Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Art Journaling Tips





I am just finishing up
my March Art Journal pages

and decided I would share some
art journaling thoughts
with you...

it's been years since I have facilitated
a journal group and I have learned a lot since those days..
consistent practice will create knowledge...

so here are a few thoughts..
since I have so many new followers lately..
and my journal posts are some of my most popular posts..



ingredients: cardboard, sketch paper and original pencil drawing, background is gesso,  fine pumice gel, acrylic paint, walnut ink, alcohol inks..



1. Dirty the Page...
My process is simple, I create 2 pages each month, in a vintage record book. 
Find a substrate in a size that appeals to you. Large or small..
  I know artists that journal everyday.. find what works for you.. and stick to it..

Everyone has at one time or another been intimidated by a blank page..
and if not a blank page, then surely by a beautiful journal..
I overcame that issue by beginning with journals that were falling apart..
or were fairly inexpensive..
now a page in any book is just a page...


each month I am faced with this:

The blank pages of my vintage record book..


I generally begin.. 
by writing about what is going on in my life, using pen, pencil, art stick, whatever is closest to my hand.. and because I have a whole month to work, the writing often covers both pages..
but often I will just begin by slapping some gesso or paint directly onto the page and then I begin to journal... with text and image.
It is only paper, and it is for you... so you cannot make a mistake..


2. Obscuring Text
One of the things I love about art journaling is that you are in control of exactly how much writing, IF  ANY that people will see, that is, if you intend to show other people your pages...

Sometimes I leave some writing visible...
usually it is something innocuous..
or universal in subject matter..



May 2010, ingredients: gesso, paper, transfers on paper, transfer on fabric, paper ephemera, acrylic paint, pencil, colored pencil, upholstery thread



but very often, there are things too painful to share...
or things that are simply private...
and so I obscure almost all of the text as in the 
April 2013 post below


April 2013 Caterina Giglio, art journal pages. ingredients: gesso, acrylic paint, H2O'S. pencil, colored pens, antique ephemera, thread. 



3. Use Images that Speak to You
I often use butterflies and dragonflies in my pages, they are symbols that represent transformation and  they convey a sense of beauty and grace..
Hands represent creativity and in the spread below, from 2007, I used them to show that I was taking my health into my own hands..
changed my diet and changed my life...  
the heart pops up when you open the book...


Art Journal pages, 2007, Caterina Giglio. ingredients: acrylic paint, paper ephemera, papers, pen and ink, pencil. 



4. Bricolage
One of the great things about art journaling is that you don't need anything fancy to art journal, you can de-stash to your heart's content.. I always use scraps of paper, thread and my own photos to convey what is going on in my world...
often the paper bits on my desk are just the things that I need 
to journal...
However, I have also been known to use pricey paints, wrapping papers and to cut my own rubber stamps for use in my journals..
because
my journals are really art books that I create 
for myself..


I am never concerned when my pages don't make sense..
it isn't about sense..
it is about feeling..
and energy that is transforming
onto the page...


Art Journal pages, Caterina Giglio, November 2010.
ingredients: black gesso, china marker, khadi papers, transfers on paper, thread.




5. Tell your Dreams and Stories
The spread below, is a dream that I had in May of 2012. It concerned my brother who died in May of 2009. When I woke, I went right to my journal and documented the dream and how I felt about it. Then I covered my journaling with the images.
In my dream the dragonfly was dead, but the story I told was about the dragonfly rising in flight....
my belief about life after death and a reconciliation with my brother...
I did not realize until later that I had rewritten the dream, until I finished my pages..



To me, art journaling is about writing your own stories and creating your own endings..


Art Journal pages, Caterina Giglio, 2010.
ingredients: gesso, acrylic paint, paper ephemera, pencil, pen, watercolor, fabric wings, walnut ink, thread. 



6. Experimentation
 My journal is a safe haven for trying out new techniques, and products and styles. 
 I consider my journal to be part diary, part visionary journal and part of it is a lab
for exploring new frontiers...
for experiencing a fearless joy of discovery...


Detail of art journal page, Caterina Giglio.
ingredients: crackle paint, cardboard, paper ephemera, acrylic paints, pencil, fabric.


playing with crackle paints and Italian collage
in my journal..
experimentation is the cornerstone of any studio..
the best things happen when I say, 

"I wonder what would happen if I did..." 

working in an abstract form in my journal allows me to express my emotions
without using figures to represent the people or situations that 
are manifesting in my experience..


Caterina Giglio, Art Journal page, detail of Italian collage..




and finally... you don't need to be an artist to journal...
a visual journal is a wonderful way to keep a diary of images that represent what is happening around you. Just keeping a small book of paper ephemera that comes to you each month would be a great way of documenting life..

the pencil remark on this last page reads..

Whatever
you
do,
remember
to
take
time
for
joy.

ciao, ciao..


There are a number of fabulous teachers out in the field right now... here are just a few:



40 comments:

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

Yum yum words and photos, fabulous post. xox

Sharmon Davidson said...

All of these tips could be applied to art forms other than just journaling... they are all great insights and reminders. It's a joy getting to see some of your past journal pages again, too... xox

Leslie Marsh said...

Your journals are beautiful, Cat. I admire your perseverance. I always think I want to work in a journal, but I never seem to make the commitment. But really, two pages a month, is such a manageable task. Thanks for the prompt!
xo

Carol said...

I loved this...your words and photos. I think you really captured the essence of art journaling so well.

Anni - My Creative Life and Mixed Media Books said...

Caterina your journal pages are all so wonderfully made I enjoyed reading your post and seeing your pages.
Anni

Brian Lapsley said...

Everything is just great Caterina!

lana kloch said...

what a gift you have shared.. merci! you are amazing and so soulful.. sending love way "beyond"

maya matthew said...

thank you so much for sharing the process you follow Caterina. This is a wonderful post makes, it has got me thinking too ... want if I .... let's see where it takes me.

Linda Arandas said...

I love so many things about your art journal pages, Caterina...the colors, layers, lettering, the finishing detail of thread. lovely!

Chris Gray said...

Thanks so much for sharing Catarina. There are a few tips in there that will be very useful!!

x Chris

CERULEAN said...

I especially love the last page of your journal.It's wonderful!

Gayle Price said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. You have written this so perfectly and beautifully. I love to art journal, and like many people, for many different reasons. You have shared your thoughts so succinctly and of course your images are beautiful.

Kelly Kilmer said...

Thank you, Caterina, for the shout out!

Valerianna said...

Nice peek into your process, thanks! I'm teaching an evening seminar this semester and just decided to make it visual journaling class. Its such a good way for these students - who aren't all art majors or confident at all - to have some creative time along with writing. They seemed to love the process.

Caterina Giglio said...

Corrine, thank you dearheart! xo

Caterina Giglio said...

Sharmon, I so agree, I realized that as I was writing it.. thanks for stopping by the sweet life! xo

Caterina Giglio said...

Leslie, thank you so much... it really is doable and it is something I lean on and look forward to... xo

Dorthe said...

A BEAUTIFUL post, in every way- words, and pages - your pages so stunning each and everyone, dear Cat. And thank you for letting us into your thoughts and ramblings about journaling ,I enjoied it so very much, and I loved reading your words!!
Hugs from Dorthe

Seth said...

Love these tips -- especially the illustrations that go along with each one.

Caterina Giglio said...

Carol, thanks so much and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

Caterina Giglio said...

Thank you Anni, I appreciate your kind comments!

Caterina Giglio said...

Thanks Brian!!

Caterina Giglio said...

Lana, thank you so much for your continued support, you are so kind! xo

Caterina Giglio said...

Hi Maya, I am so glad you will be experimenting... It is a powerful statement!! I think it conjures Magic!!

Caterina Giglio said...

Linda, thank you so very much...

Caterina Giglio said...

Hey Chris, I am so glad that you find some things useful to you! Thanks for coming over to the blog!! x

Caterina Giglio said...

Eric, I thought you might like that piece... Italian collage... :)

Caterina Giglio said...

Gayle, I would love to hear your thoughts/tips about art journaling! thanks so much for your kind words and for taking the time to comment! xo

Caterina Giglio said...

Kelly, you are most welcome... I remember well that class I took ... many years ago, as one of my favs!

Caterina Giglio said...

Val, that is awesome, and it is such a great process for artist and non artist... thanks for sharing that!! x

Caterina Giglio said...

Dear Dorthe, I did ramble a bit more than usual didn't I? LOL... but so happy that you enjoyed my musings!!
thank you so much! xoxo

Caterina Giglio said...

SETH! Thanks for the big grin.. :D

sharon said...

Such an informative, gorgeous and generous post Caterina! I am in love with your style and your process! Thank you!

Caterina Giglio said...

Oh, Sharon, I would love to see your process, and we have a mutual admiration going for each other's work... love all of your pages!! xox

Patti Sandham said...

Your work is lovely Caterina! I think we are kindred spirits, I find myself often asking myself the same question. "What if I . . ." :)

Cheers

ps I added your blog to my page as well

Caterina Giglio said...

Patti, I agree, only I am too dyslexic to make your lovely books!! My book making is very simple... I bow to you! and thanks for the addition on your blog :D

Pamela Gerard said...

Wonderful and inspiring pages -- thanks so much for sharing.

Marcella Ruledge said...

Ater years of thinking journaling was something that I would never care to do, I have found a new love in art. Your journals, and the way you talk about them, would have brought me to this art much sooner.

Caterina Giglio said...

Pamela, thank you so much, you are most welcome, dear heart!

Caterina Giglio said...

Marcella, grazie! I am so glad that you are journaling now... it is a great practice... thank you for stopping by ...