Friday, January 02, 2015


I use my Journals for everything.  I tried having separate journals for different things and I found I never seemed to have the right journal with me when I needed to record something. Now, everything - recipes collected, sketch ideas for new textile projects, sayings, collaged pictures, notes from lectures etc goes into the current journal.  They have become visual diaries of the things going on in my life from day to day.  

I use the creative freedom of using right page for the entry, rather than 'the next page' in the journal.  I rarely have 'blank' pages with no markings on them.  I begin the process by creating the journal - which is a really enjoyable spontaneous process.

My journal of choice is an A5 Visual Diary with 60 sheets of 110 gsm drawing paper - in either portrait or landscape format.  (Landscape is harder to find, but Gordon Harris do a run of them early in the year).  Rockingford also do the same size Visual Diary.  The A5 sixe is my journal of choice, because it is easy to carry with me.

To create the vivid watercolour like backgrounds on each page, I use Brusho paints.  These give brilliant intense colours and come in little pots of powders, that mix with water.  They will stain, but are non-toxic.  The thing I like the most is the spontaneity of the water. The paints respond and are unpredictable, and can be used to create beautiful pictures. Check out the work of Joanne Thomas.

Start by putting on disposable latex gloves as these colours will stain.  If you do end up with stained fingers,I've found that shampooing my hair gets rid of the stains.  

Get plenty of newspaper down to absorb any excess paint.  Have containers of clean water if you need to wash brushes as you work.  Going from one colour pot to the next with paint already in the brush will change the orginal colour.

Mix up your powder with water.  Have a variety of brushes, old plastic cards, sponges, rollers, droppers - anything you like to get the paint on the page.   I've found some sealable tight containers to mix in, use for painting and keep any leftover for another painting session.

You can start with a dry or a wet page - and both give totally different effects.  Because I use spiral bound journals, paint from previous or subsequent pages will bleed through and spontaneous colour runs on other pages - and of course - you can do this purposefully on any page. 

Paint a double page spread and while it is still wet with the paint turn the page and press it on to itself.  Leave it, move on and print the next page.  I work on a minimum of two journals at the same time, which means not so much having to clean the brushes, and that pages from one turn of the page to the next can be randomly completely different, rather than transitioning.

At some point, you will need to separate the pages and dry them.  There are a number of drying options - you can stand the journals on their spine and use the cover and backing to form a circle, then fan out the pages, dry them flat, a page at a time, use the sun, in front of a heat source, or the hair dryer.

Note: Because Brusho® are waterbased, the paints will run if they get wet again. 

Once dry you can collage on to them and this too can become part of the background layer, or create a piece of art directly on to the page.  I see these pages as 'works in progress' - they get finished when they are ready to speak again.

The two outer pages are from a magazine article on travel.  I've added them on as "wings" that fold out and give an even wider spread.

And one background resolved into a completed piece of artwork:

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