This weeks’ prompt for Journal 52 was technology. I started by Googling technology and pinning some images that I found inspiring as my leaping off point. (You can check out my Journal 52 Inspiration board here). I was particularly drawn to a woman with technology surrounding her head and then leap to wearing a technology like a crown. My journaling on the page was about using technology as a tool and not a crutch – not to wear it as a crown that made you royal, but a way to enhance your ability to connect and express yourself. Here is the page from preliminary sketch to completion.
I’ve finally got back in the rhythm of Sunday night painting with Strombo (if you’ve never listened to the show, check it out. Great music, insightful and fun interviews). I’ve been seeing hollyhocks in bloom on my way to work for the last week or two – I’m not sure why, but I really love them and decided it was high time they became the subject of an art journal entry. So, here it is, summer simplicity. The background was achieved with light modelling paste tinted with Naples yellow and then scraped on the page with a palette knife. I toned it down with a little gesso scraped on and then wiped off. Finally some finger painted flowers and journaling and the page was done. Simple, just like a beautiful summer night.
As I stated in my last instalment, I’ve been away from the studio quite a bit in the last two months. And of course this means that I have been getting behind on my Journal 52 project. I’m happy to say that with a couple nights of regular studio time, Canada Day and a lovely day off yesterday spent painting, I’m back on track with this project.
I’ve really been enjoying the themes and have been surprised where some of them have led me. The courage prompt stands out in particular. The prompt challenged me to create a page about what courage means to me. Through the process, I came to the realization just how much the definition has changed for me, especially in the last 5 years. Before, courage was about putting on a brave face and continuing on, even when things were broken inside. It was about supporting everyone else and not asking for help when I needed it. Courage used to be about sticking with a situation or relationship, even when it was toxic, because the unknown was too scary. Now, courage is about asking for help, moving into the unknown confident in who I am and what I can do and turning my back on situations that aren’t good for me. This is a really big shift in my thinking process.
So here are the last few weeks of the Journal 52 prompts, starting with the most recent.
Week 27 – Nostalgia
This week’s prompt took me back to the summer of ’88. That last “perfect” summer before everyone started going their separate ways. Dancing on Thursday nights at the Elephant and Castle, making mixed tapes and generally having the times of our teenaged lives.
Week 26 – Under the Sea
I decided to revisit the mermaid theme that I tried out in my very first art journal. While I was generally satisfied with the first attempt, I always felt that there was room for improvement. So, I used the same background technique (spray inks and gesso) and created from there. I was thrilled with the result.
Week 25 – Nature Inspired
If you’ve followed my work at all, you know my main inspiration is nature. So, I decided I needed to break away from the birds and try something new. This one was a struggle at first, but in the end it all came together. (to see all the images, check out my Facebook album)
Week 24 – Courage
Week 23 – Passion
Birds are my passion. Everything seems to stem from birds.
Week 22 – Travelling
I’ve been out west (to Banff) as well as the Bruce Peninsula – Indian Paintbrush connected the dots between the two places.
Week 21 – Making a Mandala
Mine was inspired by the native orchids we have in Ontario
Week 20 – Book Inspiration
I read Brave Intuitive Painting and used one of the exercises as my prompt for this page. Not my normal colour palette, but it was fun to get messy.
Week 19 – Photography
One of the many photos I took on my travels (the famous MacGregor Elm) used as a photo transfer for this page.
Just when I thought the hectic pace of the spring had finally slowed down, I spent a good chunk of the month of June travelling. I’ve been lucky – I’ve visited some of the most beautiful places in Canada in – yet I’ve found myself on the road on my dedicated studio nights, so I’ve been playing a game of catch up for the last little while.
In early June I visited the Bruce Peninsula to attend a birding festival and was able to take lots of amazing photos while I was there. One in particular served as an inspiration for this art journal spread. The song “Fearless” by Cyndi Lauper seemed to pop up on the iTunes shuttle quite a bit during this time and the lyrics really resonated with me. Here is the combination of inspiring music and inspiring landscapes.
I’ve been plugging away at the Journal 52 challenges since the beginning of the year. I have a little catching up to do at the moment, but I’ve included a selection of completed pages to date. If you’d like to find out more about the challenge, click here – it’s not to late to start!
Well my friends, it has been quite a while since I’ve posted anything to my site. I’ve found that work/life balance little askew of late and while I’ve still been making time for art, I haven’t been doing as well with sharing it. So, here is a little taste of my art journal over that last couple of months. I finished my third volume and have moved on to the fourth – with a new binding style that I’m finding much easier to work in, as the pages stay flat when opened.
Here are my last pages in the third volume…
Followed by the first few pages of the fourth volume – there have been a few Sundays missed due to birding and work commitments, but I hope to get back in the routine again.
I love Sunday nights – have I said that before? It’s my time to be creative for no reason other reason than the sake of being creative and trying to work out some of the big ideas that have been rattling around in my brain throughout the week. I get to play – try new ideas or technique and not worry about whether or not it would be something that I can market or sell.
I set out with #Strombo on the radio, this week featured the first 50 songs of the Strombo Hundo and started to play with my Gelli plate. I’d picked up the medium sized plate about a month before and this was the first chance I had to play with it. I used a variety of Golden paints (including the high flow and open acrylics) and all kinds of fun stuff to make texture and pattern on the plate. I ended up with 6 prints in addition to the ones I used for the plate – I had to cut it off, so much fun, but I wouldn’t have completed a journal page if I’d kept it up.
The yellow and purples print (aptly described by a friend as a crazy octopus) was the basis for the page and I used the colours on the page as my leaping off point. I used the other print photo as collage elements on the page – the colours worked well together and in the end the octopus comment led me to an ocean theme and then came the small mermaid. I was feeling little dwarfed by all my thoughts and ideas of late – wonder how I’d be able to get them all out – and the colourful chaotic mess is the result. I’m very energized with this page and feeling a little more focused because of it.
The Sunday before Christmas found me desperately trying to finish gifts, wrap presents and above all else, stay sane. I took a break from all the creating to play in my art journal – which was a very good move on my part.
Among many things that were dropped from the agenda this year, including many handmade gifts, were Christmas cards. I had wanted to make a holiday card with my own art to send out this year, but time was not on my side, so this page had to serve as my holiday greeting this year.
With the massive influx south this year, Snowy Owl seemed to be a great species to play with. I always love to see them and when they are sitting on a fence post in a snow drifted field, there is a sense of peace. Building on the piece from the previous week, I refined my snowy owl and was fairly please with the result. So much, that I’m going to work this one up on a panel, to use for a holiday card next year.
Here is the page from start to finish:
The last month has been very busy – as December typically is. I’ve been trying to spend as much time in the studio as I can and have managed to keep my Sunday night art journal date throughout the month – I wish I could say the same for updates here.
My mind has been on birds in particular this month as is it Christmas Bird Count season, and this art journal page was inspired by the count at Point Pelee which took place the morning after I completed this page.
After cleaning out my studio, I found all kinds of treasures I’ve been squirrelling away and not I’m trying to use some of them up. I found some chipboard mini-albums in the shape of Christmas tree balls and that’s where the first page’s inspiration came from. This page was a little more challenging to complete and keep cohesive as it had the gap between two signature, so I wanted some big and bold that would make the space disappear. I decided to make ornaments of my Christmas Bird Count wish list – including Varied Thrush, Snowy Owl and Evening Grosbeak. The ornaments were fun to make – I used acrylic paints and a clear, glossy crackle paint to give the effect of a vintage Christmas ball. And I did get one of the species on my wish list….Snowy Owl!
I’ve had an idea in my head for a couple months now – I’ve been calling it the “Thrush Family Portrait”. Most people are very familiar with our common thrush in North America, the American Robin, but may not know the others in the family.
I love thrushes – they are amazing vocalists and such a big part of my #birding experience in the spring. The sound of a Wood Thrush on a misty morning is magical. We commonly see five species of thrushes in spring migration in my part of the world (Hermit, Swainson’s, Wood, Gray-cheeked and Veery). At first glance, you may think they all look alike, but upon closer examination they have, in some cases, some very subtle differences that I just had to paint.
I recently spent an afternoon at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto dedicated to sketching specimens of the five species from the vast collection of birds. From there, I pieced together a “family portrait” in my travel journal. The first incarnation (which has since been erased) looked very much like a posed portrait and not at all interesting. Dipping into my experience in the field, I created a scene like those I’ve seen from my office window – birds interacting with each other, moving in different directions. Here are the sketches and the start of the painting process. The colours will be added to the birds in the next week.