Sunday, 28 September 2008

Unfinished Pages

One thing I love about the art journal is that I don't feel like I have to finish one page before I go onto another. In fact, I never do that. I jump around, finishing a page, starting 3 or 5 more. Going back and forth. Gessoing over pages I don't like and continuing on pages that I might have considered finished.
This is a page I have come back to (click here to see the original post). I had another figure started on the left side but lost interest. So I gessoed over the top of it and coloured it with the watercolour crayons. Then I glued on strips from a magazine. I don't think these pages are finished but I have kind of lost interest. They might never go further.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Photo Flowers

Here are the final steps of my art journal pages that started with drawings of my neighbour's bunnies. Around the drawings I did writing, gessoed the pages and  then brought in some colour with watersoluable oil pastels. To see those steps with photos and instructions go here.After adding the colour wash of three different colours, pink, yellow and peach, I cut two circles out of some decorative paper that I had. I used patterned paper, but you could use any kind of paper that you like - including patterns cut from a magazine. I just used a compass to draw the circles.
Then I took black and white photocopies of two photos that I liked, cut them out in smaller circles and stuck them on top of the decorative circles. You could print out photos with your computer printer too. But be careful as the ones from inkjet printers can smudge if you get them wet.

The leaves are the same decorative paper; then I added the stems and the border with some fun gel pens that I have.
Finally I brought some of the writing back in. Not all of it, I just wanted to emphasise certain parts of the message. I also added some little designs around the 'flowers' edges with gel and white pen. I love the white pen.

The photos are from about 15 years ago of me and my sister's son, Ishi. 
You can click on the images to see them larger.
I would love to see what anyone else makes. You can link back to this post by clicking on links to this post.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Another Way to Begin a Journal Page

Here is another way I like to begin a journal page. Draw with crayon on your page. I didn't gesso the page first, but you could if you feel like your page needs a little more strength. Put the crayon down on parts of the page but not everywhere. 

Then do a wash of paint. I used acrylic and watered it down a bit.

If you want to see where I have used this technique before, it was on the 'girl with hare' journal page.

Next time I will  show you what I did after this on one of the pages we have already begun.

Go here if you want to see another way to start a journal page. 

Saturday, 20 September 2008

As an Empath, how I See the World

You have to watch to the end for my title to make sense.

And I have to add, I don't always remember to wear my 'glasses'.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Paint for Your Journal

I have two kinds of paint that I am using in my art journal, acrylics and watercolour.
The above are artist quality paints that I use in the studio, but I find the tubes messy and difficult to work with at my art journaling/computer desk. In the studio I have a limited palette and mix most colours but in my journal I prefer not to hassle with much mixing.

Often to do backgrounds I will go into the studio and mix and paint, but when I want to work at my desk I am trying these little jars out. I am imagining that I will buy lots of different colours and can work out of the little pots.
I don't know what their quality is like, but I am not too concerned with that in my journal. Free and experimental is my motto.

Along the same line, I am disinclined to hassle with my tubes of watercolour paint. I prefer using these Koh-I-Noor watercolor wheel stack colours. The colours are strong and vibrant. 

As they are dry in their little wheels, you just have to remember to put a drop of water in the colours you want to use a few minutes before to get it really rich. 
I am disappointed there isn't any purple, but you can mix colours in its plastic cover.
I am showing you my brushes just so you can see they aren't anything special. You don't need even this many. A widish one for backgrounds, some with pointy tips so you can paint smaller stuff. I already had these, but I am inclined to go with synthetic soft brushes for my journal. There is no point in paying out for the sable.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Beginning Journal Pages

I love starting journal pages. I like starting several at once and then working on them simultaneously. 

In my studio I work on five or more paintings at a time. It means that I can work back and forth between the different paintings, which helps keep me inspired and interested. Sometimes I will leave one painting that I am stuck on, and by working on others it somehow helps me know what to do on the one I left behind.

One of my favourite ways to begin a journal page is by drawing. I like to go out in the late afternoon and try and draw the birds or other animals that are around. Obviously they are moving so I don't expect to end up with finished drawings. I just do little quick pencil doodles. The act of drawing gives me much pleasure as through it I feel a connection with the animals.

These are drawings of our neighbour's bunny, Fluff. Next time I might draw him while he is still in his cage. He doesn't stay still in his pen. Still, it was lots of fun.
Perhaps you would like to try a journal page like this? You could draw anything as most of the drawing will be covered before we are finished. It's an opportunity not to worry about what you draw and just enjoy the experience.
Then I put some writing down. I have writings that are a kind of channeling in my notebooks. I find that I can go into a space where I write questions and then I 'hear' the answers, as if from my guide or angels. They are always very loving, and often tell me things that I don't know. They are unlike stuff that I write.
You could write anything in your pages. What you did today or what you are feeling. Again, this can be partially or fully covered - it is up to you. Make sure you use either pencil or permanent pen ( I use Staedler pens) as a nonpermanent ink in the pen will mess up on the next stage.

Then I gesso, (go here to find out more about gesso) over the drawings and over the writing. This is one coat (of the good gesso). If you want to completely cover your writing, you will probably need two coats. After the gesso is completely dry you can paint over the top. I used my watersoluable oil pastels, just a light coat and then watered them down on the page so it was very pale. I used a few harmonious colours. You could also use watercolour or acrylic paint.

I might show you a few more possible ways to start your pages. That way you can start some more journal pages before I reveal what I did next on these.

If you feel like posting your beginnings in your journal, link back to this post so that I can see what you have done. You can do that by clicking on 'links to this post' and then click on 'create a link' and a new post will come up for your blog.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

the Snakes have Awakened

I went to go to the outhouse and noticed the snakes are out.
I will need to be aware, the snakes are aggressive when they first come out in Spring. And for some reason, I attract them.

This is a nonpoisonous python but we do have quite a few varieties of deadly poisonous snakes that live on the land as well. Though you won't get me standing this close if I see them first. 

Sunday, 14 September 2008

What is Gesso and Why Should I Care?

Here is something for your toolbox.

Gesso is your art journaling friend. Why? Because it's all about freedom!

Freedom to make mistakes (hey, who decides if it is a mistake? only you!).  Freedom to change your mind, freedom to hide stuff,  freedom to veil stuff, freedom to change bits on the page.

Gesso covers up stuff. It seems kind of like paint, but is thinner and more matt. It is a good primer to paint over the top of. You can use it on a lot of different surfaces so they will take paint better.

You don't have to gesso your journal pages. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Just depends on what I feel like. 

Gesso can make pages a bit stronger if you want to collage bits. 

Click here if you want Wikipedia detail and historical info.

In the picture are two kinds of white gesso and black gesso. The container on the left is good gesso, rather expensive gesso ( A$16 - that's in aussie dollars) I use for preparing my wood before painting. I like it. The middle one is cheap gesso.  I bought it because I read that cheap gesso can actually work better in a journal. IMHO it is crap. Crap gesso. 
It stinks. It takes two coats to cover what my good gesso covers in one. It doesn't have the matt feeling of the good gesso. True, it is half the price of the first gesso - but what good does that do me when I have to use two coats instead of one? 
I am sorry I bought you, crap gesso.

The black gesso was not expensive (I think it was A$8.00) and I like it. Maybe I will try cheap white gesso again if it is Mont Marte. But I doubt it.
Black gesso is fun. It is like painting on a chalk board. Gives you a very different look. Here is a post where I used some black gesso. I am going to experiment with it more.

Friday, 12 September 2008

What is Art or Visual Journaling?

Whatever you want!

This is what is so fantastic about art journaling. 
I prefer the term art journaling over visual journaling because I think it takes the idea a bit further.
Visual journaling is basically journaling with a visual component. You can use photos, collages, drawings, painting. Writing is often in the mix as well.
Art journaling just extends the above definition into experimentation. I don't use my art journal like a diary. What I make isn't necessarily related to what is happening in my life. Well, on some level it probably is but not necessarily. I use my journal more as a place to play and experiment.

I have been a fulltime artist for twenty years. I think I was being rather too serious about the whole creating thing. I was getting as tight as a ... I don't know what. I tend to be perfectionist. Honestly not a good quality for an artist. It jams up your creativity.
It is only recently that I have discovered the art journal. This has helped to explode my creativity open. 

It is a great place to give yourself permission to play. Whether you are an artist or an absolute beginner. It doesn't matter. It is a private place to make whatever takes your fancy. And for some reason, I love that it is in a book form.

My Blog about Art Journaling

 My blog has been going a certain direction and I want to make it official.

This blog is going to be about art and visual journaling. I want to show how I make pages, maybe have some tutorials, suggestions for materials, the basics of art journaling, etc. I will attempt to blog a couple of times a week.

I have been looking and looking on the internet for art and visual journaling tutorials and I haven't found much. So I am going to try and write the blog that I would like to read. Hopefully some of you will want to read it too. (If not, I can read it to myself, tee hee.)

Feel free to put in requests if there is anything you would like to read about. Or just to give me feedback. More of this, less of that kind of thing. Though I have to confess, I have a tendency to just toodle along doing what I want. Most artists are like that I guess.

Monday, 8 September 2008

the Easy Way to Follow my Posts

I have followed Tasha's lead in putting up the new follow gadget. It should make it easier for us to follow each other's posts by telling you when I update. Apparently it also means that I can check out your blogs which I think is really cool. Please sign up, I would love to know who you are.

Just click on the link in the left column, above my avatar, that says Follow This Blog.

If you'd rather I don't know who you are or you would just rather be less public, you have the option to sign up anonymously. Fair enough.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Real Yummy no sugar, no flour Carob Fudge

this is probably the only recipe you will ever see on this blog. I can cook, but it is not where my creativity lies. I cook so I can eat. But this was requested by the charming Maggie Crawford, so how could I refuse?

Carob Fudge

1/2 cup to 1 cup dates (depending on how sweet you want them)
1 cup water, divided
1/2 cup carob powder
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla

Cook dates in 1/2 cup water until very soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Combine 1/2 cup water with carob powder in small saucepan. Boil carob mixture, stirring, 5 minutes until making a smooth paste. Combine dates and remaining ingredients. Press into 8 inch square pan. Refridgerate. Cut into squares.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Altering Journal Pages

I don't have earlier images of these pages because I didn't like them. Both pages were from Caspiana's soul journal prompts.
After I bought the black gesso, I decided to give it a try and painted out the left page. The page had originally started with glued dictionary pages, so I played around with ripping some of that off so you can see the dictionary pages peeking through.
Then I used my watercolour crayons over the top, using the same colours I used on the right page to link them together. I then glued photocopies of the prince card from Carolyn Myss archetype cards (they are kind of like tarot cards). I had picked it the other day in my Creativity Class that I am teaching. On the page I am trying to understand what the prince archetype had to do with me (!?) 
I looked up "romantic" in the dictionary and found that it is not strictly limited to romantic love, but can be a way of viewing reality. That made a bit more sense.

Also notice that I changed the face of the woman in armour. I wasn't happy with her first face, so I drew another one and glued it on. 

Thursday, 4 September 2008

a Page of Play

I like seeing how people develop their art journal pages, so I am going to try and do that here. Unfortunately I didn't take an earlier scan of these pages so I will have to just tell you up to this point.
First I drew the woman with the party hat in pen. The original inspiration was an illustration that looked like it was from the late 1800's. Obviously I changed her quite a bit. She looked very plain sitting there on the page so I coloured her with watercolour pencils and collaged on a pattern from a magazine for her dress.
Later I glued on some torn-up dictionary pages and gessoed over some of it. Then I scrumbled on the colour with watercolour crayons.

Days later I was picking a card from Carolyn Myss's archetype deck and picked the Eternal Child. It felt like a real confirmation as I often feel self conscious about what I have judged as a childishness in me. I can now see that I am supposed to be this way.
I took a photocopy of the card and added that to the mix.
Finally I added some stamped words, a few rub-ons, a bird stamp that I cut from an eraser and then I added a few borders and leaves with my trusty Staedtler pen.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


I know you have already seen this (go here for more about this image), but just a reminder so you can compare:

I added the words by writing on vellum and sticking down with double-sided tape.

And here for more on this one.

Maybe you can tell, I bought black gesso and a white pen yesterday, heehee and whee!