Friday, 11 April 2014


Teesha Moore was one of my earliest influences in my art journalling, and I still LOVE her work even though her style is very different to my own.  I'm a member of her Artstronauts Club, and have been watching videos of her putting pages together.  I'm always trying to challenge myself to work in different ways and try out new techniques, and this is the page that resulted from spending so much online time with Teesha!

The background is pretty much my usual - Caran D'Ache Neocolour II crayons, still my most favourite thing to use.  What was different for me was going to my stash of magazine cut outs and rather than looking for images or words, just looking at colour and patterns, and pulling out things I liked.  That was how I ended up with this corner piece, and the "tombstone" or possibly "teeth" fragments along the bottom!
I did like working in that way and will probably do it again, because it fitted with my sense of intuition, just going with the flow and see what turns up.  So then I pulled out more scraps I just happened to like and this was the result - not typical of my style but I liked it.  My only regret is that these shiny magazine pages are difficult to photograph because they catch the light.  I'm wondering if I should make a collage sheet out of fragments I really like, then I can print them myself on matte paper and lose the shine?
Another thing I like about Teesha's work is that she makes the art first, and then fits the lettering into whatever space happens to be left over.  I like that - and it challenges my besetting sin of always trying to write in straight lines!  It can be a pain in the neck being instinctively neat and tidy ... a good quality in many areas of life, but NOT when it comes to art journalling.  However, in my defence I would say that I have genuinely worked at learning to let go and splodge paint about with something approaching abandon .... sometimes.
So here is the finished article and I love it!  I love how bright it is, how random and yet connected (I couldn't totally let go of colours that matched/toned) and it felt good to work in this way.  I often say to people just starting out on this journey - don't be afraid to use other people's ideas and techniques, or even to outright copy!  Its all part of exploring and finding your style.  Some things are fun to try out but won't find their way into "your" way of doing things, and others will become part of you.  Feel free to copy anything I do outrageously, but don't forget whenever you do this to credit the original artist and their influence (as I have done here) and to only do so as a way to finding out what works for you.  And above all, HAVE FUN!

Thursday, 3 April 2014


This is a recent page that I'm rather pleased with.  As you can see below it began with a watercolour crayons background, a compass mask and some stencilling with white gesso.  I couldn't resist adding the rather glum face from a collage sheet.
I didn't have any idea what this page was going to be about, so I just began doodling with my Promarkers and paint pens.  This is always my favourite part of the process, but it usually comes at the end when I fill up the spaces, rather than early on like this.
The photos were taken at different times of day and I think the paler one above is daylight, and the one below in electric light - the colours are astonishingly different aren't they?  I'd have to say that the paler images are nearer the reality.
I wrote the words "I am" above the image, and then everything else just flowed from that.  It was an interesting way to work - putting the art down first and then making the writing fit around it.  I've seen Teesha Moore work that way and rather liked it.  If I'd change anything it would be that I've written the smaller paragraphs rather straight, and I think they should be more curvy.
I also really like doing these wobbly layers - makes me think of geological diagrams of sedimentary rock - and that works with the subject matter.  It's definitely true that I am a person composed of many layers, laid down over decades, still in the process of becoming.  Well that's my excuse for all my many imperfections, and I'm sticking to it!

Saturday, 22 March 2014


I must have been in multi colour mode when I did this page - probably because I was determined to use the wacky figure top left I found on a Ceremony collage sheet!

It started like this, with a painted background, and then I drew these ribbons with a Posca paint pen.  I've included a picture of this pen because I can genuinely recommend them - and nobody is paying me to say this, but I don't mind if they want to!  As you can see you get a really good opacity even over the acrylic background.
Then in went the little man (sporting new eyes) and those blue lines just invited me to write in between them.  I didn't know this is what I was going to write, and appear to have been just getting stuff off my chest as per usual!  I've tried to show here how the lettering is built up from the basic - see the previous post for a tutorial on this.  The white lines and the red dots are also Posca paint pens, and again their opacity is really easy to see.  The little heart is from another collage sheet.
Here I'd just added yet more ribbony lines and even more red dots ...
And then I went a bit wild on the doodling front ... I actually think I prefer the picture above to the finished version, but there you go.  I am occasionally guilty of overdoing it on the decorating front!!.
I really ENJOYED making this page, especially doing the red paint dots.  Funny what will prove satisfying to the creative mind ...

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


I really hope this works for everyone who has asked for it.  Now that I put the pictures up it looks a little bit dark, so if that's a problem please let me know and I will take new photographs.
What I'm hoping is that if you save these images you should then be able to print them out A4 size so that you can read them easily.
Its possible that there's a better way to do this - but this was what I could figure out at the time!  I do hope its useful and please do let me know how you get on with it.  Pass it on if you like, but I'd be grateful if you'd credit me with a link back to the blog!

Have fun ......!

Sunday, 2 March 2014


It has taken a while, but I've finally realised that a particular door I've been banging on isn't going to open because its not meant to.  This has required considerable mental re-adjustment but hey ho, so I am beginning again.  However, lest I should later accuse myself of giving up too easily, I wrote this page as a justification for being where I am.  It works for me.

It began with me messing about with 3 colours of paint - that ombre thing of shading colours which is all the rage at the moment might have influenced me?  Whatever, it was fun using water to try and get the colours to blend seamlessly - acrylics tend to resist doing that.  I added the thoughtful lady just because I like her - Modigliani again, I do love his work.  The people he paints seem so human and fallible somehow?
Then I decided it looked a bit too clean and pure, so I added a wobbly black line around the outside (using the blunt end of a Promarker) and some grey paint for shading, then followed it up with a crackle effect stamp in grey and black.  That muddied the waters nicely.  There's also pencil shading around the figure - I'm quite into doing that lately.
The art word and the numbers are just because they looked nice, and then I wrote on top with the chisel end of a black Promarker - I find they work pretty well over paint, though not everything does.  At some stage I also tried rubbing gesso on with my finger, but didn't much like the effect - it looked better in the You Tube video I watched.

You can see above and below the difference between the basic letters and the finished ones - its a doodly kind of process thickening them up and extending the feet. For the finer detail I change to a Pilot drawing pen - I have them in various nib thicknesses.
And although it looked nearly finished at that point, I got out the Posca Paint pens in order to add doodle dots - as you can see the opacity of these pens is great because I could even add yellow over red and get a good crisp finish.
So there you are - finished page and a resolution made and acted upon.  I am NOT defeated, just taking the realistic decision to regroup and re-form, and see where that takes me.  I wouldn't want you to think I was giving up, obviously!

Sunday, 23 February 2014


I'm very enthusiastic about food - definitely not one of those people who say things like "oh I couldn't possibly eat all that" or "just a sliver for me".  Unfortunately this means that from time to time my naturally pear shaped figure spreads alarmingly, and it becomes necessary to take action in the form of a diet before the day comes when most of my clothes don't fit any more.  This is known in our house as The Punishment Block, and I won't attempt to dignify it with any claims that I am "fasting" for any religious purpose.  However,  I take the view that I would rather eat well most of the time and diet occasionally, than live on lettuce all the time! 

As Christmas approached I found myself looking forward to all the delicious treats we had planned almost as much as I was anticipating the arrival of our daughters.  This demonstrated to me that my priorities might be slightly off kilter ... and that was the genesis of this page!

It began with a Neocolour crayons background and a picture found in a magazine.  After gazing at this vision of loveliness the words "forgive me" seemed entirely appropriate!  Its very odd, I never really had a sweet tooth until I hit the menopause, but ever since I've craved all kinds of sweet stuff.  What can I say, its not greed its my hormones (or lack of them)??
Once again a picture to show the difference between my basic lettering, and what it looks like when I've thickened it up and embellished it a bit.  If I can ever summon up the energy I might try and put a simple lettering tutorial together - if there's enough interest?
So there you go ... I confess that I'm just a greedy girl.  Its no good me promising God that I will stop because there's absolutely no chance of my sticking to it.  Anyway, I do believe that possibly life's greatest pleasure is sitting down at table to enjoy good for and good company with people you love.
When the current diet ends I'm sure I will simply joyfully reaquaint myself with all the food I've been doing without, and gradually put back the pounds I gained.  Then I will have to lose those before we go on holiday and indulge in all sorts of good things .... are you sensing a pattern here??  Damn right you are, and I DON'T CARE!

Saturday, 15 February 2014


Hot off the press this one, only finished yesterday!  So there I was on Valentine's Day with two flowers cut out of a magazine, and well, one thing led to another.  What you see below is one of my painted backgrounds - aren't I branching out?  I used to hate paint but am learning to love it.
Then I added some random borders in colours I liked, and of course the flowers - I knew at this stage that I wanted a valentiney theme, but not how the page would develop.  Its fun to work that way and just let it grow ....
Not much difference between these two pictures but I wanted to show you how I used crayons and a black line to emphasise the edges, which I thought looked a bit indistinct above.
Then I just wrote what was on my heart.  Himself and me have been together a long time, and it has been a Great Love for both of us.  We're so lucky to still be as dotty about each other as we ever were, which sounds a bit sickly to say but is simply true.  He drives me utterly crazy as well of course, as I do him.  Maddening and marvellous, both of us, and both at the same time.
And then lots of doodly dots and a small heart stamp to finish it all off, plus a bit of pink posca paint pen on the lower rose.  I'm pleased with how it came together - and I like the fact that (to me at any rate) it has an almost vintage look?
I'd been watching videos of the wonderful Teesha Moore on the Artstronauts Club, and been inspired by her techniques - which is what got me cutting out roses from a magazine.  In the end though, however much you might borrow ideas from other people, for me at least they always have to find a place within your own style.  I'll never journal the way she does, and actually I don't want/need to because I have a different style, but that doesn't mean I don't LOVE her work, and draw all kinds of inspirational ideas from it.  The other art journallers I particularly love are Ingrid Djikers and Tracy Bunkers - have a look at their work and you'll probably see why!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Feeling like a DRONE ....

I think the text is probably self-explanatory here!  It really was one of those days when I felt like a person who was putting nothing in, and just taking from the rest of the world.  I get like that sometimes, I guess a lot of us do?  Anyway, my way of dealing with such moments is to journal about it and try to work through it.

But it should be obvious why I began by laying down a dull shade of flat beige paint, and adding even more around the edges in the form of washi tape - these are Tim Holtz I think?  I do actually like these colours that I think of as "vintage", and it was an interesting exercise to work in such a monochrome palette.
I really love this stamp of a rather glum looking person, I've had it for ages but she comes out regularly.   I think its by Teesha Moore, and of course she was perfect to encapsulate the negative mood I was in!  The black edge really seemed to add something at this stage, and was achieved by simply dragging the thick end of a promarker fairly roughly around the borders of the tape, with no attempt at my usual tidiness.
This page is in two halves I suppose - you can see the first half below, where I simply put down the way I was feeling.  Just stating how you feel is therapeutic in itself - recognition and acknowledgement of what's actually going on inside you is powerful, and the first step to challenging negative emotions and asking yourself what the truth is.  We all make statements about ourselves (I'm useless, nobody will ever love me, I'm not good at that, etc etc) which simply may not be true and should be challenged.  A psychologist I once worked with used to ask me "where is the EVIDENCE for that"?  In other words, what can you bring to validate your assertion that you're useless waste of space or a drone?  Very often there actually isn't any.
So that's where the second half of the exercise came in - recognising that there actually wasn't a lot of evidence for this assertion.  In fact it became clear as I thought about how I spend my time that, even though I may not leave the house as much as other people, nonetheless I'm not sitting here doing nothing ... but actually striving in my own way to make a difference and share the things I learn.
And then it turned out that I WAS making a real contribution (OK maybe not with the singing) and that the world might even be a better place because of things I do?  Well, I'd like to think so, and it IS what I aim for ... with varying degrees of success.

The lettering as always is done by starting with a simple shape, as you can see in picture 3, and then gradually adding thickness and curving edges.  The white makes quite a strong addition too, and like I say I do actually rather like this (admittedly dull) palette of colours.  And I felt a whole lot pinker when I'd done this .... which is after all the whole point of the exercise!

If you have days like this - give it a try?  You might even end up feeling better, and even if you don't you'll have got something off your chest!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

WORMS .... or maybe just wormholes?

This is my most recent journal page, and I had such fun doing it because I've learned a new technique - the above squiggly patterns are called wormhole doodling, and I learned it from the Artstronauts Club of which I'm an enthusiastic member!  Sadly you do have to subscribe to access the video which teaches this.

I already had the page below - one of the painted backgrounds I sometimes like to get ready, particularly when there's nothing I want/need to say but I still feel like playing in my journal.  This was the perfect opportunity to try out this technique, which I'd been practising on random bits of paper.  You begin with a line and then you just keep on drawing a curve above or below the line, changing shape and direction as you go ....

And this doodling is so absorbing and compelling that before you know it I'd done this ...
At that point I began to worry about having enough space to write in, so I just completed the wormholes in the same way above the line until I was happy. 
The image I added is from Picasso's blue period - this poor girl looks the way I think I felt, a bit vacant and deeply fed up!  You may also notice that I'd outlined the wormholes with a yellow Promarker - liked that effect, which seemed to help them be even more 3D.
Having Fibromyalgia means you have memory and concentration problems - on top of those caused by menopausal brain death.  Its so bad that some days I honestly wonder if I might be developing dementia.  I'm (probably) not but you do feel as if chunks of your memory are unaccountably missing - my family know not to tell me anything vital in the late afternoons or evenings, information simply doesn't stick to the sides at all at those times, and even if I write it down I'm liable to lose the piece of paper ...

This technique provided the most wonderful way to illustrate what I'm on about, not to mention plenty of delightful opportunities for dotty doodling with my Posca paint pens - love these.
So there you have it - my brain is full of wormholes if not actual worms, which means that although the lights may appear to be on, very often there's nobody at home.  I can do all the walk and talk stuff, even make moderate sense some of the time, but I grope desperately for the words and concepts I want, which used to rise so easily to my lips.  Sigh.  Did I mention that I used to be quite clever once??

Yours vacantly
Rosie X
Now what was it I was doing before I started this?

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


This is actually quite an old page, but I feel I can blog it now because the person concerned won't ever know its them!  They were in a bad place but so driven by fear and panic they couldn't HEAR anything that was being said to them - including by their doctor.  And as it turns out it was a completely false alarm, and all that angst and energy given to flailing about and not hearing anyone was simply wasted.  Hey ho.  I guess panic is a legitimate emotion, but trying to reach her and help was like trying to hold a small child having a tantrum .....

This page was me getting my own feelings of frustration and helplessness down on the page - I think thats why I chose purple for its association with strong emotion!  Once again you can see the difference between the shaped finished lettering and the simple basic lines with which they are first written.

And you can see the same thing below too - sometimes I get all the writing down so that I can see how/if it will fit, and then go back and fiddle with/embellish it - which is of course the fun part.  I suppose its just an extension of doodling?  I was also trying to use different sizes of lettering and NOT to write in straight lines, a constant battle!
And of course by the time I'd had all the fun of doodling my way to a finished page, my own feelings were under control again.  Hers took longer ....
Actually it all made me think of giving birth - of course you CAN scream and panic your way through labour, or you can try to be calm, breathe, and ride through it.  This latter is my preferred method of coping with trouble, and I work hard at being a Brave Girl, not to mention a Grown Up ... admittedly with varying degrees of success!

Happy New Year dear readers - new beginnings are ALWAYS possible, not only when a year turns, but I do hope that 2014 will be a time to walk away from the stuff which weighs us down and holds us back, and to embrace new possibilities and opportunities.  Can I just say that this journey I'm making in these pages would be a much lonelier one without your company.

Thursday, 26 December 2013


I made this page in the run up to Christmas at a stage when I simply had to take some time out to restore my sanity.  It appears the Queen and I are at one on the subject of reflection, since this was a strong theme in her Christmas speech.  God Bless you Ma'am, and that's a very cute grandbaby you've got there.

But it was actually one of those times when the page just grew, and I didn't actually know when I started out what it would be about.  I'm genuinely learning to love paint for backgrounds, and the wondrous properties of first adding a coat of gesso - which transforms the rather poor quality paper in my journals into a surface which doesn't just drink paint. 

So I picked out a cheerful colour and splodged away, before diving into my collage supplies to come up with these images - I love these Modigliani ladies, they're a sheet from Ceremony I think, and the square panel is Artchix with its central picture changed.

Noticing the reflective pose, I added the word sometimes ... meaning to write about something else entirely.  However, it got me thinking about how much I need space in my head just to think and be, and somehow the theme then got changed into what it needed to be.  
My subconscious does that to me sometimes, serendipitously mostly, and manages to tell me what's really going on in there that I need to pay attention to.  That's when journalling is at its best for me, listening to that inner prompt and getting down on paper something I didn't know I needed to express until I'd got it on the page.

So it seems that this is what it was really important, amid all the busy stuff that threatens to overwhelm you at this time of year, to take stock and figure out what really matters and what doesn't.  Actually my body was forcing me to slow down anyway since I fell victim to the most awful throat infection/virus, and am only just emerging from its grip.  There are times when God just has to trip you up to make you slow down ....?
And the page ended up a very simple one really, and my usual urge to doodle everywhere had gone away.  Perhaps its just that this basic truth needs no embellishment - it just is what it is.

Hope your Christmas was blessed and special - I like this pause between Christmas and New Year, when the world goes quiet for a while.  Well ours does.  It always feels like a gift to have time off at this stage, its when I get some of my best reflecting done ....