Technique on 3rd spread of Lent journal

Somebody from a Yahoo group I am in asked me the other day what I did on the 3rd spread of my Lent journal and wanted a little info on how I did my journals, and I thought I would add my response to my blog, in case anyone else is interested…

"I’m more than happy to share my techniques on my journal pages with anyone that is interested, it’s just a matter of remember what the heck I did!

This journal was my first real art journal, and I jumped all over in it as opposed to filling up one page before moving on to the next. Since it was my first and I was intimidated, I wanted to be as loose andflexible as possible, so then it was fun not nerve wracking. That is why so many pages on my site are unfinished, although I need to update as many are much fuller now. Anyway, I did a ton of different things on the 3rd spread, so unfortunately the explanation will probably be long, but people can skip over the parts they find boring. 🙂

The left side of the spread is a mix of acrylics and watercolor (think orange and quinacridone magenta) – what I usually do is get the whole page of watercolor paper wet, then brush and drip on watercolor paint and liquid acrylic I have leftover in my pan from doing something else and let the water do all the work spreading it around. The big smear of orange was a bit of leftover tube acrylic spread on with a palette knife (if I have leftover paint I don’t know what to do with, it gets smeared in my journal :)). The little squares with the face, dress, and teacup were drawn in first and painted around when I did the background – I used a black micron pen, then pale watercolors that had dried up in my dish. I was in a very feminine, hip sort of girly shopping mood, but since I almost never shop, I just painted it out.

I wrote the little musing in watercolor pencil, first in light green, then in dark green cuz it was hard to see. I was in Starbucks at the time and saw something that amused me, and so I wrote it down. People really amuse me – not in a making fun of them sort of way, but in a way that notices and appreciates how different God made everyone – I likethe unique quirkiness of people, when some interesting part of their personality comes out. I enjoy people’s individuality, it helps me to understand and appreciate people better, to have a sense of humor, and to not take myself so darn seriously.

The right side I am blanking on – I think it was another wash of water with sap green liquid acrylic, pink, orange and yellow watercolor, then I did a light wash of gold lumiere on top of it. To do the painting of the girl, I cut a page out of a hardback novel and drew on the girl in using a black micron pen. Next, I scrubbed on some gesso all around the girl to block out most of the writing. All the color you see was using prismacolor nupastels, which are like chalk pastels but a bit denser and more vibrant. The flower was cut out of a wedding magazine. Then I glued the page in the book. I’ve been using the rest of the page for random things like a shopping list, when I needed something to writedown my friend’s new address, etc.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. So sorry I haven’t responded sooner – we’ve had enough happen in one week to last us a month! My husband and I are both down with bad colds, we moved, and my grandmother-in-law went in for emergency double bipass surgery. So it’s been busy!"

First Swap – “Going Inside”

With much anticipation and delight, I received my very first collaborative art project back in the mail yesterday. The project was called "Going Inside" – the goal was to create 3 journal cards, sized 4" x 6", arted up on both sides, but including some kind of thought-provoking question or phrase on the back. We made 5 copies of each card, one of each player, and mailed them all to Debi Scott, our hostess. Debi is from Arizona and her origins have lent the project a distinct flare consistent with the desert in the southwest. Our journal cards are enclosed in a piece of Stoned Oil Cowhide that she picked up at the Leather Factory. Her husband Scott cut the pieces while she lovingly sewed each of them together and embellished with beads that look like polished sand. A long strap of hide was cut to wrap around the pouch and hold it closed.

Currently, I have the book proudly displayed on our brand new oak shelves in our living room, and it is fun to show and explain it to people that come to visit. Sometimes I like to pick it up and curl up on the couch with my journal, and flip through the pages drinking in the art and being inspired by the questions and quotes. As soon as I can take some digital photos and clean them up, I’ll show you all what it looks like!

Recycled Course Catalogue

I just tried something new and exciting that I thought I’d share. I received a catalogue in the mail the other day at work from a university wanting me to come get a business degree. While I am not interested in pursuing a Master’s Degree in business right now (or perhaps ever), I couldn’t bring myself to throw the book away. It was a thick sort of magazine with good quality pages much thicker than the normal magazine – kind of like a Somerset Studio magazine, but a little thicker feeling. So anyway, I decided to experiment.

First I glued every other page together so they’d be twice as thick, by smearing on some gel medium around the edges in a rather haphazard and messy manner, then flipping over the next page onto the glued page and scraping a credit card along the top to smooth them out. Then I scrubbed on some gesso to mostly white out the words and, when dry, pressed the book down under some heavy books to even it out.

I have since worked in several pages of the book with really good results – so far the pages have taken acrylic, lumiere, chalk pastel, black gesso, tissue, candy wrappers, aluminum tape, and pens of all kinds with no problems. I think this will end up being a really nice art journal for me, and all it cost was one hour’s worth of gessoing and gluing!

So, if you’re cheap like me, you might want to give this a try – it is quite exhilarating to work in such a loose and messy way, and I find myself pretty relaxed when I work in it because it was just trash anyway (like I’m not nervous that I’m "messing up" something I paid precious dollars for). My coworkers are amused at my form of recycling my junk mail – I wonder what the school would think of what I’ve done to their catalogue?? 🙂

I’ll post some of the pages as soon as I have a few done and "postable."

Art Photos Uploaded

Ok, I have finally added some photos of my art to my gallery. There are still lots of bugs to be worked out on the site (for instance, I noticed that one of my photos is the size of texas), but hey at least it’s up. I’ve been learning a lesson lately – if I wait until I can do things perfectly, just as I want them, they won’t get ever done. So, here are my imperfect photos of my imperfect art. I hope you enjoy them and would welcome any feedback you may have.

Among the photos are some of my very first art journal ever. For those of you new to this concept, this is a journal where you don’t just write to express your thoughts and feelings, but you basically do anything you want to the pages that help to tell your story. This could be slapping on paint, or pasting in a ticket stub to a movie you just watched, or drawing your breakfast table, or sewing in some pretty leaves you picked up along the path of your afternoon walk. Anything goes, that’s the beauty of it. There are no rights and wrongs, and I really like that. I think I may have a serious problem with making things harder than they are. If what I’m doing is too easy, then I’m not really doing good, legitimate artwork. If what I’m doing is too hard, then I am inadequate and must not really be an artist. I create my own problems until I am one big neurotic mess and I sit in front of my art table unconsciously playing mind games with myself for hours until just when I finally pick up a brush and start going with the flow, it is some ungodly hour on a work night, and time to go to bed or suffer the next day at work. Ack! Can anyone relate to this? Sometimes I feel like I must have been dropped on my head at birth.

"Everyone looks for profection, but there is no such thing." Nigel Hawthorne in the movie Uncorked.