Background: Day by day, I add to my art journal. Over several days I complete a spread. And then I begin again. Some days I spend only five minutes, some days I look up after an hour or more, and some days—yes, I skip. But most days, I art journal. These are my notes where I reflect on my pages and record what I learn. I do not art journal to record time, but to make it a practice to BE in time. Time to be creative, to experiment, to play and to learn. It’s a regular date with myself. Like what I used to do on the yoga mat. Breathe. Check in. How are you? How’s the universe? What should we create today?
I'm loving this new-to-me process of building the pages slowly over several days as a daily practice. Julie is right. It really fits into life, as I can add one thing in five minutes if I'm rushed that day, and spend longer on other days when I have more time. This whole spread began with my random thoughts about our (my) impermanence. The first images that came to mind were bubbles—so I painted them in. From there, Peter Himmelman's song kept running though my mind, so it became the title of my spread and I tipped in the lyrics. Midway through the week, I happened to do SoulCollage with our weekly art circle, and I made my flying fish sprite—an intuitive process that never fails to surprise and enlighten. "I am one who is comfortable in both elements of air and water", my intuition told me. Rational thought and emotions (Tarot), Spirit (air) and Life (water). And it's true, I realized, I am not troubled by impermanence, like Himmelman; I am in fact comfortable with it (at the moment, at least). Something tells me that it's all the way it's supposed to be—and while I am here I'm going to swim andfly!
How I mixed the media
- Watercolor, acrylics, collage, image transfer, ink pens, Neocolor II crayons
What I like about this page
- The watery, cool background in watercolor and then acrylic and watercolor bubbles.
- Collage elements. It took a long time eacy to find coordinating numbers in magazines, all in pink and white—but I love them. I had the the other collaged images lying around for a while now—including both flowers are actually photographs I took and had printed a while back.
- I like the contrasting warm colors of red and yellow against the cool—and white.
- Grunginess of page, including the transfer borders around page title.
- I like the white script writing of quotes and phrases from Himmelman's lyrics on the blue background.
What I learned
- I experimented with image transfers on a background. I had cut into strips a laser printed image of girls in bright dresses holding bright flowers and prepared to do image transfers of these rainbow strips around the page title—until I remembered that I would be adding water to layers that aren't waterproof. To solve the problem, since background was watercolor and collage pieces were paper, I sprayed page with fixative before the transfer with gel medium.
- I was reminded again about waterproof layers when I attempted to put matte medium over water-based ink. "Tuesday" and "Wednesday" were originally written in pink, non-waterproof ink—you can see pink smudges by the dates still, as the rest got washed away. Oh well—good learning and of course adding black (waterproof) words largely solved the problem.
- Beware of dark backgrounds as they are more difficult to layer words later. I had to add white gesso areas to write in text. But that was too stark, so I basically had to make new backgrounds for the text areas (stamped with mini-bubble stamps (blue and gold acrylic) and washed with pink watercolor). It worked, but each day I had to do it again for the next day, which meant getting out that set of supplies again and again, so it was more time consuming than it should have been. I should have planned and created all the text areas at one time...lesson learned.
What I could have improved
- Journaling with script handwriting is pretty messy. Maybe printing would be better.
- Currently, I'm still sticking close to Julie Balzer's model for her Daily Art Journaling. I like to learn by first starting out with a model, but eventually I know I will find my own way. Like I said, I love her process of adding a little to a spread over several days as a daily practice—I'm committed to art journaling as a daily practice now—but I think I will probably stray from the textual focus on days and maybe look at how I can play with themes or express more in images more, text less. I don't know.
- I will probably continue to include the dates, though - I like the graphic elements of numbers and months, days of week. I need more stamp/stencil options, though, and also pre-clipped numbers from magazines, etc. so I can be at my finger tips when I need them. It takes too much time to search for numbers.
Notes for Future Pages
Trust the process - it works.