Category Archives: Paint

Family Moments…

my mojo has seemed to be mostly out and about lately partly due to a few hitches in my get along (leg pain) which slowed me down and curbed my creativity…

grateful to be feeling a bit better again I did not want to miss playing along with Yvonne‘s OUT AND ABOUT theme for Art Journal Journey this month…

looking at my journal pages on the computer screen…I noticed that they needed a little something to help anchor them…

so I stamped additional arches using my Impression Obsession, Inc. J4478 Moghul Arch stamp and tore strips to add to the bottom edge…

my spread includes various kinds of paper…deli paper scraps…map pieces…scrap papers from cleaning paint brushes…bits of napkins…stencil with super heavy gesso…grass from a magazine and rubber stamping

Love Never Dies…

this month marks the sixth year since my mother’s passing

magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-wool-pin-cushionin some ways it seems like only yesterday and yet…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-love-love

I am extremely grateful to have had a wonderful relationship with her with so many fun times and no regrets other than selfishly wishing she could have lived forever…magpies-nest-kitchen-stool

still inspired by my mother’s painting on the step stool I shared earlier this week here… magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-beginning-pages

I printed out several copies of photos I had taken doing lots of cutting and layering…magpies-nest-omis-painted-stool

I painted several shades of red on top of the heart I gessoed in the center…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-love-never-dies-art-journal-pages

I am pleased with how these pages came together and am sharing them for Linda’s “Fifty Shades of Red” challenge over at Art Journal Journey…

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” -Robert A. Heinlein

the Passion of Life

John William Waterhouse’s lovely lady in red inspired these two art journal pages that I had originally painted blue with a gold burst…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-passion-progress

I stamped a  Stamp Francisco heart on tissue paper and like how the Matte Medium helps it melt onto the page…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-sharpie-white-pen

then I got busy with my white pen and almost couldn’t stop making marks…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-passion-page-left

I found the Federico Fellini quote that helped complete the left hand page….magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-passion-girl-right  

joining in once again for Linda’s “Fifty Shades of Red” Art Journal Journey challengemagpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-passion-art-journal-pages

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.  Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.  So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman

my calling card…

red is a strong hot color…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-paris-snow-people-red

the color of blood and fire…

magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-paris it also represents passion, heat, strength, danger, power and courage…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-love-heart-with-wings

Linda K from heARTfully Inspired is hosting the February Art Journal Journey challenge with her theme of “Fifty Shades of RED” and I am excited to join in the creative fun…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-leftover-paint

this week’s lesson in Lifebook 2017 is about using lots of layers of watercolor and other kinds of paints (hot mess at the moment LOL)… not wanting to waste any paint left on my palette for the work in progress above …magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-calling-card-before-pages

 I smeared the dribs and drabs of paint onto smooth blank journal pages and then played with a new circle stencil and assorted colored pencils…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-gesso-saves-the-day

thank goodness for Super Heavy GESSO I was finally a bit happier with the pages…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-calling-card-love

inspired by words I saw on Facebook along with a few rubons one side of my spread is complete…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-glass-heart-ranunculus

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Martin Luther King, Jr

the past is a foreign country…

inspiration for these pages came from some dotted green paper that I ended up not using and a couple of images torn from an old book…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-foreign-land-beginning-pages

J.P. Hartley’s quote: “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there” really speaks to me…

magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-foreign-country-left-pagewe’ve had so many cloudy days this month I kept waiting for a good time to take some photographs…


it was nice to see a bit of blue sky again…


I am joining Erika’s “tell me a story” theme over at Art Journal Journey…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-foreign-country-pages

thank you for visiting …magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-human-rights-first

I am sending Peace ♥ Love and Light your way…

take your broken he♥rt …

since 1999 … January has been a challenging month with the anniversary of our son’s death… he was killed exactly one month before his 17th birthday…magpies-nest-turn-into-art-left-background

this year I wanted to create a January Art Journal to help me through this bumpy time… turns out I am feeling like I’ve turned a bit of a corner with lightness and joy and many more bright days than dark (extremely grateful for that!!!)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-turn-into-art-right-side

losing a child is every parents worst nightmare…  even I have a hard time finding the words to comfort friends that have lost a loved one…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-heart-closeup

it is not my intention to look for sympathy by mentioning Alex but rather to share that there is hope for joy in life after great loss as I’m sure some of you have also experienced… somehow we keep on going…

what I would say to anyone suffering from grief and loss is be gentle with yourself… there are no rules… seek healing in ways that feel right to you and know that it will get more bearable over time…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-take-your-broken-heart-turn-it-into-art

I am joining Erika’s “tell me a story” challenge over at Art Journal Journey…

and thanks to Susi’s invitation to join the L♥VE theme over at Moo-Mania & More

“It has been said, ‘that time heals all wounds.’  I do not agree.  The wounds remain.  In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.  But it is never gone.” ~Rose Kennedy

darkness to Light…

I have missed art journaling and playing along with my favorite challenge blog friends over at Art Journal Journeymagpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-progress-1

Valerie’s brilliant theme this month is “Light and Darkness” which is something I think about quite a bit having experienced a fair bit of darkness in my life (mostly in the form of loss)…


we all have to face it at some point (I used a fine tip black Sharpie marker for highlights around the gold)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-dark-to-light-closeup

I have also been blessed with so much beautiful Light (couldn’t help but notice the difference in the Light in my photos)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-progress-3

this journal page began with what was left from a sheet of Christmas stamps (those little snippets always seem too nice to throw away)…


“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” -Madeline L’Engle

Autumn in Everything…

happy to have some time in the middle of our beautiful Indian Summer days here in Virginia to share two spreads that I created over the last couple of weeks…magpies-nest-autumn-grows-pages

these pages were inspired by an ad for a ballet performance that I clipped from The Washington Post and I just happened to have a stencil that I wanted to play with too…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-autumn-grows

I liked these pages so much I did not want to cover them up but I eventually forged ahead and had fun adding gold paint along with the Robert Browning quote…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-autumn-gold

now for something a little different… these green and gold pages were an attempt to step outside my comfort zone using colors and collage in a different way…


I am still not crazy about the end result but thought I’d share both spreads with you since I had Valerie’s Golden Autumn theme in mind for Art Journal Journey this month when I created them..


“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” -Joe L. Wheeler

crisp in the fall…

the music lady I put together awhile ago waited patiently in one of my art journals until I figured out what was next for her (she was from a catalog and I gave her the music dress)…


I am joining Valerie’s Art Journal Journey INDIAN SUMMER-GOLDEN OCTOBER-AUTUMN challenge…


purple paint and yellow glaze along with spiderweb washi tape helped bring my pages to life…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-crisp-in-the-fall-left-page

the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote that I saw in a magazine appealed to me so I printed the words with our computer…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-crisp-in-the-fall-journal-pages

the border on the bottom of the left page along with the leaves were cut from assorted junk mail…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-crisp-in-the-fall-journal-pages-oct-2016

one of Seth Apter’s rubber stamps (on the right) along with some extra brushes of yellow glaze gave a nice finishing touch to my pages…


summer has flown…

the talented and prolific Valerie chose INDIAN SUMMER-GOLDEN OCTOBER-AUTUMN as October’s Art Journal Journey theme which sends my mind in lots of directions…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-golden-redbud-leaves

just when I think summer might go on forever it turned cooler which is perfect for open windows and warmer clothes...magpies-nest-glow-of-october-rainy-day

we finally got some much needed rain too…magpies-nest-flown-rubber-stamps

soon I will give up running barefoot around the house and get out my cozy slippers…

autumn makes me think of golden leaves andmagpies-nest-sunset-plane-heading-to-dullesgolden sunsets so I added lots of gold to my scraped paint pages which was tricky to capture in my photos…


the WONDER page on the right began with an index card that I had made awhile ago…


~* Happy October *~

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”~ Jim Bishop


an all time favorite Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song TEACH YOUR CHILDREN  inspired this two page spread for Elizabeth’s BACK TO SCHOOL theme over at Art Journal Journey…magpies-nest-teach-inspiration

I challenged myself to use colors I don’t often use and found a napkin along with some of my mother’s old paints that helped move me in that direction…


not totally comfortable with my color matching my favorite heavy gesso came to the rescue once again…magpiess-nest-distracted-by-dried-paintthen I got distracted for a bit by my paint tray noticing a small corner of paint sticking up… sure enough the layers of paint peeled out easily and yes I did save those bits for what I am not exactly sure 🙂 …magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-rainy-day-fun

then it was back to trying to make my pages work on a lovely rainy day here in Virginia…


it was fiddly fun cutting and pasting thin pieces of napkin to carry the design from one page to another (that napkin was too good to cover up completely)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-teach-right-page

it took me awhile to get some matching turquoise and greenish yellow for my painted pages…


some Adirondack BOTTLE stamping ink applied with a wet wipe worked for one part since a lot of my Tim Holtz DISTRESS STAINS seem to have lost their color over time…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-teach-art-journal-pages

a little more doodling with my gold paint pen and my pages are complete (tricky to photograph on a rainy day)…

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.
And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.
Songwriters: Graham Nash
Teach Your Children lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group


joining in again for Elizabeth’s Art Journal Journey BACK TO SCHOOL challenge with a two page spread in an altered book of mine that surfaced in my recent clean up… magpies-nest-lucilles-memory-book

 Lucille Borschke’s school memory book was given to me by a friend that found it in a thrift shop… 


she thought I could make use of the vintage photos and bits of this and that in it… 

seems Lucille was a local girl that attended Notre Dame Academy in Washington, D. C. back in the late 1920’s and her favorite subjects were History, Religion, English and French…


one of the group photos along with an old dictionary page were what got me started and a couple of rubber stamps came in handy too (FOREVER stamp not shown in photo)…magpies-nest-stamps

the ridged paper on the right is from light bulb packaging (I noticed when my pages were finished how nicely it worked with the background in the photograph) and the postage stamps were from a letter front included in Lucille’s memory book…

with my father being in the military we moved quite a bit when I was a young girl at all times of the year which made being the “new” girl in class an added adventure… I was quite chatty and made friends easily… I am grateful for memories of a sweet and colorful childhood…

…a couple of kids…

with September whizzing by I did not want to miss the chance to join in with Elizabeth’s fun theme of BACK TO SCHOOL over at Art Journal Journey…


while clearing and organizing I have had lots of ideas on the theme and finally took some time to play…magpies-nest-butterfly-atc

not sure how I know this Will Cobb/Gus Edwards song exactly but I couldn’t get the chorus out of my head… that along with an ATC I created some time ago were my inspiration…


here is some of what went into this spread:  it began with spray painted book pages… stenciling with super heavy gesso… adding bits of monoprint paper, forget-me-not origami paper and deli print paper used to clean up the plastic doily used for stenciling along with some computer generated words on the right… the white flower trim was something that surfaced in my clean up as well


“School days, school days Dear old golden rule days Readin’ and ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmetic Taught to the tune of the hickory stick You were my queen in calico I was your bashful barefoot beau And you wrote on my slate, “I love you, Joe” When we were a couple of kids.”