Sunday 20 June 2021

Jackanory What's the story: My First Art Journal Page

As part of #ClarityOpenDayFestival we are sharing stories of pieces of art work that are special to us.  This is the story of my first ever art journal page.  I had had an empty Art Journal for nearly a year and the pages had scared me to death.  By chance, I happened to come across the Mission Inspiration group on Facebook and liked the idea of having to follow a set of instructions to create an art journal page.  I therefore accepted August 2016's mission and I was really happy with my first attempt, using Clarity stamps of course!

I must admit that I didn't use the Moleskine journal that I had been hoarding.  There's a local art shop which sells all kinds of spiral bound books and I came across one which was 11.25" x 8" containing heavyweight cartridge paper for the princely sum of £4.99; I snapped it up and created the whole page in one evening.
Step 1: Use a torn up map
Map pieces plus gesso
I found an old map book from the car which was well out of date.  I deliberately chose pages which show where I live now, where I grew up and places where some of my family live as I wanted to personalise the page in some way, while following the instructions.  I did give the map pieces a diluted coat of white gesso to move them into the background a little, as well as provide something for the spray paints to adhere to in step 2 as the map book paper had a smooth coating. At this point I had no idea where I was heading with the page.
Step 2 - Spray over confetti
Step 2 called for confetti to be put on the page and sprayed over (to be left in place or not as seen fit by the artist)!  I had a good look through my bits and bobs and found some small butterfly confetti, which I had stashed away years before and forgotten about.  I spread it out over the page and sprayed the whole thing with Weathered Wood and Stormy Sky distress sprays.  Unfortunately when I tried removing the confetti, the paint ran; therefore I replaced it and added some Frosty Blue Mica Mist by That Special Touch; drying the whole thing thoroughly with a heat gun before peeling off the butterflies.  As you can see, the pink dye came out of some of the confetti pieces.
Step 3 - Add stamping
Step 4 - Add tree
Step 3 was to add stamping and step 4 was to add a tree.  It was at this point that a plan started coming together, inspired by the butterfly confetti.  As I looked through my stamps, I came across the Butterfly Tree stamp set by Claritystamp - 3 different sized butterflies and a tree which turns into butterflies.  I stamped the three different sizes of buttterflies moving from small to large and using ever darker Archival inks (Aquamarine, Forget-Me-Not, Manganese Blue and Cobalt Blue) from left to right, leaving space to add the tree in the bottom left corner of the page.
Step 5 - Add string
I added the tree stamp using black Archival ink, then went over the whole image using a Pitt artist brush pen in black to intensify the colour.  

The string needed to fulfil step 5 was used to add a 'sun' in the top right hand corner of the page; I wound it round and round in a tight spiral over matte medium.  Some of the blue colour from the background spray came off onto the white sections of the bakers twine but I liked the effect - it made the sun appear 'hazy'.
Step 6 - Add a focal point from a colouring book

Now I must admit that I cheated a little for step 6; add a focal point using something from a colouring book.  I don't have many;  the two that I have didn't have any butterfly images and all the images were way too big for the page.  I therefore found an outline stamp of a butterfly which looked as if it could have come from a colouring book, stamped it onto white card, coloured it in using water colour pens and a water brush and cut the whole thing out - one of the Cherry Green Butterflies stamps would be great for this.  Before I added it to the page, I drew in the antennae using my Pitt artist brush pen.
Steps 7 and 8  

Step 7 was to add white paint using the end of a cardboard tube.  This was remarkably liberating; I keep my messy mats wound up inside the old inner of a kitchen roll, so I used that plus white gesso to add the circles randomly over the upper portion of the page.  Step 8 was to add shading and highlights using black and white pens/pencils.  I used a black pencil to define the outline of the confetti gaps and a white Signo uni-ball pen to add white highlights to the tree and the coloured butterflies.
Step 9 - Ink the edges
Step 9 was to edge the page using ink.  I decided on Archival ink in Cobalt Blue and Watering Can and added it round all 4 sides using a Spot On sponge to add colour on the edge which is spiral bound.  The colour took more strongly where I hadn't used matte medium and/or gesso right to the edge of the page; again a happy accident, but I love the effect - especially along the bottom of the page and on the corner around the 'sun'.
The final step was to add a quote or title;  I had the perfect one by Claritystamp, which I added using black Archival ink then went over it with a black Pitt artist pen.  It sums up how happy I felt at the end of the process, by not planning the page in advance, but by letting the instructions and the materials which I had at hand, lead me to my final destination.
Step 10 - Add a title or quote.

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