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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Trying Something New

Well, not completely new. Just a variation. When I constructed my latest blank art journal, I finally tried something I’d had in mind for a while but until now had shied away from‒using two different papers. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it? But what it means is there will be spreads which have one type of paper on one side and another type of paper on the other. And since I used two paper that were different colors, one side would be tan and the other would be white. Challenging!

Of course, I could have just proceeded as I often do with an initial layer of collage and the difference between the two sides would be minimized. But I wanted to see if I could do something more interesting. So I got out my gesso and found an acrylic paint nearly the same color as the tan page.

I blobbed the gesso in areas of the tan page and the tan paint in areas of the white page. I did have a subject in mind‒the head and shoulders of a handsome young black bear‒and also a theme. I imagined the bear thinking this. “I Dream of walking with the stars. Perhaps I already am. Perhaps my Dream is my Reality.” So I thought I’d probably have some night sky somewhere. But generally, I was going to keep the color scheme simple and neutral.

Now that I had my background, I could switch to my favorite medium, pencil, and draw the handsome young black bear, Hart. I'll have more to say in my newsletter about where I met him, Idaho Black Bear Rehab where he is currently getting ready to go back into the wild. If you'd like to subscribe, just visit my website, You'll find a sign-up form on the home page.

Anyway, back to the art talk! I was surprised how much I liked drawing on this background. I purposely left much of it showing through and it was amazing how the darks and lights in the background worked with the drawing. I was really happy with this effect, and want to try more...

I was so into creating this spread that I forgot to take photos along the way. But I did get this one close to what I thought would be the end. But when I continued to look at the piece, felt something was wrong. Finally, I realized Hart's eyes were too close together. OK. But what to do about it? Should I just let it go? Should I try to fix it and risk ruining th whole piece?

If I just let it go, I'd always see the problem whenever I looked at the page, and I'd probably be mad at myself for not trying to fix it. And anyway, it's a journal! A place to try things, including trying corrections even it they're risky. So, here goes!

Eye surgery! I painted over the eye and the face to the side of it because in the process, I realized the head was a bit narrow in that area. I started with tan then, when it was dry, dabbed a bit of gesso over it and then spread it with the edge of a credit card, imitating the background overall. Fortunately, the tan paint was pretty opaque, so the original eye didn't show through and I was able to redraw it - much better, in my opinion, than the original.

So, I think this correction was every bit as important as working with the two-color page. That's because I honored the purpose of the art journal which prominently includes experimentation.

I finished the eye, then moved on to the stars. Handsome Hart, I love you, and I love your view of the world!

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Apr 27, 2023

Wow Karen, great job fixing that eye, looks perfect! However, I thought it looked good before the fix too. LOL

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