friday is art journal day!

Soft pastels, acrylic paint, one of my hand carved stamps (thanks, Julie!) and a positive affirmation (thanks, Jo!) produced this art journal spread you see below.

I started here . . . .

Next, I spread some pink acrylic paint on the other side with my finger . . .

smudged the soft pastels I had used a bit . . .

 Then I sprayed a bit of ink on the pages (it is still on my work table and i can't help it!)

 A little more ink (dylusions pure sunshine) as well as more soft pastels, yellow. I put one of my business cards in the tea bag pocket. I added the affirmation, writing with a soft pastel, spraying to set it afterwards.

I added marks with a gold oil pastel . . . The tea bag tags say: "Live in your strength" and . . . "Always be pure, simple and honest".

I made ice tea with this Green tea and just had to save the packaging!

I added part of a multi-colored pen shell . . . and signed the page.


This post is part of:

Art Journal every Day

art journal progress

Slow but steady, every week, I make sure I get something added to my personal art journal -mostly because I can play along with Art Journal Every Day.  I would probably work in my journal on my own, but Julie Balzer's posts and a chance to share definitely keep me on track. 

This week I tried painting my pages with white gesso and then spraying the page with various inks on top of the gesso while it was still wet.

I did not plan this idea out in advance, but instead started my work in my art journal by deciding it might be fun to work with gesso as a base this time. After painting it on both pages I thought, what if I did not let the gesso drybefore doing something else? To let it dry was my original thought. Grabbing a new Ranger dylusions ink spray (pure sunshine) and also a Adirondack Color Wash (Denim) I started spraying on top of the wet gesso. 

Then, I sprayed more plain water on top of the ink to see what would happen.

I liked the effect! Next I sprayed with the Denim ink . . . 

I sprayed on both sides of the spread with more plain water sprayed on top.

I also used the brush I had applied the gesso with to blend the ink and gesso in places.

There was a bit of Lumiere (Halo blue green) on the edge of the left page, which was carried over from the

previous spread

. I liked it though! This prompted me to add more of that paint to the edge of the page and a bit diagonally across the middle. 

 I used my heat gun to dry the gesso and ink, but not too close.

I love some of the patterns that were made through my experimenting!

This looked almost like a beach scene to me - I see sunshine, sand, waves. 

I had chosen my affirmation from my list before I started and thought this time I would hand write this on the page with a thin tipped Micron marker. I have been including a positive affirmation on every page spread in this art journal using a variety of ways to do it: Rubber stamped, computer generated and printed on paper or a transparency sheet, handwritten, magazine letters, painted . . . it is fun to choose them and gives me a bit of a theme.

The collage image I chose is one of many beautiful ones on a sheet called Art Time Pieces from my favorite, ARTchix Studio. I purchased mine as a downloadable image sheet, which worked great and was very fast to receive after ordering.

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.

It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.

  ~ Anne Lamott

Art Journal Every Day (only when you can!)

"I have some awesomely good news for you: you don't actually have to art journal every day to be a part of Art Journal Every Day. So if you're up for a little bit of "you" time every day (or every other day, or simply when you can) I hope you'll join us for Art Journal Every Day this year." Julie Balzer . . . 

Read More

guest post on Art Journal Every Day with Julie Balzer!

I am so thrilled that Julie Balzer asked me to write about the Sketchbook Project for Art Journal Every Day! My guest post was published today (May 18) and you can read it here. This has been quite the week for me, that's for sure. I am also a guest artist on the ARTchix Studio blog, whoo hoo! The Sketchbook Project, Art Journal Every Day and ARTchix studio are all favorites of mine, so I feel quite blessed. If you are new to my blog because of these posts, welcome! I'll be back soon. enjoy your day, lenna

Nothing happens unless first a dream.  - Carl Sandburg

limited edition sketchbook fun!

I am working . . . hmmm . . . rather I am playing at a slow but steady pace in my sketchbook that is part of the limited edition project hosted by the Art House Co-op. So far, I have put fabric of my own design over the cover and I am covering the blank pages of the journal with paper, paint, ink and even embossing powder. I cut holes in the pages first to give viewers a sneak peek at the photos I inserted throughout the book. These are my own photos and I am enjoying mixing them up with paint and paper. I have written an intro and inserted it on the inside front cover but other than that, I notice that I have not done any journaling yet. I think when I finish arting up the pages I will revisit them and add some words. My most recent pages follow, please click on any photo for a larger, more detailed one. Thanks for stopping by!

I like playing with paint and paper in this sketchbook/journal and feel it is helping me connect back to art journaling again. For more info on art journaling, I would highly recommend Julie Balzer's site and the section Art Journal every Day, yay! 

The love we give away is the only love we keep.
  ~ Elbert Hubbard

sketchbook project: Limited Edition

I finally got started and literally dove right in! That was a good thing, as this sketchbook/art journal project for the Art House Co-op is due to be postmarked by April 30. Two things happened. I had been looking through my journals from when I was doing Art Journal Every Day and was feeling like I needed to start art journaling again . . . and then, I saw what my dear friend Frieda had come up with for her Limited Edition sketchbook on her blog, view hers here. So yummy! I simply fell in love with what she did and seeing her work really pushed me to get my blank sketchbook out and play. I started with the cover; so odd but true. It was Frieda's cover that gave me the idea to work with fabric.

I chose a piece of fabric I had printed up from one of my own art journal pages at You can see both of the designs I created from art journal pages here.

On the front cover (above) I added one of my favorite photos I had taken in the last 6 months . . . You can see a better photo of it here - a feather caught. Then, I started working on the inside of the journal. Since my theme for the project was "Create and Capture" it led me to the idea of creating on the pages as well as showing a few of the beautiful images I have captured lately with my photography. 
I got the idea to cut out windows so to "hint" at the images first.

I chose my images, printed them and laid them out through the journal with windows, and then today I started to "art up" the blank pages using watercolor crayons, paint, rubber stamping and paper collage -click on any image for more details.

water color crayons, circle template and circle stamps
by Balzer Designs!

1st layer

more layers of paint and rubber stamping

I used embossing powder over white ink for the texture, below. That is a map of the area here on the left, Palma Sola Bay, FL. I took the photo of the starfish while walking in De Soto memorial a few weeks ago. De Soto is located in the area of this map -this was not planned!
and glued on some lace & string paper around the window.

On the left I glued on marbled blue & gold paper first, then added ripped bits of "lace green with white thread" paper I found at Jerry's Artarama.

There is more to come, but I will save that for another post!
Don't forget to check out the Art House Co-op ~
I highly recommend their wonderful art projects! 

Art Journal every day with Julie Balzer

 - Last year, when I was really just starting out with Art Journaling, I found Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. She gave me lots of inspiration, ideas, and she really got me committed to working in a journal just for myself, which I did almost every day for four months! Wow. I love those 2 journals -see them here - that I packed full of art techniques, exploration, discoveries, and photographs I took. I put my raw feelings and emotions into those journals through words or art . . . it became a diary of sorts. My only trouble was after 4 months, I had a hard time trying to continue on a daily basis -even if it was just to prepare a background on a page - and felt guilty when I didn't! So I decided to continue art journaling, but not on a daily basis, along with all the other creative things i like to do.

But you know what? I missed it! And I did not journal as regularly without that commitment.

Today I came across Julie's first Friday post for Art Journal Everyday (on her blog) called: Why I Art Journal. I highly recommend you go read it!! Besides being a great article in itself, I discovered that Julie has decided to tweak the Art Journal every day project a bit and I think it's a fantastic idea! She writes:

I'm doing the "sign-ups" a little bit differently in 2012.  Instead of committing ahead of time (and then feeling guilty if you don't do it), every week I'll ask you to link us up to an art journal page you made that week.  You can post it on your blog, on flickr, in a scrapbooking gallery, wherever you want.  This is a no guilt game.  If you get a little art journaling done, great!  If you don't, c'est la vie.

I love it! I'm in, Julie. Below are some of my favorite pages I made via ART Journal every day in 2011 -

* * * 

another art journal finished

I started this art journal back in July when I was working on doing Art Journal Every Day with Julie Balzer. This concept is a great idea and Julie gives participants lots of inspiration. I highly recommend it. I could see myself doing this again, perhaps for a one month commitment, as I found it hard to continue more than the four months that I did. Perhaps it was my circumstances. This is the second journal that I filled during that commitment and it feels wonderful to have finished it completely and to have filled it up! I started working last night with a Sumi brush and Dye-na Flow inks.

After spraying with plain water, I let that dry and came back to it today.

The quote is from Lao-Tzu.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
That is exactly how I felt. Just one step back into mixed media art.

I added the thin top layer of a paper napkin as the paint/ink alone was just too sparse for me. Then I edged and splattered with a krylon 14K gold marker. I just can't help myself!

My art journal was finished. I had been thinking about this last page for a while, but want you to know that what I did was done on the fly, on the spur of the moment, when I finally sat down and made myself start. 
A peek at the entire journal is below -click for details.

wow, that is a lot of art journaling, even over 4 months.

Thanks for being here. 

time to tweak

I came to the conclusion the other day that I did not want to or could not, for any extended period of time, do one specific thing everyday as a challenge for myself. I started off last December by giving myself a daily challenge of taking a photo and uploading it to Blipfoto. This was a great, creative challenge for me. For 200 days in a row, I took at least one photo per day and uploaded it to my account on blipfoto -December 19 to June 25. I did this fairly happily without any breaks. Since June 25, I have continued to take photos almost daily and upload them to blipfoto, with the difference being that I've given myself permission to not "have to" upload every day. It is a different experience for sure, but better for me (less pressure). I still enjoy it very much, continue to be active there and have now reached 252 days of uploads.

On May 1st, I discovered and committed to Julie Balzer's Art Journal Every Day. For a while there I was working in both my art journal and taking and uploading a photo, every day. whew! I have just finished four months of doing something in an art journal almost daily -or at least trying to. I really loved doing this and produced so much art. It really threw me into working in an art journal, something new for me, as well as doing something artistic and creative that was just for me. Since I am often doing art for other reasons -swaps, teaching samples, submissions . . . art for ME was an an unusual and wonderful experience!

September 1st rolled around today and I realized I was not ready to commit to working in my art journal every dayI remembered I had saved a link to a website where the challenge was to be creative everyday - making a piece of art (any kind), cooking, dancing, singing, knitting, taking photos -whatever, anything creative! I found the site: creative every day and it definitely appealed to me. Low pressure and I did not need to post about it everyday unless I wanted to. So! I have committed myself to this. I feel good that I have committed to a challenge that will encompass all the things I like to do and not leave me feeling over committed or too frazzled. I may keep a journal about what I'm doing or I may just keep a pact with myself. Does that make sense? To celebrate, a photo I took of Asia today, in the back yard, just for fun. I also made a delicious butternut squash soup for dinner!

color blast

art journal 8.28 by creativelenna
art journal 8.28, a photo by creativelenna on Flickr.
{ art journal 8/27 + 8/28 }

This started with a bit of blue ink on the page from the previous spread that I wanted to keep. You can see it on the top and bottom of the pages. I worked with water soluble oil pastels instead of crayons this time and added the pink. I also had two stickers from a butternut squash I was compelled to use -in the corners!

I layered papers down and added more pastels
* Thanks to Valerie in Germany for the super old book pages! *

dripped on acrylic inks . . .

then spritzed with water, so everything ran.

I stopped there for the time being . . . 
notice my art table is still holding it together! I am trying to be a little neater.

the next day -

I had recently found this old photo of me taken in perhaps 1999, when I lived with my 2 sons, their father and a melange of cats and dogs in Canton, CT. It was back when we sent photos to be processed. This photo was done incorrectly so all the colours were wild and yet I had never thrown it out. The rectangular pieces on the right are trimmed from the photo on the left . . . I liked the blast of colors!

Because the photo and the pieces were more raised, I decided to add a coat of self-leveling gel medium over everything to pull all the pieces together . . . 

I added sunflower sparkle perfect pearls pigment powder, by ranger. It stuck right to the gel medium, without any problems.

a final scan is below! 
That was a lot of fun. ; ^ ) There are only 2 spreads left is this notebook, wow.
* thanks to Jewels for the special delivery stickers! *

I did finally sign up for the Sketchbook Project 2012 so I may use that in conjunction with this project - an idea!  The information about the 2012 sketchbook project is here and my artwork in the 2011 sketchbook project can be found here. My sketchbook is now part of the art house co-op's digital library!

I had some questions within the comments of this post that I thought I would repeat here within the text in case others were wondering the same, but did not check the comments.
  • Sandra L asked, What brand of acrylic ink are you using? I have a bottle of the Liquitex but haven't tried anyone else's yet.  ~ Hi Sandra, I picked up 3 bottles of Daler Rowney "FW" artist acrylic inks at my local art store and have been trying them out. They're a new thing for me and different from what I am used to. The acrylic inks are more saturated and much less transparent than let's say Dye-Na-Flow or something like that. I've not tried the Liquitex yet . .. I think on the whole these type of inks are more permanent. : ) lenna
  • Sandra G asked,"I've never used the self leveling gel medium. I take it that you use it to get all the collage pieces to sit at the same shelf level so things don't look lop sided? What name brand did you use?"  ~ Since the photo pieces were sticking up a lot more than the base, I thought using gel medium over all would help even things out a bit. The pieces still stick up, but the edges are softer and I think it is less noticeable. It has pulled them together for me.
    I use Golden brand. I've had good luck with that gel medium. It is a high quality artists grade. The self leveling is different from let's say the regular matte medium because of it's consistency -it flows easily across your work and levels out. It also has a gloss sheen to it which I sometimes like. You can read more about both here in my "store" where I have gathered products I like to use!
    : ) lenna

sea washed sea birds

{ art journal august 24-26 }

I just had to do something with the photos I took the other day . . . 

On Tuesday I was going by Coquina beach after an appointment. I always have my camera with me these days and although I never go to the beach to sit in the sun anymore like I did when I was 20, I do like to wade my feet in the cool water and take photographs. So that is exactly what I did! Coquina beach has many beautiful birds. Here is one of my favorite photos of the afternoon, below-click for more details.

There are more to see -click here if you'd like to go to the beach in Florida  with me for a few minutes . . .  ; ^ ) I decided later to remember that afternoon in my art journal and I thought image transfers of a couple of these photos would be fun. Instead of doing the transfers directly in my journal, I did them on separate pieces of paper to insert in my journal. I used ink jet transparency prints of my photos and gel medium (I like the Golden brand) to transfer my photos to paper. I found instructions on the art-e-zine site that may be helpful to you if you'd like to try a transfer yourself.

peeling the transparency back, revealing my transfer

my two image transfers

The transfer on the right, above: I peeled it off the paper it was on and so it is just the gel medium with the image on it. It is the same image as the favorite photo above, but I did not "flip" it so it is reversed now in my book. Sometimes I flip my photos first, but I did not think it mattered this time.

Daler Rowney FW acrylic inks -it comes with a dropper top.

The pages were misted with water first . . .
so everything is running, like I wanted it to.

More water, more running of ink . . . I wanted a "seawashed" look.

I add kosher salt on top to add texture and patterns. When the ink dries, I brush it off.

I start journaling and making swirls with my pen and I add 
some white super sparkle Lumiere paint!

I added shells and sand with tacky glue . . . 

 * To see more photos of this journal spread in a large size, go here! 

: ^ ) it made me happy to do this . . .

black, black, black as night

{ art journal august 19-22 }

I have been working on this journal spread a little bit here and a little bit there over the past few days. It started with more of that interesting paper from Selvedge magazine in colors I don't usually work with, like black and red. I used this paper to cover just the edges of the pages and left it at that for the time being. click on any photo = more details.

I came back the next day and added leftover paper scraps of rubber stamping like you see on the paper on the table below, to the bottom of each page. Then I got out my black paint! You may also recognize part of Steven's pirate disguise laying on the table below. We had braided wax linen and added beads. He did not want to save them and I could not just toss them out!!

I glued those wax linen braids to the page with goop glue . . . then added a black feather, a shell and a piece of coral with the same glue. (click for detail)

Sometime later, I decided to start writing with a white sakura Glaze pen. My writing was done more as a pattern than anything else but I had fun rhyming and filling the page. I also drew some moons and stars, which have a great significance to my husband Steven and me. I did like those braids from his pirate garb hanging there, but I still did not think the pages were "done".

To finish the pages I added a large white feather next to the black one, plus a zettiology rubber stamp I love that says - What we want is to make something that utterly fills the sight. (true for me) I stamped it with a white Brilliance pad after practicing and it worked out perfectly, I was pleased. I also rubber stamped a bird stamp I have in both black and white, and I spread a little accent of white super sparkle Lumiere paint around the edges in a couple of places. I used my finger to apply it. On top of one of the white accents I stamped a faux postage stamp by Cats Life Press that has a woman's face -click to view it better, above on the left. I also added another shell and iridescent glass balls.

Ah, matey! The last thing I added on the right was Steven's drawing of a fouled anchor with my name below it. He tries to tell me it means we are entangled, but then he always jokes about how I am "stuck with him"! The drawing was for a tattoo I was to give him by copying his design with a Sharpie marker, all for the pirate party. We ran out of time and I did not draw it on his arm this time. But in 2006, I did give him the same tattoo! You'll have to click to enlarge the photo to see it at all! But you see, full circle . . . all these things make semse to me and end up in my art journal! 

Steven sailing Nimda in the Thousand Islands, Canada - 2006

Have fun!
do something creative!
xo lenna 

art journal every day

larger photos (and more) of my journal pages here. Use the "next" at the top to move through them at your own pace.