Monday, June 7, 2010

Art Journal Boot Camp

I went back to Stamping Bella last night to take Donna Downey's "Inspiration Journal" class. We all got a journal with a pretty fabric cover at the start of the class. Here's what mine looks like:

She told us when we started that we were her first class on this topic. She recognized that all of us are intimidated by a blank page and it's often hard to sit down and create something, even if you might have a huge supply of everything you might possibly need to make whatever it is. So for the next three hours, she guided us over that initial hurdle and forced us to put at the least the beginning of various pages together. She called it "art journal boot camp" and that's exactly what it felt like. We opened our books to the first blank page (not the actual first page, we got to pick one in the middle of the book because that is just so much easier psychologically!) and zoom, we were off!

First she told us to paint one page with one colour. That's all. Couldn't be easier. On the next page, we got to use three colours, in any way we wanted - a little or a lot, sideways, up and down, all mixed up, didn't matter. Next time, it was 6 squirts of water on the page and add one colour. Then we were told to use any of the products we had brought except acrylic paint (which most of us had used for the past 3 pages).

As easy as these directions sound, it wasn't always easy. If you think about it too much, your brain starts inventing all sorts of ways to stop you from proceeding. Donna's solution to this was to tell us that we didn't need to ask her any questions, the answer was always going to be "yes". Is it okay if I use two colours instead of one? Yes. Can I use watercolour crayons instead of paint? Yes.

Here's Donna (on the far left) showing us one of the techniques she uses:

The real challenge started when she told us to flip to a new blank page, pick up our books and move three spots down the table to someone else's spot and decorate the page using their stuff. Wow, that was wild. And exciting at the same time. At first, everyone was a little hesitant - after all, you're using somebody else's possessions. Iut the next time, when she told us to do the same thing at a different table, everyone seemed to get over their initial hesitation and jump in wholeheartedly. It was a lot of fun. Here's a picture of the page I made using someone else's paint colours, ones I wouldn't necessarily have picked myself but which I quite liked:

All in all, it was a great class. We learned lots of new techniques and got comfortable with the idea that we are free to do as little or as much to a page with whatever medium we might choose as we want.

At the end, Donna asked us for any suggestions we might have to improve the class and all I could think of was, make it four hours instead of three. Or six. Or eight. Because once we got going, I didn't want to stop!!!

1 comment:

Anne Marie - Toronto said...

I see you're being terribly successful at weaning yourself off classes.....LOL!!!! Don't worry, I'm looking at what you're doing and thinking that I should sign up for something as well.