It’s What I Do

IMG_7244The saying goes, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” and it has been true in my case for the last twenty years. I have been lucky enough to work in the art and craft materials industry which has gone through so many changes over the years. My involvement in developing creative products has had a few hits and some misses but most of all it has been a lot of fun.

Most of my “work” this week was spent concentrating on folding all kinds of colorful and whimsical models for an origami kit. If all goes well, it will be available at a art and craft stores next year. I love the the process of developing an idea and seeing it turn into something real on the shelves. I love what I do!

Peace, Love, Art and Origami

peaceloveorigamiI wasn’t feeling very peaceful today when I accidentally sprayed Formula 409 in the pages of my nano journal. I began sketching a blue crane and added lot’s of watercolor which often causes the paper to buckle. Because the paper in my journal is very thin and wrinkles easily I keep a little sprayer filled with water in my kit. To flatten pages I spray the back of the page lightly, close the book and wait for it to dry.

Immediately after spraying the cleaner on my beloved journal I realized my little painting was ruined and possibly the entire journal which is more than two thirds full of precious little sketches. The colors and lines dissolved and new blotches were made on the pristine sketch and the smell was awful.  I sprayed, blotted and sprayed again trying to remove as much of the the soapy chemical as possible and closed the book hoping for the best.

After a few hours and some time to calm down, I felt brave enough to open the little book and to my surprise it was not completely ruined! The blue crane sketch needed to be reworked with watercolor and ink and some white watercolor helped to soften the ugly blotches on the white paper. I actually kind of like the way the sketch turned out with all of it’s imperfections.

The lesson for me today is not to become too attached to my journal or to anything else for that matter. Everything in life is precious, fragile and doesn’t last forever so it is important to enjoy the moment. It also reminds me to be more mindful of the process and not to keep bottles of cleaning chemicals close to my art supplies.

Sedona Paint Out!

Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th. It was hot, windy and dry here in the Verde Valley but the fireworks were spectacular!

My plan is to be in Sedona bright and early Thursday morning July 6th for the Sedona Arts Center Paint Out which will be held at L’Auberge, a beautiful creekside location. It’s open to the public so if you’re in the area, stop by and observe artists at work, including me!



Karen’s New Website

After months of procrastination I have finally made some changes to my website and hope you enjoy the new and improved version. The immediate plan is to add an active calendar so you can find out about upcoming workshops and it will now be easier to add more content regularly for your creative enjoyment.  Yay!


Nano Sketching

I like tiny things and recently I found the coolest little pocket palette from Expeditionary Art which I filled with my very favorite watercolors. I needed to find the perfect pouch to store my water brushes, tiny paint kit, fine tipped pens, pencil and tiny journal and after a long search I found a nifty case originally intended for makeup at a thrift store and it was perfect for holding everything I needed. nanosketch5The idea is if I have a little art kit with me at all times I will have more opportunities to sketch and paint. Keeping my nano art kit with me at all times has allowed me to observe a busy world by slowing down just enough to take the time to draw a subject and paint it, wherever that may be. nanosketch1

Nano sketches are quick gesture drawings done with a pencil (no erasing) keeping the lines loose light and free. You can always erase later but I like to get the composition down on the paper very quickly. It is helpful to photograph your subject first so you have a reference to go to when the scene changes suddenly.

The paper you choose can make such a difference and I love bound journals that come in all shapes and sizes as well as paper types.  I found some great unlined micro journals by Paperblanks and discovered they accept watercolor quite nicely but the little Moleskine watercolor journal is the best I have tried so far. nanosketch2It’s also a good idea to keep it simple because the drawing area is so small, a vast landscape may be difficult to capture if not a bit overwhelming. As a long time diary keeper, I like writing my thoughts on the paper as well. Visual journaling is so much more fun and interesting. It’s true, a picture is worth a thousand words!IMG_3932I prefer to use transparent watercolors by Daniel Smith and Holbein. My primary mixing colors are Quinacridone Rose, Hansa Yellow Medium and French Ultramarine Blue or Pthalo Blue and I can make just about any color I want without making mud. I might add more transparent colors, a couple of neutrals and earth tones to the palette but I always have my trusty primary colors with me.

I hope this post inspires you to start sketching every day and if not every day, as often as possible.