The Art of Self Expression

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January 16, 2014 by Judith Liebaert

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Winter Dream

I have to admit, retiring from the 30 mile commute that used to begin my work day has gone a long way toward helping me appreciate the quiet beauty of winter in my northern realm. Listening to the wind roaring down the chimney, while sitting all cozy-comfy next to the fireplace working from my laptop is not so bad.

Watching dawn break on a light but steady snowfall I can’t help but feel at peace. It’s a perfect day for sipping jasmine tea (my favorite) and creating some art.

One of the best things about art journals is their flexibility and portability. I can create art with nothing more than my journal and a pencil or pen.

On days when I’m feeling the urge to create, but I’m not feeling ambitious enough for easels, brushes, water containers, paints and mess making – I can reach for my colored pencils, crayons and markers. When even those tools are not inspiring me, scissors, glue and some old magazines will do.

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Mixed Media Collage

All this is to say, your art is what you make it – you being the key ingredient. For those of you who have entered the Dark Moon Lodge to experience the  art of self expression, it doesn’t matter so much what you put on your pages, just that you create the pages. Scribble, finger paint, doodle or cut and paste – it’s all about you.

This page began with the photo of flowers cut from a magazine and glued to the page. I had a poem I’d torn from an old book (don’t panic, I purchase books in very poor condition for this purpose). Before gluing it down, I turned it over to see what was on the other side – low and behold, it was exactly what I wanted to express that day. This often happens and I’m never sure if it’s just coincidence or something more.

I added a watercolor wash around the cutouts using water soluble crayons. I went over the flowers and leaves using colored pencils, then emphasized with black Pitt Pen marker, To give it some depth, I sponged on green & gold paint using a paper doily as a stencil.

On days when I do have my water containers, brushes and paints out, and I already have a big mess on my hands, I’ll often prep pages to use for art journaling. Any time I squeeze too much paint onto my pallet, rather than letting it dry up and go to waste, I use it to make backgrounds for future journal pages – even if all I do is scrub it onto the page with a brush or my fingers. I even clean excess paint out of my brushes this way. It doesn’t always have to be a background; I may cut or tear pieces of it for collage elements.

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Finger Painting

This began as random, overlapping handprints (acrylic paint) on a wet surface that I’d previously painted with gesso and let dry. I used a bright pink Sharpie to make outlines of the patterns I saw. It looks very floral to me.

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Bubble Paint

This technique came from an activity with my grandchildren. I tinted bubble solution using food coloring, and we spent the afternoon blowing bubbles onto paper.

So,  what do you feel like expressing today?

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