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watercolor and colored pencil


I find that my visual journaling practiceboots allows me to experiment much more freely than I would otherwise. First, there is something about being “on location”, even if I’m in my own house. Relaxed, with my journal on my lap, so different from a blank sheet of paper in my studio space. Sometimes outside with the wind ruffling my hair and miscellaneous sounds floating through…

Also, having a whole book open fuels my anxiety less than a single page. Hey, if things don’t work out, turn the page! There are a hundred more chances! My new journal has a mixture of fabriano watercolor paper and blue tinted pastel paper. Here’s an experiment I did with pen and white colored pencil on the white paper. I like the tinted paper because it gets the ball rolling- you start with and interesting problem, and not a blank sheet of white paper.

peonyHere is my first watercolor pencil drawing. This spring I was doing a lot of drawing in my yard. I was craving the outdoors, and I would work in my yard with open windows while my kids were napping. Looking back, it was a time that the art was getting a lot of energy from my. I think it had a lot to do with spring, and the energy of everything being awakened around me.

In my journaling, I have found that I have tried a lot more media than I would have otherwise. I also loved the challenge of drawing something “white” and seeing all the delicate colors.

irisHere is an Iris I did during the same period, with Prismacolor colored pencil on the blue paper. The use of white pencil for the highlights led to the boot drawing above.


Thanks to my terrific mom (grammie, the superhero) I got to have the day off while she watched the kids. Off to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for a day of sketching! I loved the chaotic feeling of these black-eyed susans reaching for the sun. I so enjoy sketching outside. What am I going to do with myself when winter sets in?

japanesegardenOne of my favorite areas of the Arboretum is the Japanese Garden. Jeff and I had a lot of our wedding photos taken here.  This sketch was a challenge for me…there just seemed to be so much, and unfortunately the drawing did get muddy and hard to read. Still, there are elements that I like, so I thought I’d share it!


White cosmos with watercolor pencils, which I’ve only used once before. I love playing with them and would like to take a class sometime. I love how they blend line and wash so beautifully.


Though I often think I won’t make it through another Minnesota winter, the summers here are absolutely divine. My husband Jeff and I have always enjoyed spending time on the north shore. Here’s a sketch of Lake Superior as seen from Park Point, Duluth. While I was sketching, my two young kids, Jonah and Eliza, worked with our friends on making an elaborate house for ladybugs out of driftwood. This day trip was on our way home from a lovely camping trip to Jay Cook State Park with our friends Tina and Sharon, and their son Ian.

tinaHere’s Tina sitting by the river than runs under a wonderful old railroad bridge. It was a lovely hike. The boys enjoyed throwing rocks into the water, and Eliza got way wetter than we’d planned. I like this sketch because Tina’s relaxed posture really echoes the feeling of the whole trip, and I think I captured the feeling of the bright midday sun. This journal entry really makes me feel like I’m right back there.

I love journaling on trips, and the scenery was so beautiful, I was itching to draw all the time. I always find it difficult to balance the social part of a trip with keeping a trip journal. How about you all? Maybe everyone just works faster than I do…