I’ve neglected my blog. Bad. But I have been more or less obsessed with art journaling. For some reason the little 5×7 #Stalogy 365 Journal is compelling while a 5×7 blank white canvas is terrifying. The journal stimulates my creativity but the canvas obliterates it. So, I’ll go with the flow—with what works or at least what gets me motivated to make marks on a page that turn into something where nothing existed before. I even convinced a good friend of mine in Phoenix to join me in going through a new book, 101 Mixed Media Techniques by a group of mixed media artists. It’s basically a compendium of lots of different techniques grouped into general categories like Art Journaling, Gesso and Mediums, Transferring, etc. We decided to do a chapter a week, picking three techniques in the chapter and producing work that utilizes them. It’s been a lot of fun and we can then go back through the book again choosing techniques we passed by before. Here are a few of the spreads I’ve done exploring things like gesso over painting, using found objects, working with texture and modeling paste and creating backgrounds. Next week will be stamping. Such fun.
This week’s workshop was a winner. Finally, someone was able to explain and demonstrate how in the heck art journalers create those fabulous layered pages I have always admired but never been able to create on my own. Thank you to Karen Dawn for putting together this Visual Journal Meetup group in Edmonds, WA. If you are curious, the technique depends on using very thin, tissue paper like layers, stencils, spray bottles of ink and acrylic paint, patience, and, at least in my case, that reckless (lol) spontaneity that young people seem to have in spades.
The finishing touch on my collage paper is the white drippy stuff that runs from one corner all the way to the focal point. Across from me at the table this week was a young lady (maybe 12? or so); when I tried (oh so carefully) to add a couple of drips of white acrylic liquid to the paper project, she said, “Here, let me show you how this works,” and proceeded to make three LARGE drips of pure white paint onto one corner of the paper. Then we quickly held it up so it ran down in rivulets, and I was left to figure out how to “make it work!”
I think it ended up pretty well for a first attempt at collage. But, more importantly, I was gently reminded how easy it is to take your work too seriously, to forget what it means to play, and that the often the best art comes from working out those ‘happy’ accidents. You should only be so lucky as I was to share your workspace with a child who so effortlessly shatters your pretensions of “making” art.