Category Archives: Art Journal – A journey of the Soul



I know that heading is a little alarming – but it needs to be.  I help to moderate the fabulous mixed media yahoo group called Paper Traders & every year since our inception, we have had a Round Robin Journal Project & I have hosted the project for the last 3 years.  For the uninitiated, basically – 12 people (our limit) make a journal, decide on a topic, then send their journal of on a travelling adventure around the world.  The journals rotate monthly, and each artist makes a page in everyone's journal until they finally recieve their own back.  Each time we have done it, there have been glitches along the way & sadly, we have people who have not honoured their commitments and literally just not sent journals back to their owners – but what happened this last month has taken the cake!  This month it appears that a international, priority paid, tracked & insured parcel has been very carefully opened (SO CAREFULLY – I can't see how it's been done) and looked through the 3 journals & the other contents of the box – and decided to keep one of the journals and the extra bits & bobs sent to me by the previous artist – and carefully seal the IMG_0002_resizebox back up. 

The box left USA weighing 5lbs 8.5oz and arrived to me in Oz weighing barely 4lb.  Despite there being no signs what so ever of tampering, the box was crushed down one side where the journal and other things 'had been' and now the two remaining journals moved around in the box.  That's where the fun began – despite having all of the safeguards in place, no one could tell us (person who sent parcel, me as recipient or the missing journals' owner) at what point the weight of the parcel changed.  A claim has been put in for insurance, which is SOMETHING at least for the trouble, but I am sure that we'd all just prefer to be able to post our art and know it's safe.  I have to say, I have posted things all around the continent & the world for years, and for the most part, I haven't had a problem.  THIS ONE takes the cake though!   I would caution anyone reading this to think carefully about what you write as the 'contents' of a parcel sent.  You need to use words that are 'honest' for security reasons – but not descriptive enough to raise the interest of any 'would-be' thief.  Perhaps words like: book, paperwork, printed matter, if anyone has any others, it'd be good to hear them.

As host, I felt just terrible about this happening – especially as the pics I had seen of the original journal showed that it was fabulous (no wonder 'peeping thomas/thomasina' decided to steal it!).  The subject was 'The White Rabbit' and being a big Alice fan, I had things on hand that I thought I would be able to use to restore the journal.  It's not perfect, but it is better than getting nothing back.  So here's some pics of the a couple of pages & the cover of the new journal, including a couple of litho etchings I did as my own contribution to the journal.

IMG_0001_resize The Red Queen's Birthday Party IMG_0004_resize IMG_0003_resizeIMG_0021_resize IMG_0009_resizeIMG_0022_resize


Do you like my hat?


I don’t know if any of you ever feel this way, but some times I feel as though i need a voluminous head dress to keep my head together as it is a risk of bursting with all of the thoughts going ’round & ’round.  Do you like my hat?  My head ornament is the only thing holding my head together – without it – my head will come unravelled!


This page in my journal was inspired by a greeting card I saw in a bookshop over the weekend.  I tried a new technique to create tonal variation & those with formal art training art probably going to go ‘dah’……’you didn’t know that???’….but I solidly underpainted it all before I started painting in the features.  On the RHS of the spread, I painted with Golden’s Diox Purple (which is almost black) from the centre to the middle of the nose I used Golden’s Phthalo Blue, & from the bridge of the nose to the LHS, I used Golden’s Red Oxide.  I let it completely dry.  THEN I commenced to paint it as though I had a blank white page spread before me, using the tones & colours I was going to anyway.  In real life, it does look a bit richer & deeper than if I had just painted the colours straight on – & there is lots of layered tones – esp. in the hat.

A Hug from a Tree


TreewebSeeing the spring sunshine dappled through the branches of trees waking up from winter – it is hard to be too sad.  It is said that ‘Time heals all wounds’ however – I think that bright sunshine, baby birds, buds bursting with blossoms & a 2 year old ‘chirping’ around your feet in the garden go a long way.  I started this page three days ago & it sat for a couple of days with the tree, the gardener & her hat & watering can & a big empty space in the middle – now the VERY gorgeous Abby would tell me this was a good thing – to embrace the negative space, however, it seemed VACANT as opposed to ‘negative’.  I came across this quote today & it was just what it needs to balance it out…..It reads…..’alone with myself, the trees bend to caress me.  The shade hugs my heart.  Having spent the morning weeding under my beautiful weeping Japanese Maple, that is about the shape in the journal page – that seemed very appropriate for the page.Crimson_queen_japanese_maple

House of Dreaming


Img_0838_resizeOMG this page was beastly!  It was one of those ones that just didn’t come together well – the sketch was fine & I was happy with the initial composition – but when it came to painting it in – it was just one of those things that the more I painted the worse it got!  I was inspired by the lovely murky lavender grey/mauve/blues in these paper flowers I picked up somewhere & attempting to get over my ‘blue’ phobia – I thought I’d make a dark blue sky – it evolved into blue/black & ended up very black!  This dear woman’s cloak has been green, blue, white, black AND purple trying to get a rubbed back, distressed look – I had about 3 gel transfers that didn’t work – the one that is on the moon is sort of there & sort of not – I JUST WANTED TO TURN THE PAGE OVER in the end – where as the page before, I wanted to keep adding to it – becaue I was really liking how it was looking. The door looks good!  I used interference blue and pearl paint on the moon & that looks great.  I haven’t used the interference paints on black before, but it really looks good – great colour for night scenes.  ANYWAYS – turning the page – I am looking for a totally different inspiration today – but I think I will probably get back in my comfy corner & it will be a page with green on it!!! LOL!!!

The Dream Keeper


Thedreamkeeperweb This is PAGE 1 of the ensemble I have been working on…..although the painting is finished, the page structure is still under construction.  I have torn back the corner of the first page to have ‘The Dream Keeper’ watching over the one ‘In Dreams’ … For the moment I have laid a lazer cut flower sheet between the pages……. this is kind of mimicking bedding or a bedroom dressing screen – it’s not wonderful & it is really difficult to effectively add in as a page – so I am still nutting this out – I am going to have to leave it & come back to it.  I have tried lace, gauze, sheer fabrics, vellum – & none of these work – it is seen both sides, so it really needs to be something that looks good both ways…….. Does anyone have any other ideas?  The challenge – composition wise – is that the ‘white/pale’ face is too much of a contrast next to the deep colours on the preceeding page & you totally ‘loose’ my lovely Dream Keeper.  The other challenge is that I would probably prefer to ‘machine sew’ in something, but that just is not possible with the book dimensions as they are & it being already bound…….. Thinking cap on…. suggestions welcome.

In Dreams


Indreamsrhsweb_2 this is the first installment of my next page ensemble….it involves the story of one page blending into the second page & THIS IS the second page.  I haven’t quite worked out how I am going to do it yet, as some of this will be covered up, but I don’t want to 1. loose too much of this painting (titled: In Dreams) or 2. Reduce the size of my page before it…….my initial thoughts were a pocket – now I am not sure quite how I am going to integrate the two without compromising one or the other…….ok – this is sounding a bit wierd – you will understand more later……. I LOVED doing this face – compared to the work I have been doing lately where I am blending, blending, blending trying to obscure any variance in the shading lines, here, I have almost made a feature of the different tones, & my ‘sleeping beauty’ is a little ‘primative’, but in a good way.  Of course, taking out one of the really complex elements of the face (eyes) made it much quicker to do.  I really labour over the eyes usually, so with her asleep – this came together easily!!! LOL!! ….hopefully I will have some ‘museful’ ideas today & be able to keep working on it as I probably won’t get too much done tomorrow –  I have ‘The Princess’ all day from 6am while her mum works through the day & then all night as it is ‘mum’s’ birthday & she is going out with friends…………and at TWO – she is ALL GO, GO, GO!!

didn’t I just see that?


yes – yes you did – but whenever I create some art for someone else’s journal, I like to make the same page for myself in one of my own journals……usually I create it in my journal FIRST, as a try out because I want to work out the composition before I work in someone else’s book, but in this case, it was for a tip in journal – so the pages were separate peices, so there was no pressureAngelsweb to get it right the first time…….due to the difference in dimensions, the scale & the angel herself is totally different…… the page below is only 8inches square, where as my page is almost 12 inches tall & that makes a difference in what shape you can fit in the space….mind you, I don’t think that she looks that friendly…… this angel is a sentinal – so I want her to be serious!!!! LOL!!!  I used a Golden ‘luminescent gold’ ground on this & Tim Holtz Crackle paint (frayed burlap) over it.  Her hair is gold & there is gold stamping & gold leaf on her robe.

I have drawn in the next page – called The Dream Keeper……(AND – have done a sketch for the last page – I just had this idea that would be a great one for ‘closure’… I have sketched it in, but when I get to it – I may like to do something different – I do want the END to be the last thing I do – so that I do have a sense of closure to the journal & the feelings & processes I have gone through creating it).  ‘The Dream Keeper’ is a really complicated page…….so it is taking me several days to get it happening.  Yesterday, I sketched it in & outlined it last night….  I am hoping to at least get the ‘ground’ in today & work on some of the detail…..I have a Mona Lisa feeling about this creation…….it is coming together nicely……. I might give you a progress shot later – but then – it MIGHT be a mucking fess then – & this might just be a deluded euphoria before it looks ordinary!  Actually, now that I have written that – I think I might just take a pic of it in it’s current state, so I can remember this sensation!!! LOL!!!

I am about to recieve the VERY lovely Jenene’s ‘Backyard Chook Shed’ Journal which is really exciting.  (BTW – HAPPY BIRTHDAY J – have a good one!) This is another of last years RR journals that I am doing an extra page in.  Animals are a ‘different’ topic for me – I am really looking forward to painting a deep russet rooster or doing something whimsical……should be good fun!

Keeping Secrets


Whenever I come across a great composite of words – I feel compelled & inspired to create art out of them!  Such was the case when I came across this quote from Kahlil Gibram…. ‘ If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you cannot blame the wind for revealing them to the trees’ …..Now that was JUST begging to be art – what a fabulous quote.Keepingsecretsweb So two things that I was trying to achieve with this face was 1. surprise & 2. that she was talking to the wind…….I used my own face as a model for the nose, but again, I am seeing eyes a bit out of alignment & the mouth is a bit squidgy as well…. after the scan – hmmmm… Beks had the best idea yesterday – it’s the scanner!!! but really – it’s not, I just think that you sometimes get so involved in a work of art that you miss some of the critical detail.  OBVIOUSLY no Mona Lisa’s this week!! LOL!!  I used colourwash ink to create the background & then layered paper napkins over the top….there are about 4 different layers of text stamps to represent secrets told………. my poor girl does look a bit shell-shocked!  Honestly – I couldn’t work this face anymore – you need a trowel to par back the layers of paint I have trying to get the various features right!! LOL!!  A couple of hundred years down the track some art historian is going to be painstakingly pulling back layer after layer, thinking that the world at this time was going through some sort of paper shortage & that I had repainted it over so many times to reuse the same paper!

In Silence


Silenceweb It always seems to me that it’s only AFTER I get my ‘face of the day’ up on my blog that I see all of it’s faults….In the flesh, in front of me, it looks ok……then I see it scanned & think – somehow the sky doesn’t blend at the neck, between the two pages…….& my ‘moonlight girl’ contemplating silence is too hunched in the shoulders – I did want a hunched look – but not ‘hunchback’!!…….It doesn’t help that my resident art critic just told me ‘I just don’t think that you work very well in this medium – I can see what you are trying to do, but you are not doing it very well – there really wasn’t a lot to say after that!  LOL!!  I bit like when she told me when she was about 8 or 9 years old – ‘Mum, you look like an elephant on that bike!’ ……needless to say, encouragement is NOT one of her natural giftings!  This page was prompted by something Mother Teresa said….See how nature: trees, flowers, grass….grow in peace.  See the stars, the moon & the sun.  How they move in silence.  We need silence to be able to touch souls.

A World Outside


TheworldoutsidewebMy face of the day today is a pensive girl in her living room.  She is not quite as ‘truncated’ as she looks in this scan…. the scan is missing some of the side of her face in the ‘gutter’ of the book, which makes her look like she is pressing her face on the glass.  I am half way through my journal now & as usual – I have just ‘added’ 3D elements to pages with gay abandon & now it is getting a bit ‘unwieldy’ to manage – a bit difficult to get a clean stamped image – bumps when I am sticking something on (imposible to use a brayer), etc.  Certainly – very difficult to scan.  I may have to resort to photos for some of these middle pages – but they don’t tend to show up the detail very well.  I had fun creating this background – it’s made from watercolour crayons – then I blotted it off with paper towel, which gives an impression of striped wallpaper……then I stamped over it……….her dress is from some lovely fabric that I’ve been keeping for a special project.  I ‘collaged’ her hair by using strips of map, but as it’s tones were orangy, it got lost in her facial tones – so I have darkened it up using walnut ink……..I am still working on refining ‘tones’ of flesh & alignment of features – I am starting to get migration of background paints & colours from page to page as I am working in it – but I am not minding it – each page already has a bit of ‘grunge’ on it & looks a little worn in before I even get started……which is nice…..