Tuesday, September 3, 2019

New Blog Address

To all of my faithful viewers...I have moved my on-line presence to


Please stop by and visit my new content.

I'll be saying good bye to this Blogger site in a short while.
Thank you for your continued support.

(aka: Joni)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Tutorial: Accordion Book Journals

An Abundant Life Accordion Book 

The Creativity Continues

journal entry
piece of scrap paper to write ideas, check colors, etc
Two strips of paper (we'll use 10” x 3” strips
3 colors of acrylic paint – create a color palate of a light/brighter color, its compliment, and a neutral ex. yellow ochre, teal, brown-black;
yellow, purple, mossy green;
lime green, mellowish yellow, black
pink, lime, blue-black
olive, orange, raspberry-black
tan, berry red, and turquoise
wax paper
paint brush
painters tape (optional)
water container
rag or paper towel
Optional: Words, phrases, and/or sentences from your journal writing, OR pre-printed words, phrases, poems; additional collage materials, etc.

Accordion Books are easy to create. They can be oriented either left to right or from top to bottom. We will insert our accordion books into our journals when complete.
1. Fold each paper strip in half lengthwise. Fold each end to the center fold. Each strip will have 4 pages. Use a bone folder or the top of a pair of scissors to deepen the creases.
Orient the strips to look like a “W” or an “M”. Overlap so the two inner pages overlap. Glue them together.
2. Choose one of your colors. Paint the entire book in a watered down version of this color.
Allow it to dry somewhat but it does not have to be completely dry.
3. Spray the top length of the book. Take a second color and lay down a fairly heavy amount at the top of the book. Hold the book upright and allow this color to drip down.
4. Turn the book around so the drips are facing upward. Do the same process with the third color
allowing it to drip down in the opposite position of the second color.
5. While waiting for the book to dry (fairly well anyway) decide how you want to input your words into the book: each “page” and individual entry OR one long entry spreading from first page to the last.
6. Input your text, images, drawings, etc. into the book.
7. Apply finishing print marks if desired.
8. Turn the book to back side. Spray on some ink spray to give the back a little life.
9. When dry, insert the accordion book into your journal portfolio
10. Enjoy!

Tutorial: The Spiritual Power of Nature

Our next art journaling activity, The Spiritual Power of Nature, was completed after Sr. Fran led the group through a wonderful journal writing exercise about the concept of PLACE.

Sr. Fran art journaling on left. 

 Artists at work



journal entry
piece of scrap paper to write on and check colors, etc
mixed media paper/substrate
image of a scene in nature
glue brush or other glue applicator
2-3 colors of acrylic paint plus black and white
wax paper
paint brush
painters tape (optional)
water container
rag or paper towel
colored pencils, water color crayons, pastels
printing tools such as bubble wrap, credit card, TP tubes, stencils, etc.
Optional: Additional collage materials, pre-printed words and phrases
*Paint Past the Photo: The nature photo you just journaled about will be integrated into a mixed media journal page. Think about the essence of the scene as your writing described and use it to guide your visual expression.  
*Special thank you to my art teacher, mentor, and friend, Dory Kanter, for teaching me this technique. It can be found in her book Art Escapes: Daily Exercises and Inspirations for Discovering Greater Creativity and and Artistic Confidence.

1. Glue the nature image to your mixed media paper/substrate. You may want to cut or tear it and use a smaller portion of it or cut the image into grids or segments for a more abstract look. 2. Use a pencil to lightly draw in a continuation of the image, drawing past the photo.
3. Find 2 or 3 paint colors that match the colors of your image (plus some black and white)
Vary the intensity of the colors by watering down some of the paint you will be applying.
Add black and white sparingly to darken or lighten your color hues.
4. Paint the surrounding area of the image. Apply paint directly on the image as well, leaving parts
of the image visual by using washes in spots and leaving some of the image unpainted.
5. Make sure to paint past the edges to integrate the image and the background.
6. Collage in additional images or shapes if desired. Perhaps add a few spirals here and there.
7. Add finishing touches. Use the Mixed Media Technique Chart for ideas.
8. Add a portion of your nature prompt writing by writing it on a separate piece of paper and gluing it on your painting or write directly on your painting.
9. Enjoy your work. 

Tutorial: Portrait of the Feminine

Kitty's hands
Beautiful artists

Here's our second art journaling activity. Beautiful work completed by our creative community.

Patty's Piece

Portrait of the Feminine

journal entry
piece of scrap paper to write on and check colors, etc
mixed media paper/substrate
image of a woman
something to write words with (pencil, Sharpie, water color pencils)
2 colors of acrylic paint(analogous or complementary) plus black and white
3 pieces of collage paper (one with text, one with texture, one with design element-colors, shapes, etc)
wax paper
water container
Printing tools such as bubble wrap, credit card, TP tubes, stencils, etc.
Optional: pre-printed words and phrases
1. Think about the woman you just wrote about in your journal. Perhaps it is someone personally, like an aunt, friend, or mother. Perhaps it is a role model. Perhaps YOURSELF.
On your scrap paper, jot down words and phrases taken from your journal entry that describes essence of this woman that you would like to portray. You may have many words or just one or two words. These words will serve as your intention. Meanwhile, set them aside for later.

Choose an image of a woman that speaks to you. Don't worry if she doesn't look like the woman your are focusing on. You will be altering her to visually represent her essence.
Set the image of the woman aside for now. While creating your piece, think the story you want to tell. Is this woman bold, happy, wise, pensive, loving, quiet, nurturing, spiritual, creative, etc…?

2. Paint a light wash over your page or substrate using one of your colors. The paper will curl up temporarily. If you can't stand this (LOL) you can tape down the edges of your paper prior to painting. Some paint is more transparent to begin with than others, other paints will need to be watered down some.

3. Choose one collage element from each category: texture, text, and visual interest.
Arrange the three collage elements on your page to make a composition you like. You might want to cut or tear these collage elements to reshape them. Glue down. Paint them with a light wash of your second color (or leave them unpainted.)
4. Place the image of the woman in a spot that works for the composition and glue down. Keeping in mind the essence of your woman, alter her with paint and collage. You might change her hair style and color; paint over part or all of her face; change her clothing; add additional collage images such as flowers or spirals; give her a crown or wings. Choices are endless.
Use the black and white paint to change the shade of your two color choices. Mix a color with a minimal color of black; create greys; add white to a color to lighten it, etc. Just experiment a little and see what comes up.
5. Write the words or phrases artfully into the composition. Or add pre-printed words, phrases, quotes, or poetry.
6. Add finishing details for added interest and integrate your piece. Try using bubble wrap prints or splatters. Refer to the Mixed Media Technique sheet for other ideas.

Tutorial: Creating A Folio Cover using the Spiral Theme

Here we are with our finished products
at the 2019 Women's Writing Retreat at Pyramid Life Center.
My co-instructor, Sr. Fran Dempsey, is on the far left and I am on the far right.

As promised, I am posting the tutorials from our journaling workshop at Pyramid Life Center in the Adirondacks. 
Contact me at jvgend@gmail.com if you have questions or want to share your work.


I used curtain backing fabric for these covers. 
It takes acrylic pain very well.

The final product folds around any size folio or journal using the old school method of covering books (like in the 60s, 70s, and maybe even 80s)

Creating A Cover for Our Journal Folio
Supplies: covers, Sharpies, palates, water, scrap paper, largish brushes and other various sized brushes, quick drying acrylic craft paints, bubble wrap, credit card.
  • Choose works and phrases from your journal writing as it is representative of our theme, spirals. Using a Sharpie, write them on the cover in large letters. Allow them to overlap and become unintelligible.
  • Keep your color palate simple. Use two colors (analogous or complementary) plus black and white.
  • Choose one of your colors and water it down (a lot) to make it a transparent wash. Using a paint spreader of your choice (Step 1 bag), apply the wash over the entire cover. Apply different consistencies of paint by mixing in a little white here and there, and/or using a non diluted version of the paint to make it more opaque in some parts (but keep it mostly transparent). In this layer, you are going for an uneven covering of paint, letting some letters or words show through.
    Give it a moment to dry. It does not have to be completely dry to move on the next step.
  • Using your second color and a brush from the Step 2 bag, joyfully paint spirals of various sizes over your cover. Apply thick and/or thinner spiral using whites, a little black, and your initial colors (can lighten or darken the origional colors with white or black)
  • Add additional marks to your composition. The Step 3 bag has bubble wrap and round things for making circles. Also try credit card lines, splashing paint with your paintbrush or adding drips.
    Allow to dry thoroughly. Decide on orientation of how you want to cover your journal.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Green Art Show

I am happy to be showing a few pieces at this art show in one of our 
region's best health food stores, Honest Weight Food Co-Op in Albany, NY. 
This is Where I Bloom
acrylic on canvas
 12 x 12 in.

The Triple Goddess
acrylic on paper
8 x 10 in.

Harmonic Silence Between Two Friends
acrylic on canvas board
16  x 12 in.

Guanajuato, Mexico

 Guanajuato, a city in central Mexico, is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site founded by Spaniards in 1559. Culture, wondrous architecture, warm and friendly people, perfectly blue skies and art, a lot of art, abound. The nicho pictured above was constructed after I returned home from a two week artist retreat in this extraordinary city. All of the materials (with the exception of the wings) were found in Guanajuato.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Toni Morrison's call to artists and a reminder to put Nov. 6th in your datebook

Are you registered to VOTE on November 6th? Of course you are. People who look at artsy blogs are always locked and loaded to vote, right? 

If, by some chance, you are not registered to vote, click right here and do it NOW.

Our country needs all of us to step up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Journal Entry

Sometimes I just can't keep the noise down in my head. On those days, I try to remember all of the self-care suggestions I've read about...deep breathing, take a walk in nature, go for a bike ride, take a nap. But I guess my best bet is to go to my studio and play in my art journal. It has a soothing effect and allows me to express myself in a safe place.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How To Live An Authentic Life

These are the things I work on every day of my life. 
Of course, some days are easier than others.

Participate in life.
Do familiar and novel things.
Do each thing deliberately
and without rushing.
Put space between
one thing and the next.

Live artfully.

Have daily, weekly,
and monthly rituals.

Only do what feels right.
Follow Your own rules
and recognize intuitive nudges.
Do not be submissive.

Be self aware.
Spend time alone to
consciously process your life,
appreciate your spirituality,
embrace imperfections,
tend to your emotions,
and treat yourself kindly.

Live a simple,
clutter-free life
and eat simple food.

Tend to your
social connections-
both family and friends.

Immerse yourself into
nature often.
Stand in awe of nature,
inviting her into
each and every
cell of your body.
Feed your
motivation mechanism
in order to remain
and complete.

Share your
resources and passions.
Understand that the well-being
of others is equally
as important as your own.

Move your body
to keep it healthy
and pain-free.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Poem to my Tahitian Daughters

You Are Free
J.Van Genderen

You are free to wake to the morning sun
and soak in its golden warmth;
to swim among the multicolored corals on the reef,
lying just beneath the sparkling sea;
to dance with full-bodied abandon
to the music of the conch shell.
You are free from a stranger's 
licentious vision of paradise.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

One of a Kind Small Works

As a mixed media artist, I have a passion for creating collage and assemblage using just about any tangible item that looks interesting to me. Before I even knew there was a word for it, I began repurposing materials into my art. As an outsider artist, I am largely self taught using painting, printmaking, and assemblage techniques in my work.

My art represents a desire to express my world view with all of its challenges, beauty, and grace. A constant subtext across my work is that in the end we are all just humans and therefore vulnerable to the trials of the human condition. I challenge myself to choose media and materials that will best express the narratives and emotions that I want to evoke. In terms of my favorite art supplies or materials, anything and everything is a potential source, particularly interesting and intriguing found objects.

If you are interested in learning more about my work, please contact me at jvgend@gmail.com.

Left:  # 1 Connect with Nature
Size:   4 x 8 in        


Right: #2  
Size:  5.5 x 8 in       

Right: #3   Balance
Size:  4 x 4in             

Center: #4  Kindness
Size: 4 x 8 in  (SOLD)

Right: #5  Speak Your Truth 
Size:  4 x 4 in.      


Left:  #6  Tea Time
Size:4 x 5 in.

Center:  #7  Time for Coffee 
Size: 4 x 8 in                 

Right:  #8     (SOLD)
Freedom from F.O.G. (Fear, Obligation and Guilt)
Size: 5 x 4 in.                

Left:  #18  Frida 1 (SOLD)
Size:4 x 5 in.

Center:  #19 Frida 2  
Size: 7.5 x 8 in                 

Right:  #20    Frida 2   
Size: 4 x 4 in.  

Left:  #25  Annie Oakley
Size:4 x 10 in.

Center:  #26   Frida 4
Size: 4 x 10 in                 

Right:  #27 She Has a Story 
Size: 4 x 8 in.  

Left:  #28 Knowing
Size: 4 x 10 in.

Center:  #29  Without My Mask
Size: 4 x 10 in.              

Right:  #30 SisterFriends
Size: 4 x 10 in. 

Left:  #31 Family Secrets (SOLD)
Size: 4 x 16 in.

Center:  #32  My Secret
Size: 4 x 8 in.              

Right:  #33 Douce Infant
Size: 4 x 5 in. 

#35 Solitude
Size: 4 x 5 in. 

#36 Girls Best Friend
Size : 4 x 5 in.

#37 Sisterhood (SOLD)
Size : 4 x 5 in.

#38 Mirror Image
Size : 8 x 10 in.

#39 Missing Constantino
#40  Marilyn Series 

#41 Audrey Series