"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.