Category Archives: ART JOURNAL – A PLACE TO BEGIN ONE

looking for a quiet place

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I have had an interesting few months since last time I wrote.  I think this is the longest time I have gone without a post since I started blogging in 2006.  Yes there have been life distractions – but more than that, I have sat at the keyboard so many times thinking – I will not go to bed until I post – only to be distracted by the slightest thing.  No, not writer’s block…….I am wanting to break away, break the mold my art has settled in – I am still searching for my voice………..I am want to find something – inside me……  It started in about late October last year when I created that ‘murky’ greeny, collaged junk journal…….which I loathed (& still sits on the shelf where it landed after I photographed it!)………..I parred back and started to create a journal using white, titan buff & burnt umber – with just small amounts of colour on the pages…………and while it is a ‘nice’ journal (BTW – by the end pages – I was in FULL colour again! LOL!) – it is still not authentic…….it’s a mish mash of things I have seen in books, life experiences, You Tube vids, coffee conversations……I spent the two years I was at art school trying to figure out where the dividing line in the sand was between art & craft (so mercilously distained)……..and I think I am kinda getting it……its about contemplation, reflection, gestation, inspiration, time……..so much of what is around at the moment is the same…………. and I was making more of it……….what began as intuitive, use what’s on hand, use ANYTHING art of mixed media, has become formulaic & predictable……..In the world of everyone being published it seemed to me that much of what is around (whilst beautiful & inspiring publications in their own right) are just variations of the same thing.  Gel transfers & stencilled lines & dots & texture paste & stitching & golden paints………..and sooooooooooo many girls faces…………..soooooooooooo many journalling books.   ..I felt like a fraud…..whilst I believe the plethora of resources is equiping & encouraging people that may never have tried in the past – it is also almost creating a ‘style bias’………. I ache for fresh.  I have it.  I just can’t find within me yet…….. so I just stopped.  I didn’t do any art.  My family noticed it first.  I was crabby and not nice.  Too often.  I realized that I can’t separate the creating thing from who I am.  I must art.  Misty expresses it, as ever, with such poetry & elegance…………

So much of what Misty says here resonates with my soul – but I want more.  I spent a disproportionate amount of money to cross the country, thinking a different environment, with different tools & different influences would produced……….um, well………..DIFFERENT art……….alas – NOT.

So, little by little I have been playing – not turning any heads – nothing of any significance…………..dabling, sorting, questioning, writing………hoping………..for fresh.

I am blessed to be surrounded by influences like Seth Apter………who encourages & nutures artists into being………& am honoured to be a part of his blog this week…..you can check it & other entries out here:

I’ll keep you posted………….

old is new again

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WOW – only a week in as a FB newbie & I love it!  Have touched base with heaps of old friends and have even managed a 'catch-up' coffee & a dinner date for this week.  Facebook's not my only 'uncovery' of IMG_0592the week – I have also managed to discover iPhonography (like I need ONE more distraction from my iPhone…………..my hubbie just groans & mummbles something inaudible as I display to him my latest iPhone discovery………….warble, warble, fandangled……warble………)…. I am not going to go on about that here, I have done a post about that on my journalling blog if you'd like to look – it is pretty amazing what can be done with 2mg camera + iPhone apps = fascinating results………here's a peak of one of them

What I have been concerntrating on (art wise) is finishing off to very special gifts (!gulp!!! - they are actually a CHRISTMAS present! - we have this understanding see – by recieving late gifts, the celebration lasts longer!)…… these friends are adopted 'family' & we have an understanding about these things! – don't we guys????  we still do – yeah???? LOL!) - I just can't seem to finish it I think I'm done – but then I want to add more - I leave it a day or overnight, and then hate it when I come back to it.  I swear I procrastinate in a way now over my art in a way I NEVER did before art school – here's a clue for budding artists – DON'T go!  ANYWAYS, enough of my cynicsm (sp?) - I have been on the computer all evening – still haven't bought it to a conclusion – and it's time for bed.  TOMORROW i WILL do better! (ummmm……if I don't open my Facebook page! [sheepish grin]

 Here's a sneak peak of a little – as it isn't sent yet – I won't show too much – but just a little eye candy! IMG_1511_resize
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I have been exploring the concept of Wabi-Sabi with this project and I have to say that I have a nurtured & growing appreciation for it.  I'll explain more about this later when I finally post it.  Finishing this off has kept me quite busy as there is a lot of work involved – but it's a labour of love for special friends and so I want it to be unique!

AND to finish off on a great note!  An absolutely intriguing YouTube video of an altered book form.  It's not new – it's another of my uncoveries of the week!

computer woes

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Christmas has come and gone & I am sorry peoples – despite my best intentions – I have something wrong with my 'puter & it's NOT well!  This has stopped me from posting my promised freebies, it has a pending appointment with the computer doctor & I am unsure how long it will be away – SO – I will post some images for you for use today (as a separate post) & hope to be able to have a concurrent give away in a month or so.

A couple of good things happening in the art world – AlphaStamps has some GREAT "9 Days of Giveaways!" give aways happening right now on the blog, along with a big post Christmas sale.  Lots of chances to win but its already day 2 so hurry over and see all the great goodies you could win. For full contest rules, click here

For all you art journallers out there – we are starting a great new art journal project at Paper Traders which will run for several months & have a combination of prompts, techniques & challenges.4-227 Tote Bag_resize

I have been continuing with my EDM drawings, albiet, not daily, as I am also doing a little patchwork. (more about that later)  I have scanned all of my EDM drawings to date & they are in their books on my Flickr site – if you click on the drawing above, it will link you to my site, if for some reason it doesn't – here's the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecolourguru/collections/72157608675713059/

I used to patchwork & quilt alot however it really took it's toll on my arm & finger joints, particularly coupled with working on a computer in my work-a-day life.  I made quilts when the grandbabies each arrived, and it is with hope that I have started another one.  I am hopeful in annoucing that we are expecting another little one in April.  I have waited this long to announce it because of the two little loves we sent to heaven in the last year, as each week goes by, (currently 23 weeks) we are more and more hopeful that this little one will be with us.  If you click on the image it will take you to my Flickr site where I have posted the other blocks I have completed so far (each block is 15" square)

Nurture_resizeMiss 3 has lots of wisdom on this, when discussing the prospect of a new little one she said:

'Nonna, Aunty is having a little girl baby,' says she with a very serious face.
'How do you know? I asked.
'Well, we don't want any more boys around here!' she replied completely nonchalant, and continued with her playing……further pearls of wisdom were revealed a little while later, when she said

'Nonna, God sent me, to you to love, didn't He?'
'Yes darling,' I replied with a cuddle……
'And for icecream' she added…..

Click to join Paper_Traders

Click to join Paper_Traders

WARNING TO ART JOURNALLERS

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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

Bird Bath

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thanks for all of your encouraging comments about my ‘journal’ post.  BirdbathwebI hope one day to host a ‘journalling’ site – for the moment I want to keep working on creating them – day by day…..and here is the very first page of my new one – it’s for an Art Retreat I am going to next year & the hosts are posting a journal prompt each month & is offering a bag of goodies to the person judged with the ‘best’ (not sure of the criteria) journal – it might be the most popular or something like that.  The first prompt was birds. This little fellow was painted using acrylics & various pens & pencils over the top for detailing of his feathers.  The page joins in the middle of the diamond and I am not quite sure how I am going to bind it yet – jury is still out on that one…..probably Zutter binding or holes – not sure yet. (I have lost a little bit of the bird bath in the ‘stitching’ together of the scans, so it looks a bit skewed)

ART JOURNALLING

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In looking through my catagories recently, I noticed how many art journal headings were starting to accumulate there.  I am just about finished my 'Journey of the Soul Journal' (I have about 5 spreads to go) AND tonight I am creating a new journal for the Creative Soul Artistic Retreat in March 2009.   Someone wrote to me recently & asked me how to start one & in answer to that, I thought that I'd start YET another catagory, a more general one for art journalling, so that I can add some tips & pointers along the way for those just starting out with their journals.  Nothing beats some good EYE CANDY to get you going – here is a few of my favs –

The Art of Personal Imagery – Corey Moortgat
– really lovely book, with some very practical helps & pointers.  Corey encourages you to mix the worlds of memory keeper & artist to create unique art journals that you & your family will treasure forever.

Collage for the Soul – Holly Harrison
– there is some great eye candy here, some of my favourite – however just check the other titles you have for duplication.  This work has been 're-published' in several books & I have duplicated it in my collection.
there are literally hundreds of books out there – of all different kinds – just find what twists your dial into action!  Now – for some more PRACTICAL advice…..

TRUE VISION – L.K. LUDWIG – the approach that L.K. has to art journalling is enabling & enriching.  I hope I am fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with her next year when we teach together at 2009 Artistic Journey Retreat. 

FOR ME (and me ONLY) my art journals are all about the paper and the shape.  I make all of my own journals (so I can choose both of these elements).  In general, any book can be turned into an Art Journal.  It can be hand made, store bought or an altered book or journal. Anything goes, as long as it is strong enough to withstand the rigours of your proposed artistic process (posting (if it is to be part of a round robin journal project), travel (if you are travelling with it) AND it is suited to the MEDIUM you intend to use – watercolour, acrylic painting, wax or oil crayons, scratching back, sanding, etc,) . 

HERE ARE SOME 'CONSTRUCTION' TIPS
for you to think about:
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Consideration needs to be given to the quality of covers, binding & paper.

COVERS:  Your journal should have a sturdy FRONT & BACK cover.  The covers can be made from recycled book covers, strong card (often referred to as chipboard, mounting board, 3mm MDF or Plywood.  If you are going to use paper to cover the journal covers, it is advisable to reinforce the corners as they will get ‘tired’ & worn with use.

BINDING:  Ensure that you have ‘space’ between your pages to allow for the ‘thickness’ of finished pages.  Hand binding is fine, just make sure that you can open your blank journal out flat. 

PAPER:     DON’T be deceived, you get what you pay for.  Cheap journals usually = cheap binding + cheap paper.  This means it is difficult to work directly into the book & most things will have to be pasted in on other paper, or you will need to stick several of your pages together…….which makes the journal thicker & harder to close with each entry.

Consider your PURPOSE for the journal is it something you want to endure the test of time, to be a 'testimony of your being' for generations to come OR is it just a 'throw away' for you to play in & you really don't care what happens to it in the future.  It normally takes me anywhere from 6 months to a year to fill an art journal – I figure if I am going to invest a year of my life to create something – I want it to endure the test of time – if only as a 'testament' of my art journey….. that in years to come I can reflect on my growth, progress & where I was at that time. 

CAROL PARKS is running a blog competition & you need to tell her the 10 things that you can't do with out to create an art journal… well – only ten IS a struggle – but if it IS ONLY ten then I can't live with out

1. fabrino artistico watercolour paper – I just LURVE this stuff – I can make it into anything.
2. drawing pencilsI can usually manage with an F, a 3B & a 5 or 6B.  I have just discovered Derwent Watersoluble Graphitone pencils at my local art shop – they are about $2.75 per pencil – I bought a 3 & a 6B & they are looooovely to shade with.
3. eraser – I usually use those long retractable 'pencil' type erasers.  Abby calls this her 11th finger – I don't really know why – she didn't make that many mistakes – ME on the other hand – if I don't have it – I don't draw – because I make more mistakes than successes at the moment.
4. gesso I bought a big tub of this from Jenene's local art shop when I was down there a while ago – as I left my 'Golden' tub at home.  The 'no particular brand' one was fine – but I can notice a difference in drying time (Golden is slower) – opacity (Golden is better – ie need less of it) & chalkiness (Golden is smoother) I especially love Golden's Black Gesso – it gives a great base for a night scene.
5. Golden heavy bodied acrylicsfav colours are: Titan Buff; Golden Green; Quin. Gold; Burnt Umber
6. Watercolour pencils – over a period of many years I have built up a collection of Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils.  It was great when the kids were younger for them to be able to buy me 3 or 4 colours with their pocket money as easy Christmas & Birthday presents & now I have them all. I really love them & there is a good range of colours.  They produce some lovely results on Fabricano BUT your best result comes from your initial colouring in – and your first introduction of water – after the paper has been wet – if you try to add more colour, you get the striation marks from the point of the pencil.
7. Caran d'ache Neocolour II crayons it took me a little while to warm to these, but now I use them all the time.  An oddball thing I do with them is scribble a bit on some wax paper & use a wet brush to go around the cut edge of a piece to be collaged so that it blends in better without a sharp white cut edge.  I also use them the same way to make plan computer paper with something printed on it blend into my composition. (this paper can't stand alot of water, but a  little is fine)
8. versafine onyx black ink pad – recent discovery in my Birthday pack from the fabulous Alpha Stamps
9. HELLO – rubber stamps – My Name is Keron and I am addicted to Rubber Stamps……….. what more can I say?????
10.Pitt pens – I love these – BUT they do dry out too quickly for my liking.

You'll notice that there is nothing here about gorgeous paper, dictionary pages, bible pages, emphemera, Golden MATTE MEDIUM, stencils, H2o's, MOON GLOW, Lumier paints, chalk or pigment stamp pads – OR any of the 101 other things that I might use on any given day that the mood strikes me to create a page in my current art journal.

WHAT IS IT THAT YOU JUST CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT – and I am not really talking about glue, scissors & brushes – product – what 'stuff' do you really 'need' to create????