Category Archives: art journal

Art Journaling basics

Art journaling can be a bit confusing for people who have never tried it. It’s a combo of writing / journaling combined with art. The art can include painting, collage, drawing, mixed media assemblage.

art journals
art journaling

Mostly, the media is collected into a book format of various sizes. To use wet media like watercolors and acrylic paints, you need a sturdy substrate a minimum of 90lbs paper to hold up the layers. These days you can easily find mixed media journals at the arts and crafts stores. .

Some of the brands I use are XL mixed media journal by Canson, Cachet by Daler Rowney,  Canson Mixed Media (which is better quality than XL,) and Moleskine. There are many varieties to try.  Here is a short video I made about art journals and other tools I use:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6fr9p3ceqvmbli0/introartjournaltools.mp4?dl=0

I mention lots of different markers. I prefer permanent markers that can be used between layers and won’t smear when covered with wet media. The best way to find your preferred tools is by trying a variety of them. If you don’t want to buy the most expensive markers like Copic or Tombow, you can find some that are very good, like Faber Castell, Posca, and Sakura markers.  It’s better to invest in some medium quality markers to get better results in your journal. There is nothing more frustrating than poor quality paper and tools.

Brushes: You don’t need the finest brushes for this type of art. A variety of sizes and types are okay. You can even use foam brushes or brayers to spread the paint. I often use an old gift card to cover a page with paint. I mostly use brushes for details, but everyone works differently.

Don’t be afraid to try art journaling. It is so much fun, and there really are no rules! Once you find your favorite tools, you will return to those all the time. Go wild!! 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. I have an e-course that pretty much covers the basics plus some fun art journaling spreads. You can check out Art Journaling Journey here.

I had a discussion yesterday

I had a discussion yesterday about art. Some days I paint perfectly recognizable art projects, like birds and things in nature (for example.)

I had a discussion
random bird

Sometimes I make random art, which is so easy, but the pages don’t necessarily mean anything to me. The person I was talking to swore by random art.

It’s interesting because the art journal pages I don’t care much about get the most “likes” on Instagram and Facebook. Not that the likes matter much, but they are an indication of what speaks to the viewers.

People like random “loose” renderings. I feel very ambivalent about that kind of art. It doesn’t SAY anything to me. I like a good story or something recognizable.

Not that random stuff is ugly. Many times I’m drawn to the energy, and that’s enough.

I had a discussion
The other woman

To stretch myself I’m going to make art that doesn’t always sit well with me and see where it leads. If it’s easy, it flows, but there are no rules. Easy doesn’t mean fulfilling.

I had a sdiscussion
Flying into the sunset

I do like abstracts as long as they draw me in. I’m very ambivalent about my own art at this point. These art journal spreads have been painted, mostly, with a paint on a credit card edge. I like the texture, but I also like texture on house walls. 🙂

When is it decorative, and when is it art? Well, it doesn’t have to be labeled, but it’s an interesting question .

One time I painted walls that had a leather faux finish. It was a lot of fun experimentation to get it just right.  In the end, it was a satisfying project. I wouldn’t call that art, but it needed skills.

I had a discussion
Totally random

The above spread was totally random painted with a credit card, except for the art picture that I glued on top.  I can’t say that I like it, but it is what it is.

I had a discussion
Random art

What is your opinion? What kind of art makes your breath catch in your throat and your eyes widen?

For me, I would say it’s some kind of mastery that shines through the art.  I’ll never forget when I first saw some real Renoirs at the Met in New York. The light he had mastered! I’d say it was an awesome immersion experience.

As it is, we live one day at a time, and any creative endeavor brings us closer to the heart of who we are. Each piece of art brings us closer to more deeply express the essence.

I aspire to inspire, one step at a time. 🙂 What about your art?

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have an e-course, FLY YOUR SOUL, coming up shortly.  No link as yet, but I will add one once the offer is available.  Meanwhile, you can always join my newsletter: LINK HERE.

My inner critic on rampage

My inner critic was on a rampage all week, and it was a wild ride I tell you! I recognize and own my inner critic as the freeloader that overstays his welcome and is proud about it..

art journal
art journaling in an old museum catalog from the Louvre

Sneaky and charming, with an opinion about everything, he lounges in my new recliner or stands over my shoulder when I paint or art journal.

I’m used to the bastard and usually kick him to the curb, but this week he stirred up such confusion in my mind I just about had it with art.

First of all, he criticized my every art process with an infusion of “you have no clue what you’re doing” to “what do you know about art, and where’s YOUR focus?” Insidious indeed.  He’s emaciated, extremely pale. He wears tight black pants and black turtleneck sweater, and a beret. Kind of a 1960s French hipster, and he smokes evil-smelling cigarettes, blowing smoke up my ass and into my mind.

Why do I ever listen? He’s too clever by far, and sometimes I fall for the bullsh*t because art is an ever-expanding journey that is unsure at best. For the most part I fly by the seat of my pants, which is always frowned upon by all critics, mine and others.  Then again, if I did hyper realistic art where every dot counts, the critic would call that unimaginative. So, you can never win, right?

art journal
art journaling without aim

I’m partially to blame for the confusion, but the inner critic stirs the pot relentlessly.

My favorite social media is Instagram and I upload pictures constantly and also scroll the huge variety of art there. It’s such a wonderful place of inspiration.

I have been more and more interested in abstract art, and it’s fun to explore on the canvas, but I can never make up my mind if what I paint feels good / right / complete or not.

art journal
art journaling aimlessly

I came across some really questionable art (in my opinion, the critic probably liked it because he was silent.)

To me, art needs to either be a colorful feast to the eye or something that tugs at me, something that gives a meaning or emotional connection. Some artists were posting just scratches with colored pencils like the art of a three-year old.

Three-year olds express themselves shamelessly, and I’m all for it.  Actually, children’s art always touches my heart because it’s direct and without excuses.

When grown-ups post that kind of stuff and call it fine art, I can’t feel the connection. The question is: is the art conceit or something that touches people’s heart in some way?

art journal
art journaling aimlessly

Then the inner critic steps in and says “Your art is no better.” I agree that I’m scribbling at times but I would never call it art per se. I might call it “uncertain expression in color” if it needs to be labeled.

art journal
art journaling

When I kick the inner critic out, I don’t need to wonder what is art and what isn’t. All in the eye of the beholder, but my personal preference is art that takes my breath away or inspires me in some way.

Scribbles or rubbings with colored pencils might get an inner eye roll, but hey, to each their own!

Anyway, my inner critic hated all the art above except the last one, but if I have to live with the input from him, I still forge onward since there is no other way but forward on the art exploration journey of my life.

Below are my latest paintings. The critic didn’t chime in much, so I guess they are okay. <eye roll>

painting
“Falling” acrylic painting on canvas

 

painting
Prayer, acrylic painting

Have a great creative weekend, friends!

xo

Maria

P.S. The free art journaling 2017 adventure is going strong. You can still catch all the prompts from the previous months. Laura Probert will be our guest artist / writer in April. SIGN UP HERE.

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Make your own art journal

Make your own art journal is easy. I actually put up an e-course on how I made a similar one to the one below.  (Link at the bottom of the post.)

make your own art journal
make your own art journal

I love making stuff, and experimenting with materials, mostly paper and fabric.

I hand “painted” the muslin cover with acrylic paints and alcohol inks, let it dry, and then I ironed it flat. I used a manila folder that I cut to size to fit the pages I made. I also made sure the muslin covered the inside of the cover. I got lucky because it did!

Then I proceeded to deckle the edges of 34 sheets of card stock in various colors.

deckle edges
deckle edges

I then wet all the pages and dribbled or poured paints and inks on them, and the effect is always fun when paint runs in the water.

ink and acrylic paint
ink and acrylic paint
alcohol inks
alcohol inks and acrylic paint

 

acrylic paints
acrylic paints

It is very rewarding to make your own journal, to be part of the entire process of making it your own and then filling it with art and writing.  Modern day journaling… I think we long for expression, something to keep us in touch with what we REALLY feel.

So much time is lived behind the mask that society expects from us. Art is a great way to express your innermost thoughts and feelings, and some stuff you didn’t even know was in there. 🙂

Art is healer and a challenger. Why not go for a wild ride and claim your innate creativity? Everyone is an artist and that’s the truth.

Everyone knows how to express themselves, therefore there is an ability to express in art.

The above journal is available in my Earth and Faery etsy shop. The link is EARTH AND FAERY. SOLD right away, but you can still make your own. 🙂

If you want to check out the e-course how to make three different kinds of art journals, go to THIS PAGE.

I wish you a great, creative weekend!

xo

Maria

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