Tag Archives: art journal

I’m back! With a junk mail art journal page.

So okay.  Sorry I’ve been gone.  My life went into a blender and hasn’t really come out yet.  Gist of it is, I’m giving up most of my possessions to hit the road.  I’m a spiritual counselor and am in total obedience to Spirit’s Call, and it’s calling me and my partner and daughter to Mt. Shasta.  But we have to give up nearly everything we own and arrive with just what fits in the car.  For my partner, that means some really tough choices going through her books.  She’s a writer with lots of novels that are like friends.  For me, it means paring down my art supplies, which are also precious.  We can store just what will fit in an old car that we’re leaving behind with my grandma, and we’re going to ship a few boxes ahead of us to the temporary furnished cottage, but all the rest is being sold or donated.

Life’s been beyond wild.  Beyond stressful.  Beyond crazy.  I don’t wanna talk about it really.  And artwise, except for a few paintings around the solstice, (which I will share in their own post) I haven’t been doing anything.  Oh, and I definitely decided the C.A.P.I project was all wrong for me, since I’m getting ready to live on the road and answer a Call to a whole new life and purpose.  So, anyway, the last few weeks have been spent deciding and re-deciding what I absolutely MUST carry with me in a portable studio, what I absolutely MUST ship ahead to the cottage we’re renting, what I can stuff into the old car, and what I can sell or give away.  Gah.  I’m SO not a hoarder, but when it comes to art supplies, I pretty much want it ALL.

I’ll do another post on what I decide on for my portable studio, as well as my little travel art journaling kit that fits in my bag, since I know I LOVE those posts and hey, you might be curious.

For now, going through my supplies has made me nostalgic for the days when I was arting or art journaling every day, and today I took the day’s junk mail and made an art journal page.  Something about making art with garbage gets my muse going when nothing else does.

This is done with watercolor paint, Sharpie poster paint markers, Sakura gel pens, and a Uniball Signo, and junk mail and trash off the floor of the car.  I need to do this more often.  It really lets my inner child out and helps me get past my insecurities.  It also shows me what main things I reach for every time I make anything.  Hope you enjoy!

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P.S.  Anyone wanna buy some used art supplies?

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Face #12 and why they don’t smile.

I think some of you wonder why most of my faces don’t smile.  It’s not because I’m not happy or enjoying myself.  In fact, if you see fake smiles in my art, I’m probably sad or depressed or trying to make someone else happy.  I have been drawing faces forever.  I taught myself to draw faces when I was a very little girl, to be like my grandma whose favorite thing to doodle was the “Blondie” face from comics.  I honed my face and figure drawing by reading Archie comic books.  My drawings were, as you can imagine, all cartoonized and at least attempting to be the pretty, perfect feminine ideal Barbie doll figure.  I did thousands of these drawings.  I did them all day.  I made paper dolls of them and designed clothing for them.  I once entered a set of them, complete with fashions, in a high school art show and won.

But I could never quite get the hang of doing more realistic work.  I would draw from life again and again and it would never look like the model.  Others liked my work but I knew there was something wrong that I just couldn’t ‘get’.  Even during my two years of commercial art school, I was trapped by my cartoonish drawings.

Then I stopped doing art, for reasons I will explain in another post because I don’t want this to go on forever, until about a year ago.  And I realized why my face and figure work had never gone where I wanted it to and had always stayed cartoonish.  I was drawing what I wanted to see (and be) and not what I saw (and was.)  And the thing that pushed me to this realization was seeing ALL the pretty, perfect, doe-eyed, stem-necked, smiling dolly faces in the mixed media world.

Oh how I came to LOATHE them.  They hurt me.  I don’t look like that.  Can’t look like that.  No one can.  And yet, they are nearly the only portrayal of beauty you can find in the mixed media world.  THIS is pretty.  THIS is how you make your art pretty, your pages pretty.  This is what is taught to new mixed media artists and women learning how to make art journals.  Whimsy faces.  Dolly faces.  Pretty girls.  Not ugly girls, girls that look like your daughters and students and nieces and neighbors and YOU.  And not women.  Pretty girls.

It hurts me when someone hurts girls and women.  When women hurt themselves and each other.  And who is drawing and painting these dolly faces over and over ad infinitum?  Women artists.  Middle-aged, chubby, unsmiling women artists.  Artists who want their work to be pretty and so would never think of putting their faces and bodies in it.  The pain was too much for me to ignore any longer.

So I rebelled.  Bigtime.  As is my nature.  I grabbed my journal and a red Sharpie and scratched a sketch into the page.  Something so daring, scary, brash, and shocking that I almost couldn’t believe I’d drawn it.  I did it from imagination, and I did it angry and super fast.  Then I did something even scarier.  I posted it on my Facebook.  In front of friends and family alike.

And people loved it.  I could NOT believe it.  And it touched me and changed me so deeply I cannot find words.

In loving this sketch, they were loving ME.  Because it looks like me.  I have long hair now, but other than that, it’s pretty similar to my body type and face shape, etc.  And they thought it was beautiful.

It blew my mind.  And I realized what had been missing.  I wasn’t drawing what I SAW because it wasn’t what I wanted to SEE.  And in not drawing what I SAW, I was discounting its real beauty.  So one year ago (check the date on the photo) I began to draw what I see.  The wrinkles, the stretchmarks, the shadows under the eyes, the asymmetrical faces, the dimples and rolls.  The weird shapes and lines and colors that don’t look like people at all.

The real beauty.

And I began to like my art again.  I felt inspired to make it.

And so, the smiles.  Or lack thereof.

People don’t walk around smiling.  They smile when they talk to each other, but that’s often fake, and if they’re alone, they don’t.  Go to a store and look around.  Most people aren’t smiling, they’re just ‘being’.  People in old photos don’t smile.  Photographers back then hadn’t decided that they didn’t want to look at someone unless they were smiling, I guess.  They just wanted to capture the way people actually looked.  And yes, it took forever to take a photo and no one can fake it that long.

My beloved looks sad when she is just reading or writing or thinking.  She has a little downturn to her mouth that appears when she relaxes.  She’s not sad.  She’s actually one of those people who is naturally happy and loves the world, good and bad, and radiates a light that brings everyone up.  She also has an absolutely radiant smile.  And she’s beautiful both ways.  She has a fake smile, too, that most people find beautiful.  That smile makes me sad.

I can tell the real smiles from the fake every time. Probably because of my intuitive gifts, I see the energy, the truth, straight through the lying smile.  Fake smiles hurt my heart.  If you want to learn about REAL smiles, hang with my autistic daughter. She doesn’t know how to smile a fake smile. Just can’t. So when she smiles, it’s pure joy demanding to be made manifest on her face. And it’s transformational to all around her.

I want to draw and paint smiles, but they must be real smiles, with mixed emotions and meanings and secrets, not placating smiles put on a face to make people comfortable.  I don’t smile those smiles and I don’t want to smile them on paper or canvas.  And genuine smiles are NOT easy to get ‘right’.  It’s capturing the nonphysical truth and making it physical.  That’s a challenge I want to face (ha!), but right now, I’m finding it easier and more rewarding to paint and draw the unsmiling face.  It is important and meaningful to me to find beauty in the unhappy and in the just not-smiling-happy.

Okay.  So, all that said, this face is meant to be creepy.  Because I’ve never done one like that and thought it would be fun and interesting.  And I think it is.

And I’m smiling.  🙂

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Filed under 29 Faces in 29 Days, Art Journal Pages, Drawings, Watercolor

8 Things I’m Wishing For

This is an art journal page with the theme 8 Things I’m Wishing For.  It’s a prompt I gave out on my Journaling Dark and Light group:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/225168170904801/ to kind of turn things to a more positive note after we did 8 Things I Miss.  So, this is what I came up with:

 

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Face #2

I made myself a (roughly) 5×5 inch journal to do my faces in.  I probably won’t use it…LOL…I’m flighty, after all, and I like to switch things up.  But I like making little pamphlet-stitch booklets and I had some extra Stonehenge paper sitting around cut up, so I tore it into 7 11×5 strips and folded them and punched them and sewed them up with the last of the dental floss.  Mmmmm cinnamony.  Then I drew her.  I used all kinds of markers and then watercolor paints to color her in.  She’s on cover stock (my absolute favorite Hammermill that takes markers better than anything I have ever tried ever), because I made the cover out of that.  I made the cover out of that because I thought I’d do the cover illustration in Sharpie.  That just didn’t work out.  I learned a lot today.  For instance, I have learned that I don’t really like doing faces in marker.  Hey, learning is good!  Here is she is (smiling for you, Maryann):

And then, because I took a picture of it, too, here is my journal page for today:

I like to write in multiple layers going all directions in multiple colors (Inkjoy pens today), then paint over that with watercolors.  Then add a little writing that sums up the theme of the whole process.  My Yarka paints are the sequel set, mostly light and bright secondary colors and tertiary colors (turquoise, fuschia, violets, etc.), so I did some mixing with them today to get some more organic colors.  I’m kinda tired of >gasp< fuschia.

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Shift

I turned 42 on January 29.  I had a lovely, peaceful, positive birthday, and then I fell into a rather deep depression.  Not suicidal deep, but no fun, either.  A lovely, wise woman from my Book of Days group, Maryann, said that 42 is a very powerful birthday for a woman, when she tends to pop out of the grid.  Which made me think of the fact that when we undergo a jump in frequency, or a large initiation in our lives, we usually feel crappy for about 3 days, because we are higher and lighter and so we feel all the heavy stuff even more as it is leaving our new level of being.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but my life has been shifting out from under me in huge ways this past week.  I mean BIG things that truly change my life and that of my family in ways that are totally out of our control.  Every day it seems things are shifting, and there is NO stable foundation to stand on.  That was really getting to me.  I was angry and frustrated and going into a fear spin about it all, feeling totally out of control and not knowing one damn thing I could do about it.

So I just decided to get through it.  And last night I hit a low, and my partner and I had a really good, deep talk, then things shifted again this morning and we had another one.  I’d be lost without her, by the way.  Anyway, afterward, I journaled about it.  And I realized…

If things are constantly shifting in huge ways…which they most certainly ARE for us…then they can easily shift just as rapidly in wonderful, miraculous ways, too!  Plus, these shifts that we were seeing as scary and some of them bad are really just different!  We have NO way of knowing what they really mean, only that they are changing our lives in big ways.  Then I started to wonder when it was that I stopped believing that I could have what I wanted (as long as it was aligned with the Highest Good)?  Was it when things were going so peacefully and so well, and then something shook that up?  Well, that’s stupid.  Things are going well so I lose my belief?  I don’t like the cycles of up/down, bad/good, but where there is a down, there will be an up, and in my life in the past few years, the up times have just gotten longer and longer and my life has just gotten better and better…so really, what needs to SHIFT now is my mind!  My attitude…my mindfulness…my thoughts!  When I feel a negative reaction, I need to examine what faulty beliefs are leading me to feel bad.  I need to look at the Truth, in the Now, and remember what I TRULY believe.

The Truth:  My life is totally rearranging itself around me, not like I expected or would choose…and because I am NOT all-knowing or all-seeing, I cannot possibly know whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.  And since I believe that after everything I’ve been through, now is MY TIME for things to just get better and better…well, hey, that must mean these are good things even if I can’t see how at this moment!

So I made this page to commemorate and remind myself of this realization so that I won’t forget it again as things continue to shift in this phenomenally-transforming reality we are currently living in.

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Love: watercolor, curvy ladies Hate: “pretty” “whimsy” faces

Yesterday was a day of anti-whimsy-faces watercolors. I saw that Traci Bautista was going to teach us how to draw stylized glam-girl faces based on magazine photos next in the Strathmore workshop and I finally had it. I think those anorexic, super skinny, no-nose, lollipop-headed, flower stem-necked images of female ‘beauty’ just perpetuate more self-loathing in the actual girls and women who can never in a trillion years, look “pretty” like that. We even call them “pretty faces”! We fill our journals with these sick images that are nowhere NEAR a reflection of real female beauty. And it is we, the women artists, who are perpetuating this on each other and our daughters! It’s worse than the magazines…which real, beautifully imperfect women and girls also use in their collages to represent their own feelings, etc. How can that be healing??? Anyway, I did several watercolors on that subject, including this one:

I experimented with designing some stylized, whimsical curvy women, and this my favorite of the ones I came up with.  I call her my little piece of magic, and I will probably experiment with Magic in other work:

This is the Slow Journaling (Daisy Yellow) I did in my Canson based on how I was feeling yesterday:

And to end on a positive note, this is the exressive watercolor I did based on the last lesson from the Strathmore workshop:

I had a blast with it.  It really fits with my love of playing with abstract shape, line, and color.

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Journal-making madness!

So yes, I love art journals.  I seem to be collecting/creating more journals than I do journal pages.  Ah well…I’m totally new to this and still getting my sea legs!  So anyway, I found this neat little Canson XL Mixed Media journal:

And I really like it.  It has a nice, soft, heavy feel in the hand, and pages with just a bit of tooth that will fun to experiment with colored pencils, regular pencils, watercolor pencils, and maybe watercolor crayons in.  But the cover was pissing me off.  It’s rubber and not that pretty, and everything I did to try and customize it rubbed right off.  So finally, I gesso’d it and then started throwing on the acrylic paint.  And that (above) went to this:

Back:

Front:

Now it’s mine!  🙂  It was sticky from the acrylics, and I tried many ways to remedy that before I crumpled up wax paper and rubbed it down, and that worked!

Okay, so then I was reading some new art journaling books I got, and I was doing some deep self-exploration on what appeals to me in this area of art and what doesn’t.  I realized I was looking at the work of others and immediately deciding whether I could do that, how I would do that, what weird supplies I’d need to collect, etc…and never asking myself do I even WANT to do that?  So I journaled on that, and I made a list of the kinds of ephemera and ‘journal fodder’ (word from Daisy Yellow) I prefer, and I realized I do NOT want to become a hoarder and just save all the magazines, clippings, scraps, and junk that I’ve been saving since I started this in December.  I don’t like living that way.  I don’t hoard.  In fact, I have given up all my possessions more than once and lived on the road, and I love the exhilaration that comes with knowing what you have and squeezing every bit of juice out of it.  So I got very excited and created a Junk Mail Journal.

I’m totally with Julie Andrews.  I love brown paper packages tied up with strings.  So that’s what I did with the cover of my Junk Mail Journal.

I made it intentionally sloppy so that I would be FEARLESS in sticking things in it.  And I will be decorating it more and adding a cord from my daughter’s new doll’s packaging, to tie it closed.

It’s made out of a used composition notebook covered with super-wrinkled brown kraft paper that came out of packaging, reinforced ala Tangie Baxter’s method with hemp cord.  The first spread is made up of only what I got in the mail over the last month, including junk mail, bills, letters, and product packaging.  I have set rules for myself, because I love the creativity that comes out of that.  I can only use what comes in the mail or that comes into my life in the day (receipts, etc.) and Sharpies, a ballpoint pen, and a pencil.  I use this awesome Pioneer Extra Strong Embellishment Glue Stick, which holds way better than regular glue sticks, a stapler, packing tape, masking tape, and my scissors with fancy edges, and that’s it.

Here’s the inside cover, embellished with the latest Amazon.com shipping label:

And here’s the back pocket I put in, made out of a small bubble envelope from the mail, that holds the pens I’m allowed to use:

Here is my first spread.  I was so excited and had such fun doing it that my hands were practically shaking.  It was pure, playful art journaling ice cream with awesomesauce.

Want to play along?  Please do!  I started a new challenge for it over on http://artjournaling.ning.com/forum/topics/junk-mail-journal-challenge-junk-mail-along

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