Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Art Journal Backgrounds and Caran d'Ache Love

I've been working in my art journal and practicing backgrounds.  I really love trying to create depth and layers in my backgrounds.  This page has a little bit of everything.  I started out with three colors, spread around with a credit card.  Next I added some text torn from an old book and some rubber stamps.  Then I added a thin coat of gesso here and there, followed by more rubber stamps, bubble wrap, and some tissue paper.  This was the first time I had worked with tissue paper, but it won't be the last.  I loved how easy it was to apply with some gel medium and it's so transparent that everything underneath showed through and it made a really nice effect.

  I'm pretty happy with the way this one turned out overall.

 Isn't it funny how some of our 'experiments' turn out to be better than our 'planned' techniques?  I did this page at random because I wanted to practice a technique I had read about online. This was done with Caran d'Ache watercolor crayons and a baby wipe.  I did this one in my moleskine sketchbook and the combination of the paper, crayons and baby wipes made a really creamy, blended effect and I love the way it turned out.

I love working with these water-soluble crayons.  They are so versatile and the colors are bright and beautiful.  I use them a lot when I don't have time to dig out all of my paints and brushes, or when I'm away from home but want to paint.  They can be blended with a baby wipe, your finger or a water brush, so if you're traveling these items are small and easy to bring along.  The Caran d'Ache brochure has some neat techniques for using these crayons.  Here's a link to the downloadable PDF if you'd like to have a look.

Do any of you use these crayons, or have a special technique to share?  If so feel free to leave your link below so we can all check it out.

Until next time, happy creating!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Benefits of Journaling

"In difficult times always carry something beautiful inside." - Blaise Pascal

Has it really been almost 3 months since my last blog post?  I have had a very difficult time lately.  My husband passed away recently and it has turned my life upside down.  It has affected every area of my life and even the simplest of tasks seem like moving mountains. I am struggling to move toward peace and acceptance and trying to regain some sense of normalcy in my life, if for nothing else than as a distraction for those times when I'm "thinking" too much.

The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.
~Mignon McLaughlin

One of the things that I turn to when I'm feeling emotionally drained and out of control is my art journal. I began art journaling regularly to help me cope with the death of my father  a little over a year ago. Since that time I have found my art journal to be a powerful tool that helps me in ways I never could have imagined.  Like a trusted friend, my journal is always there to listen as I pour out my feelings, and allows me the freedom to release all of my emotions without worry of how my words will affect others.  It's a restorative form of self nourishment and self-care that helps me to sort through my thoughts, which at times are all over the place. I always feel stronger and more in control after working in my art journal and when working through grief, or writing about the loss of a loved one, the benefits of keeping a journal are astounding and incredibly therapeutic.

I came across a terrific article written by Life Coach Susan Good that describes some of the benefits of art therapy.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

"The joy you feel when creating art can be healing in itself. It's easy to get "lost" in your creativity, relieving stress and thereby eliminating a major cause of dis-ease. But the effects are even more profound. According to the Art As a Healing Force web site (, scientific studies have shown that art literally changes not only a person's attitude, but their physiology. Art and music affect a person's brain wave pattern, along with the autonomic nervous system, hormonal balance, brain neurotransmitters, immune system and blood flow to all the organs. They change one's perceptions of the world, including their emotional state and perception of pain."  Read full article....

I know that brighter days are ahead for me and I'm grateful for the outpouring of love and support I've received during this difficult time.  I wish you all Peace and Love.

May you find serenity and tranquility in a world you may not always understand. May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with courage and optimism. Always know that there are those whose love and understanding will always be there, even when you feel most alone. May you discover enough goodness in others to believe in a world of peace. May a kind word, a reassuring touch, and a warm smile be yours every day of your life, and may you give these gifts as well as receive them. Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending.~Unknown

For more information about the benefits of journaling, check out the links below.
Journey Through Grief
Art as Healing
100 Benefits of Journaling
The Therapeutic Benefits of Journaling
Journal Therapy Cures
Healing Art

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wreck This Journal

For quite some time I've been hearing a lot of people talking, (and blogging) about a book called "Wreck This Journal" by Keri Smith.

Wreck This Journal is an illustrated book featuring a subversive collection of prompts, guiding the reader through a series of steps to fill the pages of the book, as well as destroy them! Some of the 'destructive' prompts instruct readers to poke holes in the pages, spill coffee on a page, drop the book from a high place and more. The theory behind beating up your journal is for the reader to experience the true creative process. The book description states "Readers discover a new way of art and journal making-and new ways to escape the fear of the blank page and fully engage in the creative process." When it comes to journaling, one of the hardest obstacles for a lot of us to overcome is the dreaded 'fear of the blank page', so my ears perked up when I heard about this book!

My curiosity finally got the best of me and I ordered the book. I was fully prepared to jump right in and beat the heck out of this book, until it came in the mail. There it was, nice and new, with crisp white pages and that 'new book' smell. I began to have second thoughts. I decided to just do some of the other pages first, the ones that were less destructive, and come back to the 'abusive' prompts later after I loosened up a bit. Once I got started, I began to really think about the concept of this book and that's when the fun started! I had forgotten what it was like to just play without the fear of "messing it up". I didn't have to worry about that because in this book it doesn't really matter, in fact messing it up is a good thing!

I've only completed a few pages. but so far I really like this book and I'm looking forward to all of the creative fun it has to offer!

This one isn't finished yet, but you get the idea. I decided to take this page a bit further than just tracing my hand, so I did Zentangles inside the hand shapes. So fun!

Anyone else out there have this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts as well as those of you who don't own the book. What are your thoughts?

Click here to learn more about "Wreck This Journal".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Moleskine Art Journal Pages

My beautiful daughter gave me a Moleskine sketchbook for Christmas which I absolutely love. The pages hold up so well under all kinds of abuse and it's the perfect size for art journaling. I've completed a few pages in it so far, the latest being the one I did last night.

My goal for this page was for it to have a very vintage feel to it. I've always thought that vintage nude photos are so beautiful, so I named this page

I'm still practicing the layering technique on my pages, and I did several layers on this one. I do seem to be getting a little better at it, I think.

I really like how this spread turned out and I can't decide if I should do anything else to it... or if I should even journal on it, so I'm leaving it as it is... for now.

And speaking of journaling...

the new issue of Art Journaling Magazine arrived in my mailbox this week, so my plan for this evening is to get cozy, listen to the rain, and lose myself in this beautiful magazine for a few hours. What a glorious way to spend a rainy evening!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More Art Journaling

My art journal is coming right along. My favorite time of the day is the time I spend with my art journal. It's very therapeutic and relaxing and I'm so glad I started on this creative journey. I have completed several backgrounds in my journal, but have yet to write on most of them.

I've managed to get over my fear of the blank page, but now I'm trying to force the actual writing, which is causing me to hit a creative brick wall. I decided that rather than getting frustrated I would set them aside and wait until the words come to me. Chasing them will only make them run faster and further away.

This is one of my very favorite backgrounds, and my first 'somewhat successful' attempt at layering. I put the paint on with a damp makeup sponge wedge and wow, the texture it created was wonderful and so much different than using a paint brush.

One of my main sources of inspiration is looking at the artwork of others. I just finished reading my issue of Art Journaling Magazine. It took me a month because I read it cover to cover and I try to just 'soak up' some of the creative energy from the very talented artists featured in the magazine.

I have ordered the Winter 2010 issue, which will hopefully come this week. What a beautiful and inspiring magazine this is! Full of tips, techniques, and pictures of amazing work.

The weather here has been so cold, perfect for getting cozy and playing in my art journal, which is what I'm off to do now. So until next time, be inspired!

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