Blackbird – New Journal, and Bird #76 of 100

I was watching one of Kimberly Santini’s Journal Through It videos the other day where she was sharing all of her various journals. It was fascinating to see the different materials and books she uses. There was one book that was a repurposed, or altered, art history book. You can see the video HERE, and the altered book starts at about the 43 minute mark.

I thought that was a great idea, so I looked through some of the books I had on the shelf in my studio and found one that I had purchased in a yard sale a long time ago. It was a book called Classic Crafts, and while interesting, they weren’t crafts that I was interested in taking up! The book is about 12.5 inches tall and 10 inches wide, so it’s a nice size, and much bigger than my other journals and sketchbooks. I had already altered it a bit because I had cut some pieces out to use for collage paper. It does have glossy pages, so I have to add gesso first before I start painting so that the paint will actually stick.

Then I had to decide what to put in this journal! While deciding, I gessoed the first two pages, and when that dried, I used some paint that was left over on my pallet to cover up the gesso. It was a turquoise colour. It sat that way for a few days. The other night, I couldn’t get the song Blackbird by the Beatles out of my head when I was trying to sleep. Then I started thinking of ways I could paint that song. Out came the black paint, and it took off from there!

Here’s what I learned with this Journal Entry:

  1. It’s freeing to paint just for yourself, with no expectations for a “perfect” final piece.
  2. Painting something black on black is tricky!
  3. Trying to take a photo of something mainly black and white with a hint of colour and a bit of a glossy finish is next to impossible!
  4. I am happy enough with this entry to share it.
  5. I think I’ll try this in collage.

I tried to take some photos, but they don’t truly show the subtleties in the painting. But as I say, these colours don’t lend themselves to amatuer photography!

Autumn Gold – Warbler – Bird #75 of 100

This curious little warbler seems fascinated by the beautiful golden apple she has found in the autumn orchard. I really enjoyed doing this small watercolour based on the excellent reference photo by Spencer Evers on Unsplash.

Well, I’m slowly getting near the end of my 100 Bird Challenge! ONLY 25 more to do! I’ll get there eventually!

Autumn Gold 7″ X 5″ Watercolour and Ink on Paper. Interested? Send me a message on my Contact page or check out my Etsy store!

Mixed Media Monday – Gossip Girls – Birds #73 & 74 of 100

I had asked my Facebook friends to help me with naming these barnyard friends. I gave them two choices: Gossip Girls and Yin and Yang. Gossip Girls won out by a large margin! I had so much fun with these two, so I’m thinking of doing a larger piece entirely in paper collage. This small study is mostly acrylic paint with some touches of coloured pencil, oil pastels and a bit of collage.

Gossip Girls, 7″ by 5″ Mixed Media on Paper. Check them out in my Etsy shop or fill out my contact form if interested.

Sharing a Discovery

What I love about Pinterest is that it introduces me to artists, techniques, and ideas that I didn’t even know that I wanted to know! Today I stumbled upon a new artist to me. She is a mixed media artist and her name is Elfi Cella. She is from Switzerland. I can’t find a lot about her on the internet, but she does have a blog and a lot of her art is posted to Pinterest. I can’t find an actual website or a link to where you could purchase her work, which is a shame. If you are interested, you could contact her through her blog

This artist uses mixed media in a charming and unique way. She incorporates different types of texture media and traditional painting with embedded everyday items and textiles such as lace to create paintings that seem to come straight of of nature. In the past, I’ve experimented with some of these techniques in a very limited way, but not to the wonderful effects that Elfi does!

Here are just a few examples of her wonderful art:

Let Your Mind Wander in a Meander Sketchbook!

With so much going on in the world today, sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on working on a “serious” piece of art. By serious, I suppose I mean something that is going to be a finished or complete project; something that you are going to show others, hang in your home, or sell.

Right now, my mind is all over the place, so I’ve turned to my Meander Sketchbook, where I just play with colours, using any or all of my supplies. For these, I’ve chosen not to paint anything specific, but instead I’m painting completely non-objective, or what some call abstract. These paintings are just for me, so there is no pressure to do a “good job”!

It was a few years ago at a meetup with some watercolour painting buddies that my friend Charlene McGill demonstrated how to make a Meander Sketchbook (also called an accordion book). They are very easy to make, and if you use good watercolour paper, they make really nice sketchbooks that you can take with you when you go out plein air painting.

Experiment and Play!

However, I decided that these would make really cool books to just experiment with. You could use any kind of paper, but I decided to stay with a nice, fairly heavy watercolour paper as it holds up to a lot of abuse! You can also add a cover on the front and back by gluing a hard cardboard or similar on the end pieces. I had decorated my covers by gluing collage paper on top, but then ended up painting over that too!

I’ve made two of these books so far, and today I finished the first half of the second book. For these, I use two pages for each painting, but you can do a painting on each section and have up to 32 paintings in each book. This is the page I completed today. (maybe… I usually go back and add more!) As you can see, I added everything under the sun. But what fun!

Scroll down to the very bottom of this post for directions on how to make your own Meander Sketchbook!

Lots of fun!
Here is the whole book unfolded. One side completed!
This is the other side. You can see the covers on each end. Also, I drew some meandering lines for loose prompts to help me get started.
All folded back up, nice and compact.
Obviously,I don’t know how to make a fancy illustration with my computer!
If you have questions, leave a comment below and I’ll try to clarify.

Song Sparrow- Bird #72 of 100

This little songster is a sweet Song Sparrow. What he lacks in colourful plumage he makes up for in singing ability! And so what if he’s not colourful? Look at those snazzy stripes! I created this guy using watercolours, a bit of sepia ink, and coloured pencils. Thank you to Dave Slaughter for posting the reference photo in the reference library.

Mixed media and watercolour brown striped song sparrow on a blue watercolour background. Link to purchase is below the image.
Songster 7″ X 5″ Mixed Media on paper
Interested in this sweet singer? Comment below or check him out in my Etsy shop.
Want something similar? Fill out my contact form.

Lemon Yellow – Goldfinch- Bird # 71 of 100

One of these things is not like the others! But this bright yellow Goldfinch matches perfectly with the ripe and juicy lemons he is investigating!

I decided to combine my 100 Bird challenge with my ongoing fruit series and came up with this one. It seemed fitting that the day before I finished this I got some visitors in my garden. Maybe they knew I was paying them tribute!

Lemon Yellow 6″ X 6″ X 1.5″ Paper Collage on Canvas
Interested? Leave a comment or check out this piece in my Etsy shop!

Watercolour Wednesday… a day late! Toucans – Birds #69 and 70 of 100

Whoops! I forgot to post this yesterday, but here it is a day late! These two toucans are practising their social distancing. I think they’re doing a pretty good job. This painting is only 5″ X 7″, so the birds are only about 1 1/2 inches in length. I had to get the small brush out for this one!

Social Distancing 5″ X 7″ on paper
Reference Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash


Watercolour Wednesday – Yellow-rumped Warbler – Bird #67 of 100

I was so excited to spot this little traveller in my backyard the other day! Thankfully, he wasn’t shy and stopped to pose for the camera. After consulting my bird book, I discovered that he is a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle variety). I had never seen one before in my life! The tiny white feathers under his eye give him a look like he’s a little peeved with the world. With all that’s going on, I can understand.

Yellow-rumped Warbler 5 X 7″ pure watercolour on paper.
Available in my Etsy shop or contact me directly by commenting below or leaving a Facebook message.