Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Show & Tell Saturday (Eventually!)

Hello lovely people!

This post - a wee bit later than planned  - is a 'thank you' to the people at 'Artists in Blogland'. The site is such a wonderful source of inspiration and holds links to so many beautiful, beautiful blogs! I wanted to participate in their 'Show & Tell Saturday' post, so this is my contribution - hope y'all like it!

The last couple of weeks have seen my emotions dance all over the place, finally edging further towards the stress end of the scale  as my mum went into hospital. OOOH blimey! - Sleep's been a little elusive so, rather than just sit staring at the wall I opted to push myself into a positive process, working through the grot in a cute little art journal I made a while ago from junk mail and scraps.  It's roughly 8"x6",  just held together with simple three-hole pamphlet stitch, no mess, no fuss. All the pages are covered, once it's stitched, with random colours of crafters acrylic paint as a base coat, which can either provide inspiration or challenge depending... I use washi tape to strengthen the spines of the pages (wet media'll rip through even the toughest junk mail paper eventually!) and there's just the one signature, that way I can keep the journaling focused and themed - a little time capsule, kinda thing.

I decided that each page would feature collage, both magazine images and hand-cut scrap paper assemblage. I also decided to use up some stickers and rub-ons that I've had in my stash for, oooo... - eons, and use ONLY scraps - no chopping up new papers until I've reduced the stack of odds and ends. With so many icky feelings to process, I made extra effort to work through the rough stuff, finishing up with a positive message - it was really important to me. It's an especially good thing I did, as I ended up giving it to mum to look through while she's been in hospital, as I know she likes to enjoy my journals and use them as a talking point with other people. It's worked quite nicely. It's meant that some of the pages are quite multi-layered, which has actually been helpful for the mental and emotional purge, reflecting my often jumbled state of mind!

After thinking about how to do justice to the Artists in Blogland prompts, I decided to share this journal with you, my awesome blog readers. It seems like an ideal opportunity to show why I value art journaling so much - apart from anything else, it can be such a perfect theraputic tool, not just recording my journey through life, but my growth as an individual.  So, let's dive in, eh?

Some of the pages are quite scrappy - they reflect my jumbly thoughts at that time, if I'm honest, where I was finding it tough to access "the artist within" thanks to all the stress fog clogging up my brain. All the collage elements on this page are from magazines - including the blue circles. I over-painted the bird and the flowers and added a whole heap of 7 Gypsies rub-ons - easy and fun. I used dark Pitt pens a lot and enjoyed the way the ink picked out the scraper lines in the background acrylic. I do so love Pitt pens!

See what I mean about 'scrappy'? Yep. This was a blank day with a head full of mush. I ended up just literally throwing blobby inks at the page. It's messy as hell, but it didn't 'arf make me feel better at the time.

**A note - Cutting out your own arrows and chevrons, hearts and stars and such like is a GREAT way to use up diddy scraps of paper. Next time you're looking at all the new releases from big crafting companies, think on about what you can make for yourself with NO outlay of cash. Sometimes we all forget that a lot of what we pay for is pretty packaging - the actual embellishments are SO easy to make at home, and way more individual.**

Okee - next page... This split page is in response to another 'Artists in Blogland' post with the prompt "SEIZE THE DAY!" It did actually give me pause to think about where was emotionally RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT and where I wanted to be,  and I am so happy with how this came out.

This was a really fluid-process page which evolved pretty much by itself. I actually started with the smaller centre flap, adding some lovely wood-grain patterned washi tape to make it look like a door. I added some depth of colour with the trusty Pitt pens, then some stamped hinges and a door handle (from Crafty Individuals). Rather than splitting the page further, it actually helped me find a flow....a 'before and after' type idea. I cut more circles from paper scraps and old book pages and added the cut out tree trunk and some polkadot stems. I think I've mentioned before that I use a lot of symbolism in my art - not always mahoosively complex or subtle - but it's a superb way of expressing myself....I'd recommend giving it a go, instead of adding a lot of text...see how it makes you feel a) while you're working - does it help the flow? And b) when you look back at it - do you feel more positive? Less intimidated?

I added a few key words with a mixture of dimensional stickers, mixed alpha stickers and rub ons, some washi tape (that seemed to fit the feel of the page) and some doodles. This isn't really a complex page, but I had real fun doing it, mixing layers and textures and actually REALLY enjoying the process. Now, moving on....

Have you ever felt that, between where you ARE and where you want TO BE is a mighty hectic motorway in the middle of rush hour, cars and lorries hurtling left and right at vision blurring speeds? Hmm? Yeah, that was me when I did this 2 page spread.  I kind of ended up with an under-the-sea, reefy type of imagery - back to my marine comfort zone - but I really like this. There are a LOT of layers, which seem to get lighter and prettier each time which makes me tremendously happy! I'm really quite easily pleased!

I used a lo of splooshy stuff... acrylic paints and inks, spray inks and chalks, patina inks, distress inks, Tattered Angels glazes and also Pitt pens, inktense pencils, and a white gel pen. The collage elements are as varied - designer scrapbook paper scraps, paper cut outs (shells and pussy-willows), layered stickers, rub-ons, washi tape,  and abstract wavey shapes cut from coloured baby-wipes (from mopping up ink on another page!) I think it's the colours I like the most. I feel good about it and I can see the clear path right down the middle.

...And staying on the ocean theme...

This was a day of trying to sort out my feelings, stop spinning in circles and choose the right direction... I cut the octopus from a scrap piece of paper and coloured him with Caran D'ache Neocolor II pastels, then while they were still wet I added ample sploshes of Tattered Angels Glimmer Glaze. It left him with a mottled matte/gloss mix pattern which looks kinda awesome! Again, there are several layers hand-cut from scraps. I used acrylic paints, Pitt pens, Derwent inktense pencils, uni ball white and black gel pens, Vintaj patina inks and several 7 Gypsies rub-ons.

The flip of the page is dealing more with me acknowledging that there's no real escape from events - we always have to return and DEAL with things PROPERLY at some point, better sooner than later -

Collage elements are the cut out fish and the layered waves. It's a simple page that didn't take much time, sometimes that's a good thing!

OOooo - hey, guess what?

Yep! Another mermaid! I know, I know, but I'm not gonna change my art addictions now!! She's cut in three pieces - body, tail and hair. Her tail is a homemade sheet of highly textured paper which was fun to cut up and use. I used Neocolor II pastels and inktense pencils along with Pitt pens and highlight detail with my white gel pen. I added a selection of rub-ons as well as vellum stickers and adhesive gems. The page was so bright and sunny that I added the following motto :
"Wherever you go,
no matter what the weather, 
always bring your own sunshine."
This page - despite being the last one finished - is right at the front of the journal, and I like the idea of this positive sentiment reflecting my intention to end each page image in a positive way.

This is the only single page in the book with no collage element - 'less you count the flowers on the divider page there....I keep having visits from a stray cat - he's a sweetie, but not really up for cuddles. He's been in the house a few times and my own cat's not overly bothered so he's not a worry. I just felt like having two pages to just record some lovely....pretty kitty, summer flowers, butterflies. A serene moment in the midst of all the chaos. After I took this picture I added another motto on that middle divider -
Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter, 
and those who matter don't mind."

There are a couple more pages in the book, but I figure that those shown above give you an idea of the purpose and the process of the book. I hope - REALLY hope - that you find this useful. Art journaling has been such a valuable tool for helping me to navigate life's pathways and I feel that it's a duty and a pleasure to pass the idea and inspiration to others. If you're looking for prompts and inspiration, they're all around you and within you, but you might find it helpful to look at the Artists in Blogland site, and some of the blogs linked by them on their pages. You never know - you might be adding your own contributions soon!

Thanks for visiting and reading my post. As always I welcome comments and feedback. Enjoy creating your own beautiful art, whatever your style or experience! Come back any time as there'll be more posts up here very soon. Big hugs as ever - Shroo :)


  1. Wow - so much eye candy in this post Love your Seize the Day - that inside flap is amazing as is all of your symbolism. Thank you so much for joining our quote challenge.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comment - hugely appreciated! 'Artists in Blogland' is such an awesome site - both for art inspiration and for art community links. I'm happy to be able to participate! Hugs - Shroo :)