Saturday, December 17, 2016

Fa La La

Today we had snow and I went out for a winter walk with my husband. Just at the beginning of this week I was riding my bicycle running in the woods! Nonetheless, the snow makes me happy.

The beginning of December, I spent making some holiday cards. I carved some rubber stamps: a penguin, a giraffe, Fa and La, and an evergreen tree. The bicycle is a linocut I did last year. I then added some collage elements for the baskets and sarves.

wishing everyone a good week.

joining sunday sketches

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Zola stamp and Leaf collage

emile zola, collage, galleryjuana
Zola 2016, collage, 5 x 5 inches

In early summer, my local second-hand shop had stamp collections on sale. I purchased a couple of them and have started to use them in collage and paintings.

The above collage, Zola 2016,  has a background of gesso, acrylics, a collage of a Émile Zola stamp and a Japanese book page, and a pattern with one of my linocuts to add a soft vertical line. I used a leaf and acrylics to print the leaf, then added color with washes of watercolor.

If you ask me what I came to do in this world,
I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
― Émile Zola

joining Sunday Sketches (link in side bar)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

the conversation

Use your voice.
Pen your thoughts.

Talk to your neighbor.
Talk to your co-worker.
Hear out their perspectives.

Seek and Start the conversation.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I cannot sit quietly.

I cannot sit quietly.
I am restless and I am anxious for our future.

The struggle to become a nation that guarantees its citizens equality, individual liberties and justice
- that struggle continues and even more so now.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Go Vote!

linocut art by Juana

Just a simple message to my fellow U.S. citizens to go out and vote!

Sólo un simple mensaje a los ciudadanos americanos: Ve y Vota!

joining sunday sketches

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Enso and Leaves

Enso III, September 2016, 4 x 4 inches

I have a collection of dried leaves that I keep flat, under plexiglass, on my long table. I love using them to print leaf shapes on my paintings.

detail of Leaf I, September 2016

Above, I used a maple leaf for Leaf I. The leaves are pretty durable. I paint the back side with acrylics, watercolors or printing ink, place the paper on the painted leaf, and use a wooden spoon to rub the ink from the leaf into the paper.

Leaf I, September 2016

When I'm finished printing, I gently clean the leaves with a wet rag. In time, pieces of the leaves will start to crumble off and they evolve into a new leaf. This is evident in the first image, Enso III, September 2016, at the top of this post. I've had that Alder leaf for over a year now.

In nature nothing exists alone.
Rachel Carson

joining Sunday Sketches

Sunday, October 9, 2016

cats, quotes, portraits and InkTober

Black Kitty #7

Last month I revisited a black cat painting I did years ago and decided to make it into a stamp. I had a block of speedball "speedy cut' which is super easy to carve. I added whiskers by hand with a pen. I've made several prints on pages from vintage books and on rice paper. The one above is Black Ktty #7 and is on a page from a blueprint reading instruction book.

Edgar Allan Poe Cat quote

Before I made these prints, I tested the carved stamp in my journal and added a quote. It's a perfect time of year for Edgar Allan Poe quotes. October brings us to Inktober and I've been having fun with my fountain pens, dip pens and inks.

Helene Dutrieu

I found this archived photo of Helene Dutrieu in the The Library of Congress on Flickr. Her adventurous life inspired me to draw her portrait. She's wearing her flying headgear in the portrait.

Jounal page, sumi ink portrait

Inktober started off with the above portrait. I drew it using sumi ink and a dip pen. Lately, I have been exploring patterns and I just let my mind wander through the drawing, creating whatever shape or pattern that comes to mind.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. Yesterday was rainy and windy, so I spent the day working on my bicycle: new tires, tubes and a chain. I still need to change the brake pads, but today is sunny, so I'll be out enjoying a long bike ride.

joining sunday sketches

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Avocado, fountain pen inks, journal sketch

avocado journal page

I love avocados. They are a quick meal. I came across Rachel Ray's tip of keeping a halved avocado fresh by storing the avocado with garlic. It's rare when I don't use the whole avocado but the tip inspired me to use my private reserve avocado ink to draw an avocado.

avocado, journal page, private reserve, j herbin inks

I traced out the avocado and seed first with de atratmentis document yellow. I used J Herbin Cacao de Chypre to color the seed and write out the words.

noodlers creeper fountain pen, j herbin cacao de chypre ink

The halved avocado will be left with a garlic flavor. If you don't want that, just skim off a thin layer of the avocado to get rid of the garlic taste.

Here in the States, Autumn has officially began, and it's off to a beautiful start.

wishing everyone a good weekend and joining sunday sketches (link in side bar)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Journal Sketches, inks, pearl ex, and watercolors

female figure, journal page, clairefontaine notebook

Recently I purchased a set of powder pearl ex mica pigments. It includes 9 colors plus powdered gum arabic. The above journal sketch was done with a dip pen, pearl ex rose gold, Daniel Smith Lunar Blue watercolor and Daniel Smith Walnut ink.

mini asian tea set with dip pen inks, watercolors

Above is the mini asian tea set that I talked about last week. I have the little cups filled with walnut ink, pearl ex rose gold, and daniel smith lunar blue. The cups are about 2.5 cm (just under an inch) high and fit snugly with the tea pot in the tray. The tea pot holds water for cleaning the nibs.

Usually, I just dip the nib into the ink well. Unfortunately, I didn't fill the tea cups high enough to dip my nibs, so I used my smallest brushes to dip into the cups and swipe my dip pen.

I keep my de atramentis document inks in vials that I purchased at goulet pens. These document inks are mixable to make new colors and each mixed color can go in its own vial. To keep the vial standing and make it harder to accidentally knock over, I used a planter and put a cloth napkin inside it. The planter is 8 cm (3 inches high) and the vials are 6 cm (2.4 inches) high. As I tend to work with one color at a time, this has been working well so far.

All that was missing was something to rest my dip pen to keep it from rolling around. I looked at my collection of found beach objects on my windowsill and spotted the sea glass my husband found and gifted me. It holds my dip pen in place perfectly.

joining sunday sketches (link in side bar)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Journal Pages

June and July journal pages, de atramentis document inks

It has been a fantastic summer with little rain and long, sunny days. And although I've been out on the bicycle and at my art table less with the great weather; I have kept up my journal pages and calligraphy practice through the summer.

August Journal page

I rearranged my art tables so I could have a table dedicated to calligraphy and writing correspondence. I found the cutest mini asian tea set to use for my inks and water reservoir. You can see it in the photo below on the bottom-left corner.

fern sketch in clairefontaine notebook

This morning I did a quick sketch of the leaves and fern that I keep on my table. The gold flecks in J. Herbin's Caroube de Chrypre ink really came through and are noticeable when viewing at certain angles. At other angles, it is a rich, earthy brown. The word summer was written with another of my favorite colors: J. Herbin Emerald de Chivor.

I can already feel summer welcoming Autumn. The weather has a crisper, lighter feel to it.

joining sunday sketches

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Bird sketches and quotes

Owl disguised as a Crow

Recently I purchased a Clairfontaine blank page notebook. It is fountain pen friendly and I've been sketching and writing quotes in it. The paper is not very thick, so the fountain pen sketches are visible on the other side of the pages. For that reason, I've only been using one side. I like the notebook paper and it's bright, white pages.


I've really been enjoying getting outdoors for the summer so most of my wip art projects are moving forward at a very slow pace. Hopefully, I'll have an update for the blog by early September.

wishing everyone a good weekend and joining Sunday Sketches

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pieces, pen and ink, figure line drawing

Pieces II, pen drawing, juana almaguer
Pieces II, micron pen drawing

Recently I came across these pen, abstract figure drawings that I did several years ago. I had meant to post them in my Etsy shop; but life happened, and they stayed quietly in my drawer of drawings.

When I came across them again last week, I was reminded of that time in my life when I was taking care of my Mom.

Pieces II, pen drawing, juana almaguer
detail of Pieces II

She used to tell me how on the first day of Kindergarten I wasn't fussing but excited to start school. There was no crying or separation anxiety.   So I was pretty independent since a young age,. And that continued when I took my first solo travels in Europe at the age of 20 and then moved overseas when I was 22.

I never realized how well she understood me and how much she respected my independence. Throughout all her "muchacha" warnings, she practiced patience with my never-ending thirst for adventure. She kept close watch over me without hindering my curiosity.

She showed me through her actions and shared stories how to be strong, determined yet humble. She never got a high school diploma and went to work in the fields with her Mom and Dad. Now married and with two kids (both under the age of 6), she wanted to get a job as a teacher's assistant. This meant she had to go back to school around the age of 44. She worked during the day and went to junior college at night with us in tow. She completed the necessary classes for her high school diploma and the early childhood education college units and went to work as a teacher's assistant.

I completed these drawings shortly after she passed away. This set of drawings, titled Pieces, came into being piece by piece. I was drawing free form, with no subject or motif, and this figure appeared cradling, holding a bundle in its hands.

Pieces II, pen drawing, gallery juana
Pieces II, detail

Maybe this was my way of piecing myself together and quilting the emotions and memories into some order that I could comprehend.

Have you ever drawn something that expressed in a visual form what you were feeling?

joining Sunday Sketches

Saturday, July 30, 2016

doodles, fountain pens and quotes

I think you can

you must travel it for yourself

learn through trial

end with lots of birthday cake

William Shakespeare, Macbeth quote

As you can see, I've been having fun with inspiring quotes, fountain pens and doodles. Not every quote sparks a doodle, but every quote brings the reward of sound, sight and creativity

wishing everyone a good end of July!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

change, journal pages and daily sketches

gallery juana Rohrer and Klingner, Helianthus ink
dip pen, Rohrer and Klingner ink (Helianthus)

Some days can be overwhelmed with hurdles, detours and fallen bridges. I start to feel powerless. And I begin to lose sight of what I have that makes me happy.

gallery juana june journal page
june journal page, De Atramentis Document inks

So I've been writing little reminders to myself that keep me going. Some notes are my own thoughts and others are from song lyrics.

self-portrait and tree, gallery juana
daily sketch,  self-portrait and tree

Once I started focusing on what I could change and what was within my control, I felt renewed energy. After taking a long break from sketching figures and portraits, I have recently started sketching those again daily.

The above sketch started out with drawing a tree. An unexpected interruption happened and when I came back to the drawing hours later, the feeling I had about the tree was no longer there. I switched to drawing my portrait. As the mirror I use is a compact mirror, I can only see a small part of my face as I draw. I kind of like that fact as I have to keep the general idea in mind as I concretely see a small focus in the mirror. A good metaphor for life!

joining sunday sketches (link in sidebar)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Drawing with De Atramentis Turquoise Document Ink

pen and ink drawing on vellum

I just joined instagram, so now I can participate in Gouletpens monday matchup! So I've been spending my mornings drawing with pen and ink.

 I really like drawing with fountain pens and these document inks. The only problem is finding economical paper that keeps a fine line with no feathering of the ink.   I like to work on cheap paper and not have to worry about the expense. Once I have the drawing then I can transfer it to good paper.

This week I picked up some vellum paper and discovered the pens and inks work well on it. I think I can make some mail art envelopes with the vellum too.

How about you? Do you prefer a certain paper? Does the choice of paper depend on whether you are working out a drawing?

joining Sunday Sketches

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May Calendar - Journal page

Solo Bicycle Tour, May 24 - 26, 2016

This past week I spent three days and two nights having a little adventure on my bicycle. No electronics, just pen and paper, and my own thoughts. Today, I did the above sketch based on a selfie I took on the 24th.

I didn't do any art on the trip; instead, I took lots of photos. I'll have a blog post up soon on my photo blog.

joining Sunday Sketches (link to the right)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pythagoras Linocut

pythagoras linocut, juana almaguer

Recently, I added another linocut to my math and science series. This one gains its inspiration from Pythagoras. I printed Pythagoras on two types of rice paper (white and off-white) in two different sizes (8 x 10 and 7 x 9).

pythagoras linocut, gallery juana
detail of Pythagoras linocut, gallery juana

I'm really enjoying this series. I already have some ideas for my next two linocuts. I hope to feature some Women mathematicians.

wishing everyone a creative week.

joining Sunday Sketches - link in sidebar

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Shakespeare drawing and diy jigsaw art

De Atramentis inks, Shakespeare, galleryjuana
De Atramentis inks, Shakespeare

In honour of 400 years of Shakespeare, I drew his portrait and added a Lady Macbeth quote. I used De Atramentis inks in Fuchsia, Yellow, Turquoise and mixed colors.

I decided to send this out as mail art, but the size was to large to send unfolded. I got the fun idea to make the Shakespeare drawing into a jigsaw puzzle.

art jigsaw wip

To reinforce the drawing, I added Con-Tac paper to the back of it, then turned it over and rubbed out any air bubbles.

art jigsaw pieces, galleryjuana
art jigsaw pieces

Next I cut the reinforced drawing into random shaped pieces to make it into a jigsaw puzzle.

This was my first time to make an art jigsaw puzzle, and it was fun to make. Since it's going through the mail, in order to keep down postage cost, I wouldn't want it to be any thicker or heavier. If this were a gift (where cost is not an issue), I'd probably use a thicker and sturdier backing to reinforce the drawing.

This would be a great diy project for kids too. You could use clear contact paper to cover front and back of the drawing to make the pieces easy to wipe clean.

I will definitely be doing more of these diy art jigsaw puzzles to send to friends and family.

joining sunday sketches

Friday, April 15, 2016

Liberate Your Art 2016

postcard art by juana almaguer
you are you. And that is everything the world needs.

I've lost track but this is around my fourth or fifth year to join Kat Sloma's Liberate your art. The post card above is my entry for LYA 2016.  On the front, it says, "You are You." On the back, the message continues with "And that is everything the world needs." Sometimes we need to hear that!

Some of the postcards I received had art work, others photography and some were photo collages.  All very inspiring and a shot of happiness in my mail box.

Part of Kat's LYA is that each postcard has a message on the back.  It can be a quote, a note about the postcard itself, or whatever enters your mind.  The idea is to have more than just a blank postcard. Afterall, this is a way to connect to a stranger through mail art.

Add caption

What I've learned with LYA is that strangers do not stay strangers for very long.  Soon this group of strangers form a community and then conversations develop and then friendships.    That is why I keep coming back each year to join Kat's Liberate Your Art.

If you think you aren't an artist or photographer, don't let that inner voice take over.  Creativity has no boundaries or expectations.  Creativity comes in many forms.  Maybe you like cooking or sewing or exercising?  I believe all of these interests are a form of creativity and can be put on a postcard.   To get your reminder from Kat for next year's LYA, sign up on her website.

Most of the postcards had websites,  and here they are:

Kat Sloma:

Jeanne McLaughlin:

Bethany Lee:


Lisa Comperry:

Sheila Delgado:

Sonya Versluys:

Maria Ontiveros:

Darlene Cannup:

My "you are you"  postcards are available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Hop on over to Kat's website to visit other participants in this LYA postcard swap.

And I've have just learned that Sonya Versluys is doing a postcard swap in the very near future.  So visit her website for more details.

Joining kat's blog hop and Sunday Sketches
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