My Art Journal 2017

I began this art journal project arpund 2012, I believe.  I am a fan of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and her work, and she had this Art Journal Everyday project I joined at the start of my own art journaling journey.  I had done two false starts with loose pages until I finally decided on an altered book.

An altered book as an art journal is basically a book that you change up and use as your journal.  I happily jumped into converting or altering this business book which was one of several copies at work.  I didn’t realize that the choice wasn’t only about the size and the paper (do not pick glossy pages!), but the binding at the spine was a very important consideration as well.

Because I mostly painted my layouts using very wet methods, the spine gave out several times and I eventually reinforced the binding with masking tape for most of the layouts.  That’s what a glued hard  bound book is wont to do, and I found out halfway through the book that I was supposed to look for older ones which were sewn and then bound.  Too late, so I worked around it.

My Altered Book: Title Page: A HAPPY LIFE

I would paint the background pages ahead, and have had so much fun creating multi page layouts with cut out windows or letters.  Creating the backgrounds and journal pages was half the fun — the other was when I actually did the journal entries.  I lettered and wrote as I would in a regular journal.  The big difference was the theme of “happy” and “happiness” emblazoned on the pages, and quotes I had picked up from the web as sources of inspiration.  This first book I entitled “A Happy Life.”
My Art Jpurnal so far
Art journaling has been very therapeutic for me, and while I fell out of the “Art Journal Every Day” pace, I continued my art journaling off and on for the first two years after.  On the third year, I became preoccupied with other things and actually managed to lose my journal which I hid too well.  After I found it earlier this year, I continued the remaining layouts and am about to wind down to the last pages.   Although there are blank pages left for me to journal through, I’ve made up my mind to begin a new journal to mark my 51st birthday this April.

My Art Jpurnal so far

This time around, I’m making the journal itself and I’m hoping it will be an even more meaningful journey moving forward.

Our offices are moving from building to building, and mostly into smaller space.  As a result, we have been purging and digitizing files to make our office record keeping more efficient.  A previous boss also retired which meant going through a mountain of files pertaining to his tenure.  All those used Manila folders gave me an idea.  I was going to repurpose them into my next art journal.

The first question was what size would I cut the folders into.  I already knew the tabs would have to go, and the spine as well.  I didn’t want those embossed lines..  While others may find an appeal in just binding the folders together as is like they do with junque journals,  I wanted to make sure I didn’t make the mistake of having my journal pages fall apart on me like the first.  I also wanted a smooth surface so that meant the crimp or creases at the fold would have to be cut out.  I thought 7″ x 10″ would be good, resulting in a 10″ x 14″ spread.

The second consideration was how was I going to bind it. Do I sew the pages together? (But I didn’t want to have the paint seeping through to other pages..) Ring bind them?   This was problematic because I usually did two-page layouts.  So I thought I’d try and tape the pages together.

I’ve started with a small batch and am working on seeing how the painting affects the binding.  If this turns out as something that can work, I will make a video and post how I bound my card stock thick folder pages together.  All I used was a roll of masking tape you can easily buy from the dollar store.  It was more about figuring out a way to bind the pages the way I wanted the finished book to be.  After tweaking the taping of the pages, I’m thinking this might actually work.  I’m really excited.

As I get to the last few layouts of my first art journal, I’m thinking of doing a flip through video to go through the book.  Yes, the whole book.  The second will be very different in that I now want to use more pictures to decorate my pages.  Maybe I will use printed backgrounds as well instead of painting through all of them.  I know my journaling style has changed.  My first entries will be the previous year’s summary and then I move on to 2017.

My Art Jpurnal so farI want to use more of the pictures I take and include them in my art journal as well.  
Just a few minutes a day– and I have taken to doing several days’ entries in one spread.  Sometimes I just put in a word or two — something to remind me of what I did on that day.  At times a day will spread on to the next.  I don’t have too many rules with my art journaling.  It comes when it comes. 

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Crafting Haitus

So I fearlessly proclaimed (more than) a month ago that I was back, and then there was silence.  Yet again.  I am the first one to be totally disappointed that the next post comes so long after the much-vaunted return (of the come back like we joke around back home in Manila) which  never really happened.

Another false start?  Perhaps.  But there is much to write about because I think I’m getting my fourth wind this year.  I haven’t quite given up even if it appears it’s such a struggle to keep this corner of my web presence going.   (Plus, I have the domain name and I will NOT let this domain name go dormant yet again.)

I have been crafting that I have not been.  There are a bunch of half-finished projects and work in progress that have been momentarily stalled by other more pressing concerns like life catching up on me.  (Excuses, excuses, I know!)  The past 4 weeks have been very interesting and have forced me to redefine my direction, but I have decided to continue with the projects already in the works, one at a time.

First, I’m sad to report the loss of my iPhone mid-October, and although the iPhone was a business gadget, losing it meant losing 5,000 photos that weren’t on my cloud.   The iPhone was replaced (sans an upgrade =(..) but the pictures are forever gone.  All save for the 300 or so on my Instagram account (GothamChick) and the ones that landed on Flickr (where I am as Pinay New Yorker).

One of the sets lost contained snapshots of my  of my altered book.  I had managed to take pictures of the backgrounds that were already finished so that I could do a “before and after” shot.  The good news is that one thing I haven’t stopped or slowed down totally on is my altered book and my art journaling.  I’ve mostly concentrated on word art or lettering, compressing entries into simple phrases or single sentences.

I’ve also started working on a multi-page layout with windows, painting a varied mix of backgrounds with only the cut out window as the unifying theme.

Work in Progress: my altered book

The word art at the end of the set is slowly revealed per layout, giving me flexibility to work around it and play around the reveal.
Work in Progress: my altered book

It’s a long way towards the end of the book so it will be a while before I actually start journaling on it.

In the meantime, I’m approaching a multi-page layout I had done sometime last year, and I am really excited to start journaling on this spread.  It took some crafty cutting to get the letters down, and when I did, I had to do some patchwork.
Work in Progress: my altered book
What is most striking to me is the difference between my perspective on “happiness” at the time I created the multi-page layout and now that I’m getting ready to fill the altered pages with journaling.  But that’s a totally separate blog post in the works altogether.

I am hoping to get back to polymer clay again but I can’t find the handle of my pasta machine.  (Duh!)  It happens.  I am trying to find it, and it’s probably stuck between boxes on the floor or in one of my bins.  (Give me a break, it IS a detachable part of the contraption although it is also an indispensible part of it.)  With the holidays fast approaching, I want to create more pieces this November, more so since it’s one holiday month I am not going to close the shop for a vacation.  (Did that in 2011 and 2013.)

My Thank You Postcard Project is back on track and will be up before the month is done.  (Sending out prototype postcards soon.)

So while I am not starting any new projects soon, I’m picking up the ones I managed to get off the ground in recent months.  I am happy that no matter what distractions have come my way, I never totally shelved any of these undertakings, just setting them aside in the meantime until I can pick them up again.

This time, I mean it — I AM BACK.. and I’m already drafting the next post to prove that.

 

Things I have been up to

The previous week(s) have been rather busy but I’ve been trying to get things done on the creative front.  The will is there, but there are days when I am too exhausted or just need to skip the creative time altogether.  I know I must find the time, even just a few minutes each day, but not everything I want to do can be done with the snap of a finger.

But the point is, I’m trying.  It has given me a sense of accomplishment somehow.  It’s a concrete sign of being able to move forward, no matter how slow it may be.

The good news is that I  have been successful in keeping my art journal up to date, and as I’m writing this and trying to make some chicken salad of some leftover KFC, I am also working on some backgrounds that need “gesso”-ing. But more importantly, I’ve managed to scribble something rather regularly even if not literally every day.

My gesso is a little old so I’m thinning it with water. The idea is to cover the back of the layouts below because the black ink of the text and the color shadings had seeped into the back of the next page. I was initially thinking of covering it with chalkboard black paint, but I nixed that for gesso first. I still might do the background in all black — but I’m having second thoughts right now.

My first attempts at using gesso were rather a disappointment, and I realize now that it’s probably because I used too much of the gesso.  I like it when it’s applied a little thinner btu still enough to be opaque.

I’ve also been trying to create accessories again, this time trying my hand at wire-wrapping. I’ve found a lot of inspiration online and am trying to learn from the various tutorials available on YouTube, while trying to create my own way of getting things done. My first attempt after several yards of wasted wire is below. It’s a work in progress literally but I like the way this came about. I need to watch more videos.

The shop is beginning to get populated again little by little.  Slow traffic but I know I have to keep posting to bring the people in.  Even this little corner of mine isn’t exactly bustling with reader traffic but I’m telling myself it’ll come if I finally come around to devoting enough time to it.  Then I quickly remind myself that I have to accept that there is only so much that I can do.  A day at a time…

Work in Progress: Art Journal Every Day

Journal backgrounds

I’ve been working on add-ons to my altered book as part of my Art Journal Every Day project.  I picked up some discarded Filofax grid pages (remember that time that we didn’t have PDAs to get us organized and we actually had physical notebook planners?) and some rolodex blanks (another item practically rendered obsolete by technolody) and spray painted them.

Journal backgrounds

As you can see, I had a whole lot of fun working with my four ink sprays and a small water spritzer. (I bought one of those travel kits from the dollar store and had a handy fine mister for cologne in the set which I used for the water..)  I like the way the water plays with the sprayed ink and then makes it into something totally fantastic! I will use these sheets as journaling blocks which I will paste on the. Relic painted pages.

Of course I know I should’ve taken a picture before I started journaling on the page but I’m holding off on showing the journaled page until I can find an acceptable smudging app or software.

Meanwhile, below is another multi-page layout I’m doing of the lyrics of a favorite song of mine, “Your Heart Today”.  More coming as it progresses…

Work in progress: Art Journal Every Day

Materials used:


Art Journal Every Day: A Day at a time

It has been a while since I have been active in working on my art journal and my altered book.  I like seeing the progress.  It helps me to think that I’m moving forward again and no longer “stuck”.
Art Journal Every Day - trying to get on with the art journaling using my altered book

I can’t believe a whole year had passed with no activity.  I thought I’d never go back to it.  I had tried to start with the Art Journal Every Day (inspired by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer) during the first part of 2013, but it didn’t go beyond the first two or three pages.  (I can’t even find the sketch book I had begun.)  This time around, I’m committing to finishing this project to the last page and hopefully starting a new one before the year ends.

Journaling is my release.  It helps me connect to my thoughts in a way that allows me to go back and reflect after time has passed.  It helps me to memorialize the feelings and thoughts of my day.

I had started this page out as a multi-page layout to spell “HOPE”.  It is one of multi-page layouts in the book and I’ve been doing one day per spread.  The spread, which, like the “H” one comes out as a measly 4×4 approximately.  Another day or two more and I’ll post a more detailed multi-page entry here.  For now, here’s a sneak peek.

Celebrate Life through Art Journaling

UntitledI often find myself drooling over Art journal entries done by others, more so since I find myself doing more actual journaling than art. But I am learning to let my creative energy loose and hoping that words will figure less and I will be more visual.

I want my colors and doodles to speak the emotions I feel, or to help me remember the feelings when I leaf through my book.

I’m not quite finished with the entries for this layout yet, so I’m just focusing on one part of the page speaking about “Celebrating Life”.

I kept leafing through my altered book’s pages last night, and an idea hit me minutes to midnight which made me grab one of the many signpens in my bag. I am doing the lyrics of a song I listen to over and over again these days, and I scribbled the phrases in the bare pages of maybe 4 layouts. I colored in one before I finally turned out which came out pretty well. It’s a whole new process because I’m letting the ink bleed through, after which I will “cover” the reverse side with color.


I’m not too worried that I am not working in sequence.  The book, after all, need only make sense to me.  I brought the book home last night and left it there, and I’m looking forward to doing some work on it even as we go on a long weekend to Atlantic City.  (Thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.!)

Another way for us to celebrate life.. for me to celebrate life.. =)

Back to my altered book

My Altered Book resurrectedI started this project in September 2012 with the goal in mind of preparing an altered book I could journal on later. It was supposed to be my “happiness” project where I was going to put together happiness quotes for personal inspiration. I worked on it continuously for the second half of 2012 until the holidays came and it found a place in one of my bins where it’s been for most of 2013.

I fished it out yesterday and started writing in it.

I was almost tempted to start another journal until I remembered this one. Most of it’s pages are done in acrylic paint because this was way before I discovered Alcohol Ink and Distress Ink Pad and Tim Holtz. It should be fun experimenting with the techniques I have learned since then. 

A lot has changed since I started the journal and I still have around 15 layouts to do, but I am all psyched to start the writing and embellishing part.  While my state of mind (and state of heart) at the time I started this journal compared to now that I’m picking it up again are worlds apart, the fact that  I hope to get to a better and happier place remains the same.

I’m hoping it will help me get back to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Every Day project as well.  I actually participated in 2012 and had a whole section/page going on my other blog, but the new version of my personal blog Pinay New Yorker has it hidden for now. 

Getting there!