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.
Though I’ve not posted in a little while, as before, a quiet period online often hides a frenetic few days in the studio. Crafting took a small back step last week as a party loomed and the house had to be cleaned and beds prepared, and clobber hidden away from the seventy or so guests! This week I’ve been working on a couple of differently styled art journals, and this is the first to be ready to share.
Inspired by an article in this month’s Art Journaling magazine by Stampington, I’ve created my own matchbook journal (3×3″) with six pages. Unfortunately the supplier listed has discontinued the matchbook used in the article, so of course that didn’t deter me and I created and cut my own using my Silhouette Cameo. I’m going to add more quotes and cuttings as I find suitable ones, but you get the idea from the first page.
Next month’s art journal session at The Studio (Mon 4th April, 7:30pm) is all about pattern development. We’ll be carving our own stamps from Speedball Speedy-Carve before stamping with paint or ink to create our personal and unique designs on our pages. I’ve taken three of my tangle pattern designs to make my stamps: Curly Braces Too, Flared and Circo. And in the process I discovered a new way of using tangle patterns: layering them. Something to explore further in drawn work I think!
Well this layout has taken pretty much all day, aside from occasional breaks to make tea for the landscape gardeners laying my greenhouse base. I had this background waiting for something over the top – in fact since I printed it using this technique in 2011. I’d also blended a thin layer of Dylusions Paint over the top to help seal it. A new set of alphabet stencils also arrived yesterday afternoon, so that’s where the zen started, continued with the hand-drawn flowers (following some of the examples in the FloraBunda book), and then coloured with glazes.
I was cleaning out the tumble dryer filter this morning, and aside from popping some of the fluff outside for the birds feverishly making nests, I noticed a whole pile of tumble dryer sheets in the fluff collection above the washing machine. I’d heard that they make great inclusions in mixed media work (as do baby wipes btw), so I decided (as I do) to make an art journal from them. And a few hours later, a full mixed media journal is complete.
What to do with a dark background in an art journal? Find a quote to match! Flicking through one of my art journals, I found this background that was made up of a combination of distress inks and acrylics wiped on from other projects. There was the option of lightening it with gesso or similar, but then I decided to pretty up the edges with a Dylusions stencil and blend-able paints, and then add text and outlines with Posca pens. I think it turned out quite well, underlining the quote.
As to the veracity of the statement – I think there are more things in a job that can drain the colour from the sense of vocation than it being unfulfilled. Each time I read about the health service and social care cuts, the colour certainly drains from my face. And following my current vocation certainly adds colour – to my t-shirts, jeans, table surface and in one memorable case, the windows!
Next month’s Art Journal Session is going to look at printing on a budget. With nothing more than a biro, some stick glue and a polystyrene plate to make printing plates we’ll then use acrylic paints to decorate our page. I’ve embellished this spread with Posca paint pens. I used Dylusions paints for the printing.