Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
One of the most beautiful gifts in my art journaling practice is the ability to transform my feelings on the page, especially by working in stages and layers.
Working over time and in layers creates a conversation between me and the art piece. I have to be open to what the art wants, and not try to force things. I stand back frequently, looking from a distance, and waiting. This process is deep, sacred, and cleansing for me. I’m excited to share it with you.
Mindful Art Journaling in Stages
First, I made an ink and string drawing (a technique I teach in Art Journaling 101.) That version of the page sat untouched for many months. Next, on separate days months apart, I doodled the triangles on the bottom left, and then added a light wash in blue and green high flow acrylic paint.
I liked what was appearing, so I added another layer of wash to deepen the values.
I could have stopped here, but I needed to think through my feelings and find equilibrium. I felt relieved and more clear by the end.
Next, I added another wash of paint over my words in order to hide them a bit, that’s the photo you see below.
It seemed to me that the words should be even more hidden, so once the paint was dry, I began rubbing white gesso onto the page with my fingers. Using my hands gives me an intimate and direct relationship with my art. The black shape on the left page reminded me of a flower, and I imagined that the dots I drew were flower seeds floating away.
After stepping back to take a look, I added more layers of gesso, again with my fingers. To get that smoky look, I use a pulling and dragging motion with the gesso.
Next, I added some white dots around the edge of the gesso with my new favorite Posca pen.
Soon the white started to feel overpowering, so I used the brush to do another wash with my high flow acrylic in blue.
Then I added a little wash of sap green.
And then suddenly it seemed to me the piece needed to drop down again into deeper tones. I used my new plexiglass palette to mix the colors right next to my page. It’s so convenient to mix the high flows on my table and then wipe them off when I’m done. I wonder if you would like it too?
After that, it seemed that the dots wanted to multiply, so I let them. And then I stood away from it for a long while gazing at it from a distance.
And then something magical happened…the paper cutouts! I loved the contrast of the translucent tracing paper and the opaque white pen against the depth of the green-blue shades on the page.
I added more interest by layering the flowers. I glued the flowers down in the center, so that the flower petals could flutter and make little sounds with the smallest provocation.
I’ve always been fascinated by the many properties of paper, including the sound and texture, and lately I’ve been experimenting with how I can use paper as a sculptural element in journals. This is an exciting step in that journey. It’s even more exciting knowing the the page started as a way to vent my frustrations, and turned into a piece that is full of life and whimsy. It makes me think about how changing my perspective and behavior can change my experience.
I’d love to hear how you dive deep in your art journaling practice. Share about it in the comments and please share this post with a friend!
Art Materials I Used for This Page:
Classes I Referenced with This Page:
Helpful Art Journaling Tutorials and Posts:
The Guide to Creative Self-Care – My powerful, free class!
You can find more of my art and daily inspiration on Instagram: @amymaricle
Have fun with all these resources!
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