Friday, February 28, 2014

My art journal is my therapist

Life can be pretty overwhelming at times
 and we all go through rough patches,
 it is just extra tough when the bad times get drawn out
 and don't seem to have an end in sight. 

I am not really one for seeing a therapist and I don't think I could even find one that really suited me out here anyway. I don't tend to talk to friends or family too much either, just the surface of the matter really, and that is just how I am. I do however have somewhere that I can be as messy and emotional and demanding and unreasonable as I need to be in that moment and that is my art journal. 

Maybe that is why I have so many and why I fill them fairly quickly.

Of course they are not all angst filled pages, I take any emotion and use it to inspire my page and looking back through my journals I can clearly see the issues I was dealing with back then, and those that still follow me into the present. 

When I feel like I really need to get it all out I just write it all down, I can then chose to cover it all up or leave some out or leave it all out, I do have a lot of ways of getting it out and making it private so really no one else will ever be able to read the whole lot, but I can leave enough in the page so I can clearly see and feel the emotion or the release I was experiencing that day. 

These pages don't have to be pretty, they don't have to be anything. they are just for me to purge my head, sometimes the act of getting it all out turns into something bright and pretty and sometimes its just messy and that is all OK.

Do you vent in your journal?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

She is getting ready to fly

Journal page in my waste paint journal.

I am protected and given strength by the mighty 
Wedge Tail Eagle.

Journal page done using acrylic paints, gel pens, pitt pens, modeling paste and stencils.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I love to use stencils in my art work, 
the journal spread above uses one of Jessica Sporn's stencil club journals,
as soon as I saw this set of stencils she became one of my favorite designers and I had to join the club.

I love to use the stencils in different ways.
This gorgeous elephant was created at the pool one morning watching my boys frolic in the water. I did a quick spray with dylusions through another favorite stencil girl stencil. When it was dry I closed my journal and popped it into my bag along with some gelato gel pens and my pencil case I was set. 

This piece is a stencil explosion-
I used so may different stencils and colours to build up a back ground, 
then I used modeling paste through another of Jessica Sporn's stencil club stencils.

These last 2 images use the same gorgeous peacock stencil
(yet another by the incredibly talented Jessica Sporn for stencil club)

I use them is so many ways and I seem to have a fully fledged addiction to them now.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Soul Food Loving

I am so loving Soul Food, 
I eagerly wait each new lesson.
This lesson has me doing some paper mache.
I actually used my table protector paper for my paper mache so it is not painted at all, I did add a couple of squirts of dylusions campo teal into my paper mache paste mix to bring it all together and I love the way it all looks in this stage before I added the other components. 
This is lesson 10 from Sarah Hand

I turned mine into a shrine to the ocean,
it was lovely to gather up some of my treasures and bring them all together in a home. 

The lesson was on shadow boxes and paper mache and this is my finished piece. I had lots of fun and this piece was nice to work on in stages as it had to dry and I had to collect all my bits and pieces. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Salt Dough

Sometimes I like to play with different creative mediums.

The boys and I made a stack of salt dough embellishments.

We stamped into the dough and they came out so well.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Setting up a travelling art journal

There are many ways to set up a travelling art journal,
I am just setting up this one for the Australian Art Journal Swap

I like to have a title on the outside and a title page when the front cover is opened.

I also have a little mini booklet just inside the front cover to welcome my fellow artists and to share any hopes or guidelines I might have for that journal.

I tend to offer a variety of different pages, here there are pages with extra flaps and others without, I also do the initial spread to set the tone for the journal. I think it might be harder for others to be the first to work in a pristine new journal that belongs to someone else.

In the back I like an area for each artist to sign in.
Here I have included tags in pockets.
I also have a bigger pocket in the back of the journal for people to leave anything extra they might like to leave.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Animal Totems Travelling Art Journal

A journey through my wonderful journal Totem Animals

It has been travelling around the world

Gathering beauty and wisdom from fellow artists.

Stunning details and embellishments.

Beautiful colours and different techniques.

I feel so spoiled to have this private gallery on my shelf.

You can see more and find out who contributed on my facebook album

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Starting an Art Journal Swap or Round Robin

Have you ever wanted to join in a collaborative art journal swap? Or maybe even started one? I have joined in with a few and I just love the experience and the private gallery of works I end up with when my art journal comes home.

Each swap I have joined has been really different and they all will be very different because they are different themes and people, I think there are some things we can do to help them be more successful.

I am currently initiating an art journal swap and I have scoured the net looking for tips or tricks or guidelines on how to get started and I have found very very little. I did find this one gorgeously illustrated article Round Robin Art Exchange but I had many more questions I wanted answered because even though I had experience in playing in these swaps before some of my lovely fellow artists were very new to the whole experience and I was also after tips for them.  I decided if there wasn't much out there I would write something to help anyone in the future who might be looking for the same kind of information I was.

Before I let announced I was starting our swap I considered a few things that would be the boundaries of this swap.

The first was the cost of mailing. I live in Australia and have spent a small fortune on sending journals over sea's, its crazy and I have loads of amazing artists living in my beautiful country so the first thing I decided was to keep it local- postage anywhere in Australia is much much cheaper than overseas. One other bonus of an Australia only swap is the journals would be spending much less time in transit and our postal system is really very good and very safe so hopefully we will not lose any journals.

The other boundary was that I didn't really want more than 12 people, otherwise it just takes too long for the journals to complete the circle, so I decided id I got over 12 I would split the group into 2 and do 2 smaller swaps, with the option of circulating your journal through anyone still keen to play in the other group at the end of the first round.

The first thing you need to start up a swap is fellow creators to join you, as I was starting an art journal swap I started posting about it on various art and art journal facebook groups. Once upon a time I would have used Milliande's wonderful ning but it is closing down - if you are in any other group or community online that shares your activity you might want to ask there if anyone is interested. I gave myself plenty of time to recruit my fellow artists as well and as I started posting in December I shared another few times online that we were still open, in this time we gained a few more and we lost a few- I have seen people pull out of every round robin swap I have been in and I was hoping with the long lead up and at a busy time of year it would help people discover if they could really manage the time and commitment to see this swap through.

The next thing I think is vital is good communication and the tool that most easily enables that today for me is facebook, so I set up a private group and invited all my fellow art journalists to join and it is here that we are starting to get to know each other. I also have another wonderful lady with experience hostessing swaps who has joined this swap and she has kindly become my fellow admin- that way if I am busy or away or whatever she will be around to help out with any questions or issues that may arise.

 On our facebook group we have done our introductions and have been chatting about themes and making our journals- or altering them as the case may be. It is also a place to share any worries or concerns you might have and a few of our ladies have been a bit nervous and have gained a lot from that private space to chat. I will maintain that space as an active communication tool throughout the swap and on topic.

It is also a space to chat about the theme you are currently working on, some are pretty easy to grasp but some are a little more difficult and being able to discuss them is a great way connect with the journals owner and to clarify your ideas.

Life happens- people move, have babies, get sick, start work, do loads of things that can affect them and their ability to maintain their commitment to the swap, I do believe however that clear and timely communication will help us all overcome any issues. I know many people have lost journals that are in the possession of people who are out of contact with the group and that is terrible, so I have asked that everyone give me their email, phone numbers and home and postal address as a back up in case I need to track them down. I am hoping though that the friendships forged in our little facebook page will form bonds to strengthen out commitment to each other and our journals.

A spreadsheet to keep track of who has worked in what journal and where each journal is at any given time is a fabulous thing as well.

The other thing I have done is created a blog as a home for our pages. This worked very successfully with the last swap I was in 15 Artists- 15 Journals - 15 Months  This is the space for us to share our work in each journal and also to watch the pages that appear in all the other journals. We will get to see many of the pages in person as such, when they come to visit when it is our turn to work in that journal - and what a treat that is- to be able to hold and touch and see clearly your fellow artists work is wonderful. You only get to see the work from the artists behind you in the swap however so the blog is when you get to see them all. It is also a place for other people to see our beautiful journals as they develop.

It is also I believe the role of the host/ hostess to keep the group enthused and on track but we don't have to do that alone, some of your fellow artists will naturally assist with this and you can ask for help - once again its the communication issue and it is vital for any relationship particularly those on line.

The images shared here are collages of the pages in 2 of my travelling journals - the top one is Totem Animals and the bottom one is Nature Study.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Journal52 week 1 Up Up and Away

Have you discovered Journal52?
It is a year long free art journal program with weekly promps and an active facebook group to share our work.

This is a page in my waste paint journal. It is where I clean off my brushes and stencils and stamps and catch any over spray and use up excess anything, so when I started this page it was already well layered with black gesso, spray inks and collage. next I added lots of journalling about what I want to release and send Up Up and Away. I covered it with white gesso and then I drew up my ideas 

These are the tools I had used in my drawing stage- a 2B pencil and a rubber, a black and 2 different sized white gel pens and a very pale grey Pitt pen.

To add colour I wanted it to be bold so I used Inktense watercolor pencils (Derwent)

You can see the intense pigment released when you add water.

I completed the drawing in a very sketcherly way adding details to my dandelion and lots of seeds blowing across the page and a little bird.