Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shadow play

This little scene greets me every time I walk out of my garage.  I never thought to sketch it until I saw it with the evening  sun hitting the tall grasses from behind.  The way the sun catches  the individual blades,  creating  lots of  highlights and long shadows. I was also drawn to the beautiful lights against the darks. Glad I got  to record it in my journal.  ;-)

3x5 wc journal, Winsor and Newton wc.

Please Use the "Follow by Email" option at the bottom to ensure you never miss a post of 
Art Journal Adventures.
Thanks for stopping by.
Tony M.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Warming up

Its finally starting to warm up and I wasted no time getting in a quick sketch in my journal.  The hills and valleys around Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA were just so inspirational.  I can only describe it as a breath of fresh air after a storm.

Winsor and Newton watercolors in my 3x5 Moleskin pocket journal. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Digital sketching

    Ideally I would love to be sketching, painting, creating everyday.  Wake up early have an amazing breakfast grab my Art journal my paints and pen and head out for a plein air sketch to catch the early morning light with its long beautiful shadows.  The Pennsylvania countryside has always inspired me, and I often return to these gorgeous  landscapes for their awe inspiring beauty.

( SLAP! In the face.....wake up!!)
    Reality is that we don't live in an ideal world;  life sometimes has other plans, and in a fast paced hectic reality such as my life, painting, sketching, journaling in a traditional way is not always possible and in some cases not practical. 
     Digital painting opens up a world i like to call " Extreme, on the go sketching" .    It's amazing what some people create in this digital format world.  I am definitely a newbie and have a lot to learn, but I am very impressed and very grateful for this technology and the and the option that it provides for the extreme on the go sketcher.

      These are some of the doodles of recent days done in my paper by 53 Art journal.

Thanks for looking, and Happy Sketching!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Across the map

    This weeks post is not of a journal page, but of a card I made for my friend Gabe who lives in California.  Although we reconnected just a few years ago through Facebook, we haven't actually seen each other in about seventeen years and being on opposite coasts doesnt make it easier.  
    A few days ago my friend posted a beautiful city/sea scape photo of San Diego professing his love for this city, and after we shared a few pleasant comments, I decided to use this photo to make something I can send him to say how much I've always appreciated his friendship.

    This is the photo he posted, and that I decided to make a watercolor card of.  

    Although the overall feal and mood of this shot is grey and overcast, I liked it for that reason.   I truly felt the passion my friend has for this city.  

I thought it would be nice to make a watercolor card of the scene slightly warming the colors just a bit.
I'm using a Strathmore watercolor card, Maimeriblue watercolors, and a new sharpie paint pen for highlights.    After a light pencil scetch I proceeded adding washes and working from light to dark.  The final step was the highlights using my new paint pen which I am still not sold on.  It seems to disappear on light washes.  The color of these pics is way off as I wasn't able to use my usual way of photographing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Birds - I - View

   This week I had planned on a short hike to the Jordan creek to do a plein air winter sketch.  As fortune would have it, the return of a polar vortex, which brought single digit temps, meant staying in my warm home.  I decided to stay inside and do a sketch of our new bird feeder and house.  The boys are eager to see who will inhabit their new birdhouse,  so I made sure to have plenty of bird food in the new feeder and fresh water in the bird bath to entice our feathered friends to visit often.  I can see bird sketches/studies in the near future.......   :-)

Stillman and Birn Beta, 5.5x8.5 hardbound journal, Winsor and Newton watercolors, Micron pigma pen

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


    As always,  the time spent in my head this week was focused on really looking around  for the next art journal entry.  I'm always hoping and looking to be inspired by what may be around the corner.

  I don't get to see my next subject much, so I was pretty excited to find a case of these beautiful artichokes at my dads house this week.  Needless to say I found a great still life to sketch.  I took out my phone and snapped a pic.
            This is one of the pictures I took.
     I started with a quick compositional sketch to get the basic shape and placement of these beautiful edible flower buds.

I added an initial wash of yellows and greens and let it dry completely before continuing.
For this journal page I decided to use only the waterbrush. 
     Whether I am in the field or not I really prefer a real brush, but I wanted to test how good or bad the waterbrush would perform as a single soldier.  I must say I was impressed.  I did not think I could get the results I did using just a waterbrush.
 I don't usually like to write in my Art journals because my penmanship is kind of a train wreck.
I did decide on (never again) adding some bubble lettering at the top.  Thank goodness its just in my journal.  Happy Sketching!


Stillman & Birn Beta journal 8.5 x 5.5
Maimeriblu Watercolors
micron pigma pen

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Revisiting Hawaii

  It hasn't been easy to find inspiration to journal/sketch as of late.  With snow storm after snow storm to dig out of; the energy needed to put thought to paper just hasn't been there.  And the temperatures have not helped at all.  Its hard to use a waterbrush for a Plein air sketch without the water freezing right in your hands. 
    This week I thought I'd try to use a reference photo for inspiration.  And since realistically,  the only color around these parts is in the paint stores right now,  that seemed like a good idea.  My wife just so happened to have our honeymoon photo album out, so I grabbed that first. many forgotten memories.  As I flipped through the pages, dreaming about going back to Hawaii some day, I stopped at this picture and went no further.  I found my muse.

This is one of the hundreds of photos i took n Maui in 2000.  I was immediately attracted to the violet, misty hills in the background.  I try to practice this misty background technique often.  I cropped the photo to the composition that I like and taped in place.

   My Art journal is the perfect place for this wonderful memory.  I started with a simple pencil sketch of the main shapes of this amazing landscape and used masking fluid to save the trunk of the palm tree.  After an initial wash of blues and violets for the sky and background hill I let this dry.

Mixing Greens is not one of my strengths, but I am satisfied with the results nonetheless.
I'd call this journal page finished.  It is very easy to keep going and just ruin the whole thing by overworking............But not today.

If I had to choose between sketching indoors from a photo reference or sketching outside from a live scene or subject, i will choose the latter all day.  But to keep myself on this quest to sketch and journal often, a photo can be just as inspiring when it need be.

Happy Sketching !