The Noticing Journal Wrap-Up & Flip-Thru

The Noticing Journal Wrap-Up & Flip-Thru

Thought you might like to see a flip-through of The Noticing Journal, an altered book art journal project that took over 2 years and holds some of my favorite pages. The journal was finished this past spring, and I photographed the pages but then got caught up in other projects. Working on a journal for a few years means that your style changes from the earlier pages to the later pages that you create. I do not work chronologically, so you can't "see" the evolution as I page through the journal in the video.

This journal was such an intensive project and it has quite a story already!

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Art Journal: Groovy

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Pages from the Noticing Journal. This page spread has gone in lots of different directions with a two year gap where it sat with just two photographs. But now I love it! It's groovy! 

Materials include Golden airbrush {now called high flow} acrylics and fluid acrylics, photographs, washi tape, hand-stitching with metallic embroidery floss, a quote, japanese papers, ephemera, Neocolors. The machine stitching is the back side of the stitching on the reverse of each page.

The following photos show the pages in March 2012.

Directly behind the left photograph of the curtain, on the previous page, is a photo that's exactly the same size and in the same location. So I decided to stitch the photos to the page by hand at the same time. That way the stitching makes sense on both pages.

Yes, that's a sewing machine needle. And no, it didn't make any sense to use it, but this was two years ago and I was too lazy to go upstairs and search for a needle.

Anyhow, it's good to have another page in the Noticing Journal finished. I think it might be ready to call it DONE after 2.5 years but want to go back through all of the pages and see if there's anything else I'd like to alter. It's bittersweet to come to the end of a long project, isn't it?

Tangent № 06: Quirky Girls

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius
and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous
than absolutely boring.”
Marilyn Monroe


In this tutorial, we will draw/paint a face with Golden High Flow Acrylics.


This tutorial was originally part of the 2012 Museum of Simple Things Workshop here at Daisy Yellow. I have modified the concept to fit this space. I've been playing with Golden High Flow Acrylics {previously called Airbrush Colors} for many years and I have found so many ways to utilize them on my art journal pages. Here's one of the ideas for you!

You'll need the following materials:

  • A few index cards for sketch practice
  • Black gelly roll, gel pen or marker {one that doesn't bleed} for sketch practice
  • Pages from an old hardback book with uncoated {non-glossy} paper *or* heavy cardstock 
  • You can also work on any sort of abstract background that you have already created with acrylic paints. Just be sure that it is nice and dry before adding your Quirky Girl.
  • Golden High Flow Acrylic Paint {also called Golden Airbrush Colors}, 2-3 colors including one dark color
  • Paper towels
  • Optional Ideas! If you do not have High Flow acrylics on hand {and many folks will not}, you can experiment with painting a face using fluid acrylics and a thin brush. Or you can paint a face using india ink and a small brush or a dip pen. Follow the same "movements" as in the video.
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Watch the video here, or click over to Vimeo to watch {8 mn}

The first minute or two is music, and then I talk while I show you how to paint the girls. 


  1. Divide your index card into a grid of about 20-30 tiny sections. Draw at least 20 quick faces. Drawing quick faces is preparation for *painting* faces in your art journal. Note the movements that you make that add up to a face. Make enough that this feels repetitive. 
  2. Start with your paper for art journaling. Paint a fairly light background with acrylic paints using any technique you wish. Just use acrylic paint, not gesso. You can also leave your background unpainted. Let it dry at minimum 30 minutes. Be sure that it is dry to the touch.
  3. Paint a girl! 
  4. Make a list or write something "around" the girl after the page is dry.

Girls drawn on a 5x8" moleskine journal page.


Another page from an altered book art journal. This page started with a simple thin red acrylic background then added a quirky girl and when the page was nice and dry I wrote a list of girl-titled songs with a white Uniball UM-153 gel pen.

Here's an index to all of the tutorials in the series.

Grid Collage {Fast Forward}

After you "finish" an art journal page you can continue to allow it to evolve even years later. Any consideration that the page is finished can be changed at any time. As long as there are blank pages to fill and unfinished pages, anything else in the journal is fair game for paint, stitching, words, etc. So to clarify, I don't go back to journals that I feel are truly finished and I've moved on. But if a journal is still in-progress and I am opening it to art journal, all of the other pages are available. Even if they've been photographed and shared and blogged and whatever! Remember.... NO RULES.

So here's the grid from Tangent #4, from the Art Journaling Tangents & Tactics Series. It actually took two major twists before it was officially finished. 

First twist. Here's the left page after adding freestyle stitching a few months after doing the original page. A bunch of the pages in this altered book {called the Noticing Journal} ultimately fell out and so I was able to use the machine to sew on them. If you are working in a bound journal you can still stitch the edges of a page or hand-stitch or hand-embroider your page.

Second Twist. Months after adding stitching, I painted a girl and words to the pages with high flow acrylics. Why? I felt like it! I was not feeling well at that time and exhausted and having trouble keeping my thoughts clear... the words on the right say, "but i cannot focus..."

I dare you today, to take a risk in your journal. I believe that taking risks in your work leads to learning experiences.

 DISCLAIMER: I cannot promise that you will like the results. There is a strong chance that you will mourn the beautiful page underneath and regret your steps or alterations, your layer of paint. Remember not to get too married to your results. Too attached. 

"Only those who will risk going too far
can possibly find out how far one can go."
T. S. Eliot

Sometimes experiments turn out muddy, gloppy messes! And sometimes you get the biggest surprise of your creative life! This is the way that art journaling works. That's what makes art journaling so different and unique ➸ the goal is not to wind up with a perfect end result but to "work" in your journal.

Art Journal: Natural Green Dots

“The magic is only in what books say,
how they stitched the patches of the universe
together into one garment for us.”
Ray Bradbury

The background started with Golden fluid acrylics and contains  found items, fabric tape, stickers, clippings from Japanese magazines, typed index card wisdom from my older daughter (14), painted papers, ephemera from Sue. Finished by adding layers of detail with heavy body acrylics, high flow acrylics and neocolors!

See? It no longer closes. And the pages are no longer connected to the spine! I plan to keep this journal in a box when it is finally and truly finished. Just a few more page spreads and I shall "call" it done. 

Hidden messages too.

These pages are in an altered hardback book that I call The Noticing Journal. If you have been reading Daisy Yellow for several years, you know that this book has taken TWO years to get to this point of almost-completion! You know that I work the pages at random. But it may surprise you to learn that I rework them at random, adding, completing, restarting. Lately I even started a few fresh full pages over other full pages! Why? Just felt like it. 

Surprise! The pages actually started with these lovely rainbowy flowy forms back in April 2012. I love(d) it. So when I decided to "finish" the page, I wound up going overboard... I love to ignore the elusive concept of white space. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Art journaling is play. 

Everything inspires me to work in my journal. The façade of a building, a clothing tag, the way the light glows through a window, the texture of a wall. Even my doodles inspire my journal pages. Let ideas from all parts of your life inspire your art. Let your own art inspire your art! Build on your ideas. Explore them. Alter them. Change them. Change your mind.

I want to BUILD & GROW this wonderful art form known as art journaling, because I love it so! I'm SO HAPPY about the positive response to the announcement about the upcoming {free} Art Journal Tangents & Tactics video tutorial series. I have been scheming about this for 4 months and it is wild relief to make the announcement and see it materialize! I am nervous and excited to see how the donations concept works as we move forward.

Art Journal: Those Who Dream

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.”
John Ruskin

So I started working in my altered book art journal again!

In developing my watercolor/gouache workshops I got so immersed in those mediums that I neglected my beloved acrylics. Switching between mediums is something I highly recommend! Acrylic paint is intriguing, refreshing, challenging and full of wonder and yumminess. 

I like that you can layer the paints, so that you can cover up and completely change your pages at any time. You can even art journal over a completed art journal page. Yes. And I have. And you should. 

This spread has involved several iterations, so many that I can't remember what it was when I started this book in 2012! The ingredients include magazine clippings, a quote, Japanese papers, papers {happy mail from Sue} fabric tape, high flow acrylics, heavy body acrylics, neocolors, ephemera. And chocolate truffles. 

There's an in-depth article about this altered book turned art journal here ---> Daisy Yellow Zine Issue #11

Art Journal: Make Your Days Magical

I believe that we are responsible for our own happiness. That said, I still get frazzled when there are 1,064 things to do and I'm not doing any of them. Looking for the magic, the sparkly stuff in my days, is my way of pushing myself to "look on the bright side" and see the cup as half full rather than half empty. These pages are in an altered book I call The Noticing Journal, a journal featured in the latest Zine. The page has a background of acrylics and machine stitching with all sorts of found items, fabric, receipts, waves cut from an index card. Lots of curves with none of my typical grid compositions in sight! The photo at the left was taken at Venice Beach when we were in California this past summer.

The mandala on the right was drawn on an index card. Here's my process. I keep a stack of index cards and a few pens in the car. When my younger daughter and I are waiting at carpool for my older daughter, I grab an index card and add to whatever design I have going. So I might work on it for 10 minutes or 22, but I finish a card every few days. I cut out the mandala and stitched it to the page.

Have you used index cards or index card artwork on an art journal page? Did you use a whole card or just a portion? Do tell!

PS. Zine #10 is available now!

Art Journal: Sometimes Words

“It's hard to tell the difference between sea and sky, between voyager and sea. Between reality and the workings of the heart.”
Haruki Murakami

Ingredients include: photographs, acrylic paint, japanese papers, ephemera, painted papers, gelatin prints, part of my ink play page, typed quote, washi tape. Working in altered hardback book started in early 2012 aka The Noticing Journal

Sometimes words do not surface. The right words. Sometimes I don't know what to say to pull a page all together. And so I don't push it. I know that if I write something cliché about life I will get annoyed and paint right over it. So I don't bother. 

And lately I've been trying to show earlier layers of these pages. So the next photo is what I would consider the second or third layer to this page, or how the page looked the night before I finished.

Only the texture from the first layer of acrylics and the top two photos remain from the very beginnings of these pages in April 2012. The left photo = a bunch of faces from a Moleskine page. The right photo = a portrait in process on a loose piece of cardboard. {You can see the first layers on these pages in two blog posts... Stitching Photos and Stitched Goddess.}

This week {a year and a half later ♥} I added all sorts of papers and changed the page to green, yellow & teal. I filled a rapidograph pen with sepia high flow acrylics and wrote meaningless thoughts and altered lyrics in run-on sentences. Do the words matter? Do they contribute to the page? Who knows. Does it matter that I wrote the words and then covered them with paint? I think it was just part of the process for me. You can't see it. But it happened! The key is that nothing on the page is so precious that I fear painting over or messing with it. 

AEDM: Artwork for Days 17 & 18 of Art Every Day Month facilitated by Leah of Creative Every Day. I'm doing art every day this month!