Art Journaling Class

art journal

I have decided to take a monthly art journal class taught by my friend, Linda Neff, at her Green Door Studio. Since I have a tendency to be a hermit, I thought it would be a fun way to make me go out and be social each month. Besides, my husband is now on a golf league, so I figure I should have something to do, too, right?

This was the first page I created in the class … I’m using a different journal this time — Strathmore Mixed Media 5.5 x 8.5. I wanted to try a different kind of paper than in my Dylusions journal because I have had some issues with the pages sticking. I also wanted to try to work with a spiral bound book so I can get my book completely flat while working. I cannot say I like one better than the other … they are both great for different reasons.

This technique uses acrylic paint and alcohol. I fell in love with it. I have since tried it with chalk paint, Distress Paint and Dylusions Paint … I must say it is a favorite. More details to come … for now, this is how I used the technique on a few projects …


This is with Distress Paint and Chalk Paint …


This one is with Distress Paint and Dylusions Paint. Details on this one to come …

In the meantime, Art Journaling is the fourth Thursday in Brighton … give the studio a call and join us!

One of my favorites: Jen Starr


I was honored to spend a recent day with Jen Starr, artist extraordinaire.

She came to a friend’s store to teach and I, of course, took all three classes. She taught me how to do a photo transfer on canvas (the finished photo is coming soon), as well as working with Dylusions paints and The Crafter’s Workshop stencils. I learned a lot, as I always do when Jen is in town. Not only is she a great instructor, but she is a wonderful person and a great storyteller, too.

In an art journaling class, Jen pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone. She actually MADE me draw, and doodle, and trace … three things I cannot do — despite her excellent instruction.


Compared to hers, my art is awful, but in a way, I kind of like it. I like that I tried something new. And I like that it is bright, colorful and busy. My circles may not be perfect and my lines may not be straight, but I’m not perfect either, so I guess it is OK.


I wanted to share it because I think we often set our standards too high. We compare ourselves to others and try to be like someone else and that just isn’t possible. All of us are not natural artists. All techniques may not come easy to us. But all of us can express ourselves, and have fun, making art.


So, as my friend Wendy Vecchi says, “Make Art!”


For Art’s Sake


I have finally jumped on board and tried art journaling. Art journaling is nothing new — it has been around for centuries and has even been “trendy” for the past three or four years. But I put off trying this new adventure, I think, because of what it is — creating for the sake of creating.

You see, in my world, everything has a purpose. Most of my kitchen decor is stuff I take off the wall and use — like decorative measuring spoons or colanders. Decorative boxes, baskets and bins hold my stencils, stamps and paints in my studio. Antique mason jars hold ribbons and twine in my living room. Even my animals are expected to provide something — eggs, meat, love.

So, to break away and make something that might never be seen by another, that will not decorate a room or make someone happy, well, that just did not fit me.

But, the more pages and techniques I saw, the more I wanted to play, too.

And then the inner me started wanting to come out. I’m not sure if it is my age, my place in life, the lifestyle changes I am making or the fact that I just had surgery, but I’ve gotten a bit deeper … I often find myself examining things or thinking about things and wanting to write down those thoughts. And, I thought an art journal might be a good place to record them.


I purchased a Dylusions journal from Ranger, grabbed some inks, sprays and stencils, and sat down to play. I got a bit carried away with the liquids and parts of my book started to fall apart and other parts bled in the binding, so you will see washi tape on most of my pages. But other than that, my art journal features a wide range of styles and mediums. The page above, for example, shows Dylusions sprays, stencils, Distress Ink, a new Fiskars punch, paint and even a Sharpie marker. This page shows some of the reasons I am making such drastic life changes and some of the goals I set. Whenever I get discouraged, I turn to this page and remind myself WHY!



I had planned to put photos here, but I love the background so much, I have a hard time covering it up, so it remains as is.


This was my first time playing with Distress Crayons. I later went over it with paint and stencils, stamps and some ephemera.


This is page 2 of my bucket list (I didn’t want to share the list with the world).


This is my opening page … the circles and deer are punched from a sheet of Mixed Media Paper I was using as a demo sheet at a crop … it was covered in techniques and products and I decided to use punches to make it into decorative pieces, rather than throwing it away.


This is where I was testing the new Distress Collage Medium with tissue paper and stamps …


And here, testing the new Distress Crayons and a stamp.


Some of my pages are far from done … I find myself making backgrounds and then, when I am inspired to write or create, the pages are all ready to go.


And, sometimes my old linear self takes over and my pages no longer have that free flow that I like … but it is a good place to keep the updates of my weight-loss journey.


I have found many uses for my art journal … yes, some pages are just art for art’s sake. But, I am also using it to showcase my weight loss with photos, goals and inspiration. I use it at crops to show different techniques. I record important things to me, like my bucket list.

And, perhaps my favorite use, is to use it as a test pad. I’ve been trying out new products and techniques right in the book. It is easy to grab and I am free to just spread glue or wipe paint and not worry about creating anything or wasting anything. It doesn’t matter if the technique works or if I don’t like it. I can easily be covered up or ignored. And there is no pressure to finish it … the pages can remain as they are for as long as I wish them to. In fact, some of my favorite pages began as “I wonder what would happen if I …” Now, in those wee hours of the morning when I am not quite awake, but no longer sleeping, I find myself designing ways to record those aspects of my life that are not easily written down.

So, there you have it. My art journal is a technique tester, diary, weight-loss tracker, motivational inspiration, a sales tool, random thoughts, pieces of me, a demo counter AND art.

Yes, art journaling is definitely bringing out the artist in me. And now I cannot imagine life without it!