View Full Version : Jenny's square journal

02-06-2014, 12:46 AM
So, I finally got a page finished in my new art journal, welcome to Jenny's square journal!

It is hardcover sketch book with quite heavy paper, bought back in the days when I was studying in Dundee/ Scotland. 20x19cm.

It is filled with old sketches and ideas that I cannot use as many of the reference images are copyright protected by others, so I am now painting over it with new ideas where the reference material is all mine, or where I have permission to use the ref material.

Gouache, acrylic and watercolor!


C&C more than welcome as usual :wave:

02-06-2014, 01:51 PM
Recycling a sketchbook? Cool. Great page.

02-06-2014, 04:26 PM
I am such a fan of yours, looking forward to seeing this evolve!


Joan T
02-06-2014, 09:07 PM
Love this!!! Your pages are always so lovely!

02-07-2014, 03:56 AM
Gorgeous little sparrow!

I'm rather fond of the square format.

02-08-2014, 04:51 AM
Thank you Debby,Sharon, Joan and Vivien for stopping by! I'm rather fond of the square format myself, it's very pleasant to work on. Especially as I have a lot of square canvases that I am planning to use now… ;)

02-08-2014, 03:38 PM
lovely start, you are so very good at those birds :D

02-11-2014, 12:03 AM
Thank you Scatty!

Next two pages are more sparrows. I have a new great lens to my camera for taking photos of birds, and living in a city there are many sparrows to take photos of…



watercolor, gesso, ink and collage.

02-11-2014, 04:43 AM
Lovely Jenny! Sparrows are always such charming subjects.

02-11-2014, 11:40 AM
Just wonderful.....

02-11-2014, 03:10 PM
Delightful sparrows. You make such great pages.

Joan T
02-11-2014, 07:23 PM
Wonderful sparrow pages!!!

02-12-2014, 02:32 AM
Thank you all, I am so happy you like them!

02-12-2014, 08:59 AM
again ... beautiful!

02-15-2014, 11:28 PM
Thank you Vivien!

Now to four little different pages: I have got a commission to paint a birch forest quite big, but they have not decided if they want it horizontal or vertical, so I have started making some small sketches with different designs to show them some ideas.





All are drawn with ink pen and then painted with watercolor on gessoed book pages.

02-16-2014, 02:19 PM
I'd have a hard time deciding. They are all lovely.

Joan T
02-16-2014, 08:33 PM
Great way to work out the birch sketch ideas. These are nice!

02-17-2014, 01:31 PM

02-18-2014, 02:26 AM
Thank you Debby, Joan and Sharon!

Next back to sparrows. I am going through my photographs now painting the best pics of all that I have taken so far, and the sparrows came first! Watercolor on collage background.


02-18-2014, 11:10 AM
Your drawings are charming, but I especially enjoy how you're preparing the page with the gesso and some subtle colors and patterns. It adds immeasurably to the character of the pages. Very inspirational! Thanks. It shows me how subtle page prep can add SO much to art journal pages. :thumbsup:


02-18-2014, 03:27 PM
Darling little sparrows.

Joan T
02-18-2014, 08:53 PM
Your collaging on the pages is perfect for the little birds. I love your pages!

02-24-2014, 08:00 PM
Thank you Jan! I really enjoy doing the backgrounds- it's my of playing and keeping it fun and loose. Otherwise I'm prone to concentrate too much on the details, and for me that often leads to boring compositions…
Thank you Debby and Joan!

02-27-2014, 03:56 PM
Very impressive bird sketches Jenny!


03-03-2014, 08:45 PM
Thank you David!

03-13-2014, 03:41 AM
Greetings from Japan and Beijing, I've been traveling a bit a last two weeks. My hubbys uncle with lady friend was visiting us, and we showed them around. It was the first time in Japan for me, and my what a difference from China! It felt like coming to civilization… No spitting, absolutely no littering, no shouting, no cars honking 24/7, and the toilets were clean (not to mention with heated seats, and lots of buttons for shower-cleaning and drying for your behind… :lol: ). I would love to return and explore the country some more one day!!

Next in my journal a light-vented bulbul. I have started with several canvases now, so my journaling will be more slow than usual.


03-13-2014, 01:51 PM
The silhouettes add great dimension to this one.

03-13-2014, 05:55 PM
Really beautiful. Do show us the canvasses too?

03-16-2014, 08:52 PM
Super sketches Jenny.

03-17-2014, 08:17 AM
I'm really loving your little birds! And I like the idea of recycling a sketchbook. I would never have thought of doing that. Painting over is actually making your sketches look richer. :)

03-17-2014, 10:37 AM
Beautiful and innovative work, love it all. (I have numerous old sketchbooks that your techniques could enhance!) Praise to those who can draw birds in such a lovely way- not my skill at all.:clap:

Joan T
03-17-2014, 09:48 PM
Sounds like you enjoyed traveling. Love the latest page!

03-19-2014, 05:21 AM
Thank you Debby, Vivien, Margo, Michelle, Candace and Joan!

Michelle: When you already have old images and whatnots in your journal you don't have the feared white page to start on… And as I like doing collage as background for my birds, I now have a start on each page even before I begin!

Joan: I really do, and thanks to my husbands work I get to travel a lot :heart:

Vivien: here is my latest canvas that I got done 2 days ago, a tufted titmouse! Collage and acrylic background, and then I painted the bird last in oil.


03-19-2014, 05:23 AM
I forgot to mention that it is a small canvas, only 20x20cm!

03-19-2014, 06:32 AM
Nicely done, the titmouse!!

The collaged backgrounds give your work lots of interest!


03-19-2014, 12:09 PM
gorgeous! Do you frame them or use deep canvas?

I like deep canvas and then don't frame. Some work does look good with a frame though.

03-19-2014, 01:50 PM
Delightful little titmouse.

03-21-2014, 03:31 AM
Thank you Doug, Vivien and Debby! I use normal canvas as I can't get deep canvas where I live. I do like deep canvas, and use it when I can my hands on them… But I glue my collage all the way around these normal canvases so they don't need framing. I leave that up to the buyer if they want… ;)

Joan T
03-23-2014, 08:42 PM
Another beauty!!!

03-30-2014, 06:09 AM
Thank you Joan!

03-30-2014, 06:49 AM
Love the titmouse and they way it pops out of the page.

04-02-2014, 04:27 PM
I'm glad you like it Jennifer!

I'm on vacation to spain to attend my cousin's wedding, so my canvases has to wait. However, I did take my journal with me and have been adding some birds:


C&C as always welcome ! :wave:

04-02-2014, 08:59 PM
This is lovely collage and painting!

04-03-2014, 07:25 AM
Just lovely as always!

04-03-2014, 07:37 AM
I love the way you combine techniques!

04-03-2014, 02:38 PM
Delightful pages.

Joan T
04-03-2014, 09:01 PM
Great collages and techniques!

04-09-2014, 03:10 PM
Thank you so much all!! I'm so glad you like them!

04-10-2014, 10:22 AM

04-11-2014, 08:47 PM
Your bird sketches are wonderful, and I'm still loving your page designs.

08-02-2014, 11:22 AM
A belated thank you Michelle!

So, it has been awhile! After I got back home from Spain I did not paint in my journal for a long time, but I have been able to finish some new paintings, so thats always something… (my month in spain was simply awesome, I did not want to return home, and the wedding I attended was a romantic and very happy event on the beach with just the closest family) The time just flies, and suddenly I realized that I have not checked wc out for a long time! And as I now have some new pages to share, I thought it was time to return to wc and see what you all have been up to… Can you believe that it is August already? This whole year feels like it has been rushing past, and when I look back I can not see so much evidence that so many months has past… Oh well, hopefully it will slow down a little bit in time for autumn!

But now over to the important stuff: art! :lol:

Chickadee. watercolour mostly. I decided for once to not cut out the bird more precise than this, and just glued it in as it was. Normally I try to cut out my birds as careful as possible, but with this one I thought some white background would look nice.

Chaffinch. One of the birds I was able to get good photos of while in Spain. Watercolour and collage with some gesso.

Common blackbird. Watercolour, gesso and collage.

I have a few more pages, but today I thought I would end this post with sharing one of the paintings that has taken up my time lately. This is a tree sparrow, and I call it 'Summer sunday', as that is the swedish song title in the background. Collage and acrylic in the background, and the sparrow painted on top in oil. canvas, 20x20cm. I hope you enjoy!


As always, C&C are most welcome!!

08-02-2014, 01:58 PM
Lovely to see your birds in collage again. Just beautiful.

08-02-2014, 01:59 PM
Absolutely delightful! And lovely to see more :)

08-05-2014, 07:12 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap: Wonderful bird sketches! Keep it up.:thumbsup:

08-06-2014, 10:05 AM
Jenny, I read through the entire thread and I'm amazed! I'm in awe of your skill with birds and skill with collage. It's sad that you had to eliminate your practice drawings and paintings, but what you're doing is so phenomenal. Working over them you're creating something unique.

I've never really mastered collage and your compositions are incredible. I liked the one with a white border, that pose was so incredible. Some of the action birds are so far beyond me that I'm breathless. I would love to be able to capture some of those gestures and looking at yours, maybe the best thing would be for me to try to get just the gesture first, then worry about the details later. Yours are so fine and perfectly detailed but never overdetailed, it's wonderful.

You're an inspiration! This journal is in itself a complete work of art, when it's done it will be something that should be kept in a museum. Keep it in good condition, I'd treasure something like that the rest of my life.

08-12-2014, 04:23 AM
What refreshingly different pages of birds! The backgrounds make the paintings so interesting. Lovely work


08-12-2014, 10:02 PM
Thank you Debby, Vivien, Eileen and Lesley, your words means a lot to me!

And Robert: Luckily there were not so many paintings in the sketchbook, and those I did not want to loose, I took out. I needed to make the book thinner anyway so that the hardcover would take the abuse of become thick with collage… It was an old book I started many years ago before I had learned the full meaning of copyright, and many of the reference picture I had glued in to it to make my sketched of was just printed out from the internet. I thought that photos from sites as shutterstock and the likes were free to use… When I learned that this was not so (for some reason the art school failed to teach us the full extend of copyright infringement, they were only concerned about the written text and plagiarism.) I wanted to erase my book that was brim full of copyright infringement, especially since I hoped to sell the paintings that came from these sketches and photos. So I ripped out all the photos, and now I am collaging over the sketches. I did not want to throw the book away, as it has so nice thick paper and can take almost any abuse I can put it through… Now I make sure to always ask permission to use photos as reference material, but since I started this book I bought myself a good big lens to my camera so that I would be able to take my own ref material. I guess that is why you find my birds so authentic, I have become a hobby birder! I watch the birds closely, their body language and attitudes, and this I try to capture when I paint them. It feels so good to be able to paint from photos I have taken myself. I also try to only paint birds that I have been able to see myself in real life, so that I have a feeling for who they are when I paint them. Generally people like my sketchbook work more that my paintings, so I guess that I have to try and adapt my sketchbook working method more to my paintings. Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I will surely treasure this book, it is the main source of inspiration for my art!

And now some more pages:

Black-headed gull. Watercolour and acrylic with collage. These are one of the most common summer birds in my hometown in Finland. It is funny to think that they are actually a quite new species to our shores. It migrated to scandinavia first in the 18th century. Now they are everywhere…

Naumann's thrush, with some interbreeding with Dusky thrush. That is what I was told anyway, when I asked in a birding forum for anyone to help me identify this thrush. :cat: It is very shy, and I have only seen it 4 times. Luckily, 3 of those times I had my camera with me… Watercolour, acrylic and collage.

08-13-2014, 03:01 AM
Lovely sketches and good ethics. I wish more people respected copyright that way.

08-13-2014, 04:24 PM
Lovely bird paintings. The thrush looks like it's got attitude.

08-16-2014, 09:50 PM
Thank you Vivien and Debby!

08-16-2014, 11:16 PM
Gorgeous gull and thrush! I think it'd be grand if you scaled up some of these and did huge collage and bird paintings, using your photos and bits of old print and stuff. You can always print out your photos on archival paper for some of it too.

Thanks for including the background on the gull and thrush! The one thing I love as much as realistic nature art is when the artist puts in that kind of background detail too. It's wonderful. If you do a big one, printing out the actual information in one of the texts and tucking it in creatively somewhere would rock as an extra little perk - maybe tucked in somewhere unobvious so you see it or read it on the fifth glance looking at the painting more than like a formal label.

But that's just an idea. I suck at collage and would never be able to pull that off in a million years. It just isn't my medium even though I bought YES glue in case I wanted to try it.

02-25-2015, 01:30 AM
Wow, I had to dig deep for my thread… But I could have sworn that I was here to post my happy holidays and happy new year wishes?!? Apparently not… Oh well. What since last… I have a fe new pages in my journal, and now I have only a couple of pages left in it. So I will soon be able to start a new thread when I start on my new art journal. But where I should find a good new one I don't know. maybe I have to order online. Any suggestions for a brand with thick paper that can take a lot of abuse and collage?

Since last I have been moving to Shanghai, and in shanghai I have moved 3 times. But now we finally found an apartment that me and my hubby feel like home in, and I have finally a new studio to work in.

And Rob: I would love to work big, but I am keeping it small on purpose. I have had my exhibitions of my work only back home in Finland, and smaller paintings are so much easier to take home… ;)

Here are some of my pages that you haven't seen yet: And I start with my holiday page and wish you all a happy creative new year. We are still in the beginning of the year, and here in China we just celebrated the Chinese new year of the goat a week ago!


This serin is from one of my many photos of it from my trip to spain last year.

And the same with this treecreeper. I was lucky enough to spot it. If it would't have moved I would never have seen it, it is so well camouflaged!

I finally came around to paint the cover of my journal, and it became a great tit.

Here you can see how thick it has become!

I have a lot of catching up to do here, I'm sure I have missed a lot of great pages!!

02-25-2015, 03:47 AM
Beautiful! And so good to see more of your work

Stillman and Birn beta or delta I would highly recommend. They take everything I throw at them in any medium including collage. Gorgeous heavy, quality paper :)

02-25-2015, 02:03 PM
Gorgeous pages. I second vhere's recommendation on your next sketchbook.

02-26-2015, 10:56 PM
Thank you Vivien and Debby! I looked into them, and I saw that you can order them through amazon at least… I will certainly give it a try!

Next up is two wagtails. When I was home this summer I got quite a few good photographs of this tail wagging bird… If there ever was a suitable name for a bird, wagtail certainly is! ;)



02-27-2015, 03:47 AM
Delightful :).

02-27-2015, 01:52 PM
Adorable little birds.

Joan T
03-17-2015, 09:39 PM
Your birds are just so great!!! You are right about working small when you are away from home. It is so much easier to travel with small books.

04-25-2015, 10:34 PM
Thank you Vivien, Debby and Joan!

For some reason the website hasn't let me post anything in a while now, but today the problem seems to be solved!

Here are some of the last pages from my square journal, not many pages left now. And it would have been all done by now if I hadn't started on two new journals already…

The wagtails shown here I have already painted on canvas as well, but I like these journal pages more.

The seagull and the long-tailed tit are on the easel as I post this.

White wagtail. Acrylic, watercolour and collage on paper. This is the same wagtail as in my previous post. He lived in the small bay where we have our boat at the summer cottage, so I got a lot of photos of him/her. He/she is already in winter plumage here as the photo was taken in september. Or was it october already?

White wagtail. Acrylic, watercolour and collage on paper. Same as above!

Sea gull. I'm not sure what kind of seagull this is, if it is a juvenile of some kind (brown head feathers and pale legs), but it can also be the winter plumage of an adult… Difficult to know with these gulls… :cat: Anyway, acrylic and watercolour with some paper on paper.

Long tailed tit. I did this same tit a couple of years back as a painting. It was all green and nice, but now I came up with another idea for it. Brown with some pink spring blossoms that I saw a lot of here in Shanghai. Lets see how it turns out on canvas!

I wish you a beautiful and refreshing spring!!

04-26-2015, 02:07 AM

The calculating look that seagull is giving is spot on!

04-26-2015, 02:23 PM
Your birds are a delight to see.

04-28-2015, 12:58 AM
Thank you Vivian and Debby!

04-28-2015, 04:08 PM
I didn't have enough time to go through your whole post here but what I saw is GORGEOUS! Looking forward to going thru your whole journal when i get the time.

04-29-2015, 03:04 AM
Thank you Zebby, I'm so glad you like it!

Joan T
05-08-2015, 08:57 PM
Oh, these last two are just wonderful!!! I love seeing your pages.