Sanhill Crane Quartet

Sanhill Crane Quartet
OIl on 18x24 inch canvas

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Finding Yourself through Collage

From Finding Yourself through Collage: Introduction

As a creator of coloring books for adults, I thought it would be a great idea to use those pages now relegated to bookshelves, draws and closet floors to create collages. What great fun that would be! A collage journal. And what a great blog series to share with my readers. So I went through my coloring books, the ones I created, and selected an image to begin with. Then I chose papers to act as backgrounds and stickers and quilling paper and anything else I thought appropriate and started to work. My first collage (not in my life) for the series was Musical Fish. By the time I got to my fifth collage, Alice, I realized that it wasn’t just fun. It was inspiring; meditative; mind opening.

That’s when I changed the focus of my blog posts. At the end of each post about my latest collage I added a few sentences about what I derived from it. What was its meaning. Twenty-one collages later I had completed my journey into my psyche, sort of, and was ready to set it aside. I had developed a wonderful way to learn my own secrets and figure out some of the answers. I knew I had what was for me the best form of meditation. No more falling asleep ten minutes into it.
 No more frustration over getting nothing or little more than more confusion and ego imposed ideas. I was actually being honest with myself. I was being mindful in the moment with each tear of a piece of paper; with each stroke of a pen. Although I had a vision of what I wanted to create, while I was in the process of creating I was in the moment; moving step by step; never concerned with what comes next. That’s why, while I’m working on a project I have no sense of time; no need for food or drink. I’m simply there where ever there is.

A word about my collage journal. My journal is an 11” x 14” spiral-bound drawing pad. This is of course much larger than the average journal but it works best for me. I like using scrap book papers as my background, and they are usually 12” x 12”. There’s something freeing about having all that space to fill and there’s something daunting about it as well. Still, I feel the same way about using a Moleskin book. It’s really the process of creating something out of nothing that pulls me in captivating my creative nature and intimidating me on those occasions when I stop to think about what I’m doing. It’s probably best for me not to think about it.

Purchase the book for $21.95 in print from Create Space or Amazon. Amazon Prime customers get free shipping. The Kindle version is available for $4.99 from Amazon as well. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Limit of Art Cannot Be Attained

This tiny collage (5 x 7) began with this study; with the bird. I recently purchased a book on hieroglyphics in a used book store and found these profound statements on various pages that made a perfect poem for me. "The sun rises in the sky; The limit of art cannot be attained; I have spoken the truth."

The following parts were scanned into my computer:
A paper cut our bird of my own creation

A blank musical staff

A hydrangea bush my backyard on Woodrose Lane.

The following hieroglyphs were scanned as well.
The limit of art cannot be attained.

The sun rises in the sky.

I have spoken the truth.
I used GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) to create PNG images of the all of the images save the music staff page. Then I used Powerpoint to place the images and insert the test. This is because it is easier for me to insert text in Powerpoint than in GIMP. 

The limit of art cannot be attained.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Renard the Lion Hearted

When I have a bad hair day, I look like I have a bad hair day. When Renard, mon petite chien rouge, has a bad hair day he looks like a version of the male lion, only prettier. I have entered this protrait in the Dick Blick Pet Portrait contest. If you have a chance and would care to, please vote for my Renard. If you end up on the page with many entries, just search for "Joan". That's me. The link address is: At stake is $350 in art supplies. You know how it is with artists. There are never too many art supplies. A print of this image will soon be available for purchase at Renard thanks you. I thank you. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mandarin Ducks

These are my latest works, a trilogy of paintings of Mandarin ducks. Most of the ducks are drakes, male. You can always tell the male duck. They are the most colorful. They have to be beautiful to attract the attention of the females; to keep the duck population alive. And they are pretty to look at. These paintings were executed with Copic pens on 11 x 14 inch vellum bristol.

A Paddling of Mandarin Ducks

A Trio of Mandarin Drakes

Mandarin Drake Posing

Monday, April 11, 2016

Join the Wonderful Whimsical World of Daydreaming

Now that both of my coloring book journals, Whimsy and Fish, Fowl and Four Leggeds, are in print as well in downloadable format, I'm anxious to share my work with the world. One of my first customers gave the books as a gift to our mutual friend, Judy--who told me that she came up with an idea for a children's story after coloring just her third image!

What I enjoy about visual art is that, once I start, I move into a dimension without time or space. I usually draw animals and I find myself wondering about what's going on in their worlds. Sometimes we talk. When I color, I find myself daydreaming--and anything in the image can be the trigger. 

Coloring is a wonderful way to relax and daydream, and with my journals, you'll find I've provided plenty of extra space so that you can extend the drawings, if you like, as well as lined pages on which you are invited to write. A little stream-of-consciousness journaling can be a good thing. 

I started my own journal with Whimsy and, while I was coloring the angel on the first page, a lot of silly ideas about angels started coming to me. Who styles their hair? Can they change the color of their wings at will? 

Then, when I colored the cover of Whimsy, I felt such sympathy for the weeds the gnome is pulling up. When plants die, I wondered, do they go to heaven or is being turned into mulch their form of reincarnation? 

But those thoughts never occurred to me when I was doing the actual drawings, only when I was coloring. It's interesting, visual art is in many ways like writing. The viewer/reader often sees and reads more than the artist/writer intended. Even if the artist/writer is oneself!

To celebrate the publication of Whimsy and Fish, Fowl and Four Leggeds, I'm offering a special discount on the print versions. Just go to my web site,, for the code and the link to my Create Space store. There is no limit to how many books you can buy, and the offer runs until June 30, 2016. In addition, I've lowered the price on the downloadable versions of Whimsy and Fish, Fowl and Four Leggeds to $3.99 each. Of course the samplers are just $0.99.  

Happy daydreaming!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fish, Fowl and Four Leggeds has arrived!

It's official. My coloring book journal for adults, Fish, Fowl and Four Leggeds, is now available in print (on demand) through Create Space and Amazon. This coloring-book journal, aimed at adults, contains 43 original, animal portraits ready to be colored, to inspire writing and invite doodling. Use this book as a meditative relaxation tool; add to and alter the images; use the images as writing prompts, or ignore them and simply journal. The choice is yours. Each image page is lined for and followed by a blank lined page for your writing pleasure. Visit my website, for a peek at some of the images from the book. The price is $9.95.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Whimsy in Print!

It's official. My coloring book journal for adults, Whimsy, is now available in print (on demand) through Create Space and Amazon. This coloring-book journal, aimed at adults, contains 44 original, whimsical drawings ready to be colored, to inspire writing and invite doodling. Use this book as a meditative relaxation tool; add to and alter the images; use the images as writing prompts, or ignore them and simply journal. The choice is yours. Each image page is lined for and followed by a blank lined page for your writing pleasure. Visit my website, for a peek at some of the images from the book. The price is $9.95.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Fish, Fowl and Four Leggeds is now a coloring book journal


I'm please to announce that after several months of drawing images of fish, birds, and mammals, my latest coloring book journal for adults, Fish, Fowl and Four Leggeds, is now available in PDF and is ready to download. It wasn't easy drawing all of those images and not painting them but I managed to resist the temptation. There are 43 images, some from my Fine Art America/Pixels collection and some brand new.  You can and may color inside and outside of the lines, journal, scribble and/or doodle to your hearts content. If you're not ready to commit to a full coloring book journal try my Fish, Fowl and Four Leggeds Sampler. You'll have ten images to play with for only 1.39. The full downloadable book is $5.99.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Whimsy is here!

Whimsy a coloring book journal is now available through

Monday, February 8, 2016

Whimsy, coming soon

I'm sure you've noticed the coloring-books-for-adults trend. But it isn't new! Carl Jung, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and founder of analytical psychology, suggested his patients color in mandalas to calm and center their minds. It makes sense. Most of us have slipped away into our imaginations while doodling---and waiting for our call to be connected. Sometimes we even lose track of what we're waiting for! (With the length of time we spend on hold nowadays, there's a good chance you could you could create your own coloring book. Save those doodles. You never know.)

However, if you haven't collected enough doodles for a coloring book, never fear. I've been hard at work creating a coloring-book-plus-journal, which I've titled Whimsy. The line drawings of fairies, angels, elves, flowers and funny faces have been so much fun to create! In March, I will release electronic versions of both the full Whimsy-cal journal and a series of short sample Whimsy pamphlets. With the Whimsy pamphlets, you can discover the joy of coloring, journaling and doodling without committing yourself to an entire adult coloring book. 

You'll be able to download the pdf files and print the images, which are ready for coloring, journaling, scribbling and doodling. Now, not only can you color outside the lines, you can doodle and draw, scribble and write, or color and not write, or write and not color . . . it's all up to you. Below are some images from the upcoming book. Print them out and give it a shot.

Here's a sampling of the illustrations from Whimsy. Print a page and see what you think.
If you're  not able to print from this page, copy and paste the images to a word document or save it to your computer. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

I colored my coloring pages

I've been working on line drawings, freehand of course for my coloring book-journal project.  I needed to relax a bit so I colored three of my pages. They're not all fish and they will be different from other coloring pages when I'm through. You'll see. I'll be getting my feet wet with pdf packs available for purchase through this blog and then I'll go on actual books if the reception is good.  I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised by the differences.  I encourage you to color outside of the lines and add to the pictures where ever you want and oh, don't forget you can write anywhere on the page you like.

Koi Pair

Serpent and Fish

Whimsical Fish