journal friday

Journal Friday #102

 
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I completely forgot to post the last Journal Friday here, so I’m catching up now. I’ve already posted the video to social media, but I wanted to post it here as well.

This spread really came out of nowhere, and I wasn’t of any of it when I started, except that I new that I wanted to start with collage. As I started the spread, I got a phone call from my brother saying that one of our uncles had passed away. It wasn’t unexpected. He had suffered a stroke a few months ago, and had been in the hospital ever since. He hadn’t really recovered, and I wasn’t surprised with the call. But still it was sad, and my heart hung heavy as I worked on the spread. The news did help dictate the direction of the page, and it became a way to process the feelings and emotions.

I did a variation on blackout poetry once I glued the book pages in, and I searched out rather heavy words as I began to string together phrases. But as I looked outside at the leaves beginning to bud on the bushes and trees, I knew I had to incorporate inspirations of spring despite the sad the news. As I worked through the page, I allowed my thoughts to churn and turn. Though the final spread seems to bear little to no semblance to the sad news, it was a great help in allowing me to process my feelings.

Journal Friday #99: Text

 
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Words, text, and reflections are a big part of my journaling process, but there are times when I might not want the text to be so obvious, especially since I openly share my journal with others. So obscuring the words is a great way to include writing while making it hard to read.

Today I worked primarily with text using a General’s Sketch & Wash pencil (water-soluble graphite), Derwent Inktense pencils, and uni-ball Vision pens. I focused on using the text in a more graphic manner, and the reflective writing provided a textured background while the stenciled words created some big words that stand out. The smaller emphasized words provided a little visual pop. I see this as a good start, and I’ll most likely add more to this spread in the future.

I hope that you enjoy the video!

Journal Friday #97: Be Where You Are and Initiating a New Journal

 
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I wanted to do something a little different for the time-lapse video that I made today, so I limited myself to using just a few materials — Derwent Inktense pencils, UHU glue stick, and uni-ball Vision pens. I also, started the spread off a bit differently. I used a series of ovals to create an overall texture as an initial layer, and then I built up other layers on top of it. I also drew a face, which I haven’t done for the time-lapse videos before. I had thought about adding more to the spread, but I’ve been trying to keep these videos to about a minute in length. Drawing the face and using the Inktense around the stenciled words took a little while, so I didn’t include everything that I was thinking about. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.

After creating the video, I broke out my new journal. I had started prepping it a while back, and the beginning of a new month seemed like a perfect time to initiate working in it. I didn’t do much and simply used a square stencil and an Inktense pencil to get something started. However small of a start it might be, it’s the first step of a grand, new adventure! I love beginning in a new journal. It’s always filled with such promise and potential.

Journal Friday #96: Lost

 
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I’ve been enjoying making time-lapse videos over the past few months of two-page spreads, and they fit great with Journal Friday. But I should note that these videos are not my normal mode of working. When I make them, I spend a couple of hours working on a single spread trying to plot the course of the spread as I work. However, when I work normally in my journal, I sit for a couple of hours bouncing around from page to page working here and there allowing the pages to develop organically and haphazardly. So dedicating two or three hours to a single spread presents a different type of challenge, which is neither good nor bad — just different.

As I sat down to create today’s time-lapse video, I had no idea what the spread was going to be or where it would take me. All I knew was that I wanted to do something a little different — to use colors and techniques that I haven’t used much in my other videos. Things started out smoothly as I used bubble wrap, organic lines of Inktense pencil, and an image transfer, but then I hit a bump in the road.

Things began to go a little awry when I grabbed some plastic canvas and watercolor paint. The effect came out darker than I had hoped, and it just wasn’t how I had envisioned. The spread quickly came to a halt as it veered into an unexpected direction. Of course you don’t see that in the video with the luxury of being able to pause the recording while I contemplated my next move.

 
 

I tried to fade the darker brown paint into the page with some yellow watercolor, but things just weren’t going to my liking. I was completely uncertain of where to go next, and I sat for a few minutes finally deciding to add some writing. After a few minutes of debating about whether to write directly on the page or to use tracing paper, I decided on the tracing paper. As a prompt, I turned to how I’ve been feeling lately — something that I hadn’t planned, but it felt right for the page. I have felt rather lost lately, and at that moment, I was a bit lost for what to do with the spread.

So, I wrote about feeling lost — feeling very uncertain of what my next steps should be with my life. For the past two and half years, I’ve been forging my own path after resigning from a 20 year career as an art teacher. I work part time as the manager of a local art center, and I try to dedicate the rest of my time to making art, journaling, and sharing my journey with others here on the blog and on social media. But I am feeling a bit lost right now, and it’s a tad disconcerting. I love the freedom this path has giving me, but it’s been difficult at times. Now is one of those difficult times — a moment when things have ebbed a bit — a moment of uncertainty and a bit of anxiety about where this journey is heading.

I didn’t come to any cathartic conclusion, and the spread is very much unfinished. I do like it more now than I did those moments after I lifted the plastic canvas, and I thought of working more on it. I may do just that in the future, but for now I just want to stand for a moment on this vulnerable patch of lostness and just be here in all of my uncertainty knowing that the universe is always conspiring with us.

Journal Friday #95: Layers with Inktense

 
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This week was all about small actions, and today I spent time working with my Derwent Inktense pencils. Similar to watercolor pencils, the Inktense are water-soluble ink, but they work the same way. I spent time adding to pages and building more layers. I love using water-soluble pencils to build layers, to create value, and to make areas POP.

I simply sat for a few hours today flipping through my large journal looking for spaces and shapes where I could add some color. I often use water-soluble pencil to shade around elements. This really makes these elements stand out and creates interesting layers.

It’s nothing too grand, but simple artistic acts combine to create rich pages and images with depth.

Journal Friday #92

 
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As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, my normal mode of working in the journal is one of small artistic acts, and for the first part of today that’s exactly what I did. I worked on one simple act — collage, and I spent some time gluing in a bit of fodder. I accumulate a lot of random things in my day-to-day life, and I sat down today and glued some of it into my book. Collage is great way to document life by including bits and pieces of everyday life, and it’s a perfect way to start new pages or to add to other pages.


I also spent part of the day making another time-lapse video. These videos are a lot of fun to do, and I’m looking forward to making more!

Journal Friday #91: Journal Stripped Bare Time-Lapse

 
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For today’s Journal Friday, I worked on a two-page spread and shot a time-lapse video. I limited the materials to collage — craft paper and photocopies, water-soluble graphite, ink, metallic marker, and tape transfer. I’m exploring ideas for a new upcoming, online workshop, The Journal Stripped Bare. I think that it’s too easy to get bogged down with a bunch of materials and complicated techniques, so I’m looking to create a workshop that focuses on some basic supplies, but delves into making layered and meaningful pages. In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy the video.

 
 

Journal Friday #90: Journal Stripped Bare

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This week I’ve shifted focus a little in my journal as I’ve pared down the materials that I’ve been working with as I explore ideas for a new online workshop. I think that we often get caught up in the materials that we have and use, and the journaling practice can get overwhelmed with choices of materials and techniques drawing attention and focus away from meaning, ideas, and creativity. But what do we really need in order to have a rich visual journaling practice?

With this new online workshop, I want to explore that idea and delve into the possibilities of limiting the materials that we really need in order to create deeply authentic pages while at the same time pushing our creativity. I am reminded of a quote by psychologist Rollo May, “Creativity... requires limits, for the creative act rises out of the struggle of human beings with and against that which limits them.” We don’t need a stocked studio to be creative or to carry on a deep journal practice. We just need a few materials, some tried and true techniques, and the courage to go deep within.

 
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I’m thinking of calling the workshop The Journal Stripped Bare, and it’s loosely based on an in-person workshop David and I taught a few years ago. But this new workshop will be much more encompassing, and will include techniques and ideas for using a limited amount of supplies while diving deep with ideas, themes, and personal concepts. So, I focused on using only a few materials this week — mostly water-soluble graphite and ink, as I began some initial explorations.

 
 

I’m excited to delve into these ideas deeper to see what I can discover, and to see if I can turn them into a viable workshop. Here’s to limitations and pushing our creativity.