Monday, August 22, 2011


OK, so sometimes I digress to read a book or magazine that's all fluff and not related to art...

When last at Barnes & Noble a book jumped out at me that looked like a quick read with a little comic relief titled "Exes & Ohs: A downtown girl's tales of love, lust, revenge, and a little facebook stalking" by Shallon Lester. I thought it might give me some insight into secret ways to cope with my impending divorce, like best ice cream flavor to nurse a healing heart!?!?

Soooo, this book reads like a 24 year old gal wrote it as though she was talking to her friends, swear words and all. Ran through it like a bag of my favorite Lay's fried potato chips...except I was surprised that, having written for a New York daily newspaper gossip column for years, Shallon used a ton of excellent words! Some I knew and some I didn't.

Here's a list of the words I picked out of the text that I'm excited to share with you; some you will know and others, well, I hope you'll learn something:

heinous, ardent, indigent, pilfired, gaffes, clandestinely, staunch, maniacally, betwixt, kerfuffle, ubiquitous, devolved*, derision*, nefarious*, unroofied*, pyrrhic*, haughtiness, circumvallation*, maladies, solipsistic*, ensconced, addled*, non-sequitur* and rotund.

The words with an asterisk were new to me! Dictionary, here I come.

And, guess what? Mixed in with her stories of romantic conquest and failure Shallon did include a chapter on ICE CREAM! But, here's her twist (I love it),
     "Since the dawn of of heartbreak, women have been using ice cream to mend their wounds and drown their sorrows, a sort of triage paste to patch up holes in the heart.
      Isn't it time that ice cream makers realize this and start gearing flavors toward their true constituents? Why, in the throes of being dumped, would I want to reach for something called Chubby Hubby? That just seems cruel. How about getting a little bit more specialized? Perhaps...

      'Googling Robert Pattinson'
       Tastes Like: Salty tears, black nail polish, and Hot Topic snap-on fangs

      'Told My Friends I Didn't Call Him but I Lied'
       Tastes Like: Wine in a box and an overly rehearsed voice mail message that conveys 'breezy!'
        not 'stuffed to the gills with Lexapro!'

      'In Bed at Ten P.M. on a Friday'
       Tastes Like: Three-day-old Chinese food and a putrifying mud mask"


I'm glad that I read "Exes & Ohs", just to disconnect and get caught up in someone elses whirlwind life for a while. Reminded me of my wild and wooly 20's! ;)

Happy Reading!  Tristina

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Decorated Page Book Review

Was so thrilled to finish reading a journaling book I have been savoring a few pages at a time over the past few months. Going to intersperse my review below with pages from my journals. Hope you'll share some of your journal pages and favorite journal making supplies with me in the comments...

The Decorated Page: Journals, Scrapbooks and Albums Made Simply Beautiful, by Gwen Diehn, got me with the cover! From postal stamps (I have a collection of about 1000 from around the world for my artwork) to watercolor illustrated pages to the ubiquitous Micron pen, the cover promised to help me turn my excessive supply of blank journals into expressive albums using Gwen's simple techniques.

The beginning of the book has an excellent description of different journal book types (with advantages and considerations of each kind) and a thorough discussion of mark making tools and paints; Gwen's favorite journaling paint is watercolor and mark making tool is the micron pen! My favorite tools are spiral bound Aquabee Super Deluxe 93lb paper drawing books (will take dry and wet media well), woodless dark/soft graphite pencil, Pitt black markers, Derwent ColorSoft pencils or Koh-I-Noor woodless colored pencils, and Penguin pan watercolors. Sometimes when I am travelling and don't want to take both the colored pencils and pan watercolors, I substitute water soluable Derwent colored pencils.

I love Gwen's 9 ways to prepare journal pages so that I'm not looking at a blank page to start. (A favorite of mine is to create a watercolor wash over a crayoned image to get a very interesting effect.) She later gives great examples of different page layouts (including text) such as bleeds, grids, borders, organic... Very well described and demonstrated with sample pages from many other artists. I especially like the idea of cutting and using my own stamps from wine corks (which I have a lot of after drinking copious bottles of wine!) which is beautifully described and demonstrated in the text.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a section called "Writing Small" by guest contributor Ann Turkle. It discusses ways to develop free flowing writing skills. She suggests springboarding by making mundane lists, describing everyday items in detail, observing, listening, and more. I learned A LOT here...

With so many pictures of journal pages from different artists, it was easy for me to get inspired to write, no matter what I think my handwriting looks like! As a bonus, I later found in Gwen's book a handwritten font I've fallen in love with!

Recently an arts magazine asked its readers if they were marooned on a desert island with only one art supply, what would it be? Mine would certainly be a big fat soft dark graphite pencil so I could journal on everything!!!

Happy Journaling!  Trisitna :)