Art Journal Page – Seasons of Life

While snowed in last week, I watched Frida, a biographical movie about Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. I’m not thoroughly familiar with her work, but I’ve liked everything I’ve seen and I enjoyed learning about her life. I really like her style and the personal nature of her work. She’s been quoted as saying: “I am my own muse; I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” Her words struck me because it’s a lot like what I try to achieve each time I sit down with my art journal. This art journal page is a result of some of that self-examination.

Art Journal Page - Seasons of Life

Art Journal Page – Seasons of Life
Supplies: watercolors, markers, pens, gel pens, colored pencil

A few years ago, I started listening to motivational podcasts. Many of the podcasts focused on the idea of asking for what you want—a concept so obvious, but so foreign. I wanted to give it a try so I asked. And I asked. And I asked! Doors closed and doors opened, but things were still changing very slowly or not at all. This year I suddenly find myself receiving many of the things I had been asking for all of these years. Am I ready for it? Do I even want it anymore? Maybe I’m just surprised that it’s actually happening… I certainly have a lot to journal about these days!

I started this page with an ink and colored pencil drawing. Then I laid down a background of watercolor and markers. I spruced up both backgrounds with patterns done in gel pen (check out my review on Gelly Roll Souffle gel pens—they work great on dark colors!) and fine point colored pen. The text I chose is from “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, a song I’ve always liked and continually feel is appropriate. I’m not yet comfortable with decorative writing, so I based the way I wrote it on a computer font. I added a drop shadow with grey pen to help it stand out a bit more.

Artfully Megan Signature

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by getting something you really wanted? How has art helped you to cope with changes?

Getting Back into Watercolors

I still remember when I was introduced to watercolors in high school. I wasn’t sure I was going to like them because of their reputation that they’re hard to control. It didn’t make anything better for me that I was issued a very basic 8-pan set. If I wanted any other color outside of the basics, I had to make it myself. But somewhere along the way, watercolors grew to be my favorite medium. They went from being among the hardest to control to being one of the easiest—and surprisingly one of the most forgiving. As my understanding of color theory grew, the “limited” palette became a welcomed challenge rather than a hindrance.Artfully-Megan-Landscape-Watercolor

My recent use of watercolors has been limited to my art journal and mixed media projects. I have been trying to get back to my old favorites—landscapes and portraits. I like to take my time with these subjects, but I don’t always have that time. This is probably the reality for every creative and I’m still learning how to nourish my inner artist in the face of these time constraints.

I’ve been trying to set myself up for success by choosing projects I know I’ll be able to finish. I purchased a pack of artist tiles and they’re probably among the smallest surfaces I’ve worked on. I’m a fan of small brushes, so it was a treat trying to work the detail into a smaller area.

Artist Tile - Portrait

Over the next several weeks, I’m hoping to get some posts together about how I learned to love watercolor. I’d like to share some of the techniques I thought really helped me to grow as an artist. Hopefully it will inspire some of you and I’ll get to learn new things, too!

Artfully Megan Signature

Do you like using watercolors? What are your favorite ways to use them?

Review – Gelly Roll Souffle Pens

Many fellow artists have told me about their dreams of finding a “holy grail” gel pen that stands out against dark paper. I’ve loved gel pens for years and have tried out many different kinds to try to find my favorite. I’ve found that I like (enough to include them on my Top 3 Favorite Art Supplies of 2014 list!) the Gelly Roll gel pens the best.

Review - Gelly Roll Souffle Pens

 

Why I Like Them:

The Gelly Roll Souffle pens have packaging that’s not only cute, but practical. The cap matches the ink color inside while the barrel is marked with the variety of each pen. There’s an assortment of colors and mine came in a pack of 10 – black, white, yellow, green, blue, orange, purple, pink, peach, and teal.

The pens write smoothly, provided you make sure you keep the tip clean and replace the cap after each use. They produce a thick line that can fill in larger areas, but not so thick you can’t use them for more detailed work. The ink dries opaque over both dark and light paper and generally doesn’t smudge once it’s dry. I use the Souffle pens frequently to add patterns and contrast to my pieces. One recent piece I’ve heavily used them is on my cat-themed journal page.

These are widely available at arts and craft stores (tip: they’re often in the scrapbooking section!) and are usually sold in a pack. I’ve seen the prices range from $15-20+ depending where you buy them. They’re a little bit of a splurge, but for the effect and how long they last I think they’re worth it. I’ve had mine for over 2 years and they’re still going strong.

Artfully Megan Signature

Do you have a “holy grail” gel pen? What are some of your favorite brands?

I was not given this product for compensation or review. The product was purchased by me and the opinions supplied are my own.

Farewell to a Journal

Well, it’s finally happened: I’ve used up another journal!

Writing Journal September 2014 - February 2015

When I first got this journal in September 2014, it had a plain brown recycled-paper cover. The blank cover screamed that it needed decorating and, as a creative, I absolutely had to oblige! I personalized the book by collaging magazine images and adding some designs using Sharpie and gel pen. Since much of the cover is collaged, I wanted to protect the front (and keep all the little collage bits in) so I used contact paper to seal it in, give it a smoother look, and make it more durable. Surprisingly, this was the first time I decorated my writing journal.

I usually do my writing on lined paper, but I tried something different this time and chose to go with a graph paper book. Having a graph paper journal was actually really useful during the time I was using it. Over the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time making graphs and charts as I planned for the future and organized my thoughts.

Another thing I liked about this journal was the size of it. When I wasn’t traveling, I had bigger and thicker journals. Once I started traveling more frequently for work, it was important to me that my journal was both smaller and thinner. This 104-page book allowed me to journal daily while on the road.

This book has seen a lot of ranting, frustration, whining, and hurting. But in spite of all that, it’s also seen twice as many dreams and aspirations. It’s where I decided that I needed to steer my life towards the things I am passionate about. It’s where I vowed to stop putting myself down all the time and start building myself up. It’s where I started my addiction to washi tape!

I’m definitely going to miss writing in this journal every day, but I’ve already got another one ready for the next few months of adventures!

Artfully Megan Signature

What are your thoughts when finishing a journal?

Blog news! – I got business cards!

My blog has been up for about two months now and I’ve been casually spreading the word. But word of mouth only goes so far so I’d like to introduce you to my new business cards! I had them made at moo.com and I’m very happy with the way they turned out. The back features some of my artwork, dating from high school to the present day. The front has my URL and contact information, including my social media accounts.

Artfully Megan Business Cards

 

I’m looking forward to sharing these and meeting new people along the way!

Artfully Megan Signature