There’s not many journals that won’t benefit from an undercoat of gesso. A thin layer helps seal the page, stiffen it and provides an excellent tooth for subsequent layers to stick to. A thicker layer adds texture and depth to the page.
This page is in the journal I’m testing, and started off with a gesso undercoat. Several layers of thinned Dylusions paint forms the weathered varnish, then some metallic gold paint with an image transfer over the top for the brass knocker. The ‘carved’ text is also an image transfer. Shading and ageing achieved with a combination of Pitt Artist Pens and Walnut Stain Distress Ink. Everything sealed with DecoArt Americana Spray Seal (Matte) – which just about fixes the Distress Ink enough to finish with a final sealing coat of DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish.
Today’s page marks a landmark in my art journaling – it’s the final spread in my very first complete journal. I have at least four journals on the go at any time, but this is the first to be filled since I started journaling back in 2011. I wanted to play with different layers, working on making the text stand out and the background to support, but not over power it. Choosing media by its opacity helped me achieve this outcome: transparent Cobalt Blue Hue allowed some of the paper white to show through the underpainting, whilst the semi-transparent Phthalo Blue provided the background to the text, printed in opaque white gesso. Spritzing with the mister and adding visual texture with stamps brought everything together.
I wanted to get some practice with some crackle medium, so I got out the DecoArt Americana Weathered Wood and applied it over a black gesso ground. Once that had dried, I added acrylic paint and gesso over the top, dry brushing one into another. Once the cracking had finished, I blended the colours a little more using some of the pink on a wet wipe and moving it up into the white. I dried that and then sealed the crackle with DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish. Then out came the Pitt Artist Pens for the knots, board joins and the text, all of which were sanded back slightly to age. The quote, by the way, was chosen once I’d done the cracked paint – I thought it was quite apt 🙂
More art journaling! This layout started out with a pale watercolour effect, which I suspect (though don’t remember) is actually bleed through from spray inks I’d used on either side. I decided to keep it as it was, so to stabilise it, I did a quick layer of DecoArt Media Matte Medium to seal it. Over the top went some napkin decoupage to maintain the water colour effect, added and sealed with the same matte medium. A bit of Distress Ink around the sides to tone down the edges, and then I drew the text on with ProMarkers. This seemed a good idea at the time, as I could colour match the ink to the roses – but of course acrylic based paints/mediums break down with alcohol. I solved the nib clogging issue as a result of this by running it out on scrap paper between words, and going over each letter twice to get the colour. Next time I’m going to try out my Pitt pens instead. I sealed everything with some DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish, being careful to not over-brush where the distress ink was added.
I’d like to have planned the text justification a little more – but then that’s what art journals are for: to experiment in, and learn from the experimentation.
There’s various things keeping me from my ‘me time’ in the studio, and consequently, I’m playing catch up with the Wanderlust 2016 course. The fourth prompt for our dedicated art journal is ‘the bravest moment of my life…’. The theme for the layout came fairly quickly, and the page came together just as I’d hoped – it’s the first time I have done word decoupage in a layout. In fact it took longer to retrieve accidentally deleted movie files from my iPad than it did to create the layout! Happily, with those undeleted, I’ve been able to piece together another of my time lapse videos:
In the Wanderlust class this week, we were introduced to still life painting. The lesson was done on a canvas, and the artist was seriously unimpressed with those who included words in their painting, preferring the image to do all the work. Well, you know what they say – you have to know the rules to be able to break them. So I did. Here’s my homage to still life painting, done in my art journal, and complete with words. Enjoy.
For February’s Art Journal Session, we’ll be playing with emboss resist. It’s one of those techniques that is counter-intuitive, but is just planning layers to build up the effect using the embossing powder as the mask. I have to admit the way the text developed and fitted on the page was complete chance – but I like the way it isn’t obvious what the text is at first glance, reinforcing the sense of the quote.