The reverse side of an art journal page

Cynthia Maniglia - art journal page.jpg

The reverse side of my journal page with colors seeping through turns out to be interesting enough to embellish and call a page of its own.


Art Journaling & Placemats

Art Journal | Sept 10 2016 | Sand Salt Moon.jpg
Leaves, flowers, waves, ducks – what do you see?

Art Journal | Sand Salt Moon | With dip pen | Sept 10 2016.jpgDip Pen - where it started | Sand Salt Moon.jpg

Art journaling is, for me, about expressing myself in a sketchbook or journal, using art. That could be anything from painting, drawing, collage, doodles, and any combination thereof. Many art journalists do “spreads” (two facing pages in a book) and even alter pages in existing books, whereas I am more a one pager/one side of the sheet art journalist. They also add writing, clippings, photos or images. At the moment, I’m strictly what I produce on the page, although I may branch out in time to come. I like to fill the page without a plan and see where it takes me. This is a page I did last night while listening to music on the radio. It started with my glass dip pen making wave like marks, which I filled in with diluted blue Bombay India ink. I also used markers, watercolor, and chalk paint for this page.

I like art journaling because it opens up the flow of creativity. There are no rules, even though I seem to have mentioned a few (what others do, what I do). Want to glue string on the page? Go ahead! Make it messy? Ok! Use kid’s crayons? Sure! Ugly? No problem. Maybe I am feeling depressed or angry and I’ve got to get that out on the page. If it’s a diary type of art journal, no one has to even see it! What appeals to me, however, is that the emotional part of it, but more the curiosity and surprise of it all. For me, it’s about freedom to experiment.

Here’s a little experiment I added to my journal last week, using a paper cutting inspired by those done by Hans Christian Andersen in the 1800’s (what that man could do with a scissor was amazing!) …


While I was drawing and painting my art journal page last night, I was thinking about the change of seasons here in Florida and how I am watching the native flowers and plants wax and wane like the moon, as it will in a few month be my first year here. If you recall, I did a little drawing of my first year garden, and then a family member wanted me to turn the sketch into placemats (which I ordered from Bed, Bath & Beyond) …

Placemats with my garden sketch.jpg
Placemats with my garden sketch, excuse the fold – this was just out of the package when they arrived and we were so excited, we wanted to see how they’d look on a table. We plan to use them out in the lanai. They’re a nice quality. My garden has already “changed” since this drawing. Next year, I’d love to make a 2nd year sketch of the garden and add to this set.

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Painting on the Patio

Catch Me If You Cactus.jpg
“Catch Me If You Cactus” – CYNTHIA MANIGLIA

Digital print created from watercolor elements.

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This afternoon, my sweetie was peering out at me in the garden and he said, “Today is a 10!” He often gives my good cooking at dinner time a “10” when he really loves what I’ve made. But he never says if it’s a 9, 8, or less. He’s very kind. And I’m a pretty good cook most of the time. So I decided after gardening and baking a quiche AND a pot pie this afternoon to paint on the patio. The weather in Florida today is outstanding. I wish every day were this pleasant. And many days are. But the rainy season will come and I look forward to seeing how the yard and garden are going to change. For now, I’m content. We’ve weeded, rescued, replanted and landscaped, finding new homes for Sago palms, mint, and pineapple plants. We’ve even propagated some bougainvilleas. It’s dinner time now. I’m going to join my sweetie and have a bite to eat. Good day!

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Watercolor Petal Heart

Watercolor rose petals form a 3-D paper heart in my sketchbook. I noticed lately I’ve chosen green covers for my sketchbooks. This little experiment is the first installation in my new watercolor journal.

Watercolor petal heart collage – Cynthia Maniglia
Watercolor petal heart collage in sketchbook – Cynthia Maniglia
Watercolor petals – Cynthia Maniglia
Watercolor petal heart – Cynthia Maniglia

At The Ringling

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At The Ringling – watercolor and pencil by CYNTHIA MANIGLIA

Earlier this week, we went to The Ringling – The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, connected with the State Art Museum of Florida and Florida State University in Sarasota. The Ringling occupies 66 acres on Sarasota Bay and the gardens, which feature hundreds of exotics and native trees, are free and open to the public daily. I snapped a couple of photos at the Visitors Pavillon of this lion statue and thought it would make a good subject for a study in my watercolor sketchbook with the lovely colors, greenery and light.

Today, I looked back at the photo on my cell phone and sketched first in pencil, and then I painted with watercolor. Our visit was a short one and we didn’t get to see very much because we had a lot of errands to do that day, but I’m glad we stopped by, and I look forward to going back to The Ringling to see exhibits there, as well as explore more of their wonderful offerings, especially the Circus Museum. The little scene I captured with my camera and in my sketchbook, though, sums up the essence of the place – with its Floridian colors, the statute of an icon member in a circus, the tropical leaves, and also if you look very closely, the architecture which is Venetian Gothic, a style that the Ringlings’ loved (Italy was one of their favorite vacation spots).



En Plein Lanai


Chloe, our Bichon Frise

Painting on the lanai with our Bichon Frise, Chloe, this afternoon.

Horse grazing in palm-filled pasture outside the lanai

Later in the afternoon, we visited the Manatee Art Center, where they had wonderful art on exhibit, and I found out about some great classes being offered there. We met the executive director of the center, Carla Nierman, who was very friendly and helpful, filling us in on the many offerings, opportunities, and exciting events there. There’s a beautiful ceramic bamboo sculpture that you see greeting us at the center’s front entrance.


Adding Texture to my Journal – Literally

I’m a big fan of texture and creating it with colors and paint. After my Imagined Garden journal page, where I worked with a glued-together-torn-apart page with bits of nature stuck into it, too, I decided to keep up the vibe on another journal spread. Since I am still coming off a stripe mindset from my Textile Orbit stripe challenge project, I was still thinking about up-and-down lines. Here the stripes are less of a motive or pattern but more a part of a vertical texture. And then I got a little freaky and tore up little squares and glued them on the opposite page in a vertical manner. At night, I like to sit at my drawing table next to the lamp by the window and get lost in colors and shapes like this.

Watercolor, marker, nail polish, gesso, Elmer's glue, graphite on paper.  cynthia maniglia 2015 Scan 1 (1) WP_20151002_002 (1) WP_20151003_003 (1) WP_20151003_004 (1) WP_20151003_005 (1)

A Good Place To Rest My Brush

Leaves in watercolor journal - C. Maniglia, 2015
A bed of leaves ~ good to paint and a good place to rest my paint brush
Fallen Leaves in watercolor journal - C. Maniglia, 2015
Fallen Leaves in watercolor journal – C. Maniglia, 2015


The most colorful fall leaves, it seems, are not in the trees where I am in PA this time of year; they’re on the ground. I picked up the more colorful ones I came across on my morning walk and painted them up in my watercolor journal. Mine painted leaves are even more colorful; but they are inspired by nature. And so I rest my brush. Have a good day!