Journal 52 update – Weeks 19 to 27

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.

 

 

nostalgia complete©

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

under the sea complete©

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

inspired by nature complete©

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

courage complete©

Week 24 – Courage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

passion complete©

Week 23 – Passion

Birds are my passion.  Everything seems to stem from birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

travel complete©

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mandala complete©

Week 21 – Making a Mandala

Mine was inspired by the native orchids we have in Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

book inspired complete©

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photography complete©

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.

 

I have still been creating….I promise

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…

art journal page odd out owl complete© art journal page snowy owl dream complete© art journal page owl circus complete© art journal page best intentions complete© art journal page neurons firing complete© art journal page scavenger hunt complete© art journal page falling complete©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.


precious complete©art journal page 4 complete©kiss me again complete©hatching new schemes complete©change in the air complete©merganser morning complete©vintage complete©spring tree complete©spirit bird complete©believe complete©make something happen complete©

 

 



 

Art Journal Page – Big Ideas (or fun with Gelli prints)

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.

art journal page big ideas gelli plate© art journal page big idea purple and yellow gelli print© art journal page big ideas gelli prints© art journal page big ideas print placed© art journal page big ideas almost done© art journal page big ideas complete©

Art Journal Page – The Christmas Card that wasn’t…

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:

art journal page peace backround© art journal page peace fence© art journal page peace complete©

A work in progress – Wood Thrush Family Portrait

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.

wood thrush speciment ROM november 2013©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.

art journal page thrush family portrait penwork©art journal page thrush family portrait with bkgrd©travel art journal thrushes start©

Art Journal Page – Under the Sycamore Trees

I’ll admit it – I was (and still am) a little obsessed with Twin Peaks.  So when you find another person that shares that kind of passion for your geeky obsession, you can’t help talk about it….at length.  I just spent a very fun weekend doing just that – talking passionately about all my geeky obsessions.

Sunday night rolled around, the Strombo show was wafting from the speakers and my mind went right to the song, “Under the Sycamore Trees” from Fire Walk with Me (the Twin Peaks movie for those who have not yet been initiated into this world).  The song was haunting and creepy, reflecting the ideas that David Lynch was portraying in the film.  When it was time to start journaling, I already knew the direction I would go – the entrance to the black lodge, when the backdrop of the forest became red velvet curtains and everything turned upside down.

I started the page with some texture, achieved with layers of red tissue paper over the gessoed background.  I added layers of crimson paint in different shades and tones to create the highlights and lowlights of the backdrop.  Then to add the ghostly trees in the circle around the pit…thank you to the internet for the great reference photos from Twin Peaks.  If you’ve watched the show, you’ll know what an important symbol the owl was – so of course I needed to add one to the scene.  I worked out a loose painted sketch on paper, which I cut out and then adhered to the page using matte medium.  The owl probably should have been a little paler (given it was a west coast bird) but I was really happy with the look and intensity of this owl.

Finally, I added the lyrics of the song and some journalling reflecting on my weekend and the page was complete.  I’m extremely happy with the results – and have no idea what I can do next week to top it.

art journal page under the sycamores start© art journal page under the sycamores background© art journal page under the sycamores with trees© art journal page under the sycamores owl detail© art journal page under the sycamores complete©

Travel Art Journal – November 2013

I recently had the opportunity to take a little break from work and visit friends and family in Toronto.  Not only was it a nice break from my 9 to 5 job, it was also a chance to have some time to just hang out and play with paints.  Travelling with art supplies is always challenging – especially when you are taking a form of public transit, so I took a cue from the great Jennibellie and made a travel palette with some of my water soluble media.  I had some limited acrylic paints along for the ride – I found some travel pots that reminded me of the paints you used to get in a paint-by-numbers kit.  I was able to get out a bunch of ideas that had been rattling around in my head for a while and just hadn’t had a chance to explore.  I also got to visit the bird collection at the Royal Ontario Museum for a sketching session.  I focused my energies on thrushes for a painting I will be working on in the coming months.  The travel journal includes a rough sketch/layout for the painting, which is still awaiting colour.  Not all of the pages are complete – I will steal away some time from the commissioned pieces I’m working on and preparations for the holidays to complete them.  I will bind this mini-journal into my larger journal when everything is complete.

Most of the pages were complete with watercolours, or a mixture of watercolour and acrylic paint.  To see how to make the journal, visit my previous post for a link to the tutorial.

Enjoy.

room with a view nov 14 2013© travel art journal set up© travel art journal flamingo face complete© travel art journal flamingo parade complete© travel art journal winter wren start© travel art journal winter wren complete© travel art journal sugar maple leaves© travel art journal bee-eaters complete© travel art journal watercolour shoreline start© travel art journal watercolour shore complete© travel art journal art nouveau background© travel art journal art nouveau with colour© travel art journal thrushes start©

Art Journal Page – The “to-do list”

I completed this journal page on Sunday, November 10.  It had been a busy weekend and there was a daunting list of things to complete before heading out on a little trip this week.  The list was making my head spin and I needed to work through the anxiety and see the forest for the trees…completing the list meant I could do something of the more important things on my life to-do list – spend time with family friends and have a little time to myself.

I started by prepping the pages with gesso and tape the seams.  Then I pulled out a supply I hadn’t used in a long while – dry wall tape.  It provides great texture and is easy to use.  I added some stickers (still trying to use them up) and then sealed all of them in with some matte medium.

I started to add some colours, first using Tim Holtz paint daubers, but found I wasn’t achieving the depth of colour I wanted, so I switched to some Golden Fluid acrylics which worked much better.  By the time I was done with the paint, I was worried I’d created a “hot mess” but pushed through and took a step back.  I actually found I liked where things were headed and was pretty happy with the product.  I added some birds and journaling and I was done.

art journal page to do list start© art journal page to do list stickers© art journal page to do list hot mess© art journal page to do list complete©

Art Journal Page – Alcohol Ink Poppies

I’ve been watching lots of tutorials on gelli plate monoprinting over the last week and somehow my mind went to alcohol inks.  So I decided that this week I would try a journal page using this media.  To prep the paper, I gessoed the page and then added a coat of varnish.  I think the varnish was a bit of a mistake – the ink seemed to be slow to dry and was rubbing off.  Fixative made things run a bit, but it did seal everything in the end.

I started the page with some large drops of different coloured inks (butterscotch and cranberry) and then dropped some alcohol to help spread the ink around.  The rest of the ink was apply with a felt-tipped tool – dabbed and twisted the rest of the  ink and got amazing texture and colour so quickly.  This was the best part of the page – how fast it came together.  I started to see some shapes in the colours and defined poppy shaped and stems using the fine tip of the bottle.  A little definition with a gel pen and a tag with a quote and page was finished.  I will definitely continue to experiment with alcohol inks – next time, I’ll skip the glossy varnish and try matte medium instead.

Enjoy the images.

art journal page alcohol poppies start© art journal page alcohol poppies first layer© art journal page alcohol poppies complete©

Art Journaling – adding some inserts

The current art journal I’m working has fewer pages than the last one I was working with.  While it’s made it much easier to work in – I’m finding that I’m having some addition inspirations that I want to journal, but I don’t want it to take up the entire book.  So I created some insert journal that will be added to the book to follow those specific themes and ideas.

 

In one of the on-line art classes I took, I was directed to this great tutorial to create an art journal from one piece of 22×30” paper.  Here is a link to the site.  The journal is very easy to make and lots of fun to work with.  I’ve started on the cover on one of the journals, which is going to be about colour exploration.  Stay tuned to see the theme for the second insert.

art journal inserts© art journal insert cover1 start© art journal inserts cover1 finish©