Aqua Art Journal Class Re-cap

The color aqua was inspiration for a six week class I just finished teaching.  As an instructor with the Bemis Art School at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, I am honored to be on staff and am amazed by the talented students that come through our doors. Just take a look at their art featured in this post and you will see what I mean!   My journal is pictured above with a pink beaked peacock made with a stencil.  The first layers were white gesso, and acrylic paint, then gel pens for details.  Students are provided with mixed media techniques and prompts for making pages.  Though the mixed media techniques are the same, each student designs their page from creative intuition and all pages become one-of-kind.   From a variety of backgrounds, and art making experiences each student has a unique gift. I enjoy cultivating a class atmosphere where creatives can let their muse learn, play, explore, and discover.  Take a look at the aqua infused art journal pages made with a variety of techniques and prompts…

“Heart Matters”

This two page spread was created with layers of thick masking tape, white gesso over the tape, and acrylic paint for  lots of yummy texture.  The heart was a page from a wallpaper sample book, painted and stenciled on the front and back, attached only in the center.  Lifting up the right and left side of the heart, reveals each artists words about their special loves.

Instead of a heart design, this artist carried forth the theme of the sea, and used a fish design.

On the first class we made painted art tissue with various shades of aqua and warm tones to be used for the two page spread entitled “By the Sea”.  The painted tissue is a wonderful collage element because it is made by hand and tissue adheres to a page so nicely.  It almost looks like it was part of the page from the beginning.

And then, “Home Sweet Home”, inspired by the color aqua..naturally!

The mixed media technique used for this prompt was bleeding tissue.  Water is painted onto the journal page, then pieces of bleeding tissue are laid down, then more water.  After the water dries and tissue is removed a lovely layer of juicy color remains.  This is very serendipitous, and therein lies the fun.  Unlike the medium of watercolor, this is uncontrolled, and loose but lends itself to fun patterns of color.

Art journal pages in the works using bleeding tissue.

Creatives  with LOTS of room to spread out in this art studio at Bemis!

More pages made using the bleeding tissue technique.

Building layers of collage on top of the colors left from the bleeding tissue technique.

Collage elements with painted tissue and stamped imagery.

Photo transfers were made by using inkjet or toner copies of personal photographs.  This is a perfect way to use your collection of photos.  Each student had beautiful photos from personal experiences depicting the color aqua.  From the shores of Bermuda, to the northern lights, and the architecture from Morocco, there was a place for each photograph.  A layer of liquid matte medium is painted on the page, the photograph is placed face down, burnished, and burnished some more!!!  After it dries for 24 hours, spray a mist of water on the backside, and gently rub the paper pulp away.  After it is dry again, add a layer of gloss varnish or clear fingernail polish to reveal a fairly clear image.  This technique is not flawless and sometimes images do not adhere perfectly.  That’s okay!  To have a perfect image, use a copy of the photograph as collage.  This technique provides the following look….

This is a photo I took at San Juan Capistrano Mission.  I made a black and white copy and used the photo transfer technique.

The page was divided into a grid using gesso and the edge of a already spent gift card. 🙂  By adding lots of water to acrylic paint, it starts to behave a bit like watercolor but filled with pigment.  You can see how great the photo transfer images  blended into the page.

Vellum paper printed with a photograph is another way to add your personal photos into the journal.  I printed my art rocks photo on vellum, attached it with washi tape over a grid page design of watery acrylic paint and  photo transfers.  The grid is a subtle layer beneath the vellum.  Any inkjet printer can be used to copy a photo onto vellum.

Above is a beautiful example of a piece of vellum printed with a photograph from a travel adventure to Turkey.  If you are like me and take a bazillion photos when traveling, I hope you now have some ideas for new applications for your photographs.  They are perfect for lovely collage elements, photo transfers, and vellum prints!

Ah…mermaids and aqua!  Don’t you love her purple hair?

Whether you are just getting started making art or have been on the journey for awhile, making mixed media pages in a journal is a gratifying experience.   Thank you for opening a new world of art for me.  Now I know what to do with all of the bits I have collected from our travels.  I have learned so much from your class and am looking forward to the next and the next.  Kind words from a note to me from a student who took this class.  Granted there are lots of amazing online classes and sometimes that is just the right fit.  But rest assured, taking a class with others builds community and offers an experience quite different from taking one online.  Interaction with other creatives, working side by side offering encouragement during the process, and seeing how others use their creative intuition are the intangibles that come from taking an art class at Bemis. As the new year gets ready to unfold, maybe it will be the perfect time for you to get your art on!!! These are wonderful times for makers because opportunities abound for discovering your creative language.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you are inspired and perhaps one day I will see you in class.  Coming up in the 2019 winter/spring session I am teaching a painting class, Southwest Landscapes and another art journal class entitled Reflective Journal. Both classes are suitable for beginners.

Class information will be posted in the next couple of weeks and you can register online at

http://www.coloradocollege.edu/fac/bemis


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