Friday, January 6, 2012

Art Journal Journey 2012

I've finally decided that my One Little Word for 2012 is:
My inspiration for choosing *true* was a New Years poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Once I warmed to the word, other phrases, like Elvis Costello's "My aim is true" (my nickname is Aimes and Aim) and Cindy Lauper's "True Colors", came to mind. Then, I realized that my goals for 2012, trying to stay TRUE to what my time management survey told me were my interests, would echo this word well.

Primary 2012 art goals:
1. Get back into art journaling and make it a habit and my main expression of artistic creativity.
2. Get back into scrapbooking.
3. Organize, archive, print and album (in photo albums and scrapbooking)our photos.

Secondary 2012 art goals:
4. Swear off making atc's and other tiny art, unless it is for #6.
5. Continue creating greeting cards for family and close friends, but spend less time on them and build up an inventory ahead of time.
6. Make altered and mixed media stuff that is functional to my needs, for example, complete my holiday tree hanging art and other projects I've had on my list for awhile.

You know, I might just cut and paste my goals into a permanent post I keep at the top of this blog so I am reminded. And my readers, too. Maybe one of you will call me to task if I STRAY???? Please do! While I do reserve the right to change my mind, that would be a great source of support, and sometimes it takes someone else to notice something we cannot ourselves see.

So, onto #1. I am in the year-long class Book of Days with the lovely Effy Wild, and also in a Strathmore class called Doodles Unleashed, being taught by the lovely Traci Bautista (one of my permanent top 5 art inspirations and art mentor of all time) . I am not really participating in either of these in a wholly literal way, meaning I'm not going to do every assignment exactly as assigned. I'm going to just art journal and hope that my pages fit in okay, incorporating the teachings when and where I can.

In Book of Days, Effy has assigned that we make a pocket page in our journal. Well, I may eventually do that but I already did that when I took the Gwen Diehn Decorated Pages class. Right now, I'm not really caring if I have a pocket page in my journal or not. Here is my 2012 American Express planner and datebook that I receive every year from them:

I have 5 of these, I think. I ordered them for 2006 an 2007, but skipped 2008 and 2009. At some point, I began art journaling in them, doing backgrounds in Kelly Kilmer's class. And I discovered that I loved the shape of the book (just about 8" square), loved the page papers (heavy, took wet media well, and is loaded with cool images and factoids), and I loved how well it is made (stitch-bound well with a nice cover material). So, in 2010, I began ordering them again, and I have 2010, 2011 and 2012. So, I have plenty of them to art journal in!

I had been tempted to make the 2012 planner my 2012 art journal, BUT I like writing in them during the year for various reasons. So, I decided to just make the 2006 one be my current art journal, and work my way forward. While I've art journaled as a diary of my days before, I do not really enjoy that, so I'm just art journaling generic stuff that I feel like expressing. Ergo, the year of the planner makes no difference. Plus, if I change my mind on this, I will have my 2012 planner un-altered and ready to use if I want to art journal a current diary.

Every year, the inside covers have this same cool waters patterns.

See how well it takes paint on it.

This is what an inside planner page looks like. I sometimes free-write nonsense in them prior to altering. On this page, I pretended I was a brain surgeon with that daily schedule (in the square box). Then, I just wrote sentences as they came to me, no rhyme or reason. This is a writing exercise I developed on my own to help me when I have a block, and it is fun to look back and read what I wrote down.

The first year that I chose a word was Focus in 2007, and I decorated the cover of my 2007 planner with alcohol inks because the cover material is like a padded plastic leather and takes the inks well. So, when Effy assigned us in Book of Days to decorate our cover, I went to the alcohol inks again.

This is the 2007 Focus planner cover I decorated with alcohol inks. I later art journaled in this in 2010 when my word was Play, so it has some pages art journaled. When (no if!) I fill my 2006 planner that is now my True Journal for 2012, I will continue in this 2007 planner and add to those pages. I will just re-alter the cover to cover the words and date already on it.

This is the alcohol ink color combination I chose for my True journal cover: Stonewashed Blue (for "true blue"), Lettuce Green and Wild Plum, with just a touch of Gold mixative. Can you see the hole on the spine top? Made one there and one at the bottom with my Cropadile, for adding a spine title later.  All I am going to add to this cover is some paper or image to cover the middle portion that has the date and that square.

First coat. I like the way the silver cover shows through, kind of greyish-silver and makes the blue look almost grey as well. I checked the Pantone 2012 colors, and these colors fit in perfectly!

Still trying to decide if I'm going to keep it this way or put on more of a coating of color. The wooden applicator and those felt squares aren't working well and they tick me off, so I'll have to put on my latex glove and just hold the stupid felt squares to apply more color.

I kind of like the organic feel that the partial coating gives off. I want to keep the cover simple and understated, finishing it off only with a few coats of my beloved Royal Coat decoupage sealer. A lot of artists love to junk up their covers and make them really 3D and chunky. Not me. I like to keep my covers flat because it is really difficult for me to art journal inside a bound book with a chunky cover!

So while those next steps percolate in my mind, I went onto my first art journal page. Traci has assigned us in Doodles class to just gather our markers, pens, stamps, stencils, inks, paints and work them! Most of the class is drawing and doodling flowers, circles, stuff like that and I will probably do that too, but for my first art journal page of the year I wanted to do one that involved something I'd been feeling lately.

Here is how my page began. I wrote some nonsense along the top and the bottom of the spread that I had background-painted with watercolors. I added a Hambly tree rub-on, some hand written text, some polka dots and a photo of me.

I altered this photo to make my face look as invisible as possible before printing it. Then I added some washi tape and a German scrap crown.

Next, I added some white acrylic border scallops outlined in red Sakura gelpen, and more dots.

The finished page spread: another border on the other side, more and more and more dots, TCW stenciling bottom left and top right (yes, those clouds are a stencil) with acrylic paint, and the remainder of my handwritten journaling on the righthand side

I have had a HUGE positive response to this page upload on Facebook and in my class groups, and while it has been awesomely gratifying and flattering, I now am having to really pep-talk myself away from freezing up with fear and negativity about making a second page! As in, it won't be as good as my first one. And it probably will not be! Oy, if anyone has any advice to deal with this, I would REALLY appreciate hearing it!

Since this first page spread took me 3 days to complete, I'm currently planning on making 2 pagespreads a week a loose goal. I may or may not post my progress on a page. It's fun to do but I think it depends on the page. We'll see. So, see youz next time!
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