The Art Journal

Each painting has the related art journal page attached to the back

Each painting has the related art journal page attached to the back

Before I leave the location where I have painted that day, I take notes in my art journal. I record why I chose to paint a particular subject, the mood that I wanted to convey, and any details that I may have picked up while painting.  Sometimes, I overhear conversations and add those to the notes.  I close each entry with a sidebar list of oil paint colors and brands that were used.


  1. Posted July 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    This is fascinating. I would love to see you painting at a coffee house. I’m finding it hard to picture. Are you using canvas boards? At some point, you mention an easel. Are you using one? What kind of palette, if any, are you using when you sketch? Are you using more than one brush?

    • Posted July 16, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Hi, Jean.

      I paint on 9×12 canvas sheets supported by an aluminum table-mount easel. I use a paper palette. I usually start out with a large brush (hake), and scale down to smaller brushes as I work through the painting. If you will look at these two posts, you will find more explanation:

      Thank you,

      Lavanna Martin

      • Posted July 16, 2009 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        My questions are not so much about painting technique, as about the mechanics of managing this in a coffee house, without people being aware you’re doing this.

      • Posted July 17, 2009 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        Hi, Jean.

        I looked at your earlier comments, and you did ask specific questions regarding the canvas, palatte, easel, and brushes that I used. Sorry that I misunderstood that you were not asking technique questions.

        People are certainly aware that I am painting, yet they very rarely assume that I am painting people. Austin is known for its casual, Bohemian coffee houses in which there are a lot of different activities going on.
        I have been surprised that I rarely have anyone approach me to see what I am up to – I have complete freedom!
        My artist friends can’t understand how I can deal with the unstructured situation of poor lighting, constantly changing unposed subjects. Honestly, my mind thrives on the chaos of it – I guess I’m just wired to do it.

      • Posted July 16, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        As I try to imagine this more, I’m imagining that people are aware you’re painting, if you have an easel that you attach to the table top.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] that she can do a portrait at such a rapid pace before her secret subjects slip away! I love that she keeps an Art Journal where she records why she chose her subjects and what she was feeling. She also does commissioned […]

  2. […] I have mentioned before, I keep an art journal entry on every painting that I do from life.  This painting has a great […]

  3. […] found somebody”…”he’s from Iowa City.”  As you know, I keep an art journal on everything that I paint.  If you are the guy in the painting, and you find my blog and like the […]

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