Art Journal Speed Process: “Enlighten the Untransformed”

I (finally!) got around to finishing a spread that I’m currently recording the process of, and I’m sharing it with you today! I don’t know how excited about this you are, I’m pretty stoked, because it’s a rarity that I can focus myself long enough to make sure all aspects of a page get recorded. If you’re like me and leave your art laying out, you probably find yourself stepping past, only to double back in order to make a mark or two. I often can’t cram everything onto a page in one sitting, simply because a completely detailed art journal spread usually takes about six or more hours to finish. I know many other artists can bang pages out in just an hour or less, but my aesthetic is all about clutter and chaos, so I love lots of little designs and details…which can take a LOT of time.

DSCN5221.JPG

This journal page, which is all about trying to enlighten those who are unwilling, is both a statement about myself and others. I think that everyone should strive to have an open mind and an open heart, and even though many people believe themselves to be ‘open minded,’ I’m not quite sure they’re correct. The Socratic paradox says that a wise man knows that he knows nothing, and to accept that you have ignorance is to accept that there is always more to learn and understand. This page speaks both to my personal beliefs and to my political beliefs. As an American, I think that this message is especially relevant right now, during the 2016 presidential election.

DSCN5222.JPG

Although this page was not specifically created in response to anything, this is one of those spreads in which the meaning developed as it took form. I’m a strong believer that inspiration comes most often when we aren’t looking for it, and sometimes my muse doesn’t speak until I’ve already started working; this was one of those times.

DSCN5220.JPG

Anyways, lets get past the heavy stuff and enjoy how our minds can take the ugly and form into something beautiful, which, in this case, is providing me with reason to reflect and create! Being able to create another art journal spread (where I can meditate and breathe easy for a while) is great comfort for my anxious mind. I invite you to watch this process video, take a moment to unwind, and even play in your own journal! Enjoy! (If the video below doesn’t work for you, click HERE.)

 

Finished Spread: Space and Clusters

This is a spread that has been sitting quietly, half finished, in my art journal for about two months. The colors are great (pastel blues and greens paired with their more vibrant counterparts via india inks and transparent acrylics) but there is just something really off about the whole spread that kept me away. Honestly, I think that the biggest issue I have with this spread is how dense the right page appears as compared to how much negative space is seen on the left page. Understand: both pages are 100% my style…just not coupled together. To me, the pages on either side of this spread contrast so harshly that they may as well be different pieces entirely. But, good news: they’re just pages in art journal! Here I was able to be creative, explore a color palette, and lose myself in a world where the only thing that mattered was the time spent making something.

So, I’m sure you’re curious to see this monstrosity, no? Well, it’s really not that bad, so I’ll share. (Insert winking emoji here.)

70 Atmospheres

“Space and CLusters” Art Journal Spread

And, while the spread itself may be lacking, the individual elements are pretty fun. Here are some closeups for your viewing pleasure:

70A Closeup Tower

Center Close Up of “Space and Clusters” Art Journal Spread

70A Compass

Left Close Up of “Space and Clusters” Art Journal Spread

70A Seed Pod

Right Close Up of “Space and Clusters” Art Journal Spread

Thanks so much for blinding yourself on this spread (joking…kind of) and don’t forget to visit me here again Wednesday! I’m in the process of editing a new speed process art journaling video, which is of a page that I actually think is pretty cool! For a sneak peak, you can visit my instagram by clicking this link: EmK’s Instagram.

Finished Spread “Internal Tide”

It took me about a week, but I’m finally motivating myself away from Murder She Wrote (I’m judging me, too) and back to the paint splattered  beauty that is my desk. I’ve had a gorgeous mess of dried Bombay India ink sitting in my journal for five days, waiting to be transformed from colorful anarchy to repurposed chaos; today, I obliged.

Photo Jun 21, 7 03 49 PM

“Internal Tide” Art Journal Spread Close Up: Center

Working with the India ink was a lot different that my usual acrylics. The thin ink moved more freely than what I’m used to, creating organic shapes and colors, whereas my usual paint needs more guidance. Painting with acrylics provides the artist with a substance that requires manipulation, but letting a drop of India ink flow freely next to a drop of a different color will create unexpected swirls or patterns that the user cannot control. Of course, this could be avoided with precision, paint brushes, and plentiful drying time, but where’s the fun in that?

Photo Jun 21, 7 01 58 PM

“Internal Tide” Art Journal Close Up: Left Page

Working with a more controllable substance has taught me to cause chaos that looks accidental, so being provided with a medium that does most of the hard work for me is both exciting and a little baffling. When I create splatters or blocks of paint, I already have a mental arsenal of the designs and patterns I can add to these acrylic arrangements of colors; when I lay inks down and let them move across my page, motivated only by gravity and surface tension, the movement of color is unique, which pushes me to find new ways to create atop it. Which is great…if I’m not in a slump.

Photo Jun 21, 7 02 29 PM

“Internal Tide” Art Journal Spread Close Up: Right Page

Well, luckily I decided my fingers needed a little busy work today, and working on art outweighs dish washing any day of the week. For those of you who have never worked on dried puddles of India ink, there is a gloss to the transparent ink that you will not find with inexpensive acrylics. I’ve discovered the matte white ink dries much chalkier, and as seen above, can even crack slightly after drying.

File Jun 21, 8 52 38 PM.jpeg

“Internal Tide” Art Journal Page

 

I used Faber-Castell Pitt pens, Sakura of America gelly roll pens, and UniPosca Paint pens (my review is HERE) on this spread, accenting only slightly with tan acrylic craft paint. I’m not quite sure that I’ll flood my journal page the next time I work with India ink, but I was pleasantly surprised by the results of it. If you didn’t see the post where in which I talked about the set of Dr. Ph. Martin’s India ink that I purchased, which was used in the creation of this spread, you can find it HERE coupled with a YouTube video!

Finished Spreads: Week of 5/29-6/4

I’ve been on a roll this week at my desk: painting, drawing, gluing and more! It seemed like I was working in both art journals consistently for about 3 days, switching back and forth in order to allow paints and inks to dry. I’ve finished 3 spreads, started 2, and worked on 2 others, totaling in 7 different spreads in progress at one time! Today I am sharing just the 3 finished spreads, so as to not overwhelm you…or my camera. Enjoy!

Bullseyes & Bloodstains.jpg

Finished Art Journal Spread 1: “Bull’s Eyes and Blood Stains”

FACE.png

Art Journal Spread 2: “Flea Market Vacation” (or “Fish in a Bottle”)

FACE2

Finished Art Journal Spread 3: “Labor”

Finished Spread: Printed Reminder

File May 23, 10 24 16 PM

Printed Reminder AJP

I still have the illness, but apparently that’s good for my creativity as I have created a new spread from start to finish in a day! I love everything about this spread, except that it’s in my private journal, which means that I won’t be sharing with anyone in person. Luckily for you, I can show it off online! All collage imagery (7 pieces in spread above) comes from a large coffee table book about National Geographic photography, which I recently purchased for under $6. I recommend it for any collage junkies out there. I found mine in a discount store, but it is also available online at Amazon, here: Odysseys & Photographs. During the writing of this post, it is currently for sale (as used) for $0.95 plus shipping, which is a total steal for this collection of beautiful images.

File May 23, 10 23 35 PM

I used so many different materials to create this spread, including my new fine point Uni-Posca paint pens. (If you haven’t read my short review on these, click HERE.) These opaque pens are %100 living up to my expectations! I also used the new KRINK K-90 permanent paint pen, which isn’t the greatest to draw with, but makes perfect little dots…and trust me when I say that I could use a tool which does only that! I’ve been playing around with oil pastels too, and used an incredibly soft yellow-orange Expressionist pastel by Sakura (which is becoming my favorite brand of non-paint supplies) to do a few markings throughout the page. More supplies include: Gelly Roll pens, Golden fluid acrylic paints, Faber-Castell Pitt pens and , Dr. Ph. Martins Bombay India ink. This spread is truly mixed media!

 

Finished Spread: Vocals

I have finally completed the art journal spread seen as a work in progress in this post: WIP: Orange & Blue Background. It’s not everyday that I feel comfortable with a spread and I can call it finished, but happy day, this one is done!

Photo May 04, 6 56 17 PM

“Vocals” Art Journal Spread

Since the last update of this spread, I have used the following supplies on it: white acrylic paint; pens in black, white, and blue; my Faber-Castell blue PITT pen; a white woodless colored pencil; and a sticker (which I “artistically” butchered) that came from my place of employment. I’m not one to regularly use stickers, but I allowed it of myself, as it had originally spelled something different and called for severe alteration. The black lettering on the white background of the sticker worked well with the illustrations that I had drawn onto page, featuring thick black lines framing opaque white paint.

Photo May 04, 6 58 00 PM

Detail of Illustration on “Vocals” AJP

I fell in love the the disjointed brush strokes that create the circular design found at both the top of the left page, as well as on the right side of the right page. My husband told me that the clusters of outlined orange dabs, which are overlaid with black dashes, look like koi swimming beneath the surface of water. Even though it was originally a completely abstract pattern, I can now see blurred little fish wading on the page. Whatever it may look like, I’ve never created this design before; don’t be surprised to see it show up in later work, as I’m rather fond of it.

File May 04, 7 26 38 PM

Detail of Abstract Design on “Vocals” AJP

I think it’s finished, do you? If you have any thoughts about this page, leave me a comment below! (Or if you just want to drop a line and say hello, that’s welcome too!)

I’ll see you Friday!

Finger Painting for Adults*

The term adults implies persons over the age of 18, and is not indicative of a stage of maturation.

I’m never afraid to get my hands dirty…well, with paint anyway. I think of paintbrush strokes as being less than subtle, and an old card always ends up spreading paint over a huge amount of space. Diluting paint may make it less pronounced when pushing it around the page with one of these tools, but sometimes it still does not provide me with the look I’m going for. This is where my fearless fingers come into play, ready to smear, dollop, and spread!

File Apr 29, 9 39 21 PM.jpeg

Finger Painting on an AJP

Dragging paint is something easy to do that creates a unique effect, and is something I do often with paint. However, there are so many different ways you can move paint around with your hands! Using my fingers provides me with control, allowing me to use as much pressure as I choose. I can leave thicker places in the paint, causing more opacity, or I can push and smear, making it thin enough to expose layers underneath. Covering my entire finger in paint allows me to create oval shapes on my page that slowly fade out, like using a stamp repeatedly; I also do this with just flecks of paint on my fingers, which create small, odd shapes. “Stamping” with your finger may sound primitive, but below is a landscape that I created by finger painting in this manner. No so primitive, is it?

Landscape Canvas.JPG

Finger Painted Landscape

Finger painting is something child like, and embracing it may help you reach back to the uninhibited creative roots of your youth. Those of us who make art are often worried that our creations are not pretty enough, but even a child can see beauty in a simple streak of color. Keeping an art journal isn’t like working on canvas: there are a hundred fresh starts just waiting for the turn of a page. It’s okay to make weird blobs and abstract shapes on a spread, even if you hate them, because you can always layer over it or continue further into your book.

File Apr 29, 9 38 11 PM.jpeg

Finger Prints in My Art Journal

Smacking my fingers against a piece of paper can let out a little frustration for me, and making art in the process of relieving my anger or irritation just puts more meaning into my work. I feel more connected to pages with my finger painting, knowing that the individual curves of my finger prints are embedded in the paint, making the image something only my hands could create! It also creates unique shapes, unlike a stamp, which will make perfect O’s every time. That means it’s impossible to recreate, and is something special from a particular moment of my life.

I invite you to get your hands dirty too: don’t be afraid of your paint! Painting tools are wonderful, but sometimes its more about fun and less about pretty. Enjoy yourself while you’re creating, because beauty without soul is boring!

WIP: It’s No Mona Lisa.

Portraits! Oh my do I struggle with portraits. I can draw flora and fauna to my heart’s desire, but the second I want to create a face, my artistic abilities pack up and take a vaca. Being an avid acrylic user, I love mixing paints for light and darker hues, and find it so much easier than perfecting shades with graphic or water color, however shading is still far easier than line work! It’s still a work in progress, of course, but I’m at the point where things are starting to feel cohesive. I’ve always considered my style cartoony, as my drawings imply the proper shapes but never quite capture them. I chalk this up to my horrendous hand-eye coordination. My eyes can see the lines and shadows but my hands just won’t comply.

img_1420

Orange & Black WIP Spread

For my current spread, I’ve decided to paint a portrait, though it may not be my forte. I was over eager in creating my background, and while I made some amazing texture, it became far too messy to use small imagery  as the foreground—it simply would be lost in the chaos. Choosing something large and mostly opaque seemed to be the best option. I’m still in love with my background, and am leaving the most interesting elements alone. These elements include: paint that has dried raised, multicolored paint drips, stamped lettering, and circles created with my (new from the clearance) Tim Holtz paint dabbler.

img_1426

Orange & Black WIP Spread

The imagery that I’m most excited about came by accident, and not by the purposeful application of tools. The left page, which is currently dominated by a long paint drip that runs horizontally as well as vertically, was created with supplies I had not previously mixed. I used watered-down tan acrylic paint to make a very fluid mixture, which dripped down the page with ease. The amount I used was in excess, and when I turned the page sideways, it poured to the left from the original drip. I had done this before, but next I did something different: I used white India ink to add to the tan paint’s original drip. I then turned the journal on its right side, mirroring the tan lines with white ones. The India ink and paint mixed independently, making an unexpected marbled effect. It’s beautiful! I will definitely be trying to recreate that effect in later spreads.

img_1427-1

Orange & Black WIP Spread

The portrait needs line work to create facial features, but I’m 99% sure that the left page will stay just as it is. The only way I can think it may be necessary to alter the left page is if I find myself using other colors on my portrait. If other colors come into play, I may choose to incorporate them on the opposite page in order to keep my color scheme cohesive.

I’ll keep you updated on this portrait…as long as it doesn’t turn out too terribly. That being said, I’ve already accepted that it’s no Mona Lisa. (It is orange, after all.)

Working on Multiple Spreads

This past week, I just can’t seem to keep my hands off of my acrylic paints! Because these paints are usually my go to for creating backgrounds, I’ve been starting multiple spreads without getting very far on them. This has made me question the pros and cons for having multiple spreads started, and I’ve decided to share my logic with you.

image

Orange & Blue WIP Spread, and Green & Purple WIP Spread

Pros:
1. The ability to travel with just journal and pen, always having something to draw on.
2. Having established pages for my “off” days when creating feels difficult.
3. Being able to just doodle for when I’m on a roll with my pen.
4. Having extra pages for art classes and challenges that are image oriented and not background oriented.

Cons:
1. Being forced to work with color palettes that no longer resonate with me.
2. Having fewer pages to start fresh on.
3. Feeling like I might ruin something I’ve already created that I don’t remember how to recreate.
4. Being without the same paint or not remembering which ones I’ve used if I want to add to the background.

image.jpeg

Blue & Yellow WIP Spread, and Green/Pink/Yellow Pastel WIP Spread

I’m not in fear of running out of pages to work on, though I’ll admit that this is my favorite journal. Luckily, it’s a 200 page book that I’m altering, so the number of pages left to work on is still not easily counted. That being said, I have already run into the problem of not remembering which paint I’ve used (namely the blue and yellow bone spread above), which did cause me some irritation. However, it’s been fun playing with my paint, so at least I’ve accomplished the task of enjoyably creating art…and that’s what is most important to me!

Let me know if you can think of any pros or cons for having too many spreads started. Also, feel free to comment a link to any or your work in progress art journal pages, I’d love to see what’s out there!!

 

WIP: Creating a Chaotic Background

I’m one of those people who thinks they’re going to “ruin” an unfinished piece; it sounds crazy because how can you ruin something that may as well not even exsist, but I know I’m not alone in this fear. One of the things that I’ve discovered to help me overcome this fear is to create wild and chaotic backgrounds that include little or no details. This way, I can cover up any part of the page and not feel like I am giving up some great part of my spread to make room for something that might turn out mediocre. If the page has multiple points of interest, removing just one of them is not so hard for me.

File Apr 13, 5 23 09 PM - Copy

WIP Chaotic Background, 4/13/2016

Creating chaos is also one of my prefered methods because it doesn’t force me into a corner. Chaos begins (and can end up) as abstract forms. If I imediately create coherent imagry, I can become preoccupied with making sure that the rest of the page matches. Chaos gives me the ability to tell myself that things don’t need to make sense or look orderly. For example, if I painted an elephant on a plain page in my art journal, I’d begin to ask my self, “Should I draw a circus tent next?” or, “How do I fill in the space around it’s legs without obscuring them?” Thoughts like that disrupt my creative process so harshly that they often force me to step away from the art.

File Apr 13, 5 22 52 PM - Copy

Chaotc Background 4/13/2016 Details

The following video shows you one of the ways that I create chaos for my spreads. I use 5 different colors of acrylic paint, two paint brushes, and a credit card to fill an entire spread with abstract shapes, paterns, and lines. This page is in no way finished, but will provide me with a wonderful base to add imagry, details, and if I so choose, words. Enjoy!