My first Art Journal is complete!

AJ1 Cover
AJ1 Cover

Working in this art journal was an amazing adventure. While I have several journals in various stages of completion, this is the journal where I made the most progress—and actually finished—from beginning to end.

When I started this journal in Fall 2012, I had worked in other journals but I hadn't found my stride. I really didn't know what I was doing. By the end, though—actually, sometime in the middle—I made a shift.

I guess you could say I went from someone who was learning how to keep an art journal to someone who keeps one.

Big shift.

Today, I'd like to share some of the progress and some of the pages in my first completed art journal. I had hopes of learning how to videotape (and upload) a "flip" of the entire journal, but alas, that kind of project must be saved for a later day. We'll have to settle for the highlights...

First of all, here are the first couple of pages in the journal and I'm showing them because...ugh, they are really not very good!

AJ first pages
AJ first pages

There are more bad pages—I'll spare you!

And then came this page which I shared in another post. It was the first page I actually liked—and loved doing. I was inspired by another artist's painted rocks and I loved how it just came together.

flowerfartaround
flowerfartaround

It was about then that I started branching out and actively learning new techniques. Sometimes I got inspiration from tutorials. Basically, an artist online (who I no longer remember—my apologies) gave step by step instructions for how she layered a background. I did it and then decided that I would turn the steps into "recipe book" - see the recipe stand?

recipe and present
recipe and present

Much later, I decided to wrap it up as a present to myself—this was the page I learned that I didn't need a recipe! And I don't think I like super messy backgrounds, either...

Abstract Collage pages
Abstract Collage pages

Other times, I played with abstract collage. These two pages were fun to make, although I still have a long way to go to master the fine art of composition in abstract art:

And plenty of pages found me sketching and journaling—capturing ideas and moments—like these:

sketching collage
sketching collage

(I'm especially proud of my feet there...I can't say enough about how anyone can draw (if I can), with practice...)

I did a lot of experimenting in this journal, learning techniques but also learning to let go—to allow the colors and forms and ideas to come out even if I didn't know where I was going with them or why. Like on this spread, which is one of my favorites:

Free painting
Free painting

(Do you see a circle of women dancing?)

It was about this time in my journal that I started to make pages that I ended up loving. Even if the subject was sad, like when I captured the week of Halloween and my mother's memorial service:

mom
mom

That was a really tough week, but creating the images that captured so many of the pieces of it was very healing. I love this page.

And you know what, it seems almost after that I started liking almost every page I made. Not that my inner critic wasn't barking orders all the time, but I became better at letting go and trusting my intuition. Often, strange things happened. For instance, on one spread which I won't share because the journaling is a little personal, I pulled out two images from a box of images I keep for use someday--two winter white birds and a snowy road filled with people going toward a mountain. I didn't know how they related, but as I worked I began to see a very clear connection with what I had been thinking about for days!

I will close with the final pages of my art journal:

art retreat
art retreat

Those are real eucalyptus leaves preserved in matte medium and painted—and a wonderful arting day with my friend Laura, preserved too.

too many hats
too many hats

I hand drew and cut out each one of those hats. That was fun.

And on this page, I learned the power of dark, black ink:

trees
trees

Finally, we have the last page of the book. I'm pleased with it because for me it captures where I think I'm headed with this art journaling thing:

As you wish
As you wish

Anywhere I want to go. And that's what I learned most from my first, completed art journal.