Too many journals?

I have a journal problem. I can’t pass a new one up, even though I have a lot of them already. They are all different sizes and shapes. And these are just the empty ones!

Here is a list of the ones I’m in the middle of. I have only recently come to accept this part of my creative process and not fight it.

 

The big Strathmore one where I paint and glue.

One where I am rewriting the Psalms.

A book where I color and reflect upon the Psalms.

“Color your life” coloring and journaling.

A small magazine collage.

A large magazine collage.

A daily one with meditations, observations, stories, and art and ephemera.

Paper vintage ephemera collage.

One for testing new art supplies and the bison series.

A small leather book (handmade) with meditations on the oneness of God.

A biography of myself using stamps as the illustration / reminders / triggers.

A book where I put in my history and illustrated with printed pictures.

A small journal that I take to church to take notes.

A journal just for writing in with nothing else – no art.  It has meditations and observations on my life trying to figure out how to make things work better.

A dream journal.

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That is a lot of journals!

I use them in different ways, putting different things in them – different materials, different ideas. Some are open to the world, some are more private.

Having multiple journals going at once means that I can work on whatever I want when I want instead of having to feel stuck with one project at a time.

However, I do sometimes feel that I never get anything done, that I have too many “open tickets” to borrow a term from my husband’s work. When this happens I then look at what journals I’m closest to finishing and focus on them.

But it isn’t long before I will start another one!

Sometimes I think I have too many journals, and then I think of hermit crabs, who have to have several different shells to choose from when it is time for them to trade shells. My journals are my shells, where I put myself.

Here are some I have finished that were made with a theme. There are plenty others that are just daily writing or observations.

These include one where I wrote out my favorite verses from the Psalms (on paper I first gessoed and inked); one about the eclipse 8/21/17; a longitudinal study of a maple tree in autumn, and a tiny one that has pictures and words from magazines.

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Stone Hall

I have decided to go sketch outside once a week (at least).

This is my first trip.  It was Friday October 10/6/17

This was at Stone Hall park, a tiny Metro park near my home.  It was a private residence that was built 1918.

I found a little porch where I could sit.

Here is the dry watercolor pencil version. This took an hour.

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Here it is after I added water.

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A lady named Julie came by and unlocked it.  She was cleaning it up for a wedding that afternoon.  I asked if I could go in.  She said yes.  I couldn’t believe my luck.

I’ve made up so many excuses to skip doing this for at least a year.  It was too hot or cold or sunny or wet or I was tired or needed to go to the bathroom or take leftovers home….and while some of these were applicable here, I went anyway because I had packed my supplies and a camp chair in my car.   I thought it would be a shame to not at least go and look.  I ended up spending over an hour here.  It was very invigorating.

Here is me inside the building.

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The inside/outside room

This week’s sketching adventure was at Summit hospital. There is a small patio that is surrounded by the building. It is inside and outside at the same time. The door has been locked for at least a year due to construction and remodeling.

I’d been there a year ago (an annual appointment with my cardiologist brings me here) and was planning to sketch then.  The construction had just begun, so there was no way.  This sign greeted me this year –

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I looked.  I could see no danger.  I didn’t test the door.

I got a pumpkin spice latte at the coffee shop and sketched and photographed from inside, through the glass.  This was my view from the inside.

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This is what I sketched (this is dry watercolor pencil)

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It is more impressionistic than realistic.  I didn’t match up the angles in the top North East corner (9 to 10 on the clock), so there is a gap.  It is OK, and I was grateful to have done this – to have made time to do this.

But this wasn’t enough for me. I talked to three people to determine why it was still locked.  The second person didn’t even think people were meant to be out there.  When I told her there were benches, she changed and said “Ask Ann” and jerked her thumb behind her to a small window that was set up like a bank teller.  It turns out that Ann is in charge of the switchboard. I have decided that if Ann doesn’t know the answer, she knows who knows.  She made some calls. She learned that it was safe to open again.  She called a security guard to unlock it for me.

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I’m the first person there in a year.

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I was overwhelmed with joy and pride at my bravery in asking.  I quietly said the “Shehecheyanu” prayer  – – “Blessed are You, Lord, ruler of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.”

I chose a bench to sit on.  Here is what I saw –

One picture could not cover it all.

Here is what I sketched – (this is dry watercolor pencil)  This was 10-11 am, Friday October 13, 2017.  It was about 65 degrees.

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Here is what it looks like after, with water added. sum 10.jpgSketching isn’t about drawing everything that you see.  It is more than a photograph.  The filter is your perspective – not only externally, but internally.  It is what you want to show.  It is about editing out the trash cans, or highlighting the blue reflection of the mirrored glass.  It is choosing to draw only three lines of windows instead of 5.

It is more than a photograph because it shows things from a human perspective.

I took the results to the three people who I talked to in order to gain access.  I said “here is the fruit of our labors”   – and only the coffee shop person even remembered me.  I’d been gone for an hour and the other two had talked to lots of other people in the meantime.  They had forgotten about me.

Ann was particularly taken by my sketch and said “Do you do this for a living?”  No – I’m not paid (yet) for my art.  I do this to live.  But I don’t make money at it.  She brought up a local artist, Phil Ponder.  To have my art compared with his is a huge complement.  She said “You have real talent”.  I am pleased with my work, but I don’t think it is that great.  But this is inspiring.   She also thought that it would be a shame for this to stay in my journal – that I should make it so it can be on display in the hospital.

We will see.  This would involve asking more people, making sure that it will actually be on display and not hidden in a corner.  It might involve re-painting it on bigger and better paper.  Getting it framed.  Do I pay for that – or do they?  Do I want to go through all of that work?

The buffalo series

I went to a moving sale for an art store.  They drastically reduced their prices so they didn’t have to tote everything over to their new location.  I heard about the sale a little late, and it was a few more days until I had a day off and could go.  This meant that the supplies I was looking for weren’t there – and certainly not the colors.  I decided this was a good opportunity to try out new kinds of art materials as well as new colors.

I chose a vintage postcard of an American buffalo (really, it is a bison) that a pen-pal sent.

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I made a limit for myself that I could only use the materials that I had bought at the sale, and only one material type per page.  I used carbon paper to transfer the outline of the buffalo to my sketchbook.

Here it is in pastel –

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This is artist crayons –

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This is colored pencil –

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This is acryl-gouache –

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I will add more versions here as I do them.  There is only one more medium to use from that sale, but I am enjoying this enough that I may continue doing this in other mediums – perhaps even in collage and washi tape.

Here is “Jerry’s Artarama jumbo jet sanguine”, charcoal pencil, lamp black pencil, and Derwent onyx.

buffalo pencil

 

The story of my heart

This is a mini art journal that I created, using a 5.5 x 3.5 inch notebook from Archie McPhee as the base. I got it from American Science and Surplus as a three-pack, on sale. The notebook said “people to avoid” on the outside.

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All of this took about a week, because of the many layers that had to completely dry.

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I pulled out several sections from the middle of the book to give me enough room to add what I wanted to add. I find this step critical to producing a final piece that is flat-ish.

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I worked on this as a complete unit – not page by page, but I’d do each part of the process to the whole book.

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I used gesso to prime the pages.

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I added various washi tape to the edges, mostly where the pages had started to come apart from the gesso. It had made the pages stick to each other and I’d had to pull them apart.

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Then I added swipes of “Distress Ink” mini stamp pads to the pages, pressing them together and then opening them back up to create a transfer. Getting this to dry without permanently sticking the pages together was a real bear. I had to keep checking on it. I suspect I should have painted each page separately instead of doing the entire thing at once, but that would have taken a lot longer.

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I pulled out my used copy of “Mysticism” by F.C. Happold and pulled out some random pages. I used the mini stamp pads to color them.

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Once dry, I randomly tore the pages into smaller pieces. Only when that was done did I look at the words on the pages to choose which ones would be in the book. This is how the title of the mini journal came about – it was on the section I’d randomly chosen for the first page.

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I then selected various brown and sepia stamps to add.

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I added every Chinese fortune cookie message I had that had a “Learn Chinese” message on it. This tiny art journal is a mini Chinese dictionary.

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I used brown ink to color the cover, added more stamps and stickers, and then sealed with with contact paper once dry.

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Spring bottles

This is an art-journal page I made recently.  Because of the spiral in the journal, some of the image isn’t flat on the scanner, resulting in a lack of sharpness.

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(detail)

sp2When I transcribed the quote, I wrote it as

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one who is without faith, no explanation is possible.” – Thomas Aquinas

but it is really

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” – Thomas Aquinas

Someone on a Facebook page said that it is really from St. Ignatius of Loyola – that there is a bronze bust of St. Ignatius at the Casa Dom Inacio in Brazil with this quote on it. However, all the indications online say it is from Aquinas.

 

Mixed-media art journal (Strathmore).  Watercolor pencils.  Distress ink pads. English stamps.  Distress ink.  White pen.  Skeleton leaf.

Community meditation – art journal

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Page about what it means to be in community, to work together.  Do we need to live in the same area to be in communion? The communion of the disciples – they shared everything.  Is this a way for us to save money – to defeat the housing crisis, the sense of alienation and loneliness?  To help those who have nobody to help them (spouse has died, family is abusive).  We are made to be together – not to be separate islands.  The Tiny House movement would work well if people shared major resources – washer/dryer, lawn equipment.  This is how monasteries work – don’t waste energy on things you can share.  Have time/energy left to help others.

Base is from “Stampington and Company” magazine.  Someone else made it.  I found the stamps on some mail that was sent – either to work or my house.  I like how they look together – but also that penguins have to live and work together to survive.  I like how the red and blue make purple – a synergy – a greater than the sum of the parts.

Tim Holtz words, white gel pen (the brand I found out from someone else on an artist group page).  Fortune cookie message.