ArtJournalGuy

Creative Creations

A personal website and blog featuring my artwork.

Dina Wakley's #ShowUsYourMEdia challenge

I knew I wanted to participate in the new Dina Wakley Media challenge that was recently posted on her blog, Ranger's website, and social media, but I needed to do something different than I normally do. While I didn't end up doing as much journaling as I would have liked, I think you'll see that the amount of text I used works well with my project.

Click the image to scroll to the next photo in the process. It's a slideshow!

The challenge was so fun. I enjoyed using a lot of Dina Wakley Media products for this challenge. It's always fun to try to limit yourself to a certain brand of products, or certain colors, because it inspires you to think creatively and outside of your box. Please leave a link to your own blog or photos if you decide to participate in the challenge!

#ShowUsYourMEdia  #rangerink

So Many Stencils

I love stencils. I'm not great at drawing and stencils make it easy to create recognizable images. Even more cool are the stencils that have geometric patterns and shapes -- these are the ones I go back to most often because of their versatility.

I love mixed media and stencils are one of my most used tools for page backgrounds. I also like using them with gelli plates and on my ICADs and ATCs. The only problem is that I have so many of them and they were a bit unorganized.

The first step was to inventory all of my stencils and group them by the same creator and/or manufacturer. This made it easier to place the stencils in sleeves. Just grouping by the design would have left me with a lot of bags with only 1 or 2 stencils inside and I knew that wouldn't have solved my problem, so I stuck with the solution that made the most sense.

Once the organization process was done, I placed all of my smaller stencils on the swinging towel rack. They're small enough to fit on there and the process was easy: all I had to do was place a plastic hanging tag on each stencil. Most of the small stencils already had the hanging tags, they just weren't organized in a way that made finding them easy. So, I started grouping those by designer, too.

Now the stencils can be sorted through so I can find the stencil that I need and the whole caboodle won't fall off and spill onto the floor in the process. Who would have thought it could be this easy?

The larger stencils were returned to the 12x12 organizer. They were placed in bags that some of the stencils came in which meant I didn't have to buy anything extra to organize them. Bonus!

Each bag has been labeled with the stencil designer and/or company that produces them. This method many not work for folks that have so many stencils that it's difficult to remember what you have, but it serves me well so far. I'll have to reevaluate my process once I get to that point.

Of course, the easiest way to become familiar with which designs you have is to actually use the stencils. You'll start to recognize them in your art journals as you flip through to the next blank page and those images will stick in your mind for the next time, especially if you've found a great technique that you really like.

I'm on Ustream

My first resource for art journaling was YouTube.

It wasn't long before those videos led me to Ustream and all of the incredibly talented people that were doing live weekly streams. A few people have been encouraging me to stream for a while now and I decided to test out my current equipment to see if it would work over there. A handful of people stumbled in during my test and it developed into my first live streaming experience.

I don't plan to stream at any particular time or on any set schedule right now, so be sure to follow me on Twitter and on Ustream (it's free) to be alerted if I go live. The links are below (Twitter is at the bottom of the page).

And, as an added bonus, if you go to the Ustream website then you will be able to catch the recording of my first show. You'll find out what got me into art journaling, listen to me talk to my FIBs (friends in the box), and watch me create a couple of art journal pages. It was 80 minutes of fun and there was even a flip that I did of my most recent art journal. I hope you'll check it out and join in.

Let me know if you'd like me to share links to some of the awesome people that I watch over on Ustream. I'd be happy to send you their way.

I Signed Up For 'Pull, Pen, Paint'

Do you ever feel like your art journaling has become a little unimaginative? I do.

I think it happens because I tend to repeat the same techniques over and over like I'm a song stuck on repeat. I reach for the same colors, my favorite colors, because I already know they'll work together and they won't make mud. I grab the same stencils because they're close and easy to access instead of digging for the stencils I haven't used in a while.

I'm not saying I don't get spurts of inspiration and do something different from time to time, but I'm not exactly moving out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. So, I decided to take a chance and sign up for a different kind of Art Journaling class.

This class uses tarot and oracle cards as points of inspiration for both art and journaling. I'm not so good with the writing/journaling and I think this class is going to help me develop this skill so that I can incorporate it in the future. It's also going to give me a kickstart for inspiration and creativity. I have a handful of tarot and oracle decks and it's time that I use them.

If you're interested in learning more, I suggest you go here and check out the details.

What is Art Journaling?

Barb Owen from HowtoGetCreative.com just uploaded a fantastic introductory video to her YouTube channel. It's all about describing what an art journal is. 

It's fantastic for beginners, sure, but it's also great for those of us that have been art journaling for a while. First off, we get to see some of her own art journals and her creativity and that alone can be enough of a jump off point to inspire us to create in new and different ways. Going back to the basics can allow us to be more free and expressive than we've been in recent times since we often view our art as a progression instead of a series of checkpoints with skills that we can revisit.

I've embedded her video. I hope you'll watch for yourself. Barb streams almost every Friday on YouTube live at 11:00 pacific time. She's often creating amazing things and there is a lively conversation from the FIBs (friends in the box).

Almost all of the past shows have been uploaded to her YouTube channel for folks to watch on their own time. If you're looking for new classes, I highly suggest you visit her website and see what she's offering. You won't be disappointed.

Review: Creative JumpStart 2017

 

I made it through this year's theme of "Mix, Match, Master." 

Click this image to find out more about the class. You'll be redirected to the class website.

Click this image to find out more about the class. You'll be redirected to the class website.

A different artist's video was uploaded each day in January. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single video that was presented, even the ones that involved projects outside of my own comfort zone. It was a treat to see artists that I was familiar with while also fun to meet new artists that I hadn't previously discovered.  There were also a few giveaways tossed in for extra excitement.

The premise may sound simple, but I can only imagine how difficult it must be to recruit, troubleshoot, advise, communicate with, direct, and support so many people. I can understand why it requires so much forethought and planning. The logistics of receiving everyone's videos and putting them in order must take a lot of time just by itself, never mind the promotional materials, website changes, etc. It's a treat to take an online class from someone that puts so much hard work into the product.

The amount of videos that were presented made it well worth the money to sign up, and the fact that the videos can be downloaded and kept for life is a huge bonus. 

I really enjoyed Creative JumpStart 2017. I certainly hope that it will return for 2018.

 


This review was completed based on my own personal observations made while participating in Creative JumpStart 2017. No one, including Nathalie Kalbach or any of the Creative JumpStarters, asked me to write this review. I was not given merchandise or given a waiver for tuition as a result of this review; the class was purchased by me with my own personal funds. 

Review: "What's in a Face?"

It's been a few months since I started taking Mystele Kirkeeng's "What's in a Face?" class. I have been wanting to write a review of my experience from the start, but I made myself wait so that I could work through the assignments at my own pace.

To begin, I'd like to show you a small selection of my face-making skills prior to taking the class. 

As you can tell from the images, I had difficulty with a number of tasks. I made the shape of the face too large and round, I often skipped creating ears all together because I was never happy with them, and my hair looked nothing like how it should. Creating shadows in the correct places was equivalent to performing a complicated algebraic equation; it all seemed to go over my head.

I knew I needed help and I was so excited to discover that Mystele was creating a class to provide creative guidance.

The next four images were all created through assignments from Mystele's "What's in a Face?" class. One of the exciting things that I discovered was that I didn't have to create faces that looked realistic. What a concept to wrap my head around!

Creating realistic faces was the whole reason I signed up for the class, and Mystele certainly presents the necessary information to build those skills, but I found that I also had an interest in making quirky faces. Mystele presents a technique called abstraction that makes this a fun process.


The Details:

"What's in a Face?" was available with live instruction at the time I took the class, but it is now available only as a self-guided course. Once payment is made, you'll receive an email with a link and password to the site where the class videos are presented. There are also links to download the videos so that you can keep them for life!

Click here to see the class description and sign up on Etsy. 

Click here to visit Mystele's website.

Mystele is a fantastic teacher. She presents easy to understand information in a way that gets you excited to try things out and experiment. She brings humor and a jovial attitude toward sharing her experiences with art supplies. Mystele is not afraid to make a mistake or change things up from one moment to the next, and I learned how to start letting go of the need to create perfectly. Art is meant to be fun, and Mystele's assignments are more like a chance to play rather than homework.


This review is provided through my own experiences with the class. I was not asked to post this review. I am not receiving compensation or goods in exchange for a positive review. What I have written is my honest opinion of the class and the experience that someone will receive.

NaNoWriMo

I will be a 2016 player or participant in National Novel Writing Month.

I last participated in 2013 and I was a winner that year. I've done absolutely nothing with that novel aside from a little editing here and there, but it was a great experience. I'm hoping to recreate some of the same magic. My only perceived difficulty will be that it coincides with Mystele's "Mongo" Gut Art 2016.

It's my hope that I'll be able to win at both of those things. I figure it's better to try than not even begin for fear of failing.

If you've never heard of NaNoWriMo, it's a monthly challenge to write a novel. The goal is to write 1,667 words a day (or the equivalent based on how you divide it up) so that you reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. Doing so within the time frame makes you a winner of the challenge. The price is that win itself, not some sparkly prize that is handed out or raffled off. Everyone that participates and meets their goal is a winner.

If you're also a participant, I hope you'll become my NaNoWriMo buddy. Alternatively, some people choose to adopt this theme and turn it into NaNoJouMo, which is essentially an art journal page or spread done each day. 

Find my profile here.

See you in December!

 

Works in Progress

Hello everyone.

I wanted to drop by and share four canvases that I've been working on. They're still in the early stages for the most part as almost all of them still need some tweaking. They also still need their borders (the parts on the sides of the canvas) to be painted.

I'm really happy with how they look and I know that I've grown so much over the last 2 years. They also need my signature and a couple of coats of gloss varnish. Then they'll be ready for hanging!

Artist Use vs. Copyright

The fantabulous Art Sherpa and Stunt Hands just uploaded a live stream that they did earlier in the day. The topic is on copyright and artist use, infringement, and some of the questions that people might have. I suggest that every artist watch this video.

I have been impressed by the Art Sherpa in the past because she directly addresses the things that people need to know. This video is a fantastic starting point for any new artist like myself. However, it only covers the current laws in the United States, so if you live abroad you'll need to research your local laws.

My New Website

Can you believe it? I finally have a website of my very own!

I was prompted to do this by my uncle. He saw some of my art photos on Facebook and encouraged me to set up a website for myself so that I can start selling some of my creations. I don't know if I'm ready to be a professional artist yet, but I have been wanting my own website for a long time. I get easily annoyed by the ads on the free sites and their long URLs make it difficult for people to track you down.

Here's to bigger and better things for the rest of 2016!

"Listen Within"

I'm trying to focus more on myself. I discovered the practice of mindfulness as a way to help combat my anxiety and while it can be hit and miss for me, I know that I'll never get better at it if I don't try. Pretty much everything in life is that way. I ended up working a bit of mindfulness into my art journal.

Something else that I've been working on is faces. A few months ago, I was sketching and coloring a face at least once a week. Then something happened. I stopped doing faces and took a break. My first face in quite a few months is the purpose of this blog post.


It started out rough. The background is craft paint over stenciled gesso. A second stencil is visible above the first layer with Apple Barrel's "Too Blue." Then we come to the face. I started out by sketching the shape of the face. I added the neck after that and I have to admit that this guy's neck looks way too thick.


I used a black Stabilo All pencil to outline the face, facial details, and the neck. I love how this pencil blends in with paint when Dina Wakley uses it and I attempted to mimic her technique.


This is how the face looked with the second layer of paint (slightly lighter than the first). I still struggle with highlights and shadows and the Stabilo All pencil kind of helps you fake it. Still, it's far from perfect. I was going to go over it a third time but I decided that even though it has imperfections, there's something simplistic and calming about it.

This is the final result of the page.



Other than the baby blue stenciled dots, not much changed to the face. I rebuilt the structure of the chin with the Stabilo All pencil and avoided going back into the facial details because I like how they look. Is it perfect? No. Am I happy with it. Absolutely.

21 Secrets - Color, Color, Color!

Hello everyone.

I signed up for 3 art classes over the weekend, so I'm probably going to be posting a lot of photos to my instagram over the next few weeks. You should follow me over there by clicking here.
Note: I have to approve your request to follow me so that I don't get spammed like crazy, so forgive me if there's a delay.

That doesn't mean I won't be on my blog in the interim. I'll also be doing some blog posts and an end of the class review. From what I've gathered, 21 Secrets has been around for a few years now. The theme (Color, Color, Color!) is all about integrating color and art. Isn't that awesome?!

I enjoy vibrant color in art and I think I'm really going to enjoy learning from 24 amazing teachers. It's not to late to sign up even though the class has already begun. You can click the photo below to learn more about the class and sign up if you feel inclined to do so. I'm not an affiliate and I won't get any credit for you signing up. I still encourage you to join in on the fun .



Surprise Arrival

My Joggles.com order arrived today and I was taken by surprise. Knowing that my order was going to be traveling from Rhode Island to Washington state, I had it in my head that it wouldn't arrive for at least a week (you know, like those Amazon packages).



Opening it up was like being transported into a candy store for the first time as a child. I've been wanting both of these products since I heard about them and I was happy to find them at reasonable prices.

I'm gonna be busy this weekend!

"An Artist's Life" - An Art Journal Page

 I was looking for some fun stickers that I could implement into my art journal pages a couple of months ago and I found quite a few that caught my eye. One of the stickers that I purchased worked great for the page I created.
© Leslie Evans       [to purchase]

To begin the page, I decided to use the 5.5" x 8.5" Canson Mixed Media journal that I've been working in. The paper weight is 98 pounds and it can take quite a few layers of paint, gesso, and texture paste. The smaller size makes it ideal for pages that you want to dry quickly between layers without the need for a heat gun (I don't like the fumes).

I started with a layer of Apple Barrel's New Shamrock (21479). Once dry, I applied a few 1" lines of Art Basics white gesso and used a shaped Catalyst palette blade (C-64) to spread it around. The result was the boxed/lined texture that almost looks like tire tracks. The hardest part was waiting for the gesso to dry because it was still in clumps in some areas and I wanted to make sure that it was thoroughly dry before I added another layer.

I covered up the background and gesso with a bit of Yellow Flame (21474). I used a brush to spread the paint evenly and placed down one of Patti Tolley Parrish's round stencils (Dot Maze Round) before the paint had even started to dry. Using a baby wipe, I lifted the yellow out of the stencil areas to create a contrast between the two colors. My next step was to apply a thin coat of Liquitex Airbrush Medium over the page to give it a little bit of a shine while also binding the three layers together.




















Once that dried, I used Apple Barrel's Black (20504E) paint and applied it with a makeup wedge through Tim Holtz's arrows stencil. I used a couple of them and once dry, I lined inside of the arrows with a white Uni-Ball Signo pen. I was trying to go for a haphazard look without going outside of the line.



I found some matching washi tape that shared the black and white theme with the arrows and I used a couple of pieces in strategic locations. Then it came time to add the sticker, but it didn't pop off the page as much as I wanted it to. The solution was simple. All I had to do was outline it with a black Pigma Micron pen.











I'm really happy with the outcome. I like how all of the elements are cohesive together and yet the focus is still on the great sticker I found on Redbubble. If you haven't taken a look at all of the amazing art that people sell on that website, I encourage you to check it out.











Organization and Anxiety

I've lately realized that there's a correlation between organization and anxiety. Creating art calms me down, but nothing sends my blood pressure up and brings on the anxiety like not being able to find something that I'm looking for. There have been times where I've had to substitute things because the item I'm trying to find can't be located.

I had pens in boxes and organizers all over my house. I had washi tape in a variety of locations around my room because I didn't have one place that would fit all my tapes in an way that easily let me identify what I had (this is how you end up buying three of the same item). I did have all my craft paint organized because I bought a toolbox to put all of it into, but it was a mild annoyance having to pull it out and then put it away once I had finished.

The solution was simple. I needed the things I wanted to use in a place that was easily accessible. Yes, I know it's common sense, but sometimes it seems that we humans go out of our way to make things more difficult on ourselves. With a little money saved up and a solution in mind, I went off to find an organization solution.

Little did I know that I would find everything I needed on Etsy.

The answer to my needs: Organizemore. Based out of Tennessee, this Etsy shop hand creates organization solutions that will help you store your items accessibly so that you can easily find what you're looking for. The hardest part was waiting the six weeks for my shelves to be created, but the wait was well worth it.

I first ordered the "Craft Paint Storage Organizer"that holds 90 bottles.

As you can see in the photo, a lot of the spaces are empty because I'm using up the older bottles I have before I go to the store to purchase replacements. In the interim, I've taken to storing some fine liner bottles in the organizer. They protrude slightly but they are still out of the way.

The second organizer I bought was the large capacity "Craft Marker Storage Organizer."It's great for holding markers, gel pens, and ink pens. I've also found it useful for storing my drawing compass, a handheld single hole punch, and my smaller inking tools. I decided to organize by color since it made the most sense. I'm really happy with it.

The final item I ordered was a custom request. It actually involved me messaging one of the owners, who was pleasant and willing to help me find something that would work within my parameters.

Sorry about the weird lighting. 
They have a great washi tape organizer already but I didn't need one that large, so I asked them if they could make a smaller one. They came through big time!

This thing is perfect for my needs and fits all of the washi tape that I own (with room to grow). Now that I can see that I have gel pens, my favorite craft paint colors, and that washi tape with the skulls on it, I use my supplies rather than hide them away in forgotten places. What a concept, right?

Organizing supplies can be annoying, but these organizers made it easier for me. There are dozens of DIY solutions that may work better for you and I encourage you to check out all your options, but Organizemore does a fantastic job and they will work with you if you need something custom. Visit their Etsy shop by clicking on their shop name above.




*This blog post was composed based off of my own opinions. Organizemore did not give me merchandise in exchange for this review; all products purchased from the company were paid for by me and no one else. I am not an affiliate and I do not receive payment, credits, or merchandise for sending people to their website.

-Bonus Photo-
Can you spot the skittles with all that color?


Hello there.

Do you remember me? It's been almost 5 months since I've updated my blog. 

The sad truth is that while I have had creative spurts within that time, I've been feeling a little stuck creativity wise for the majority of the time I've been MIA. I'm hoping that the artist's block is on its way out of the door (or back into the box where it belongs). 

I woke up early this morning and couldn't get myself to fall back asleep for anything. So, I got up and got a drink, found my queue of Project Runway episodes on Hulu, and broke out the alcohol inks that I haven't used in ages. I was happy to find that none of them had evaporated or dried out.

If you haven't used alcohol inks before, I warn you here and now: these things are addictive. You can buy specially made card stock or use any non-porous and glossy surface (including domino tiles), but I like alternating the card stock and yupo paper.

I'm very happy with the results.

Until next time, my friends.



My Struggles

This post has nothing to do with art.

It has to do with my anxiety and depression, as well as my absence from the online community as of late. I've been there, lurking in the shadows on some days, but for the most part I haven't felt like watching YouTube videos, doing any art, catching online streams, uploading YouTube videos of my own, or even adding any photos to my Instagram. The fact that I accomplished any of those things at all over the past few months is a win.

I was in the hospital last August the 7th to September the 7th. I was undergoing electroconvulsive therapy, but I left the hospital when it became apparent that my mother was on the verge of passing away. She died six days later.

The ECT isn't like it is portrayed in the movies and it should be considered a valid option for those that are struggling. The hospital I was in had an ECT department that was separate from its psych ward, which is where I stayed the rest of the time. The ECT department and its staff was top notch. I can't say the same for the regular psych ward and its staff.

Let's just say that the psych wards at Harbourview leave a lot to be desired, especially in terms of the professionalism of the staff, making patients feel safe and welcome, and treating patients as if they are people rather than a source of income. It would be my recommendation that people go anywhere else, or only receive ECT there through an outpatient basis if that is the only option, based on my experience. (Note: I'm sure for others it has been a positive experience, but that was not how it was in my case.)

Feeling depressed and suicidal became a secondary focus as I tried to work through the grief over my mother's passing. I'm sorry to say that it hasn't remained secondary.

My Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner says that I have treatment-resistant depression and social anxiety. Translation: medications and other therapies aren't effective. I have tried and failed multiple medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other forms of group therapy. At the present moment I feel as if I am simply existing. I am depressed, afraid to go outside of my bedroom, and thinking that everything would be better off if I just killed myself.

The good news is that my P-Nurse isn't giving up. She recently took me off of a couple of medications and has prescribed me newer meds in the hope that they will work where others have fizzled out. Electroconvulsive therapy is probably my next step after that, though I am struggling to allow a repeat of past experiences.

I've been trying to do art in an effort to get myself to do something, anything, and my P-Nurse has encouraged me to read. Every day is a struggle and I don't think the people that don't face the challenges of mental illness quite understand that. Platitudes, as much as they are passed around on social media like an STI, do not work. In fact, often times they serve to only alienate us further.

The purpose of this post isn't to gain sympathy or to educate anyone on mental illness and its various treatments. This is simply my way of explaining my absence to those people that may be missing my presence and wondering what rock I'm hiding under. I'm trying to be optimistic and struggling, but I know that my mother would want me to keep moving towards getting better. Most days I don't even know if getting better is possible.

I've had happy mail ready to go out for over a month but I can't get myself to the post office to get it sent off. Please know that I haven't forgotten those of you that sent me happy mail - it will be heading your way as soon as I can gather the motivation to get some things done.


Hauls Galore

I spent the last 40 minutes making a video with all of my recent haul items. It was a video I've been wanting to make for a while and I only now just got around to doing it. On the plus side, I really think my new lighting solution is working out, and my new camera mount is great even though I may have bumped it a time or two while filming.

That's nothing a little bit of video editing won't fix.

Look for the video to be uploaded in the next couple of days. I'll post a link to the video once it's finished editing and gone live.

As always, thanks for your support!