Prepping a New Altered Book Journal

A new year means  (for me) starting a new altered book journal. It's the perfect excuse to look through your bookshelf and find a hardback book that's been sitting unread with no expectation it will actually be read. So, a reason to repurpose & recycle. I chose two books for 2015 as I like to alternate between two; while art is drying in one I can press on and do art on the other. 
Start in the front and work your way to the back carefully tearing out 3/4 of the pages one page at a time. I leave pages where the art, photos, or captions are intriguing and might inspire future art journaling. I choose books which have some interest as the words and images will be incorporated into future artsy reflection. So, for me, a geometry or physics book just won't do! (Not a point of interest or inspiration for me!) I also like thick pages so they can stand up to the wear and tear of the art. 
Torn out pages can be further recycled (stored in a box) for headlines and art. If you like it; keep it. I "name" the book by its actual name so I can find it in my (picture) data. 

This one is "Pocket Gardens" a book I ordered on line that was disappointing but not worth returning. It will be put to great use now as a mixed media altered book journal. 

Prepping a 2015 Sermon Journal

Starting a New Year means starting a new sermon journal. It's a great excuse choose a blank journal, put a stack of CDs by the player, and create a bunch of nebulous backgrounds using your favorite paints, brushes, stamps, stencils, and ephemera. Since I know that the new year always erupts with too much to do and do little time to get it done, it's helpful for me to get a running start with painted backgrounds. It's also a relaxing way to de-stress from the hectic holiday season.

Poised to Obey: Just Do It!

One of the cool things about art journaling is flipping back-and-forth through the pages during the year (time frame) that you're working in the journal and gradually gaining new insights on previous journal entries. One of the epiphanies in all this is realizing that time/change moves slowly. A journal will have a consistent theme for several months, an entire year, or even longer as one slowly reflects on the space and place and circumstances. It isn't like you write about something this week and next week that same thing is entirely "fixed" or "transformed" (or whatever). The reality is that the reflection and insight occur on any give topic over an extended period of time. That is LIFE. What is super cool is that in the flipping back-and-forth over completed or partially completed journal pages is that continued insights one looking at; reading, reflecting upon early entries. Every now and then there is an whooper A-HA! What's really interesting then is to look back at the layers of thought and reflection that went into the journal entry. It helps one realize the (thoughtful) process that goes into the (slow) process of change. The journal entry here began in the spring, and I gradually added bits and pieces to it through the year. Now, as the year is nearly over, my whopper epiphany is simply JUST DO IT! For all the agonizing, wondering, lamenting, questioning...of which there has been much, the reality is that I need to take action and simply DO IT. I suspect that there is something in everyone's life that one is procrastinating on; knowing what needs to be done, but unwilling (or seemingly unable) to just do it. Journaling opens the path to action: JUST DO IT!
The page began with collage elements topped with an experimental layer of thick acrylic media

After the media was applied these words were prominent POISED TO OBEY.

The completed journal page was done over 8-9 months with layers gradually added. The epiphany: JUST DO IT!

Sermon (Art) Journaling for Christmas Eve

Prepping to preach on Christmas Eve includes breaking down difficult theological concepts so that they are quickly and easily grasped by a wide range of ages and places in the spiritual faith journey. I opted to prep by identifying the key themes from the biblical texts and then creating a simple visual which I will use with the children during our time to sit together on the floor at the front of the church and share together the message of Christmas.

Christmas Card 'Street Art'

Mixed media Christmas Cards for immigrant women and children was the art project my church took public at a downtown public festival (Wassailfest). We set up a food booth to sell tortilla soup and created an an adjacent station for children to make mixed media Cheistmas cards. We provided the art supplies and note cards, and a group of teens from the National Honor Society of a local high school volunteered to supervise the art project. It was a phenomenal success!

The tables were filled to overflowing for the duration of the three-hour event. We collected several hundred custom cards. While the children were engaged doing art I shared the plight of these immigrant women and children with the parents.

Debriefing ZenDoodle

There is much to process in my mind and spirit after a packed 10-day combo academic/family gig including ideas to process for future implementation AND family drama to release/let go. ZenDoodle to the rescue: a contemplative artsy theology with (for me) no rules, no bindings, no restrictions. Here I'm experimenting with Gelly Roll "moon" pens (which have more fluidity than my beloved Soufflé pens) on 6x6" black paper. Mixing designs and layering colors while my mind reflects and proceeded the recent 10-day-stretch.

I started by using a lead pencil and putting a dot at each corner and then connecting the dots to create a parameter border. Then I doodled a "string" using the lead pencil which then provides the shapes to fill with layers of ZenDoodling.

Artful Synthesis (AAR) Academic Conference

A road trip home from an academic conference is a great opportunity to do some "car art" reflection to synthesize the highlights of learning and to identify goals upon return home. I glued pieces of the program (of lectures I'd attended) tou art journal and filled the page with flower doodles using colored pencils. Each flower represents a major area of goal setting as it has emerged from the conference. I then labeled each flower the the main them. I'll follow up later to further delineate goals for each category.

Travel Journal Art Entry: Let Me See

Guest artist Lynn worked the theme "dejame ver " (let me see) with mixed media and a totally different combination of materials than what I'd put together with the same theme.

Washi tape was used to represent I-10 from San Antonio to San Diego on a previously prepared background of a Gelli Art mono print. This was embellished using oil pastels "big and loose".

The mixed media includes shapes indicative of each state travelled through.

Dejame Ver; Let Me See Travel Journal Entry

During a recent road trip from TX to CA we listened to Pimsleur's Spanish II & the lesson included "Dejame ver" which means let me see. This became the theme for a mixed media journal reflection on what we saw during the road trip.
Washi tape created the "road" & I included words cut from a (destination) tourist magazine to name key themes. 

I opted to switch the perspective from normal journal view to that of the road; seared in the car driving in I-35 from East to West. I continued to add layers to capture the essence of the road trip b

Travel Art in the Hotel Room

Zendoodling is an easy travel art to do in a hotel room. Here guest artist Lynn is mixing Zentangle with doodling using the moon version of Gelly Rolls pens mixed with Soufflé pens on black 6" squares. Peaceful morning meditation art.

Experimenting with Materials and Adding 'Middles'

I tend to spend too much time making generic backgrounds and not enough time going back and thoughtfully adding layers of reflections...until recently. Experimenting with new materials is a perfect opportunity to back through your working art journal and add bits and pieces here and there to journal pages which have previously (perhaps) been considered "done."
 When it is "time" to experiment with a new art supply I place the designated material on top of my art easel as my reminder that NOW it is time to use this supply that I probably purchased SEVERAL months earlier. When I'm to the point that it has been ridiculous that I haven't taken time to use the new media then it becomes time to experiment and to add bits of layers in previously "done" journal pages. It also is an excellent opportunity to revisit when I "am" in reflection on a particular event/entry. In the examples here I was playing with the Gelatos I had bought while visiting my son and his wife in Portland, OR in April (SEVEN months ago). I flipped through my journal and looked for little moments that I could add to using the Gelatos which are a water soluble waxy-type stick which can be applied directly to stamps, spritzed with water, and then pressed on journal page which is somewhat porous. If it is too wet and/or not porous enough then the imprint just makes a runny mess! When done with a light spritz of water and pressed on a porous page it creates a subtle mark and another layer of art.


Road Trip Travel Art Bag...Unpacked!

Overview of the stuffed back with the exterior pockets unloaded.

The guts unpacked.
A small stash of materials for stenciling and texturing.
Mini containers of acrylic, gesso, matt medium plus stackable watercolors.
In preparation for a road trip to California and back I have crammed a travel art bag with a diverse selection of art materials to use on the road. I bought this handy bag at Michael's, and its myriad of compartments is perfect for taking art on the road. (I expect to use a modified version of this for plane trips, but of course the liquids and sharp supplies need to be removed and packed to travel in the belly of the plane.) I include an empty accordion file folder and #10 envelope for collecting ephemera during the trip. The bag includes to plastic water jars, 3 types of watercolors, tin pencil containers with pencils, brushes, and pens. The kit also includes a small box of crayons, Gelatos, scissors, glue stick, letters for stamping, washi tape, kneadable eraser, pencil sharpener, exacto knives, and specialty art markers. I included a small pad of black card stock for Zentangle and generic doodling. I will also bring a small shoulder tote with a selection of art books for browsing and two or three working journals.

Inspiration from Listening to Christian Radio: A Guest Perspective

The backgrounds for these art reflections were created during a recent group session on mono printing, Mary used her original photographs as the "guide prints" that she positioned under a piece of clear Plexiglas and then used acrylic paints to quickly paint the gist of the image on top of the acrylic. Each print was individually pressed to pull up the rendered image. Once dry, the mono prints were adhered to her art journal for future artful reflection. Mary said her inspiration for the art journaling came while listening to the Christian radio station KLOVE.

DIY Christmas Stamps for Block Printing

Paper cross intended to be a painted ornament.

I like the oversized foam stamps which are intended for printing on t-shirts. When I couldn't find any themed for Christmas I decided to find an alternative way to make my own. I cruised the Christmas craft section and bought various shapes for other projects and then used heavy duty glue to adhere each to a free sample piece of flooring (available at your local super-sized building supply store). I used a 6"x6" Gelli Art printing plate as my "stamp pad" and "inked it up" with a liberal dose of acrylic paint from a tube.
There are several variations on the theme. You can simply use the Gelli Art plate like an ink pad, inking and re-inking (washing between as appropriate) or you can use the Gelli Art plate as the stamp. Of course a combination also works. I worked on a journal page which already had some basic preparation done for the background. I chose purple to provide a strong impact image and to complement the existing colors.
The Gelli Art printing plate can be pressed directly onto a journal page.
A selection of DIY stamps that children will use during Christmas VBS.
This is my practice page to experiment with the DIY stamps and Gelli Art plate. I'll add more layers later.

Kitchen Art and the Influence of Art Journaling

The altered book that I've been using for my art journaling during much of 2014 showcases personal spaces/rooms of women. It is interesting how using this book as my art journal has influenced my outlook on my personal rooms/spaces. One of the chapters in this book features someone's kitchen as their favorite personal space.  I had left exposed words: "Kitchen Art" and "I love to hang my art up in the kitchen." After flipping back-and-forth through my art journal pages, this one never quite inspiring me to use as the basis for an art journal entry. However, the exposed words I read each time I flipped past these pages did influence me to "alter" my own kitchen space ("I love to hang my art up in the kitchen.") After painting my kitchen to reflect my art spirit, I went back to my art journal and added the latex paint I had used to paint my kitchen to create a background in the journal page. I collaged pretty bright white papers to duplicate the color theme in my freshly painted kitchen, and I included a piece of fabric from the curtain. The journal entry reminds me that I do love to hang art in my bright yellow and crisp white.

I will go back at some point add embellish the pages with reflections on my experiences in cooking in my arted-up-kitchen. Journal page to kitchen art to journal page...going with the inspirational flow.