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

She Is An Explorer


She is an explorer, she is curious, she loves to create pages in an art journal.  This page was done on watercolor paper, 140lb. in a handbound journal with the pamphlet stitch.  I prepared this page for a class I was teaching and the word prompt was curiosity.  It also is created with silhouette images, book text, handwritten words, and some mark making.  First layer is paint applied with a baby wipe, smudged around the page, and soft edges.  On non porous paper I dripped alcohol inks, and then blended them together.  After drying the paper I cut out squares and with an acrylic ink pen spelled out the word curiosity, and cut into squares.  I highlighted the letters with white dots then attached the letters to my page with a UHU glue stick, the best glue stick around! Color, line, silhouettes, words, expressions from heart, these are the ingredients in an art journal page.  Let me know what you think.  Hope to see you in class so I share some ideas for your creative journey!

Folk Art Inspired

Inspired by a trip to Guatemala where folk art abounds.  Wooden carvings depicting saints line the perimeters of places of worship.  Each one intricate yet primitive, made by hand and paying homage to a person of the past.  This is a page in my art journal, a photo image transfer technique upon a page layered with white gesso, acrylic paint and mark making.  Using personal photographs for image transfer gives special meaning to a journal page.  It is a one of a kind picture from a point in time.  A memento of time and place identifying somewhere along the way of life.  I wanted to share this with you for inspiration for a journal page.  Make a copy of your photograph, a laser copy works best.  Those are done at your local print shop.  Paint a layer of gel medium on the page and place your photograph copy face down on your page.  Burnish, and burnish some more until the ink from the copy starts to release.  Once it has released, remove the copy and your image appears.  Most of the time, it is not a perfect release and therein lies the beauty of this technique..imperfection and a weathered look!  Give it a try and see the endless possibilities of ways to use your personal photos of faces and places. Let me know how it goes!

Art Journal Class Re-Cap

Spring 2018 Art Journal Class at Bemis

A M A Z I N G       W O M E N       M A K I N G      P A G E S  

It’s all about words and using them for expression.  The first prompt involved making strips of printed deli papers and Citrasolv pages from National Geographic magazines.   These papers were collaged onto the back page with a word holding special meaning..a word to carry with them for the rest of the year.  A cover of tea stained muslin stamped with a stencil and some stitching for flair was added with brads over the last page and another stencil used on the adjacent page.

Fabric and stitching add a unique texture element to art journals.

Expressive underpainting was the first layer, gray tone painting to define organic shapes, and then journaling with a white gel pen.

Paying tribute to a favorite artist gave everyone the opportunity to discover..maybe a new artist or one that had been a favorite for a long time.  One student chose her mother and when she showed the page to her children, they immediately knew that their grandmother was the chosen artist!

 

From Klimt to Van Gogh, Cezanne to Ansel Adams, Flavia to a beloved mom, and a few others, these pages reflect a tribute to an admired artist.  Looking at another artists work and techniques provides ample opportunity to learn about process, color and brush strokes.

Here is a tribute to one of my favorites…Vincent Van Gogh!

Making and using personal stamps with sticky back foam and a wooden block.

This was inspired by Marks in Place..a book dedicated to the photography of  ancient marks made by native people in North America.  For centuries mankind has used tools to make marks in stone.  We still enjoy the process of designing and making marks! We made ours in the art journal.

Each page tells a story and offers a chance to discover something new.  Whether it involves a technique, a color, a word, or reflection working in an art journal is pure delight.  No pressure just expression and fine tuning the creative muscle.  The best part is meeting others who enjoy making art, sharing stories and celebrating one another’s creativity.

Creative hands playing with mixed media and bringing beauty into our world!

Lots of love and expression goes into these art journals!  They are an artifact of our journey in mixed media and exploring new frontiers.  Thanks for stopping by!

she found her way

A page in my art journal..moleskine watercolor journal.  Layers of collage including vintage text, and snippets of paper.  I remember exactly where I was when I created this page, a little casita in Taos, NM.  After a day of painting in a workshop with Gwen Fox, one of my favorite mentors, I came back to the casita and began playing in my art journal.  There is something magical about the light in Taos, it is different than any other place.  It is no wonder why so many artists love going to NM and discovering for themselves what it is all about.  I know I do!  “She found her way” was my response to the workshop and new things I learned about painting.  Each brushstroke of color and how it is placed on a page is an expression, unique to a moment in time.  I was thrilled this page was published in Art Journal magazine, one of Somerset Studios publications.  The beauty of art journaling is the freedom it gives us to explore, play, paint, and be ourselves on a page.  To enjoy mark making, writing words describing our thoughts, painting with the colors we love, accessing our creative expression readily are all the reasons art journaling is so popular.  See for yourself and join me for a class in February 2018!  “A101”  at Bemis Art School – Fine Arts Center – Colorado College.  www.coloradocollege.edu/fac

 

Art Journal pages

 

Each page tells a little story…reflects a mood….or an inclination….or takes a scrap and makes it new…a bag from a purchase turns into a she dots page….something leftover from a class I taught becomes a she loves page….a clean up wipe becomes part of a cherish the moment page…a new feather stencil becomes the star of a collaged page….discover the beauty of keeping an art journal…try it…I guarantee you will like it!

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Just Imagine

The possibilities for finding our creative voices are endless.  With paint splashed across a page in my art journal, (extra palette paint always finds a way onto a blank page) waiting for something to happen, the process begins.  Usually there is not a plan, at least for me it works that way.  I let the paint, wherever it has been brushed onto the page and the color be my guide.  It is amazing how something so simple can be so much fun and work our creative muscle too.  By starting a page with utter abandon I feel free to paint from an intuitive place.  I think that is why so many of us are drawn to art journaling, we are keenly aware of how making pages enables us to TRUST our unique, one-of-kind, beautiful creative intuition.  This page started with Quin. gold paint, and Pthalo turquoise, layers of text from a  vintage encyclopedia, a rectangle piece from a larger painting that failed, a floral drawing, a couple of stencils and stickers, acrylic glazes and then journaling with a paint pen.  When I look at this page I remember how it felt to let my imagination run free and to let the art just flow.  Learning to trust our creative intuition is the first step to becoming authentic with our work.  Indeed, the tools of the trade such as drawing skills, composition, value, and color are vital…there is no way to side step those skills.  Creative intuition that is cultivated and worked and trusted combined with an understanding of the “must haves” is what makes us whole.  When I look back over history and see the masterpieces of Matisse, O’Keeffe, Monet, and Picasso, each one is so different.  It truly is a visual array of imagery, each one with a different voice, yet trusting what they know to be “theirs” as right, and enough.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get stuck right there in a place when I start asking myself is this okay?  Is my art good enough?  Is it unique enough?  How am I going to stand out among the crowd of talented artists and let me just say right here, there are A LOT of talented people in the world!!!  When that starts happening I remind myself to enjoy the process, keep learning, experimenting, doing what I love, read inspiring blogs, stay true to my creative intuition, create more pages in my art journal, and pray.  Before long, I am back at it, having fun, painting, playing, and onto my next art piece.  How do you move over these little bumps in the road on this artistic journey?  Please let me know, and as always….be true to you.

Travel Pages Class Re-Cap

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DSC_0713The first application was to cover chip board pages in white gesso and then a layer of hard pastels in various colors was added just before the gesso dried.  Acrylic inks applied over stencils created another layer.

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Students travelled through Europe visiting a myriad of countries including Prague, Germany, Scotland, England and Iceland.  One page was dedicated to creating an acrylic painting.  The results were stunning!

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An Icelandic landscape and a Picasso inspired painting.

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With travel and exploring new places there are ample opportunities to collect photographs, maps, museum brochures, postcards, and a whole host of ephemera.  Pages are the perfect place to use these found papers for collage.  Combined with acrylic paint,  one-of-kind papers made from National Geographic pages using Citrasolv, and stencils, each page becomes a work of art.  The best part is…  subway ticket stubs, a bakery paper holding the croissant purchased while waiting in line to see the Eiffel Tower, a leaf picked up while walking through a park in Austria, or a paper placemat  from an Indian restaurant in Maastricht…they are FREE ephemera and make for the most interesting collaged pages!

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Photo image transfer gives each page a personal stamp.  As pages take shape with layers of mixed media techniques something special happens…the opportunity to savor the places we have been.  Our memories come alive through the process of art making. Visiting foreign lands are life changing experiences and the visual feast needs to become more than just a memory, it needs to be shared as an artifact.  Creating travel pages is just the place for this to happen.

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Whether it is Medieval art or postcards from a museum, it is all fair game for creating travel pages.

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DSC_0728Fused shopping bag makes for a great journal page. With an iron on a medium setting, place 3 to 4 bags together with the “star bag” on top. Lay parchment paper on top of the pile of bags, and parchment underneath the bundle. Iron away, slowly, to fuse them together.  Trim to the right size, and hole punch the edge… wa-la… a page of texture and a reminder of shopping at Harrods!

DSC_0780Photo image transfer with acrylic paint and some vintage letter stamps, a family heirloom one of the students brought to class for all of us to use.

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DSC_0781Letters made with clear tar gel and acrylic paint.

DSC_0782Stencils and drips make for interesting backgrounds.

A little Monet inspired painting

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DSC_0744Teaching Travel Pages was a wonderful experience for me, and the pages created by each student were full of interesting subjects, techniques, color combinations, and layers of collage.  Every student had an approach that reflected their personal travel experience.  Each page was unique and demonstrated a flair for using ephemera from their adventures to make artful pages.  Maybe it is time for you to pull out those maps, brochures, postcards, photographs, ticket stubs, crumpled napkins, and found papers to create an artifact of your travel escapades.  It is easy to put a travel journal together using some of the techniques I have described, it just takes time, a precious commodity…but it is worth the effort!

Travel Pages Journal

DSC_0434Take a peek inside my travel journal pages.  This journal was created with ephemera, found papers, and purchased postcards from my trip to Europe.  The countries visited included The Netherlands, Paris, Spain and Italy.  Fortunately we have a family member who was  a pilot for NATO and had a lovely flat in Maastricht, Holland where we had our home base.  From there we travelled to neighboring countries, mostly by air, and a quick road trip to Paris.  It was the trip of a lifetime. 

DSC_0435The first time I saw the Mona Lisa was at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It was 1967 and I was in 2nd grade.  Jackie Kennedy was instrumental in bringing the masterpiece to the nation’s capital and fortunately my mother took us to see it.  Even at a young age I found the painting intriguing.  Seeing it again at The Louvre was meaningful and reminded me of how influential art can be at any age.  I loved standing in front of this fine lady fifty years later!

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DSC_0437I am using a chipboard kit by Recollections for Travel Pages.  First I gessoed every page and added a light color of oil pastels.  This helped tone down the white and I used a variety of colors, scraping the pastels over the almost dry gessoed pages.  There is a layer of liquid acrylic paint that coordinates with the ephemera.  LADUREE is a fabulous macaroon shop and restaurant in Paris, the page is made from the bag which held my delicious macaroon purchase.  It was amazing to find a coffee shop in Paris that carried Guatemalan coffee, my husbands homeland, so I had to include part of the bag from the coffee we drank.  These paper treasures are perfect for collage and spark memories of time spent travelling.

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We visited Spain also; Barcelona, Sevilla, and Granada.  I love Cathedrals. They are intricate, and majestic.  The Sagrada Familia designed by Gaudi is unique because of the light which enters the interior space.  The stained glass was abstract in design and there are not enough adjectives to describe this magnificent structure which by the way is still being built.  My travel journal included a background using a stained glass page I drew in another journal.  The black and white photo of the interior of the cathedral was altered using colored pencils.  The postcard was purchased but most of the other ephemera came from bags, brochures and freebies.

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There was a quaint little shop in Maastricht that sold buttons, trays and trays full of beautiful buttons.  This one found its way onto my page as part of a small envelope closure, naturally it is on a page dedicated to the Netherlands.  And how about that great restaurant…Spice of India where we enjoyed a delicious family dinner nestled along a cobblestoned street in Maastricht.

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The Van Gogh museum was filled with the colorful and textural work of a native son of Holland. The museum paid homage to this versatile artist who was way ahead of his time. We spent hours admiring the collection of paintings and I took a bazillion photographs!

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The Anne Frank house in Amsterdam…the words on this page say it all.  A moving and informative tour.  The beauty of making travel journal pages is having a place for creative expression using words and mixed media.

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Sari ribbon to attach ephemera on a page and found papers for collage.  Lots of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold paint by Golden in this journal.  It is the perfect color for transforming pages.

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This is a inkjet copy of a postcard bought at The Uffizi in Florence, altered with colored pencil.  The background is a cathedral series stencil applied with liquid acrylic paints.  A little Conte crayon applied around the image to help sink it into the page.

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I like to include a few photos in travel pages, here we are by the Arno River in Florence, at dusk.  The Recollections kit came with a couple of photo pockets which I altered with Conte crayon and washi tape.

DSC_0459This page is an altered mailing envelope, painted, stamped with Da Vinci text, Florence stickers and specially made collage papers.  The horizontal accents were created by dissolving the ink of pages in a National Geographic magazine with Citrasolv.  The papers are perfect for adding interest and design.

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DSC_0464While walking on the streets of Paris, my stepson’s friend asked me, “Do you collect anything in particular?” Indeed I do…was my quick reply.  Paper, all kinds from all sorts of places…cafes, museums, hotels, maps, ticket stubs, even rubbings made on vellum paper while walking around the Cathedral in Sevilla near the spot where Christopher Columbus is buried.  And who could imagine the paper pocket which held a warm croissant from a tiny Parisian bakery would be so colorful and intricately made?  This is the composition of stash which has lovingly been put together to create pages of art, and a bundle of treasured memories.