08 February 2010

something new

For a while now I've been wanting to try art journaling. I've done a couple altered books but never really felt like I had a good handle on it. One part of the art journal process that I find trying is the collage part. I've never really been satisfied with what I've made. I feel like I have trouble incorporating it into the page and make it look like a whole rather then just bits and pieces slapped together.

I've been searching around online looking for tutorials. Found a couple books on amazon but nothing that struck me as a eureka moment.

A couple of days ago I was poking around on youtube (the place for all things instructional) and found a series of videos that finally gave me a nudge in the right direction. So I put together my first journal today.

This is definitely going to be a learning process.

There was a little bit of cursing involved while I was painting the pages. I couldn't get the right amount of water and ended up with some squishy pages. Luckily those were saved with some paper towel. I finally found my groove with some huge sponge brushes, tiny blobs of paint and two spritzs from the water bottle I use during ironing:

I got the whole book painted up today:

Completely unimpressive at this stage but (and this has become my mantra while working on this project) its all about the layers so shut up and keep working.

I decided to weight the journal down overnight because its a little curly and its making me crazy. I used watercolor paper but I think I oversaturated some of them but I think it will be fine if it gets weighted for a while.

But I wanted to keep working so I decided to practice some of the collage things on a smaller book I've been wanting to make called a simple book found in this book. I was intrigued by it because, as the name implies, its really simple and can be folded and unfolded back and forth between book and flat paper, which I think will make working in it easier.

I folded a page and painted both sides and then took a hair dryer to it because I have no patience to wait for it to dry, I wanted to keep going.

I pulled out some magazines and snipped out some pieces to start building borders for each page. Not sure how well they will play out because this is a pretty small book (about 4" high and about 3" wide) but I did it anyway since I wanted to define the individual pages:

I did both sides. Which was totally moronic because (and I'm sure you've figured this by now) only one side shows once you fold it back into book form:


I chose the yellow side (I like the green but I think its too dark and I'll have to do a lot of work to add lighter things to it and since this is just a practice piece, I didn't feel like going to the effort).

I flipped through the magazines and tried to decide on some kind of theme. I chose hands. I like hands, have always been fascinated by them and plan to do a hand theme in the larger journal too. (I'm not really into the funky faces and pointy hats and sarcastic fairies. I appreciate them and find them amusing but they've been done a zillion times and I want to find my own thing.)

So I cut out some hands and put them down. I plan to manipulate them more. For two reasons: (1) I want to incorporate them more into the page so they don't look so separate and (2) I want to make sure I make them different enough so that I don't step on anyone's toes since the images were not created by me.

Layers, layers, layers.

Here's how one of the pages look with it folded back into book form:

Lots of possibilities there.

I ordered some pastels so I'm waiting to keep working until they come. Hopefully in the next day or two. I have to put together a journal for a round robin I'm participating in so I can work on building that in the meantime.

I'm glad I decided to do a smaller practice book first. I don't care for the really raw edges of the paper (I used a gigantic sheet of watercolor paper and the edges are all wispy and rough) so I'm going to trim those back on the larger book, I don't think they'll stand up over time and certainly not over the course of a round robin. I also don't know if I'll do borders for the pages with magazines. I think I might prefer to draw them in or block them out with paint. I might start another simple book to try out some other things to see which I like better.

One thing that I was very happy about is that Dooley has finally decided that my studio is an okay place to hang out. Little man needs an anchor in the rooms he lounges in, meaning he needs his little doggie bed or a blanket or something he can call his own.

I recently organized the linen closet and came across a blanket my mom crocheted when I was a kid. Its been pretty abused and has holes in it and is generally well loved. I asked her if it could become a Dooley blanket and she agreed so its now his studio blanket.

He's pleased with it (notice that it is strategically placed in the sun puddle so he can sun bathe while he naps):

The weather forecasters here are busy waving their arms around and running in circles because apparently we could finally be hit by a snow storm.

First they said 6-10" of the white stuff.

Then they said up to 6".

Now they're saying the storm is still 36 hours away so there's really no way to tell.

Way to instill confidence people. I'll wait and believe it when the junk is on the ground. They've raised too many false alarms for me to get overly concerned about it at this point. I've got tons of projects to work on and just went grocery shopping so if we get dumped on, then I'll be fine until things even out. I just don't get the freak out. This is Michigan for pete's sake - in winter - snow is to be expected.

I'll blog the journal as it progresses. Hopefully I have better luck with the whole thing this go around then I have in the past.


Kat Campau said...

It's nice to hear someone else inexperienced with paper art. I'm sure your inner collageist will emerge.

Jean Baardsen said...

I think you're having more fun than you want to admit. :o) One thought - take a kitchen sponge, turn it on its side and use it for stamping paint or ink onto your pages to serve as borders. There are lots of rubber stamps that are "borders" too. And if you end up doing both the yellow and the green sides, couldn't you call it a reversible book??

Kim Hambric said...

Looks like a great start on your journal. I'm very impressed. I wonder if this will become an addiction (not that there's anything wrong with that). Perhaps there will be a great deal of snow and you can stay home with Dooley and journal your heart out.

michele said...

books are my passion and I hope you find them beautiful & infinitely fascinating too. enjoy the new journey.