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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Midnight in the Garden of Secrets

Art Journaling is an art form I enjoy second only to drawing. I began back in 2020 after watching a few of Laly Mille’s classes.

Previously I hadn’t seen much point in journaling, as the artwork would be out of sight‒closed in a book. What would be the point of creating art that’s not displayed? Then I thought about it a little more.

I thought about all the art I did have displayed on my walls. So far, so good. But what about all the other art that just sat in piles or stacked in a closet? If one continues to create art, it’s not going to be possible to display it all. So is it better to be stuffed in a pile in the closet or have its very own page in a lovely book?

I’m now working on volume six of my journals, with 15 spreads plus a front and back cover in each. The journals are on display on my shelf, with their covers rather than their spines showing. And I often look through them, as I did the other day with volume 2.

I remember creating this spread, and in particular how entranced I was with this cat from a magazine cat food ad. In those days, my spreads had more collage than much of my work these days, and this is an example.

Painting played a minimal role. I used washes to deepen and integrate colors in the midnight garden and to create the moon. I enhanced the cat’s eyes with paint and used paint and a liner brush for all the swirls and also the small fern-type leaves below the cat. The light area along the cat’s right side is painted. The collage base is a sound foundation, but the paint helps set the mood.

In many ways, I prefer working this way‒putting together found images then finishing with paint. Strangely enough, this is harder for me now than drawing/painting an image to use, and here’s the strange reason. I have too many clippings! When I prepared for my 2020 cross-country move, I went through dozens of magazines I’d acquired and cut out all the bits I liked. I sorted them and stored them in several boxes: images, backgrounds, florals, texture and pattern warm, texture and pattern cool, and texture and pattern neutral. I also have a box of old papers, a box of scrapbook papers, and a few boxes of small snippets. Great!

But with such riches of possibilities, it’s a major effort to look through things and pick out the ones I want to use. When I look back over these journals, I realize what I’m missing!

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Stephanie Hardy
Stephanie Hardy
Jul 08, 2023

gorgeous (as always)!


Jul 07, 2023

These are beautiful Karen, I take classes from Laly as well.


Rose Murray
Rose Murray
Jul 06, 2023

Oh, I just love this piece. There’s so much going on yet it flows wonderfully together.

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