January 11, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 16

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Learning art, Soul Journal, Techniques (art) tagged , at 5:57 pm by amateur-in-art

OK. I’m warning you. Today it is going to get very ugly, very fast.

Sarah gave us a list of different things to do, with the instruction that we were to do them in a different order than the one she had listed. My first step was to use a little bit of masking tape.

Next, I wrote adjectives.


I don’t know why, but a few political words showed up. Maybe it is just “the season.” I also decided to be weird and use a few color words, but write them in different colors than the words they represented. (Like writing the word “red” in green, for instance.) I deliberately avoided (for the most part) writing on my coasters, which are the circles.

Here’s where things began to unravel. Or get messy. Even ugly.

Now, Sarah warned us to use permanent markers. So the fault is entirely my own. I was using markers from Le Plume. I got some of these some time back, because I had heard how wonderful they were. How versatile. How you could use them on rubber stamps. The colors were bright and varied. A brush-like tip or fine line. On and on. How wonderful. And, for their price (over $20 for about a 12-pack) – they should be pretty wonderful. Well, in my enthusiasm, I didn’t read or double check to see if these markers were permanent. I just naively assumed they were. I mean, if you were using them to rubber stamp with, sure, they might be easy to wash off while still wet, but surely they’d dry permanent, right? WRONG!!!!!

Once I realized they were not permanent, I tried to come up with alternative ways around the problem. First, I sprayed my pages with fixative. Like you are supposed to use on pastels and charcoal. Nope, no good. It still comes off on my hand when damp. OK. So I’ll try my old stand-by (because I’ve never had much luck w/fixative anyway, even when using it on pastels, etc.) – which is hair spray. Surely that’ll give it enough of a coat that it will seal it and I can then paint on top or etc. No. Guess again. Alright, well, I found to my surprise at my art store that gesso even comes in clear – so I bought some of that to try. I dabbed it on the page numbers in the corner – and all I got was smeary. So – it was clear by now, that I was sunk. So – I just valiantly went forward, even though I knew this page spread was now doomed.

Ick! Here’s what happened next. This is my “wash of paint.” I used a small brush, and a hot-pink watercolor. I hoped that maybe small brush + watercolor would mean less smearing, but it was all a lost cause anyway.


You can also see my step #4, which was to use pencil. I used a regular pencil and drew squiggles around the edges of the two pages.

Here’s the rest of the steps I did:

#5 – write a list somewhere using your non-dominant hand

How hilarious. You really can’t see it very well, but I wrote with a regular ink pen on the right side of the left page. It is completely illegible. I decided the horrible writing fit in just fine with all of the other chaos that was happening on these pages. I liked this idea, though. I could see filling a whole page with writing from my non-dominant hand. Cool!

#6 – dry brush

I chose to do this on only one of the pages – the right one, and used a yellow ochre kind of color. This was actually pretty tricky to do, because I needed to keep my brush dry – but it was getting muddy from all the markers running. I didn’t want to ruin my paint by dipping in for more, when everything was bleeding like this. I just made sure to brush my brush on a paper towel to get rid of any “contaminants” before going in for more paint.


This is what it looked like after I did all but the last step, which was the magazine stencil. In the picture above, in addition to the dry brushing on the right hand page, I’ve also done some small splatters on the left, in yellow and black, which are just barely visible here. I couldn’t get too carried away with the splatters, because my workspace is very small, so I had to make sure all the splatters stayed on or very very close to the book. “Controlled splattering” is not the easiest thing to do! I also made some random markings with an ink pen, which also really don’t show up much.

Now on to the fun part! The magazine stencil! I deliberately knew I wanted to keep this for my “last thing” to do on this page. Here’s a picture of the woman I cut out for this piece.


And almost just as cool – look at what it looks like from the opposite side! I like this almost as much! – And it gives me great ideas for other future methods. Cut out a picture on one side – but use the opposite side to paste down, instead. Sort of a “picture within picture” technique!


I moved my stencil-woman around several places on my pages, and decided to have her leaping from one page to the other.


Doesn’t she look great, just as she is, on top of all of the chaos I’ve created?

I really was tempted to just paste her on, as-is, and omit the stenciling technique. But that’s not what this exercise is about, so onward I went! I knew that I would have some difficulties with this, because of the hinge in between pages, and also the raised surface of the coasters. But I also felt like I really didn’t have anything to lose, since I had already made a mess of everything to start with!

So here’s what it looked like in the end.


I didn’t feel like there was quite enough definition in the lines around the stencil, so after it dried, I went back and used a fine line Sharpie to outline the stencil, on the inside. It is subtle, but I think it made an important difference and strengthened the outline of the orange.

Well, I think, in hindsight (it always takes me a few days to post, after I’ve done the art work) – this may not be as “ugly” as I first assumed. Messy, yes. Chaotic, yes. Not what I was hoping for? Yes again. But I think in the end it is OK.

And I’m ready for next time. I went out and bought some permanent markers, so I can paint away, without the worry and grief of having “runny” words!

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© amateur-in-art, 2009



  1. Rosie said,

    I love this spread! I think the cut-out shape and then looking at it from the reverse side is great and shall have to try that! Very cool! I really like the orange around your ‘stencil’ too – plus I think you’re way too hard on yourself – it’s really fun and the pages are fab! Love what you do and the descriptions!!!

  2. Oh, why thank you! One of the great things I have learned from this whole Soul Journal/blogging process is that others see things that I don’t. Either in my own art, that I’ve posted, or in the new ways to do things, new techniques, etc.

    I’m working on Day 18 now, and it has another stencil-thingy – I’m just going to have to break down and use the back side of it on that spread, I think. Just too good to pass up. May be another week or so before I get that posted.

    Thanks so much for the kind and encouraging words! I sometimes worry that I’m too wordy or go into to much detail. Thanks for letting me know you enjoy what I’m doing.

  3. […] four days of Sarah Whitmire’s Soul Journaling and then stopped.  I’ve been watching Amateur in Art going through the prompts and finally kicked myself in the butt to get going again as […]

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