Nothing could be more beautiful than a sunny day, wine and good company. That’s exactly what happened last year on September 12th. I remember the day had a slight chill to the air with the promise of fall just around the corner. I finally decided I would use my spa gift certificate I received for my birthday. With a new color on my nails and wonderful new haircut I was well on my way to awesome day. This was also the first day I wore my hand-knitted t-shirt sweater I worked on all-summer-long. It was a gorgeous orange cantaloupe color. I even had a matching silk scarf with a hint of teal that I picked up in Galena, IL the previous week. Everything was coming together; it was just one of those perfect days.
With my new look in place, my husband and I made our way to Geneva, IL to experience the “Festival of the Vine” that they hold every year. All the shops in Geneva partake in this event by offering either food or their own wine tastings. We headed to our favorite destination “The Little Traveller” located off of 3rd St in the downtown district. While there were plenty of people, the atmosphere was pleasant since most everyone was relaxed from all the wine tastings.
I remember experiencing many different wines and had most fun picking out the “one” that we would take home to enjoy. Walking hand-in-hand we strolled down the streets and took in all the sights and sounds of the festival. Later, we had a lovely dinner at home that evening which rounded out the perfect day we had together.
To celebrate this event, I wanted to make sure I captured the day in my journal to chronicle our time together. It is amazing what a simple visual journal entry can offer to me over a year later. I simply just look at an entry a recall all the wonderful moments that inspired the creation of the page. I even remember taking the time to pick out certain distress inks that would give the background of the page an aged fresco look that spoke of wine and song. To round out the journal I drew in a wine bottle and grapes that I colored in using Derwent Inktense pencils. I also choose to use my newfound faux calligraphy skills that I was practicing on around that time to place as a focal point on the page.
I can’t think of a better way to memorialize a moment in time that stays as a perfect day in my memory. I hope this post inspires you to start journaling your life and memories too.
I think I love reminiscing. One of the best things about my weekly journal is the fact that I have a permanent record of the activities and memories I have made throughout my life. I have something tangible that I can hold and look through. Not only am I remember the times that I am depicting, but I am also remembering the time I spent creating each entry – it’s magical.
Today’s entry takes me back to a time in my life that I didn’t have many worries. Around this time last year we decide to take a mini vacation to Zion IL to the lovely beach area that awaited there. Zion’s Illinois Beach Resort sits right along the beach that allows it’s visitor’s glorious views of Lake Michigan.
I remember that we had a wonderful dinner at the lakeside restaurant followed by a night walk along the beach. The following morning we took a long hike through the beach along the boardwalk seeing such sites as old abandoned stone beach houses, birds in flight and a glowing sunrise. On our way back we had a near-scare when we came across a very poisonous looking snake that clearly did not want us around. I practically ran back to the hotel and away from the slithering danger that was hissing at us.
Once we checked out of the hotel we headed over to Great America for another fun-filled day of coasters, food and other delights. By the evening we were exhausted but fully satisfied from our wonderful little getaway. While our trip to Zion was only one small part in our mini vacation it was the one event that stuck out most in my memory.
At home when it was time to journal about our adventures I decided to crack open my rarely used pastel set. The soft hues and colors lent itself well to the beach environment that I wanted to grace the page. Before applying the pastel, I had some Dylusions Ink Spray on the page that was leftover as an accident form my previous entry. I wasn’t sure of what the pastel would look like over the ink, but I decided to go with it anyway. More often then not, I am not always happy with the results of the art that I am working on and complete but in this circumstance I loved the resulting effect when I combined the ink spray with pastel.
All in all, this was a fun entry for me and a nice walk down memory lane.
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.
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.
My 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.
So this week comes to a close not with a bang, but on a sad note. During this time last year we were all sadden by the news of the death of Robin Williams. I try not to focus on what brought him to his end, but rather all the wonderful things he left us. For many years while sick at home from school he brought me away from my woes with his hilarious portrayal as Mork from the “Mork and Mindy” show.
While I laughed away my teen and adult years with his films and appearances, it has always been his more poignant roles that struck me the most. I was particularly fond of the film “Dead Poets Society” where he played inspiring English teacher, Mr. John Keating, where he taught us all to “Seize the Day”.
It is this film and his role in it that I choose to pay tribute in my journal to a man that brought us some much laughter and inspiration.
Welcome to the third day of my Flashback Friday Kickoff Week!
Ahh…this was a wonderful memory! Running for chocolate! My niece and I participated in a 5K Chocolate run that was held in Chicago. I remember the day was warm but had a beautiful cool breeze that swept off the lakefront. The route was nicely laid out with lots of chocolate stops along the way. Yum! This was the first time that both her and I ran together in a 5K. She did a wonderful job keeping up with everyone who ran the course. I was so proud of her and was glad to have made the journey together. It was so much fun!
This time around last year my husband was on an activity kick with running, swimming and biking. You name it! A sprint triathlon! While I did not participate in the triathlon myself, I have very fond memories of training with my husband so he can compete in this event which was ironically held the day after my Chocolate 5K in Chicago. The name of his event was “I Tried a Tri” in Oswego, IL. Similar to my event, it was a gorgeous weather day and plenty of cool breezes and sunshine. Even though my husband was not a top finisher, he was a top finisher in my heart! Here was my tribute to my guy and how very proud I was of his accomplishment.
That’s all I have for today. Thanks again for visiting my memories with me today. Until next post…
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! 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!
My 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!
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!
Okay readers. Enough is enough. I need to stop knitting and start creating more art!
I know I am tough on myself, and I logically know I have been truly up to my ears in knitting projects since April. I just haven’t made my other passion important enough. If you are curious about what I have been doing since April, feel free to visit my other blog dnknits.wordpress.com.
A couple of posts ago, I alluded to needing more balance between my two passions so the moment has finally arrived… my vacation starts tomorrow!
This may be a lofty goal during my vacation, but I really want to get back to finishing the last day of my One Zentangle a Day challenge that I keep putting off, creating more Zentangle tiles…daily, and draw more in my visual journal. Lofty again, I know…
So it is my hope that this vacation brings relaxation and art focus back into my life. It is a great time to re-charge my batteries and reflect what is truly important in life.
So before I go, I wanted to leave you with the one and only journal entry I have made since April…
Since the sun is currently shining upon the Midwest, I thought I would celebrate by posting a colorful entry on my site. I know this journal page may appear boring, but this entry proves that you can fill your journal with whatever you want.
If you are stuck for ideas, why not catalog some of your favorite are supplies? This entry gave me a quick point of reference of my little library of watercolor pencils and what they can do.
This was a perfect way to kill some time and I had fun when I did this.
Hope you make your own little color bright spot in your day!
Okay folks, it’s cold snowy and just plain dreary out there! I thought I would perk myself up by posting a journal entry from over the summer of 2012.
I remember I was pretty hell bent on keeping up with my husband as he trained for his first sprint triathlon. I was not in awesome shape at the time and was particular not very good at running. I usually limited my running excursions for chasing down buses on rare occasions. My husband really motivated me to get out of my comfort zone and start running.
This journal entry documented the improvement I gained as my running times slowly descended into the 13 minute mile mark. For me this was an huge achievement! What really struck me about this journal entry was that it re-enforced my commitment to improve my running time and my belief that I will succeed if I put the effort in.
I learned to love and embrace what running does for me and look forward to running the neighborhood and trails again once the weather gets warmer.
So in the spirit of the upcoming winter Olympics, I dedicate this post to all those would-be couch potatoes and encourage you to give it your all this upcoming summer, find something new to do and aspire to try to get out of your own comfort zone.
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.