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Surely that can't be right!? How can doing any piece of art be without pressure? Because it's just for me and just for fun. Some pieces I'll like more than others, but I can keep reworking them as long as I want, on my own schedule. I can share if I like, and maybe one or more of the spreads will become a study for a larger piece. The journal will be whatever I want it to be. If you've never tried it, I encourage you to give it a go.  Here are a few of my journal spreads to hopefully inspire you. And check out my art journaling videos on the next page. So come on in. The water's fine!

What do I love about Art Journaling? The lack of pressure!

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A Quick Peek at a Few of My Spreads

tunnels of love

Tunnels of Love

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All one need do to find inspiration is to keep one's eyes and heart open. It's all around us!

A cat food ad in a magazine inspired this spread. The ad pictured three of the sweetest little faces. I had to do something with it! None of the faces were whole. Text or cat food can images obscured parts of each. But that would be OK. I'd just paint in what was missing.

Collage, handwriting, and surface decoration contributed to the whole.

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Whenever I'm finished with one of my magazines, I mine it for images, text snippets, and appealing color/texture combinations which I file away and save for collage.

After I discovered the cats, I looked through my files of clippings and realized I had three different images of garden arches. There was the theme-Cats in Garden Arches. And the theme inspired the text which I wrote in the spread:

"A cat is the special ingredient which magically turns an ordinary garden arch into a tunnel of love."

The full spread measures 9" tall by 12" wide. 

There are 5 or 6 layers of collage on the bottom left part. It took all that to get something I finally liked!

One of my favorite tools in my extra-fine white Posca acrylic paint pen. It's nice and opaque, easy to write with, and makes great dots which is a good things because dots are one of my favorite surface decoration techniques. The pen is also great for adding highlights, like to the center of the roses crowning Wonderment and Majik.

Just looking at this piece makes me happy.

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canine cell structure

The Cell Structure of Canines

I bought this antique French postcard on Etsy a few years ago. When it popped up later while I was cleaning the studio I decided to use it in an art journal spread. The expressions on the dog's and young woman's faces say it all - they're in love!

It was a bit difficult to use it in this way, but I figured it would be more likely to get the attention it deserved in a journal spread than in a box in a closet. But first, I scanned and printed the back which was lovely old handwriting in French. I used that copy behind the photo (whose edges I tore away) and it shows around the edges of the portrait.

I used a white tissue paper dotted with pink rosebuds (came as a wrapping in another Etsy purchase) in the background, and also collaged one of the rosebuds over the lower right cover of the portrait.

At this point I was pretty committed to pinks and reds, and that suggested hearts. I cut several from different magazine clippings from my files and arranged them in a grid, just for fun.

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Then I realized the grid suggested cells. Each cell filled with a heart - clearly, the cell structure of canines. After all, dogs are all heart!

Although there are lots of collage elements and loads of surface decoration in this spread, it's simple in concept.

The butterfly at the far left is from another Etsy purchase - a digital image download. I print the images on my inkjet printer and spray them with Krylon Workable Fixatif. After it's dry, I'm ready to glue it down with acrylic mat medium. (Liquitex is my favorite adhesive for collage.) 

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the full spread

Baby Boar Fairies

The enchanted forest is a theme that inspires me over and over again. After all, there are many amazing things to be seen there! Creating this art journal spread has motivated me to do a series of forest animal fairies, and I'll probably start the next on this weekend - maybe a frog. We'll see. It's very exciting! But for now, back to this one...

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For me, baby wild boars are about the cutest things around. Fairies, surely!


The wings may be the most interesting part of this spread, at least as far as technique goes. I drew the little boars with pencil on drawing paper, then glued the drawings down and coated them with mat medium. From there, I penciled in the shape of the wings and laid a thin goat of gesso within the shapes. This would give a semi-opaque base for working on the wings.

Next, I cut the wing shapes from iridescent film and glued them on. The final step was line work with my extra-fine tip white Posca acrylic paint pen.

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