Monday, February 17, 2014

ROOT Art Journal, Part 2

In my last post, I shared some of the pages from the first half of the art journal I created while following the prompts from Lisa Sonora Beam's online class, ROOT:  A 30-Day Journal Project
This page didn't actually respond to one of the class prompts, but the page elements kind of fell together in the mess of my art table, and I knew I had to include them in my art journal.  Sometimes the mess pays off!
Today, I thought I would share some pages from the second half of the book.  
Simple journaling over top of a watercolor wash, with some happy stamping around the sides.
When I got started, I decided to use one of those 5.5"x8" Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journals because I enjoyed that size and paper quality when I was doing the Art Journal Round Robin last year. 
Also, I had a book with some pages already prepared with watercolors.  That prompted me to go through and slap on some watercolor paint on several different spreads as preparation for whatever future journaling and collaging might come. 
Playing around with a writing font called Bungalow from one of my lettering books.
I discovered in the process that even the least artful page gets a bit of a boost from background color!  Putting a wash of watercolor, or some combination of colors, immediately eliminated that "blank page" factor that everyone is always blogging about. 
Sometimes when I would come to a spread that I had not yet prepared with watercolor, I would try to move forward without the background, and almost invariably I ended up grabbing my watercolors to go back to that basic background.  Everything else just built up from there.
Actually, for this page, I drew the doodled hand first before filling in the background with watercolor paint.

A page with a little flap, hiding the journaling beneath, and making space for more journaling on the back of the flap. 
I accidentally stamped the "k" backwards, but couldn't have picked a better place to make that mistake!
What a neat thought/connection this is!
Ahh, Dali...telling it like it is.  It's a message I can stand to hear over and over again!
I like the look of the silver pen on the watercolor background at center, with journaling all around.
I like how even the simplest drawing can add interest to a page. 
I don't like gold much in general, but I liked the look of my gold Sharpie on a paint-washed, ink-splattered background.

You've seen most of the pages I created as a result of Lisa's journaling class.  In a future post, I'll show you some of the final pages and spreads I created to fill out the final pages of the book.  Thanks for visiting!  Please leave me a note to let me know you were here.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

ROOT Art Journal, Part 1

The cover of my first art journal for this year
For the month of January, I participated in Lisa Sonora Beam's free online journaling course entitled Root.  While she intended it as a journaling experience, I could tell from the Facebook community that a lot of us were making it an art journaling experience as well. 
Title page
Because I have a tendency to sign up and start things, then watch my commitment peter out sometime after the first week or so, I am happy to announce that I stuck with her prompts and almost completely filled an art journal for the month of January.  (My February additions have since filled up the remaining pages!) 
Ahh, love that art journal side view!
The highlight of the experience for me was the fact that I really focused, probably for the first time, on the act of creating pages rather than on the outcome. 
Paint, stencils, and journaling.  I thought the stencils--a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law--suited the root theme.
I didn't worry about creating anything complex.  I brought out paint, rubber stamps, stencils, and even stickers to make my pages. 
Some mind-mapping, a little journaling, some bright colors.  A simple spread.
I seldom spent a lot of time crafting what I would call "an artful page."  Sometimes I responded to her prompt with my own thinking, and sometimes I recorded her inspiring thoughts to mull over later. 
"Go gently."  I thought Lisa's important advice could stand alone for this spread.
Lisa chose really inspiring quotations to use with each of her prompts, and I enjoyed that she included several different questions or sentence starters so that we could "run with" whichever one caught our fancy.  It's good to have options! 
Not a favorite page, but I liked adding a little pocket for more journaling in the lower right corner.  And I always love Buddha imagery on my art journaling pages!
And each prompt linked to a blog post in which she shared her own journal pages and reflections on the prompt, which provided a further creative jump start for our own responses. 
A color palate and collage imagery that suited Lisa's root theme
I followed along with the Facebook page, but didn't participate very much in that community.  Lisa has an interesting policy, in which she asks participants not to offer any comment on the pages that are posted.  She doesn't even want people to say, "I like your page!" though she consented to allow people to use the Facebook "Like" button.
Collaged music papers, gesso, paint, and tape.  The background became an incidental backdrop to my journaling.
It's amazing how hard it was for me to think of something to say to build relationships in a social forum without offering compliments and affirmations; I guess I just didn't know what to say!  An "opportunity for future growth" for me.
Sometimes I have to respectfully disagree with a quotation, as with this one from Audrey Hepburn, whom I adore!
I looked back over my pages, and was pleased to see some substantial journaling throughout.  Sometimes when I focus more on the visual aspect of my spreads, my writing is incidental and, frankly, a bit inane.
This was one of my favorite techniques I used.  I had a stencil that I created from a magazine image, so I used the negative space and filled it in with wild pen lines to fit the theme of "chaos," which the quotation tells us is what gives birth to a dancing star.  Very poetic words from Nietzsche!
I appreciate all the work that Lisa did to create this course for us, and her generosity in sharing it with us free of charge.  She put me back on the track of an almost-daily art journaling practice, and for that I am very grateful!
I am well-armed to face the day when I'm armed with a full night of rest!
I'll share with you several pages and spreads from the second half of the journal next time I check in!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Postage Stamp People Collages

I've been having great fun making Postage Stamp People, joining a "craze" that I've been enjoying on a number of different blogs, from Pamela's to Jewels' to the Mail Me Some Art swap site. 
To get started, I went through my stamp collection and pulled out likely candidates--the ones with people's photos and portraits. 
My next step was to look through my collection of vintage photographs, as well as some non-photo drawings and pictures of people.  Then, sitting on the floor with everything spread out in front of me, I matched up postage stamp faces with photograph bodies that seemed to work well with them.
Once I had a match, I glued the postage stamps in place, and looked through piles of postal ephemera (mainly a bin of old air mail envelopes that have been delightfully worn by time and handling).  After some stitching at the sewing machine, my collages were complete!  In this first one, two faces of Queen Elizabeth take the place of two faces of Frida Kahlo, taken from a brochure from an exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In this second collage, I used a work of art published in an old Somerset Studio magazine that I had cut out without preserving the artist's name.  I thought this gentleman's rather morose expression fit well with the angels' folded hands, and you can still see a bit of a golden halo peeking out behind his head.
I was especially happy with how the line of the postmark lined up perfectly with the angel's shoulder, making it a great match-up.  A purple "Air Mail" stamp from my envelope stash, and some Italian postage commemorating Dante Alighieri made a perfect frame for my re-imagined angel.

We all know that the ocean can inspire peace and meditation.  It's no different for this nun, who once prayed in front of the Abbaye Saint-Pierre in France, but has taken over the head of an old-time bathing beauty to pray near the shoreline.
And the piece that gives me a grin every time I look at it:  FDR as you've never seen him before!
Yes, that's right.  The tilt of his head on the postage stamp matched the tilt of this cigarette girl's head so well that I couldn't resist.  One shoulder lines up absolutely perfectly (the other one, not so much). 
I have lots more Postage Stamp People to share with you in future posts.  This is one of those projects that is tough to stop once you get rolling!

An interesting side note:  While I was organizing and filing some old articles from various artful magazines, I ran across an piece about the wonderful collage artist Janice Lowry in the Melange section of Somerset Studio (maybe from 2007?  I'm not sure, since the date is not printed on the pages from this section).  She shared her own postage stamp people, and explained that she developed this creative exercise for people who felt that they could not draw heads or faces. 
In each of her pictures, she included a figure holding a copy of Somerset Studio.  That must have made the magazine staff feel good!