Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Wednesday Art Journal Prompt

The New Year Resolution is an old and established tradition. But for me, I could never gather much interest in writing out a list of resolutions for the coming year. The reason is simply that I don't like being told what to do (even by myself, tee hee).

This year, rather than coming up with a list of things I have to do, I thought it was might be more interesting to think about what I want to leave behind.

With that thought in mind, here is this Wednesday's Art Journal Prompt:

For the coming year:
What are 3 things you are ready to be finished with?

It could be a state of mind, a certain attitude, a bad habit, a specific food, anything. It could be big thing, or something quite small. The idea isn't that you necessarily have to do anything to be rid of these three things, it is more like you are just consciously letting yourself know that you are ready to let them go. Then we will see what happens, if anything happens.

We might check when the end of 2010 rolls around.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

A Multitiude of Art Journal Backgrounds

Yesterday I did a bunch of beginnings in my art journal. Backgrounds. Whatever you want to call them. It was a lot of fun.

I thought I would talk you through them in the hope it might give you ideas for your backgrounds.
I began with gluing down a page from a book on the right page. I used a glue stick, rolling over it with a brayer to get out any air bubbles. Sometimes I use a plastic ruler for the same purpose. The left page had writing from a prompt I did with my class the final day of the term.

Then I coated both pages with gesso. I painted with some orange and green acrylic paint (mixed colours rather than straight from the tube, so they weren't too bright) and pressed the pages together before they dried.
These pages I didn't gesso, just painted with more mixed colours. A combination of cobalt blue and light cadmium red - less blue and more red for the red-brown, more blue and less red for the blue. Before it dried, I wiped it with a paper towel to get rid of most of the brush marks and make the paint thinner - it's easier to glue stuff onto the pages if the paint isn't so thick. .

I cut out the inbetween page to make more room for collage.
These pages were similar to the first ones, except I used pages from a childrens book. In places I wiped off the gesso before it dried to reveal more of the picture. I painted the orangie colour all over and then wiped it off. It gave it a bit of retro look that I liked. After it was dry, I added a bit of the mixed blue in places for interest.
I was liking the pictures underneath the gesso and paint, so continued on that theme. This time using cobalt blue mixed with a purer red, and putting the blue down first. Then mostly red with a little blue mixed in.
Continuing on with more pictures as part of the background. I didn't cover these up as much because they are smaller. I used the cobalt blue with sienna this time to mix my colours.

The bird is from a Christine Willcocks' painting, a photo of which was in an art magazine.
More of the same.

I like gesso underneath the paint because the paint doesn't soak in as quickly and I get more texture when I scrub it back. It also makes the pages thicker.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

an Art Journal Prompt every Wednesday

I promised my art journaling class a prompt every Wednesday, the day of the week that we normally have our class. I will do this over the holidays until the beginning of February to help keep them journaling. Please feel free to jump in whether you are part of the class or not. I would love to see what you make -so please leave a link in my comments.

As always, these are suggestions, jump-starts, inspirations, not assignments. So, if your inspiration alters the idea or leads you somewhere else, related or not, always follow the energy! And feel free to link whether you have followed the original prompt or not. I love to see where people allow themselves to be taken.

So finally, here is the prompt. I had to do something with Christmas, even though personally I don't celebrate it, ha ha. But I know just about everyone else does.

What do you miss about your childhood Christmas?

It might be a person, a tradition, weather, food, anything.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Just be Creative

Just be creative, any which way. It doesn't matter how you do it, or how it turns out. Just have fun. xox

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Making a Travel Art Journal

I am intrigued by the idea of making my own art journals. I like the thought of trying different papers, sizes and ways of putting it together. Having the freedom to just stick stuff together and call it an art journal.

My DH and I are off to Adelaide to visit family. I want to bring a journal to work in, but I don't feel like taking my usual journal. I want to work differently while I am away. Because I won't be working in the studio I think that I will want to do more drawing. Because I will be somewhere different, I like the idea of drawing what is around me. A travel journal.

I wanted something really simple, without a lot of pages; so I decided to try Teesha Moore"s 16 page journal. It is made from a single sheet of watercolour paper. She has a how-to video.
Some of the pages fold out. This is the first page. I made up a square for each day that I would be gone so I could do a little synopsis of that day.
Some of the pages I left completely blank.
Others I just did some subtle backgrounds.
I quite like the way this spread turned out.
Because it doesn't have a hard cover, it is more like a large pamphlet than a journal. I don't think it was the best choice for a travel journal, too large and unprotected.

Oh well, life is one big experiment.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Our Art Journals are for Us

Our art journals are here for Us. They are not another thing that we have to do 'right' or make look good. They are here to serve us, nourish us, play with, and be whatever we need. In that way, they become an agent of our soul rather than our ego.
Nothing wrong with the ego, we need one in order to function in the world. But it is not who we ARE, and there is plenty that we do in the service of the ego, to serve how we see ourselves. It is some other part of us that needs our art journal. A part that is bigger than who we think we are.

A part that contains everything we think of as Me. Not really a part at all.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

One Reason I Love Ugly Beginnings

Ugly beginnings are freeing.

I have noticed time and time again, when I make an ugly background, I feel free to do almost anything on top. I can't mess it up and that is terribly freeing.

On the other hand, when I do an exceptionally beautiful background, I often avoid doing any more, afraid that I will lessen its beauty.

Friday, 4 December 2009

What Bores me to Tears in my Art Journal

Continuing on from what makes me hate my art journal pages, is what makes me bored with them. So boring that my eyes skip over them as I turn the page. That they make me cringe if someone else likes them because I am embarrassed they are so boring.

What makes them boring is when I do someone else's idea. Often I find them so tedious that I can't finish them.

Or, related to that, when I do someone else's idea because I think it will look good. But it has no emotional resonance for me. Yuch, yuch, yuch.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

What Makes me Hate a Journal Page

As I went through my journals, looking for some of the ugliest pages, I noticed something. That what makes me hate an art journal page isn't whether it is ugly or not. In fact, quite a few of the ugly ones I really like.
What makes me not want to look at a page again, what makes me want to rip it out in anger, what makes me hate a page is when I feel I 'played it safe'. When I went for it looking 'good' rather than being real. When I went for giving a good impression rather than honesty.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Often It's the Composition that Makes my Pages Ugly


One of my weakness is composition. I was never taught composition in my art studies, and hence I still have a lot to learn.

Some of my art journal pages that don't work are because the composition is wrong. On this spread all the bits are too small for my large art journal. They just kind of float around, not really related to each other or the page.

Sometimes our journals are a place to get stuff wrong so we can learn.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

What Makes an Art Journal Page Ugly?

It could be many things.

We tried something new, and it didn't 'work'. We need to realize this is a success not a failure! Being creative is not efficient! You will have learned something, even if it is just that you don't like what you tried. (An art journal is a place to experiment.)

With the first spread, I found out that if you use really bright colours underneath, it is hard to get the foreground to compete. The 'background' became the foreground.
Sometimes the colours don't look good. Or the composition is all over the place.

Sometimes it has to do with how we were feeling, maybe we were getting out something ugly - in which case maybe the pages should be ugly?

Often it is just our viewpoint, and other people don't think the pages are ugly. In which case, who is right?

Monday, 30 November 2009

Challenge: a Week of Ugly Art Journal Pages


I have been thinking about ugly art journal pages. How we need them. How important it is to make them, how they can heal and nourish us.

And I have decided to put out a challenge to all my followers and to the blogs that I read (and anyone else who wants to play.) I am going to post a week of ugly art journal pages and I invite you to join me. Let's get them out on the blogosphere. No more hiding in shame! Post your links in my comments and we will have an ugly art journal page tour.

I never finished this spread from my first art journal. I used to abandon them when the spread became ugly and I didn't like it.

I like the idea of diamond shapes in this composition. I think I could a similar arrangement work now. Maybe I will try it.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Someone Special Art Journal Page

This is my version of scrapbooking.

I have never been one to put my photos in albums. They are jumbled into a big plastic box that fits under the bed. I tried to make an album of my wedding photos but lost interest. I ended up throwing it away.

I have never been much of one to take photos to document my life. I don't know why. I mainly use my camera for reference shots for my painting.

I put this spread into a scrapbooking competition on Scrap 'n Craft with T, a lovely woman that sells scrapbooking supplies near where I live. The competition forced me to try some new techniques that I don't normally do, like using felt and beading.

I got disqualified in the first round.

Still, I quite like it.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Beat it Out of You Art Journal Page

Here are pages that I didn't get around to posting from my 'big' art journal. I am kinda missing the A4 size. *sigh* - never satisfied.

This is a post that I did earlier about starting these pages.

The writing on the pages is about my new painting series. It is inspiring to reread it. It brings me back in touch with my original inspiration. As you work on a series, it can be easy to lose touch with your initial impulse as you go down other alleyways.
I have been worrying lately about a gallery for the new work. I want to just let it go for a while and immerse myself back into the paintings. Too much information coming in from the outside, not enough from the inside.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

New Haircut


I think I love it. It's shorter than last time.

Gee, a good haircut can really make a difference. That bugs me a bit.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Karma Trauma Art Journal Page

I have been thinking about karma lately. Partly because of my sister, partly because of aspects of my own personality. Apparently there are two kinds of karma, one that you can overcome and one that you just have to live with.

But my interest isn't in dissecting karmic philosophy, it is really just about the question: what can we change, and what do we just have to live with?

I like the way these pages look really cheerful with the sunny colours and the ducky and star stencils, but then the subject is quite heavy.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Drawing in your Art Journal

That is an actual feather I pasted onto the page. I did the drawing and then the feather floated by. I wanted her naked but not distractingly so, so it was perfect.

I just read this post in iHanna's blog, a long time favourite blog. She talks about practicing drawing in her art journal. I think it is a great idea.

Drawing is something we all did as children. It is like dancing or singing, you don't have to be good at it for it to give its pleasure. Just like how we sing in the shower, or dance when we are by ourselves, try drawing in your art journal. No one else has to see it. Don't compare it to anyone else's drawings - most people who are good at drawing have been doing it for years and years.

In my art journal, I try to give myself permission to do 'bad' drawings. I find this challenging as much of my identity as an artist is based on 'I can draw'. This can be very limiting as I stop myself from just fooling around.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Rats and Angel Art Journal Page


I had a big disappointment this past week. After working on my new series for months, the gallery that I was sure would offer me a show, didn't. I had been hoping for this specific gallery as I know the owner to be honest, straight forward and good at what she does -- she has sold many of my works.

I have been thinking about the idea that everything happens for the best. It seems pollyanna, simplistic and self-absorbed to me. Everything doesn't automatically happen for the best, but I do believe that we can make whatever happens into something positive. I want to do that with this.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Pooh art journal page

I want to have pages ready for writing when I feel like it. Prepared pages with backgrounds and visuals all ready to go for just writing in. A place to write whatever.

They fill up fast. I love writing on visual pages. I don't know why it is so much more fun than writing in blank pages, but it is.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

It's Not a Race journal page

I had a chat with a friend of a friend at a barbeque Friday night. This beautiful, charismatic woman had had a dream to be a psychologist, but instead she owns a clothing boutique. She felt she had to run this business in order to support her mother and family in Brazil. It is a beautiful shop that sells very nice clothing. She is counting her years to retirement.
She said to me "It must be so wonderful to spend your life doing what you love."

It is. It is wonderful.
It is also scary, unprestigious, sometimes embarrassing, confronting, anxiety provoking, difficult, challenging, humiliating... I don't mean to be negative and I am not complaining, but there are reasons most people don't do it.

People talk about doing what you love like it is the answer to all one's unhappiness. Reality check. You give up stuff. There are many sacrifices. This culture is not set up to support people in doing what they love, and it doesn't.

That said, I love being an artist. Not because it is fun. It often isn't. Painting when you feel like it is one thing -- painting regardless of how you feel is something else. Some days it goes well, most days it doesn't. Most days I don't find painting easy.

I think I love being an artist because it is really intense. Because my studio is where I feel entirely myself. It is where I can and should be completely honest - though that is a continual struggle. Because I always feel challenged. Because inspiration feels like life running through me. Because being an artist feels like coming Home.

Finally, and maybe the biggest reason, is that in my studio I can continually create the world as I believe it truly is, rather than how it appears to be.

Monday, 2 November 2009

I am Sad Art Journal Page

I was feeling a lot of sadness about the world we have created the day I made these pages in my new smaller journal.

I wrote: I am feeling so sad today about this culture we have built. Why didn't we create a loving culture? Why don't we make our decisions based on what is most nourishing and contributes to our happiness? It is such a wonderful planet and people have such an amazing capacity for creativity, wisdom and love. But it is actually difficult in our culture to develop these qualities. The whole society could be set up to nurture us in developing love, wisdom and creativity. It needn't be any more difficult than what we are creating now. It wouldn't be more work. It might be easier because it would be more natural. Sure, we would make mistakes, but we could just keep going back to our initial intentions. We could weigh each decision by "will this help nourish wisdom, love and happiness?" Slowly, slowly we would go.

Notice the angel with the broken wing. I didn't see that when I was making the pages, only later.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Changes are Coming

It was fun to change the magazine girl with gel pens, but it's not as much fun as drawing. Less collage, more drawing, in my new art journal.

I am uploading some of the pages that I haven't posted yet from my big A4 art journal. I want to start showing you my new A5 art journal, where the pages are coming faster. Smaller and faster, I like it.
I like using writing as visuals. And I love this quote, so powerful from the poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. (jeesh, I spelled his name wrong on the page.) I did a post on how mostly I don't use quotes, but sometimes it is irresistible.

Change. I love change. Good thing, cause that is a lot what being creative is about. Doing stuff you haven't done before. But don't get me started on a creativity rave, (at least not yet, ha ha.)

I am talking about blog changes. At the beginning, I decided to make this blog about art journaling. I did a lot of tutorials for a while, and people liked that. Now that I am teaching regularly, the tutorials aren't so interesting to me. I am not ruling them out, but I think I want to expand the scope of this blog.

I am not completely sure what that will include, perhaps more of my life and inspiration as a professional artist? Certainly more talks about creativity and much posting of art journal pages.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Art Journal Cover Tutorial

I promised you guys a tutorial on my art journal cover.
Gesso it. I didn't sand first.
Plop on some acrylic paint. You don't need a palette.
Push the paint around.
I finished painting.
Now glue down some decorative paper with acrylic matte medium.
I prepared these chipboard letters with black gesso.
Here is a shot of where I do this type of journaling stuff. A corner in the studio. Non wet journal processes are done on my computer desk.
Fun home made background stamps. I painted them with some Lumiere metallic acrylic paint and then stamped the cover and the letters. Nice paint, really expensive. I think I will buy more.
Toned the letters down a bit with a mossy green I mixed up. I sponged the paint on so it would be mottled.
It was all going great... then I messed up didn't I? I had never tried my embossing powder or my VersaMark pad before. The embossing powder stuck well enough (though the font doesn't suit what I was doing) but when I heated it over the toaster, nothing happened. I was nervous about heating up the cover too much.

The powder didn't become a raised surface so I ended up brushing it off again. Yuck.
I filled in the word with a gel pen.
I gessoed some more chipboard letters.
And glued them on with UHU multi purpose adhesive. It prob'ly isn't archival, but those letters are really stuck on.

I can't wait to show my art journal class.