WEEK TWO: Art Methods


Task:  Making Base Layers of Color and preparing “Backgrounds” on your Spreads

Before we delve into the videos, there are a few key points that I want to make sure we keep in mind while we create. These are all elements that I think of instinctively now, as I have been creating for some years now, and have learned these through doing. You will too, but for those of us who need a reminder, or who could use this support for the first time, these are important facets to a Creative Practice, and to Mixed Media, in my opinion!


Use colors that you LOVE. Use colors that you are drawn to. Don’t worry about what is trendy, or second-guess your own natural inclinations. If you have a very favorite color, buy multiples. Also, you could buy different versions, from different brands and price points, to see the differences.


Start with less. It’s like hair cutting. You can always add more! Of course you can remove Acrylic, while it’s still wet, but it’s easier to add. Plus, we will be adding details in the last two weeks, and these are meant to show up! If you do go crazy, and have too much, just wipe it off with a paper towel and some water. If it’s dried and you think it’s too much color, you can always add Gesso over the top!


Think about experimenting with a different method, or technique, or play, on each spread. Think about making a diversity of different marks. This is what makes Art Journals so compelling to look at – it’s the variety! Plus, when you do this, you stumble upon some techniques, usually by accident, that become “favorites” or “go to” techniques for future creating and art journaling.


I know plenty of people who really struggle with art making, because they loathe making “mistakes.” Mistakes are a part of life, but only in art do our mistakes have the potential to be our best moves. I can’t stop you from making things you don’t like, or even hate. I can’t give you enough instructions to make sure there are no surprises on your end. I must fore-warn you, I can’t, and I don’t want to. This creative process is ABOUT play and stumbling, and figuring out what you do and don’t like to look at.
(*FYI, I made a “mistake” or accident that you will see in Week Three’s Art Methods videos, and it turned out to be beautiful so I kept rolling and video’d that process)


Different people have different approaches. Since we know beforehand that you are going to want to put images of your animals in, you might want to think about leaving flat space for this (i.e. where the image will lay down flat). Or, you can go with a wild abandon approach. If you do that, and your page has crazy amounts of texture, DON’T WORRY! I’ll show you a work-around to include images anyway. Personally, I do a mixture. On some spreads I like to know where I’m going to put the image, and I see it as I create the base. On others, I have no idea until I’ve got the image and glue in my hand.


Be open. As much as you are able to at this point in your creative practice, TRUST THE PROCESS. This cliche phrase is actually very helpful and meaningful, as a reminder, but it does take some time spent to fully realize what it means. When you’re just getting started, you won’t have gone through the process enough times to feel it, but you can begin to, almost immediately. Let the scary happen. Don’t control every move, every mark. Let “stuff” happen. Let it be potentially awful or ugly (you can fix this, I sure do!). Let it happen, and let it surprise you.

Now, time for the Videos! In the following videos I will show you a few simple methods for making backgrounds that have texture. I have also prepared a Pinterest Board full of Background Technique ideas!

METHOD ONE: Using one paint color over your Gesso, or on your non-gessoed page. 

If you used Gesso to create texture, applying paint will show how interesting the marks are.

If you did not make texture using the Gesso – or did not use Gesso at all – you can use the mark-making tools with the PAINT instead, to make that texture on the page. You’ll need to use the regular acrylic paint for this, not fluid or liquid paints!

If you don’t want texture, you can simply paint the page.

METHOD TWO: Using two colors together.

You can opt to mix your colors to create a new color.

I like to choose two colors and use some sort of blending tool (my fingers, usually, or a paper towel or a brush) to bring them together on the page.

METHOD THREE: Using Spray Ink and Liquid Acrylics

METHOD FOUR: Playing with your Mark-Making Tools

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