Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Most Hated Journal Pages

This were my most hated journal pages. The ones that I would fantasise cutting out (except that I liked the pages on its backside.) The ones that I would rush by when flipping through my journal. What was I ever going to do with them? I even posted my humiliation in the post Blooper Journal Pages. To find out more about their beginnings, click on that link.
After leaving them for a few weeks, I ventured in again. 
The left page was intriguing so I drew into the splot of paint. I saw a bird woman.  I wiped out the right page with black gesso. I felt stuck.  
I gessoed over the right page.

I knew what I 'should' do. I felt I should complete it as some kind of drawing. But I just didn't want to. It didn't inspire me. 
I left the pages for 6 weeks or more before I played with them again.
When I did return, it was play that got me over the hump. Without too much thinking I stuck down strips of magazine, a photocopy of an old photo from younger days, and a piece of colour photocopy of an earlier journal page. I cut out more magazine bits to create a new hat and dress for myself.
I brought in pieces of photocopies of my wonderful students' pages. And of the Fool card in the Tarot. A photo of me as a toddler. I wasn't thinking out any of this - maybe I was attracted to images and writing because of colour, I don't know. 
I used my new ZIG opaque writer fine tip pen (white) for the fool's sun and mountain peaks. It really blocks stuff out.
Finally the writing. The question is mine. The answer, I don't know where it comes from. 

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Nolly Posh Journal Page

This is my first journal page named after a person. That person is the wonderful Nolly Posh. She and her beautiful Chrissie package inspired this page. I used bits from the wrappings, cards and her family newsletter to make this page. 

It came together so quickly that I forgot to do my usual show-how-it's-made scans. But it is all just cut and paste. The background is tissue paper wrapping and the rest are cut from the wrapping paper, card, the tag, etc.

The page looks all sweetness and light which it certainly is. But when you read what is written ( a quote from a powerful book Nature and the Human Soul by Bill Plotkin) there is depth, and a recognition of darkness with the knowledge of how to transform that darkness. Much like the wonderful Vicki herself.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Beginnings or Backgrounds

Some days I just feel like splatting a bunch of backgrounds into my art journal. I like working all over the place, leaving pages and returning, - and working on several pages at once. I do the backgrounds out in my studio as they are usually a bit messy for my desk. 

I thought I would give you a variety of possible beginnings - some techniques worked how I hoped and some didn't.
This was my first attempt at what Claudine Hellmuth, in the book Collage Discovery Workshop, calls plastic wrap crinkle. Because of the finish of the pages in my Moleskin journal, they soaked up the acrylic wash I put down and I couldn't finish the technique.
Tried again on the following pages. This time I gessoed them first. I painted a wet wash of green acrylic paint and quickly covered with plastic wrap. I left it alone to dry (which takes a while) and when I took the wrap off - voila'!  I like it.
Here was another attempt at one of Claudine's techniques. It is how to do a crackle finish without the expensive medium.  You use elmer's glue - but we don't have it in Australia. So I used PVA. It didn't work. Just ended up with very shiny. 
Here I used masking tape to make the grids and then painted over the top with black gesso. It was old masking tape that I got from the shed and the glue was extra sticky. It ripped some of the page off in places and left sticky residue in others.
My dh brought me home some masking tape that you can take off for up to 3 days. Highly recommended! That worked much better. I painted a blue green acrylic over the top of the tape. After drying, I took off the tape and added a glaze of yellow.
On these pages the technique was to use plastic needlepoint canvas as a stencil. I looked and looked but couldn't find my plastic canvas so I tried cross stitch canvas (cloth) instead. It didn't work very well. Most of the paint got caught up in the cloth and the paint smudged. I am going to buy some more plastic canvas and try again. Unfortunately it is difficult to find here in the country.
I want to get a little stash together of textures I can use as stencils.

Even though quite a few of the backgrounds didn't work out, I don't mind. They are all beginnings and that is all that really matters. If the background isn't too perfect, I don't have to worry about messing it up.

I am excited to see what will come of these pages.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Death Journal Page

This ended up being my Death Journal Page. I guess you gotta have a death page.

I found a little bat dead in my studio. I drew him. I felt bad that he had died caught in my louver windows. He stank a little. I hate that smell.

After the drawing, I glued down  a magazine photo of the man in a graveyard. Then I added some dictionary pages about death and bones and the brain. 
I must have forgotten to scan my pages. I think these pages were freaking me out a bit.
I gessoed lightly over and around the dictionary pages and the man. Then I did a wash of umber acrylic paint. 
I added the other magazine photos of brains and organs, the bone and the bat. 

Then came the quotes from Rumi, a well known 13th century mystic and poet, that I wrote in a Staedler fineliner pen. It isn't waterproof, but that doesn't matter as I won't be adding anything over the top. I used the Staedler because I have a set with 20 different colours, and I wanted a muted brown that wouldn't stand out too much from the rest of the page.
It needed some kind of border to pull it together. I am not sure what the train track like border represents, but it looked kind of fitting in the general mood.

I am curious if any of you will like these pages. You gotta have a little darkness with the light, don't you reckon?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Ace of Wands Journal Page

Here are two pages that were in limbo for months. Ace of Wands is an interesting card. It represents that first burst of inspiration. Again, I didn't consciously make a connection between the writing and the pictures. But it makes sense to me now. (It feels like magic.)
I began with the writing; a quote from Caroline Myss on the left page, and a quote on the right page that I have in my studio about working with the unconscious. Then I put on some light colour with water soluble crayons and gessoed over the top. The crayons are difficult to write over unless you put gesso or acrylic matte medium on top.
Then I added a colour photocopy of the girl from my Girl in Green with Hare journal page. Do you recognize her? I have changed her dress. It is so fun, it is like paper dolls. You photocopy one drawing, then just cut out a new dress for her. 
Here she is, close up. The dress is from the background of the same page. I just traced the shape on tracing paper and then used that as a pattern to cut it out of the background. Easy peasy.
(I only just noticed that the dress has the HARE stamp on it. That's funny.)
The crow is a drawing that I did on some card and cut out. I like to do drawings and then just save them for when I might want to stick something in. The Ace of Wands is a photocopy of the tarot card. I drew in her belt and the flowers with some felt pens. The pages stayed like this for ages.
I didn't feel inspired when I looked at them.
I think they needed a bit more punch to get me going. I darkened up the tarot card with coloured pen. Added the crow silouhette, the border and darkened the flowers with sharpie. Finally I rewrote some of the quote in black. It feels more 'alive' to me now.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

When New Techniques don't work out


I started something new last week. I began making my first journal, the actual book part.  I had been collecting some tutorials from the web and they got me excited to go.
It began fantastically. I went with this tutorial from Creativity Prompt because it looked pretty simple. I wanted something quick that wasn't too rough. (Did you know there are tutorials for books made from cereal boxes? Crowabout has a great one here. I want to try it sometime.)

I changed it. Of course I changed it. I don't have the patience to make anything just to learn from it. I wanted a bigger journal, so I made it bigger. A lot bigger. From 7cm to 25cm (the fact that I am not converting to inches is a kind of lame political statement). Maybe the size change was where I went wrong.
I cut the pages from my pastel pad. It was exciting to be able to choose the paper. I glued the cardboard cover with some decorative paper I had. I had to use 4 pieces and piece it together, a patchwork look that I quite liked. 
It was all looking great. I attached the ribbons with glue instead of double sticky tape ( didn't have any tape). the glue worked well.
The trouble started with the stitching. There weren't detailed instructions. Or not as detailed as I wanted. As I tried to go under, around and over, it got pulled and tugged (and knots in the thread) and it kinda tore some. You can see it here, where the ribbon pulled away from the cover.
And the signatures (the bunch of folded paper) weren't evenly placed and have a space inbetween so when you open the pages there is a gap.
I don't think the ribbons are going to be able to hold it all together.

I was upset, which is kinda silly considering this blog is all about 'go for it and don't worry about making mistakes." Oh well, teach what you need to learn and all that.
I haven't given up. Don't think that. I have a few ideas up my sleeve. And the kind of cool thing is that now that the book feels kinda 'ruined' I feel more free to experiment.

Monday, 1 December 2008

"You are so Beyond That" Journal Pages

I wasn't sure what to call these pages, but finally decided the emphasis is on the beautiful bit of wisdom I received from my friend Rosie. I had been complaining of my apparent inability to understand and follow social conventions.

I think it is interesting that this quote is on a page of my ancestors. 
It feels like some family karma that has been released. I recognise a freedom that I didn't used to feel.
I started with gessoing the pages and then painted them with acrylic paint. Apparently it's a good idea to water the paint down a bit, that way the pages are less likely to stick together. (Which is also why you never put gloss acrylic medium or varnish over the top of a page - the two pages will stay sticky).
The diamonds are printed with a homemade background stamp. (Here is the tutorial, by Laurie Gatlin). Fun, fun. I will have to do more of that. I painted acrylic paint onto the stamps for the stamping.

Strangely enough, as much as I love the background stamping, these pages stayed at this point for months. I think the pattern intimidated me a bit. 
But as soon as I slapped a few photocopies down I was away. I love working with black and white copies of photos. I don't do scrapbooking so my old photos are just stuffed away in a plastic box. It feels wonderful to use them in my art journal. 

I actually hadn't realised that I had a photo of my father's father. He died before I was born.

The camels and the building are magazine images. I also added a few rub-ons and stickers. 
Lastly the quotes in my gel pens.