View Full Version : Jean's January Mixed Media Visual Journal

01-08-2011, 01:43 AM
With high hopes for a lot of creative time this month, I'm going to do a challenge journal. I love that I get to define it for myself - - that will let me combine it with another activity: the Strathmore Visual Journal Workshop that Rainy pointed us at a while back.

The January Workshop is "Recycled Journal Pages." There are 4 lessons, one per week for 4 weeks. So, my goal is to do at least 2 - 3 journal pages per week. I have included the first 3 below.

I am working in a 5.5" x 8" Strathmore Visual Journal. I'm impressed with this journal so far. It contains 44 pages (22 sheets) of 140 lb cp paper that seems to hold up quite well to the wet applications I have done so far. The paper seems to buckle a little while it is wet, but mostly straightens out when dry. If you have only done one side of the page, there is a little bit of a bow in the sheet, but once you do the second side of the page with wet media, it ends up completely flat again when it dries.

Here are my first 3 pages:


Most of Page 1 consists of black and white and color copies of previous artwork I have done, including a "greens chart" that I recently did to help me with my Parrots painting. It is glued directly on the page with a matte gel medium with a coat of the matte gel sealing the entire page at the end.


This page started with a varigated wash of Quin. Gold and New Gamboge, sealed with a spray matte finish. Then I used Mod Podge to glue and seal a black and white copy of some poppies I had painted before and a color copy of my painting of a little Spanish doll that I painted before. I left this page fairly plain, as the second week's lesson builds on top of week one and I needed one page to carry forward for the 2nd week's lesson. You'll probably see this one again, taken a new direction as it progresses.


This page also started with a watercolor wash, finished with matte spray. The collage elements are a mixture of color copies of previous artwork, some sketches I did on the back of a grocery receipt at a local indoor kids play space, and some magazine clippings. All were glued in with Mod Podge and sealed with a final coat.

I'm excited to be doing this workshop - it is helping me to get back into the collage type journaling that is really fun and freeing to do.

C&C's always welcome and appreciated.

01-08-2011, 03:25 PM
Hi Jean, love your pages, especially the first one. Cannot wait what will happen to this page in the next lessons!

I was not able to find a Strathmore Visual Journal yet, they do not seem to sell them in the Netherlands. I am using a journal with less thick paper, but it does not work well. The pages buckle up ever after drying. I am thinking of asking one of my US colleagues to buy me a few Strathmore Journals and send them to me, they look really good.

01-08-2011, 04:20 PM
I love collage journaling... I especially like the idea of using black & white copies of paintings you have done as collage elements- very cool! Thank you for sharing, these are great.

01-08-2011, 06:20 PM
Terrific pages so far. I love the first one!

01-08-2011, 06:22 PM
LOVE all of your pages. . . the first is my favorite. I am so glad to see others doing this workshop. I just got my gel medium today so I am ready to go once I get my printer/scanner/copier.

Eager to see how your pages evolve with the different weeks progress.

01-08-2011, 09:19 PM
Good start, Jean!

01-09-2011, 06:01 PM
Curious to see where these go. Great start.

01-09-2011, 06:25 PM

I love your Visual Journal. I can't wait to get started. I need to go out and get the supplies though. It will be fun to put together. I know you're loving this. I watched the 2nd week video today and it's so inspiring. Have fun and continue on so we can see what you come up with. Bonnie

01-09-2011, 07:54 PM
Good stuff Jean, it looks very creative and an enjoyable exercise :)

01-10-2011, 04:59 AM
This looks like fun, good work with your journal so far.

01-10-2011, 11:49 AM
Off to a great start Jean!

01-10-2011, 01:49 PM
Love the first page.

Like you, I love adding collage elements to a journal page or doing the whole page.
Looking forward to seeing the pages develop.

01-11-2011, 02:10 PM
Creating with joy and freedom is oh so special and important to one's soul :) :) :)

01-13-2011, 01:27 PM
Hi everyone! Thanks for your comments. I'm glad there are so many of us doing the workshop - it's fun to see what everyone is doing.

I did quite a bit for the 2nd week's lesson and really learned a lot of "technical" things, which I will tell you later.

For those who are not taking the workshop, the process for lesson 2 is to continue working an existing page with additional layers:

* Hand writen journaling in graphite or pen
* Use oil pastels to add shadowing and additional color
* Add a layer of gesso, partially full strength and partially watered down to let parts of the image show through. This will obscure any of the journaling you want to leave hidden and also brings the page together in a more consistent overall feel
* Then you can continue working additional oil pastel or other media on top of the gesso.


In the image above, I used copies of a can can dancer (b&w), a snow leopard (color), and my kitty Shadow (b&w), which are original artwork. Other elements were taken from magazines, brochures, etc. I particularly liked tearing the snow leopard in strips and reconstructing him with spaces in between to do the journaling. I found I did not care too much for the oil pastels, so I used a bit of watercolor over the gesso and also to do some lettering.


For this spread, I use a black and white copy (left page) and a color copy (right page) of some crocuses I did for a long-past WDE. The butterfly was also a very quick, basic sketch I found in my scrap pile. Other images and lettering were from magazines. The stripes on the left hand page were a small scrap of some decorative paper I had in my collage box.

I did use oil pastel for the colors added on the left page and used a micron pen and a gold pen to embellish various images on these pages.

Now for the lessons I learned this week:

1) On my first week's pages, I used Mod Podge on pages 2 and 3 and I not only used it as glue, but also sealed it with a coat on top of the image. Unfortunately, that made the pages not accept the oil pastels I tried to use on top for lesson 2. (oops!) :lol:
2) To try to recover, I sprayed a "workable fixative" over the Mod Podge surface, but that didn't work either.
3) The good news is that I love the sort of semi-glossy surface I ended up with on those pages.
4) I found I did not like the oil pastel shading very much, but I think that was due mostly to the type of images I used.
5) Since I was not able to add layers to my original week 1 images, I decided to make black and white copies of THEM and paste them into the journal to let me do further work on. I've only gotten them pasted in at this point, so the pages below are still to be developed:


Really having fun with this and I am learning a lot.


01-13-2011, 07:29 PM
Thanks for sharing your processes and lessons learned.

I'm really taken with the spread with the flowers. I like it.

01-14-2011, 06:59 PM
It's fun watching the pages progress!

Joan T
01-15-2011, 11:13 AM
Jean - These are great!!! I like your idea of using b&w copies of some of the images. Hopefully if I look at enough of the great pages that are being done, some of it will rub off on me. lol

01-16-2011, 09:27 PM
Looks like a great workshop.

I like oil pastels for resist effects, for example with ink or watercolour. Probably not good if you want to keep collaging etc.

02-01-2011, 08:23 PM
Thanks Debby, Margo, Joan and Chris. I'm so glad that I signed up for the Visual Journal workshop. It was a great exercise to learn about layering more and more and more. I ended up not having time to do as many as I wanted, but I have a few more images to wrap up my January Mixed Media work.

First is the finish to one I have shown before:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Feb-2011/127224-VJ_P9__WIP_-_small.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Feb-2011/127224-Full_Blossom-small.jpg

Even though I am still not too enamoured with the oil pastels, I did follow the entire process, adding all the layers that were suggested in the workshop. I do really like the look when you just keep adding more and more, though I admit that on my own, I have a tendency to stop too soon.

The real problem I think I have had with this process is that I chose a journal that is too small. The one I am using is 5" x 8" and I just always felt I didn't have enough room for all the elements I wanted to add. So I decided to do another one, using the entire process in my larger "Fragments of Life" journal, which I have used for mixed media in the past. I've been much happier with the process in this one. It is not quite finished yet, but here are photos taken roughly the end of steps 1 and 3 (sorry, forgot to take the pic after step 2).


The step 1 photo above actually does have a lot of muted color in it but for some reason, my camera read it all as deep blue. I used photoshop to take the blue color out, but cannot get anything but black and white. ALL of the elements above are from copies of previous artworks: a sketch of my daughter, an oil pastel water lily, a watercolor sketch from nearby Laguna Beach, printed and used in a couple of different sizes, and a practice piece of blue-green waves. Here it is after step 3:


My final step will be a lot of doodling in various media. I'll post it as soon as it is done.

My bottom line conlusion on journal size is that I would like the 9" x 12" size between these two best. AND I am much happier using the oil pastels at the larger size than I was on the small size.

Be back soon to post the final for January (all right, I know it's actually February now, but there you go. . .)

02-01-2011, 08:43 PM
Interesting how using essentially the same process you all came up with such different pieces. Looking forward to the final on this one.

02-01-2011, 09:33 PM
Sounds like a wonderful workshop. So much thought! So many materials! Agree that OPs require a large-ish surface to work on (particularly if you have giant OPs like I have - Grande size by Sennelier - no tiny marks here....)

02-01-2011, 09:53 PM
I really like how the second page is turning out. The lovely thing about mixed media is, if you decide you don't like something like the op's you don't have to use them the next time. It's quite easy to get many layers without them. It is interesting to work in different sizes to see the size you like best. I did a journal last year using a 4x6 bound journal. It was very interesting to do after many larger books, very hard to find collage pieces that fit, but I really enjoyed working smaller for a change, the page is done much more quickly! For heavy detail hard to beat the larger books though.

02-12-2011, 05:14 PM
Thanks Debby, EP, and Margo. Yes, it is very interesting how differently they all turn out. Even each one of my own is a lot different from the others.

Here is the finish on this one. It ended up being called "Favorite Things." For comparison, here are photos after steps 3 and 4:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Feb-2011/127224-MerBeck_1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Feb-2011/127224-Favorite_Things_Finish-small.jpg

I ended up using everything but the kitchen sink on this including: Acrylic paint, stamps, splatter, drips, pan pastels, pastel pencils, pentel pens, stick pastels, zentangles, a gold gel pen, whooo - I don't know what else, but I just kept loading it on until I am finally happy with it. I LOVE doing layer on layer, on layer.

Here are a few close-ups of some of the details:




This workshop was so much fun. Now I can't wait for the next one!

C&C's are always welcome and appreciated.

02-12-2011, 06:26 PM
I really like this last page, Jean! Definitely not in my comfort zone to be able to create.

02-12-2011, 07:05 PM
wow, those are really great pages

02-12-2011, 09:00 PM
Interesting layering. Great work.

02-13-2011, 03:45 AM
A wonderful page, I like it.

02-13-2011, 10:23 AM
Very nice Jean.

Joan T
02-13-2011, 01:32 PM
These are amazing!!!! I love all the layering you did on them. I agree about the 5 x 8 journals being a bit small. I bought 3 of them and I feel the same way. Maybe I'll save the remaining two for something else and try a larger size in the future for the journal. Thanks for sharing these.