Art journaling and mixed media in general makes me happy. In my Art Journaling 101 post, I talk about what art journaling means to me and outline some reasons people keep an art journal. In subsequent posts I’ll talk more about the various styles of art journaling and what you need to get started, whether you want to get your hands dirty with mixed media or try art journaling digitally. But every process needs to start somewhere, and usually in art journaling that means you need a background.
Blank Page Fear – It’s Real!
Nothing, it seems, is more intimidating that a blank page in a mixed media journal – or in Photoshop for that matter. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to create something but not knowing where to begin. All that white staring you in the face. Daring you to mess it up. All those supplies waiting to be used. What to do? Where to start? Well, I have discovered that the best thing to do is just start. Counter-intuitive, right? Strangely enough, once you get started and give yourself permission to just play, interesting things start to happen. I like to play the “what if” game. What if I spray some ink here? What if I make some marks here? It’s amazing how the mind gives in and let’s go if you tell yourself it’s just play. Smush paint on a page and then just do whatever comes to mind. Stencil; finger paint like a school kid; scribble – it really doesn’t matter because it’s just a background, not a finished piece. It can always be covered up later, right? So what if you hate it? It’s just paper and as Dina Wakley always says, “they’ll make more paper”. When I feel the need to retreat from the troubles of the world, my go to art project is making mixed media backgrounds. It doesn’t require too much thought; I can pull out my favorite colors and a couple of stencils and just play. I find that sort of art-ing relaxing and freeing – and I end up with a “pre-made starting point for a journal page, when that muse strikes – or at the very least, something I can rip up and use as collage.
Mixed Media Art-ing Play Dates
Something else that is so much fun is art-ing with friends. Unfortunately, my mixed media/art journaling friends live quite far away. Last week my pal, Jana Holden, both had the creative urge and made a Skype art-ing play date! We set up our devices so we could see each other and laid out our workspaces then spent almost three hours (!!!) doing a lesson from one of Dina Wakley’s books, Art Journal Courage. We each did our own interpretation of the lesson’s steps, using (as it turned out) similar colors. The process started with making a mixed media background using acrylic paints, spray inks and stencils. We added some foliage using Stabilo pencils and then painted them in with more acrylic paint. We each added a bit of journaling and a few finishing touches and voila! Mixed media art journaling pages! What do you think? We had so much fun (lots of giggling) that we’re going to try to do it at least once a month!
In Mixed Media, Like All Art, Creativity Breeds Creativity
So what does that have to do with mixed media backgrounds, you ask? I usually scan my art in progress, in case there’s something I want to use for my digital art journaling products. Because we were Skyping I didn’t want to take that time, but within a short time I was regretting that decision. I had so much fun with Jana and we loved our results so much that I couldn’t resist trying to make some backgrounds using some of the same techniques. This time, though, I recorded my process so you can see how quickly I was able to make two mixed media backgrounds. I know they’ll end up in one of my art journaling digital kits or maybe even some of my commercial use products. Grab your beverage of choice and take a look.
I love how they turned out and I’d love for you to have a digital sample – so that you have a starting point too! I know that many of you wouldn’t be making your own mixed media backgrounds, so if you’re a digi person, you can pull the size you like into Photoshop and add your favorite elements from your stash. If you’re a mixed media creative type, you can print the letter or A4 size papers and use it in collage work. Click on the image below to get it from my Oscraps shop. You’ll need to have an account at the shop and be logged in to download it.
I’d love to hear from you! Are you ever confronted with that “bank page” fear? Have you ever done a Skype/long distance art session?