Journal Prompts

I am most alive when...

It gives me great joy to...

I am energized by...

Happiness is...

Today, I created another background using water soluble crayons. I never knew that these crayons existed until I started searching for inspiration and instruction on art journaling.They are amazing because they work like crayons and you can blend their color into a page with water, baby wipes or gesso!
Using these crayons makes me feel like a kid again. I get to scribble! So I did just that, after I chose three colors to apply to the page.
There was a bird on the page, which I planned to highlight in some way. But first, I used a dry paint brush to blend gesso into the crayon scribbles. I did the yellow first and worked my way through each color, so as to not muddy the colors. It makes a nice muted, pastel effect.
I used a paper towel to wipe off the wet paint, so my bird would show through.
I thought I would experiment with foam stamps and gesso to add some interest to this page.
I applied gesso to each stamp with a makeup sponge. Dip some gesso on the sponge, then dab some off before dabbing on stamp, thus getting a crisper image.
I liked the white contrast on the page, so I left it to dry.
When I came back later, I decided to add some more color, using pigment ink pads with some of the same stamps. For the bird and raindrops, I colored over them with water soluble crayons and blended the color into the images with a baby wipe.

These pages are coming together. My next step would be to add journaling and maybe some doodles with a black paint pen. But I will save that for later. In the middle of the pink flower I circled the head of the bird, which was how I ended up making it a focal point, plus I added the bird stamp to keep with my theme.
Journal Prompts

I will ACCEPT...

I need courage to CHANGE...

I will seek WISDOM for...

I understand...

I don't understand...

With mixed-media art, I find myself returning to certain mediums and techniques. I really like the look of acrylics on the page. It's fun to layer and there are many ways to apply them.

Today, I will demonstrate layering with stencils. First let's look at a simple way to apply acrylics to the page. I start with my gesso prepped dictionary pages.

I choose three colors: red, orange and yellow. Following Dawn Devries Sokol's example, I applied the paint directly to the page randomly in dime sized blobs.
Several blobs served me well for these pages. I used a gift card to spread the paint over the page. To avoid over blending the colors, scrape the extra paint on the card on a scrap piece of paper. I liked the blended colors, so I scraped it on to the edges of the page.
Stencils are readily found in craft stores. I like the overall patterns to layer over my background. You can also create your own using stencil sheets or by recycling plastic containers or lids. I was in the check out line at the local dollar store, when I saw this sink liner hanging on the side wall. I purchased it, and a lattice stencil was born!
For stencils, I like to use a spray bottle to apply the paint. You can buy them ready made or make your own in a travel size spray bottle. I centered the "lattice" stencil over both pages and sprayed red paint over the area. From the residue from the spray, I made a second background on a piece of watercolor paper by turning the stencil onto the paper and then pressing the stencil into the paper.
The imprint is real subtle, but it adds a layer.
Excess paint on watercolor paper.
Next, I sprayed some orange sparkly paint over a floral stencil. It doesn't show up much but adds another layer. I cut a simple bird shape from the recycled plastic. And then used stamp pad pigment ink to create images on either side of the two page spread.
For some final touches, I randomly sprayed paint under each bird dabbing it with a paper towel. Then added another dimension using the floral stencil again and green sparkly spray paint. Now these pages are ready for journaling.
Journal Prompts

If I could do something NEW, I would...

If I could do something DIFFERENT, I would...

If could do something BOLD, I would...

Today, I want to introduce you to one more art journaling expert. Dawn DeVries Sokol shares her secret to overcoming fear of the "blank page."  I bought her video through the clothpaperscissors shop. Dawn's approach is to create "pages in stages." First she paints backgrounds on three to five pages at a time. On another day she adds collage elements. Later she returns to doodle and add words for her final step.

In her video, she reminded me that there are several easy ways to add paint to the page. She likes to use the craft acrylics in the same color family to avoid "muddy" pages. She demonstrates paint application by putting several dime size dots of paint directly on the pages in various spots. Then she uses her fingers to spread the paint and blend the colors. By using her fingers she feels she has more control over the paint.

She also applies paint with an old gift card, applying the dots of paint then scrapping down the page and then across to develop depth. Her last technique is to use a bristle brush from the home decorating department of the hardware store. The bristles add texture when applying the paint.

For the collage elements, Dawn likes to use her own photography, as well as copies of vintage family photos. She recommends making color photocopies of the vintage black and white photos as the color copy gives more contrast than a regular black and white copy.

Here's a clip from the DVD where Dawn describes how to "write" in your journal.
Journal Prompts

Being active is...

Being busy is...

Being quiet is...

Being is...

This week, I'd like to introduce you to another inspiring journal artist:

Traci Bunkers' perspective on letting go during the art journaling process is very freeing.
"I don't agonize over what items to collage down or what pictures to use when I'm working. I just grab what I'm drawn to or what's within reach, and glue it down. Often the imagery I use in my journal pages seem to have nothing in common with other elements or with what I'm journaling about. I just use it because I like it. In the end, it all comes together and works as a whole." (Traci Bunkers)
Click here to enjoy one of Tracy's blog post about using a stencil for your background. You have to scroll down a bit to get to the tutorial. Here's her web page link:

Enjoy this short video, where Traci demonstrates a quick journal background idea!
Journal Prompts

I wish...

I desire...

I hope...

To be rooted is...

I will wait for...

Who will inspire us today? I choose Pam Carriker. I found her book on one of my inspiration searches. It's called Creating Art at the Speed of Life: 30 Days of Mixed-Media Exploration. I like these types of books because each chapter has a technique or concept that I can try in one sitting. Recently, I opened up the chapter on negative and positive space, and this whimsical two page spread brought me great delight.
The objective was "to define positive and negative space by filling one with paint and one with collage." (Pam Carriker)

I took a side view "selfie" with my camera phone. Emailed it to myself and printed out the photo in a 5x7 size. In the paint application on my computer I was able to flip the image and print out the image facing the opposite direction. You could also just make two prints facing the same way and cut one out to trace the the silhouette facing the opposite direction.

My favorite part of this process was the words coming out of the collage image face. As I was cutting out images, I noticed a small scrap of paper with words on it, that said; "word evokes so much" with the "h" missing. I added the letter "a" in front  the phrase and three "h" stamps. Because the image seemed to be exhaling. I had trouble with drawing the eye, so I used a rose bud on its side (from an old post card) to create one.

I felt the negative side didn't need any formal words on it. The bubbles on both sides represent thoughts. I stamped the white old-fashioned phone to represent communication. Communication with words or without words, both have value.

The best part of this process was when I invited my husband to admire my pages. He immediately started in with his own interpretation. He noted that their were more thought bubbles coming from my dark side. Hmmm....all I wanted was some affirmation. Every one interprets art differently. And it is true, no one really can tell the artist's intention just by looking at their art. They need to ask the artist!

Pam Carriker: Visual Journalism 101

Journal Prompts

I am thankful for...

I am grateful for...

I see...

I notice...

I am surprised by...

Besides using found items to make images on my pages, I like to find inexpensive ways to make my own stamp. I found an idea to use a piece of craft foam from the kids' craft department to make one. I also wanted to make a three page spread this time, so I used some novelty tape to tape an extra dictionary page to the second one. Here's the supplies I gathered: the tape, craft foam, pencil, violet Stazon and a pair of pinking shears.
I cut out a square using the pinking shears to give the square the look of a postage stamp. I drew my image right on the foam, pressing hard enough to etch the foam. Remember to write letters or numbers in reverse, so they print correctly.
I smeared the violet Stazon ink pad on to the foam, then placed the "stamp" on the page face down. I rubbed my hand over the back of the "stamp" to print the images on the page.
I had prepped the background with gesso, but wasn't sure what I wanted to use for color. I grabbed some ink pads from nearby to try an experiment. I also used a new tool I got to apply ink from a stamp pad. (FYI you could use a make-up sponge to apply the ink or a sponge brush, but this tool gives you the leverage you need to press or smear ink on to the page.) The tool was useful, but took a while to apply. So I set it aside, deciding to just smear the other ink pads on to the page. Round pads had a raised sponge surface, so when I smeared it across the gesso, the ink created a nice distressed look, as well as some circular shapes on the page.
I added some stickers, which I covered with glossy gel medium to make sure the stickers stay adhered to the page. I also added a library pocket with a card for a fun place to add a "secret" message. Here are some pictures of the third page closed and then opened out.
Closed Two Page Spread
Opened Out Three Page Spread
"Secret" Pocket Close- Up
Come back next week, and I'll share one last time with  a flip-though of my mostly completed journal. Happy Journaling!
Journal Prompt

Have you ever had a brainstorm? Have you wondered how to capture it in words?

Here's a simple way to do so: Draw a circle in the middle of blank page. Set a timer for five minutes. Using free association, draw a line from the main circle to another circle. Make several of these connecting circles. Now start filling in those circles with words that you associate with the topic. As you go, you can add more connecting circles, filling them with words, until you feel you have exhausted the topic.

Do you notice any connections or insights?

This is a great way to organize your thoughts, especially when making decisions.

I thought it would be fun to brainstorm about YOU! So write your name or the word ME in the middle of your circle and have fun brainstorming all about what it means to be YOU!

 Below is a way to adapt this idea to an art journal page.

I thought it might be fun to use a different shape besides a circle to start out my "me" collage. I had some shape stencils on hand from my scrap-booking supplies. I chose a balloon stencil.

If you don't have shape stencils, cut a shape from piece a paper for a template.

All the skills needed for art journaling, I learned in kindergarten. How to cut things out, how to color, how to paste things on paper, etc.

Spring boarding from one idea to another is all part of the creative process.

 For my free association words, I decided to grab some words that I collected from magazines to see if any fit me.

Before starting my brainstorm, free association fun, I wanted to give my background more texture. I slathered on a thicker layer of gesso. I like to experiment. So I grabbed the wildflower stamp to see if I could make an imprint in the wet gesso. Voila!
(To speed up the drying, I pulled out the hair dryer. Hint: Move your magazine words a safe distance away, otherwise they blow all over the place.)

Once I regathered my words, I started coloring over the dried gesso with the markers. I used turquoise for the flowers.
Pretty cool! I lightly wiped the surface with a baby wipe to soften the marks. By doing this it pulled more of the color into the white flowers. I colored the rest of the page with bright pink, and then framed the whole page with purple.
At this point, I blended the whole page by gently going over each color with the baby wipe. To keep the colors from getting muddy, I would find a clean section of the baby wipe before smearing the next color. Instead of making all the flowers turquoise, I added some yellow and red to the white flowers before blending them in.

As I continued to work with the page, I chose a balloon shape to house "me." Instead of webbing off of that shape, I imagined many balloons off the page with just their strings hanging down into my picture. Those were my lines, where I placed my free association words. I didn't find very many in my pile that spoke to me, so I pulled out a magazine to search for more words that I felt better described me.

I got caught up enjoying the process and forgot to take photos as I went along. So you'll just have to imagine how the images and words evolved on the page. I did use the glossy gel medium to apply the words, which gave them a nice sheen.

Here's my reflection on me today.

I noticed that it's not all about me; life is about me & you. This page reflects what I value in my role as your souldare facilitator. This adventure is about you and me savoring moments together.

While much of art happens in solitude, it's within community that we experience the delight and joy of creating art and being who we were created to BE!
Journal Prompts

I feel . . .

I don't feel . . .

When I try to forget my feelings, I . . .

Make a list of disappointments.

Make a list of good breaks that turned your life around.

Hello again! How are you feeling about the adventure so far? I am having fun and trying new things! I made my first ever YouTube video tutorial. I "filmed" today's pages in two episodes. Enjoy!

In the first video, I talk about stamping and applying acrylic paints in various ways.

The second video is a short piece about adding lettering to your page.
I hope you enjoy these videos and feel free to share them with friends. I will be attempting to use more of these for future technique posts. I hope to improve the process as I go!

Have fun being YOU!
Journal Prompts

I like . . .

I hate . . .

I love . . .

If I love myself, then . . .

Let's talk about adhesives. This is the one art tool that I would consider spending a little extra money to get quality. Nothing is more frustrating than NOT having an item glue down securely.

I do not recommend using white Elmer's glue for pasting paper items to your page. It is very wet and tends to cause wrinkles. It does have it's place in the art journal, but that's for another post.

My favorite glue stick is made by UHU and it will secure light weight paper products, as well as card stock weight paper. For heavier papers, like watercolor paper or cardboard items you may want to use a gel medium, which comes in a glossy or matte finish. Gel mediums are useful for gluing things down on the page and then applying it over the whole page as a sealant. It is sort of like a fancy Modge Podge. I like the gel medium better than Modge Podge because it dries quicker and is less tacky.

For a quick and easy adhesive to keep a piece in place use double-sided tape. Then if you want to seal it in, apply a gel medium over the page to get a glossy or matte finish.

Journal Prompts: (Respond to as many or as few as you like)

I need . . .

I want . . .

I have . . .

I am not...

Most of us are faced with so many options and decisions each day. Limits can actually be an interesting way to challenge ourselves. I like to see what happens, when I have fewer choices.

Today, I am working on a two page spread. For the background, I am limiting myself to red (student quality) heavy body acrylic paint and gesso. Another challenge will be to make my own spray paint. I bought a travel size spritzer from Walgreens.