Journaling for Perfectionists

Note: Ms. Lillypads is the winner of Mary Beth Shaw’s book. Congratulations! Send me your address and the book will be on its way!

*   *   *   *


Saturday I’m teaching Journal Writing for Perfectionists. I was prepping the sample  technique pages earlier tonight (that’s some of them in the photo above)  and remembering how hard it is to be a perfectionist. All that control. All that belief that I could control other people, events, life. It sure took me a long time to learn control is not a virtue when it comes to other people.

But we do get  chances to be grateful. My first gratitude journal was thin and mostly blank. It’s easier now to be grateful.

Some guy in a Ford truck cut me off today. I decided it was a small price to pay for having so many smart blog readers who leave smart comments.

Later at the library, a lady was allowing her little girl to empty her purse and help find her library card. The little girl got distracted and the mother didn’t encourage her to find the library card so other people could use the check-out machine. The line behind me grew. Finally another woman cut in front of me and said, “I’m in a bigger hurry than you, I have kids.” I didn’t yell at her. It was in exchange for good friends who are kind and considerate. Once you get the hang of gratitude and give up control, life gets easier.

There are still some spaces in the class. It’s on Saturday, March 9 at Paradise Valley (AZ) Community College, from 9 a.m. to noon in Building Q.  Details and registration are on this page. You can have fun if you are a recovering perfectionist, too.

-Quinn McDonald is teaching grammar tomorrow and journaling on Saturday. This does not seem odd to her.

Dusting off an Old Book

Books shouldn’t be judged if you use them for purposes they weren’t written for. Giving a book a new life by giving it a second chance is a wonderful thing.

    Use Jocasta Innes's "Paint Magic" for your journal projects, too.

Use Jocasta Innes’s “Paint Magic” for your journal projects, too.

Jocasta Innes’s book, Paint Magic is a book reborn for me. In the 80s, I bought it to give myself some new ideas for creating interesting painted walls. I recently discovered that the same techniques can be used in art projects.  Paint Magic did a great job for that alternative purpose, and I’m delighted to recommend it for book artists, which is why I purchased it.

Looking for some new techniques to create backgrounds for my art journals, I flipped through the pages and found a section on using gesso (a background that prepares a canvas or board for paint) and another on stenciling.

Each technique has a description of the effect, then includes preparation, materials, equipment, how-to and some variations. There are wonderful photos of the finished result (on walls).

Sure, the book includes rubber stamping on walls, but for journals, I recommend Graining (p. 106), marbling (p. 114) and ragging (p. 53). The techniques can be easily adapted and give delightful results.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach who is sifting through a lot of ideas to create a few good, new classes.  Don’t miss her local classes starting on March 9 in Paradise Valley, and her class at the White Tank Library in Waddell on March 23

Madeline Island Gift for the Holidays

Wrap up a free MISA hoodie to give as a gift along with a class registration for Metaphor and Magic (or any other summer class)

Madeline Island has a cute giveaway–sign up for a summer course (I’d love it to be mine, of course) during this weekend, and get a Madeline Island School of Arts hoodie to put under the tree (or next to the Hanukkah menorah or Kwanza candles).

It’s a great idea. You can surprise someone (or yourself!) with a gift certificate to a class, and have a hoodie to keep you toasty while waiting for summer Here’s the small print from the website:

To receive a hoodie, you must register between Wednesday November 21 and midnight on Cyber Monday, November 26, 2012.  We will be in touch with you to get your color and size preference (larger sizes are available to accommodate holiday eating!).

I’m a big fan of the color, too. Mostly, I am a fan of shopping at local stores for the holidays, and giving art handmade by artists whose work you like and admire. Buying locally keeps money in the community and helps small stores stay in business, contribute to the creativity in the community, and make art support your concern, too.

A plug for my Madeline Island class:
July 22-26 2013 at Madeline Island, Wisconsin
Magic and Metaphor: Mixed Media Conversations With Your Inner Critric.
An amazing art retreat in Lake Superior that covers deep writing and intuitive art. What will you do for five days? Join a class of creative explorers and confront your inner critic. You can read more in Quinn’s Workshops at the top of this page.

*    *    *    *    *
Local Arizona Classes coming up in December and January
If you are staying local (or are in Arizona in December or January), I’d love to see you in Tucson, where I’m teaching two classes.

The box of magic words for One-Sentence Journaling.

1. One Sentence Journaling: Does having a journal sound more appealing than writing in one every day? You aren’t alone, and this workshop was designed to help you keep a journal by writing one sentence a day. A daily writing practice creates a GPS system for your inner journey—it helps you figure out where you are and how to get where you want to be. Using exercises including “magic words” and “17 syllables” you will see the power of writing just one sentence.  Explore the possibilities of one meaningful sentence when you write with awareness, intensity and all your senses
Thursday, December 6, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
University of Arizona Modular Classroom, 4101 N. Campbell  Ave. Tucson 85719
Cost: $60

Samples of Monsoon Papers

2. Monsoon Papers.      Date: Saturday, January 26 10am – 4pm
Location: U Of A Modular Classroom
4101 N. Campbell Avenue  Tucson, AZ  85719
Cost: $100 + Material Fee $5
Originally created in Arizona’s monsoon storms, this wild surface decoration technique is fail-proof. Pieces of paper transformed with inks and gilding into dark, rich colors or bright, intense ones. It’s messy and unpredictable, so leave your controlling urges at the door—and be surprised at how the paper develops! Use your papers for folders, book projects, constructions, collage.

The two classes in Tucson, are taught through Paper Works, the Sonoran Collective of Paper and Book Artists. While these classes are for Paper Works members, a year’s membership will cost you just $35.

-Quinn McDonald is not going to get up at 4:30 a.m. on Black Friday. She’s shopping local and from other artists.

Journal Pages Unbound

Today, I was working on free-standing journal pages. I love the idea of combining fabric and drawing. A drawing of a cactus with a sheer fabric seemed intriguing.

Fabric journal pages open up a whole new genre of writing and drawing in your art journal. I’m creating free-standing or unbound pages–experimenting with creating unsequenced book pages. So far, I’m liking it a lot.

Yellow, orange and red polyester fabric.

My idea was to use fabric as a background. The way it turns out, it’s sewn on as a foreground and takes just a bit of planning.

The fabric is a sheer polyester in yellow, orange and red. I thought of sunsets and desert evenings when I purchased it. The woman behind the cutting counter looked at the sheer, bright fabric and at my request for a quarter yard and asked, politely but with great wariness, what I might be making with this. I’m sure she was terrified at what piece of clothing I might have in mind. “Art project,” I smiled. She broke into a big, relieved smile and then said, “It’s so much fun to play crafty games with the grandchildren for Easter isn’t it?” I smiled back. No sense to disturb her fantasy of happy Easter projects.

Layers, top to bottom: fabric, fusible webbing, watercolor paper. Cover with parchment before ironing.

First I drew a cactus on a piece of Strathmore pre-cut, cold-press watercolor paper. I added a scrap of landscape to anchor the image and explain the sunset colors. To give the cactus and landscape colors, I used Derwent Inktense and Caran D’Ache watercolor pencils.

Next, I cut a piece of lightweight fusible webbing the size of the page, and a piece of the fabric just a bit bigger. I covered the entire work with a piece of cooking parchment, to prevent the iron from sticking to the melted webbing.

Edges finished with zig zag stitching.

After ironing the fabric to the postcard, I trimmed the fabric and using a sewing machine set on zig-zag, finished the edges of the page.

By placing the fabric carefully, you can create different lighting effects.

Different lighting effects using different areas of the fabric.

The back of the page is for writing. I don’t show those parts here because the writing is personal. Eventually, I’ll do some samples and show those, too.

Quinn McDonald is the author of Raw Art Journaling. She will teach these techniques in a class called Postcards from the Other Side of Your Brain at Valley Ridge Art Center on May 5-6, 2012. There are still places left if you’d like to join.