Don’t Be Limited

February 9, 2024
Watercolor and brush pen portrait based on an Earth’s World photo of a fair goer. With Post-It Note™. Hand-bound sketchbook with discontinued watercolor paper (hot press, 90 lb.).



I couldn’t leave a week during which I discussed the use of space on a page, without including this portrait from the end of last year.

I’m the queen of running off the page. Not planning sufficiently. This means in my haste I often miss the thing that engaged me most—the base of the beard as it expands in texture across the chest, the ears (!!!), the full head of hair, the unusual hat—and in this case the pom-pom on the top of the delightful hat (look at the worsted wool texture of that hat, what fun!)

Long-time readers of the blog know that my whole “piecemeal portraits” approach is a response to this habit of mine. I’ll add on papers, and board, until I stop drawing and am able to contain everything. (Also it gives me the opportunity to work with mixed media items I love like staples and washi tape!)

But I also do this all the time in my journals—it’s what fold-outs, gatefolds, fold ups, and fold downs are for.

Of course in this case the page didn’t have a fold up built in. When I made my note that I was missing out on the pom-pom, my mind said, “Not today,” and I picked up a Post-It Note™ pad on the drawing board and added it to the page. (For page turning the note folds down onto the page. And if it hadn’t been serendipitously the right width I would have used a bit of watercolor scrap paper. One of the great things about binding your own journals is that you always have lots of paper scraps around that you can add back in!)

This add on makes me incredibly joyous. I got the parts of the portrait I wanted to get on the “page.” I didn’t let a lapse in space management stop me. I didn’t abandon a really fun portrait.

I love the yellow of the Post-It Note™ color peeking out from the background color (green acrylic Montana marker) around the pom-pom. This glow works well to draw the eye down into the portrait and the yellow found in the beard and eyebrows. 

It doesn’t matter to me that there is a slight tonal shift in the hat color because part of it is painted over the Post-It Note™ which is yellow paper and not the white paper of the page. I like that these changes and machinations can be seen. That’s part of the way I approach a portrait. I want the hand of the artist to be seen.

This month on Patreon I’m going to be talking to my subscribers about sloughing off conventions and ideas they’ve picked up from others as “the right way” to go forward. Come and join in if you’re interested in more.

There is only one right way to go forward: it’s your own path.

A Quick Note on Construction

The book binder in me can’t help worrying about paper grain. Happily the grain direction of the Post-It Note™ went with the fold. But it is only on the page for about three quarters of an inch, so to reenforce it I glued it to the art page. Then, on the back of the Post-It Note™ and down onto the next page, I glued a piece of ultra thin, but very  strong mulberry paper. This will allow the Post-It Note™ add-on to remain in place, and be folded open and shut countless times, without falling off the page.

As for the paper glued on the other side of this page? Well that’s just collage material right? Fun to sketch or write over, ignore, or play with any way I choose. Do what you want to do in your journal, it’s your own path remember?!

    • Sue
    • February 9, 2024

    I love this!

    1. Reply

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. The sketch makes me so happy I’m happy people enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by.

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