Getting messy and experimental in my art journal

Ever since watching Flora Bowley‘s Creativebug class on intuitive painting I’ve been filling my creative wells with color theory, mark making, and layering inspiration.

A few weeks ago I laid down some initial layers in my Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook. I had originally bought this sketchbook to be my travel journal for our camping trips, but I learned that I really don’t like the way my fountain pen writes in it. Plus, I wasn’t enjoying painting in my travel journal… I like just writing about my experiences and maybe a doodle sketch here and there. Nothing that needs nice paper like the Beta ā€” so now I’m using my bullet journal for travel and the Beta sketchbook for painting exploration.

Last night I had a free block of time all to myself and had so much fun adding more layers to my pages! Plus I got to use my new supplies: a couple of Caran D’ache Neocolor II crayons.

mixed media art journal intuitive painting
“Garden Under the Sun”

My approach on this painting was to put down a layer of warm colors and then come in with black, white, and cool colors. I love the way the little dots in Turquoise Green contrast with the warm reds and browns. Some good complementary color stuff going on there. The yellow dots with dark red-brown centers remind me of avocados.

One of the things I’m experimenting with in my art journal is composition. I think these intuitive painting projects lend themselves well to composition studies because they’re abstract, so I don’t need to worry about painting representational objects. It’s one less thing to focus on. The page above uses a vertical design composition: I stacked things vertically, used long vertical shapes, and angled elements so the eye goes from the bottom up to the top.

mixed media art journal intuitive painting
“Oriental Hillside”

The first layer of this page was some collage using tracing paper I had doodled on. Then I went over with my black brush pen, Stabilo water soluble pencils, and gold Gelly roll with all sorts of mark making. I covered a lot of it up with white acrylic and some black ink, then smeared on olive green.

After taking Flora’s class I bought a set of Blick Studio Acrylic paints in the intro set colors. One of my favorite color mixed is the ultramarine blue and cadmium yellow medium ā€” it’s such a great warm green. And a little bit of the cadmium red medium dulls it out.

I’ve read that using a very limited palette for color mixing teaches you so much about colors and I’m starting to comprehend what that means. I’m so glad I bought this small color set because it’s helping me understand how to mix the colors I want and it’s also keeping the color palette for a piece unified. The red, yellow, and blue in this set have a warm bias, which I’m loving. So my green is a warm green not a bright grass green.

The bits of bright red on top combined with the black shapes and green remind me of a Chinese landscape. I didn’t set out to make a landscape, but when I look at this one that’s what I see. I think this one favors a horizontal composition.

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