CHA Summer 2012 Stencil Peeks: Part Four
Two Classes at Absolutely Everything in Massachusetts

Art Journal Every Day: Why Bonnie Art Journals

ArtJournalEveryDayLogo-150If you're new to Art Journal Every Day, there is a short introduction here.  All of the previous posts can be found archived here.  There is a flickr group for sharing right here.  Remember, it's just ten minutes of nourishing your creative self every day!  No need to finish anything or even like it.  If you've done some art journaling this week and you've blogged about it, or put it on flickr, please leave a link in the linky list at the end of this post.  Thanks!

You may recall that I recently asked Art Journal Every Day participants to share the story of why they art journal.  Today, Bonnie McLain is going to share her story!

Full Name: Bonnie Prince Nelson McLain

All my names have 6 letters… I guess that is why my lucky number is 6.

Location: The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina  living on our Organic farm: Sunshine Valley Organic Farm.

(Sunshine is a name that a lot of people call me and Valley stands for a Glen(n), which is my hubby's name.  He is also my largest supporter and is also art oriented and loves to do chain saw art, but it doesn’t stop there. He is very artistic in so many ways too!) 

Q: How long have you been art journaling?

A: I have been Journaling for over 50 years. 

7   my favorites  by Bonnie McLain
Q: Why did you start art journaling?

I started to do an art journal in college…1962, as I was an art major and my favorite teacher told me how important journaling was to a TRUE artist.  I always take a pad of paper and a pencil with me no matter where I go.  I can always capture something of interest.  When I started to do this I was in my teens, and now I am over 65 and the habit has been instilled in me.

8    flowers and face  by Bonnie McLain
Q: Why do you continue to art journal?

Journaling has always been a way of life for me.  There have been times when I didn’t draw but would write or do a scrapbook of some kind and that was way prior to scrapping being in vogue. I was 8 when I did my first scrapbook, and I still have it.  My first job where I got paid was teaching crafts to 5-year-olds at a summer camp.  I was only 16 years old and  I loved it.  The kids always had swimming after and it was needed as my classes were always messy ones.  And the kids loved it! 

10   Dream in Flowers by Bonnie McLain
My second degree was in Psychology.  I worked in psychiatric hospitals for a long time, doing art therapy.   That was after living in the Village in NYC and working in the garment district doing women’s  fashions and designing fabrics on a freelance basis.  That was way back in the 60’s. 

I continue to journal as it frees the spirit to soar in all ways -- to be free of the rigidness of anything that is keeping you in one space.  I love to journal as I can be ME in all ways. 

Q: How often do you art journal?

A: I journal as much as time allows. Sometimes I will spend way too long journaling, but the time is always well spent. 

Q: How has your art journaling affected other craft/art that you do?

11   Crystal by Bonnie McLain
A: My journaling allows me to create in so many ways.  One of the major projects that I am presently working on is a quilt: a huge window quilt to hang over my studio windows at night in the winter months.  It is drafty, so what better than a nice quilt?  Each square is 22” square and naturally hand painted.  I have some done, but get so involved in other things, so I have to continue to pursue this now on a daily basis.  My journaling allows me to experiment with shapes and feeling to put onto each square.

Q: Were there classes or books or YouTube videos that really helped you in your art journal journey?

A: My largest problem is that I live where there is no high speed service for the internet, so I have this thing called Dial UP!!!  It is horrible.  It just takes me longer to do everything.  When I blog, what takes you 10 minutes, might take me over an hour.  To download a blog takes over 1.5 hours.  So, I have never watched a YouTube, or a video online or taken a class.  I use all my inner connections to do my art.  I have nature all around me and my studio looks out at a huge blooming magnolia that is over 40 feet tall,  surrounded by pines, dogwoods and azaleas.  So I have all that I need to make my art BE ME!!!

Q: What are five must-have art journaling supplies?

  1. My Twinks: my Twinking H2O’s.  I love them most of all.
  2. Black pens: any and all types; the more the merrier.
  3. My Ranger supplies.  I have them ALL and love them ALL.
  4. White Cardstock
  5. Binder

The last two are really the most important as I use 90% white paper for all my art and then I bind it all into journals.  Love doing that….

9   enjoy being me by Bonnie McLain
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start an art journal?

A: My advice to someone starting out is to DO IT.  Sometimes if the blank page is too scary, just make a mark on it and go from there.  Your mark will get smaller and smaller and finally you will be on your own!   The most important thing about journaling is to be YOURSELF, nothing has to be perfect.  And to ENJOY what you are doing is THE most important thing of all time!

BonnieHeadshotABOUT BONNIE: Over my lifetime there have been many art related businesses I have been in.  I think my favorite was a country gift business.  We sold to over 200 stores from Maine to Virginia and I did it all in a large bus -- that was our showroom.  When we went farther away from home to sell we would pack up the kids, who were in their early teens at the time (home schooled), and take off for a week -- touring, camping and selling as we went along the roads of the north eastern part of the USA.  It was great. 

When we moved from NJ to NC I had to let go of a lot of my worldly possessions and also a lot got lost in the move.  One of those is my box of all my art journals -- a heart breaker.  But when something happens it is for a reason.  I have a much larger studio now and everything that I had in NJ would have held me back from this experience in so many ways.  So letting go is not a bad thing, just a step forward.  The only way to look at it.

You can read all about this on my bio on my blog.  You can also find me online here:

  • I presently have a digital art blog where you can buy a collection of flowers and leaves that can be used on all your art projects.  And the fun part is you get to choose the size you need!
  • My books are available from my publisher and you can download one at half price!  What better deal is there than that???  Since they are all doodles and fun things it should be in your computer anyway, to share and look at from time to time.  My favorite book is my Zen Dazzle Doodles and also my cook books, which I use all the time. You can see all the books and also purchase any of them from my online store
  • Here is where you can find a kit on making a special white on white card, a class on box making, and how to make pretty flowers galore.
  • And then I have a blog for my tea bag folding love.  You can buy my CD’s which are filled with tea bags that you can print yourself, and also how to make over 100 different folds.  Lots of fun.  
  • I also have an Etsy store, but generally sell more from my stores on my blogs.  Check on the right side of my blog and you will see all my other blogs and also a place to buy my books ½ price from my publisher.