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Art Journal Challenge – Week 2

I know, it’s been over a week since the last art journal challenge! Unfortunately, the flu waits for nobody, and it had me down for about a week. Ew. I’m feeling much more perky and ready to take on those art challenges again. This week we will be making our first stop along our road to happiness. What is the one thing you do in the morning that gets you going, that brings a smile to your face? This can be anything at all: the sunrise peeking through your curtains, your cat jumping on the bed mewling to be fed, a quick jaunt to the gym, or, in my case, my first cup of coffee. My morning coffee is a special time for me and my partner. It falls directly between sleeping soundly and doing all the necessary things. It is a time for just us to clear our brains, continue thoughts from the night before, or chat about our plans for the day.

This week, I am using watercolors again. This time I am using the Van Gogh Watercolor 18 Pan Pocketbox. I really love the vibrancy of the colors and find them easy to blend and mix. I also really like that there is a little sponge included (I use mine to clean up edges), a paintbrush, and the palette for mixing is built in. It is quite sturdy and retails on Amazon for $41.95 or the 12 pan at Michaels for $49.99. While this price might seem to be a little high for a watercolor set, especially if you are just beginning, you can usually get a good deal at Michaels in the form of a coupon. Here is the one for this week:

This Week's Coupon at


First Stop: Sketching

Once you decide what your first happiness stop for your day is, it’s time to get out your pencil, pen, or whatever you sketch with. Sketches are NOT full blown, detailed drawings. They are loose expressions. This week, we aren’t going to worry about anything except the idea, so keep your sketches loose. I chose to start mine with a pen because I planned on keeping those marks in the final drawing. I wasn’t sure where I wanted this to go, whether I wanted to just make it a pattern or something else, so I started with some coffee bean shapes.


Add to it but Keep it Loose

When I was going to art school, I remember having a lesson where we had to choose a piece of art and recreate it in the same style, using the same techniques, and utilizing the same materials as the master painter who created it. I drew Van Gogh as my artist and I chose Starry Night as my piece because it was so iconic and spoke to me with the swirls of color and texture. As I got deeper into my studies, I found myself more interested in his sketches than in the paintings themselves. His style was so free and so “sketchy” but perfectly illustrated what look he was going for in his paintings.

I try to incorporate that “sketchiness” in my own sketches. It takes some doing to get into the head of someone that was alive centuries ago, but I tried and I adapted my own style to blend with his.

I saw my bright red coffee mug sitting there reflecting the morning light and decided it would make a great addition to the sketch. I couldn’t forget to add the steam swirls as well. Remember, detail should enhance your final page, not distract from it. Since my coffee beans are such a simple shape, I kept that theme going and left the swirls simple as well. Here is my completed sketch.

A Time for Color

Our first cup of coffee in the morning is a special bonding time so I wanted to keep the pop of the red mug subdued and grounded. So I added a touch of blue in the background to give the page some depth and connection. The coffee beans seem to be dancing in the air, maybe floating along with the steam? Playing with color is a good time to let my mind wander. I could have stopped here except I felt that overall it was a little flat and I wanted to make it livelier. Don’t be afraid to play with color. I feel like that blue and that red are playing together nicely. However, the beans are not nearly roasted enough. Tell a story as you add color, either to yourself or on the page.

Journal Prompt

My journal prompt this week is “First Stop: ” and you, like last week, fill in the blank. Remember, the negative space on your canvas can be used either now or at a later date to record your thoughts. Don’t feel like you have to write an entire essay every time. One word, such as I did, can go a long way to spark your memories later.

A Personal Invitation

If you’d like to share your artwork in your journal, feel free to email me a picture! I’d love to see what you are creating and where your road of happiness is taking you.

Thank you for taking this adventure with me! Next week we will be jumping our first hurdle in the road (you didn’t think the road to happiness was without those, did you?)

Love and Light, my succulent friends!


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