Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Painting, Planning, and Playing...

I have had a mental block with art journaling for some time. In college, I always kept a sketchbook, but mostly used it to jot notes in. While I intellectually understand the value of working out a creative idea before heading to the final piece, I have always had a hard time putting this into practice. 

Does it seem like a waste of time? This notion of spending time on a project, knowing that it will in fact not be a finished piece? If you had asked me those questions, I would have said, "Of course it's not a waste of time! It is very valuable to work through an idea and practice techniques before heading to the final piece."

But, you know what? I don't think I really believed that deep down. Or, if I believed it... I didn't want to take the time to actually do it. I have always worked out my ideas right there on what eventually became the finished product. Sure, I might cut it up and glue it back together multiple times. But, I have never really had a pile of "not done" sketches, doodles, layouts, or paintings.

I am a fan of seeing things through to completion and for some reason this has held me back from Art Journaling. Silliness, I know.

So... when I first saw the promo video for Paint. Plan. Play. over at Studio Calico, my interest was peaked. What Ashley shows in her video does not resemble what I think of as the typical art journal. Not only did it have pages that could be taken out and moved around, but many of the pages looked "unfinished" in a perfectly wonderful way. Ashley's book also displays a delighfully modern and "less is more" style that knocked what I tend to think of a typical art journaling spread right on it's inky, collaged, layered side.

I had no idea what to expect, really. 

Was this a planner class? It didn't look like it, but that was in the name... 
Was this an art journaling class? Not too sure. They described it as such, but her book didn't resemble my preconceived notion of an art journal...

Soooo.... the only way to find out for sure what this was all about was to enroll in class. And, the free stamp set that came with early registration was pretty much enough to seal the deal!

Class began the first of November with an introduction video from Ashley walking us through her art journal planner. I still wasn't sure what was in store for this class, but as I shared in a recent post, it sure got me thinking about lots of things!

A couple of days later, the first lesson went live and it was all about mark making. Having googled Ashley's work and becoming familiar with her style, I had learned that "mark making" is somewhat a signature of her's and I was excited to see exactly what this was all about.

Now, I have to admit when I started the video, I thought to myself "Really, we are going to learn how to make dots? And stripes?" I kinda already know how to do that...

OH, but NOOOO.... I did NOT know how to do it in the cool, artsy, pattern making, modern way that Ashely is so famous for. Let me tell you, it is not as easy as it looks!

But, it sure is fun! I mean, really fun. I couldn't stop playing with dots, brush strokes, and patterns. Some of my practices ended up getting cut into alphas...

And put on a page with lots of mark making in the background as well...
But, I was having so much fun playing that I ended up with lots of little "unfinished" pages of fun. What to do? 

Well, first I had an epiphany! THIS is art journaling. I CAN do this. And, even more importantly... I WANT to! 

I know, I know... most of you are way ahead of me on this one. I can be a little slow on the uptake and this is the perfect example. But, hey... at least I "get it" now, right?

Then, being the lover of the disc bound Arc system that I am, I quickly cut down lots of little papers and stuck them together with some spare discs. This way, I can take out pages and move them around whenever I so please.

And that gave me a place to put all of my little experiments in! Like these color blocking pages from our next lesson in class. I really never knew that some old house paint could look so cool all layered up when applied with a scrap piece of chipboard...
I stuck those in my new little book and doodled...
And pasted...
 And stamped...
 and watercolored...
And it's all tucked away in my little 4 and a quarter by 5 and a half inch journal!
And what is really cool is that I am finding the merits of what I really knew all along - It pays to practice and play before the finished piece. In fact, new ideas are found that way and it IS worth it!

Like this graphic stamping on the right. I love how this looked so much...

 ...that I had to try it on a layout...

 Likey so!

The best part about this class is that it has allowed me to get beyond my own mental block and preconceived notion of what art journaling should be. 

I am so excited about my little "collage" journal, as I have decided to call it. It gets about 5 minutes of my attention most days, but is giving back to me ten-fold as I find loads of inspiration and ideas from within it's small pages.

I look forward to sharing more of my "collage journal" with you as it's pages fill up with unfinished goodness...

See you soon!


  1. What I really like about art journaling is that it is anything you want it to be - pictures, words, finished or not, any size, bound any way...it's really flexible. You can use it for practice, or finish things, or not. It's very freeing, and helps to create spontaneity in other aspects of life. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. I love love your little art journal... it's so you! YOu have me coveting that arc punch now... oh boy. Maybe it will go on my christmas wish list.

  3. Oh Ashli, that's so wonderful. I'm glad you are getting so much out of that class. The first and last time I had an art journal class was May's during Camp Scrap and I had come to similar conclusions, even feeling very similar to what you did. I would have liked to have taken this class, too, maybe someday. I cant spend the time with my art journal as much as I'd likevright now. Anyway, everything here is so beautiful. Your layouts (and photos) are amazing and so beyond beautiful for words. I love the handmade dresses, too, their BBC is so talented and the girls are absolute darling in them. Anyway, thanks for sharing bits of your art journal and yourself in the process. Good luck with it. Michelle t

    1. I'm sorry, that's supposed to be BB, not BBC. Stupid auto word thing.

  4. I've been holding out. So much of this resonates with me. Your battle back and forth with the idea of art journaling is as if you wrote my thoughts! Because yes, I can make my own dots. So I thought I don't need another class. Thanks for giving me the push to sign up.

  5. Loving this! Welcome to the world of art journaling!


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