June 3, 2009

Guided Tour of Art Map

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Collage, Learning art, Papercrafts, Soul Journal tagged , at 9:44 pm by amateur-in-art

I was in such a hurry to meet the True North Arts deadline for posting my Art Map that I rushed my previous post. I also hadn’t quite finished up my map. Here’s what it looks like now, pretty much done at this point.


I don’t think I’ll talk a lot about technique in this post (mostly because there is not that much to it) but I will say here that my base is a paper bag that I wadded up and smoothed out several times. My original idea was sort of to have it be a “treasure map” – with the heart (Art) at the top being the “treasure.” In the end it wasn’t really a treasure map, but it definitely is a map of my art journey through the past year. I’m thinking about pasting it down onto a canvas board, creating some sort of trim around the edges of the board, and putting a small placard on the top that announces the title of the piece: “A Year in Art”.

My art journey began almost exactly a year ago. On my map, it starts in the lower left corner.


You cannot read it here, it is too pale, but the small purple square at the lower left is a tiny “book” and the cover reads: “Altered Book Workshop.” That’s where my art journey began. I had not seen or heard of anything like this before, but being both a reader and a writer, it sounded like it would be very interesting and creative. Wow! Did that start me off on a journey! I think I went out and spent $100 (that I did not have) on various art supplies right away. I started searching out different places on the Internet, checked out books from my library about altered art and college, and literally, for a while, I think, went nearly insane in my enthusiasm. In fact, I started this blog not too long after that, too, and my original intent was to call it “Artistic Enthusiasm” because that was what I felt, and if I gave it that kind of a name, at least I didn’t have to worry if I was long on enthusiasm and short on talent. (The name was already taken, even though it appeared to be an abandoned blog, but so here I am as “Amateur in Art’.)

Back to the map. I’ve already commented upon Collage Diva and 1000 Squares in my previous post, so won’t reiterate here. Let’s move on to the “southeast,” which covers the next major portion of my art journey.


Caspiana (Sarah Whitmire) has been a mainstay in my art journey, and I started her Soul Journal project in the fall of 2008. She posted her Soul Journal prompts in July and August, but I couldn’t do them then. I have taken my time and am almost all the way through them all at this point, but it often takes me several weeks to do a single prompt due to my schedule and other (off-line) creative commitments. In any case, Caspiana is a big country on my map. I made it from a photocopy of one of my Soul Journal pages, and I added my little sketch of one of her little white dogs – sort of my own logo that I have made to represent her and her work at Caspiana. I also decided to add (you only see the top part of it in this image, but you can see it better in the full map image at the beginning of this post) a booklet attached with a brad that says “Caspiana Soul Journal” on the front of it. On both this and the Altered Books booklet, I thought about decorating the interior of the books, but I have not done so yet. I may come back to it – but then again, I kind of like the idea of leaving them blank – a “blank canvas” as it were.

I talked about the Watercolor River and the Village of Kindred Spirits on my previous post. One of my favorite parts on my map is the Ocean of Possibilities. I like the color of it and the way it turned out. The wrinkles on the paper bag also give it a very nice “wavy” effect. The large stamp in the middle is from Tim Holtz and reads “Live the Life You’ve Imagined.” Oh – and I just put on the finishing touch of the sailing ship earlier tonight, and realized I forgot to write “Set Sail for Adventure”. There is also a small “safe harbour” (I’m not British but I decided to spell it that way) in Caspiana, as well.

Onward! Let’s begin to head north, now.


Now it is less about specific places (like Diva and Caspiana) but more about what art gives me and how it helps me. There is a brick wall that is being burst through (a.k.a. “Creative Breakthrough”) and then up to the left we have “Inspiration Point” (a promontory and an old fashioned pointing finger) along with a “Leap of Faith” occuring at the same place. A few weeks ago, I had read something about creativity being an “act of faith” – because we simply have to trust that something will come from our first brush stroke, written word, note, or what ever action you take in your chosen field of creativity. Then, after these things, you at last get to the Land of Big Ideas – where the light(bulb) is always on, and it is a land of many mountains – big, strong, and with incredible vistas that give you great vision. You literally can “see forever.” Then finally a few tidbits – the quote “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” and the centerpiece and the real focus for the entire map: “Follow Your Art” (in the shape of a heart).

Now, let’s continue our journey to the northeast.


Starting at the bottom, after the journey across the Watercolor River and through Caspiana, and the Village of Kindred Spirits, we get to the Ink Well (literally) which is overflowing with ideas. Then we get a Flight of Fancy (love that flying flock of birds stamp – I’m using it again. It’s from Tim Holtz, too). And a journey to or through Creative Freedom. The first thing I think of when I hear the word “freedom” is an American flag so often it pops up in otherwise unexpected places for that reason. I had to stick “Wisconsin” in there – because after all, True North was leading this exercise – but also I consider Wisconsin to be my “heart’s home” – I love that state and its beauty. It makes me happy just thinking about it. And then of course we get to the compass and True North. I really like the look I got on the square that the compass is on. It is just a square of pastel-patterned paper, but I took some liquid alcohol ink and daubed it on a cotton swab and dabbled it around to give the paper more color. I like the way it turned out. Oh! And I have to comment on the tag at the top – the “Don’t Stop Now” came from a bookmark I picked up on a recent trip – I found that and immediately knew I was going to have to use it in my art somewhere, and when I started work on my map, I knew it would be the perfect place! Right at the “end” of the map, where normally you would “stop.” It also works well, I think, because at the beginning of my map I have a “Start” tag. Off to the far right side, I have written “Off the Map”, “To Unknown Lands” and “Unexplored Territory.”

I absolutely loved this Art Map adventure, and thanks go to Collage Diva at True North Arts for providing us this prompt and her guidance!

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© All images and words copyright 2009 by amateur-in-art. All rights reserved.


  1. haloquin said,

    I love the textures! This has a lot of interesting things to look at 🙂 I look forward to seeing your compass… will you be making one?
    ~Halo (www.haloquin.wordpress.com)

  2. Thanks for the comment and encouragement. I’m not sure that I’ll be participating in the compass at this time, although it is definitely on my list of “to do” for sometime in the future. I just don’t think my sched. will let me take time away to really devote my attn. to the compass. I want to do it when I can really reflect upon it, and give it some due thought and attention, instead of just trying to do it in a rush. I definitely want to, though.I just don’t think it will be right now. Thanks!

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