Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: 10 Ways to Gain New Perspective

No matter how creative we are, we tend to get into a comfortable zone with specific materials.  There's nothing wrong with being comfortable, but trying new things enables one to gain new perspective as a creative being.  Here are 10 things you can do to escape the monotony of your art journaling creativity.

1.  Begin with random splotches of color.  Don't always plan out what you're going to journal!

2.  Try a new technique.  I just started working with the crayon/acrylic resist technique.  I'm addicted!

3. Emulate the style of your favorite artists.  I learned a lot about Klimt's work but using his techniques.

4.  Choose a different color palette.  We become comfortable with a certain range of color.  Mix it up and select some colors that you wouldn't normally choose.

5.  Do you always use color in your artwork?  Try going black and white instead

6.  Choose a larger or smaller journal.  When I go to my smaller moleskin journal, I am much more inclined to experimentation.

7.  Paint with anything besides a brush!  Use your fingers, old credit cards, stir sticks, plastic utensils - the list is endless.

8. Use charcoal.  Using charcoal has a freeing quality when sketching, and looks great - especially on top of lightly colored paper.

9. Take a class or workshop!  Even if the mediums and techniques are familiar to you, you will still walk away with a new perspective.

10.  Last, but most importantly, GET OUTSIDE!  Go for a walk and take in all the beauty that surrounds you.  "Fill your well" with all the beautiful things that CREATOR has given us to enjoy!

As always, dear friends, remember that this life is but a moment.  "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!" - with your every breath...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Junk to Journal

I found this old Audio Bible Study book for $1.50 at the senior center store where I hold my art journaling classes.  The moment I began browsing through it, I knew it would make a fabulous art journal!  I gave most of the records to my students (I thought they would make great mandalas and are a perfect size for tracing a large circle in the journals we use).

Here's the cover.  I applied super heavy gesso to both the front and back covers and let it dry.  Then I rubbed   several colors of acrylic paint over the gesso.  After that, the fun really began!  I glued scraps of ribbon, fiber, jewelry and gold paper embellishments to the cover.  Most of the pages are still incomplete, but I thought you would enjoy seeing what I've done so far.

Here's what I started out with: 45 records and record holders, and accompanying information pages and study guides.  I pulled everything out of the binder and had loads of fun smearing acrylic paint over all the pages.  I put myself in "intuitive mode", and painted the pages at random and in no particular order.  Once both the fronts and backs of the pages dried, I reassembled them into what felt cohesive, and began adding tags, embellishments, magazine images, photocopies of old ATCs I made,  and other ephemera.  Enjoy the tour!  CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE.

An old Master key fits nicely into a pocket made by folding one of the pages 

Shards of a broken record flank the image
My old name tag from my days as a medical receptionist

This record is permanently glued into it's holder.  The title of the record is appropriate for the page.

Acknowledging my inner child

The spirit of the community of WOMAN

The last page and inside cover.  I think they are possibly my favorite part of this journal!

Although I began adding items intuitively, as I flipped back through my pages, I realized that they are somewhat autobiographical and represent the journey of my life.  The subconscious is a mysterious thing indeed!

When you're looking at items, whether in a store or in your own stash, I hope you see the possibility of transformation.  This physical life is but a moment, dear friends, and I hope you remember always to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Crayon & Acrylic Resist

Nothing says childlike fun more than crayons!  When you add some black acrylic paint and a craft knife to the mix, how can you possibly go wrong?  In just three easy steps, you can create a fabulous image.  I'll show you how I created the sugar skull.

I began by drawing the skull with a marker.  I drew in the eyes, nose, mouth and other design features.  Then I colored the design with my water soluble pastels. (Crayons work equally as well!)  After the design was colored in, I colored the skull with white, and added purple and blue to the background.

After my drawing was completed, I added a layer of black artist acrylic to the entire area with a brush.  I let it dry thoroughly. (Remember, any area left untouched by pastel/crayon will remain permanently black)

After the page dried, I took my craft knife and began scraping the paint away.  The wax in the water soluble pastel (or crayon) acts as a resist to the paint, and the paint scrapes away from the crayoned areas quite easily.  Even though I had just finished the design, it still felt like opening a gift as the image revealed itself!

I love the finished look of this resist method!  It has a similar feel to batik or woodcut.  I used a paper towed to wipe the image clean of any remaining dust from scraping.  Here's a detail from the sugar skull:

Just look at all of that crackly, textural goodness!  Of course, I had to prepare a beautiful home for my sugar skull, so I created a border on my journal page.  It probably goes without saying that I had to create a similar environment on the right page - you know me too well!

A little Mod Podge as adhesive, and my sugar skull was ready to live in the pages of my journal.  I hope you'll try this really fun method, and the timing couldn't be better - run out and get yourself a giant box of Crayolas while those "Back To School" sales are still on!  

Whatever you're doing to express your creativity as summer begins to wind down, I hope you remember always to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Begin with a Shape

So you pull out your journal. You want to create, but you're feeling a little less than inspired.  Begin your spread  with repetition of a single shape.  Here, I took a charcoal stick and began drawing circles in random sizes over both pages.

After the circles were made, I began drawing vertical lines for contrast.  There was no rhyme or reason to the placement, I just kept adding lines until I was satisfied with the design.  Once the design was completed, it was time to add color.  I started adding color to the circles with my index finger and acrylic tube paint, beginning in the center and working my way out blending the paint into the charcoal.  once that dried, I applied more color to the center.

I then turned my attention to the lines.  Still using my index finger and tube acrylics, I began adding paint to some of the striped areas.  I just let myself play.  I finished with a Pitt pen and added black design elements.

I began this spread in the same fashion, drawing circles in random sizes over both pages.  This time, I focused on the circle theme adding a few additional elements, and this time, I used Prismacolor pencils to color in the shapes.

For my final spread, I decided to go with elongated rectangles, once again placing them randomly on the page.  I then colored in the areas with a brush and tube acrylics.  When that dried, I began enhancing areas with Prismacolor pencils, and I my completed spread became a representational composition of direction.

I hope you'll give this method of journaling a try as you explore your creativity.  Let your inner child come out and play as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


"Monday's Harvest"  The garden is doing well!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Use Your Stash

One of the side effects of art journaling is collecting.  We see bits of paper, magazine pages, and other ephemera that begs to be used on our pages, and we tuck it away for safe keeping.  If you're like me, your collecting can outweigh your usage, so take some time to create pages from your wonderful collection.

Start by going through your images and pull something that speaks to you as a main theme.  I used a magazine page that contained a building flanked by these wonderful pillars.  Next, pull images that somehow relate to your main theme by design, color, or content.  Take your color cues from these items.  I decided on scroll work with hints of lavender and gold.  I also chose predominantly gold, black and white designs as well as some paper towel that had been "dyed" purple from dabbing off paint on another spread.

Some Mod Podge, a little craft paint, and some words printed from my computer and a new spread was born. Look through your stash of goodies and see what kind of pages you can design as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


Photo by Keith Thompson

Hubby captured this beautiful visitor on our butterfly bush.  I'd say the bush is doing it's job!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Luscious Layers

Nothing makes a journal spread more interesting than lots of luscious layers of colorful, textural goodness!  Here are the steps I took to make such a spread.

The first layer was a coat of super heavy gesso applied with an old credit card, followed by a layer of yellow and fuschia colored tissue papers applied with Mod Podge.

Another thin coat of gesso was applied to tone both pages down.

The next layer was orange craft acrylic diluted with about 40% water, brushed on and dabbed off with paper towel.

That was so much fun, another layer of craft acrylic, this time in "Christmas Red", was applied in the same fashion.

Don't EVEN think about throwing that used paper towel into the garbage!  After it dries, it can be peeled apart, torn and applied with Mod Podge into a new background!

Once the background was dry, it was time to look through the picture file to see what I was inspired to use for this spread.  "HOT" has been the name of the game and what everyone seems to be talking about.  I'm inspired to get it out of my system!

Once I knew in what direction I was headed, it was time to add some writing to the pages.  Using a red, Pitt brush tipped pen, I repeated the phrase, "It's so hot!", over both pages.

I adhered my images to the pages with Mod Podge . . .

and used water soluble crayon and Prismacolor pencils to add heat rings around the sun, give definition to the clouds, and add temperatures that we've had over the past 4 weeks.

I added some gooey, drippy paint to "melt" the word, HEAT, added a slight bit of journaling at the bottom of both pages, and this spread was complete.

Here's a spread I completed earlier in the week.  It's layered in an even more playful manner, using drippy layers of artist acrylics, scribbling into the wet paint with my fingernails, and darkening the images that I could see in the paint.

Get out your supplies and have fun layering, and as always, remember to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"
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