Live Recap: Our Wilderness

After an accidental two week long hiatus from this blog, I’m returning to you with a bombardment of posts! Hurrah for filling up you email/blog feed with artsy goodness. (But my apologies for taking so long to get back to you.) Since I’ve been gone, I’ve been obsessively playing with my new Daniel Smith watercolors—a medium that just doesn’t fit among the pages of my art journals. With the holiday last Sunday, I also didn’t engage in a live stream, causing my only scheduled journaling time to be neglected. It’s rather difficult to post about art journaling when one is not art journaling. However, I did host a live stream this past Sunday, and the following photo is of the page that I began during that stream!

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“Our Wilderness” Work In Progress Art Journal Spread

Usually, my spread’s meanings are influenced by the imagery that I use and the color schemes that come about organically. However, this page was directly inspired by a single piece of collage imagery—a picture of two silhouettes at the edge of a canyon, looking out into the long stretch of stone. You see, the husband and I are going on vacation soon, and I have reserved us a stay in an isolated yurt among the mountains of a faraway state; it’s no wonder an image of a couple in the wilderness would speak to me on the cusp of our private adventure! The natural colors of the landscape determined my color choices as well, a collection of browns and greens. It’s a combination that I may not have otherwise used. The following photo is of this spread, after about two days of work, as I struggled to get myself away from watercolors and into an art journaling head-space.

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“Our Wilderness” Completed Art Journal Spread

I was able to test out a few new supplies in this spread, including the Mermaid Markers from the new Jane Davenport series. The colors used in this spread include “Seaweed,” “Siren,” and “Reef,” which are two green colors and a brown. The set of Mermaid Markers includes a piece of paper that discuss the contents of the brush markers, stating that the ink is a dye base (rather than pigment) and are not lightfast. While I have no issue using products that are not lightfast within the confines of my journal pages, it was a little disheartening to see that the markers—which cost over $3 a piece at $40 for 12—cannot be used in any for-sale artwork due to not being lightfast. Please note that this is not something stated on the exterior of the packaging, and—at the time of this post being published—not disclosed on the two exclusive websites that sell the product. The “Siren” color can be seen in the photo below, used to outline the silhouettes in the collage imagery.

“Our Wilderness” Closeup of Left Bottom

Like some of my other liquid ink markers, the colorants in the Mermaid Markers bled up through the acrylic paints applied over top of the marks even though the marks were dry. In this case, the acrylic paint that I used was the Liquitex Professional white gesso, so I feel very confident in saying that only a very thick coat of paint would be able to hide the marks made by these markers. Although I wouldn’t call this a “con,” as it could be used very effectively as a base layer beneath gesso and paint, it’s definitely not a “pro” when it happens unexpectedly. I will, however, be playing with the Mermaid Markers quite a bit, especially during my vacation, as they are wonderfully portable colorants and complement my current infatuation with watercolor. You can see the bleed-though of the “Siren” color in the white icicle shapes in bottom right corner of the image below.

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Our Wilderness” Closeup of  Right Bottom

I didn’t mean to neglect my blog duties, and even though this post is coming out Wednesday evening instead of Monday day, I want you to know that Wednesday’s usual Freebie post will still be coming out this week, just a day late! I sincerely thank you for sticking around while I found my footing earlier this month, and want to remind you: I will be streaming every Sunday at 8 pm EST on my Instagram, working in my art journal for all to see! I hope that you can join me sometime, and I especially hope that you’ll be making art with me, chatting about how awesome art journaling is, and letting me know if you have any questions about the many art supplies that I seem to be hoarding. Also, feel free to drop me a line by commenting here on the blog with any questions—or just to say hi!

 


Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase  the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership, without any extra cost to you. You support this blog and my ability to continue making awesome content through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Jane Davenport website and all other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Finished Spread: Radioactive

This spread was created an in an altered book, Odysseys and Photographs (2007), and was specifically produced onto these pages due to the unsettling imagery that was already printed on the spread. Somehow these images, unaltered and bizarre, seemed to speak to me in a time of frustration. The photos on these pages originally displayed a restrained lab mouse being injected with a steel syringe, and a man controlling a robotic arm in order to place makeup onto a subject’s face—strange, right?  I took the liberty of adding my own peculiar imagery, paired with a color palette inspired by the word visible on that syringe: radioactive. Though it may appear a bit eerie, I actually really like how the spread turned out!

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“Radioactive” Art Journal Spread

As I’ve mentioned before, I often find that my art journal spreads are more chaotic and detailed whenever I create while angered or distressed. These types of emotions affect me strongly, but I am also able to pour out frustrations onto a journal spread more easily. It’s therapeutic for me, almost as if I’m removing the negativity—piece by piece—with every stroke and line. This spread has been halfway finished since the end of last year, but I somehow found the inspiration to complete it. I began this spread when I was overwhelmed by some feelings of anger, and the subject matter definitely does not hide this!

 

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (3)

Radioactive” Closeup, Left

Although this spread may not depict the most cheerful of illustrations, I was honestly pleased with line work that I created when drawing these skulls. These illustrations are studies of northern american rodent skulls, sketched with a soft lead (Faber Castell 8B lead, jumbo) and inked with a black brush pen (Kuretake No. 7). The original drawings were found in a vintage nature book, a gift to me, and my attempt at replicating them was almost perfect! I’m slowly advancing my drawing skills, and am always delighted whenever I discover that I’m making progress.

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (4)

“Radioactive” Closeup, Right Top

This spread was started in order to deal with intense negative feelings, but I was able to achieve a sense of accomplishment for the illustrations! The positive feeling of success in my abilities as an artist outweighed my anger. Although I don’t like to leave art journal spreads unfinished, my change in disposition was probably why I was able to close the book on this spread for so long. Creating in my art journal is always such a positive experience for me, and it’s one of the reasons that I love to share this niche hobby with others! I promise you, I haven’t been keeping an art journal for 13 years without benefiting from doing so!

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (2)

“Radioactive” Closeup, Right Bottom

This journal spread might be finished, but there are about 10 more in this altered book that are only just started! I’ll be working on some of them this weekend, but I’ll definitely be starting a new art journal spread during my Instagram live stream on Sunday at 8 pm EST. If you’ve got the time, don’t forget to join me! Until then, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below!

 


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making art through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) All other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

 

Huge News! Art Journaling News!

I’ve finally taken a break from jumping up and down in excitement to write this post, so let me start out by saying I’m ecstatic to be telling you all my good news!! Are you ready? For 2017, I will be pushing myself to be as creative as possible for my new position as a Creative Team member! I’ve been chosen to be a part of the Get Messy Creative Team for next year, and will be creating videos, tutorial posts, and sharing images of my art work for a group of 1500+ beautiful people who share my biggest passion: art journaling!

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Art journaling is the one thing that has been with me for the majority of my life, before I knew that such a thing even had a name. I could not be happier to share my love of arting between the pages of a bound sketchbook, altering coffee table books, and getting my hands colorfully messy!  I feel like my artistic style has come such a long way in the past couple of years, and finally defining my method of creating—with certain techniques, supplies, and tons of emotion—has not only helped me find my artistic voice, but is now letting me share it with others. (It sounds goofy, I know, but I’m in happy-shock, so please bare with me.)

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A Sampling From My Art Journal Collection

When I was younger, before “art journaling” was defined to me, I called my art journals “my souls,” because that’s what it feels like: pouring my soul onto the pages of these once empty pages. While I may not be an emotional exhibitionist, I’ve always considered myself an open book, and oddly enough, it seems like sharing my “souls” is allowing me to prove it. So, let’s start with my most recently finished spread, one inspired by another Get Messy Creative Team member: Vanessa Oliver-Llyod, aka Dans Mon Crane!

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“Altered Dimension” Art Journal Spread

Vanessa hosted an hour long live event on the private Get Messy Facebook page last week, and while I wasn’t able to participate in the fun during the event, I happily re-watched the video at my desk, following along with her process. I can’t say that this spread turned out looking even remotely close to Vanessa’s beautiful journal pages, (which you should totally check out HERE) but I’m still very happy with my end product! It was so odd to not begin my spread with blocking in shapes of acrylic paint, but starting as Vanessa did instead. I stuck true to all of the suggestions made during the live event, but I just couldn’t stop myself from making all of the wild doodles and drippys that I so love to add to my journal spreads! Her ideas plus my ideas turned up making a pretty unique spread.

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“Altered Dimension” Close Up, Bottom Left

My spread ended up featuring a poker card, the queen of diamonds, which was altered to be far creepier than originally intended; her skin was painted green, her hood turned into a homage to The Bride of Frankenstein, and a third eye added to her chakra point. I’m not complaining by any means, as I fan-girl over weird and creepy pretty frequently, but the contrast of theme from that which was created during the live event is pretty extreme. The photo below is a close up of this altered card, presented next to a queen of hearts from the same deck for a better understanding of how much altering occurred.

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“Altered Dimension” Comparison to Unaltered Playing Card

I had so much fun with this exercise, switching up my process, and doing new things in my art journal that I would have never done without Vanessa’s input! I wasn’t alone either, as this exercise got a lot of the Get Messy community members in the mood to create. Seeing everyone’s pages was pretty awesome, as each member applied the suggestions to art journal spreads while guided by intuition and staying true to their style! As you can see in the close up’s below, I also didn’t stray too far from my usual aesthetic.

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“Altered Dimension” Close Up, Top Left

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“Altered Dimension” Close Up, Top Right

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“Altered Dimension” Close Up, Bottom Right

I’m so excited to not only work with Vanessa, but continue learning from her—and my new team members—over the course of this next year! If you haven’t joined this group, feel free to visit the Get Messy website and check out the FREE class, so that you can see if it’s right for you. I’d LOVE to see you there!! (Note: Even if you decide not to join, I’ll still be sharing a lot of stuff here, and I’m not going anywhere!)

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.)

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“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:

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

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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.

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“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?

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“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.

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“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.

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“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!

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

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

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Finished Art Journal Spread 3: “Labor”

Light and Dark: Working With Hues

Let me begin this post by saying my husband believes my wardrobe to be far too colorful and bright for any normal person; I am drawn to neons and pastels and any patterns that might be considered loud by some! But sometimes, I find myself thinking that I need to tone down my color palette just for a little variety. So this week, as my Art Snacks glared at me from across the desk, I worked diligently in my art-art journal to create beautiful, though contrasting, spreads.

The following photos are the two art journal spreads that I’ve created this week: one brightly colored (my usual scheme type) and the other painted with dark hues, including a lot of black line work and imagery.

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Neon Grasp AJP


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Somber Fingers AJP

As you can see, both spreads feature hands but convey completely different tones due primarily to their contrasting color palettes. It’s a good exercise for me to step outside of my usual realm and work with dark colors, especially when they help to relay darker emotions or ideas I may have. It’s still comfortable for me to create this work in my own developed style, so changing some things, such as hues, is a great way to help me evolve with my art!

Feel free to let me know how you step outside of your comfort zone…idea are always welcome! (And comments are encouraged.)

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.

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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.

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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!