Make a Gratitude Journal ~ Out of Paint Chip Cards!

Ahh, so often I can be super wordy…I know, I know, that’s probably way understating it, lol. This time, though, it’s all about the pics.  I will direct you back to a previous blog post, Thank-You For’s, to see our family philosophy on gratitude and thanking God for all of the wonderful goodness He brings into our lives.

Nope, not too many words of explanation needed here.  Only that I decided to make my own gratitude art journal, using paint sample chip cards as my journal pages, and making space for a month’s worth of thank-you for’s.  And the rest is pics of the lovely mess I made 🙂

This is the cover.

GJ Cover

They’re connected via a large binder ring at the top corner.

GJ 8 GJ 7

GJ 6 GJ 5

GJ 4 GJ 3

GJ 2 GJ 1

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It’s All About the Means

Okay, so this is not one of my most “artistic” journal pages…It’s definitely not going to win Super-Art-Journal-Page-of-the-Year-Award.

What it is, though, is a great example of using art and my art journal to use the process to work out junk in my head.  It’s a great example of being way less worried about the finished page than the process itself.  And it’s a great example of a messy, fun, freeing art journal page…I wrote my background text in my home-made fountain pen (see how to make one here) and sumi ink and then painted and stamped and doodled and played with bubble wrap…you know, everything but the kitchen sink went on to this page 🙂  But, oh, the fun I had, it felt great to just play in the art supplies and get myself over the grouch that was holding me when I started!!

Trust in Him 3

And here’s a great technique tip for you, if you shy away from putting your thoughts into words on your journal pages: write down your thoughts, anything that you want to get out and onto the page, and then let that be the background.  Paint over it.  Gesso over it.  Stamp over it.  But get it obscured a bit.

The release comes from writing down the thoughts plaguing your brain, and then working the positive outcome or solution on top of that.  It’s cathartic.

And you don’t have to be concerned with leaving all of your bare thoughts in the open on top of the page.  Or about leaving something less-than-positive out in the open, for you to face every time you flip through your art journal.

Prompt for you: Grab your journal, and scribble out any thoughts that you’ve been battling.  And then work your magic over it!  Have fun and get messy, it’s way better than blowing one of those fake bubbles away into the air!

Artful Play, or Jump Out of Your Comfort Zone

How often do you get outside of your comfort zone, playing with artsy materials that are not in your lineup of faves?  How often do you grab something that you haven’t played with before or in a really long time?  Or that you haven’t exploited fully?

This may seem a bit bizarre, but it’s true.  I have never really played with chalk pastels.  I know, I know, they are plentiful and cost-friendly, and it seems like everyone who has ever arted at all has some lying around somewhere.  And how could I have made it all the way through grade-school without ever really playing with them??

The few times I have tried to use pastels, I’ve ended up frustrated and unhappy.  I don’t like the mess, I seem to get chalk all over the place, and hardly where I actually want it.  I don’t like the scratchy noise and feeling from scribbling with them.  I don’t like that I have to stop along the way and spray some kind of something on them to keep them where I put them.

I had a bunch of ideas about how chalk pastels are just not for me.

I also have a list of self-motivational prompts to get my creative juices flowing when I’m looking for new inspirations.  I have a note to myself on that list to try new things, new mediums, new techniques.

I’ve been pondering the chalks for a little while, mostly because I have several different sets of them, all kinds of colors, and even different brands and qualities.  Seemed kind of silly to let all of that color go to waste.

I also attend YouTube University, always hunting down a video when I want to try something totally new.  I like to just “download” the information, and turning around and saying, “I know Kung Fu”…

And I tend to be braver if I’ve seen somewhere how it’s done.

Not so with this little bit of fun!  I just pondered the whole thing for a week or so.  Then I had a bit of an a-ha! moment…and grabbed the boxes of colors and got down to it.

I can safely say that I really like my pastels now!  Ha, imagine that, I managed to get past my silly ole brain and inner critic and just made some color love!

I realize that looking at the pics of this art journal madness, that you might not see right away where I managed to get some of the chalks involved, lol.  Believe it or not, I used the chalks for the flowers.

Tulips plain

And I did the playing with the chalks and the flowers first.  The “background” came after that!  So I am including pics here for you of the flowers, before I started mucking it all up with my usual mess.

The whole thing was a total blast.  I enjoyed it, I felt like I was playing, I never did hate it during the process (which is a step in my usual process), I just really loved this whole thing.  Will definitely be playing in the pastels again.

 

Tulips Right Side 1

Tulips Left Side 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip: After scribbling with the pastels on the sketch, I used a paintbrush and water to smear and blend the color.  After letting it mostly dry, I hit it with some gel medium, I used matte cuz that’s what I had within reach.  I’ll be trying gloss next time…After all that was nice and dry, I painted the blue background and got to adding all of the other stuff.  Fun, fun!!

Prompt: Now go and grab something you haven’t played with ever, or in a long time, and make something!!!

A Little Bit of Pen Love

After the whirlwind of Valentine posts, I got a little blog shy…or maybe just a bit blog tired…

And after my totally planned set of posts and projects for the holiday, I found myself playing with several projects, not really getting any one thing completed.  I just went kind of scatter-brained!

I do have some upcoming fun stuff to share, I’m almost finished with a gratitude journal made out of paint chips, a couple of junk journals, and some fun doodle-paintings on music paper.

I also spent the last couple of evenings with my now 8-year old girlie, making foam stamps and practicing origami.  I must say, I really suck at the whole origami thing, though.  She’s way better than I, and she thinks she needs to look at me to direct her, poor baby.

Home is Where My Heart Is 2

 

So, today’s bit of goodness, a bit of advisement for those of you that like to use pens on top of other layers.  I’ve had a running conversation with some good folks on fb, on Art of Wild Abandonment 2 (class via Christy Tomlinson and Junelle Halstrom Jacobsen), and it always seems to come back to the question of what kind of pen do I use to draw on NeoColors II (you can check out some my other ramblings on these little sweeties here):

My fave fave fave pen is the Pilot Uni-ball Vision.  It’s waterproof once it sets, it comes in different colors (although I mostly use black), it’s fine point, and it’s readily available at most office supply stores.  And maybe Wal Mart.

The waterproof thing is super important for me, cuz along with always remembering something else I wanted to add to my project after doodling, I am left-handed, and I drag my own hand through whatever I write…thereby smearing my own handwriting.  Constantly.

Now, no matter how awesome the pen, you still have to keep a couple of things in mind when you’re doodling all over your other stuff.  Gel pens and liquid roller ball pens work, but they can get all gunked up with the wax-y color from the wax crayons.

So, first, if you really wait long enough to let your colors dry all the way and set a bit, it will be easier.  I know that’s easier said than done, I’m totally impatient and mess with stuff way before it’s totally dry.  Try not to go too fast with the pen (tough for me when I’m doodling!).  Keep a scratch pad nearby, and you can scribble on it to get the wax or gunk or paint or whatever off of the tip and start doodling again.  And keep a light hand, if you press too hard, it’s way easier to get the ball or the tip all blocked with gunk.

When I am not feeling way too impatient to get to the doodling, I actually will stop and spray the project with clear, matte polyurethane.  It dries fast, and then you can do more work right on top of that.  It keeps a bit of a tooth.  You can doodle, use more paint, more NeoColors, do shading, glue more stuff on, and you don’t mess up what’s underneath.  And you can wipe a mark off if you’re quick, if you decide you don’t like the mark you just made.

Again, I’m not often patient enough to stop and do the step of spraying.  On my larger projects, like canvases, I do this step.

Now I’m off to a Friday night date with the hubby and kidlets…we’re going to JoAnn’s, I have a coupon!!!  I get to walk around one of my fave stores, holding hands with the hubs, looking at art supplies.  Doesn’t get much better than that 🙂

Have a great weekend, and let us know in the comments section if you have good tips on pens, what you like to use, how you cope with goo getting in the way!

Home is Where My Heart Is

 

Valentine Card with Caulk and Paint Chips, a Technique Video

Prompt: Have you tried using caulk for texture?  Try caulk in your art journal…These techniques work well on paper, as well as canvas.  And anything can be used as stencils and texturing tools in the caulk.  Try something new!

Another Mash Note Journal Page, and Playing with Old Jeans

I’ve been digging around in the bags of old clothes and jeans that I save for projects.  Kids outgrow them, a knee gets torn up, a tee shirt gets worn out.  It all ends up in my bags of Art Fodder™, thrown out in the stacks in my garage…

So I found some cute sparkly jeans, and a denim drawstring from some unknown pair of jeans, long ago separated from its counterpart.

denimin hearts right closeupAs I played in my art journal today, thinking about Valentine’s Day and all that my hubby means to me, I ended up writing more than I intended to write before I photographed the pages, lol.  So I’m sharing with you one side of the spread, and just a closeup of the drawstring on the other side of the spread.

The cute tiny marriage certificate from an antique bridal book and the love letters are scanned, re-sized, and printed from my stacks of ephemera.

I needed some play time in my journal today.  And writing another mash note keeps my hubby walking around smiling.

Denim Hearts Journal Page

Prompt:  Focus on what your significant other means to you.  Paint or color your journal page while you’re thinking.  Let the colors and/or words come to you as you’re pondering.  And how could you use some old jeans to make something fun in your art journal??

Hallmark Card, or Mixed Media Canvas for Valentine’s Day?

This is the third mixed media work in my Valentine canvas series.

I built up the texture-y background with tissue paper as the very first step.  All the other paint, marker, NeoColor, stamp ink and paper all went on top of the tissue paper layer.  I did not gesso in between the tissue and the other stuff.

I welcome any questions, this was a time-consuming and tedious work, as I painted the stripes and all of the shading.

But for now, I am off to play on this beautiful Saturday with the hubs…he’s fixin’ to start cookin’, and we’re keeping our Another Perfect Saturday roll going 🙂

Have a great rest of your weekend…and go make something for your honey for Happy I Love You Day!!

True Love

True Love Canvas Closeup 3True Love Canvas Closeup 2

Always Be Courting, a Caulk Canvas and Technique Video

Oh, my gosh!  I missed a Valentine post yesterday!  The shame…but I may have an okay excuse, I was helping the teenager with finishing up his science fair project.  Which of course was due today.

I don’t think I ever got a science fair project completed earlier than the night before, either.  And I’m pretty sure my parents would say they were always up late the night before with me, griping that I waited till the last minute to get it done.  Ha!  I did turn into my parents!

I must say, though, that I had no idea that you could measure the speed of light at home using a microwave and a bag of chocolate chips.

So here we are on Friday, the Friday before Valentine’s Day.  You still have the weekend to ponder prepping your love notes and making lovey-dovey projects for your heart-throb.

I am using the heart-theme to its full advantage 🙂

Always Be Courting

This canvas and video is one of my very favorite techniques.  It started a while back when Christopher saw that I was fighting the whole texture problem.  I would spend so much time adding layers, 2-D layers, of visual interest…which resulted in the look of texture, but not so much in actual tactile texture.  While a lot of art journaling techniques are all about adding the visual kind of texture, I was looking for tactile texture.  Something you can reach out and touch.  Something different, something that added serious dimension to my works.

Along came Christopher with a pile of tubes of caulk.  Ahhh, my texturing life got really exciting from there!  You can see one of my very first works using the caulk here (which is still one of my favorites, probably because of the emotional tie I have to it as my first caulk canvas, lol).

This video does NOT go into detail on painting the caulk texture.  It is a look into working the caulk, both on the background and on the foreground.  Color will come later.

And…this is my first appearance on video, for the intro.  You will see, I was extremely nervous, feeling super bashful, and clearly aware of the camera.  I am hoping with practice and time it will feel more natural.  So be nice.

Without further ado, here ya go.

Mash Note Art Journal Page, a Valentine Love Note

My hubby and I have a happy, joyful marriage. I attribute that in large part to the fact that we are still courting each other…even after years of marriage.

We are both still trying to be on our best behavior. We still treat each other as if we’re not a sure thing, lol.

I think of Christopher as my boyfriend. I walk around with little heart bubbles popping around outside my head, like in the cartoons!

And I make lots of love notes and lovey journal pages and what we call mash notes. Much of my writings and artworks are all about how I feel about Christopher.

What better time than our Valentine’s celebration to do some more??

This journal page uses some techniques I saw in Creative Jump Start 2013 as well, which was an inspirational blast, by the way.

I have done lots and lots of lists (I am quite the list-maker) of my favorite things about Christopher…my 10 favorite things, my top 100 favorite things, the reasons I think he’s a good Dad or hubby or best friend,etc.

The left-side of the page is the second photo. The right-side of the page, the side with all of the love notes, is somewhat obscured by the stencil I made…so that hopefully some of my dorky musings are not so in-your face! And so you can see what I made to use in the left-hand page 🙂

PROPMT: Make a list of all of the things you love most about your significant other. Make a journal page highlighting the list, or make a love note.

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Kiss Me, a Canvas for My Valentine

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight

Lead me out on the moonlit floor

Lift your open hand

Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance

Silver moon’s sparkling

So kiss me

~ Sixpence None the Richer, Kiss Me

Kiss Me closeupI sometimes get so caught up in thinkin’ about the subjects for my canvases.  Like so many of us, I fret over the empty canvas.  I look at it and worry that I’m going to “ruin” a canvas.  My art journals give me way less grief, because the paper seems so much less permanent and less expensive and less important somehow.

I can spend tons of time and loving arting energy on the paper, and then when I get to a canvas, I get all choked up, thinking that I have to make something perfect just because it’s a canvas.

I have been working on breaking through that barrier (always, always, keep on swimming, keep breaking the next barrier, keep Stretching the Boundaries).  One thing that has helped is to look at my canvas as a great big art journal page.  If I make something that ultimately I don’t like, I can always gesso and paint and glue stuff over it!  I forget that too often.

So I’m learning to work faster than my fear.  Just get the canvas out, and get started.  Make something.  And stop thinking so much (which is super difficult for me!).

Kiss Me heart closeupThe other thing that has been helping is to think less about the actual subject.  I’m going with what’s in my heart, using the images and ideas and subjects that I use on a daily basis in my art journals…that is, expressing the same ideas that I express in my journals, just in a bigger way on the canvas.  Those subjects for me are love, friendship, flowers, the beauty in the world around me, my joy in my kidlets, and my relationship with God.

Silly, I know.  Why are those subjects good enough for the journal pages and not so much for the canvas?  Why would I fight that??

Well, I’ll fight it no longer.  While I have used my journaling often as a place to work out what will later go on a canvas, as a practice spot so to speak, I realized that I need to take to the canvas the same joy that I have while working in my journals.

And I do have Happy I Love You Day on the brain (really, you ask??).  Yep, I do.

That brings us to the first in a small series of heart canvases.

Kiss Me 3

Prompt: Make something larger, something more out there, get out of the journal and onto a canvas, or a piece of wood, or a wall even…but get brave, treat the canvas like you treat your art journal.  Make something fabulous and playful, just like you’ll do in your journal.