Art Journal Workshop 1: Do-over

My first attempt at the Strathmore Visual Journal workshop exercise was less than satisfying. I didn’t like working with the oil pastels. I thought the charcoal dirtied up the page. I didn’t have gesso, so I used a semi-opaque watercolor instead.

So I decided I needed a do-over, using materials that I’m more comfortable with. After all, they keep saying it’s all about the process, right?

Art Journal Workshop 1.2 - Materials

Steps from Lesson 1

  • I resized the sketches and reformatted the text and printed them out.
  • I prepped a two-page spread with a random application of turquoise watercolor, added texture, stenciled stars, and random sprays of ultramarine blue.
  • Strips of blue metallic tissue paper provided my vertical element.
  • After topping it with my sketches and text, I brushed on a light wash of my turquoise watercolor to tone down the white and darken some of the shadow areas.

Art Journal Workshop 1.2 - Supervisor Art Journal Workshop 1.2 - Lesson 1

Steps from Lesson 2 and Lesson 3

  • I added a few details and “underjournaling” in white crayon, which will provide a resist under the next layer of water-based color.
  • Using Derwent Graphitint and Inktense water-soluable pencils and an unknown brand of watercolor crayon, I added the shading in blue and purple, and highlights in yellow and green.
  • A thin application of white gouache enabled me to smooth out and re-establish the white areas, and to add highlights to the eyes. I then added more shading and color.
  • For the stars, I made a stencil using cardstock and a punch.
  • I used a blue Faber-Castel brush pen to re-darken the text.

Art Journal Workshop 1.2 - Lesson 2 and 3

Lesson 4 is still a mystery. I expect we’ll be able to access the video for it this weekend.

Artist Journal Workshop 1: Continued

In an earlier post, I shared my work-in-progress for the Strathmore Visual Journal Workshop 1. Picking up where I left off, I began adding other media to the now-dry collage page.

Lesson 2 called for adding more layers and color to the page, such as using gesso to paint over unwanted elements, adding “under-journaling” using graphite, enhancing the depth and shape of the elements using charcoal, adding color with oil pastels, and pulling it all together with a gesso wash.

Lesson 3 called for adding more color and texture to the negative space and image elements with oil pastel, re-doing outlines with pencil, and adding hints of color throughout.

I made an honest attempt to follow instructions, but ultimately my method varied in several respects.

Layer 4 — The instructions called for adding lines with graphite and then shadows and depth with charcoal. I also added conte’ crayon because I liked way the reddish color echoed the layer of scrapbook paper. The charcoal just seems harsh and dirty.
Art Journal Workshop 1.1 - Layer 4

Layer 5 — The instructions called adding color with oil pastel, and then giving the whole thing a light wash of gesso. I used oil pastels as instructed, but I simply did not like working with them, and I’m unhappy with the effect. (For more on that part of the process, see “Warming up oil pastels: Cup Warmer vs Warm Cat”.) I couldn’t find my gesso, so I used light washes of white gouche and a mostly-opaque flesh-tone watercolor to tie the elements together.
Art Journal Workshop 1.1 - Layer 5

Layer 6 — I added more color using watercolor, a step that was not in the original lesson.
Art Journal Workshop 1.1 - Layer 6

Layer 7 — The graphite disappeared completely into the page, so I used ink where I wanted to see the lines. This is where I stopped, after adding more color, more charcoal, more oil pastel, and ink. I probably should have stopped sooner. Like the page says, you’ve gotta start somewhere. Knowing where to stop is something entirely different.
Art Journal Workshop 1.1 - Layer 7

I still don’t know what Lesson 4 will hold, but I bet it involves adding more layers to this piece. I’d like to try a do-over, using only the materials I’m comfortable with.

Artist Journal Workshop: Getting Started

I signed up for the Strathmore Visual Journal workshop series. I was intrigued by the idea of working with new media (collage) in a new format (bound journal).

I’m getting a late start because I packed up my office/studio over the holidays so I could remove the carpet. I’m still unpacking, but I’m itching to get caught up on this workshop.

Today I watched the first 3 of the 4 lesson videos in Workshop 1, and I’ve read many of the discussion forums. I must admit I’m baffled at the concept. The materials and the process I understand. The purpose of doing so, not so much. Then again, the whole reason to take a class in something new is to stretch your mind and your comfort zone, right?

Since I always start a new sketchbook by jotting down “New Sketchbook!” and the date, I took a similar approach to this new project — but in the spirit of the workshop.

I resized some scans of sketches I did last summer, and manipulated the fonts and font sizes on a few phrases until I had a starting place. I printed them out using my Epson Artisan 710 on plain inkjet paper.

I cut the images apart and moved them around on a blank page until I was satisfied with their placement.

Art Journal Workshop 1.1 - Plan

The arrangement was very horizontal, so I decided it needed a vertical element. I chose a piece of scrapbook paper, mainly because it was a color and design I’m least likely to use in cardmaking. I ripped it into strips, then used YES paste to glue them to the page.

Art Journal Workshop 1.1 - Layer 1

Next, I glued down the sketches and phrases in the arrangement I planned out in Step 1.

Art Journal Workshop 1.1 - Layer 2

From previous experience, I know that YES paste causes my paper to curl, so I’ve placed a heavy book onto to hold it flat until it dries.

Next up — add color!