I am surviving.  I have learned this week that even though someone can pass from your life onto the next, that the loved ones that are left behind can come together to remember them, to share in grief, sorrow and memories. What comes from these times is knowledge that we affect the people in our lives in such a way that we can never truly understand until their gone or about to leave.

This week brought me the news that my great aunt Mae passed away in the night. She was a bright spot in this world and I was so saddened to hear her light is no longer shining in this life. I will miss her dearly and wish I had a chance to tell her so. But this sad news was accompanied by even sadder news that our beloved Grandma Noe’s health is failing and that it may be a matter of days before she leaves us too.

My mind and heart have been slow to come to grips with these heartbreaking events. I wasn’t even sure if I would post this entry today. The cheery little bird I drew last year seemed to be mocking me. Yet here I am writing this post, still breathing, still surviving in the only way I know how – being myself. So today’s life lesson is this: “Be true to yourself, sing your own song and live life to it’s fullest.” If you do, the legacy you leave behind will be the thing that binds your loved ones together in the face of sadness.


I dedicate this in loving tribute to my great aunt Mae who left a wonderful legacy in this life by the family and friends her life touched. And to grandma Jean Noe, though while her song has yet to end I hope and pray she finds peace in her final hours. 


Flashback Friday: Dec 14th 2014 #art #ink #mixedmedia #dnartcorner

Here we are with only 7 days until Christmas and not a snowflake in sight – at least here in the Midwest. While I do not treasure shoveling snow like most folks, I do enjoy the beauty and wonder those crystalline flakes add to the season. They especially look most wondrous against the ‘twinkling of lights and a thousand other delights’ that only take place around the holidays. (quote is inspired from John Denver Muppet Christmas song…)

While we are practically devoid of snow so far this December, this was NOT the case last year (or the year before for that matter). On December 14th 2014 I experienced our time-honored tradition of driving to-and-fro looking at all the glorious Christmas light displays that happened last year. My husband is quite dedicated to finding all the best the Chicago suburbs have to offer in their lighted holiday displays. We saw many jaw-dropping sights as we cruised the suburbs that night. To document our journey I tried to capture the essence of the evening in my journal. Here is the results:


Materials used:  Tim Holtz Mini Distress Inks, Derwent Graphik Line Painters, Derwent Inktense Pencil, Sakura Gelly Roll White Pen, Niji Waterbrush

The process: I had the most fun working on this entry. I loved the way the inks blended together that made up the night sky. To start, I lightly sketched out what I wanted this page to look like. Next, using my Distress inks, starting with the lightest colors I began blending them together one layer at a time (first with yellow, then light blue, working my way to the deeper shades like purple and black). With my Derwent Graphik Line Painters, I started outlining the penciled details and ornaments. For a final touch, I used my Derwent Inktense pencils to color in the houses and added blue shadows under the snowbanks; I used a Niji waterbrush to activate the pencil colors.

Flashback Friday: Dec 7th 2014 #art #ink #mixed media #dnartcorner

That first brisk chill in the air, to the first puff of frosty breath, to the first flake that hits the ground are all signs that winter is just around the corner. Depending on who you ask, winter has already begun. Meteorological winter starts on December 1st while our traditional almanac states that winter begins during the winter solstice which for this year is December 21st.

No matter what source you follow there is no denying that winter is upon us. It’s not all bad though. There is the upcoming holiday festivities to look forward to and winter fun to be had outdoors. You are never to old to go sledding – what fun!

So here is my journal entry from last year which was my little”hello” to this chilly but fun season.


Materials used: Tombow markers, Tim Holtz Distress Ink and Sakura Micron Pen.

The process: This page utilized a very simple design based on the humble name tag style bubble. I started with my usual light pencil sketch to layout the design elements. Next I swirled on the the page light blue distress ink in the background using a makeup sponge applicator. Moving on, I used my dark blue Tombow marker to outline the words and snowflakes. As a final touch I dated this entry with my micron pen. All in all, this was a fun and easy journal entry that was a nice break from my more complicated layouts.

Flashback Friday: Dec. 2, 2014 #art # ink #mixed media #dnartcorner

Hello readers,

I can’t believe it is already December! My how time flies! Amongst the Christmas craziness and commercialism that surrounds the holidays, I take great solace in drawing in my journal. There is something special about putting pen to paper creating lines, words and adding a splash of color. It’s very meditative and calming. Just what the doctor ordered!

Last year was no expectation in my need to escape the holiday rush. This entry highlights the day I spent with my husband Chris who surprised me with concert tickets to attend a St. Vincent concert. St. Vincent is one of my absolute favorite bands and Annie Clark, their lead singer is simply sensational.

Annie Clark is a wonderful music artist in her own right who writes inspiring music. One of my favorite songs is “Digital Witnesses” which is the theme I choose when drawing this journal page. I love how the song exposes our over obsessive behavior with digital technology as we walk through life. I wanted to visually encapsulate the song with explosive bursts of color and splashes of ink. Throwing ink around a page can be very cathartic- let me tell you!

I think I captured the mood of the song and my own personal feelings about our society’s mind-numbing compulsive behavior about our digital oppressors.

Art Journal 30

Materials used: Derwent Graphik Line Painter, Sakura Micron Pens

The process: I began with a light pencil sketch with the main drawing of the eye and adding song lyrics leading from the center and circling around the eye. I pix-elate the center of the eye using Derwent’s Graphik Line Painters. I moved to the words next by outlining them with my Micron pen, making lines thicker as I moved over each word. Next, using the line painters again, I began dropping paint around the page and blowing areas to spread the ink and turn the journal page in different directions to get paint drips down the eye like tear drops. As a final step, with my line painters once again, I sketched in geometric style lines to unify the colors. This was the first time I used Derwent’s Graphik Line painters. While they were totally messy, I had an absolute blast using them. They definitely allowed me to let go and have fun with creating this entry.

Flashback Friday: September 13th 2014

Ah…. September 13th. What a lovely day this was last year. The weather was that beautiful kind of warm that you just wanted to bask in. It was also the perfect kind of day to experience a wedding.
This entry pays homage to one of the most sacred events that a man and women can take together. The day they say “I do”. This was the much anticipated wedding day of our cousin Beth and now husband Mark.

The location of their wedding was the secluded beach front area in Zion, Illinois with a glorious view of Lake Michigan. Surrounded by family and friends we watched as they exchanged vows and professed their love to the world.

This was one day that contained very special moments and was filled with heart warming memories. I for one was very glad to be witnessed to the beginning of their journey together. Even now as I write this, our dear cousins are now expecting their first baby boy. I am so happy for them both and wish them the best of luck as the move forward onto the next stage in the path of life…


Flashback Friday: August 17, 2014

Greetings readers!

I almost totally forgot to post my journal entries today! Well, the day is not over and we have plenty of sunshine left to the evening. For this post, I have two journal entries to share that happened around this time last year in August. First up is my little drawing of our favorite vacation spot in Michigan.

ArtJournal 12My father-in-law has a lovely cottage nestled in the heart of Bass Lake near Greenville, Michigan that we loving call “The Coasts of Gowen”. I remember that while the day was warm you could sense the oncoming of the fall season. This particular scene was drawn after a late afternoon of relaxing by the beach near the brand new fire pit that my father-in-law just put in. My father-in-law is a DIY whiz in case you were wondering…

I love that I have a nice way to remember our time spent at the cottage in Michigan. Our memories of our vacations here are always wonderful because of the quality time spent with our family. I look forward to going back real soon.

On a completely different note, the next entry shows off the more humorous side of my art. This particular drawing was done to prove to my husband that we watched the movie ‘Twister” on August 17, 2014. You see, my husband didn’t believe me when I said that it has been a while that we watched the film. At the time, I really wanted to watch it again but he was on the fence because we watched it ‘recently’. While I admit that we have watched the movie together several times, it had been a couple of years since we watched it last, but I had no way to prove it. So this time I decided I would record the event for ‘posterity’ a.k.a. prove my husband wrong the next time I want to watch the film.

So here is my little humorous drawing that pays homage to on of my favorite films.

ArtJournal 13

Flashback Friday Kick-off Week!: July 28-30th

Welcome back to my Flashback Friday Kick-off Week!

Now we are starting to get into the heart of my journal with the very start of my year – my birthday!ArtJournal 3 The first entry highlights in an abstract way the elated feelings I have around my birthday. The drawing technique is a Zentangle inspired pattern “Tumbleweed” brought to you by my favorite artist Helen Williams from ‘a little lime‘ blog site. The drawing was colored using my favorite medium from Derwent – Inktense blocks and pencils!

ArtJournal 4My second journal entry for July 30th is also inspired by Helen’s amazing artwork is my version of her patterned flower found in her ebook “Flips, Folds, Ribbon and String“. Her book is amazing with very clear instructions on how to re-create the drawings within her book which also includes links to step-by-step videos.

While both entries are from inspirations rather than original artwork. They both allowed be to break the “blank page syndrome” that plagues the start of my journals. In general the journal is more about exploration of different techniques and found inspiration then trying to capture something original on my pages. This way I stop procrastinating and just practice having fun creating art. That is what art is all about – having fun!

Thanks for stopping by! Until tomorrow…


Flashback Friday Kick-off Week!

Hello followers and any new readers,

Welcome to ‘Flashback Friday Kickoff Week”! This is the first entry from my year-long art journal I have been working on that chronicles my life over the past year.

I am finally back after a long hiatus from the blogging world. While I have not been blogging, I have been keeping busy with my art journal and continuing my fiber art passion of spinning and knitting yarn. In between, I have also moved from our busy town of Naperville to the quiet countryside town of Sycamore. Unfortunately, between the packing, moving, knitting, spinning and journaling had left me no time for blogging. However, while my blog lay stagnant, I still managed to complete my 2014-2015 journal. Yeah me!

So now I am finally ready to start unveiling all my journal entries. Rather than post everything all at once, I decided I would resume my Flashback Fridays in a ‘big’ way by showcasing my first ten journal entries over the next five days. Thereafter I will resume my weekly postings on Fridays only.

As a little back-story, the idea behind the journal was to chronicle one year of my life starting with my birthday in 2014 and ending just before my birthday at the end of this July. I have approximately 1 – 3 journal entries for every week for a full 52+ week journal!

Without further ado, here is the opening pages of my journal. Every journal needs a beginning – here is mine… Enjoy!

Day Forty Two, Creation Forty Two


The day has finally arrived! I final got off the procrastination bus and completed the last drawing for my self imposed challenge “One Zentangle a Day” from the book by Beckah Krahula!

I knew going in that I would not be able to truly complete this task in six weeks, but little did I know that it would almost take me over a year!

My life took many twists and turns along the way from work stresses, to distractions to beloved family members passing away. Each tangle I completed was like a little bookmark in my life. I will treasure each one always.

For this last day’s challenge the author asked us to make a simple line drawing and combine it with the tangles we learned throughout the book otherwise known as a ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art).

I finally sat down this evening and started drawing some traditional pen & ink petunia flowers and added some of my favorite tangles like “Fescu” and “Tat”. I took a very free-flowing approach to this drawing. It was nice to finally take the time to start and complete this drawing in one evening.

I don’t know why I kept putting this off for so long…

Now that I completed this challenge what is next for this little artist? I can tell you one thing, it won’t be another challenge any time soon.

I think I will take the time now to explore other avenues. Why not take the time to learn some more tangles, create new ones or simply have fun filling in my visual journal. After all, I started this blog to chronicle my art journey. Not for profit, not for notoriety, but just simply to relax and enjoy the process!

Now that I am back, stay tuned as I will post the tangles I created during my South Dakota trip.

Until next post 🙂

Flashback Friday: April, 16 2007


I decided today to go way back to April 2007 when I when I frequently watched an anime program called “Eureka 7” that was featured on Cartoon Network at that time. I often find that when an anime program is so beautifully illustrated, I am at times inspired to sketch a character from a series. For the record, I don’t remember what the episode was about nor do I even remember the plot of the entire series. However, I do know that this scene was so alluring that I literally paused my TV to sketch this moment in my sketchbook. The decision to post this sketch today is quite simple. This picture depicts perfectly the mood I am currently in- I am so weary of winter…

Eureka Seven

Day Twenty Nine, Creation Twenty Nine


So I spent the past couple of weeks playing around with creating my very own tangle as I eluded to in my last post. I finally picked one of my designs, gave it a name and was already to unveil my glorious new tangle.
However, upon looking up what my next day would entail, I ran across a problem. I was about to skip over day twenty nine- egads!

In my excitment to get to day thirty which is to create my very own tangle, I didn`t realize that I skipped over a page in my One Zentangle a Day book, day twenty nine. Of course I couldn`t skip a day, now could I?

I was tempted, but I didn`t…

Anyway, without much further delay, I present day twenty nine! At first, I wasn`t very excited about this days task which asked my to draw a feather and combine it with Verdigough. How boring and tedious, I thought. The author of the book explained how much she loved drawing feathers and what a calming effect drawing them did for her. Well, I haven’t really ever just drawn a feather before, but I was commited at this point to give it a try.

Let me just say, I love drawing feathers now! At least for me, the author was absolutely right. Drawing feathers can be calming and even addictive! After practicing filling up my practice journal I was all set to begin this tile. I was inspired by couple of examples in the book that showed how you can to use colored gel pens on black paper to create some really interesting tiles. I searched my local art stores to find the perfect set of pens. I settled on Sakura`s Metallic Gelly Roll pens which are really awesome to work with.

I set out to draw my feather and then added Verdigough with some berries around the tile. I just love how the metallic pens seem to glow off the black paper. This is definitely one of my new favorite techniques that I will be sure to use again in the future.

Drawing feathers really gave me a chance to understand how to draw Verdigough better which up until now was my least favorite tangle. I now find myself doodling feathers when given a chance and has inspired me to expand my doodling horizons. In general, I was always at a loss to draw on a regualr basis. I was intimidated about drawing on a blank page with expensive art drawing supplies. I was in fear of making a mistake or under pressure to create awe inpiring serious art.

Through this whole One Zentangle a Day process, I have come to understand that I do not need to put myself under that kind of pressure. Not everything I draw has to be awesome. I just need to enjoy the process of drawing- period. I am drawing more than ever now and I am really enjoying the feeling. Perhaps I will get back to creating serious art, but for now I am having fun!

Try drawing a feather next time you pick up your pen and see what it can do for you too!

Until next post…

Flashback Friday: My childhood kitchen table circa 1992


I decide to go into the very distant past and go way, way back to 1992 where I sat as a child and decide to draw what was before me. Sitting at the table ready to draw, from my young perspective was the entire kitchen ready to be lovingly recreated on my little piece of paper .

I remember there wasn’t a particular reason why I decided to draw the entire kitchen that day. I just wanted to draw- period.

Remember when things were that simple? You just did what you wanted (with the approval from a parental unit, of coarse) and there were no getting side-tracked or caught up in worries. You just drew what ever you wanted without stress of adult responsibilities weighing you down.

Looking back at this drawing, I remember taking my time to draw every detail, I wasn’t concerned about get the perspective just right, nor did I care that my lines weren’t all that straight. I recall proudly showing my mother what I drew and her giving me a encouraging smile and hug and telling me how wonderful it was.

That’s really the heart of this memory. Not the drawing, or the time-frame in which it took. It was my mother always being there encouraging me to be what I wanted to be. In my heart of hearts I am an artist and always will be.

Thanks mom.