Library Fun


Last week was a rather busy week, and leading two workshops at local libraries as part of Teen Read Week added to the busyness, but also provided a lot of fun.


On Tuesday night, I worked with a few participants in a visual journal workshop at Rust Library in Leesburg, VA. I shared my journals and how I use them, and then I led the participants through some techniques and ideas that I use in my journals. Everyone worked on a couple of pieces of mixed media paper and created pieces that incorporated watercolor paint, collage, watercolor pencil, and writing. It's always fun to get messy and creative.


On Wednesday night, I worked with a slightly larger group in a mural painting workshop at Cascades Library in Potomac Falls, VA. Working on a primed piece of canvas, we began by painting in shapes and lines of color, and then added in some collage from newspaper and magazines. The participants were then asked to think about some of their favorite activities and some adjectives to describe themselves. We then incorporated some of the ideas and words to finish up the mural. Eventually the canvas will be hung in the library. Again, it was messy, creative, and fun.

Check out the finished mural at the top of the post!

Although both workshops had a small number of participants, I always love connecting with people through art, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I'm hoping to do more in the future!

Hand Cut Stencils On Sale Now!

Teaching at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach got me jazzed up again to cut stencils, and people seemed to really like the ones that I brought with me. Not only did I teach an evening stencil making class where I showed off the numerous stencils I had made over the last few years, but many people used them in my other classes.

Hand Cut Stencil - Pebbles

Hand Cut Stencil - Pebbles

Hand Cut Stencil - Large Pebbles

Hand Cut Stencil - Large Pebbles

So I thought that I'd put some in the shop. I've come up with four styles that I'm selling in the JFJ online Shop - Pebbles, Large Pebbles, Squares, and Curves. Each stencil is hand cut with an electric stencil cutter. This heat tool's sharp point melts the plastic as you draw instead of slicing through like a knife blade. Since they are hand cut, no two stencils are the same, and each stencil is created on demand. So even if you order 2 of the same style, they will be similar but not identical.

Hand Cut Stencil - Squares

Hand Cut Stencil - Squares

Hand Cut Stencil - Curves

Hand Cut Stencil - Curves

Because they are hand cut, each stencil may contain scratches, burrs, and other imperfections that arise in this unique process. But these little blemishes do not detract from the function of the stencil.

Each stencil is $20 and that includes shipping and handling, but you can save $10 when you purchase 3. Just make sure to click on the three pack, and specify which stencils you'd like.

Hand Cut Stencils - 3 Pack

Hand Cut Stencils - 3 Pack


Check out the Shop for more info, and the purchase!

Art and Soul: Virginia Beach 2017


A week ago, I was extremely fortunate to teach in Virginia Beach at Art and Soul. It was nice having something like it so close to home. I've travelled all over, and when flying it's always a challenge to take what you need to teach these types of workshops. But last week, I was able to load up the car and go. Virginia Beach is only a four hour drive away.

The weather was perfect, and the hotel was right on the beach. But the most amazing part were the awesome students! I began my three days of teaching with an evening Stencil Savvy class where students learned to cut their own stencils using Grafix Blue Stencil Film and a craft knife. Most students were able to cut one full stencil, and several were able to cut two or three.


A couple of days later, it was nice to see how one student, Donna used her stencil in another class. 


I taught a full day art postcard class the second day, Wish You Were Here. Originally I only had one student signed up, and I was already to have a one-on-one class, but at the last minute, I had two students sign up. So we spent the day exploring layering and working with personal themes. It was awesome to have a small class where everyone got to spread out, and we had a great time chatting and carrying on, and of course making art!

Small works of art allow you explore a lot of ideas and techniques without a huge investment of time or materials.


For my last day in Virginia Beach, I taught a full day journal class, Journal Fodder Junkies of the World Unite. This class was based on the first workshops that David and I taught many years ago. When we began teaching workshops together at educational conferences, this was the title we used. This was a basic journal workshop, and it was great to see so many people in the class.


We spent the day exploring a lot of different techniques and a variety of themes in our pages. In general, we spent the day dropping art bombs. It's amazing the stuff students bring to the events.

I am truly grateful to everyone who came out to Virginia Beach and spent some time making art with me. I love sharing my art and my journey. Thank you all so very much. I had a great time, and I am looking forward to going back in 2018.

If you missed out on the fun. We always have something in the works, and I am in the process of scheduling classes for Spring 2018. Check out our Events and Workshops page for the most up-to-date listing of classes, conferences, and workshops.

Daily Challenge Example

I think that one misconception that people have about working in a visual journal or an art journal is the notion that each page is a separate piece of art that is started and completed before moving onto the next page. That approach might work for some, but it never worked for me.

For me the visual journal is an accumulation of small actions that build up over time, sometimes weeks or even months. As I've been working on the challenges, I've let them build up slowly one on top of another, so the pages have become the result of many challenges, not a response to single challenge. This leads to a richer journal where ideas and techniques mix and mingle allowing for new ideas to emerge.

In my latest video, I share how I have typically been using the challenges to add to pages that I've already started or to put the first inklings on a page. I share one of the challenges from a couple of weeks ago - Text Embellishment: Color. I use this idea a couple of different ways on a couple of different pages. As more things get added to these pages over the next couple of months, they'll become richer, more textured, and more developed.

To see how small actions like the Daily Challenge have created rich journal pages, check out the video where I share the big journal where I started the challenge back in January.

I hope that you enjoy this little peek into my process!