Dogs on My Mind

December 2, 2011


Above: Pentel Pocket Brush Pen sketch of a dog park dog. With gouache on the background. 9 x 12 inch in-studio Fabriano Venezia journal. (Yes I came in on the edge of the left page in the spread but not on the right edge, and yes there is a lighter orange band around everything. I've been using a Bristlon filbert for these quick, late night forays into smooshing paint around, and it is really too hard on the papers I normally paint on. That brush is great for watercolor canvas board!)

EEEEK. I just realized something about running two concurrrent journals (which I typically don't do but have been doing for the past couple of months because I like having the larger in-studio journal to work in), I've got two journals to wrap up by the end of the year.

Since I just recently started a new carry along journal that is nice and fat (because I was going to have an out of town visitor and figured I'd burn through lots of pages, but that visit didn't happen after all) I now have a multitude of pages to fill in the next 29 days. (I had better get my butt to the zoo!)

I've written before about letting go of the need to end up on December 31 and start the new journal on January 1, but yesterday, while looking for a master plan for a book structure in one of my journals I found some wonderful pages about Dickens (it's the bicentennial of his birth next year—more on this later) and have resurrected some old plans I never followed through on. The point is that was a January 2002 book and that's the last time I didn't start a new journal on January 1. EEEP.

You know what. I've just got too much to do right now and I need to go and have a couple pieces of chocolate.

Yes, take this as a self-portrait, because it really looks nothing like the dog park dog I modeled it on.

Note: Keeping more than one journal at a time… is also about this topic and has links to other posts on this topic as well. And this post on keeping more than one journal at a time from July 2009 offers another take on the issue, which really comes down to practice, and how can you get more of it!

Note 2: I've got 31 spreads in the in-studio journal and 25 spreads in the carry along journal (which is only 6 x 8 inches large so even on a full page spread if I use the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and work pretty large I can get through them as one image). Fifty six page spreads. I don't have my calculator handy but that's only about two spreads a day and typically I average three a day, so I should be fine. Now it's going to be all about pacing, so that I don't end up early with no journal pages! Sigh.

I really do need that chocolate. This is what happens when the weather changes and we start getting snow. One really needs to have an Alaskan Malamute to be reminded of the joys of snow. 

    • Katie McD
    • December 2, 2011

    This post makes me laugh, because I wish I were as organized as your are about your journalling… and wish I could do three pages a day! I often work in more than one journal at a time because I HATE waiting for pages to dry when I just want to draw and paint. Good luck to you, and, as always, I enjoy seeing your journal pages. 🙂

    • Leslie Schramm
    • December 2, 2011

    The BBC are having a major series on radio, TV and online for the Dickens bi-centennial. ( Friends at the Beeb are reckoning on Radio dramatisations of the whole lot of everything, plus a lot of documentary; and an education strand ) Will fill you up a disk or two, Always good to have something to look forward to.

    • LizzieBo
    • December 2, 2011

    This just cracks me up. Too much, no too fast. Isn’t funny the mental gymnastics we do to ourselves? But seriously (not), I have a question about this journal spread. Do you paste (I think the dog is pasted in?) and then paint? You’ve done this with a few others. Why not paint and then paste? Do you just go with the flow or start with an idea? Some people compose their pages mentally, it seems, while others evolve. I just wondered since you are pasting in such a large image. And does the Dickens anniversary have anything to do with a new challenge? Just more wondering.

    • December 2, 2011

    Good luck Roz! I know you’ll find your page balance.

  1. Reply

    Oh Katie, no, no, no, I’m not organized about journaling. I’m as organized about journaling as I am about breathing. The only thing is I tend to analyze it and think about it in ways I only think about breathing when I’m having an asthma attack (which is pretty rare).

    Waiting for pages to dry is an annoyance, it’s one reason I work in quick drying media and keep the heat gun near by!

    Thank you for your wish of luck. I will keep my fingers crossed. I really need to get to the zoo if I’m going to make this!

  2. Reply

    Leslie, you will need to keep up updated on the bicentennial there. I think there must be a website or something—if you find a good one listing events let me know!

  3. Reply

    LizzieBo, I have gold medals in mental gymnastics!

    This particular dog, on this spread is not pasted down, he was drawn directly on the page with the PPBP. Then I painted around him with a 3/4 inch very stiff filbert.

    You’re right, that with some others I have painted the page first and done the dog on separate paper, and then pasted the cut out sketch on a completely painted background.

    (I typically will prepaint 3 or 4 page spreads in a row just in 30 minutes during lunch—which I actually did yesterday and then glued in sketches of people and birds I’d done the evening before.)

    When I started using the Venezia sketchbooks I had just finished teaching a collage journal class and was doing a lot of collage and also I was sketching late at night on large pads of paper, typically because I didn’t have my journal handy (I didn’t want to wake Dick up while trying to get it as my regular journal sits on a table outside our bedroom door).

    I had got used to working in the large journal I’d had my students make and so I wanted to keep sketching on larger paper than my carry around journal.

    So there isn’t much rhyme or reason to it beyond
    1. Was my journal handy?
    2. Do I want to save a loose sketch (and often I do because I can do fun things with them like collage, so why not)?
    3. If I’m going to save the sketch do I want a painted background? If so I typically paint it first (but not always—again it depends on whether or not I can get to the supplies.

    Other reasons I might work on loose paper—I want to work with a particular media or a particular pen on a particular paper because I just love the way it feels.

    For awhile I was sketching on Nostalgie a lot and then cutting those out (padded paper) and putting them in my journal. I work on this paper because I love how the PPBP feels on it. But then I couldn’t get the paper for a little bit and I was using the Aquash light black ink pen for awhile directly on the Venezia pages (as well as on other papers). There was never any extra paper around (for about a month, as I forgot to set it out in the other room for late at night). And finally after I got through with the Aquash (which I will still use from time to time, but which I was through testing) I went back to my beloved PPBP and pages like the one you see are a result—I’m just sketching with the pen because the whim hits me, and then I decide that I don’t want to hide the pen lines but I do want to do something more on the page, so I just color the background.

    That way I get to use both the pen and also play with paint. If I can do that several times a day well then that’s a good day.

    I guess the short answer is that late night pages are about grabbing materials at hand and just going with what happens and deciding afterwards if I want to do more. The most important thing is that I get more drawing in. It’s a compulsion.

    As to Dickens, yep I have a project I’m going to be doing. It isn’t a challenge if by that you mean am I going to ask people to include him in their journals (since he isn’t around any more that would be difficult). It’s just a personal project I came up with in 2002 and then didn’t follow through on because I was busy doing nature paintings for a group I was in. We’ll see if I can actually make time for the project this year—but I am already really trying to arrange my schedule to do so.

  4. Reply

    LizzieBo, Ha, an Even SHORTER ANSWER would have just been this:
    I do both. Sometimes I start with a plan, sometimes I go with the flow. Late at night it’s mostly about moving the pen around and then deciding if I want to paint too.

  5. Reply

    Liz, I hope so. I wish I were coming to the Bell on Sunday. I know I would get more sketches done. I’m hoping I can get one or two sketches done of the pups I’m visiting, but that might be wishful thinking. Perhaps I’ll stop by the side of the road and do landscapes?

    Have great fun on Sunday!

    • Christina Trevino.
    • December 3, 2011

    Since I moved to LA I don’t have any snow in my life, and I find it not nice. In Prescott, AZ there is some snow falling, but it only sticks a few days. I loved that, since heavy snow I do not like at all. But I always enjoyed chocolate more then ever in a snowy day!
    I think I am writing some weird kind of English.
    Love your journals, you know.

  6. Reply

    Christina, thanks for writing! You’re making perfect sense! You made a poem about snow.

    Writing of which, some is falling right now as I type. I can heard the snow plow go by a while back. It’s not very cold so I can also hear slush from car wheels. I’ll see what’s up tomorrow—but if I had dogs we’d be out there right now!

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