Random 5 Friday

Time for Random 5 Friday–before it becomes Saturday! Join us as we share five random things about us at Nancy’s A Rural Journal.

1. I signed up for a Strathmore free, four-week online workshop that started this week: Back to the Basics, drawing, taught by Earnest Ward. Monday’s video taught line and shape. I haven’t drawn in awhile, and am enjoying it again. If interested, you can still sign up. The videos will be available through the end of the year.

2. Hubby had another employee added to his department this week–counting it as one of our blessings.

3. Had a new sandwich at Schlotzsky’s last night–Hand-Carved Turkey with Avocado and Havarti. Two thumbs up!

4. My nine-year-old granddaughter started sending  me text messages and photos this week. (Yes, I’m delighted!) The family is on the mend, just coughing a bit yet.

5. I’ve been sorting photos. This pigeon has been visiting our yard for four years.

regular diner at the buffet

That’s it for this week. Everyone is welcome to join, won’t you share some randomness with us at Random 5 Friday? You can do it on Saturday, even!


Something New–Pastels

In 2011, Strathmore (artist papers) offered three free online workshops. The first one, Visual Journaling taught by Pam Carriker, was my introduction to mixed media and included work with pastels. I had never heard of them. From what I read about them later, it would seem that everyone experienced them as a child. Except me!

This was my first journal page from Pam Carriker's workshop
This was my first journal page from Pam Carriker’s workshop

I was immediately drawn to the feel of the soft pastels, and the way they went down on paper. I borrowed DVDs from my local Jerry’s Artarama to observe other artists using them, looked through books and magazines, researched brands and the pros and cons of each, and finally went to the art supply store (Jerry’s) to try out the samples in open stock. I quickly decided on a brand, Rembrandt, and bought a box of 30 half-sticks to experiment. I now follow the blogs of a couple pastel artists, too.IMG_0515

Some brands,  including Rembrandt, offer larger sets with colors suited to portrait or landscape painting. I recently ordered a landscape set. Each artist has their own system for sorting their colors in a way that best suits the way they create. I haven’t decided what works best for me yet. 

My local library had several books on the shelf pertaining to pastels, so I brought home three of them. The first one was a quick read, a basic introduction. The second is much more in-depth, Bill Creevy’s, “The Pastel Book,” “Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artist.” I paged through it, then went to work on Jackie Simmonds,’ “Pastel Workbook,” “A Complete Course in Ten Lessons.” This is where I literally started to get my hands dirty. 

So far, I’m working with my small set of 30. Lesson One is making marks, and here is my first exercise, using linear marks to create patterns. 

Experimenting with linear patterns
Experimenting with linear patterns

I started with the border, but wasn’t inspired by the colors I’d chosen. Then I went to work on the center box. That was much more to my liking. It may not look so great, but I sure had fun doing it. 

Have you ever used pastels? Will you share your experience?

Strathmore Art Journal Workshop 2

Here’s my first page for this workshop. It is in need of something, but the pages are a work in progress, to be changed and added to at any time.

Linda Blinn, our teacher, recommended staggering the first three pages which will ease the wear and tear on the edges over time. Personally, I like the look of the layered edges. I covered them with coordinating scrapbook papers and edged them with ribbon.

The background wash and hearts were done using Staedtler Karat Aquarell watercolor pencils; the flower was done with Lyra Super Ferby pencils which have a soft shimmer,  not evident in the photo.

Art Journal Workshop Project

I’ve been a “word” journaler for years, but this is my first attempt at visual journaling. I signed up for the online Strathmore Art Journal Workshop with Pam Carriker. I printed a couple photos from our backyard onto regular paper and collaged them onto 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper. We used graphite and charcoal pencils, oil pastels and gesso. Acrylic paint was sponged on some areas. The birds on the ground and flying were rubber stamped.

Want to try this out? Click the link: Strathmore Art Journal Workshop. The videos are available until August 1, 2011. The second workshop, with Linda Blinn will begin March 1, 2011.

You can view the pages others have submitted by clicking the above link, choosing the “home” page, and scrolling to the lower left corner.