Tree Art Journal Page: Day 2

The completed page

  •  I painted a scallop design and a tree with gesso. The stawberry was drawn on a scap piece of card with my micron pen


  •  Next I outlined the scallops and tree with micron pens and stabillo black pencil crayon. I also used Derwent Sketching pencil (light wash). I painted the tree trunk with acrylics and water color pencil crayons 


  • I glued down the text with a glue stick, painted the strawberry with twinkling H2O’s, cut it out and also glued it down.


  • Now came the fun part adding more acrylic paint to the tree to create leaves. I used some Walnut ink dabber to tone down the words and also to add an antique effect to the scallop. I added words to the tree with micron pens. I added a flourish to the side with my pens. With a bit of washed down paint I created a block below the strawberry so I could write my words and have them show up a wee bit better. Using the pen I added a few more embellishments. Did you notice I used the “jack” design in the lefthand corner? A few weeks ago I was staring at my bedding and noticed a pattern I liked and decided to use it in a journal page one day! Voila! I did!


If you are wondering about the thinking process behind “hang up your sunshine” here it is: Originally I thought I’d add small sunshines hanging all over the tree (to make the random phrase make sense). But then I thought hanging up your sunshine is a way to create your own happiness – pay attention to and hang up whatever makes you happy – the simple things. I just happen to like strawberries and a few of them were lying on the counter as I was about to make yogurt, granola and fruit for lunch. So the strawberry found it’s way there and also I have enjoyed hugging and touching one particular tree in the local park so this was a way to pay tribute to the tree.

I hope you have played along with me and if you did post a link to your journal page (whether its on your blog or on your flickr site) for us to see! Thanks! Xo

The Upstart Crow Art Journaling class

I am teaching a class tomorrow at the Upstart Crow called Journal Bliss – it’s all about Art Journaling step by step. There are still a few spaces left so check out the link if you are interested! Should be a fun class.

There is another great article up on the Meylah blog about taking shots of your artful products. I know that I have struggled with taking photos and making my art look as interesting as possible. Check it out! You might need some pointers for your etsy shop or just for taking more interesting photos to post on your blog.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Love, Violette xoxo

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Art Journal: Background



I’m late in posting because Mr. G and I were trying to figure out how to post multiple images without wordpress freaking out and messing things up. WordPress is really NOT intuitive. I still haven’t figured out how to put words under each image without the formatting messing up – if i’ve done it in the past it was just a fluke. Arrrggggghhhh.

So this is what I did with my background.


  1. I splurted a few folkart paints onto a piece of watercolour paper (often I use ordinary cardstock)
  2. Then with a discarded credit card I scrapped the paint onto the page
  3. The colours were a wee bit bright so with some gesso I toned them down a bit
  4. I threw a few water droplets onto the page, waited a couple of minutes then patted them off to create a cool water droplet effect
  5. Next came the texture – I brushed on some green paint onto the bubblewrap and then pressed it onto my page.
  6. I added a bit more gesso to the page in certain areas with a brush as well as a bit more green on some of the edges.

The page is now ready for me to collage or paint my images and add text to it. You might want to make a few backgrounds using a variety of techniques and have them handy for when you get the urge to do some art journaling! When i’ve created a background I really like sometimes I color copy it so I can use it again.


Natski wanted to play along but didn’t have a blog or a flickr site where she could post her page so she sent it to me….here it is. Isn’t it fun? Her action was: smush (used oil pastels), Texture – gesso-d wings, props – flower and a crown, word – skewered. The flower has been skewered by a toothpick.

If someone has a Meldown is it a Meldown if no one is there to Witness it?


Yesterday I was having a meltdown – so many things were happening with the new site, getting a kajillion wordpress messages (which is wonderful but overwhelming), trying to figure out all of the nuances, losing e-mails because of it, needing to do some social networking, more art, the challenge, a couple of online classes i’m taking etc. So I plopped on the floor in a crumpled heap and began to cry. Okay….i didn’t cry a lot but did manage to squeeze out a few tears. I waited for Mr. G to find me there crying but he didn’t come. Because of his back and rib injury he moves very s-l-o-w-l-y. So I waited for about 5 minutes (however it felt like an eternity) and finally got up. I mean what’s the point of having a meltdown if no one is there to witness it? It’s sort of like the zen koan “what is the sound of one hand clapping?”. I received a couple of kind supportive e-mails – thank you Gail and Wendy  for telling me to take care of myself.

When Mr. G finally saw my sad little face he was sympathetic. So I had to ask myself what did I really want to do? I wanted to go for a walk to my park (even though I had a kajillion things to do). On the walk I found myself deep in thought about all of the things I must attend to. I reminded myself to enjoy my surroundings so I began to look up and I noticed the birds chirping in the trees and marvelled at the variety of birds and their different songs. I delighted in looking at the cherry blossoms and watched as the tiny birds flitted in and out of the blossoms causing the petals to flutter around me. How magnificent is that? Then I came home, had dinner and lay on the wooden deck so I could soak in some of the suns rays – then my back went out! Doh!

What is the Overwhelm all about?

I think one of the reasons i’m overwhelmed and stressed out – and this is where many of our fear of success issues come from – is that I am afraid that if I become too successful I will no longer be able to respond to e-mails or do the social networking stuff by myself. I will no longer be accessible. I’ll be like some of the other artists who are so big they don’t respond to e-mails and let you know that they won’t because they are inundated. I remember how wonderful it would have been to have my art heroes respond to my messages from the past but they were too busy with too many messages to respond. Anyways….i think that’s one of my big fears….and naturally I’m dropping balls. So there you go – I said it.

Happy Earth Day everyone! What will you be doing for Earth day? I am thinking of looking into getting someone to rototill the back corner of our yard so we can grow some vegetables.

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Art Journal Challenge


Art Journal Challenge

I thought it might be fun to post an art journal challenge today. If you like you can play along with me and post the links to your journal pages (or ATC’s or canvases or whatever you make of this challenge) in the comments section. I’ll probably take two days to do it since i’m working on other stuff as well. I’ll show you the work in progress too! Sometimes it helps to jumpstart your creativity by having some prompts. In the above photo I’ve chosen:

  • an action – credit card for scraping paint
  • a textural making tool – bubble wrap
  • a word or phrase to fashion the page around
  • and a couple of “things” to incorporate (i’ve chosen a strawberry and a tree-twig of all things)


What you could do is have 4 containers, either tins or boxes or whatever pleases you. In each container you can put words that: 1. contain an action (scrap, texture, antique, smoosh, stamp) 2. names of texture making tools 3. words or phrases or quotes (clipped from magazines or typed out) 4. names of things such as: trees, people, faces, fruits, vegetables, flowers, shoes, vase, car, bike, trailer, hand, nose, mouth, tools like hammer, screwdriver etc.

I think you get my drift right? All you do is use the words or things as jumping off points. For example I may or may not use the magazine clipped phrase “ hang up sunshine” as is or I might just incorporate those words in the text on my journal page.

This is a good exercise because it gets your creative juice flowing – the more you do things like this the better you get at it. Don’t freak out or anything, this is supposed to be fun – you won’t be graded on it (I promise!). Before you know it you’ll be in the flow and ideas, techniques and spontaneous ramblings will spring from your fingers! If you are interested in learning more about “flow” check out Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Finding Flow – fabulous book about learning about the joys of completely being engrossed in a task. Have fun with it! xo

I thought I would share with you what’s been going on…..Mr. G was in a go-kart incident (his words), cracked some ribs and as a result of tensing himself, he put his back out – ouch – so I’ve been kind of looking after him, taking him to chiropractor appointments and just pampering him a bit. It’s kind of put my schedule off but I’m still managing to get some stuff done! When I get overwhelmed by all of the things I “Should” be doing I tell myself to relax, that it will all get done and to put things in their proper perspective.

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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for Creatives

Thank you everyone for entering my contest (there is still time to enter in the draw – just post a message on yesterdays blogpost). I am very grateful to everyone who left their name along with ideas. I began to e-mail and thank everyone but got pretty overwhelmed with the response so just know that I appreciate each and everyone of you!

Interview with Kimberly Wilson

My interview with Kimberly Wilson at Tranquility du Jour  is now up if you’d like to have a listen to the podcast. Thank you so much Kimberly for taking the time to talk with me!

I just created the above illustration this morning to get my point across. Have you heard of   Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Maslow studied successful and productive people to find the magical elixir to their success. He found that they were creative in many aspects of their lives, are objective and have a strong moral ethic. He noticed that they focused most of their attention on their mission in life. They could do this because their basic needs were already met otherwise they’d be spending most of their attention to surviving and thriving.

Now I used to feel guilty when my Mom and Stepfather would tell me that I think too much….that they had it WAY worse than I did in life and they did not wonder “Am I fulfilling my destiny? Am I doing what I came here to do?”. My Mom was quite poor as a child often relying on the kindness of the church and a social worker to help them out with food and secondhand clothing. Do you ever wonder how lentil soup became my favourite food? Well my grandmother was widowed and as a result became quite poor. She was given bags of dried lentils from the church. There were rocks in the bag and sometimes they would wind up in the soup. My mom (unaware that they were poor) would make a game out of who found the most rocks in their soup!!! Later on my Mom would make us lentil soup as she knew that it was good – stick – to – your – ribs food! I ended up loving it!

As a young boy my stepfather Reinhard (Ron) living in Berlin would witness horrors during the war – burned out downed airplanes with the pilots still in them, bombings where they had to go into the basements of houses and were instructed to leave their mouths open as the bombs rained down. They also picked up live grenades and blew them up in a fire! Good grief, can you imagine the horror?

I realize that my Mom and Stepfather were operating from the lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy – they were trying to survive so never got to the place where they wondered what their mission was and what they came here to do. They never did get to the part where they could become self-actualized. Like me many of you are beyond the stages of having to focus on our basic needs. We have the luxury of finding out what really makes us happy, what gives us juice and makes us want to get out of bed in the morning!

What gives you juice? What do you love to do? Focus your energy on that and take small steps towards fulfilling your dreams!

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Brand New Website Contest!

Hooray!  We are finally going live……..just a few glitches though to forward the old site to the new one (Mercury Retrograde).

To Celebrate the new Creative Juice website i am having a great big giveaway contest!  I am giving away:

  • my book Journal Bliss,

  •  4 prints, 2 sketchbooks,

  • 1 DVD of my Journal Bliss class (that includes videos and PDF files,

  • 1 freakflag magnet,

  • 4 freakflag greeting cards and whatever else i want to throw in.


This juicy package is worth well over 170.00 dollars.  To enter the contest just leave a message and let me know what you would like to see in future blogposts!  Please tell all your friends about the contest (you can tweet it – click on the twitter icon below or the facebook, Digg etc. for that matter). The contest will end in one week on Monday April 26 at  10 am PST.  Good Luck Everyone.  Thank you so much for being with me on this wonderful Creative journey!

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