Art—Bound with Two Covers

3 May 2011

Mixed media painting
Art journals can combine several media including watercolor,
collage, text, and drawing. Works by Jacqueline Newbold.
So many of us keep sketchbooks to make quick drawings, work through compositional possibilities, and just practice mark-making. An art journal is exactly what it sounds like, a bound book of artistry that can take all of your exploration to the next level. Many mixed media artists create art journals that are stunning works of art in and of themselves. They can build around a single theme or vary throughout the book, with each page taking on a new concept or idea.

For me, the empty expanse of a canvas still gives me a bit of stage fright, so an art journal is right up my alley. There's less of an intimidation factor because I am working in a small format, but can still fully execute and complete an artwork. And if I want to experiment I can, because an art journal allows me to work a page at a time. So if I want to try a mixed media painting with elements of collage or ink wash or embroidered text--I can do it all in an art journal and not feel like I've committed to a really drawn out project.

And what's more, working in this pressure-free yet still highly creative format means you can really transform and broaden your fine art with the ideas you come up with in your art journal. Instead of just painting a landscape, an art journal can allow you to encapsulate your sensory impressions of a place--a leaf from a tree collaged with paint washes that represent the color of the light, and then a line from a proverb or poem that comes to mind when you think about the place--and all of a sudden you've bridged art with memory and experience.

Mixed media painting
A single page in an art journal can be an opportunity
to sharpen your expertise, in watercolor for example.
Maybe because I love to dabble and learn new things, an art journal is the perfect way for me to focus my energy and bring a small work to completion, which I find really rewarding. If you want to know where all this inspiration came from, it was one source--Cloth Paper Scissors--which is our sister magazine devoted to mixed-media artistry. Covering fiber arts, collage, assemblage, creative embroidery, stamping, and art journals, it is a magazine that is for all levels of artistic practice and features so many new techniques that a fine artist can embrace. Have you worked this way already? Do you have an art journal you can share? Add the work to our Member Gallery so I can see. And if you want more mixed media painting inspiration, Cloth Paper Scissors might be just what you've been looking for. Enjoy!

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