Hello again! I have really been looking forward to sharing this particular art journal spread with you since the colors just cheer and refresh! I decided to go with a bunch of colors this time; I was thinking, a rainbow of color. So I used orange, green, yellow, some blue and I'm not sure if there's a light wash of red in there! Washy color was the name of the game when I started this spread; lots of water with that watercolor pigment in the mix.
This approach is different for me since I'm used to using darker, bold color, sometimes straight from the tube and scraped on with a palette knife. So lots of water makes for lighter washy color. And yes, I used a palette knife to apply although the watery mix makes it a bit more challenging. But it was also Super FUN!
Once I got the main swaths of color down, then I decided to add some texture with bubble wrap, layering color on top of color which you can see more clearly in the image below. Next, I had an idea that with all this pretty color, it almost looks like a birthday party waiting to happen! So I decided to add some balloons to the mix. I pulled out my magazine stash and found some cool designs that caught my eye that seems to go well with the color scheme. So I cut some balloon-shaped circles out.
Then I decided the balloons should pop a bit, so I cut out some cardboard to back it up and give it some definition instead of laying flat on the page. I adhered it with some matte medium (although I recommend gel medium for heavier stuff so it stays on more securely). I also added a few pieces of collage elements here and there to accentuate the watercolor paint just a bit as well as some colored construction paper bits on orange and green to give it some "confetti."
Once that step was done, I decided I'd use some cut out letters in orange and green, since those colors stand out the most in this spread, to spell out, "It's a Celebration." I used a new alphabet stencil I recently purchased. It does make rather narrow letters but it works! Lots of careful cutting for nice, colorful layout.
As I was playing with this spread (I don't call it work since I'm having so much FUN!), I was thinking about celebrations and how important it is to celebrate the little things in life. Oh, there's place for birthdays and anniversaries and other significant life events.
But how about the idea of celebrating coming out of a long or short illness or breaking down barriers you once struggled with? How about celebrating how you rocked an assignment or how you took time to refresh yourself when you were reluctant or hesitant since you had so many other things you could have been doing (but don't you always, right?)?
I think it's time that we stop putting off the celebrations. What are we waiting for? Perhaps, an invitation?
Well, here's one for you RIGHT NOW. You are officially invited to Celebrate Who You Are right in this moment, no matter how you feel or where you are or what you are doing.
It's time for a happy dance; take a good look around at what makes you smile. Then look within at what gives you JOY. Feels better already, doesn't it? What we focus on grows.
Now I know it's not easy when you're being challenged. I've been there, done that. I think that's one of reasons why I emphasize this celebrating and refreshing so much, because I know experientiallly what a difference it makes to make yourself a priority and make a celebration just for being YOU.
Art Journal/Journaling Prompt:
How can you celebrate YOURSELF today? Take some notes. Think freely about what would make your day a bit brighter. Especially if you're dealing with gloomy weather, cold temps, or a rotten cold you can't shake. (My heart goes out to all those who aren't feeling well right now! <3).
Then dive in and do! Refresh Yourself Fully. Like you never have before. With No Guilt.
Because, it's a Celebration! (You may want to use that as your art journal heading or maybe do a mind map on the word, Celebration. And be sure to record in your journal how you celebrated and what you may do next time. You can also pull some images for your art journal for a collage to celebrate what you love most.)
(And you might want to play one of my favorite songs, Celebration by Kool and the Gang. I have it on my Spotify Play List for when I want to paint and feel like celebrating Who I Am as an Artist, not to mention it was played on my wedding day, so that always makes me smile when I think about it.)
Or play one of your favorite songs that make you want to dance and have your own little life party!
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Images by Dawn Herring Collection
The Great Divide. I find it fascinating what comes to mind when I'm determining the Title of any art journal spread I create. I think titling a piece is a matter of resonation, association, or what something reminds you of. I often get titles as I'm working or even as I'm just starting, depending on what's on my mind. For this one, I titled it almost at the end.
I started my process by priming the pages with gesso, then pulling collage fodder from my stash. I don't always use everything I pull out, but if it catches my eye, I put it aside just in case I want to use it. I might have had 6 or 7 different things and only use 3 or 4. The color, texture, or image will often have direct influence on whether I use it or not.
Once I had all my elements laid out to my left, I started tearing what I liked the most and laying out different pieces in different spots. Sometimes I have to move stuff around or go vertical instead of horizontal. It really is about what suits my eye and what feels right to me.
With this particular spread, I was working with an element of ocean and laying it next to what appeared to be a metal sheet with small holes in it, thus a rigid image. So water flowing versus a fixed metal sheet. As I tore these elements and lay them side by side, I was quite surprised by the visual and even visceral difference between the two. It was as if I was dealing with a visual dichotomy (as you can see in the second image on the right side as well as below.) That experience with the collage got me thinking about the difference between flow and resistance.
We may notice life's natural ebb and flow. Where we experience things come together and then the resistance comes to meet us in our path. And we may feel stymied by that resistance. Thus creating a Great Divide between where we are and where we want to be.
We may feel a Great Chasm has been created by this resistance and feel frustrated as a result. But in reality, there is no chasm. Because everything is linked; there is no separation. Only oneness. Yes, we still feel the resistance and wonder where to go from here.
But the best thing we can do is let go and have no expectation. It is often then that we can experience peace and then life begins to flow once again. I know when I want to resist something, it just becomes a greater challenge than it needs to be.
It's all about being at peace with what is. I know, easier said than done, right?
With this particular spread, I decided to try something NEW. Oh yes, experimentation! I recently purchased a small spray bottle while I was at Albertson's the other day. I wanted to use it with watercolor and see what effects I could create in my art journal. So I mixed some purple and blue from my Prang watercolor set and added some water. It took some doing to get it going but once it did, I managed to cover the whole spread with it.
But then it stopped working. I was experiencing the very resistance I was debating about. I will, of course, try using it again, perhaps with more water and see if that helps it flow better. (I also recalled my liquid inks that I haven't used in a while since I originally purchased them to use with my pen (pen and ink) but they didn't flow well enough for my nib, thus they lay dormant; so I think I may try them with the spray bottle for my art journal.)
As you can see in the images above, my watercolor spray did work! It created enough color, texture and visual interest to satisfy me. And even unify what can feel like miles apart when in fact they are closer than we realize.
Art Journal/Journaling prompt:
Are you experiencing a chasm or Great Divide in your life? Are you in a place that feels miles apart from where you want to be? Describe where you are and where you want to be in your journal. Then compare the two places and see what similarities there are between them. You may want to try doing a mind map with this one too and see if any similar words show up. For your art journal, honor where you are visually and where you want to be. Use color to express your heart. Then determine where things actually line up, both visually and in your life and see what next step you can take and also how you can feel at peace with what is.
I also added some oil pastel around the collage elements, some bubble wrap texture and some watercolor square detail in various sizes using a new stencil I recently purchased at Michael's.
The details also matter; in fact, sometimes the details make a situation, especially when we have grown discontent. I find myself loving detail more all the time as an artist. It just enhances the big picture, making life more beautiful overall. And then we feel the unity more than what feels like distance in our hearts.
Copyright 2015 Dawn Herring
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.