Tag Archives: Caran d’Ache water soluble crayons

Haiku: Grace


Though life’s a challenge
I’m always striving for grace.
Mercy, strength, calm, love…

I’m wishing you a wonderful week filled with both calm and love…

Warm regards,

p.s. I’ll be  drawing six giveaway/drawing winners a week from today, and hope you’re entered to win!

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My Mandala


I’m away from home this week, but I’m still blogging!  I’m in Cambria – along California’s central coast – and am in the middle of an art retreat for one.  Thus far my days have been filled with proofreading my novel draft, photography, paper arts, and other creative pursuits.  And though I only brought some basic art supplies (okay, a small carry-on suitcase full!) I decided I’d try to make at least two projects – in addition to taking many photos.

One project, incorporating the radio tubes in my Artful Ingredients post – will be shared in the next few weeks.  The second project I wanted to take on was the making of a mandala.  I was able to complete it and photograph it despite a somewhat limited setup, and I hope you like it.

Mandala = Circle

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “circle”, and though mandalas are often used religiously or spiritually, I was mostly interested in challenging myself with the design element and the meditative/slow process of creating one.

I’d only successfully made one mandala in the past, years ago, and an attempt I’d made a few months ago was a disaster, so I wasn’t sure how it would go.  Thankfully, I have plenty of time to create this week, so I wasn’t rushed or distracted when I worked.


Making My Mandala


There is a lot of information about mandalas online, so I’m not going to detail the general how-to or the history.  Instead, I’m going to share a bit about what I did:

I started with watercolor paper, and traced the outline and center circle of a CD onto the smoother back side of the paper with a black ink pen.  I added some additional circles by tracing smaller circular objects within the largest circle’s frame.  This helped provide me – a mandala novice – with some structure.

I slowly built up the design in ink, and then started filling in some of the design with color and metallic gold.  The color – from Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons – was added by pulling the color from the crayons with a wet paintbrush and then painting onto the paper.  The gold is metallic gouache with water added, and it was applied with a paintbrush as well.  Some mandala makers fill in all of their design with color, but I decided to go with a combination of color and the natural look of the paper.

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet…

An art friend of mine, Doreen Grozinger, makes incredible mandalas!  Click here to see Doreen’s mandalas – you’ll see a range in style, coloration, etc. I aspire to be as good at mandala-making as Doreen is!

A Few Questions

Were you already familiar with mandalas before reading this post?  Have you ever made one?  Do you prefer multi-colored mandalas, or black and white?  If you’re new to mandalas, and decide to try making one yourself, I hope you enjoy the process!

Warm regards,

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New (Heart) Art!


Today’s “special guest star” is a piece of art I recently made – a self-portrait of sorts.  Two of the elements I used to create it were featured in a post from earlier this year, which included photos of some of the art materials or supplies I hope to use in my art in 2011.  (Please click here to read the original post)  I hope you enjoy seeing how I incorporated Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons and joss paper into my creation.

Materials used:

Cold press watercolor paper
Paint brushes (four different sizes)
Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons
Uni-ball Vision Elite pen – black
Metallic joss paper
Glue stick
X-ACTO knife
Metallic gold gel pen


Before starting this piece I checked to see if the black Uni-ball pen would smear when brushed with water.  It did, and I briefly considered using something else for my drawing. However, I like the way this pen lays ink down, and decided to go with it anyway.  After all, my life is a bit smeary, imprecise, and messy right now.  I felt the smearing would add authenticity to my self-portrait.

I slowly built up the drawing, and then added color.  Rather than drawing or coloring directly onto the paper with the crayons, I used a wet paintbrush to pull the color off of the tip of the crayons.  I was loose in my application of the color and didn’t fret over a bit of color mingling in the sediment layers.


The grayish wash around the heart was made by marking with the black pen on my paper palette, diluting it with a paintbrush and water, and then painting the ink wash onto the paper.  I also traced along the drawing’s black pen lines to dilute and soften the black, which created the gray ghosting.

I cut the joss paper into strips by hand, varying width and length.  After cutting slits into the heart with an X-ACTO knife, I threaded the joss paper pieces through to the back, and used the glue stick to glue the paper down on both the front and back of the watercolor paper.


The metallic gold gel pen was used at the end, to incorporate more gold into the lower part of the piece – in the sediment layers and on the plant/heart’s stem.  I also added gold metallic markings to the areas on either side of the paper beams of light.

Please keep an eye out for more of 2011’s Artful Ingredients, which will be used and shared in the coming months.  The next ingredient shown will likely be the sturdy, white shipping envelopes.  Like a mad scientist, I’ve been experimenting lately.  Wait ‘till you see what I’ve come up with!

Warm regards,

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Artful Ingredients: Artistic Probabilities for 2011

I love to collect odds and ends to use in my art.  I have a moderate-sized stash of goodies on hand at all times, and always keep an eye out for new artistic possibilities.  I’m an equal opportunity collector, too.  I’m not just interested in new or expensive items.  I’m just as likely to select something inexpensive or otherwise destined for the trash.  Whether something cost $30 or nothing at all, it’s all treasure to me.

I’ve been plotting and planning lately, and have written down my goal for this year.  I’ve also chose some materials I’d like to use – one way or another – in upcoming art projects and I’d like to share them with you.  Here are some of the materials I’m planning on using in my artwork in 2011:

Plastic netting


This would have been trash, had I not rescued it.  Originally holding produce and sealed noodles, these pieces of netting now have almost limitless potential.

Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons


I love working with these glorious sticks of color!  It’s time to pick them up again…

Embroidery hoop & thread


I’ve purchased a book teaching and illustrating embroidery stitches, and plan to learn at least one stitch per month this year.

Joss paper


There are many types of joss paper.  I love this orange and metallic gold combo!



I have some of these oh-so-old photos in my vintage photo collection, and they’re calling to me.

Glass tube-y electrical components


I don’t know exactly what these are, but I knew I had to buy some for my artwork!

Cabinet cards


These photos would like to come out and play as well!  I reserve the right to use different images, but will make use of cabinet cards in 2011.

Wooden sewing box


This is one my pricier purchases; it was around $30 at an antique store in Missouri.  It’s suuuuuuper cool though – trust me.  The way it opens and can be displayed is so unique!

Mailing pouch


These express mail pouches are virtually indestructible, and I’ve wanted to make something with one for a while now.  2011 is the year that function and form will meet.

Metal muffin cup


Most people would’ve eaten the muffin this cup held and then thrown the pleated cup away.  I’m not most people.  This piece of metal will live again in my art!

Please keep an eye out for these materials in my artwork in the upcoming months.  Their inclusion may be subtle, so it will take a keen eye, but they’ll appear.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my Artful Ingredients…

Warm regards,

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