Art Journal Prompts and Inspirations

It came up in the comments in my last post – I think I may have ‘An Issue’ …….  I may be addicted to reorganising my organising.  I may be fine tweaking so to speak an inordinate, some may even say an unnecessary, amount.  For instance, this past week I spent several hours trying to decide where best to re-house my sock hanger full of stencils.  Just so I could glance up and see the time without further movement.  You may possibly recall – but I don’t blame you if you don’t – that I lost view of my wall clock when I hung my stencil hanger off the ceiling, bang in front of it ……  It’s all here if you need a reminder,

When I realised I was contemplating relocating an entire wall of cubbies – without there being an alternative entire wall to make use of – I thought it might be time for an intervention.  So Siddy and I headed out to see his second favourite person where I captured this photo of an exhausted puppy enjoying a cuddle and trying to keep his eyes open and failing miserably

Sleeping 14 6 17

And this


It’s my first completed piece of crochet work this year –  a miracle as I wasn’t going to do any yarn work this year, none at all.  Nothing.  Zilch.  Nada.  But I saw it and couldn’t help myself.  ‘It’ is is a Moogly pattern available on Ravelry for free.  A shawl/scarf made with a medley of gelato coloured bamboo/cotton yarn using five different stitches – I’m not sure that I’ll ever wear it, but it sure is pretty!

Coming back to the organising issue, it occurred to me that I was, once more busy prevaricating getting down to work – you may recall I am the happy owner of some huge sheets of much admired heavy duty art papers, plus a request for a particular inky doodle of gigantic proportions which I haven’t mentioned here at all, not to mention my daily dose of art journalling just to keep improving my range of skills ………  this last one seemed to have stalled quite badly in the face of all the reorganising.  Therefore, I wondered, might  the  reorganising of the organising be seen as an excuse not to get on with the tasks to hand ……..

With this wonderful insight ringing in my ears I set to with another new project that we won’t in any way refer to as further prevarication  ……  I made myself a collection of art journal prompts – an idea adapted from the myriad of ideas floating around on You Tube, but bearing special thanks to Claudia Rossi of Krazy Island Studios for her take on using tongue depressors.  She calls her idea ‘Inspiration Sticks’ and I should too.  Here’s the video that tells you how she made them and more importantly gives you a list of starter prompts, sorry, inspirations, if you are interested


I went to my local $2 Shop – it’s called ‘Happy Coins’ and run by a very nice couple who often give me a further discount on my basket filled with great artsy bargains.  I purchased 150 tongue depressors or extra wide lollipop sticks and several packets of sticky backed fun foam flowers, butterflies and hearts.  I spent a happy afternoon writing out all kinds of instructions both practical and slightly off-the-wall on the wooden sticks, stuck a couple of matching fun foam shapes back to back over the top of the sticks and voila, I ended up with two containers of journal prompts to keep me on my toes and out of stodgy town.

Just so you can see the virtue of this side journey,  here’s a couple of pages that were created prior to the arrival of the prompts


I made the  female figure mask myself – I’ve been making my own stencils, masks and stamps for a while now with varying success – this is one of the ‘varying’ successes!  (The leafy stems are a stamp I made)  I really didn’t have a purpose for this page other than to try out the mask, play with some new stamps and fulfill the resolve to paint every day. And at some point I got fed up and went off to play fetch with the dog.

This next one saw me playing with the idea of circles overlapping, intersecting and the vague intention of achieving a translucent bubble type effect……


Nothing pleased me, I didn’t know where I was going nor why I’d had the bright idea of making each leaf of the double page look so different.  It all looked like a big mess so Siddy and I played a rousing game of fetch and then went and had dinner.

Enter the journal prompts!  The idea is you pull a random stick and do what it tells you to do.  You do this at least seven times and it does not preclude you from doing anything else you feel compelled  inspired to do either.  This first one is easy to follow, I wrote the prompts onto the hearts at the end.  I can’t tell you how much my heart sank when I pulled the instruction to add red over my delicate background of blues and yellows and greens ……



But I was pleased with the result which, it seemed to me went somewhere entirely unexpected and fun.

But it’s this next one I’m really pleased with – the prompts produced a few heart stopping moments, but ended up taking me somewhere I really like.  I didn’t keep a record of the instructions this time and I’ve already forgotten the steps that carried me to the finished page – but for the first time I felt I had a page that was happily completed and which complements the painting I showed in the last post with the quote  ‘Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you feel buried, when you’ve actually been planted.’

On this one I want to write ‘Grow, flourish, bloom where you find you’ve been planted’


It may even progress onto a canvas.  You never know.

I hope, especially if you are working in a journal, you can see the potential of working with prompts or inspirations.  I certainly can.  What do you think?

A Mostly Pictorial Walk Through My Week

It sure has been a busy week!  I thought I’d share a few of my little adventures with you all …..

First up, I’ve been taking a class with Claudia Rossi.  [Don’t, whatever you do, Google her – you will get a million listings for a porn star of the same name!]  If you know of the mixed media Claudia Rossi, you will be familiar with her ‘pretty girls’ and her art journals. I’ve been watching her on You Tube for at least a year on and off, she is verbose and funny and real and I enjoy her random prattling and gorgeous artwork.  Claudia’s girls are kind of opposite to mine – I draw big eyes – she draws big mouths……. I decided to take her class, not because I want to draw a ‘Claudia Rossi’ pretty girl – though I have – but because I think that learning is important and the more skills you pick up and add into your kete [a woven bag] the better, it all helps define your own style.  Besides I got a discount coupon offer and so couldn’t resist!

It’s been slow going for me as I have so many other things I am busy doing.  But when I can I work in the evenings and use my TV as a giant computer screen while I watch her and then work on my own version.  I still have to finish my girl – but here is what I’ve done so far.  This is the pencil sketch, following a quite complex grid pattern:


Here she is with her shadowing in place – you may notice I made the mouth smaller as I made it much too big in the first place:


And here she is with the skin-tone glazing done, the eyes and lips and hair too: for once underway I could not stop:


You can bigify it by clicking twice if you want to see all the minute detail – shes not too bad for a first attempt.

I think Claudia is a good teacher and I enjoyed taking this class – if you happen to be thinking of it – or just want to learn how she does her faces – I do recommend her class!


Next I got some more happy mail this week too – only this time it was something I had bought for myself.  I splurged big time and bought myself a present that I had lusted after for a long, long time but never thought would be available to me – then ‘Fishpond’ one of our on-line book-and-everything-else-you-could-ever-possibly-want-or-need stores came up with an Ikea Raskog.  An IKEA RASKOG people!!  It was one of those moments when while the voice of reason was saying ‘Oh dear, what a shame you can’t afford it’ the impetuous bohemian artist had already stuck her fingers in her ears and was singing “La-la-la-la-la!” at the top of her lungs whilst hitting ‘Buy Now’………..

So, many, many weeks later and after a lot of restrictive belt tightening, on a wet and gloomy day this arrived:


I’d already ripped into it with a knife before remembering to a) take some photos and b) practise ‘anticipation’ – but blow that – too late, sorry Linne 🙂

His Little King-ship had already retreated to a safer place


And there he stayed until ….


the clanging of metal on metal became too much for his sensitive sensibilities and he is about to do his Elvis impersonation and ‘leave the building’…..  I am about to put something together with just a pictorial diagram:


And I did – thirty minutes later:


And off we go to the Create Joy room and fill her up – here she proudly poses alongside my other indispensable – my pretty bucket of paints


Everything I use on a daily basis sits in the top within easy reach


Middle shelf holds containers of coloured pencils, pens, glazes, mediums, tapes and watercolours


Bottom shelf holds a selection of my favourite and regularly used stamps, stamping paraphernalia and masks and templates:


And of course the Day Card commemorated the event:


It’s fabulous, I not only have everything to hand beside my work bench – and more free space on my work bench –  but when I want to play around in the evening and watch a You Tube video, or a movie, I can wheel it in to the lounge.  Well worth going without a few meals for 🙂

And His Little King-ship also gets a wee treat:



If you are a relative of mine and go by the blog pseudonym of ED stop reading and go away now please.  [Yes Joanna, it’s you!}

Some of you may remember my ‘Box to Book’ project which is now into its second year – the beginning of the story can be found here and here and, sigh, here.  It was put aside when I went back into mixed media painting, not altogether forgotten though – I had made the decision to keep it for a birthday gift rather than the Christmas it was originally planned for.  I’ve been working a bit on it whenever I can find a decent block of time:

Final1 Final2 Final3 Final4

Still got heaps to do – must keep at it, must keep at it, must keep at it ……….


And the week has concluded extremely happily with the unexpectedly early arrival of more ‘Happy Mail’ of the real variety.  From the lovely Fran and the even lovelier Steve at Serendipity Farm comes this bit of gorgeousness photographed on my table in the early morning sun:


Can you see that heart shaped point on the handle end of the bowl?  It is just exquisite and makes my heart sing!  It is like the point of a heart so I will think ‘Love’ every time I go to use it and all my cooking will be done with an extra added ingredient and we will all grow lovely, just like Roald Dahl said we would!!


Look at the bowl of the spoon – it is exquisite craftsmanship!


It feels smooth and satiny, it looks beautiful and it smells good too – how can I possibly use this to stir my pot of rice or my cheese and oat cakes?

Here it is sitting in the broken plastic jug that serves as my utensil holder beside the newly made weeks supply of cheese and oat cakes, which I had just finished making when the mail arrived [and which is my bread substitute, just in case you are interested].


So now I’m in the market for an uber posh utensil holder to match this gorgeous spoon!

Thank you to Fran and Steve at Serendipity – what a great swap!!  I feel like I got the better end of the swapping deal yet again!

I think that covers the highlights of my creative and blogging life for the past week what a great time I’m having!!

Big hugs to you all, thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Learning To Dance In The Rain

It’s time to post the final ‘retrospective’  journal page, completed sometime in February I think.  My [previous] bad habit of forgetting to date my journal pages caught up with me and I now own, and use, an actual date stamp!  Hola!!

This is the page where I learned about using car polish over gel medium to stop pages sticking together.  [Thanks to Claudia Rossi – again!]  The added benefit, as you will see, is that the sheen adds to the wet look I was trying to achieve.

The first thing I did was cover the pages with various shades of paint in blues and watered down reds  and drag the colours downwards with a variety of makeshift instruments as I was trying to achieve the impression of falling rain.  It actually looked really effective until I started applying the mod-podge when, of course, the water reactive thing occurred and I lost my lovely down-pour!  Never mind – live and learn is the motto of the hit or miss crafter!

The house shapes were cut from old encyclopaedia paper – I like my art work to look learn-ed!

Dance In Rain 6 March 13

I used stains and paints to colour the houses and hit them with a ‘crackle’ stamp to add texture.

I die-cut the clouds from more book paper, stamped the winged flock and made the text using my trusty ‘Dymo‘ label maker.

Dance In Rain 4 March 13

This side retains some of the downpour texture I was trying for:

Dance In Rain 5 March 13

Tim Holtz stamps make another appearance, I stamped the rain man and the Model T onto tissue paper using black staz-on ink  and bunged them into place. My white gel pen outlined rain man:

Dance In Rain 3 March 13

I was feeling pretty contented at this point – and then decided to try the mod-podge and car polish effect.  As soon as I hit the page with the medium the colours started moving and blurring – I worked as quickly and lightly as possible to try and minimise it, but as I said before, I lost my downpour effect.  When the medium was dry I raided the car cleaning kit and applied a liberal coat of car polish, buffing vigorously.  I really like this – the finished page shines with a wet look sheen that is really effective for the theme and the pages don’t stick together – an added bonus!!

Dancing In The Rain

See, I even put a date stamp on it…….. and that’s the end of the ‘house’ themed journal pages – for now any way.

It’s time to hit the play room and create something new.

If you stuck with it – thanks for dropping by and have a most enjoyable day!