Booklet Love

Creating this little cutie was big fun.  I cut up a previously-painted and collaged canvas right off its wood frame and ripped the sides for imperfect edges.  One of my best thrift shop finds was an 1800’s ledger filled with teeny tiny writing.  Using a few of its pages, and following some on-line make-your-own-journal instructions, I created this booklet using a large-eyed needle and some burlap twine. When I showed it to my husband, he recalled making such a booklet in grade school…there you go!

Tough Enough

I love starting a new, blank journal.  There’s something about opening to that fresh, first page and envisioning what type of medium will touch it first. Whether sketching or painting, the first page seems to launch the theme for the remaining ones.

Recently while shopping Hobby Lobby’s extensive selection of journals, I was pleased to find a large, 11″x 14″ sketchbook.  While the paper was only 70 lb. and not the first choice for mixed media, I decided to try it because I liked the idea of creating on the oversized pages…a canvas-sized journal!  Well, it held up stoutly, which as you can see, is loaded with a variety of medium – acrylics, inks, watercolor, oil pastels, pencils and pens.

The next time you’re ready for a fresh journal, challenge yourself with a larger size.  I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can fill it up.  And if you can’t find it in 140 lb., give the 70 a try, it’s tough enough!

TIP:  You can’t go wrong with a first layer of gesso for either weight paper, but I wouldn’t go any lower than 70 lb.

Happy is the heart…

…that believes in angels!

Mixed media angels take practice. This happy herald appeared in my journal last night when I decided to roughly sketch a face over an old background created several years ago. I love her, and do invite my angel in every morning to protect me throughout the day. With a simple prayer and a lot of faith, I feel confident that I’m never alone: “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day, be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule and guide, Amen!”

“And all at once, Summer collapsed into Fall.” – Oscar Wilde

Tired of the same old stencils in your stash?  It’s the perfect time of year to take a walk and find some of nature’s best, and they’re free!

This pretty one was brushed with black acrylic paint, pressed onto 70 lb. paper, dried, torn and glued onto a piece of white stitched linen.  A beautiful cover for your next mini journal!

I so enjoy this season of change, which is really God reminding us He is here.  e.

Collage

Collage is great because you can use pretty leftover ephemera you hate to toss away.  Here I added some journaling, rubber stamps and gel sticks through a stencil to create a pleasing scene.  Even the canvas is leftover – an old sturdy book cover in need of a facelift. I love the result and will keep going until I have a complete journal cover; front, back and binding.  Stay tuned!

paper garden

Arrange paint and ephemera scraps into a pattern you love, then glue together to hold in place.  With your sewing machine, stitch the assemblage in several areas using a variety of stitch patterns.  Add some flowers using bright acrylics then gesso over an area to write on, making sure it’s completely dry first.

The day I created this, I received a little package in the mail from China and was enchanted with the postage label.  Sometimes one small element like that will inspire your entire project.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with this construction – perhaps transform it further into a cover for one of my journals.  The possibilities here are endless…another reason I’m in love with mixed media!

forever…

Acrylic paint sits well atop this oil pastel background and affords a smooth surface for rubber stamp and gel pen ink.

To preserve these layers, apply a coat of Krylon spray sealant and forget about it (but remember, no “thing” lasts forever!)

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever”  (Psalm 106:1).

birds and words

Every now and then, filling blank pages can be a challenge, and it’s in those times that you look for something to do the work for you.  Here, I reached for a sheet of Kate Spade wrapping paper that I’d had for years.  I loved how the black birds popped against the bright white, and figured my trusty black Fudeball would too.

Indeed we fill the pages of our life books, sometimes with a little help from our friends.

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The Documented Life Project December Theme:  Storytelling with the Written Word

December 5 Art Challenge: Words Front & Center

Journal Prompt: Life is a book. We fill the pages.

The Documented Life Project Catch-Up – Using an “Un” Hand Carved Stamp

November Theme
Stencils, Stamps & Masks
November 14
Art Challenge: Use a Hand Carved Stamp
Journal Prompt: Tapestries

I’ll have to say, I’m not wild about creating with rubber stamps.  Occasionally I’ll stamp out a word or two with my mini alpha set, but as for images, I’d rather design with the tip of my trusty ink dropper.

Yet each week, DLP challenges me to a technique I might not have tried on my own, and it always leads to something wonderful, like these inky butterflies, taking wing within my pages.

There’s nothing to lose when it comes to art.  Years from now, should I return to this page, what will I remember?  Perhaps the beginning of my new love for rubber stamps!

e.

The Documented Life Project – Challenge: Faces – “I Can See Clearly Now”

This was “eye-opening” – no pun intended!  I watched Dina Wakley’s how-to-draw-a-face tutorial, then put a pencil to a sheet of canvas paper, and less than five minutes later had a pair of eyes!  The result sort of stunned me, since I never intended them to be mine – but there they were, looking back at me, and I wondered whether so many years of applying eye makeup played a role in my efforts.

I haven’t tried my hand at the whole face, but can “see clearly now” that Dina was right…you can do it!  Thank you, Dina!  e.

The Documented Life Project – Challenge: “When Not to Stop”

The Documented Life Project’s February Theme was, “Layers You Will Love!” and the February 7 Challenge was, “When Not to Stop.”

Hmm, February…

…July – hey, it’s never too late to start!  So in the wee hours of this morning I finished mine, and it’s apparent I knew when not to stop!  HOW FUN WAS THAT?

The Documented Life Project July Theme: Ephemera – July 11 Challenge: Focal Point vs. Layering

This week’s DLP Art Challenge is to create with a focal point and add layering as you go.

As you might have guessed, I’m all about hearts; all about love!

So after journaling in white over my shabby background of teal, lavender and yellow-gold acrylics, I began layering hearts with a cosmetic sponge through a stencil with red and pink acrylics to create an upward motion.  The illusion is that the hearts get smaller as they rise, but in fact they were laid down using the same stencil I drew and cut from a magazine cover for stability.

In following with the ephemera theme, I chose a small piece of an antique staple box, which blended right into the page.  I inked and splattered over it, which led me to my focal point of lettering, “focus on love.”

I’m so passionate about these journal prompts and look forward to seeing what other members create as they inspire me with each weekly challenge! Supplies used:  Artist’s Loft Acrylics (Michaels), Black India Ink (Michaels), White Uniball Signo Gel Pen (Everything Stamps & Stencils), Cosmetic Sponges (Dollar Tree).

e.

The Documented Life Project July Theme: Ephemera

This week’s DLP Art Challenge is to use old maps, letters, tickets “& more,” and the journal prompt is,  Life…with a history.

When I hear “ephemera,” I think of magazine clippings, junk mail envelopes, cancelled postage stamps, artsy product labels and bits and pieces of receipts.

I enjoyed this so much, I added a second page, which well documents the days following my July 4th holiday.  A cancelled postage stamp of the Madonna, cascading roses (her favorite!) from the latest Real Simple magazine, a Mix & Mingle stationery box label and pink acrylic painted hearts made for a bright page, which perfectly reflects my week of happy surprises! To tie this all together, I used a cosmetic sponge to blend the same shade of pink onto the roses to make them mine.

A peek at the second page reveals part of an emptied brown kraft Fresh Market package of espresso beans, which I painted and journaled over.  A piece of an Anthropologie receipt will later remind me of a drive to Palm Beach Gardens to spend a generous gift card from a friend who always brings joy to my heart.

I’m passionate about these journal prompts and look forward to seeing what other members create as they inspire me with each weekly challenge!

Love of Layering

This canvas is now featured in the Winter ’16 issue of Somerset Studio Gallery and is available for purchase in my Etsy shop!

As a member of Art 5 Academy’s Documented Life Project, I recently jumped into my first Challenge, “Layers You Will Love.”  And I did love them!  I titled the page, “P’s and Q’s,” after a final layer of random alpha stencils. Thank you for the inspiration, ladies!  Thank you, Somerset Studio Gallery!

definitions

SONY DSC

Loved using my newly replaced black Sharpie to draw these flowers on vintage dictionary pages that I prepared with bright acrylics and colored inks.  Added some journaling, then let it dry so I could turn the page and create again!

DLP: Writing Challenge

Blank canvas books are hard to find, but I ran across this one, discontinued at Michaels.  I absolutely loved working on the thin, rectangle canvas board and after gessoing the page, my colors seemed to really pop, especially the Phthalo Blue Fluid Acrylic by Golden.  So happy with the results!  Would buy another of these books if I could find one…

sundance

I love the Boho fabric patterns in Robert Redford’s Sundance line.  Rather than spend the money on his expensive fashions, I satisfied that craving by collaging my favorites from his catalog onto my journal pages, which resulted in a paper quilt of colorful shapes that ultimately lifted my spirit and set my mind back to simple things…thanks, Bob!

bird

birdI didn’t draw this bird, but cut him out of an old book and collaged him onto the center of two journal pages.  I love him and wonder if he’s running from the surf.  Artist unknown…

vintage

Here, I created a distressed background by cutting an image from a fashion magazine and photocopying it onto a page from an old book.  Next, I decoupaged the page onto the right side of my journal, then trimmed the edges.  For added effect, I removed a piece of yellowed tape from the book’s inside cover and added it to the page.

Alpa and numeric stencils in different fonts styles are my current passion – I found this one at a dollar store!  I sprayed through the stencil with Heidi Swapp’s Black Color Shine and let it dry.  Then I gave it a couple of last minute spritzes with Seafoam Color Shine, which is subtle on most surfaces.  I love that, because it’s a sure thing “finish” when I can’t decide what’s needed to say, I’M DONE!

Check out your local thrift shops for such unique, antique finds!

heart art

There’s a lot happening on tonight’s page.  But art is so very personal; there’s never too much or too little, and there are never inapt color choices.  So unless you’re creating something custom, you get to choose!

Art is about mood and music, what’s handy on your art table and what’s not.  It’s about pulling out ephemera you forgot you had and about creating something new on the spot.

Putting your heart on paper with abandon allows you to come back to it, perhaps months later, and recall exactly how you felt.

junk art

“Ephemera” was one of the first art journaling words I learned, and it’s really just anything you come across that you’d love to add to your journal page.  It can be bought, found, cut out, torn out, unpeeled, unglued, unstapled (you get the idea), then saved and stashed for later.  At the moment, I have three folders full.

Inside one of the folders are mail remnants.  To me, there’s nothing worse than seeing a trash bag filled with paper sitting next to an empty recycle bin.  So, I do my little part and save the security envelopes inside the junk mail that comes to our house.  I never realized how many great patterns there are, mostly in black or baby blue – I love them all.  Here’s one that I glue-sticked down and lined over for journaling later.

You might never look at your mail the same again!  Have a closer look at tomorrow’s to see what’s interesting…

REUSE, RECYCLE, REJOICE!

above

I love the work of Roben-Marie Smith!  I learned to journal from watching a handful of my favorite artists, but I always return to Roben-Marie for inspiration.  She’s wonderful and her art really does “pop!”  I created this piece attempting some of her amazing techniques…thank you, Roben-Marie!