The Art of Journaling: Recording Holiday Traditions

Holiday Rhodia

Have you ever considered keeping a journal dedicated to holiday memories and traditions?

Here are a few journaling prompts to get you started:

Holiday foods: What are the traditional foods that you eat at the holidays? What new foods did you introduce this year? What came out perfect, and what needed improvement?

Mom and Gram each made a dense “filling” around the holidays and that was never like anyone else’s filling or stuffing that I knew. It wasn’t until years later that I figured out what they were making was actually a savory bread pudding

Holiday decorations: What decorations do you put out during the holidays? Are they family heirlooms, or are they new? Are they influenced by any cultural or religious traditions?

Growing up, we put silver icicle tinsel on our imitation tree with blinky lights and taped golden garland around the door frames along with Christmas cards from friends and family. Gram had a mini pre-decorated Charlie Brown style tree. It would take her 5 seconds to set up; she’d plug it in, drape a mini tree skirt under it and it was good  to go.

Favorite Gifts: What was your most favorite holiday gift ever? What gifts missed their mark?

One of my all-time favorite gifts was actually a birthday present from a friend. It was a small fabric bundle tied with a piece of yarn. Once opened, I discovered a tiny feather, a small seashell, a few beads from her favorite bracelet that had broken, a tiny piece of driftwood and some small rocks. (Mostly items I knew she’d collected along her many walks in nature) She’d placed the bundle inside a cardboard box that she’d collaged with meaningful images. 

 Who do you spend time with during the holidays? Do you always go home for the holidays? Spend it with friends?

When I was first with my husband, we’d go on a whirlwind tour to visit at least 5-8 different relatives. I especially liked spending Christmas Eve at my Mom’s. 

What cultural holiday traditions do you observe, or do you remember from when you were younger? 

What I remember most is all food related. Mom’s kiffles, Polish kielbasa, macaroni and potato salad. The filling I mentioned earlier. Ham with pineapple glaze. 

Need a few more prompts to jump-start your holiday journal? Take a look at the links below. 

30 Holiday Themed Journal Prompts at Art Journalist

December Writing Ideas: 30 Holiday Journal Prompts at Journal Buddies

Pen and Paper: Holiday Journaling Ideas at Carol Rubenstein

Tuesday Talk Back: What other Exaclair papers would you like to sample in the Paper Project? and, Oberon cover winners!

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8 weeks ago, we initiated The Paper Project; a weekly program which would permit people all over the world to sample a variety of Exaclair papers and so far, so good. Judging by the feedback we are receiving, you really appreciate the opportunity to try before you buy, and we really like hearing what you like and don’t like about the products you are sampling.

For today’s Talk Back, we’d like to know what other papers or products would you like to sample? G Lalo Stationery cards? Something from a Quo Vadis Planner?

Take a look at the Exaclair catalog here, and tell us what you’d like see offered in an upcoming week of The Paper Project.

Take note! The Paper Project will be on holiday hiatus starting December 22nd and returning on January 5th.

  • Week 8 Dec. 8th
  • Week 9 Dec 15th
  • On Hiatus Dec 22nd
  • On Hiatus Dec 29th
  • Week 10 Jan 5th

Oberon pocket-tree-of-life-open

PS: Winners of the 2 Leather Covers from Oberon Design are: Ashley Shell & smwebb! Congratulations! Each will include a pocket Webbie. 

 

Noteworthy: Guest Blogger Bonnie Jean Woogler

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This week’s Noteworthy Guest Blogger is sketchbook artist Bonnie Jean Woogler. 

Over time I have wondered how to describe myself and my work. Recently I have come to think of myself as a sketchbook artist. The filling of a sketchbook is not a means to an end, but it is the creative work.

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The form, the shape, and the weight of the notebook/sketchbook is the vessel for the artwork. Each page flows into the next, making my internal world external. This is a creative process and finished work that has come from a lifetime of day jobs and limited time for creative work. I can carry a sketchbook with me everywhere and allow the creative thought to flow in and around all the day job demands. The sketchbook/notebook is the work; it is the lifeline to always being with the drawings and the internal creative world.

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The discovery of the Rhodia notebooks has been a luxury. I have spent many years making my own books or simply using the next one I find.

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The Rhodia Journal book, hard cover with the dot paper, (Webnotebook) is my favourite. The dots are a wonderful background for my drawings and collages.

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One of the qualities that make the Rhodia books a real luxury is that the binding holds up to my abuse.

Bonnie Jean Woogler

The quality I love the most is that the paper is totally compatible with and receptive to the assortment of pens and pencils I use in my work.

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NEW: The Art of Journaling – PLUS Anniversary Contest Winners!

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The Art of Journaling is a new weekly segment on Rhodia Drive where you can expect to read about the who, what, where, when & why of journaling. How is journaling defined? We see it as an individual’s record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept for (primarily) private use.

We will be offering various how-to’s and also be talking about the overall benefits of keeping a journal. Whether written by hand or filled with art, the possibilities are endless and we hope you will join us in the weeks to come.

I myself am a huge fan of  the stream-of-consciousness style of journaling. It’s the same kind of writing that Julia Cameron encourages doing as part of her “Morning Pages” routine in her bestseller, The Artist’s Way(PS – The Artist’s Way isn’t just for artists. It’s for anyone interested in personal development.)

*There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages* they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

And now on to our next order of business – Announcing the winners of our Rhodia Anniversary Giveaway!

Elizabeth H.
Lisavi
Sherry Cohen
Max J
Janet A
Daniel Setareh
Chris D.
Eddie from Raleigh
S Burch
Dan from Mount Morris
Alexander Gruber
Vicki Nishioka
David Molitor
Ray Ambrosini
Kurt H

The prizes will be mailed out tomorrow (Friday) and you should all expect to receive them in the week ahead. Thanks to all who took the time to enter!

Stephanie’s Upcoming Events and Exhibitions

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With Karen’s encouragement, I wanted to share with you several events and exhibitions that I have going on during the month of October:

On First Friday October 3rd I will be a featured artist at The Banana Factory with an exhibition of my work in the 1st floor lobby. First Friday activities throughout the building are from 6-9pm. Be sure to come up and visit me in my studio #250 on the 2nd floor. (My lobby and stairwell exhibitions at the BF will be on view until Nov. 3rd.) Facebook event details can be found here. 

Stephanie Smith Metamorphosis

On Wednesday October 8th I will be offering a free artist talk entitled “Metamorphosis” at The Banana Factory from 7-8:30pm. I will be discussing influences, artistic processes, and my evolution as an artist. This event is free and open to the public. The event will begin with a slideshow and talk in the Banko Gallery at The Banana Factory and end with a visit to my private studio on the 2nd floor where light refreshments will be served. Facebook event details can be found here,

Stephanie Smith Orbit

October 3rd-30th is the 125th Annual N.A.W.A Members Exhibition held at the Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery, 417 Lafayette St in New York City.  I became a juried member of – N.A.W.A  (National Association of Women Artists) earlier this year and my piece “Orbit” will be part of this historic exhibition.

Tapping Final

On Friday October 10th I will presenting an all-new workshop entitled “Tapping the Source” with Dr. Kell Morton – an expert in the field of transformational healing and personal growth. This experiential workshop is designed to help you awaken, access and nurture your full creative self. See the attached flyer for full details or visit the Facebook event page here. 

It’s Anniversary time! Five years as your Rhodia Driver!

Stephanie Smith Rhodia Driver

It was five years ago this month that I first started writing for Rhodia Drive, and it will be 6 years in November that I made the overall decision to become self-employed. Aside from penning the Rhodia Drive blog, I make and sell art from my private studio at The Banana Factory – an arts and education center located in Bethlehem, PA. (Contact me if you’d like to visit!) I teach private students, offer workshops and do motivational speaking engagements on creativity.  Continue Readering »

Link Share Friday: August Edition

ink and pen

First impressions with J. Herbin Stormy Grey at FPGeeks

First Day of School Pencils, Take Two. at Pencil Revolution

Orange Delights From Ink To Paint at Inkophile

Guest Post: “I think I want to try out this whole fountain pen thing.” at The Pen Addict

Pilot Dr. Grip Full Black Dual Layer Grip Shaker Mechanical Pencil – 0.5 mm – Blue Accents at No Pen Intended

Cursive: Is it really that important? at The Well-Appointed Desk

Journaling Exercise: Write A Review at Kaizen Journaling

Traveling pencils at Palimpset

Shades of White at No Pen Intended

How Much Do You Spend On School Supplies? at One Hundred Dollars a Month

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review at Write to Me Often

DIY Pen Storage V.2! at EdJelley

6 Ways Your Brain Tries To Kill Your Ideas And How To Fight Them at FastCompany

Flight Delays in My Sketchbooks at Balzar Designs

An Introvert Goes to the Pen Show at From the Pen Cup

Check out FPGeeks on YouTube for videos from the 2014 DC Pen Show

Art is a Learned Skill (Really!)

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I’ve met a lot of adults who seem to believe that because they weren’t born with a pencil or paintbrush in their hand that they have no business making art. To this I say, Hogwash!

Most young children are able to be creative without self-judgment. It’s easy for them to make art because it’s playful and fun. Things start to get a little tricky around the ages of 11-12 because this is when children desire to realistically reproduce what they see, and may become extremely frustrated when they cannot. Learning to draw realism typically requires additional instruction and a lot of practice which is why a lot of kids give up art in favor of other activities. This is why you, as an adult, may think that you have no talent for art because you draw like a child. In reality, all you need (regardless of age) is additional instruction. (and patience) 

Having said all that, you really don’t require any skills at all to express yourself through art. if you want to paint, buy paint and have at it because it’s fun! In my experience, the most difficult part of making art is learning being okay with the results.

The Five Basic Skills of Drawing are good to know.

Image courtesy of nan_chanapa on Instagram

Claudia Goes to Pittsburgh

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Claudia McGill is one of my favorite contemporary artists because it was her colorful and whimsical art that first inspired me to take risks in my own art. She works with a variety of mixed media; including acrylic paint, collage and clay. Something I didn’t know about Claudia is that she uses Rhodia tablets. When she first learned that I worked for Rhodia, she told me about a zine she had been working on which included a short story about a train ride to Pittsburgh and how the story was based on notes she’d taken in a small Rhodia pad during her trip.

To read the story, click on the first image and then keep clicking to move from one page to the next.

Geometric Doodles on a Rhodia Graph Pad

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Charles – could this be one of your old graph pads?

Last week, Charles Barilleaux voiced his preference for our dot paper stating, “The grid doesn’t work for me, as I wind up spending meetings filling in the squares.”

Anyone else enjoy coloring in the squares like this?

(This image actually belongs to kaiser5081 on Instagram.)

Just for Today

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Whenever I come across a saying or quote that I wish to integrate into my daily thought process, I will often use it as an excuse to pull out some art and or writing supplies. In this case, I’m using the Japanese phrase “Kyo Dake Wa” which pretty much translates as, “Just for today” which I think is a nice reminder to live more in the moment.

By doodling with a dip pen, J. Herbin’s Bleu Ocean Anniversary ink, and a few colored pencils in this loose and playful manner, what may have been limited to quickly scrawled words on a post-it note, has engaged me for an hour or so of playful art-making with the added benefit of being able to actively focus on the message itself.

Do you have a favorite saying that you might consider turning into a simple piece of art like this?

Montreal Calligraphy Exhibition May 21st-June 1st at Galerie Mile-End

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TRACES FRAGILES… INDÉLÉBILES is the the 6th exhibition for the group, Les Calmars.

This calligraphy exhibition combines gestural marks, flowing ink, rhythm and movement as explored by the eight calligraphers of Les Calmars. Lorna Mulligan’s piece shown below, (part of a collective work) is done with brush and inks (sumi and J. Herbin) and represents an open book in which we see the dialogue between a page of text and a page of landscape imagery. The text says  ‘Je suis le calm entre deux sons” (I am the rest between two notes) – Rilke.

Lorna-Open-Book--Landscape

Lorna Mulligan is an artist and calligrapher. She received her degree in Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia and also studied at the Banff Centre. She teaches in Montreal at the Visual Arts Centre and at Dawson College in the Continuing Education Department. She also does Culture in the Schools workshops through the Quebec Ministry of Education. Lorna Mulligan has exhibited her mixed media artworks across Canada and in Europe. Visit Lorna on the web at: www.lornamulligan.com

Kamei pen

The text on Lorna’s open book piece was created with her favorite pen: the Kamei brush pen.

Tracing Paper

Tracing Paper

Tracing paper is a product that hadn’t been on my radar until I needed to purchase some for a workshop I attended last fall. It’s purpose is simple yet multifaceted. It can be used to “test” potential changes to a drawing without altering the original. It can be used to isolate individual elements from a series of sketches and also allow you to play around with composition. With a little effort, tracing paper can also be used to transfer a drawing onto another surface. Watch the video below to see how this is done:

Have you ever tried black paper?

Clairefontaine black paper

We recently received an e-mail from a Rhodia fan requesting black paper with light grey dots. Is this something you would be interested in? I know I would. I’ve been using black paper for years… 

Once I fell in love with black paper (mostly for art making) I became obsessed with finding the most opaque media to use in combination with it. White gel pens are good, as are grease pencils, (aka China Markers) some colored pencils, gouache watercolor paint, acrylic paint, and one of my favorites, the highly pigmented Neocolor artist crayons by Caran D’Ache. 

I’ve tried a lot of different kinds of black paper and most of what I’ve used would fall under the category of art papers. (Colored papers are a particular favorite for pastel artists.)  Most common are construction type papers which are thin, tear easily and not always fade resistant, smooth card stock type papers, and the laid (textured) papers typically used with pastel.

If you can’t find a black papered notebook or one that you like, you can make your own book using loose sheets of your favorite black art paper. Another option would be to apply black gesso (an acrylic based paint primer) to your favorite white papered sketchbooks – a time consuming, expensive & messy process that creates a pretty amazing surface to work on.

Clairefontaine dot? Quo Vadis dot?

Clairefontaine grafit dot

Other than the up and coming Clairefontaine dotGrid Graf-It pads, dot ruling is exclusive to Rhodia.

If you prefer Clairefontaine, Quo Vadis or Exacompta papers, would you like them even more if they were available with dot ruling? If yes, please tell us which specific product- including anything in the Rhodia line that isn’t yet available in the dot format.

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David Allen of GTD on Rhodia

David Allen is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done”. David comments on the Rhodia Meeting Book: “I love this Rhodia pad. First, the paper stands... Read on »

Chef Hosea Rosenberg on Rhodia

Season 5 (Bravo Network) Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, originally from Taos, New Mexico, was always good at math. After graduating 3rd in his class at Taos High School, he moved to Boulder, CO to study at the University of Colorado. His dream... Read on »

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About

Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.