Friday, November 30, 2012

Breathing Room

Here's another quiet, meditative journal page from the "kitchen sink" experiment; I have an overwhelming urge to put words above the painted lily but a little breathing room is a good thing so I am leaving it as is.

Thank you for all the enthusiastic comments about this new journal endeavor; I am really encouraged to keep going by all the positive feedback!  And thank you to anyone who takes a moment out of their day to stop by this little space of mine - your visits are deeply appreciated!

I'm taking a posting break for Saturday & Sunday but Lost Coast Post will be back up and running bright and early Monday morning.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Convergence Journal (aka "The Kitchen Sink" Journal)

The "kitchen sink" journal experiment (more formally titled Unexpected Convergences) is ongoing and today's post reveals three more pages.  It just so happens that all these pages feature some sort of altered classic painting; that really isn't a "theme" of the journal and in fact, as I progress and loosen up, my pages contain more of my own drawings, paintings and personally-created collage material like photocopies of old journal pages and photographs I took myself.

I am also realizing that most of my journal pages in this book contain very little writing.  Ever create an image and then think to yourself "It needs some words or writing on it to feel complete"?  I do that all the time and I think it is just force of habit rather than reality.  If the journaling process yields a meaningful image that can act as a symbol for an event, emotion, or thought then sometimes words are just redundant.  I don't have to spell everything out because really, who am I spelling it out for?

In addition, the image doesn't have to represent anything.  Perhaps the process itself is meaningful or symbolic.  When my hands are hurting especially bad, just working on a journal page represents an obstacle overcome.  Sometimes I use my journals to practice images I'll use later on canvas for a show.  Sometimes I'm trying a new technique or product.  (I usually separate this stuff out into journals reserved for that purpose so part of the "kitchen sink" test is that I include the experimentations alongside or within other work.)

I think the whole point of this journal is to recognize and subsequently let go of self-imposed rules.  Rules have a place and purpose but for wild abandon creativity, rules just get in the way.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Watercolor Wednesday: Wash Portraits

If I had to pick one medium to get really good at, I would choose watercolor in a heartbeat.  So why wait?!  For a little while, Wednesdays here at Lost Coast Post will be devoted to watercolor: tips, techniques, projects, experiments, challenges and so on.

I found this watercolor project, "Intuitive Watercolor Wash Faces," via Twitter and was immediately intrigued.  In traditional watercolor, no white paint is used; the painter must plan ahead and save the white of the paper (either by painting around or using masking fluid) for the lightest areas of the painting.  Watercolor wash faces are a perfect way to practice reserving the white of the paper.  The addition of black ink doodling is just a fun bonus.
For my first try, I painted two fairly standard faces and once I had the hang of the technique, I painted two, more whimiscal, characters.  Lastly, I painted a pair of owls.  I think I like the more monotone portraits the best; the second little turquoise gal is my very favorite in this set.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Convergences Continued

So what's so new about these pages?  I don't really think these pages stray too much from my usual "look" but I do think I'm working differently.  Here's what I'm trying:
  • I am trying to make faster decisions about what to do or include on a page...go more with my gut as it were.  I'm not worried about completing a page in one sitting (in fact, I prefer not to do that anyway.)  I just want to agonize less over each technique or composition question.  Inside the front cover of this journal I wrote that this is "an investigative dance of control and chaos."
  • I'm forcing myself to mix and match my media by including watercolor work alongside collage work alongside acrylics work.  Believe or not, my "don't let the foods touch" brain finds this extremely difficult.
  •  I'm trying not to worry about whether or not a page has words or journaling.  I tend to be a novel writer-type, spilling endlessly onto my pages about the same things over and over so I am making a conscious effort to let the visual portion of the page stand on its own if it feels right.  In the past, I've done this and really liked the results but then I fall back into the write-till-you-drop rut.
  •  While I am including collage materials (especially altered classic art,) I am trying to let my own self-generated imagery be the star on the page.  For the last few years, I've been trying to move away from using anything for collage that isn't my own and I think I've been making great strides towards that personal goal.  (More drawing & painting practice helps a lot...more practice equals more confidence.
  • I am practicing letting things go.  Again this is something I know to do but forget to apply.  For example, I absolutely loathe the little girl holding the umbrella (I have trouble rendering faces in acrylic) but it is what it is and I need to just move on.  There's not much to this particular page but in my brain, it does comemmorate a particularly vicious rainstorm that occurred that day.  The memory of the process of creating this page is what links to my memory of the storm.  The awful painted face is irrelevant.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Unexpected Convergences Begin

I have a ton of new work comin' at you this week dear readers as I have been on a journaling binge, playing, experimenting, & pondering to my heart's content in the past few weeks.

As I have mentioned before, I consider myself an "extreme compartmentalizer," separating out each theme, technique, and/or medium into different journals.  However, deep down, I often wish I could be what I call a "kitchen sink" journaler as in someone who puts everything but the kitchen sink into a single journal.  I'd certainly have more room on my shelves but I also think I'd have more completed journals. 

Apparently 28 journals is just not enough because I'm working furiously on a new one I'm calling "Unexpected Convergences."  It is my attempt at a "kitchen sink" journal and while I don't know if the pages look different from any of my other journals, I do feel like I'm working a bit differently.  I definitely feel like I'm pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone as I am trying to mash things together, if not on one page then in one book.

I am using the monstrous Dylusions "Creative Journal" from Ranger and Dyan Reaveley for this endeavor.  This journal has 64 pages and alternates between two paper types: a white heavyweight drawing paper and a manila cardstock (similiar to what you find in the traditional sketch Moleskeine.)  I'm not totally in love with the drawing paper as it doesn't take much abuse before disintegrating but the manila paper is divine.  The journal is not only weighty but large (at least for me) with page dimensions standing at 8 and a quarter inches wide by almost 11 and a half inches tall.  I'm not sure how long it will take me to finish this journal, especially with so many other journals in the works, but I try not to concern myself with such details.  My mandate here is simply "PLAY!"

The pages still look fairly neat and composed even though I'm working with more abandon than usual.  And I've not strayed from my typical color palette.  I think this means I am staying true to my personal style while trying something new and I think that's a good thing.  Anyhoo, look for lots more from this journal and others in the next few weeks.  Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meet Calvin Coon

Time is getting away from me a little bit this week with some important deadlines arising and seemingly endless (and most definitely annoying) building repairs stealing my peace & quiet.  Nonetheless, I am plowing forward so in the interest of continuing to do better with posting, here's another journal page from the "World Within" journal.  I'm also using it as an entry in this week's "Animal Magic" theme over at the Three Muses challenge blog, a wonderful spot I've been away from for far too long.  I really tried hard on this one to get the fabric patterning and shadowing just right.  Lots of ideas for how to use this illustration style are swirling about...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Inside the World Within

Play time continues in my "World Within" journal.  Sometimes I use these pages to sort through powerful emotions or events but mostly this journal is about the process, the calming effect of making a purple polka-dotted dress or the slow layering of collage material to build a page frame.

The initial backgrounds are a swirl of watercolors over which I layer sheer dye inks through stencils.  As mentioned before, I make liberal use of old journal pages by using strips of color copies to create a border.  Sometimes I just draw and doodle a border by hand.  The heads are hand-colored photocopies of 19th century illustrations from Dover publications.  I draw on source books of fashion from the '30s and '50s to create the bodies of my characters.  I used to draw the bodies directly onto the backgrounds but since I began creating a collaged frame, I now draw & color the bodies on Bristol board, cut them out and assemble all the pieces on my page once the frame is complete.  Last of all, in the space remaining, I write.  Sometimes I add a favorite quote, sometimes I journal about my days, and often I record random thoughts or ponderings on a specific topic.

I name all the characters in this journal.  Once a head is used, it becomes permanently associated with a name; in the first image you see Bushbaby Jane and Princess Fidelia in the second picture.  All these characters help illustrate my internal world; hence the journal title "My World Within."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The List Journal Project: Favorite Songs & Movies

This past Saturday's List Journal prompt was to document your favorite songs and movies.  Although I spent most of my working life (before disability) as a radio disc jockey (both as a civilian and in the military), I found it much easier to name my favorite movies rather than my favorite songs.  Over the years, my love of music has been surpassed by my obsession with film, so much so that I never work to music in the studio.  Music gets me up and dancing rather than working so it is much better to pop a familiar flick into the DVD player.  Science fiction movies are my very, very favorite source of background noise in the studio!  Classic horror movies work sometimes too.

Technically, these pages came together fairly quickly as my watercolor backgrounds in the entire journal are already complete.  Most of the borders are built with strips cut from color copies of old journal pages.  To help unify the journal, I am repeating the curvy black writing and the number stamps on each page.  This is a good trick for maintaining continuity amongst disparate pages.

(And again, if you don't already know this, you can click on the pictures to get a larger version...)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

More World Within Journal Pages

completed Oct 28, 2012
completed October 30, 2012
Here are a couple more journal pages from the World Within journal I am currently revisiting.  I'm having so much fun playing on these pages; I hope that joy shines through...

(I think if you click on the photos, you'll get a larger version of the pages to view.)

Monday, November 5, 2012

There Be Winners Here!

The winner of the copy of Alternative Art Journals by Margaret Peot is commenter #18 which happens to be Heather!  Heather, please contact me in the next week at with your full name and mailing address....

And because just two intrepid international lovies commented on a giveaway aimed at North American residents, I'd like both ihanna and Madame Renard to contact me with your mailing addresses!  I'll gather together some paper goodies and wing them to your respective overseas locales...

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my rather winded review!  It really is a fabulous book!
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