Posts Tagged ‘art journaling’

I fell in love with a scrapbook set of papers with a Japanese theme a couple of weeks ago. It had the usual back up accessories, like chipboard pop outs, stickers and alphabets. The little geisha and the bird were two of my favorite images from the set so I put them together. I was out in the garage and found this very stuffed but flat backed geisha doll and wondered if it is possible to go THAT 3-D in an art journal. Well, it is but with some caveats. First of all, your paper needs to be up to the task of holding the piece in place. This is my new go to Montval watercolor paper journal (90#) from Canson (the All Media I’ve already spoken of several times). The paper is pretty heavy, so that wasn’t a problem. Also, I set the found object geisha toward the spine, which would be my second suggestion: placement on the page. Third issue is that I forgot that this wasn’t a “stand alone” project like so many of mine are…soooooo, it is a tad tough to journal on the preceding half dozen pages. They are all lumpy. Because the top of the geisha is all stuffed and junk. So keep that in mind. One thing that would be SMART, so it never occurred to ME, would be to plan to have the stuffed geisha on the page but not actually PUT it on the page until you got any page effected by it finished, like the previously discussed preceding half dozen pages. Duh. Anyway, learn from my mistakes, grasshoppah. Don’t let the 3-Dness of an item immediately negate the idea of it in your art journal, but take my advice and do a little planning first. Think how it’s going to effect the rest of your work nearby. By the way, at the National Scrapbookers Day event I demo’d at this past Saturday, this page was popular. It definitely offers the unexpected as you flip through the book. p.s. Bamboo was stenciled with Dylusions ink. Awesome.


A simple grid over a two page spread became the foundation for these calendar journal pages. The upper left box contains a Crafter’s Workshop stencil image sprayed with Dylusions spray ink. I love dandelions and couldn’t wait to use this stencil. I hope you can at least see some of the watercolor effect the Dylusions spray ink had, and I love the intermixability of these inks. As you can see not each square of the grid has journaling. I used scrapbook paper scraps and turned the dandelion stencil wet side down after spraying the main image to get color on the right bottom center and right near bottom square. I do not like wasting ink!! Because the stencils are plastic the overspray stays wet a long time and it can be monoprinted onto any other page or project you have going. I put an opened up cardboard slide holder on the bottom right square and stamped “April” on the bottom right with what I believe is a 7 Gypsies journal rubber stamp set. I liked prepping and using this spread so much that it is now the second class in my Art Journal series beginning in a couple of weeks at Whim So Doodle in St. Pete. Prepping is easy. Draw the grid, watercolor into each square by mixing your colors and making each square a different color, spray some with ink, use a stencil that you like that goes along with the month you are working on. Or draw or doodle into squares to make it even more personal. Pick a square to stamp your month into, use a box style to write the date in each square that will be for journal writing. Put something cool in the remaining squares for visual interest. Then every day all you have to do is show up with a pen and write a few sentences into the appropriate square. Easy peasey.

One thing that I love to do in my journal (as much so I can find them later as any reason) is color study work. I try to find some really unusual, prolific color choices in a piece of art or in ephemera, in this case some artists’ gift wrap from the turn of the century. I believe this was included in a collection of papers that I bought from Borders quite some time ago; they are unusual in the extreme, some of them so “busy” as to be hideously attractive which can move very quickly to plain hideous if the artist isn’t careful. This paper was the first one to catch my eye one day when I had the urge to do a color study. Here’s the way I go about it. I will take a medium, in this example the top color blocks are Neocolor II Caran d’Ache watercolor crayons which I super love and have a large set of. So I go thru the stash and pull out the closest matches to the colors used in the papers. I write the name of the color above the swatch. Underneath the boxes of color you will see some brush strokes where I did a more translucent sample. The blocks at the bottom are Prismacolor colored pencils. You might like to know the purpose of why I do these studies. First of all, I just like doing them, they are fun and spur me to get the supplies out and reacquaint myself to them. Secondly, they illustrate what a wild color scheme is actually made up of…perhaps when you look closely to do the study you see 2-3 colors there that weren’t obvious before. Thirdly,¬† when you lay the colors out to the side in boxes, they look really cool and nothing like the wild pattern you’re trying to study and fourthly, now I have a color palette that I never would have come up with on my own, that I can translate into my own painting or bead work. Plus, it is a palette that is quite original and not the fad or fashion, but it’s played itself out in front of you so you know that it (or a combination of some parts of it) are going to work for you. So the whole reason I show you this is for you to shake the dust off your materials and find a piece of paper or fabric or artwork that is a riot of color and sit down to match up and document that article. Maybe you can come up with another 4 reasons to do it that I haven’t thought of yet. If so, please LMK.

These school photos were blown up on the copier and turned into portraits for display in the Ozark Playgrounds Association handbook. Official member boy has his Bingo wagon with him, and Office member girl brought her doll. I will very likely white wash the map so that I can journal in that space ultimately. I finally remembered I have rubber stamps to use in my journal with this new journal and have been trying to pull some out and print. I almost always stamp in black ink, although I have other colors, and I almost always use Staz-ON even though I have other brands. I like that Staz-on goes over anything and under water and mediums. I am sure not the world’s best stamper as you can tell, but I even like when the images is rough, sort of like an abstract memory in this case. Half faded away.

A page from yesterday in my new journal, using Christy Tomlinson’s tissue paper printed with vintage dresses. The faces are blown up from a school photo and collaged under the tissue paper. The arms, legs and shoes were drawn on with watercolor tempera sticks, as were the balloons. The background is watercolor. I did something different with this entry. Before posting it, I ran it through the Topaz plug in for Elements and altered the page digitally using the “Lomo II” filter. This filter gives the page the look of shooting with a Lomo camera. Treating a page like an image gives versatility to the page, at least for digital uses like this. There is no end to how you can alter your own journal pages using filters and combinations of filters. Just because you created it once and liked it, doesn’t mean you can’t play around with it and like it again, and again, and again.

One page journal entry for a belated Easter, using as a focal point the beautiful card my Mom sent us. I love daffodils and we don’t have them down here in Florida. The background is an old car repair receipt from 1940, with Claudine’s Studio Paints over top and a semi-circle of Japanese print paper. I thought the printed paper referred to both a painted Easter egg and stained glass window. It was meant to be egg-ish and shrine-ish all at the same time. Asking it to work overtime. I did a little doodling with curvy lines in the same Sharpie I journaled on the page with.

The first test page in my new journal, the Canson Artist Series All Media one. This page has a watercolor background in sunny yellow, washi paper, asian newspaper and graphic from a brochure for the border, a car repair receipt from 1940 off to the side of center and then two prints from a hand carved styrofoam plate in gray gesso. The journaling part is documentation of the germination of the seeds planted in my garden and little doodle drawings of the adorable sproutlings. I love working on pages like this that build from the scrap pile, then sing with a little handmade goodness like a spontaneous print.

An art journal page from yesterday. I am working now into a new blank book. It is a Canson Artist Series “All Media” book that is taking water and medium very nicely. No pilling of paper or warping. The orange is watercolor foundation. The bottom border is masking tape to hold the watercolor paper with “deeply” written on it in watercolor crayon. The butterfly is an image from an expired calendar. I used soft gel, gloss on this piece which is highly unusual for me. 95% of the time I work with matte finish and was surprised I even had any gloss. The problem with gloss in Florida is that sometimes it refuses to dry. However, this is Golden brand and performed beautifully. Since the calendar was already superglossy finish, it seemed appropriate to use the gloss medium. I did outline the butterfly with one of my favorite tools, the Stabilo All pencil in black. I bought the same pencil except in brown this weekend and like that one too. I love the water soluble quality of these pencils…they make a deep, intense mark.

I love the challenge of doing a journal page spread with only magazine images. I believe in wringing a magazine dry to the point that there is nothing worth recycling by the time I’m done with it. That’s getting your money’s worth and doing the planet a favor. This is a treasure¬† map on the subject of a show I am having in September. There are several other subjects I want to treasure map but the magazine yielded especially nice images and words for the exhibition subject so I made this a one treasure map. These maps are fun to do, a creative challenge and a nice focus of positive intention all at the same time. The way I get started is to remind myself of my favorite trees, animals, birds, insects and flowers before I open the magazines, plus the subjects I’d like to represent in the map. I look for certain words that can be cut out, cut up and used as partials or letters to make words with. Fashion magazines have nifty phrases in the ads. Unless something changes, Treasure Mapping will be the first class I teach in mixed media processes at Whim So Doodle in St. Pete on May 19. P.S. This map was made in the Canson XL series Mixed Media blank page journal. On the cover it said it was suitable for watercolor process. Beware! It is not. The paper crumbled and wrinkled terribly with small amounts of water and even Mod Podge. My recycled map book journal beats this one all to heck and cost much less money.

I sat down with a bunch of altered paper pieces and made this stylized scarab one afternoon. After the glue was dry I brushed lightly with Lumiere paints and painted on the legs, which I believe he must be missing a pair but maybe not. Paper mosaic is a technique I return to again and again when I am in the mood to do something that can be “fiddly”…patience is definitely a requirement and I do not always have it. There isn’t any journaling on it yet but probably will be one day. This, as most all my a j pieces, is worked in my big altered mapbook.