Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Journal to Canvas

I have kept an unorganized array of art journals over the years, but not one of them is complete. I always feel this overwhelming sense of guilt when I glance to the spot on my art studio shelf and see the huge stack of unfinished journals and sketchbooks. So, this year I challenged myself to start journaling regularly as a way to keep track of things that inspire me, and also as a safe place to experiment with new techniques. I started fresh, with a brand new journal, and I'm on my way to almost having the pages full. I've already created several canvases that were inspired by my journal entries from the past couple of months.

I thought I'd share the evolution of one of my paintings, from one little inspiration piece to a completed canvas. I know when I started out painting many, many moons ago, it was so hard for me to decide what to paint and how to put my own creativity into my art. I could copy things, but I never felt like the pieces I painted really expressed "me". The journaling process has really helped me grow in this area, and especially journaling on a consistent and intentional basis. It also continues to help me in developing my own style.

I started with the blue dot in the center. Unfortunately, I don't have a pic of what it looked like before I surrounded it with color, but this started out as a circle of pink and blue that I had made on a piece of deli paper with some leftover paints. I glued it into my journal as the starting point because the color combination on the paper was too pretty to throw away.  Next, I added some scrapbook papers, and used the pink and blue plus this melted crayon heart as my color palette inspiration.

 I simply randomly scraped acrylic paint all over the pages with a gift card, added some sheetrock tape for texture, and did some stamping with bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard. I toned down the color a bit with some watered down gesso, and drew some flowers with a black watercolor pencil. When I don't know what to paint, I usually paint flowers. Flowers always inspire me! These flowers just came from my head :) I didn't add a lot of detail to the flowers, leaving them more as organic, abstract shapes. So that was my journal page for that day. My inspiration ran out at this point, so this is how I left my journal page. Later, I may add to it, or write over it. The inspiration though to this page was really just color.

A couple weeks later, I was asked to donate a piece of art to my children's school auction, so I started going through my journal to see if there was something that would inspire me. I kept coming back to this journal page and, of course, to flowers.

After I sketched out my basic design with watered down paint onto a 20 x 16 stretched canvas, I added this second layer. I used acrylic paint, mixed with gel medium, for the texture on the flower.

I continued to add details, papers and layers of stenciling and stamping.

I really wanted to add a verse to, so I penned a shorted version of Luke 12:27, in my own lettering onto deli paper. I really thought I was finished at this point, but I kept thinking something was missing.

I spy a bluebird! I really loved the way this pieced turned out. I titled it "Happiness", thanks to one of my Facebook followers who said it made her think of "happiness on a canvas". I hope you enjoyed seeing my creative process. I can't wait to show you what all is in my journal once I finish! If you would like to keep up with my daily journal entries and what else I'm up to in my studio, you can follow me under Sleepyhead Designs Studio on Facebook or Instagram. My art website is

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