Week One – Swatches

So I’m taking another wonderful class from artist Kelly Kilmer called “Swatches: Little Paper Books.”  The idea is to work small, to use bits of things, to work with recycled materials and explore doing things differently than you have done bookbefore.  I’m loving the class and the challenge faced with working small.  I’ve worked small in the past – created scads of Artist Trading Cards, but with my journals, I’ve always worked pretty large.  My typical journals are 8 1/2 x 11 pages.  So working in this little 5 x 5 inch book is quite different for me.  You will see I’ve come up with a few creative solutions so far.  As always, I’m learning alot.  I cannot say enough great things about Kelly’s classes.

In making my book, I decided to use a recycled street newspaper that is published here in Portland – The Mercury.  I picked it up one day because I liked the cover image and I have been saving it for a while.  I realized that I could cut the paper apart retaining only the top left corner and this would give me the headlines for all the pages with which to play with.  I bound the pages together by hand using Kelly’s instructions.  Here’s the resulting book.

I haven’t decided how I’m going to alter the cover yet;  I think I’m saving that for last.  Other things I decided to do is have curious tabs here and there and also try and have a paint swatch used on every page in some way.  The following are the pages I’ve completed within the last seven days – the first week of class.

Day1_Left  Day1_Right   Day2

day3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

day4Day5_Closed

Day6  Day7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now some of the pages have special details worth mentioning.  The first is that the page for day 2 includes a transparency cover that may be lifted up so you can more clearly read the journaling beneath.

Day2_Detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

And day 4 is a set of doors which opens to reveal the rest of the page.

Day5_Open

 

 

 

 

All the pages are individuals with the exception of day 1 – took a whole spread.  I’ve tried to keep the adjacent pages color themed similar so that visually the spreads look good except that they are for completely separate prompts.  Here are the spreads for the first seven days.

Day1_Spread

Day2-3_Spread

Day4-5_spread

Day6-7_Spread

 

 

 

 

So far, the only combination/page I’m not completely happy with is day 7.  I am not too fond with the green along the bottom.  I’m thinking of a way to fix that.

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Stop and Smell the Roses

StopandSmellI realized last night when I was creating this page that the theme was emerging from an inner desire to be able to just stop. A lot has been going on in my life, all good things, but these things have been eating into the time I spend with my journal. I realized last night that my journal creates a place of pause for me, a haven where I can stop, look, and listen to my heart and soul.

Fall has always been a favorite season of mine since I was a child, but the longer I live in the Pacific Northwest, the more I love Spring! I love the bright vivid chartreuse green leaves emerging from the skeletal trees dominating the landscape all Winter. I love the bursts of color from the early spring bulbs – crocus, daffodils, and soon tulips. I adore the abundance of cherry blossoms, especially the trees that have double blossoms and look like puff balls. I am energized by Spring and restored by it. I think I’m just a bit frustrated by everything (ie. life) moving so fast. I need more time to focus on what is beautiful around me. Art is one of the ways I do that. Working in my garden is another. There are so many opportunities to live and breathe and be. I am full of gratitude and it’s abundant.

Serenity

SerenityLayers!  Layers!  This page was fun to put together.  I used inspiration for the background from one of Kelly’s pages.  I love the torn look and the contrast with the calmness of the woman’s face.

I put down the shiny blue background paper first and then layered the flowers on top of that on the left and across the top.  Then I glued down the image of the resting woman and added flowers at her head and neck.  I watercolored her lips pink and added pink and yellow to the paper flowers which were originally white.  Once everything was dry, I added a piece of plastic – a repurposed sheet protector across the entire image and then stamped the swirls with StazOn.  I stamped “serenity” as well with the black permanent ink.  Lastly, I journaled.

This page speaks to all the changes that are happening around me and my desire to remain calm and centered through the whole process.

Love Me

LoveMeSo I said that I’m going to use the ideas in the Journey Within class to push myself and I’ve decided this means I need to really layer my pages.  In reviewing my pages from the last class, I can see that I was working with using paper and imagery together.  Now I’m going to work on having at least 3 layers on every page and also utilizing transparencies more.  I’ve used them twice now and so I think it’s a good start.

The journaling on this page falls into the background – I’ve covered it up too.  I’m having fun with journaling and then partially hiding it with different inks and layers.  It’s not that I’m saying anything I don’t want people to read – it’s more about making the imagery convey what I’m saying in words.  This page is about the joy I’m experiencing in love.

The cool technique I tried with this page that I haven’t done before is taking a page of rub ons and rather than using them precisely, rubbing off each letter or element as it was meant to be used, I scraped across the page of rub ons leaving abstract bits of color and elements randomly on the journal page.  I was so thrilled to get this idea because I have several pages of rub ons that I really don’t ever see myself using because the topics are too “scrapbooky.”  The page of rub ons that I used was originally meant for a 4th of July scrapbook layout.  It worked perfect since the 4th is a celebration and the colors of the rub ons coordinated well with my palette for this page.  If you have funky supplies lying around that you have no idea how you’re going to use them, take a different look at them.  Find a new way to use them up.

Journey Within

Journey_coverI started on the Journey Within class with Kelly Kilmer last night.  This class is going to challenge me because it seems less directed than the last one, but I’m very excited to see what comes out of my work and the ideas presented by the instructor.  I worked on the title page and the first journal page.  I think they turned out pretty well, but I can tell that I’ve hit a spot where I need to push myself to go farther.  The title page feels to me like it needs more work, but I’m pretty satisfied with the first journal page.  Let’s see what you think:

journey_page1

Listening

I’ve got two prompts left from my class with Kelly.  This has been quite the journey.  It’s freed me to journal faster.  It’s helped me explore tough questions that I haven’t thought about before or perhaps because they’re topics I’ve avoided consciously or unconsciously.  This particular page is about so much more than what I chose to write about.  Visually it conveys extra layers to what is running through my mind.  I don’t think of myself as a caged bird, but I do think that sometimes over thinking causes me to create imaginary cages, aka self-imposed limits.  I’m trying to be as awake and aware as possible in all areas of my life and what this means is that sometimes I come across things that are unexpected or not so pleasant.  I have immense joy in my life right now and even that is punctuated by a tinge of sorrow for things that have been lost or didn’t go as planned.  I think it’s human to look backward every once in a while.  It only becomes unhealthy when we dwell on that which we cannot change.  Looking backwards teaches us perspective about what we’ve learned.  My life lessons have been pretty big, perhaps not as big as some, but I’ve definitely been through much more in my life that is significant than I mention to anyone.  I keep it to myself.  It is a conversation I have inside.  I am listening to my soul.

Overwhelmed

Today I used the opportunity to journal about my frustrations with a situation at work.  Our task was to use the template provided and then focus on layering and using different lettering.  I didn’t really do much with my handwriting, but I mixed the upper and lower case letters of the word “overwhelmed” and I think this went well with the subject.  I also stamped the orange dots using bubble wrap after I journaled, but before I stamped.  The rest of the page is layered paper, washi tape, and the music transparency.  The last item I think added a little bit of “chaos” to the spread.  Feeling overwhelmed is like being a caged bird.  Your song isn’t as sweet.

Prompt 3