Monday, January 10, 2011

Studio Snaps: Unveiling the Process

"Studio Snaps" is a brand-new feature here at LCP that gives you a peek into my creative process.  The concept is simple:  As I work on a journal background from start to finish, I snap photos at each twist and turn.  I will be documenting unplanned projects; there will be many moments where I will change my idea and/or technique if I feel the page needs to be "corrected" or "improved."  This is not a tutorial per se but hopefully, you'll be able to glean some tips & tricks along the way. 

Note: This type of post is long and photo-heavy.  Even though I have edited every picture for size, dial-up users will probably not be able to load this material.




Step 1: Paint the journal pages solid colors using craft acrylics.  I'll be working on the red page.






Step 2:  Using white charcoal pencil, trace around jar & bottle lids in a variety of sizes.  Remember: Odd-numbered groupings, overlaps & asymmetrical layouts are most pleasing to the eye.











Step 3:  Choose your paint colors.  I use craft acrylics in my journals & use many different brands but Americana is my very favorite.











Step 4: Paint circles & let dry.








Here are the circles completely painted.  I'm not fond of that heavy blue spot at the lower right; I'm going to try & minimize its visual impact as I move forward.





Step 5:  Using paint remaining on palette, load up a makeup sponge with a thin layer of color.  Try not to mix the colors on the sponge as they will mix in the next step.


Step 6:  Choose a simple stencil & sponge paint through design just onto the painted circles.  Don't worry if a tiny bit gets outside the circles.


Step 7: Oops! I feel like the circles are hovering so I choose a red paint that is a couple shades darker than the red background.  I use the same stencil to add some tone-on-tone pattern.
This grounds the design.


Step 8: Using a small round brush, paint contrasting circles around & within the painted spots. 





Here's how the background looks at this point.  I like it but I feel like I need to link those circles to make a more united painting.  Sometimes a layer of smaller, repetitive pattern will accomplish that goal without overwhelming the primary images.  So I forge ahead.



Step 9:  I attempt to sponge some off-white paint through a plastic canvas shape but it just leaves behind some unattractive globs.  A quick swipe with a baby wipe removes the offending marks.  Hmmm...

Step 9 Redux:  Using a Fabric Paint Cannon, I spray white paint through the plastic canvas.  The results are not entirely comparable to real spray paint but far less toxic.


Step 10:  The white pattern came out thicker & more intrusive than I like so I repaint a couple circles to bring them forward again.  This is the essence of push-pull painting.

Here's where the background stands at this point.  I certainly could've stopped here (and probably should have) but something about it feels "wrong."  I'm caught up in the painting process and rather than stopping for a break & then reevaluating my reaction to the page, I decide to take the page in another direction.

Note to Self: Breathe!

Step 11:  Using simple leaf stencil & fine-point permanent pen, trace pattern several times without overlapping the shapes.  I position the stencil over areas of color & pattern that I like.

Step 12:  Paint around the traced shapes.  This is called negative painting.  The leaves are the positive space & the area around the leaves is the negative space.  I use a red similiar to the background but I could've chosen a darker color & the leaf shapes would've popped forward more.


Step 13:  Once the paint is dry, use an Indigo Inktense pencil to trace around the leaf shapes.  Activate and blend out the pencil with a wet brush.



Step 14:  Once again, I feel like the shapes are floating on the page so I unite them with some off-white paint splattered from a toothbrush.

Step 15:  I sponge that same off-white paint onto the edge of a scrap of cardboard & scrape some lines along the edges of the page to create a soft frame.  Whew!  I finally feel like the background is finished!


Here's the completed journal page.  Typically, if my background is busy or complex, I keep the journaling very simple.  I believe that authentic art journaling is about the sum total of process & product.  All the time I spent creating the background is just as important (maybe more so) as what I actually end up saying on the page.

8 comments:

  1. So glad your back and sooo prolific! Wonderful pages my friend!

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  2. very nice journal page.

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  3. Bravo, Michelle!!!! Awesome tutorial!!! Love all of the pics and your detailed explanations. Fabulous page! Hugs, Terri xoxoxox

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  4. Fun to see your process...lovely work!

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  5. Fantastic!
    I love to watch an artist's process! Thank you for sharing the steps you take to make your awesome pages!
    Lotus

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  6. A M A Z I N I G ! ! !
    Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  7. I'm so glad I signed up for the Art Journal Group. I'm gonna learn so much from you all!!

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  8. process photos are so wonderful! It's all play, work with what happens, there are no mistakes. Love it.

    Thanks for sharing.

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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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