Creating texture is easier than you think. Here is a picture tutorial I made using only paint to make some texture for the background on this art journal page.
I used these tools:
Paint, an old credit card, hair pick, wall texture dodad, nib of a pencil, baby wipes or tissues.
This is the end result.
This is how I made it:
I had no plan for this page other than creating texture. First, I took some unbleached white and spread it liberally on the page. I used the edge of a credit card to make some grooves in the paint.Then I used a pencil to dig more marks into the paint.
After that I used a hair pick to get some thinner grooves.
On top of that I used a dodad from the paint store and made some wider grooves. You need to wet the paint to make it pliable.
After that I used the corner of the credit card to slice some smaller grooves sideways over the others.
Now I let it dry, and then I chose a green paint to rub over part of the surface with a tissue.
As you can see, it’s kind of messy and the green covers more the top than the bottoms of the grooves. I took some dark umber on a stiff brush to dig the paint down into the grooves.
Now you can see the grooves well, so the rule is, use dark colors to enhance the grooves if they are important to the project.
Then I decided to add some red paint, which I smeared around with a tissue.
The grooves at the top of the page are not as deep, but it makes for a good contrast. (The white spots is sunlight through the blinds in the window.)
Close up of all the grooves when the paint was laid down. I did add some red paint to the depth of the grooves.
To soften the effect I added more of the original unbleached white over the other colors. Applied carefully so it wouldn’t get into the grooves.
Then I saw a face and decided to enhance that with markers and more paint.
The black marker was pretty harsh so I softened that a bit. I also used a Crayola brown to draw the contours. I softened the effect with my fingertip.
I then gave her a blue top and you can see the markings I made on that and on the pink background that I added.
The girl with the flaming hair was born!
How do you like to apply texture to paper?
Here is another blog post of a painting with mixed media and lots of texture, What Jane Wanted.
Try some texture in your art today! Easy peasy.
P.S. Looking for a unique Valentine’s gift? I have some mosaic heart plaques in my etsy shop, ready to go. Earth and Faery.
Color basics came to me as I mixed colors and saw the results. I never took any classes in color combinations, but I can see how the need is there for someone just starting out.
I went to YouTube to investigate and found several tutorials on how to mix paints. I didn’t feel like making my own, so here is one video by Kelly Eddington Watercolors. It’s a good one! Check it out if you’re unsure how to mix paints.
I recommend using scrap paper and experimenting with your primary colors. Mix them up and see what happens on paper! Practice until you understand the basic combinations and variations.
You can’t mess it up!
I was busy this week doing some art journaling, using paper I created for my online course Life’s Song. It is all about making your own papers from scratch, well, not the paper itself, but the altering and embellishment. I had lots of fun with the papers that resulted, and I will make some more. They become more authentic than the paper you buy in the stores. Take a peek.
The burnt paper became a face. I teach how to make that kind of paper in Life’s Song. Added embellishment from magazines and other papers, like the star tissue paper on the right. A gift from a friend on Christmas.
It’s all about balance and fearlessly charging into the unknown. It can be scary!
Gratitude has been a big focus in my life lately. Every day, every breath is a reason to be grateful. I feel I live in a magical universe despite the craziness going on in the world right now.
Humans need to wake up and smell the roses!
As artists we can inspire.
It has been a good week and I look forward to my next foray into art journaling…
Now I have to go and clean the bathroom…
Have a great, creative weekend, all!
Lots of love,
P.S. Life’s Song is a great way to create unique art. Check it out! Very affordable too Here is another blog post I wrote about paper, Paper Madness.
Practice never makes perfect is true in some sense, though I believe that practice makes perfect if, say, you’re learning a new language. The art practice never ends. Some say that if you can paint something hyper-realistic you might call it perfect, but I bet the artist still strives for even more perfection.
Truth is, why strive for perfection in the first place? Artists want to get better at their techniques, of course. They want to execute their craft better for more personal satisfaction.
But what if you just want to express yourself, not perfecting the craft of painting perfect landscapes or faces?
Everyone can express themselves. It only takes a willingness to try.
Trying involves getting some materials, like an art journal or old book that you can alter (use as an art journal.) Buy a few acrylic (fast-drying) paints in colors you love, get some glue or medium, a few brushes, some markers, and a bunch of old magazines.
You can paint a background with a couple of your paints, anything goes. Draw stick figures, paint them, cut out images from magazines, words that speak to you. Add more paint and writing if necessary. Add stuff until you feel it’s right, if not perfect.
Then you practice to let go. It’s good enough!
It’s a great way to see in color what is important to you in life, and art!
What it actually takes is to do it, no excuses.
Carve out some time for creativity. Explore who you are, your wishes and dreams. Expressing in art is an age-old practice.
Art journaling can be challenging, but no one has to see your pages unless you want to share them.
Even if you hate the pages, at some point you’ll hit on a symbol or mixture of symbols you love and that will inspire you to continue making more pages. You’ll collect more stuff to add to your spreads, a bit at a time.
I keep making art because I feel a need for it. Maybe you won’t feel a need unless you really keep doing it, as with exercise. I can’t speak for you, but making art gives me a special kind of satisfaction, a feeling that it’s important.
I made a YouTube video of the first spread I made (above). You can watch it here to get inspired (hopefully.)
Without my art, my life seems to lack something. I go into my studio with anticipation and leave it feeling, oh well, many feelings, among them happiness, frustration, annoyance, challenged, inspired, accomplished. Every day is different.
I have more how-to videos on YouTube. They will help you explore your own creativity.
I have also made some more art journals for sale in my etsy shop. They will help if you fear the “blank white page.” ETSY SHOP.
Have a creative weekend, folks!
Here are a couple of blog posts about facing your fear and lack of motivation.
2018 is brand-spanking new, so I figured it was time to tune in and get my special word for the year. I sat quietly breathing and asked my wiser self what my word would be for 2018.
I got SERVICE.
At first I was a bit taken aback thinking I would get a more “attractive” word (whatever word that would be,) but I sat with Service for a while and it felt good.
It can mean SO MANY things.
We are already doing service. Everything we do is for movement forward, either directly to a person(s) or prepping for other action that ultimately helps people in some way.
So I was thinking, how can I serve with my art? I can show people new ways to do something or inspire someone to take that first step to explore their creativity. I can be connected to my spirituality and use that as inspiration in my art. People can feel that connection and I really enjoy inspiring others to deepen their spirituality. They in turn inspire others. And so it goes.
It is a misconception that it’s difficult to create art. There is usually some resistance, but you don’t need an art degree to express yourself. Children do it all the time. They don’t make excuses for lack of experience. They just ARE and they DO. They create with abandon, until someone tells them their art has to be in a certain way and they start doubting their abilities.
Art can be very freeing!
Art is important in life. We access our deeper hidden parts through expression. Color cheers you up! Movement across the page or canvas can be revealing as you follow along on the journey. Wherever it takes you…
If I can assist you in any artistic capability, please let me know in the comments. I have many great ideas for 2018. Let’s get artistic together!
IF you’d like to win a handmade art journal I made, please take this short survey about how I can serve you better in 2018! Thank you.
Tree paintings are some of my favorites. Every living artist and every dead one had their own vision of trees.
I’m going to share how I painted this tree. It was a journey of lots of ups and downs.
I was ready to quit many times and just paint white all over it, but I let it sit and stew in its own colors.
I don’t have pictures of what brought it to chaos, but I started out just smearing colors across the canvas with my hands. I smeared countless layers and colors, and lost track of any possible solution for this painting.
It finally ended up like this:
Some people might like the mess, but it didn’t feel finished to me at all. It sat like this for a long time. When I had left over paint, I would slap some on this painting.
Then I arrived at this, which was something beyond my scope. How could I bring out a focus in this painting?
I finally saw a tree trunk in the mess, and drew two black lines and some roots. Then I had major problems with the background. It went through several stages before it felt right.
Here I had the tree painting, but I thought the background looked imbalanced. It didn’t feel complete at all.
I added a tree to the side in the background, but … I wasn’t happy. Backgrounds can sometimes be tricky. You have to brave and forge on!
Then I made the background almost white. I wanted to leave the space between the roots white. Still, didn’t work.
This felt a lot more peaceful, a balance of dark and light encasing the tree “spirit.” I can see the spirit as a vibrant energy.
To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s finished. I thought it was, but when I look at these pictures, I’m hesitant. Sometimes it’s easier to see what works and what doesn’t in a picture. It is a distance from the painting itself.
Time will tell.
I started this painting in April of 2015… You would think I could have finished it, but the Muse does not like a harness. I did plenty of other art meanwhile.
There is a time for everything…
P.S. I have a sale in my etsy shop Dec. 9-15. Great selection of unique gifts! Everything is 15% off. EARTH AND FAERY.
Fun exchange with awesome artist, Amanda Wolf Hara. She is the December guest artist my free 2017 art journaling journey. The last one of the year! It is bittersweet, and I don’t know how the year moved so fast…
When I was a little girl, my grandparents (who emigrated from Latvia) watched me all day while my mom worked. From Gramma I learned painting and fine art basics- painting every week, at least, with watercolors while Bob Ross was on PBS in the background.
Other afternoons I’d spend in Opa’s (My grandfather), woodcarving shop in their basement, listening to classical music and learning how to carve on soft pine.
Both grandparents took me outdoors a lot- to the local pond, nature center or just for walks around the neighborhood where we always stopped to watch what nature was doing.
I drew incessantly, (mostly horses!) and even painted watercolors on my bedroom walls. I drew on any scrap of paper I could find- my mom always said “you do some of your finest work on the worst paper.”
I dunno, I just Arted all the time. I took it for granted; it was just something I did- it didn’t seem like a big deal at all, even as I started getting awards in school.
In college I spent a semester in the theater’s scenic design program. I had one of the best teachers who helped me advance my skills by leaps and bounds. He was amazing.
LOL, I still struggle with seeing my art as a “big” deal. I just love doing it. It’s just what I do.
What does art do for you?
The world quiets down when I hold a paintbrush. There’s something about the sensual act of painting that quiets my brain like nothing else seems to; that particular hush seems unique to that medium for me.
The “graffiti” style journaling I do is like a really good aerobic work-out for my mind and emotions. It’s cathartic and raises a lot of energy for me- which is good, because I need that process to get to a breakthrough point.
What form of art do you prefer making? Art journaling or painting?
Lol, I really can’t pick! I truly love all art mediums, I do photography, writing, sculpture, sewing, crafting, jewelry making, re-purposing/upcycling, some collaging, pastels, colored pencils, wood burning every once in s while, acrylic and watercolor… I just cycle through.
My apartment really looks like I own half a craft store. Also, I paint on any surface that holds still long enough for me.
Next on my list is picking up a soldering iron. (Insert slightly maniacal laughter.) I’ll be unstoppable! I can do metal work. I have a tin can project I’d LOVE to see manifest.
After that, working with glass; blowing it, fusing it, stained glass etc. I just want to know how to do it. :).
Do you use art in any particular way? As in healing, journaling about your life or just for fun?
Yes, to all of the above.
It’s definitely therapy, and as I mentioned, it’s my way of tapping into deeper problem solving techniques. I Art all the time. I look at something- even garbage- like packaging materials-and immediately start challenging myself to think about what it could be used for, what could it look like, what it could give to an art piece.
My love too, is in teaching creative processes to others- helping someone tap into their creative capacity and that intuitive “knowing” we all have within us.
What inspires you?
Nature, for sure. And that extends to human nature, instincts, behaviors etc..
Also, stories. A lot of my art is driven by telling the stories of things that I believe get overlooked. I love the old stories of deities and characters that I think still hold just as much relevancy as they ever did.
My art maybe gives them an update and puts them into context in a way that we Modernites can still access them and recognize them.
Getting people to see their world in a new way- that rock-back-on-your-heels-a-little-and-go: “Oh… Wow! I never…” THAT. That inspires me.
Do you have any favorite artist or style?
Ummm… no. I like a lot of different things- I guess art that tells stories, and cultural pieces. That being said, there are definitely some forms of art that I just don’t understand.
As far as artists? There are so many- even ones I’ve had the pleasure of meeting- whose names I will, sadly, never remember.
But I’ll try:
Jo Jayson. OMG. She’s INCREDIBLE. I would love to learn to paint half as well as she does. And her Divine Feminine works are utterly brilliant.
Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests- Ohmygoodness. I will never be that level of cool, and I’m okay with that. But I would LOVE to share a beach space with any of his “beests” any day.
Pat and Ken Larson of Larson Clayworks.
Ever since I first saw their work I’m absolutely captivated.
I like Picasso- not necessarily the work itself, but the fact that he could do the very realistic detailed stuff, but chose to step out, break the rules and create new ways of considering what art can be.
Da Vinci, too- the imagination and invention- oh, that’s good stuff!
O’Keeffe comes to mind too- her voice and work I deeply appreciate being in this world.
What is the advice you would give new artists?
OMG, play with your art, please!
Art is about expression, about exploration.
Make mistakes. Learn how to turn them into something new and exciting. Learn how to make them look like they always belonged there.
It should on some level always be fun; it stays encouraging that way.
And get messy.
In every sense.
Get pastels imbedded in your fingertips. Discover acrylic paint in your hair a week after being in studio.
Get (safely) messy emotionally too- open yourself up. Get raw, get vulnerable. Or, get quiet and super still. Defy the norms you set for yourself and see where that takes you.
Any suggestions to artists who are stuck in a rut or in a feeling of inadequacy?
Aside from playing?
Learn to Art for yourself.
Do it because there’s a voice in you that simply cannot be expressed in any other way.
Art as a product is always subjective.
Art as a process isn’t.
It’s personal and intimate and deeply intrinsic. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised; work it out, let go of the attachment to the end product and surrender to where the process of Arting wants to take you.
Oh, and OMG laugh at (with) yourself as often as possible.
When your inner critic gets too bossy, get them drunk on purposeful mistake after glorious purposeful mistake until s/he is so full they pass out. Then, joyfully create.
What is your all time favorite art supply?
Ooooh…. That’s a little like asking me to pick a favorite child. For the sake of all of them, I plead the fifth. 🙂