Saturday, January 22, 2022

A Stab At Art Journaling

I've been hanging out with Laly Mille this week, or at least the videos she provided taking us through the process of art journaling about your word of the year. I was first introduced to Laly back in 2019 when I took part in my first Sketchbook Revival (here's my spread from her class which looks better to me than this one.). I got on her mailing list and have enjoyed keeping up with her soft quiet way of enjoying life and incorporating it into her mixed media. It's just possible that she is at least partly responsible for the collection of ephemera pulled from magazines, words and phrases cut from same and the saving of other odds and ends that could be potentially used in art journaling. And if you think starting a textile project creates a mess on the worktable, I'd have to say this art journaling certainly does the same! In the above picture I've sorted through that bin on the left to pull out some things I think might be usable, and have some catalogues out too in order to find some specific items that are not already in the bin. This counts as a "finish more" project in that I am working in a discarded library book per several art journaling and altered books instructions, something I've been meaning to try for several years, the pile of usable discarded library books having gotten quite tall by now. I will keep working in it as I try another artist's journaling prompts on a specific topic.

Laly encourages thinking about your word and why you are choosing it as well as what emotions it may evoke. She was all calm and comfortable while I knew I wanted to infuse energy into my spread. I started by putting down some gesso that I added a few drops of green ink to. I too want a little calm on my page. Then we were to journal across the spread in pencil, she writing gratitude statements, me more statements about what I want to do this year and how I might achieve it.  Then I added some yellow art crayon here and there for my energy. Finally I glued down a large teabag on each side of the spread - centered because I can't seem to do otherwise. Yes, most of that journaling was covered up, just a first layer for yourself that would only peak through here and there. Then I started picking and choosing and arranging bits and pieces, basically things representing what "more" I want to do. Right side is getting all the sewing and quilting things while the left side is getting those other artsy things I like to play with. Those butterflies . . . I just loved the color and a certain energy coming off them so while they are not specific to anything, I couldn't NOT use them. Kind of the same with the hexagon over on the right. Wanting to add color and anything that reads energy to me.

Let me be the first to say I'm not very good at this sort of thing. The layering and covering up of things drives me just a little crazy, often asking what was the point if it can't be seen? I concentrated more on balance as I arranged and glued down my individual pieces, especially with the ones that read very yellow. I think I did ok with that but everything is very scattered compared to the way Laly composes her pages. That DOES evoke some energy though, although it may be a little chaotic energy! Another round of mostly unseen journaling was next and I added attitudes ("doing things that make me smile" for instance) and some what if's (such as "what if I dived into those things I'm less familiar with but curious about instead of procrastinating?). And then I made my first blunder. Wanting to bring in more of the green which was now only showing around the edges, I tried dropping some green ink in here and there between the pictures, forgetting that I had mixed it before with white gesso. I thought those drops would run (they didn't) and they were far too dark. Using a wet brush, I tried moving them about and in the end, pretty much covered up all of the teabag's brown, as well as some of the yellow art crayon I'd used around each picture. That led to more experiments to "fix" all that darkness, including dabbing some of the ink off with a paper towel, rubbing on more gesso, and adding more yellow. Also outlined many things with black ink, wrote some of my attitude words visibly in open areas, and added some spirals (more energy) with white graphite. It looks a bit of a mess to me, but all the individual reminders are there and hey, you've gotta start somewhere with a new technique.

And now I have a big mess to clean up and put away! I decided that should be a secondary resolution in order for me to truly get more done. I'm too prone to heaving a heavy sigh after completing a project and shoving the  leftovers and tools to a blank place on my worktable rather than sorting through them and putting them back where they belong or tossing some of it. Eventually I barely have any room left on the table to work. Or room on the floor to walk around it! Wish me luck with that one!


Anonymous said...

I read your description of your art journaling process with interest. The layers are there, then they're not, but you know they were! I like the bright, cheerful splashes of color in the butterflies & your use of yellow. Of course, the thing that made me smile was spotting your little Clover clips on the corners of the pages! "Squirrel!" Jan in WY

The Idaho Beauty said...

Ah Jan, I figured SOMEONE would notice those clips! I still have to find a quilting use for them, have not been that happy using them to hold binding that's been turned to the back for final stitching, just can't get as close to them with the sewing foot as I can with pins. But they are much easier to use than bulldog clips which I'd been using for awhile to hold sketchbook pages open. Even the small ones I am finding difficult to open and because of that extra tension they sometimes leave marks on the paper.

Yes, the idea behind covering up layers, at least partially, is two-fold: 1. It can create depth to the finished piece, and 2. You've embedded thoughts onto the page that need only be for you and ones you not necessarily need to revisit but as you say, you know they are there. Kinda like the morning pages journaling where you do what I like to call a mind dump so you don't have to keep carrying those thoughts around with you all day and you are not supposed to go back and re-read them.

I have to say that I think this particular art journal page has revealed something to me. I keep looking at it and am really bothered, almost agitated by it. Too much scattering, everything standing on its own instead of integrating. Lack of focus. And then it hit me; that is what my "creative journey" has been like for awhile and why I'm not making the sort of progress I used to make. That's the great thing about any kind of journaling; it often reveals truths your subconscious has a difficult time getting through to you any other way. I even find this happening with some of my art quilts. Before I know it, things are creeping in from where I don't know and telling me things I hadn't considered or put together. Your guard is down somehow. Maybe you've had this experience with some of your themed art quilts?

The Inside Stori said...

I’m so impressed with anyone who is dedicated enough to journal….and to keep it up! Fun to see this new passion of yours! said...

Interesting how some folks are 'cleaner-uppers' and others are 'push it to one side-ers'. I tend to have multiple projects going on with piles dedicated to each project. But I do clean my workspace at the end of every sessions with tools placed just so. I can tell when someone has sat at my worktable/desk and used my tools or looked at things on my desk.

Several of my friends and I did art journaling of a sort in some old books; we each would do a page in each other's books whenever we got together. it was fun to look back through them and remember some of the crazy things we did. Our only regret was that we did not start at the beginning of the book and work our way through it--we did random pages--we did gesso them first and tore out about half of the pages before we started. Gesso tends to thicken the pages as does all the collage items.

I'd put aside that green page; let it dry---and do another set in a few days---things always look better with a bit of time--time seems to erase some of the self-hyper criticism we all seem to have.