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.

Art Journal Inspired by Georgia O’Keefe

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Here is the book I re-purposed into an art journal inspired by the artistry of Georgia O’Keefe.  I purchased it from the Friends of the Library District.

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An inscription inside the front cover.  I love how this book has touched many hands and is now taking on a new life as a re-purposed piece of art.

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Using my Gelli plate I made several deli wrap pages inspired by the southwest landscape palette and the blossoms Georgia frequently used in her paints.

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Here is the stack of deli papers.  Several layers of paint applied to each paper, and a final clean of the Gelli plate at the very end.  This is a useful tool for creating one-of-kind collage papers.

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A page taking shape.  First step was to PVA glue pages together, and coat with gesso.  This takes awhile and is labor intensive.  One important piece of this technique is to place waxed paper in between pages to ensure they do not stick together.  Pages with a gesso layer or any mixed media will cause stickiness until a layer of varnish is applied.  I really like to glue and gesso pages all  in one session.  A day in the sunshine helps everything dry quicker so I put waxed paper in between the pages, and bull clip the book closed, set it in the sun, and remember to bring it in before dark or a rainstorm.

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Cutting up the deli papers and beginning to design the page.  Inspired by Georgia’s painting of the Red Hills… 1927, this two page spread consists of acrylic paint and deli paper collage.

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Collage layout…next step is to attach with soft gel medium

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This photo is of the Red Hills painting featured in the book, “Georgia O’Keefe”, by Elizabeth Montgomery. Packed full of color plates of Georgia’s work, this book has been a useful resource for creating the pages of my art journal.  I have used the imagery for inspiration and as my friend Cindy says….”art inspires art”.  Learning from the success of other great painters provides useful tools and techniques for my work.

 

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The mixed media portion of creating is complete.  Lastly, the words begin to swirl around in my mind and they are always the last to appear on the page.  I am thinking a trip to Ghost Ranch is in my midst!  Many getaway trips to Taos through the years have included art workshops, dinner at Grahams Grill, browsing the shops around the plaza, dancing at the Taos Inn, tasty green chile burritos at Michaels Kitchen, hiking, museum visits, and wandering around the Mabel Dodge Lujan house…..but I have yet to visit Georgia’s place at Ghost Ranch.  Hopefully we can find a week-end to check out the place where Georgia lived for the better part of her life and created masterpieces which continue to mesmerize.  The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will be celebrating the work and spirit of Georgia O’Keefe from June 27 – Sept. 13, 2015.  ELOQUENT OBJECTS will feature an exhibit of her work and the FAC has deemed 2015 as the year of O’Keefe.  If you are planning a vacation to the Rockies and pining for some Colorado fresh air or a unique art adventure, check out the Fine Arts Center this summer.  www.csfineartscenter.org   or 719.634.5581 for more information.  Stay tuned for more pages of mixed media in this art journal dedicated to O’Keefe!!!