I’m NOT Obsessed with Art Journals! (Am I?)

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This article is written by Vicki Ross

Please note: any snarkiness is directed toward Wicki…not Mixed Media :)

I am by nature a studious sort. I seem to get more pleasure out of figuring out all the ins and outs of a subject long before I experiment with it. Used to purchase software books and manuals (back before information was available online) and attack them page by page before I ever loaded the corresponding software.

I’ve done the same thing with art. Even though I am a retired graphic design professional, I knew nothing about the application of “Fine Art” materials back in 2002 when I made serious life changes that pushed me to learning to paint.

SO, instead of experimenting with watercolors, I studied the chemical formulas and what made some pigments play nice together and that some made mud. THEN I went to the studio (after collecting the vast array of materials I thought I HAD to have). Same with pastels, acrylics, oils, and encaustics. Now, thanks to sites like Mixed Media Art, videos by Terri Sproul, Carolyn Dube, and my fellow writers here, I’m doing the same thing with ‘journaling’. Lurking around, soaking up the wisdom and tutorials, and maybe, just maybe…ya never know where Wicki will be next!

Coming to the conclusion a week or so ago that I really hadn’t crossed over to the dark side of crafting (not that there is anything wrong with that), I could start art journaling as a means of technique experimentation for implementation in my ‘real’ art pieces. Then, one morning a couple of days ago, I remembered a journal I created back in 2004-ish that was intended to be filled with artwork from members of a critique group I was in. Some were happy with a simple spiral bound notebook, but not Wicki!

art journalling journal

Would you just look at this? I spent hours making the journal! Now I’m considering re-purposing/finishing out the pages as an art journal.

The book was a post system binder filled with handmade paper. I carefully took it apart and added a sheet of glassine between each page.

The cover looks like tissue paper attached with mat medium. I don’t think I used stamps (didn’t have any). A laser print of one of my graphics projects was collaged on, then a ribbon and wad of copper wire.The inside covers are collaged with mulberry paper.

To add to the obsession, I took a placemat with beaded trim and attached it to the back of the book. Add ribbons and beads and it folds and ties over the cover to protect it.

mixed media art journaling coverNow the fun part! Switching the books between the artists in the group, the idea was to get it filled. The group drifted apart as these experienced artists transitioned into senior centers and they lost touch with their art experimentation. My train took a dirt road about that time as I ventured into soft pastels.

Imagine my pleasure as I opened the book and out fell some cards from art friends…one from Anita from Germany we met on a watercolor workshop with Charles Reid in Salzburg and Prague in 2006. A delightful original watercolor with a note on the back from Jan in Australia. Another card from a good friend, Jodie from Texas. Then a few pages from the critique group…and an ATC card from friend, Erika from Bentonville. Another page revealed a detailed pencil drawing of a design I was working out for a painting. I was experimenting with pencil as an art form, not pencil for sketching or guide for painting.

So, what do you think? Should I throw caution and frugality to the side and pick this bad boy up for art journaling? OR, put it back on the shelf and save it?

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Vicki Ross is focused on sharing her journey to art and how life events can shape us through creativity www.Axully.com. Vicki has always been involved deeply in the creative arts, from professional soft crafts publications (knitting/crochet/needlework) to French Hand-sewing, stenciling to macramé, oil painting to encaustics. Whatever your leaning, she believes in the healing power of creating.

You can see more of Vicki’s work at VickiRossArt or via blog posts at Axully – Solid. Useful. Beautiful

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Soft Pastel, Collage and Encaustic

This article has been written by Vicki Ross

After months of studying and researching encaustic techniques, collecting the supplies, and setting up a workstation in my studio, I was ready to ease into some serious play! Being an analytic person by nature, I always work from information to play, rather than play and learn-as-you-go. I made my first batch of encaustic medium (beeswax + damar resin) and ended up with 20 or so mini-muffin shaped cakes of medium. Won’t do that again in a mini-crock pot because it had three legs and was full- wax all over my counter. Miss Brain did everything right, down to micro-managing the measurements, but forgot a piece of newspaper on top of the counter. DUH! Did a few small 7″x7″ experimental pieces on watercolor paper mounted on foam core (materials on hand). A few got scraped off, and the used medium saved into a ball for later use…too precious to waste.

Encaustic and Pastel 12” x 9”

Encaustic, Pastel, Collage, and Gold Leaf

Now I felt like something larger…

Materials:

  • 12″x 9″ Luan panel
  • R&F encaustic gesso
  • Deli Paper (thank you mixed media artists)
  • soft pastels
  • gold leaf
  • encaustic medium
  • Razor Blade
  • Ranger Tacking Iron
  • Heat Gun

Prime the panel with two coats of clear medium, fusing each with heat gun. To get the surface as smooth as possible, alternate a Ranger tacking iron, scraping with a razor blade, and fusing with the heat gun. Next, I laid on a layer of tinted medium (melted with scrapings from the early pieces. To achieve an aged look, I  placed the panel on the heated surface of the griddle until the wax was moving.

Preparing the panel

Preparing the panel

In photoshop, I planned the position of my portrait (reversed), and made the same composition lines onto a piece of deli paper. With soft pastels, I painted the portrait on the paper, continuously checking my drawing.

positioning of the portrait

Painting the portrait

Gently heating the prepared panel with the heat gun, align and place the deli paper pastel side down, and burnish it carefully and thoroughly.

Polishing the portrait on panel one

Carefully remove the deli paper from the panel. If any non-burnished areas show, lay paper back over that spot and re-burnish. If the paper tears, begin peeling it from another direction.

Remove the deli paper from the panel

As with the first panel, gently warm the surface with the heat gun. Carefully position the deli paper with the ghost image pastel side up this time, creating a mirror image. With the heat gun again, warm the paper. The underlying layers of encaustic medium will encapsulate the paper, rendering it almost invisible. Carve a circular halo, add more touches of gold leaf, and voilå! Katherine and Katherine Reflected.

Katherine and Katherine reflected image

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Vicki Ross is focused on sharing her journey to art and how life events can shape us through creativity www.Axully.com. Vicki has always been involved deeply in the creative arts, from professional soft crafts publications (knitting/crochet/needlework) to French Hand-sewing, stenciling to macramé, oil painting to encaustics. Whatever your leaning, she believes in the healing power of creating.

You can see more of Vicki’s work at VickiRossArt or via blog posts at Axully – Solid. Useful. Beautiful

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