A long time ago, I took an excellent online course led by Tim Holtz – Creative Chemistry 101. It explored the different inks and media and their chemistry so crafters would understand what would work with what and why. Well, CC102 came along, and I wasn’t quite so engaged. But engaged enough to sign up for CC103 when it was advertised earlier this year. The week-long classes are now on Day 3… but here’s my Day 1 samples. A couple of old techniques using new kit, but combinations of media that I wouldn’t necessarily have been reaching for together prior to the class, but definitely will be now.
The next art journal session in The Studio is on Monday, and this morning I’m prepping my samples. We’re going to attempt to create an illuminated letter. I’ve put together instructions for a basic Celtic arched lettering, but this is my take on a more Gothic Celtic style of illuminated lettering.
So you have grand plans to start art journaling, and you’re wondering what your first step should be? It’s important to find a journal that will take all that you throw at it. It has to be able to take wet media without the pages getting flimsy or buckling. It has to be able to lie flat so that you can work in it. You don’t want pages easily detaching, nor a wire-o spine stopping you getting to the middle of the spread. Pages shouldn’t be too absorbent, or too smooth – or be able to take a layer of gesso if they are. Hardback or soft cover – well that’s down to personal preference. Here’s a couple of pages I’ve done this afternoon whilst testing a new journal. Above – Dylusions Paints. Below – Distress Sprays/Inks and pigment inks.
Part of art journaling is using a journal as an experimental area. Today I tried a method of creating weathered wood using paint layers, distress inks and archival inks, and it sparked off an idea for the layout. Somewhat annoyingly, it took longer to find a suitable saying to match my idea than it did to make the page!
Gah! It’s so frustrating when you write a blog post and then there’s a glitch and it’s gone and even the saved drafts don’t seem to exist any more… so for the second time of writing:
During the week I was invited by an online friend I got to know through the Creative Chemistry 101 classes a few years ago to join a new art journaling challenge group she was organising. The Pick A Stick Challenge Group on Facebook is open to anyone who would like to join in and is an active art journaler. The premise is simple: each month, ten sticks are drawn at random from a pot of prompts covering media, styles and techniques. The only other stipulation is that you layer your page in the order the sticks are drawn. That is where the process becomes a little more tricky!
I’ve been clearing out the detritus that was my study, and found a 16MB flash card – that shows how long the pile has been sitting there as my smallest now is 16GB! On it were a few photos of this project. This is one of my first mixed media pieces – I made it at least 8 years ago. Combining acrylics, UTEE, Liquid Pearls, Stickles, gliding foil (back when it was in sheets not tubs), die cut or punched Bazzil card stock, translucent plastic, and distress inks. I added words later, such as ‘autumn’, ‘fall’ and ‘leaves’. Perfect piece to share at this time of year. As Albert Camus said ‘autumn is the second spring, when every leaf is a flower’.
This is very much a work in progress, but since progress seems to be going smoothly and fairly quickly, I’ve something to share mid-way. I was sorting out the sheds on Saturday and came across this printer’s half-tray that had been tucked away. I have a feeling it’s another save from my grandfather’s outhouse.
I brushed it down, glued it back together, and then lined it with Tim Holtz French Industrial papers with Walnut Stain distress ink to blend it all in. I then set about finding all my little bottles that I’ve accumulated – a combination of Tim Holtz and Woodware. They looked a little too clean, so I’ve added Latte and Mushroom alcohol inks to give them an aged/nicotine stained look.
I raided the kitchen for every spice and herb I could get into the bottles and decided to leave one shelf free to hang some bay leaves in, and to make a mini-pestle and mortar to fit. Now all I needed was some labels, so I have spent the afternoon making my own in Illustrator and cutting them out on the Silhouette Cameo before ageing with distress inks and water. Next was working out how to get a liquid appearance in the tall bottles without it actually being liquid. UTEE came to the rescue, and I think it turned out ok – although there was some shrinkage as it cooled, so that might not remain the case. Here’s what it looks like now:
I’ve had a lot of fun with the labels, finding the latin names for everything, including the silver balls, tapioca and hundreds and thousands. The shelf is ready for the leaves and pestle and mortar and I think a couple more adverts as well. I’m not too sure if I should stick the bottles in place, or keep them loose so that they can be pulled out… or fall off when on the wall…