Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Keeping Art Journals and Making Art Journals

For those who enjoy keeping an art journal, there are some great online options right now. First is the free series by Strathmore Paper, Visual Journal Online Workshop Series , which started in January, is self-paced, and will be open until August 1, 2011. Three different instructors give video lessons with printable hand-outs.

In a few days, Roz Stendahl begins her 3rd Annual Fake Journal month. She already has her dedicated blog up and is advising about all aspects of keeping a Fake Journal during the month of April. I’ve participated for two years and even won the grand prize in the give-away last year—a handmade journal from Roz! It’s 90 lb. hot press Winsor & Newton watercolor paper with an odd size of 3 9/16” x 7 7/8”.

This journal I found in a gift shop in Ireland last fall. I love the size, the fabric cover, and the color—it’s iridescent green on blue. 3.50” x 5.25”

Although those two journals are still blank, I am working in one below, which a dear friend gave me many years ago, “Awaken…to the beauty of your journey.” 7.50” x 7.50”.

Still fascinating with the hand motif, I’m playing with wonderful India henna stencils and Mandala illustrations. It’s mostly blank pages, a few with colorful Mandalas by Holli Zollinger and a scattering of quotes. Pitt pens on both pages shown.

How do you approach art journaling? Although I’ve read a lot of books and blogs about the subject, I cannot say I fully merge my words and art comfortably. I’ve kept written journals since my Mom got me my first diary as a child in Hawaii and I have done a lot of experimental paintings in spiral watercolor books. But in my mind words and art seem separate beasts. I am slowly trying to integrate the two. Driving home from work today, (don't we get good ideas doing such things?), I thought about using poetry I wrote many years ago and merging photos of myself at the time.

Do tell me your approach and your successes with art journaling!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Blue Hand
part of a larger spread
acrylic on paper

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about hands. It might have started with watching a demo from Traci Bunkers using some henna stencils in her art journal, including one of a hand. I love the way she develops a technique and uses something in a different manner than it is intended; it’s very cool and creative recycling.

Red Hand
approx. 12" x 18"
acrylic on paper

The next day, I saw the stop pedestrian sign at the cross walk and, yep, it was a raised hand. Using hands in art goes back to ancient cave paintings. As artists, we depend on our hands to translate visions in our mind into something tangible onto a surface.

I remembered and found a few older paintings I did with my palm print on them.
9.50" x 7"
acrylic on paper

Reaching Out
9" x 12"
acrylic on paper

How do use your hands in your art? Do the hands, as symbols, appear in your work?