Sunday, January 11, 2009
Into the Mystic
for Sunday Postcard Art
Several of you lately have asked about my journal pages: “Are they digital?” “Are they photographs or paintings?” So, here’s a step-by-step description of how I make these hand-colored pages. Normally, I have several pre-painted pages in my journal ready in whatever colors that are currently inspiring me. You can see that I’ve definitely been in my red phase lately. I start by painting over a page with water to make the paint go on smoothly, and then I squirt paint directly onto the paper and spread it out with my favorite big brush. I’m so impatient that I use a hair dryer to speed up this step. Next, I paint over this layer with other colors, using whatever is handy on my table as a tool: sponges, crumpled up paper towels, bubble wrap, stamps. I even finger-paint. After that’s dry I go back in with my favorite thing: watercolor crayons. I just scribble on my page in strategic places and then wet those areas with a brush, blending the paint somewhat. I often go back in with more acrylic, if I need stronger hues. For intensity, I do this until I have many layers of color. When the last background layer is dry I color around the perimeter of the page with a black watercolor crayon and blend for depth. Sometimes I then cut my page into postcard size pieces, as I did here.
Then, I look through my stash of f photos for a shot with lots of black areas (for journaling later). Once I’ve chosen an image, I color copy it because copy paper takes paint much better than slick magazine pages do. Next, I trim the picture carefully and begin to alter it with acrylic paint. For this step, I don’t add much water because water tends to make the original ink run. After I’ve done most of my painting, I allow the image to dry and glue it onto the background. I drybrush paint around the edges of the photo to make it appear to be a part of the page, and I even use watercolor crayons or Prismacolor pencils directly on the photograph and surrounding areas to add texture.
The last step is adding text. I’m still a little self-conscious about my own writing, so quotes are perfect for me, and usually I already have one in mind while I’m creating my page. Most of the time I put the lettering on the background using a white Jellyroll pen, and then I outline each letter with a black Uniball fine tip marker. If I do personal journaling, I write that in the black areas of the page, using my white gel pen.
I have really had fun with my art journal, since I started it in July. I've learned so much about color, composition, and process, and my journal has helped me solve many art and non-art problems. And, if I'm in a rare bad mood, journaling changes all that before my first layer is even dry!
If you are an aritst and don't have a journal, I hope you'll start one and enjoy it as much as I have mine.