February 15, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 19 – Confidence!

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Learning art, Soul Journal tagged , at 11:20 pm by amateur-in-art

Actually, there is very little activity to Day 19. All that you had to do for today was to go make color photocopies of your work thus far.

But – this simple assignment was actually a very important thing, as it turns out – for two main reasons:

First, I discovered that some of my journal pages I actually liked much better, when I saw them as photocopies. Day 16 is a good example. I was pretty frustrated with this one, and disappointed when I made it. But when I saw it as a photocopy, I actually really liked it!

The second good thing about making these copies is that when the copier-guy was helping me, he said, “Oh wow, that’s cool!” when he saw my Soul Journal pages. That made me feel really great! Somebody likes what I did! Yay!

You see, I am still so very new at all of this, and all along, I have said I am creating for myself – and I am – so it was very unexpected when someone else, someone who is not even another soul journaler – said he liked what I had done! Wowee!! That was a fabulous feeling!

And, to top it all off, a few weeks ago, Chicken Teriyaki Bowl #7 posted on her blog that I that after watching my posts on my Soul Journal work, she had resumed her Soul Journal after setting it aside for a while. That was really humbling and inspiring when I read that. Wow!

I know it is a small thing, but tiny tidbits like these keep me going, and help me believe and gain confidence in myself as I learn more about creating and art, through this Soul Journal journey.

Thank you, Sarah, for creating the Soul Journal prompts, and guiding us through them, and thank you to the entire Soul Journal community!

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

February 14, 2009

Coloring Mandalas

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art samples, Beginner's art, Learning art tagged , , , , at 12:08 am by amateur-in-art

I recently purchased a “kit” from Barnes & Noble called “The Art of the Mandala.” It comes with colored pencils, a booklet of the same title, and 80 outlines of mandalas to color. (It does not appear to be listed on their website. I found it with the various kits and boxed sets of things near their bargain books.)


I only (and still) had a very vague notion of mandalas. I knew they were considered “spiritually significant” by some religions, and that they were used for meditation for some religions and beliefs, and especially, I think, in Buddhism. Though this is still all just my general ideas about mandalas. I have yet to read the book that was included with the kit or to learn more about them. I will, though, I’m sure.

When I colored my first mandala (above), I was surprised at the calming effect it had, and how through the process, I discovered that there was more and more detail to the drawing. What, on the surface, looked like a simple drawing, instead, turned out to have many layers and elements.

The next one I did was not symmetrical – it had a dragon’s head on one side and what looked to me to be an eye on the other. I wanted to use red for the dragon, for sure, but wanted something calmer to contrast with it, so I made part of the “frame” around the dragon green and used red for the frame on the other side.


It is interesting to me that on both of these, the “feel” of the piece changes when you change the orientation of the drawing.


In this case, it’s not only the colors that switch, but it seems important as to whether the dragon is facing up, or facing down.

There is probably more significance to these drawings than what I see and understand. As I said, I’ve never really encountered mandalas before, and I don’t know much about their tradition, either.

But I do like the drawings that are in this kit, I liked the experience of filling them in, and coloring mandalas is definitely something I will want to continue to do.

It may be sacrilege (and if so, someone please tell me!) but I’m also thinking that at some point I may cut or tear these up to use as pieces or fragments or backgrounds in some future page or art project. Especially the first one – seems like the patterning there might be good in a background or something. And all of the curlie-ques and ornamentation from the dragon one also might be really cool to use in something.

© amateur-in-art, 2009

P.S. (Mar. 9, 2009) – Check out some great mandalas at Collage Diva’s Soul Journal site – and look for an ATC swap and a contest, too!

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February 12, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 18 Plus

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Beginner's art, Soul Journal at 11:00 pm by amateur-in-art

On Day 18, Sarah gave us some additional assignments. First, she asked us to think and write about what our Soul Journaling experience has been like thus far. Then she also told us to go back and work on our taped pages some more.

I avoided doing any of this for a long time, and I’m not sure why. I didn’t feel comfortable doing anything to my taped pages, and I also really wasn’t sure what to do. I think having the structured directions – even for something like the “collage potpourri” prompts – really helps me a lot. When left on my own, I simply didn’t have a clue what to do.  In the end, all I ended up doing was just taking a brayer with rubber bands wrapped around it (a technique I read about in a book), running it through some paint, and rolling it over the pages a couple of times. It wasn’t even a big enough difference to even take a picture of.

But, I did feel like this would be a good time to go back to my earlier “Torn” and “comfort” pages and do some more work on them. I gave the pages some more layers of gesso – and was surprised to find out that the gesso, even in layers, still remains very transparent. My extra layers really didn’t seem to make that much difference.

I felt like the biggest theme of my Soul Journal has been simply that it captures different bits and pieces of my life, so I used that as my theme for this page and wrote that phrase on a dotted game scorecard. I used the scorecard part to declare myself a winner on the opposite page – because I feel like the SJ process has benefited me in many ways.

After this, I added on some more layers of paint, still keeping sort of the basic distinction I originally had on the two pages, with cool colors on the left and warm colors on the right. I also used a dried baby wipe I had leftover from cleaning some rubber stamps, and used it to sort of do a dry brush style wipe of color in several places.

I also decided to do the fork-painting technique, and then used markers to write different words about how I feel about my Soul Journal and the SJ process.


I like these pages much better than the earlier “emotional” pages. The earlier pages served their purpose at the time, I believe, but by the same token, I am kind of glad to be rid of them and have something new in their place.

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© amateur-in-art, 2009