Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Art Journaling on the road

A couple weeks ago, we took a family trip. Because art journaling was so new for me, I wanted to continue it on our trip, as much as I could. I brought just a few supplies with me. Because we were travelling by car, I didn't have to worry too much about the size or weight of the items I brought. I packed my journal, my basic scrapbooking tool kit (includes scissors, corner rounders, a tape runner, a glue stick, a hole puncher, etc.), watercolor pencils, gelatos, some Tim Holtz tissue tape, some old magazines, a couple paint brushes, and my Sakura pens. I thought I would work on my journal each evening after the kids were in bed, but I didn't have the energy for it every night. We were away for four nights and I think I worked on it on three of them. One evening I just added journaling and some tissue tape to a background I'd already done previously. Remember this one?
When I finished it, it looked like this:

Because this was our summer vacation, I had summer on the brain and I wanted to work with the magazines I'd brought. I created this background:
I cut out all the words that meant "summer" to me from the magazines (I tried to stick with those that would be big enough to stand out on my page) and stuck them around the edge of the page with a glue stick. I doodled in some of the letters. I colored the "scene" with my watercolor pencils and got it wet to "activate" the water colors. I doodled on the sun and added the doodly flowers. This was done over more than one session. I will add more to this page before it's completed. 

So that's one completed page on a background that was already done and one completed background on a five-day vacation. I think that's pretty good! For more ideas on travelling with your art journal, check out Julie's post here

Have you ever taken your art journal on vacation? Did you get as much done in it as you'd hoped?


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Some completed pages

In my last post, I showed some examples of unfinished backgrounds. Today I’d like to share a couple of my finished pages. The first one is the one page I’ve sat down and made start to finish. 
I just wanted to play around and make a whole page (I think this is the first one to which I added journaling, also). I like pink (but maybe not this much pink!), so I painted the background pink. Then I stenciled with an alphabet stencil and a different shade of pink. I added some stamps with white ink and started thinking about what to write. I had an idea of how to lay out the page and I was planning to put the title in the upper left and journaling down the right side. I stamped a pen in the middle and thought I’d put my journaling starting at the tip of the pen. But then I stamped my title with some really big foam stamps and ended up covering up the pen (you can see it behind the ‘ha’ in What, going towards the ‘y’ in my). I’m working really hard on letting go of perfectionism, so I just left it (although I have to admit that it still bugs me a little). On a scrapbook page, I almost certainly would’ve fixed it somehow (or planned ahead better), but an art journal page strikes me as much less permanent, so it doesn’t bother me as much. The journaling is just a stream of consciousness of what was on my mind that day (I blurred it a bit, as I don’t really want to post my blathering for the world to see). I would like to use this journal as a way to work through some of the thoughts and feelings I have floating around in my head, so I may not post many completed pages. I want to feel completely free to express myself without the pressure to share.

The next one started out as an experiment with watercolor pencils. I remembered drawing a random pattern and filling it in with crayons as a child, so I did something similar with watercolor pencils. I didn’t really love it, so I covered it with some tissue paper I had from an American Girl doll outfit my daughter bought with her birthday money. 
Then I “stamped” the circles with paint and a metal cookie cutter (an idea I got from May Flaum). I still wasn’t sure what I was doing at this point, but I had the packaging from the doll outfit which had several words on it that made me think of the first week of the She Had Three Hearts workshop by Christy Tomlinson. The class is based on a Chinese proverb that a woman has three hearts: one that she shares with the world, one that she shares with her family and close friends, and one that she shares only with herself. I thought about cutting out the words from the packaging and writing my thoughts on how each relates to my heart that I share with the world. So I just adhered the cut-up packaging and wrote around the circles.

I’m not completely in love with either of these pages, but they are my first efforts and I hope that with time and practice, I will find my style. For now I’m enjoying the process and just playing around with my supplies. 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

What is art journaling?

So what is art journaling and why did I get into it? Art journalers will tell you that it can be anything, but I know that’s not a very helpful definition. I use my art journal for a couple purposes. The first page is filled with doodles, mostly from an e-book I purchased at called Oodles of Doodles
The book covers doodling as an embellishment on scrapbook pages mainly, but I was intrigued by the repeating patterns. I sought out more ideas online and found Zentangle, which is an art form all to itself. Now that I’ve started using my notebook for art journaling, I’d like to get a different notebook for doodling. I usually doodle when I’m out and about, waiting for something, and I’d rather not carry around my private art journal. Not to mention that my journal is often sitting on my table drying and I can’t just pick it up and go. 

What do I mean by art journaling? I am honestly so new to it that I’m still working out what it will mean to me and my creative process. I’m allowing myself to just play and become familiar with my supplies and, hopefully, find my voice in this medium. So far I’ve only completed three pages. I generally start by just making a background, having no idea where the page is going or what the theme will be even. For example, I had some turquoise paint left over from something else and I didn’t want to waste it, so I just brushed it onto this page. 
It’s still just sitting in my book waiting for more layers. I bought watercolors in tubes to play with and I’d never used that type of watercolors before, so I just squeezed some out and painted them onto a page in stripes. I picked it up to show my husband, and it started to drip because it was still wet. I liked it, so I sprayed it with more water and dripped it more. 
This one is also just waiting for more layers. I’ve been searching for a spray that will stay put once it’s down, and I tried making Rit dye into a spray. I’d heard this wouldn’t run if it got wet, so I was just experimenting with it. I liked the spray OK, although some of my spray bottles didn’t work that well. But when I went over it with a wet paintbrush (after it had dried), it smeared all over. Well, now I know. I started turning my experiment into a page by doodling on top of it (I was also playing with some new pens I’d bought, to try out all the different tips). You can see in the upper right corner that this is the back of my doodling page. I was using a Sharpie for most of that page and it bled through the paper.
As you can see, I’m just playing with this stuff. I’m not trying to make masterpieces. I’m just figuring out what happens if you get the different mediums wet and discovering how saturated the colors are on a page. But I have been working on it every day, sometimes just a tiny bit, and sometimes making an entire page start to finish (OK, I only did that once!). I hope this gives you an idea of how to start, it can be as simple as painting the page a color. And from there, it really can be anything, just like the art journalers say...


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A New Direction

Hello, friends. So it turns out that I was over-enthusiastic about my plans for this year. I thought that if it seemed feasible when I was at my lowest energy in December, that it would only get better. It turns out that months upon months of chemo take their toll and I wasn't really at my lowest point in December. Around May of this year, I basically stopped scrapbooking. I just didn't feel like it. The only layouts I'd been doing were the ones for the Log Your Memory challenges, and while I loved the layouts, I wanted to be able to scrap whatever I wanted with my limited time and energy. So I allowed myself to change my mind about doing all the challenges. Really I let myself off the hook and I don't feel guilty about not completing my goal. With all that I've been through, I can't hold on to guilt about scrapbooking, right?

I've been scrapping more lately, and getting more organized with my photos and layouts with the help of Stacy Julian's Finding Photo Freedom class at Big Picture Classes. I would like to share some of those layouts and tips here, but what I want to talk about today is a new creative direction I've taken this year.

A friend of mine referred me to the SheArt class run by Christy Tomlinson. She thought it would be fun for me to create a canvas of a girl for each of my daughters. I'd never done anything like this, but for some reason this particular class really appealed to me. I signed up and started slowly working through the material. Here's the first canvas that I created:
She Art 
She Art detail

Here's the second one, which I've since given to a friend:

And, finally, the third one. This was my least favorite, but that's what happens with stuff like this, right? These were all from the first week of class material!

So starting with making canvases, it was an easy leap to art journaling. If you don't know what art journaling is, I will be sharing a lot more this month, but here's a great resource to learn the basics. I'm going to join in Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Art Journal Every Day for August and I'll be sharing something about my art journaling every week. I don't think I'll share all my pages, because the whole intention for me is to have the actual journaling be private and just for me. If I have the pressure to share the finished product, I won't be as honest as I'd like to be. Please come visit me throughout August to learn more about art journaling and maybe see some new layouts, too.

Have you ever kept an art journal?

Designs by Dana
© 2011 Designs by Dana
© Kit by Karla Dudley