Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Magic of Art Journaling

I was recently asked by a friend if I would teach her art journaling.  She thinks my work is "awesomelicious!"  I LoVe that word.

I'm relatively new to the practice of art journaling, but I've fallen in LoVe with it.  It's magical.  It allows me time to like myself even when I do not particularly care for the page I have created.  It grants me permission to make mistaeks and allows me the space I need to transform those mistaeks into something meaningful....and sometimes beautiful.  Like this page I'm going to share with you now.

One thing I do know about art journaling is that there are NO rules.  Everything and anything is possible.  There are no limits to what you can do.  Make a mess.  Play mindlessly.  Release your attachment to the outcome.  Set aside any thought of what it should look like and even what you think you want it to look like.  Embrace what stands before you and roll with it.  You never know what magical message with come from it.

So, let's get started talking about a page I was working on earlier this evening.  Remember there are no rules and this post is merely a description of my experience in this moment.

I use a 9" x 12" spiral book I purchased at Michael's some time ago.  If I recall, the book I use was labeled as a sketchbook.  Markers will sometimes seep through to the other side, but I just plan to gesso and/or paint the next page and it covers up all that imperfection.  :)

During a recent eCourse with Shannon, I learned to place paper towels underneath the pages as I worked.  The perfectionist in me is just giddy over this idea because it makes getting messy a lot more fun and little less stressful.

Gesso is not necessary, remember there are no rules in art journaling, but it is fun to play with.  The perfectionist in me likes this too because it gives me a do-over if I really, really dislike what I've done.

The next step is to practice a little patience and wait for the gesso to dry.

I like the effect of water color on gesso.  The colors tend to run a little more when used over gesso.  This previous page I made is vivid and alive with all the colors running into each other and changing shape.  I decided to use it as a background.

"life is best lived in color."

In general, no matter what kind of paint I am using, I will pick two colors that speak to me in that moment and a little white paint to create various shades of my chosen colors.

This evening I chose to set out six different water colors:  green, red, blue, orange, yellow and white.  I don't know where the idea to use white water color came in, but this is all about playing and experimenting.

Once my colors are ready to use I grab a brush and listen for the one that calls to me.  Often I do not attempt to create any specific shape when I use water colors.  I just move with the brush and the color and let it guide me through the process.  Other times I'll try circles or stripes.

Just let it flow.  Create some circles.  Swipe in some stripes.  If the colored water begins to run across the page...let it.  

I was off to what I thought was a lovely start.  A nice circle of green with a little yellow mixed in.  A combination of red and blue that became this delightful purple stripe on the side.  Yummy.  I was anticipating it's beautiful finish.

But that didn't happen.

Sometimes I try to do too much.  That was the case today.  I ended up not liking the final page at all.  That's okay.  I was okay with that.  I decided I'd just wait for it to dry, brush on an extra thin coat of white paint over it to create a sort of transparent effect and then I could use the page for some writing.

Hmmm.  That didn't quite go the way I wanted it to.  I could hear Ms. F. Quibbler coming out to judge and ridicule me and insist that there was no way I was going to get a blog post about art journaling done when I couldn't art journal.
No worries.  I have a box for her!

I painted the pagewith white acrylic paint and having some left over acrylic blobs left in a pie tin (yeah I use old pie tins to hold and mix my paints) I decided to brush them on to an embossing plate I have and press it onto the page...three times.

(Don't have an embossing plate?  That's okay.  Look around.  You most likely have things you can use to create patterns or textures with:  old ice trays, potato mashers or other (unused) utensils, bubble wrap, sponges, flowers....the possibilities are  endless!)

Pressing the embossing plate onto my masterpiece didn't quite work out as planned.  I forgot my own advice about releasing my attachment to the outcome and failed to photograph the next few things I did....attempt to "touch it up" with another color, stamp circles with a cup and an empty toilet tissue roll....

Ugh!  The more I mess with it the worse it gets.

I came to my senses and realized that I would advise you to "be kind to yourself."

Hey!  I should write that on the page!

I selected a small paint brush and squeezed out some black paint to write atop this colossal mess I'd made, "be kind to yourself."

..."be kind to yourself.  it's just play."

The words permeated my skin and nestled themselves within my thoughts.  By the time I took the end of the paint brush and traced over the black lettering creating a shadow effect....I was being kind to myself.

It was a rough start to the day for me and I think the universe was trying to tell me something.  I'm listening.
Be kind to yourself.

How are you being kind to yourself?  Do you have an art journal story and photo to share?  Come share it on the Kreative Notions Facebook Page

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