Art Journal variations on a theme

The three journals featured in today’s post are getting quite full. One contains only projects completed during my art journal adventure workshops and the other two have a mix of workshop pages and other experiments and explorations. I have enjoyed art journalling for years but in the last twelve months it has captured more of my interest. Possible techniques or layouts continue to pop into my head waiting for a chance to be tried in the newer 6″x 6″ Ranger journals or the 6″x 9″ Fabriano journals I started years ago.

Sometimes I design a page especially with the art journal adventure in mind. Other times I look through the journals and decide to feature a technique, theme or mixed media material. By the time I have tried the page once or twice then completed fresh ones during the workshops I have four or five pages made with the same theme or technique. I am not keen to make the same thing more than once so I am always thinking about different ways to approach each page.

The five spreads featured today started with the one below (featured in more detail in a previous blog post). The technique remained the same for at each workshop, but the shapes, colours and layout varied from one session to the next.

Of course not only are my pages different from each other but every page in the class is unique and I am always inspired by the colour choices, additional elements and different approaches each participant takes. Inspiration abounds. Can you tell I am enjoying myself?

Supplies
(Compensated affiliate links used when possible)


Home is… journal page

The shenanigans continue in my Art Journal Adventures workshops. Last month the theme was collage & texture and the range of pages was amazing. We all chose different papers, colours and focal images but followed a similar method to put them together.

For this spread I relied heavily on my growing collection of gel prints. The little cottage picture is from a greeting card and I used it as a starting point when settling on colours. All the papers you can see are gel prints I made except for one kraft scrap down the bottom with text stamped on it. I added gesso as well as texture using modeling paste through the Ciao Bella patchwork stencil.

During each session of the class it was definitely a treat to walk around and be inspired by the ideas coming to life on all the pages. Some participants had their own stash of gel prints to draw from, others used some of mine. It was fun to see my prints pop up on other people’s pages. I loved it!

This week we are working on Tea and Coffee themed pages and next month it will be texture & movement. If you are close by and haven’t tried gel printing, I’m teaching another introductory class on July 9.

The sweet cottage with sheep at the gate looks nothing like my house! I do grow morning glory but that is about the only similarity. Home is definitely where my people are which means I have two homes very far apart. Although very much at home in Canada I claim Australia as home too, how could I not, some of my favourite people are there!

Supplies


Coffee art journal page

I’ve been having a delightful time in my art journals and in the Art Journal Adventure workshops. We have gone in three different directions so far and the next one is coffee or tea themed. You can see an example of a tea themed page on my classes page and here is my first coffee page.

It doesn’t show up in the photo but the red cup is embossed and glossy and I want one just like it in real life! I used distress embossing glaze for both the words and the cup then had to create a visual triangle in red, do you see it?

I am currently not a coffee drinker which actually makes the quote all the more apt for me. I love the aroma! For Christmas I gave my husband a coffee subscription and each month the coffee comes in a cardboard package which smells delightful as does the mailbox !

If you are interested in joining in the art journal adventure please check out my Classes page where you will see the next two sessions or click on the Crop A While classes page.

Supplies


Remember when we all had library cards?

I have always loved the library, perhaps now more than ever. I remember as a child having my own library card at the Civic Library in Canberra as well as library cards at school. Filling a library card with date stamps seemed a worthy achievement and then I would get a fresh new card. If only I had kept those cards for forty years later when I wanted to put one in an art journal! I worked in my 9″x 6″ ‘literary themed journal’ for this one not the 6″x 6″ I’ve been sharing a lot lately.

The library card on this journal page I made with a new Darkroom Door stamp, but I’m guessing you already knew that! The new set ‘library books’ includes a library card stamp, two stacks of books, an open book and three quote stamps. What can I say; it’s a delight.

This page was not a delight most of the way through but as I tell the participants in my art journal adventure classes this is often the case. Many pages really do not pull through until the very end. It is an example of a collage page which is what we will be doing in Art Journal Adventure Episode #3. All the dates are listed and linked on my Classes page including a couple of Episode #2 sessions next week.

I began this spread by gluing down pieces of old book pages. If you look at the top right corner of the photo above you will see the aged rounded corner of an old page. It has been become one of my favourite collage tricks to stick the book corners over my page corners then cut away the journal page behind to leave that soft round corner. I did it on all four corners of this page. After the old book pages I added stamping, paint and a couple of photos of books from magazines. More paint then more books using stamps from the DD set ‘bookworm’. I had already stamped my library card, distressed it and set it aside.

The stacks of very old books I made by stamping the DD ‘bookshelf’ border stamp on some gel prints. I cut them out (fussy) and defined some edges and spine details with markers. Once everything was glued down I added splatter and ink blending and some partial stamping with the DD world map stamp. Last but not least a wonderful quote.

I couldn’t end a post like this without asking for a couple of book recommendations. You have helped me before so please leave a recent favourite in the comments below. A few months back I read the first two books in a trilogy and now I am very keen for the third to be published. They were The Lost Queen and The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike. I also enjoyed The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and have The Wild Silence, her second book, waiting for me at the library. I’m in the middle of Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy which introduced me to her story telling podcast. That’s enough from me; I want to hear from you.

Supplies


Circle Flowers journal page

Last week I spent several happy hours gel printing. One of the prints I completed has ended all over this art journal spread. If you are a gel printer you know you can sometimes pull a couple of prints of the same design. The first one is full of colour and pattern and the second is often called a ghost print as it displays outlines and left over bits of paint.

For this journal page I used both the bold blue and green print and the ghost print. The ghost print can be seen on the top left and bottom right corners and is peeping out in a couple of other places. The first print which was very geometrical has been turned into circle flowers. It also had traces of a new stencil called ‘pods’. You will see more of it here on the blog because it is fabulous!

Also in the background you might see some black ink stamping (DD mesh and alphabet medley) and the texture of paste through the DD ‘checkered stencil. The text you see is a fabric tape with dictionary definitions of happiness; it is the first 49 & Market product I have bought and it is going to be handy!

There is plenty of white gesso over the background to pull it together and mute some of the bold elements.

The flowers are all cut with Penny Black ‘abstract flowers’ dies which basically cut slightly wonky circles so I could have cut them myself but why bother when the machine will do it. The print was on rice paper so I could cut a few layers at once. After drawing an edge on each circle with a silver paint pen I stuck a small circle on a larger one, then sewed a cross in the centre with silver thread. There are stems in the set of dies but I doodled mine with a black marker. The blue splatters and pops of pink are from inktense pencils which are coming in handy for art journalling.

I know that was a lot of photos and chit chat but that is the way with some art journal pages especially the collage ones which involve different papers, paints, stencils, and mediums. I probably haven’t mentioned everything I used but if you are still here now I’m sure you’ve heard enough!

If you are in Ottawa and feel like doing a little art journalling of your own, there are still spaces left in my next Art Journal Adventure workshop where we will be creating a watercolour green and leafy spread similar to what you see below. All the details are on the Crop A While website.

Supplies


Birches on Kraft

These two pages began as ‘clean up’ pages after completing pages in another art journal. I had some pink and brown paints left over and also some blue with brown. I used an old key card to lift the excess paint and swiped it onto the pages in my 6×6 kraft journal.

I didn’t have a plan straight away but a few weeks later I pulled out an Alexandra Renke stencil which I’d never used and decided to do a couple of simple landscape pages.

The stencil exposes only the edges of the birch trees which I wanted to be black so I mixed some black gesso with some black texture paste to make it thicker then spread it through the stencil onto the painted pages. Once it dried I painted the white spaces first with white gesso but it wasn’t opaque enough so I used Dr Ph Martin’s Bleedproof white paint.

After completing the trees I painted some snow covered hills with the same white paint and diluted them with water to reveal the land underneath. This is the opposite technique to my usual watercolour technique where I paint the shadows or hills and dilute the tops.

So far I have tried distress sprays, gel pens, acrylic paints and texture paste on the kraft pages. As long as I include some light colours in my designs the brown background words really well. Next experiment? Collage, stamping or maybe coloured pencils.

Supplies


A Wintry Introduction to Art Journalling

My Art Journal Adventure workshops kicked off last Saturday with this wintry page. As I mentioned yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was great to be in the room as the creating happened. I know not all my readers live near me but if you are in Ottawa and would like to do some art journalling there are still a few places in the next two Wintry Introduction sessions (March 4 & March 12). Hope you are not too tired of seeing all things winter but at least I have titled the above pages ‘winter’s end’!

This is another take on the wintry theme. If you haven’t tried art journalling before you will not be alone. Click over to the Crop A While website to learn more or register. If you drop into Crop A While one of my journals is there to give you an idea of what we’ll be doing this week and in future episodes of the Art Journal Adventure.

Tomorrow we will return to regular programming…


Doodle on Kraft

As you know I’ve been enjoying the 6″x 6″ white Dina Wakley journal; I have two on the go now full of experiments and ideas for my upcoming Art Journal Adventure workshop. Ranger has also made a kraft journal the same size so yes, I had to try it.

As you can see in these photos working on a kraft background tones down the colours used on top. I could paint the pages white before starting but I am interested in experimenting with kraft backgrounds for now. I also bought a few distress oxide sprays the other day. I love the traditional distress sprays but hadn’t tried the oxide sprays before. They are a good match for the kraft journal as a little ink soaks in while plenty of pigment sits on the surface.

I used prize ribbon and worn lipstick sprays on this page then doodled with a black gel pen. For inspiration I looked at zentangle pages I’d saved on pinterest and instagram and adapted them to spread across the pages. I also found pink and blue metallic gel pens from years ago and did some colouring in. I used a white gel pen to highlight parts of my design.

As I worked I wanted to make everything brighter to compensate for the brown background but that is an experiment for another page. If I had started my doodling in white the overall effect would be brighter but I like the opacity of the black.

I found the quote in a book I am currently reading and it seemed to fit my meandering pattern.

The art journal workshops that were originally planned for January have been rescheduled in late February and early March. You can find out more on my classes page or on the Crop A While website where you can register for either the March 4th or 12th workshop.

Supplies


Crumple & Colour journal page

While creating art journal pages lately I’ve noticed that they often look a bit rubbishy until the end or just before the end! It’s a good thing to keep in mind throughout the process, especially as the process sometimes stretches over a few days.

I started this page while I was at Crop A While and a friend looked over at me and said, “Heather is having fun playing with toilet paper!” For the record I was having fun with tissue paper not toilet paper! Working in the 6″x 6″ Dina Wakley journal I glued crumpled tissue paper over the whole spread with gel medium, scrunching it as I went to make folds and texture over the pages. (it didn’t look at all special at this point)

Later I used my Dr Ph Martin’s hydrus watercolours to drop blue, yellow and red ink over the pages. I worked one ink at a time tilting and diluting the ink so it would spread over and around the crumpled paper. (still underwhelming)

I let the watercolours dry and left the page for several days. The colours were bright and there were some nice blends and patterns but too bright for me so I painted over the spread with white gesso. My aim was not to totally cover the watercolours but to soften their impact and highlight the texture of the paper. I used my fingers to move the paint and a baby wipe to remove it where it was too thick. (looking better but still messy)

Settling on a focal point for an art journal page is sometimes hard; I don’t always begin with one in mind. You won’t be too surprised to see I chose flowers. I have a box of gel printed panels, some on rice paper and some on light card or computer paper. I found several prints on rice paper that matched the colours on the page and doodled flowers and leaves on them with a permanent black marker. I cut them out and started arranging them on the pages. (it was beginning to show promise)

After quite a few rearrangements I glued down the flowers and leaves making sure I didn’t cover up all the yummy colour and texture but also didn’t cover up the important white space. (it was finally looking ok) With the elements in place I continued to doodle more foliage on the pages including a border around the whole spread. I scribbled some thoughts around the flowers then splattered gold paint over the finished pages.

I am very happy with the final result but had no idea it would end up like this. At one point during the process I thought, “hmmm, I don’t think I’ll do this technique again…”

But I will.

Supplies


Beauty of the Earth journal page

I have another double page spread in the 6″x 6″ journal today. Don’t tell the others but this one seems to be getting all the attention at present!

The pages in this journal are thick watercolour paper so I wanted to take advantage of that and use watercolour techniques. Most of the pages I have completed up until now have had a base layer of gesso or acrylic paint.

As you can see I taped the edges of the pages with tape before starting. I added some stamping in black here and there using a stamp from the Darkroom Door ‘number medley’ set. Next I used the DD ‘honeycomb’ stencil and modeling paste to add a texture strip from left to right down the centre of the spread. I added a small section bottom left also. Once the paste was dry I began painting colour around the honeycomb and across both pages. I spent a while doing this so as to see the blends and build up some depth of colour.

Other than some black stamping I used only three colours of distress ink, both spray stain and from the ink pads. I took care to keep some white space; sometimes I realise too late that I have colour all over the pages. I stamped some grasses in peeled paint archival ink so they would not dilute and broken china distress ink so they would dilute. I also stamped sections of the world map in rusty hinge. Although I loved the combo of peeled paint, rusty hinge and broken china I thought a bit of metallic shine would be nice so I added some wildflowers embossed in Brutus Monroe ‘penny’ powder.

With a copper coloured gel pen I wrote the first verse of ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ in the lower right hand corner then added the embossed word ‘beautiful’. And of course there is some copper splatter to finish it off. This is a style and look I have been hoping to create so you’ll probably see a few more like this one.

Supplies