May 092014

Drawing WinnerCongratulations to Denise Cerro, the winner of this week’s book giveaway. I’ll be mailing out her book, Painted Pages, by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare, very soon. Denise, who is an accomplished painter and fellow sewist, wrote, “Judy, this looks like such a fun book . . . I’d like to get my hands on this book to open me up to a little more fun, freedom and frivolity in my creative life . . . which tends to be more in the realistic realm. Good luck to all that enter.” When Denise sent me her address, I was pleased to hear she and her daughter-in-law will be looking through the book to find some things they can do together. I love that idea!

For the rest of you who did not win the book, I’d like to suggest you take advantage of some other mixed media inspiration offered through an Artistcellar blog hop that begins today. Besides being exposed to some wonderful ideas from some great artists, you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for four new map art stencils designed by Jill K. Berry. Click on the link in the previous sentence to see the stencils. The first stop in the Map Art Blog Hop & Giveaway, which is on the Artistcellar site, shows you what you can do with these beautiful art stencils that are perfect for collage work or art journaling. Each day of the blog hop, members of the design team will post stencil ideas on the blog. Each artist in the blog hop has different requirements for the stencil drawing, so make sure you visit each blog and read through to the end of the post on the designated day.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Fotos,

Image courtesy of Free Digital Fotos,

Here’s the schedule for the Map Art Blog Hop & Giveaway:


© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Apr 302014

On Friday, May 9th, I’ll be announcing the winner of a very special book giveaway. If you’re interested in entering the random drawing, read through to the end of this post. The book is Painted Pages: Fueling Creativity with Sketchbooks & Mixed Media, by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare.


Sarah’s book is perfect for any level of mixed media artist, from beginner to veteran. She shows readers how to use an artist’s sketchbook as a tool for keeping track of your ideas, as well as adding in your ephemera, doodles, photos and much more—and then encourages you to translate these sketches into mixed media paintings. This is not a typical how-to book, but instead a book that gets you started with some creative play ideas. The last page of the book, in fact, provides you with 16 two-minute prompt cards you can photocopy onto card stock and cup apart. When the Muse is out, close your eyes, reach into a bowl, and pull out a card to get your creative juices going. Some of the prompts include:

  • Use only a pencil. Scribble, and draw shapes. Try different leads.
  • Use rubber stamps to write one word. Use a thin layer of paint as your “ink.” Stamp the first word that comes into your head and use it as a theme for your painting.
  • Paint only with white paint.

2-Minute Prompts

Much like a workshop where you’re told in advance what tools and materials to bring, Sarah describes, in the starting chapter, what types of pens, pencils, pastels, painting surfaces, brushes, and other tools you should gather before you begin working.


Sarah also suggest some fun “extras” you may wish to add to your creative playground, such as letter-and-number rubber stamps, rub-on letter sheets, stencils, and glassine envelopes.

Fun Extras

If you’re a raw beginner, when it comes to mixed media art, Sarah provides you with a color primer, along with a few suggestions that will help you feel this is something you can tackle:

  • Don’t over-think your use of color.
  • Find colors that speak to you and put them next to each other.
  • Experiment. Have fun. Explore.

Color Primer

The book is filled with fun suggestions for how to play with different techniques, such as composition. Sarah suggests you scan or take a photo of one of your paintings, then zoom in on the image using your preferred graphic editing software. Crop part of the painting that speaks to you, and save it, using it as a background for collage work.

Composition experiment

Another idea that Sarah suggests is to play with text and image. Use your own handwriting, text from books, rubber stamps, typed text from a vintage typewriter (or a facsimile of it using a typewriter-like typeface), rubber stamps, scratch letters, stickers or stencils. “Often a line or word in an old book will spark an idea for a painting,” says Sarah.

Text-and-image play

Probably the best part of Painted Pages is that this book can help you figure out what your inner artistic voice might be. Additionally, you’ll find profiles of well-known artists and bloggers who share with you the inside of some of their sketchbooks and journals. If you’re interested in entering the random drawing, tell me in the comments below why you think you need this book. Assuming there are at least 5 entries, I will announce a winner of Painted Pages next week Friday, May 9th.

© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Apr 072014

“Oh man! I’d love to win!” wrote Paige Ronchetti of Little Nostalgia about my most recent giveaway, a book titled Sew Easy Designer Pillows, published by House of White Birches. “I only know how to do the most basic pillows (an envelope closure). My style is kind of eclectic, so I’m probably a blend of what’s above [from the blog post: nautical, country, cottage, boho, modern, or whatever.] I’d make some for our bedroom!”

Well, Paige has gotten her wish, since she is the book giveaway winner. Paige, a fellow member of Blogging Business Artisans, began taking interior design classes in 2011, and now offers her design services. Need to revamp one of the rooms in your home? For $150, she will send you some visual recommendations in the form of a mood board. Visit the Design Services page on her Web site, where you can see a sample mood board.

For the rest of you who entered the book drawing but did not win, you can draw inspiration from the following list of my favorite 15 online pillow-sewing tutorials:


Congratulations, Paige! I hope you’ll share with us whatever you design, based on the sample pillow projects found in Sew Easy Designer Pillows.© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.