T H E S E C R E T G A R D E N
My cover page for The Secret Garden Art Journal class that I taught at Bemis Art School, this one was an adult art class. My students jumped right into making art, some were experienced artists, and others beginning their journey after a lapse of time, decades in some cases. It was delightful to see their curiosity, and willingness to engage with the art journaling process. I was honored to have an amazing array of women join me on this journey into making artful pages inspired by the classic book, The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett.
This two page spread is “Graffiti Garden”. Using black and white copies of art journal pages or any other black and white collage item we created the garden upon discovery by Mary Lennox. When the little robin lead her to the key, and she opened the wooden door to peek inside, the garden had been neglected. Dried twigs, and stems covered the garden landscape. This two page spread depicts the garden at this stage. The flowers are dormant and just beginning to bloom. Using black and white copies of art journal pages created interesting papers for collage and at times have a story all their own…only the artist knows for sure.
Painted papers for collage. This is a whimsical depiction of a garden, using simple shapes, hand painted papers, lots of white space, text, music, dress pattern tissue, and painted marks on Trader Joe bags. I loved using the TJ bags just because they are readily available, the simple white marks create texture, and I will always think of 2020 and the challenges we endured by using the paper bags. A familiar idea through quarantine times was using what we had and shopping for groceries to keep the pantry stocked.
Continuing the theme of using what is accessible, we stamped the left page with a kitchen item. First an underpainting using acrylics was done and additional marks. For stamping I used a red pepper and the end of an iceberg lettuce head in magenta paint. I drew the flowers with a black sharpie and then went over them with a white Posca pen. Autumn leaves found in the backyard were used for the second page. Once again, an underpainting, then laying the leaves on the page and spritzing with a bottle filled with paint and water. Finally an outline of the leaf shapes with a white Posca pen.
Abstract floral was the theme for this two page spread. I used a pastel painting by Debora Stewart featured in her book, Abstract Art, for our inspiration. This was a new color palette for me, burnt umber mixed with yellow for the darks, and I really enjoyed working with this palette. The orange accents really pop against the dark background. Thank you Debora Stewart for creating this beautiful image for us to use as inspiration in our art journals.
For the last two pages I created a silhouette technique and an acrylic painting entitled Through the Garden Gate. On the silhouette page a layer of acrylic underpainting, a neutral color paint layer around the silhouette and then written words reflecting on themes from The Secret Garden book. The technique used for Through the Garden Gate was watery acrylic paints, almost appearing like watercolors on the page. The best feature of acrylics is how vibrant the pigment remains when mixed with water.
This is my back journal cover inspired by the art from Marimekko design. I love the vibrant colors, simple shapes, and black line highlights. Adding marks with black and white pens in the negative space is a meditative process for me, almost like embroidery stitching or knitting. Drawing gold line accents over the back lines creates depth and interest.
Flipping through the pages of this art journal brings a smile and a sense of satisfaction. I loved the process of creating these pages while teaching others the techniques. Thankfully our zoom class was without any glitches, one never knows when using technology and so many others are on the internet simultaneously. Hopefully this provides a glimpse of art journaling and an understanding of how this creative process impacts the artful journey. Hope to see you in class one day and thanks for stopping by my blog.