Sunday, August 14, 2011

Elements of Art Journaling: Water

This is my Water assignment for The Elements of Art Journaling on the Wild Precious Ning site.

For water week, we worked with the "wet" emotions, the ones that lead to tears. For me, that led to thinking about who I am and what value I bring. My value has been much on my mind recently, as my company is shutting down, and I'm in the process of finding my next job.

Our assignment was to write our feelings in some sort of water media, then add water to symbolically transform them. I started with a yellow watercolor base and wrote in blue Inktense pencil how the past year of helplessly watching my company die out from under me while doing very little actual work had rotted my brain, my confidence, and the joy I used to feel accomplishing work tasks. I added water and smeared the Inktense around 'till I had a lovely green base.

Once the light-green base was down, I decided to try mixing up some aqua-ish spray color a la Effy (acrylic paint, glazing medium, and water in a spray bottle). Spraying it through the flower stencil (and all over my left hand!) made a lovely background for my pages.

The next part of the assignment was to draw or find a face that represented "the spirit of compassion." Effy gave us a face we could use, but I really wanted everything in the spread to be mine, so I pulled out old sketchbooks and started stealing elements from old practice faces - manga eyes and hair, cartoon neck and shoulders, more realistic mouth. She ended up bigger than the piece of paper (thus the chopped off head LOL!) and a little wild eyed for "compassion," but over all, I was pretty happy with her.

Completely unrelated to the official writing assignment, I started writing notes about the ways people dishonestly use others to get what they want, specifically in the dating world. That led to thinking about the tendency to see relationships in quid-pro-quo terms, which is interesting cuz an eye for an eye is pretty much the antithesis of love. The result of those musings was the text in the hair, "I am a gift I choose to give, not merchandise for you to order."

Once I had the face attached on the right, I stared at the spread for a long time. Went away, came back, stared some more... I was tempted to just leave it, but it felt too plain. I'm a big fan of Teesha Moore's journal pages and the way she makes the text part of the texture and background of the composition. I drew wavy, uneven lines across the left page. They were nice, but needed something. My original thought was to color every other space with transparent blue airbrush color, but it was too dark, so I mixed it with liquid acrylic in white to get a nice medium blue.

After testing about 10 different pens for color and ability to write on both the ink/acrylic mixture *and* the watercolor/acrylic spray background, I settled on the navy blue Bic Mark It. The text was distilled from the Who am I? portion of the writing assignment. The remnants of the pages I tore out of the book before starting to alter it made the first 1/2" by the spine difficult, so I glued on some ribbon to fill the space.

Once the left was done, the face felt like it was floating in space. I decided to fill the space around her with writing, but made it very small, so it would be more texture than text and really make her pop.

It's funny. I look at the spread and don't see my hand in it at all due to all of the new-to-me techniques I used. It'll be fun to see how the new tools in my toolbox continue to change my work going forward.

Here's the final page spread.


  1. Laurie, I love her beautiful manga-style eyes! And she looks gorgeous on the page - I really like how you set out the journaling on the left side :))

  2. Fabulous page , I love all of your elements and how you thought them out, Your girl is wonderful and the surrounding background really does make her pop. Its a joy to look at and a great blog post as well.

  3. Thanx, Maisy and Louise. I am truly honored.