Altered pages are a staple in art journaling, and I decided to experiment using a tub of modeling paste I just purchased. The paste has the consistency of creamy peanut butter and is easy to use. It’s important to clean up your tools quickly before it dries. It dries a lot harder than you’d think.
First, a thought: The best way to discover what kind of art expression you like to pursue is through experimentation. You learn quickly what you don’t like, and it takes you beyond copying others’ styles. I think it’s the best way to discover what makes you tick. That changes over time, so it’s good to be flexible.
Anyway, here are the three videos I made with altered papers.
Part 1: how I actually altered the papers.
Part 2: How I made some ornaments using the above papers.
Part 3: Altered papers make a great journal cover!
As you can see, these papers are very flexible and forgiving too. You can’t mess up the project. Try it. If you buy some modeling paste you’ll enjoy using it in other projects. I made this mermaid picture with a sea background of paste.
I pretty much used the same stencils in all the projects. You can use this technique for some many things!
Art-making is a great way to grow a backbone of art! People say to me, “I don’t know how to begin” or “I don’t have any ideas, but I WANT to make art.” It’s contradictory in a way since what they want to do is immediately negated by an excuse.
I have written a lot about it in the past, but a reminder is always welcome.
I make art because I decided to
Art-making is not like a 9-5 job where you show up and put in your contribution and then go home. Art-making is something you have to grow so that it can support you when things look bleak.
It’s like anything: to lose weight, you decide to go on a diet. To learn a new language, you decide to take a course. That decision is the only thing keeping you away from what you want.
That is, if you REALLY want to make art. Somehow it’s a pastime that is relegated to not-very-important hobby. That is belief that stops many in their tracks.
Not everyone has to start an art biz, but the pleasure of creation is robbed from you if you don’t heed the urge to create. As you walk down the path littered by many failed paintings and other art efforts, you gain a rich momentum and a rich inner experience.
That’s where the vein of gold lies, you getting deeper into your own mystery. Your art becomes more fulfilling and sends out a deeper message. There is confidence and surety.
Art-making is a worthy endeavor!
When life in heavy, when things don’t go well, you can find solace in your own art. I know that deeply.
I made a video on how to make a cover out of a brown bag for a cheap composition book. That was wonderful fun! I will use the book as my current idea, planner, inspiration source.
I love to use old scrap paper, pieces of sentences, advertising flyers, etcetera. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I have collected lots of paper ephemera over the years. Enjoy!
We’re almost into September, my birthday month, yay. Celebrate every day as if it’s your birthday, because it is. We are reborn every day, and each offers new opportunities for creativity, in life and art.
Fear is not your friend unless it warns you to get off the railroad tracks as the train is coming. There are so many levels of fear, and the most insidious one is the fear that stops us from fulfilling our calling (to be artists or other forms of expression.)
I was talking to a friend who said she always wanted to be an artist. I could relate to her as I’ve always felt that way too. Then I felt so grateful that I had at one point decided to commit to the idea with action.
I know I would feel unfulfilled without it, and now, after many years, I think I have come a long way even though there’s no beginning or end.
I was reading this book: Wild Ideas, Creativity From The Inside Out, by Cathy Wild, and I saw this paragraph that so hit home with what I’m saying here.
“If you want to create, you need to become an explorer. An explorer may be an astronaut living in a space station or a pop songwriter attempting to compose an opera or a former welfare recipient heading off to a first day of work. As an explorer, you must want to find out what lies beyond the boundaries of what you already understand and what you already know how to do.”
You can find the book on Amazon HERE. It’s well worth a read.
So, to be an explorer, you have to keep an open mind and be willing to come across resistance, which is inevitable. Have a conversation with it and ask why it has arrived to instigate reluctance to create.
It will likely say: “If you go down that path, you will only encounter trouble that you can’t handle” In other words, it’s spreading fear and tries to tell you you’re inadequate.
As an artist, you’ll come across that every week, or even every day, if you’re serious about commitment and showing up at your work table or easel.
Working a regular job, you come across problems that need to be solved, right? However you solve your problem, you just do it, or you get fired (worst-case scenario.) If we bring some of that determination into getting past the things that stop us from doing something we love, no problem or resistance can stop us.
Then comes a time when you have to grow out of the comfort zone as an artist. The way I deal with that is to try many different things, materials, and styles. It’s like walking through the jungle with a small machete. You don’t know what you see until you come right up to it. Sometimes you say no, this is not for me, and other times, something pushes you to keep going with the new material.
Frustration = fear = learning curve
Make frustration your best friend! When you feel it the strongest, you’re on the verge of a discovery, so keep on going, past the fear. Honor the learning curve! Anything new has to be learned, and there will be many failures, but those are steps to getting to the place where you’re happy with the result.
What you see above are items I made with epoxy clay, which for me has been really hard to work with. I really love the durability of the clay and how it dries rock hard and attaches to pretty much anything. I have worked quite a while with it, and had to throw out some things that did not work out at all.
You know it’s a learning curve, so you continue.
Do not stop when the going gets tough
If you stop you’ll never know if you could master the challenge.
If you stop, you’ll beat yourself up for not going to the finish line, no matter how “ugly” the art turned out.
I haven’t mastered the epoxy clay (Apoxie Sculpt,) but I’m working on it, and every item teaches me something. I look at videos on YouTube by people who have mastered the clay, and I go, wow, I want to be that good too. Some day, I will! 🙂
My point is: don’t sabotage your dreams, don’t sell yourself short, give your dream a chance! Please. Commit and start making art. Copying other artists is okay in the beginning.
Lots of love,
P.S. I have many new items in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Some of them are not all perfect, but people seem to like them anyway. 🙂
Lockdown has been tedious at times, but I’m grateful that I can go into my studio and work on my artsy projects. A lot of things have surfaced emotionally for me during this lockdown, one of them trying to figure out how I feel about all the restrictions and the conflicting information rampaging through the internet and the news outlets.
I’m not sure what I believe, but behind all the drama in the world, there is an agenda. Keep people confused and worried; they are easier to control that way. It is dark energy where greed runs rampant.
About worry: It is a truly wasted emotion, and nothing will change whether you worry or not. The primary way I control my concern is through meditation. I also like to connect to nature, where everything stays in its rhythm and cycles. Nature is simple yet sophisticated in its movements, always peaceful and nurturing, though. Everything and every one has its place.
I talk to trees, and their trunks can be comfortable to lean against while I connect to the spirit within me, and the tree. It puts me in the right place in the scheme of things. I can breathe deeply. I find I hold my breath a lot lately.
Be willing to surrender. I can’t control what is happening in the world, but I can nourish my light and shine a small beacon. There is always hope.
Trust in a higher power. You only have to look at nature to know there’s an over-ruling intelligence behind the miracle that is our planet. We humans have to fall into the rhythm of harmony, not fight it and try to lord it over the creation. We have so much to learn…
I have been exploring clay and, lately, two-part resin. None of the materials are easy to work with, but at least I have polymer clay, which is my best ally. I have also played with seascapes in mixed media since I have an abundance of blue clay at the moment.
What if art doesn’t help?
Maybe you can’t find the peace to sit down and make art. How about grabbing any notebook and start writing? You can explore your feelings, and at least you get them out of your system. Sitting outside is a plus if the weather permits. You can answer these questions or make up your own.
What are you feeling? Accept all the feelings and honor yourself. If you push them away, they will only be more persistent.
How do you want to feel?
What can I do to feel more peaceful inside? (Turn off the news, for one.)
There are loads of free guided meditations online, especially on YouTube. I guarantee they will help. Do the activities that make you feel good: cooking, dancing, exercising, connecting with friends virtually, clean something, plant flowers, make art. You know what YOU like. 🙂
You can’t figure out the world right now. I find the only thing that is consistent and true is nature and my connection to it.
How do I ground and improve my connection to that which is consistent and true? That is an important question to answer. When you have an answer, build on it with action.
I wish you health and hope. Even this shall pass. The lockdown will be a memory. Maybe we’re creating a new world.
Lots of love,
P.S. I have lots of new items for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. To get a 10% discount, enter code Janet10 at checkout.
The struggle is real when it comes to creating something out of nothing. I have yet to meet an artist for whom the art flows freely all the time. Every encounter with the canvas is a challenge, but some days are better than others! Thank God for that.
I find that crafts are so much easier, but they don’t always turn out right either, especially when created from scratch. If you have a pattern you can create something great immediately, and it’s a wonderful feeling.
I love painting, but why does it have to be such a struggle? I have written a lot about resistance to art-making. It is explained really well in Steven Pressfield’s book THE WAR OF ART, break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles. It’s a great read if you’re struggling. What has saved me is persistence, “make art every day.” I wrote a post about that HERE.
In the face of struggle, keep coming back
You have to continue to make art to grow, to bust through the daily resistance. As you know, I paint intuitively so any given day, I have no idea what will appear in my art, and it’s a constant challenge.
I put down layer upon layer on the canvas, mostly hating the combination of paint, paper, and Mod Podge. I took some pictures of my current paintings, and right now they are total chaos.
Some people might say they are finished the way they are, and who’s to say they are wrong? But if they don’t feel done to me, I have to keep going. I finished a couple of paintings last week. They both looked similar to the ones above when I went for the finished layer. I saw some shapes of animals in the mess and went from there.
I love painting pets so I was happy with these weird creatures. As you can see, there’s a lot of bleed-through of the underlying layers.
More often than not, I add the paintings to the pile leaning against the wall for later work. They might get gessoed over or I might see a way to repaint them, but there’s no guarantee.
As with anything challenging, you have to face the fear/resistance/doubt/disgust as you tackle the task in front of you. The same goes for any unpleasant task in life, but art should not be unpleasant, and it isn’t, just challenging.
When I get sick of painting, I make my crafts. They might not come out the way I envisioned, but they are always fun. They also create balance in my life. These are all available in my Etsy shop. The paintings will be available too. I sell a lot of the spirit doll faces, so I always make a batch.
It’s easy to overthink the process of art-making. When I’m in the flow, I trust my hand to make the right moves on the canvas. When I think about it, or worry about the color, nothing comes out right, and I start doubting the process, doubting myself. I set the painting aside and come back later.
If you missed my post about resistance, you can catch it HERE. I think all artists struggle in the studio from time to time, but we can support each other with inspiration or suggestions.
What is holding you back? Fear? Excuses? They are all one and the same, and it sums up to fear. When it comes to creating any kind of art, fear is a constant companion, usually in the shape of resistance.
I wrote a post about resistance and it’s worth a read if you’re not getting anywhere with your art. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of excuses why people don’t create even though they want to at heart.
I suffer from resistance a lot, especially when I’m trying some new art supply or style. Recently, I picked up some tubs of Apoxie Sculpt. (I wrote about it in my last post.) I debated then to put it aside, but I decided to try some more projects with that type of clay. It’s still frustrating to work with, but I have persevered.
Since the clay is pretty expensive, I try to use as many shapes underneath as I can and then cover with a thin layer of clay. It makes it less heavy as well. I bought some styrofoam balls, and to form the body of the birds below, I used one large for the body and one small for the head. I used popsicle sticks, broken in half, to form tails and necks. Here are the end results, a couple of circus birds on “wheels.”
They were fun to make. I used blocks of wood that I covered with papers and wooden wheels. The legs are 19 gauge steel wire. It was a challenge to make these birds, but why not stretch oneself, despite the resistance?
If fear is holding you back…
The only way to overcome it is to do the thing you’re afraid of. Otherwise, it will haunt you. I know this well from previous experiences.
I have found I like making art assemblages. I had to use a drill for simple holes, and it felt awkward and new, but maybe it’s the beginning of new fields of experience.
Don’t let fear hold you back if you want to renew your life, your experiences. It’s not just artistic expression. It’s so easy to stay in the comfort zone, but life gets boring in the long run.
To mix things up, even more, I prepped a bunch of canvases for later use. I love to add mixed media as I go, and I even finished one project when I saw a robust lady emerge from the layers.
I also made some of my usual objects for sale in my Etsy shop these last few days.
I love the little mosaic Virgin Mary shrines, and now I have used my last Altoids tin!
It’s time to be brave! Make the time to be an explorer, kick the excuses to the curb. Every day is another opportunity for fun creativity.