Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Anatomy of a Page: Part 1 of 3

When people look at my journal pages, I am often asked how I do what I do: it's nothing special...just a lot of layering...but this answer still mystifies some people so I thought I might break down my process into a series of steps. During the creation of this page, I took scans as I progressed so I could show what I started with and how I got from point A to point Z. Loading multiple photos into a single Blogger post is pretty tedious so I'm going to break this process up into three separate posts.

I started with a piece of 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper, and over a piece of lace, misted the page with sprays I've made with water and dye ink. I ended up with a soft print of the lace that needed a bit more color so I sprayed some more ink in spots.

Next, I collaged on some torn pieces of a city map of Melbourne, Australia. The map has some cool red letters and numbers around the edge but the pieces were a little too stark white for my taste. I sponged on a tad of yellow dye ink to soften the white of the map.

Right now the map pieces look simply stuck onto the page (since they are) and the next few steps are aimed at integrating layers together so they appear as a cohesive unit. Think of it as knitting or weaving...layer intertwines with layer...the artist weaves back and forth between the intial layer and the next and the one after that.

To start knitting the layers together, I picked up some sequin scrim in a couple of different sizes and chose some acrylic paints in colors that coordinated with the spray inks I used earlier. I began stenciling on lots of spots, paying particular attention to the edges of the map, trying to soften the transition between the collage item and the intial sprayed background. It is important not to get too attached to something on your page, at least at first, as often, most of what you layer in will get covered up by subsequent layers. Notice how the edges of the map pieces are starting to get lost as the spot pattern blurs the boundary between the background and the first layer. Cool! Tomorrow, I post the next three steps (there's nine in all). During this entire process, I don't have a final product in mind. I'm just playing at this point, although one could say I am playing with a direction in mind: to create a unified and interesting background for focal imagery and journaling.


  1. hey thanks for deciding to post your process, should help us out in blogland. I love your work and the colour, the colour is amazing.

  2. Thanks so much for breaking it down in steps. And the pages featured on MA's blog...SWOON! Ok, off to read more of your yummy posts.

  3. Thank you SO much for sharing your techniques. Your pages are beautiful . . . you're much too modest!

    Love your art and your blog! Just discovered you and will be back again. Hope you don't mind if I add you to my blog roll. Terri

  4. Your spray posts have been so vibrant! I attempts are off...need some difference colors. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Great Work! Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings, peace, and love to you,

  6. I forgot to ask what you water dye ratio was? I have tried easter egg tablets with vinegar but it is too watery and spreads under the stencil...glue didn't help.

  7. Amazing!!! It was a lot of fun working alongside you in your journaling and artwork, Michelle!
    Love the layers :)

  8. Thanks for sharing your process--I found it very helpful.

  9. I realize I'm about 3 years too late here, but I have the same question Bonnie does--what is your dye ink to water ratio? Mine always came out too weak. Also, do you have a favorite brand of dye ink?

    Thank you!!!


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking a moment to comment! If you would like a response to a specific question, you are welcome to email me directly at lostcoastpost@suddenlink.net

Thank you again for the time you've spent here. Most sincerely, Michelle

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