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Sandra Muzzy’s Demo – Creating Journals – CMW June 2022 Meeting

Sandra Muzzy showing examples of many of her journals.

Sandra Muzzy example of a journal page of a trip out west…complete with map, scenery, and paint brushes.

Sandra begins by saying that in 2006 her daughter didn’t want to listen to any of her stories, so for Christmas she gave Sandra a journal. Sandra says she’s not a word person, she’s a color/picture person. So she began journaling by creating paintings. In some of her first journals her husband would write and she would illustrate with her journal paintings.

Sandra brought many of her journals with for us to look at and take note of, the one’s that aren’t too personal. She reviewed the many ways she has created her journals throughout the years.

First off, she says you need the right kind of paper. Arches will not work for a journal as it will crack when folded. She suggested Lanaquarelle as one possibility to use although there are other options. In one of her journals there was even a small brown paper bag attached as a page. It was painted on one side with a note written on it that said it was for little mementos to be added and kept in the book.

When Sandra began journaling, she bought spiral bound journals from Arches but they are hard to come by now. She now makes her own journals. These are some of her suggestions:

Sandra Muzzy’s tag journal connected with intertwined wire she made into a tree.

She buys tags from an office supply store and connects them with a round ring hook to make a journal. She even found some wire for one that she turned into a tree and the roots to connect to one of her tag journals (see photo). She passed out the tags to us at the demo to write something for her to remember us by. She has done this other times to have others participate in her journals and enter their memories.

She showed us how to make a “book”. Take a half sheet of the large watercolor paper (again not Arches). Fold it in half one way and then fold it in half the other way. On the longer ends fold it once more to the center fold on each end. This should create “8” individual folded areas. Cut the middle dividing line of the inside four squares. Next push them together to create a four paged double-sided book. Then paint/write your journal memories on the pages. She even put four of these books into one book cover to make a larger journal.

Another suggestion is to paint in an old book. Gouache covers the printing more than watercolor, but she uses both. She also blacks out writing leaving certain words behind to emphasize a theme or words she may want to highlight in the journal.

She also suggests making an accordion journal. Again, Arches won’t work for this type of journal. She had some neat examples for covers at each end of these accordion journals. She says her grandkids help with these also.

Sandra Muzzy example of a journal fold out page

**She emphasized that this is not artwork that can be entered into a competition, but it contains a record of your life, relationships, trips and special places. It is like a portrait of who you are. Journal pictures together make a story. Don’t wait to complete them after you get home. Complete them while everything is fresh and happening.

She likes to use DaVinci paints. She uses permanent rose deep, burnt sienna, phthalo blue, indigo, spot of black, new gamboge, quinacridone gold, (has a white pen in her bag) and will make paint out of dirt from the area they have traveled to. To her this adds more meaning to her travel paintings. She will take dirt and strain it through an old nylon (if you have any left). She has mixed the dirt with egg yolks and whipping cream and showed us examples of paintings from the areas she visited.

She hopes to evoke a sensation from her kids when they look at her journal artwork. She loves and treasures the journals she works on with her grandkids. She says, “It’s not too personal and it’s not about being perfect but bonding with my grandkids.” She many times will ask people to trace their handprints. She sees these as portraits of people. Some of her journals have the outline of handprints and then she writes down information they give out about themselves around the handprint as an outline.

She took a whole stack of white handkerchiefs along on one trip and drew with a sharpie events/memories of that trip. She draws while riding in the car and journals things along the way. She often includes maps in her journals.

Sandy Muzzy example of a large journal painting. The child is her. She loves bird nests and adds them frequently.

Sometimes her journals become a large painting (see photo). The background color sets the mood for the painting. Red and gold are wilder colors. Blue and yellow are calmer.

One of her larger journal paintings was related to her birth land…South Africa. She says she takes every opportunity she can to speak up for the rhinos and their very limited numbers left here on our earth. She also speaks up for Monarch butterflies and includes them in many of her paintings.

She reminds us as she starts her larger journal painting that it’s important to know where the light comes from. The shadows need to be genuine. She points out that some of the items go off the page…meaning that this one painting does not represent her whole life…that this technique tells the viewer there is more to her life than this one journal.

Sandra Muzzy’s mostly complete journal page from the CMW Demo in June 2022…She asks us…what should go in the blank page?

For her demo painting, Sandra created a large journal page of her trip to St. Cloud to demo for us. She even included the melted paint palette that she had placed in the microwave before traveling so that her paints would be dry and not run. A few of us can relate!!! Sandra went home and completed the larger journal demo painting. She purposely left one page blank for us to send suggestions of what she should paint to fill in that page. Share your responses on Facebook please!

I am sure I can speak for the members present that we all went away inspired by her idea of journaling with colorful artwork. Thank you, Sandra, for a great demo!

Visit Sandra’s website by clicking here: And her Facebook page called Sandra Muzzy Watercolor Studio at

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