Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Art Journaling for ME?

Entire Cover of the Documented Life Project Art Journal

I have often thought of doing an art journal.  I even read a book about doing one and the positive influence it can be in your artistic life.  But, frankly, I didn't know where to begin.  By just experimenting on each page, it bares your soul to whoever is looking at it, and I just didn't feel comfortable doing that.  I guess my mother's voice will always be in the back of my mind as she laughs at a portrait I painted  of my brother--my first attempt at one (when I was 19), and as I look back at the one photo I have of it, I see that I didn't do a bad job--in fact, it actually looked like him!  She was just highly critical of everything, and somehow I cannot free myself of the feeling that I have never quite made it as an artist.  But the critical side of me is beginning to be overshadowed by my right brain's non-logical way of thinking.  I AM an artist!  And I am beginning to be proud of whatever I do...whether it pleases others or not.  Maybe that is due to my age, but who knows?  I have also come to the realization that it is the process of creating that pleases me when I finish.  It is the actual doing of it that is most important...not the finished product!

Although I am late coming to the table, I joined Documented Life Project, an art journal journey that presents a challenge each week to participants.  It is up to us how to interpret that challenge and convert it to art in our Moleskine Daily Journal.  A friend of mine, who was also interested in jumping on board, found a Moleskine Daily Journal that was an 18-month one, beginning with the first week of July 2014.  So we ordered them and started our art journal journey.  I did the first week of mine, and then decided to go ahead and do the cover and all the tip-in pages, which are mostly watercolor paper added to the second page of each week with Washi tapes of all colors and prints.  

Frankly, I am quite proud of the cover.  I began with gesso on the leather cover...oh, how I hated to cover that leather!  But as I got into stamping, adding Jacquard's Lumiere paint with a stencil, doodling, adding Tim Holtz's tissue paper, and then coating it all with Golden matte medium and allowed to dry for 24 hours or more.  I then hand-rubbed a coat of Judikins' Microglaze to protect it from moisture and soil and then buffed it to a soft shine with a paper towel.  I have since covered it with plastic sleeves to protect it as I journal along this next year, since I am very messy at times.  I am not fond of art products on my fingers, so this is a challenge to me.  I find myself peeling off matte medium all day after working with it. Where does it all come from?  I am convinced my fingers are manufacturing it.

Washi tape Edges 
So here is the book standing up on its bottom edge, showcasing all the pretty washi taped edges where the tip-in pages are taped to the book.  Yes, this book is going to be a "fat book" when it is all finished.  That adds to its charm, in my opinion!

I might add that each page of the Moleskine is first coated with a light coat of gesso.  That helps to protect whatever medium you are using from bleeding through to the back of the page, which is the first page of your next layout!  We were instructed to add monthly tabs to the top of the book, too.  I used the wonderful rounded tab punch made by Stampin' Up several years ago.  I wish they had never retired that punch.  It makes a very cute and sturdy tab.  These tabs are all laminated, too, since they will get lots of use.

With all the amazing art supplies and techniques I have learned through the years, and also some I learned in Jean Parker's Mixed Media classes at PlazaArts in Nashville, Tennessee, I am having fun with this art journal.  Thank you, Jean!  And thank you to my journaling friends--Ann, Boo, Kathie, Robin, Lori, andTeresa--for encouraging me to do this project.

So our first week in July's challenge was to use a crossword, sudoku, word search, or another puzzle on your layout.  I chose a crossword, since I actually do solve one every day at lunch.  But on this layout I also wanted to give a nod to our country's birthday and one of my favorite holidays, the Fourth of July!

Add a Puzzle Challenge page

This page incorporates a couple of paper napkin layers...the watermelon and the large black dots.  In Jean's classes, we always bring decorative paper napkins to swap.  Mixed media artists love all things paper that can be glued to projects, and paper napkins spark many creative endeavors.  Some of the pages have the days of the week with the date of the month showing.  I choose to either write over mine or cover them with paint, depending on how much I actually want to journal on that week.  Some people emphasize those days and journal them faithfully.  I try to add a few things that will spark memories as I look back over the past weeks of 2014.

I will show you one more layout, and then I will stop this Art Journal journey for today.  This next one shows the challenge of incorporating an Instagram or a small photo into your layout.  I chose photos of sunflowers from our garden, since they are in full bloom right now, and just looking out at them nodding their heavy seedheads with little goldfinches clinging to every one of them is a heart-warming picture to me.  I love those big, cheerful blooms topped with the cute little hungry birds!

Small Photo Layout with the tip-in page in closed position

Small photo layout open

This layout has lots of layers of Golden fluid acrylics, a grass die cut, Washi tape, a sun ray stencil from Tim Holtz, a sunflower stamp stamped with a stamp pad made especially for it and then cut out and glued on with matte medium,  more pen doodling, and the cross-hatching, which is kind of making an appearance on all my pages.  It is done with a piece of corrugated cardboard and gesso applied haphazardly to the ridges with my finger, then pressed down on the pages horizontally and then at right angles to the first stamped area.  Then it was slightly shaded with a black pen to give a little depth to the cross-hatching.

I will continue working in my art journal, but I won't share every little detail with you.  There are other art things happening in my life, and I will share a little bit of these things the next time I blog!

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