Shabby Miss Jenn

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Change, Art Journals, and Doodling

When I was a girl, I loved drawing and sketching.  As I began having more homework and and a part-time job in high school, I gave up those activities.  This year, I'm trying to relearn these skills.  I am also going to keep art journals, for practicing those skills, as well as mixed media art.  To get started on drawing/sketching again, I'm taking a variety of online classes:  two workshops (one on sketching, one on watercoloring) by Alisa Burke, and two of the free Strathmore online classes: doodling with Traci Bautista, and, later in the year, watercolor sketching with Carol Johnson.  

To approach the journaling, I joined the Art Journal Caravan (AJC) with Tangie Baxter at scrapbookgraphics.  This workshop provides a variety of weekly journaling prompts, guidance, and technique instruction, as well as a forum for group participation.  While scrapbookgraphics is a digital scrapbooking site, the AJC is open to digital, traditional, and hybrid participants.

One of Tangie's first challenges was to choose a word of the year.  "This a word that you will focus on for the WHOLE YEAR. Instead of setting so many overwhelming "New Year's Resolutions" for yourself, the idea is to find a word that inspires all your goals in one small word. A word that should be displayed prominently at your work space, in your journal, in your mental images. "  I've been doing that instead of resolutions for several years now, but Tangie added a new spin - create a personal symbol for your word of the year, and incorporate it into your journal.  

For a variety of reasons, my word this year is CHANGE.  While a butterfly first came to mind, after thinking about it, I realized that the butterfly represented the final stage of a process of change, and was not really what I wanted as my symbol. But it still spoke to me as being appropriate for my word. As I googled butterfly images, a few chrysalis images popped up and i had an "aha" moment. A chrysalis is a self-created safe haven for growth and change, for internally-directed adaptation. 

After googling a variety of chrysalises, I sketched and then watercolored this image.  A fantasy chrysalis in my favorite color, purple, with some bright yellow and greens for high contrast. The creation of it lived up to my word of the year - twice I thought I knew what I wanted, and executed the idea, and didn't like it. Instead of letting myself get upset, I changed my approach again until it all gelled and resulted in this piece of mixed media art - which I love.  It will reside to the left of my monitor where I can see it while I am working and creating.

Supplies: Watercolor: Caran d'ache Neocolor II; Pastels: PanPastels/Sofft Tools; 
Oil Pastels: Crayola Water Soluble; Ink: Dr. Ph. Martin's India Ink, Tattered Angels 
Glimmer Mist; Pens: Pigma Micron, atyou Spica; Paper: Pink Paislee, Strathmore 
400 Series watercolor 140 pound; Charm, Rub-ons: Pink Paislee; Adhesive: 3M, 
foam mounting tape; Other: sewing machine, thread, bubble wrap.

I wrote quotes having to do with change around the sides:  
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Anon.  
  • Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.  Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.  Maya Angelou
  • The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.  Maya Angelou
Traci's doodling class began the day after New Year's.  While I was watching the video for the first lesson, Matthew joined me partway through and was fascinated.  He decided he wanted to take the class with me.  As we were working on the first layer, Jeremy poked his head in and decided he wanted in on the fun.  So we're all doing it together.  

The first lesson is about layers of color building up to the final project: first, spray acrylic or watercolor paint over stencils, then adding layers of marks with different media (paint, oil pastels, sharpies, markers, and white out).  It is not planned art, just free form marks and doodling.  The boys are still working on their projects, and I'll post them when they're done.  

Here are my first 2 attempts.  I like parts of both of them.  I used Glimmer Mist as the base layer on both pieces.  There is also Lumiere paint on one of the top layers on the first piece, and as you can see it reflects a lot of light.  These are meant to be used for other projects, and not used as art per se.  I'm leaning toward notepad covers and bookmark backs, but have not made up my mind yet.


  1. You really succeeded in applying Traci's instuctions. The colors are vibrant and your design very of your own. They would do perfectly for book or notebook covers!

  2. I am so excited that you are getting into journaling and, especially, watercolors! And you sure do have a lot of great art supplies!