Monday, February 3, 2014

Journal 52 (January in the bag)

I started this art journal "class" at the start of the new year. I am not sure it is a real class, as I am not really "learning" much, but more of something to look forward to accomplishing each week. It is basically a group of individuals who come together to bounce off one another, and we are able to then share our pages by posting a photo on the Facebook group page. The gal in charge posts a "prompt" at the beginning of the week, and then we can use that as a jumping off point, to creating our journal page. We will have one page for each week of the year, so if I am able to follow through for the whole year, I will have a very full art journal.  I have done year long projects before, but they usually consisted of one page a month, and then I pass the book on to the next person, and so forth, or one page a day in my art journal for a period of 30 days. I have not been "committed" weekly for a whole year before, so we will see how this goes- I am doing this along side my college daughter, so maybe she will keep me on top of it.
I started by folding watercolor paper and making signatures, and sewing them together with the Coptic stitch. Then I dug out my real leather pieces, and cut a cover for my stitched signatures. I glued the chipboard "covers" to the leather, and then wrapped it around and made a flap for the front. I used an elastic headband for a stretchy closure- I set a grommet in the leather, and then stuck the headband through the hole, and tied a tight knot in the head band, so it wouldn't pull through the hole in the grommet. Then I just stretch the loop around the journal, and it holds the flap shut. I made the flap rather big, because as I work in the book, it is going to get quite fat, and I still want the flap to overlap the front cover some.

As part of the prepping of the book, most people decorated their front covers, but because I chose to use real leather, I did not want to alter it in any way, so I did a title page instead, which worked out great, because I had figured it out to have enough double page spreads for each week in the book, so I didn't want to have just a blank first page.

Week one prompt: Up Up and Away
There were so many different takes on this prompt, and seeing them all pop up on the Facebook page was really cool. Mine turned out a little subtle, but I wanted to draw a full body figure, which I have never done before, and to make it look like she had movement was really hard. I suppose the more I draw the better I will get, but for now this is where I am at. 
She was done with only colored pencil.

Week 2 prompt: Somewhere, Some Place Simple
I was so impressed with all the fun places people used as their place to feel inspired. The first thing that came to my mind when I read the prompt was my bed. I know that sounds silly, but I am a severe insomniac, and I usually just lay in my bed while my mind races until I finally get to sleep. Those hours of trying to wind down, usually bring lots of creative ideas. This looks nothing like my actual bed, but oh, well. :)

Week 3 prompt: What Makes Me Smile
This prompt was really very self explanatory- Journal the thing that make you happy or smile. My original idea for this page never materialized- I tried 4 or 5 times to make it work, and it was really a flop... I ended up Gesso-ing over it all and starting from scratch with a totally different idea. It is not what I envisioned, but it is on paper, and I am OK with just letting go of this one.

Week 4 prompt: Building Character
This was fun- self portraits! OK- Not even close to a self portrait, but I am free to journal how ever I want. I was really trying to work with watercolors for this face, but I learned that it is nearly impossible to "build" on watercolors- I am not sure how to shade a face without building colors on top of each other. I would get a good base, let it dry, and then go to add more layers, and when I would try to blend, it would just release the color underneath-- so frustrating. So, I tried mixing with Gesso, to give it more of an opaque nature, but when I would add the wet medium on top, it would reactivate the watercolor below, and I would have a mess again. I set it aside for a day or so, thinking a solution would come to me, but the only solution I could come up with was to Gesso the face again, and start with another medium. When I added the Gesso, it made for a really muddy mess, but I just went with it.  I then used lots of layers of colored pencil, and blender pencils, to achieve some kind of shadowing. It is not the best, but I think I am going to have to walk away from this one too. I am trying to remember that this art journal is for trying new things, for practice- not for masterpieces, but for lots of creative play and lots of failures.

I will try to post monthly with the pages I have done for the previous month- we will see how that all pans out in time. 

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