Hope – A New Journal Page

I’ve managed to completely discombobulate myself with all my new found arty-farty techniques, new equipment and re-found mediums – shall I use the water paints or the fluid acrylics or the water soluble pastels or the water soluble crayons?   Perhaps I should just use the inks and sprays I am used to – but then why are all these pretty colours sitting on my desk smiling at me hopefully?

Shall I doodle, draw freehand or use stencils?  Shall I layer or not layer?  How will I ever become an artiste if I can’t decide which medium to use?  Is it kosher to use ’em all at once?

To add to my confusion I took a short on-line class with the remarkably talented Valerie Sjodin.  Her work is stunning and she works with accuracy and attention to detail.  Doesn’t really sound like me does it?

One aspect which was really new for me was doing the lettering first – usually I do any writing towards the end of my process and, with a blank sheet of white paper looking back at me,  I found it impossible to picture how it would look at the end – which is pretty obvious when you see the end!    It is so interesting learning different ways of working and so challenging too!

I learnt a lot but didn’t have a hope of coming anywhere near the beauty of Valerie’s work.  Standing back to assess my effort, I told Orlando despondently it wasn’t working out for me because I didn’t have the right paint colours and he just stretched up and asked for a dance.

We had a wee dance around the studio – well, to be accurate, I do the dancing – swaying really – and he sits up in my arms, head back, eyes closed and purrs and harrumps and warbles with bliss…..

But I digress!  Here is my first effort:


All the wording comes from Valerie – I loved it so much I just went with it.  You may notice the curvy edged paper – I have made a small 8 page journal with shaped edges and a wrap around cover – also courtesy Valerie.  When the whole thing is finished I’ll put it up for your admiration and delight 🙂

But this first effort is pretty dismal!  Usually when I make a muck up I can retrieve, cover, change, somehow redeem something – but there is nothing on this page I like.  The background is flat and uninspiring and I over-doodled on the right hand edge.  The splodges of gold are an aborted attempt to stencil some leaves with gold perfect pearls – which is a brilliant thing to do provided you don’t blast them over enthusiastically with the very large water spritzer bottle picked up mistakenly because you weren’t really concentrating at that particular moment, and thusly cause them to just go glump!  

Let’s see, what else ….. I don’t like the colours I’ve put on the egg shaped words.  There should have been a gap between that egg of words and the doodled edge – and the rest of the wording is – well, just rubbish really!

But was I deterred?  Was I heck!!  Hope is my friend, so I flipped the page and had another go:


I lay down tiny bits of torn book pages and painted the background with Hansa Yellow fluid acrylics.  Those white circles are made with a bit of bubble wrap dipped into gesso and pressed onto the page.  Then I did the words   [Little rebel contented crafter 🙂 ]

I doodled the flowers and edges and felt much happier.

Here are a couple of close-ups:



All in all, much happier with version two – do you agree?

Thank you for coming by today, love that you did!

24 thoughts on “Hope – A New Journal Page

  1. They are both really lovely – but yes, I prefer version 2 too! Have you read the Emily Dickinson poem ‘Hope is the thing with feathers’? It was floating around in my head this morning, and then I happened upon your post. Sweet serendipity! (Ooh I’ve been dying to use that word for ages!!) : )))


    • She is among my favourite poets – and isn’t that just the grandest word! I think it is having a renaissance – several people have either written it in comments or used in conversation just lately – I love to think we are getting back to using descriptive language again!


  2. It’s interesting reading about the process and the journey, Pauline. I love these journal pages. I love both pages and originally just assumed, since I look before I read, that they were a series. I’m personally partial to the second one because it feels like a cottage garden. The white bubble wrap is genius, and reminds me of bits of honeycomb. The blue flowers remind me of my Bachelor Buttons, still growing strong in the garden. The curvy pages emulate the natural order of things. Nature eschews straight lines.

    I think you could photocopy part of this journal page on to watercolor paper and make a boxed set of gift cards.



    • It has been fascinating reading all the different comments for this post – so may different opinions – and also interesting to hear how you read posts Alys 🙂 I thought the bubble wrap looked like honeycomb too – it works so well with gesso, it has become one of my favourite doodly things to do on paintings.

      Your last suggestion is worthy of a prize! Again, something that never occurred to me – I’m so pedestrian! I’m going to have to crank the printer up and see what I can do….

      Thank you for your feedback, it is much appreciated 🙂


      • I love reading everyone’s comments, too. All so unique. I keep meaning to look up ‘gesso.’ I’ve heard others refer to it as well, but I don’t know what it is.

        Please let me know if you print on watercolor paper. I’ve been doing that here and there this year and really enjoy it. I have fun printing on vellum from time to time too, but have learned to let it sit on the printer because it takes time to dry.


          • Gesso is one of those handy-dandy things to have whether you work on canvas or paper. Primarily it is used as a kind of undercoat – stops paints, sprays etc soaking into and through journal pages for instance. Also quite good if you want a slightly raised, opaque form when using templates and the like. Comes in white or black – can be coloured with acrylic paint if required. Used to be made of chalk powder in the old days – don’t think that is what is used now though. Its the stuff that most of your ready made canvases are coated with so that you can start painting immediately. Has various price points and I always buy whats on special. Can be thickened if required or thinned with water….. ‘Nuff info??


  3. Oh, do I have to CHOOSE?! They are different. The second one is brighter and busier and I can read the egg better. The background technique is interesting, but I puzzled a bit over the meaning of the torn book pages. I know, I overthink. Good things about the first one: the writing on the righthand edge, the main message on the lefthand side, and the blue color and isolation of the word Hope, which makes me feel the way hope is, watchful, anticpating. I’d put the first one on my wall. Good work, Pauline. And Orlando. 🙂


    • Aww, thank you Christi! Such encouraging feedback!

      And yes, don’t over think it – I use torn book pages to get past the empty white space syndrome and to add depth and texture to the background – otherwise it gets a bit flat and uninteresting.

      When I do a canvas I find text that holds a message compatible to the theme I am painting, so that even though you can’t read it, subliminally it helps hold the work together.

      Love that you stopped by 🙂


  4. I like the colours used in both Pauline and the curving edge of the pages in the journal are unique and interesting and lend to a dream flow of things. I also liked the green and yellow Chevron ribbon on the right side of your first work. Chevrons are so hip right now. I do like seeing the bits of words from under your artwork too. I have to remember to try that.


    • Thank you for this feedback Boomdee – it is so interesting for me to actually hear what folk do and don’t like – what draws the eye and the forms and colours that attract…… I use torn book pages a lot – it is my way of getting past the blank white page and it adds depth and texture to what would otherwise be a flat space – I even do it on cards sometimes. I was looking at something on pinterest last night and the person used scraps of newspapers – which I would never have thought of incorporating! So much to learn – so much to try! 🙂


  5. You don’t need to wonder when you’ll become an artiste because you already are! Yes, I like the second version better too, I think the first was your test drive. Now that you got the concept and principles, you made it your own and voilà – the second one seems more of a representative of you. And it is lovely. Not that the first isn’t lovely either, but there is an obvious maturation in the latter.
    I like the bubble-wrap effect on the page, its a nice filler. And I cant wait to see how much more you evolve with this passion and make it truly your own.
    Great job! 🙂


  6. I like the second version better because the colors are lighter and the page looks more hopeful. I love your art work 🙂 Annie


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