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. 

Art Journal Every Day – day to day

Art Journal Every Day

I’ve been meaning to write here a while but as always, life has intervened.  There are just too many things to do, and sometimes chronicling a step-by-step entry — more so on a multi-page layout like this one — can be quite the challenge.  But I try.

Art journal every day multi page layoutI’ve been rather good with the art journaling this last couple of weeks.  Maybe because I’ve needed the “release”, so to speak, with so many things happening in my life of late.  It’s given me an anchor of sorts, allowing me to keep my feelings and thoughts grounded, and also giving me a quicker and more graphic way to jot down happenings of note — or even passing feelings that come upon me in the course of the day.  As I write this, though, I haven’t touched the journal for almost a week, and there is some catching up to do.

If you’ve seen my Art Journal Every Day posts on my Flickr account, you’ll find that I have moved from two previous attempts at art journaling to my altered book which is where these pages are.

Art journal every day multi page layoutI had finished these pages waaaay ahead and am finally art journaling this multi-page spread.  I think I’m maybe a few weeks ahead, and I am already excited to finish this book and start the next altered book.  It’s a work in progress.  My first entries in this book were from 2013, and being that I journal in stops and starts, it has all of 2014 in its pages (which isn’t really all that much), but 2015 will have to “jump” to another book at some point in time.

Just to share the process I followed, I counted the approximate number of pages I would need, added 6 (for three spreads) and found the middle page of that whole set.

Art journal every day multi page layoutI started from the middle and began coloring the center most layout first and doodled the first spread and cut.  It’s important that you cut so that you can work around the layers as you go.  You’ll see that I cut around the designs, but I did not finish each layer beyond the “outline” of the flower on that particular page.  Most of the tinier details actually came much later, and some will be added as I go along, journaling on the back or hidden pages.  I’m not even half way through this entire layout yet, but I’m so excited with how it will come out later.

I’m just putting in random entries without worrying about anything beyond not writing beyond the “lines” so that I can keep it “within” the particular design of the page I’m writing on.

Art journal every day multi page layoutThere are times when I simply go through the pages of the altered book with all the journaling and I really find it fulfilling to see the previous pages almost full or rather full with entries.

I’m actually thinking of doing a video of the various pages — eventually — although there is quite a lot to see as it is. I can’t believe I’m almost halfway done. The book is bursting at the seams so I am seriously considering having it rebound, or maybe even attempting to do it by myself. (Ambitious, I know.)

I’m a little wary of photographing the finished pages because the entries can be very personal at time.

Art journal every day multi page layoutAgain, it’s supposed to be a personal exercise and I am just coasting by and pretty happy about it.  This is the kind of personal art that I can easily pull out when the mood hits me just like now.  It’s also nice to see how far I’ve gone, go back to what I had written through time, and even just in seeing a drawing or a single line, a whole slew of memories and thoughts come rushing back in.

Just a bit of art journaling every day.

 

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…

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!

Work in progress: My second serendipity background

My Serendipity Background - First Three Layers

Like my first serendipity background, I used torn newspaper to form the base collage of the sheet.  I then sprayed some ink on a plastic surface and dabbed and pressed the collage onto the mat of colors.  I sprayed the areas that didn’t get saturated to “even out” the composition.

I try not to muddle my serendipity background too much, and at the end of the day try not to further embellish it beyond what has been put on it.  Towards the end, I tend to put down layers more deliberately forming a design that would be Artist Trading Card size or ATC-size friendly.  (2.5″ x 3.5″)

Although it should be done on a traditional 12×12 scrapbook page, I did this one on a repurposed manila folder that was letter size.  I wanted more “room” and I ended up cutting more than the usual 12.  After the ink dried, I painted on a layer of modpodge.

Serendipity Background 2 - Halfway through

I love using pressed flowers in my Artist Trading Cards, and while I have two batches on hand at home in my “craft cave”, I couldn’t find them after stashing my craft supplies in boxes temporarily.  I had to improvise.  I have four hydrangeas that are dried and in a vase on my credenza which I “regenerated” by immersing the dried petals in hot water.  Once “softened”, I modpodged them onto the master board.  I had tried pasting swatches of a damask paper napkin but it practically “disappeared” into the background.

Here it is upclose:

Serendipity Background 2 - Halfway through, upclose

I also stamped it with double cirlces using the inner rim of a roll of tape in a bronze acrylic paint shade.

I tried to rubber stamp acrylic paint flourishes which unfortunately did not “float” as well as I had hoped it to, and the final touch was using filing orange labels (those round circles used to color-code files which I painted over with gold.

Serendipity Background 2 - Finished MasterBoard

To laminate the whole piece, I painted it with a generous coating of modpodge once again.  My serendipity background master board!