Ask Yourself How Do You Feel?
The Art of Learning A New Language

Does Daily Exercise Make A Difference?

Painting Is Easy

This little watercolor I made, above, is of one of my favorite quotes. Edgar Degas said this - and I never would have believed him until now. Now that I am getting deeper and deeper into this painting ride, the more I know, the harder it gets.

My studio is a great space for me to create when I have a big project going on.

Studio 5:30:2013

Sometimes, those big projects take days and weeks to complete. And SOMETIMES THE REST OF MY LIFE TAKES OVER. You know what I mean. I am talking to all the mommies out there who want to do art and those artists that have not yet taken the step to push everything else aside because they now can make a living from of their art.

I have discovered that I am not capable of balance. Nope. I am completely inept at it. However - I am getting a WHOLE lot better at juggling. I have found a little secret that helps me.


Keep a journal.

Journal 5:2013

Keeping a journal is a way of keeping the wheels greased.

So how many times have you been on the web, determined to take up visual journaling again, drooling, as you oggle the mind blowing journals that some artists keep? Or when you are in Barnes & Noble you pick up yet ANOTHER blank journal - promising yourself that this one is going to be different, THIS one you are going to keep at it ... this one (insert sigh) is going to be gorgeous  ... one that will be vibrant, full of juicy colors, wild and freeeee and that if you create it the way you invision it, well then, years after you are gone it might be discovered with the answers that unlock the questions from your greatest finished masterpieces?

There is only one weeeeee little problem nagging you... even as your credit card goes swiftly through the card reader.

You know, deep down inside, that you are BALANCE-CHALLENGED and you have failed, miserably, at keeping an art journal way too many times to admit to another human being.

"Oh no! Carolina has been reading my thoughts!"

Not quite.

I am guessing you and I might not be all that different and unique.

So what to do?


Secret For The Balance-Challenged: 


That is it. The key. Your journal is YOUR journal. You can cherry pick your entries in the distant future and share "the good ones", but if you don't just have at it, yucky goofs and all, you will never really reap the benefits of what is most valuable about keeping a journal - that is that the daily exercise of doing little snippets of creative work in your journal keeps you connected to the creative core of you, it keeps the wheels greased so that when you do finally get your dedicated chunk of longer art time, you are able to zero in and access the creative you instantly. By keeping a journal, you and your creative self have been in dialog, you are comfortable with each other. There is no more looking for The Muse. In case you haven't noticed, there is a change in my banner title and now you can access me at , The Muse of The Day is gone ... for I get it now, I am the muse. My daily entries in my journal prove it to me.

I promise to show you more, but, for now, lets just take a quick peek into one of my journals, yucky goofs and all.

Here is a journal entry showing a corner in my house that has these wooden shelf holders slated to go in my daughters room - these have been in this same location on the floor, next to my hiking backpack for at least 3 months. Embarrasing, but true. At every dinner party I have had, folks ask me what they are. I call it my little corner of guilt. I will get to hanging them. Promise.

Journal 5:2013 1


Want to see a goof page?

Journal 5:2013 2

That was where I tested out some new materials. A few days later I went back at this page, you can see it on the right side of the spread, below, you can also see, on the left side, just how much I struggled at properly drawing the tea kettle :

Journal 5:2013 3


One day I knew it was going to be crazy busy and that time in the studio, that day, was not going to be a possibilty. On my way out the door I spotted a bag of corriander seeds, I had purchased at an Asian market, sitting on the kitchen counter. A quick painting sketch with my little Koi travel watercolor kit, a few notes about what I was thinking while I painted it, and out the door I went:

Journal 5:2013 4

I have been teaching an Intro. to Drawing class to some ladies in my town. I don't think I am the greatest artist, but I share, freely, what I know. One day we did an exercise of contour drawing that we colored in after we were done with the drawing part, it is in my journal as well:

Journal 5:2013 5

On the right hand side of this next image, you can see a pink page with some writing in it - I am not showing it, here, because I use my journal to scribble in my private thoughts too. Remember a journal is for you, put it all in there & later on, if you want to share your journal, you can do as I suggest and cherry pick it.

Journal 5:2013 6

This next one only brings one word to mind - YUCK. But I am including it here for reality's sake.

Journal 5:2013 7

This next one was done on Mother's Day, which almost went unnoticed as we had my husband's father go in the hospital that day for an emergency procedure. I managed to do this little quick sketch out in my garden while feeling the warmth of the early morning sun - that was more than enough Mother's Day gratitude for me.

Journal 5:2013 8

I have a few points to make with this blog post that I think are worth repeating.

Don't be so precious and worry if your daily sketch is worthy or not. Put it all in there - goofs, good ones, and thoughts.

Journal 5:2013 9

And that doing this journal keeping with sketches, paintings, testing of materials, and thoughts, will keep your wheels greased for when you have a bigger chunck of time available to you to work on a larger project.

Start your day off with it, if you can make it work that way.

Journal 5:2013 10

At whatever time of day you do it, in whatever kind of journal you have handy, with whatever materials you have, and with a definite checking at the door of all preciousness ... doing this daily exercise will make a difference. A BIG ONE.


Hope you enjoyed the peek in my journal.




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Caitlin and I just sat here and discussed art journals after I read your post to her. She must have gotten my gene with journaling anything, because she can't and won't do it at all. All her work is in her head and she just does it with no practice. I do the same thing. I too have seen beautiful art journals and not so great ones, but they are personal and have helped the artist go for the end goal, or just jot down ideas. I have a dozen mole skin journals that have been given to me, and they are all empty. When I think up my ideas they float in my head forever, until I execute them. It is really funny this process of making your art isn't it? I find it funny though that Caitlin does the same thing. She will be starting her art degree in the fall, and she is already dreading that part of the experience. I remember when I was an art student, that was the most frustrating part for me....I just wanted to start on it. I don't know what that is.

Your journal is so cool and really reflects your personality. I still have my little post card you made me :) I'm just so glad to see you on here again. I miss your blog presence!

Carolina  Ellis

Hi Elizabeth, although most of my big projects don't get germinated in my journals, I find that I use my journals to keep my hand in the game when the rest of my life takes over. I used to go in spurts with my creative projects and sometimes would loose interest or become frustrated from not getting enough art time. having an art journal (actually several of them) makes it so my creativity is expressed outside of my head with real materials. You and Caitlin are millennia ahead of me, but that does not negate that I must do what I can to get there. I find myself considering my journals more as maintenance for my life. When I come to my bigger projects I don't need to reboot - I am already there.


I really like the banner change, I can tell you are happy about it too. Funny how so many of us have that pile of blank journals taunting us, not to mention our little corners of guilt waiting to happen. You give a lot of good advice here, and thanks so much for sharing your journal. Even though most of my journals are blank or only have a couple of pages filled, at least I have encouraged the practice and it has taken hold for my daughter. She has many books filled with her designs and I know she will cherish them one day. I have made it to day four of daily art journaling, and this has encouraged me to keep going. I have enjoyed every one of your pages, I like how you went back and just worked over one you didn't like. I guess it wouldn't be much of a journey for us without the yucky ones. Love your Moroccan page.


I'm so exited about your discovery and new banner! I have not get into the habit of journaling, but I try to doodle here and there. It is funny to see how it effects my children. They see me doodle good stuff and bad stuff and become more fearless in their own work. It seems to be very empowering for them to see me fail - and then just go on.


I love that phrase you came up with! So simple, yet so complicated! ;-) Thank you for the look into your journal! xx

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