Journal Friday #48: Initial Layers

It's the twelfth day of the year, and I've been able to work in my journal nearly everyday, slowly building up the accumulation of marks, actions, and fodder. It seems to be much more organic to work this way without specific themes and challenges to guide the art.

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As mentioned before, I don’t work on a single page or spread at a time. I allow the color, the shapes, and the lines to meander through pages, and I skip back and forth among several pages when I work. As a result, I have about 20 pages that have something started on them at this point. A few of those pages are bit more developed as I have built up a few more layers on them, and a few simply have a bit of collage or color on them. But slowly I've begun the initial layering process with those meager beginnings from last week by turning to some favorite materials and tried-and-true techniques. I have no idea where the pages are heading or what they will turn into, but that is part of the fun.

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I used one of my favorite materials this week — water-soluble pencils, and there are three types that I used, watercolor pencils, water-soluble ink pencils, and water-soluble graphite pencils. I’ve always loved to draw, so these pencils give me a lot of control, but by painting over the marks with water, I can get those painterly effects that I like so much in the journal. I typically use the pencils to create shapes and spaces on my pages, but occasionally I use them for words and writing. It’s interesting to create an initial layer for a page by doing some stream of consciousness writing with them and then wash over the writing with some water. The words soften, and some disappear completely as the pigment spreads and bleeds. I find these water-soluble pencils perfect for starting pages and for building those initial layers on top of other materials.

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I also turned to my trusty black pen to add some lines, some shapes, some textures, and some words. Everyone seems to have their go to pens, and I love the uniball Vision pens. I make certain to get the waterproof/fade-proof pens, and though they can bleed and smear a little when they come in contact with water, they are pretty steadfast, and I always have a black, blue, and red pen on me. Not only did I use the pen to draw some lines, shapes, and textures, I used the pen to take notes. Since the journal is an everything book, I often take notes in my journal as I read, take a class, or try to figure out some ideas. This week I pondered some ideas for some possible future workshops. Since I always have my journal with me, I always have the notes.

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Along with water-soluble pencils and ink pens, I turned to fodder, as well. Fodder is food for the journal — the collage materials that over time make the journal swell and bulge, and I dug through my stash to find some old and new fodder and spent time gluing bits and pieces to multiple pages. I don’t buy ephemera from craft stores, and I don’t scrounge second hand shops for vintage photos. I use what I come across in my day-to-day life — what’s class at hand and authentic to me. These mundane bits get endowed with so much meaning by being placed in the journal, and they become a way to document life and memories.

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Though I’ve worked quite a bit, the pages are still in the initial stages, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here.