Tag Archives: work in progress

Starting the Wish Journal Workshop

I mentioned in the last post that I’d registered for Samantha Kira’s Wish Journal Workshop, so as promised, I’ll tell you a little more about it, and how it’s going so far.

I deliberated about it for a few weeks. On the one hand, I’ve been following her work and her YouTube videos for a little while, and I really enjoy them. Plus, I just love her spirit and helpful nature. Not to mention her art is lovely. However, I’ve been dancing on the edge of “broke.” Not there yet, but between TWO car repairs and computer issues, Christmas gifts, valentines, and a birthday (ok, and some personal indulgences) I had dipped heavily into my savings. I had put my spending on hiatus (aside from gas money). But… it was only $20 (as compared to the $45-$70 range I often see). And it was her first paid workshop, so I really really wanted to support her. I decided I’d get an outside opinion. So I explained the situation, and then the conversation went something like this:

Koby: I think you should but first you need to promise not to get frustrated or give up.

Cassandra: I promise.

Koby: Pinky-promise.

Cassandra: *offers her pinky*

Koby: Put your hand on your heart and cross your eyes.

Cassandra: *covers her heart and stares at her nose*

Koby: Now repeat after me. “Spiders snakes and a lizards head–“

Cassandra: “Spiders snakes and a lizards head–“

Koby: “If I quit, I’ll die till I’m dead.”

Cassandra: “If I quit, I’ll die till I’m dead.”

And there you have it. I’m bound by oath and pinky-promise to finish the class, and to remain in a cheery, positive mood. Thus far, I have!

Right now, I’m finishing up the page backgrounds. I mixed a full bottle of two new colors for myself to use as base colors (well, and in future projects too!) My three base colors are a lovely creamy “Jade” sort of color, a grayed lilac mauve sort of color, and a gold/suede sort of color (ok, I mixed that too because “honey brown” was too bright in comparison with the dreamy feel of the other two.) I may later accent with my awesome “berry wine” color. It’s so pretty.

For the background collaging, I’ve been using book pages, graph paper, lined paper, security envelope linings, junk mail, and scallops cut from a lovely peacock colored advert I’d collected years ago (Now I wish I’d collected more– this used the last of it.)

At first, I thought I’d stay one-sided, as Samantha Kira suggests, but looking at the pages once they were cut, I just knew I wanted ALL the pages painted (which IS an option). I’m trying to follow her directions as much as possible, and do the project her way (at least the first time through) so I don’t miss anything simply because I think I won’t like it. But in this case… I really do love the way the pages are coming out! I’ve gotten the back sides collaged, but not painted yet.

Cutting the pages I was a little bit worried about (I think it was Samantha that said in a video that there should be a class for artists on using X-Acto knives. I definitely need it!) It turned out that, though the poster boards came from the same two packages, bought at the same time from the same store, they were NOT evenly cut. (Also… either I did something REALLY bizarre with one of them, or one package did not actually have 5 like it said. Oh well.) I’m not sure if precisely exact edges matter, but I used my mini binder clips, ruler, and X-Acto knife to trim the edges until they were even. I lost a quarter inch on each side, and strained the muscles in my hand (apparently the muscles used in holding down a ruler are fairly weak) but I did it with no major mishaps, crooked lines, or blood-spill.

Flattening pages beneath heavy books so they didn’t warp and curl (much).

Some favorite pre-paint collage bits.

Tomorrow (or perhaps tonight before bed) I’ll paint the back sides, and then I’ll be ready to fold and bind my pages. Yay!

Art Cards for Koby’s Family

Last year, I made a card for each of Koby’s family members, but between moving, and then his present not being ready until he was already in Thailand, they weren’t given at Christmas. Then one went missing (I have suspicions as to why, and it upsets me, but I will never be able to prove it.) Finally, I just redid the missing one, and decided to spruce up the others. Here are before and after pictures. Some of the differences are due to using different scanners, but I explain the changes made.


The motorcycle was completely redone. More attention to detail, less freedom. Not as fun that way, but more like a motorcycle. Mechanical things are not my strong point.

Bubbly Cola

The cola bottle wasn’t showing up too well, so I defined it more, added stronger color to the background, more texture, a surface for the bottle to sit on, and the words.


Outlining was added for the drums and words.

Flight of Fancy

The words were made more visible with white gel pen and some white paint was added to the edges to balance the brightness of the words.

He Dresses the Lilies

Outlined the stamped words and images for more clarity.

Update on Journal Process

I’ve hit a bit of a snag that may slow my process. Two, in fact.

  • Snag #1: In the past, I have successfully used wax paper to separate gessoed pages while they dried, but its not working so well this time. One had to be removed completely because it was so mutilated. So… each spread has to be gessoed one at a time, and I don’t have a heat gun to speed this up.
  • Snag #2: Whatever kind of ink/dye used on these pages seeps right through the gesso, especially the red. I have to do at least two layers to get it sufficiently covered, and even then, there’s a pinkish tinge. (Anyone else experience this?) Extra layers means extra time.

I AM working on it, but the gessoing issues put me behind a bit. As soon as I get a good handful of pages prepared (tomorrow or monday perhaps?) I can start the fun part. I am impatient to begin!

My Muse Returns…

My muse took a 3 month long vacation without my permission. I should fire her (him?) but as I have no other applicants, I let her keep her job, with only a stern warning.

I’ve been watching some videos on art journalling on youtube and a few were inspiring– albeit very strange at times. Artists are just like that I suppose. [tangent: I would like to be interesting, but I believe I’ve discovered that there is a line between interesting and just plain odd…]

After watching these for a few days, I really really wanted to art journal. Hurrah. However, I had work. For friday playdate with the student I tutor, I brought art supplies (he actually does like art, so it wasn’t entirely selfish). I just brought some cheapy supplies such as construction paper, poster paints, pastels and watercolors and such, and spiral notebooks to fill. I thought I’d get him to experiment a bit. His excitement was short lived. He quickly reverted to line drawings with crayons, and looked at me as if I was crazy, smearing paint and tearing paper. I, however, enjoyed myself, to the extent allowed by the limited materials.

spiral cover spiral 1

When I got home, I was itching to use real supplies (which I couldn’t bring to use with my student) and more importantly, pages just a bit sturdier than lined paper. I fished out this fairly large and very outdated craft book I have had laying around. Not even sure where I got it, but somehow it ended up in my possession in middle school or so.

unpainted cover This thing was published in the 70s and it shows. Take a look at some of the pages. There was no way I was ever going to need this book again!retro page 1

Tonight, the process begins. So far I’ve gessoed the cover, the spine, and 4 spreads. With luck I can begin either tomorrow or sunday, as time allows (busy weekend ahead!)

painting the cover gessoing pages

Art Journal: Page in Progress

Saturdays are a difficult time to get art done. For most, its the best time, but for me, its the worst. The kids are off school, and they are very…. clingy/irritating/easily bored/in the way/disruptive/every adjective that applies to middle schoolers. I love children, but once they hit that age, forget it. They should be sent to the moon cause you can’t do anything with ’em.

Anyhow, any art I do today will happen late at night. I WILL work on some. I want to enter more challenges! In the mean time, I thought I’d post an art journal page I’ve been adding to a little at a time. There’s no actual journaling– yet. I will add some, but I’m not sure what, or if I should add more visual elements (tissue paper? Book pages? Some white? Play up a few colors? I don’t know.) For fun, take a look at what I have so far.


The Beginnings of an Art Journal

I’ve been a naughty blogger and haven’t been updating on my artistic pursuits. Shame, shame. Part of it is I’ve had some distractions, although artistically oriented. Part of it is, I’ve had this post in mind and wanted to get it done before I moved on, but I was too lazy to get to a scanner.

Back in January, I started preparing background pages for an art journal. Since I am notorious for starting a journal and leaving most of it blank, I decided that instead of starting with a book, I’d make the book as I went. I cut paper into 7×5 rectangles, gessoed both sides, and started preparing backgrounds onto which I could paint, draw, collage, write, stamp, etc. I wanted them stiff, so I could bind them with binder rings and not have to worry about the logistics of construction while working on the pages themseves. I may only use one binder ring in the corner, I may use 3 along the side, or 2. I’m really not sure.

Here is a sampling of my backgrounds, as they are at this point.


Technique (Or lack thereof…)

For the fun of it, I’ll share my process, unplanned though it was. Once I had the paper cut, I started out with pretty generic, boring gesso applications, via paint brush, then started to get more creative. I dug out one of my old college ID cards to use as a palette knife (you know you’ve moved on when you use your ID to spread paint/gesso). I tried spreading it in glops, drawing in it, writing in it, making designs with the brush, and anything else I could think of. When all pages were dry, I used my very expensive, professional grade watercolors (also known as a cheap crayola kiddie set) to paint the pages. Watercolor behaves interestingly on a gessoed surface. It moves around quite a bit, as the surface isn’t as porous, and when dry, has a matte finish. Its easy to rub off or move around with a damp cloth or paint brush, and splattering paint onto an already painted page yielded some nice results.

The trouble is, when you put mod podge over it, it disturbs the paint as well.Mod Podge also makes the colors a bit brighter and shinier (even when using the matte variety). Some might like the brighter colors, but I like more muted colors, and I prefered the matte look. In the future, I will probably get out my acrylic paints and skip the watercolors, but I was lazy. Its so hard to pull out too many supplies when I know I only have a few hours before it has to be put away. Oh well. It was a learning experience. As stuff is going on top of it, I suppose it doesn’t much matter if its too shiny or if my textures were altered. I had fun at any rate. Feel free to try the same. Expect to see development on these pages from time to time.