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Symbolism on an art journal page about Mexico

Last summer, on a 100+ sweltering day, we went downtown to the farmers' market and explored the treasures in this amazing outdoor shop overflowing with ceramics, sculptures and other Mexican works. I re-discovered this photo and thought the patterns and the angle were cool so I printed on the little pogo printer. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had painted this darkly colorful page the other day and thought the photo was a good match for the background. I started thinking about our travels thru Mexico before the kiddos were born, driving trips emanating from Mexico City to places like Puebla, Taxco, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende.... a long winding road.

Mexico is difficult to write about, so I thought maybe I could use images + symbols instead of words. This was a major twist for me to think in this way! Not literally but figuratively, symbolically, organically, emotionally, something like that. So I started by stamping MEXICO in acrylic paint. I wanted to express a mix, layers of beauty and sadness.

{These pages are in the exacompta journal, the art materials are tubed acrylics, gesso, found stamps, rubber stamps, neocolors, gellyrolls, Traci Bunkers' Blind Melon stamps.}

The stamping with paint shows layers - bougainvilleas, art, colorful houses + dresses, crafts, music, cookies, kindness. Symbols include the stamped letters on that white bit in the collage = language barrier. {I understand much but speak mostly in the present tense, try telling a story about your past only in the present tense, and get back to me}. Gray painted pages = poverty, pollution, crime. Pottery = ceramic art. Blue = ocean. Rainbow = dresses. Designs = wrought iron.

Have you used symbols on an art journal page - on purpose - impromptu - or only later realized?


Doodled Netflix envelope collections at tumblr collected by Doodlers Anonymous.

QUESTION for my spanish speaking readers: Are you aware of art journaling resources on the web in spanish (not translated into spanish)? These resources would be helpful for a reader who is planning an art journaling workshop.

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Reader Comments (8)

I'm Bi-lingual but I haven't really seen anything recently written in Spanish. I should do a little research and see what I come up with.

My journal pages have always been riddled with symbolism. It's one of the reasons I got into it in the first place. I find it a great way for me to be honest and get over the fear of having someone read what I've written. It seems you're really enjoying this next step in your creative journey. You're really embracing the style.

10.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJazmin

Wow! Tammy I love these pages! The background, the composition, imagery and symbols. I do like using symbols, and sometimes it happens very organically and it is not until later that I realise.

10.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha

I simply can't wait daily to read your posts.....always full of inspiration and new ideas

10.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Hi Tammy. How colourful pages. Love that background.
I usually hide simbols and words that have meaning only for me. That makes the journal more me, even if I share it with others.
I'm spanish and I blog both in Spanish and English. I teach mixed media and artjournaling workshops in Spain. At least here there're a few girls involved in artjournaling, not sure in south America or other spanish speaking countries.
If I can be helpful in any way, just contact via email.

10.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCuchy

i'm with sally. i look forward to reading your posts on a daily basis as they are full of inspiration. i can't wait to try out some symbolism! although i have used some symbolism in my paintings! i just can't remember where and what! :)

10.27.2011 | Unregistered Commenteropal

Today is raining so I think I'll paint a variety of background pages then they'll be ready for anything that moves me! I have never done that before.

And a story in the present about the past? I am very small, perhaps 3 or 4, my father sits beside me on the seawall and we are throwing bread to the seagulls. All I am aware of is the circling, squawking mass of grey and white, the red legs and the snapping beaks above me - I am a little scared but my dad is there close by.

10.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Really loving those deep, rich colors!

10.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCornflowerblue17

that's lovely. your recent posts have inspired me to experiment with painting around and over photographs - you can see one of the results here:

Great blog! I love coming here!

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