that I want to...
What is the trick, the secret? How do you know when a page is finished? When should you leave a background alone, or approach it from a fresh direction, or add to it... or simplify it?
There is no magic formula or potion.
Here's how I look at it. I hope this helps you frame your own response to these quandaries! My thought is that a page is finished when I no longer want to add or subtract anything. I might let a page sit for a few days or weeks or months. I might add something small and see if it adds interest. I might want the formerly finished page to simply become a way station in the path of this particular page. In my experience, the more pages I do, the more willing I am to keep going and see what happens. So the less invested I am in a specific page.
Like you, I fall in love with some of my pages, and I leave those alone. But the rest? Fair game!
I'm not an art journaling minimalist. I like layers and mystery and all sorts of nooks for exploration and curiosity. Here's the deal. I create pages for my future self. But I also like it when my pages have a visual balance. It's not something that I can quantify, it's more a feeling or peace that I feel when I look at a page. It might tell a story or send a message or have hidden symbolism. It might just be full of rainbows.
The beauty of working with collage & acrylic paints? You can keep going on a page as long as you wish, covering, uncovering, layering, scraping, painting, edging, writing, scribbling, doodling, adding images, changing colors by simply painting over another color. Or adding collage elements. Or taking them away.
The first iteration of this page spread is shown on the lower half of the image. I'd made a grid of collaged papers on the right and scribbly acrylics on the left, along with the words "mind the generation gap" which later I thought were too cliché. It was the words that pushed me to go back in and change it so significantly. I liked the original collage elements and wanted to start with those and transform the page with paint, pink paint to be exact! It's not that the original page was wrong or bad. I just wanted to change it!
I worked quickly and wound up keeping 2/3 of the collage elements and completely changing the look and feel - and message - of these pages. Some of the early layers peeks through, and that is so much fun. It's not that the end result is better or worse, it's more that I no longer felt that I needed to add or subtract anything.
Questions to ask yourself.
- Do I feel a desire to work further on this page?
- Am I so invested in the finished page that it's stopping me in my tracks?
- If I squint, do I see a pleasing balance of lights and darks and shapes?
- Do I feel like working on this today? Does the page confound me? Bore me?
- If this page could be regenerated in B&W, would I still like it?
- Is there some technique or idea that I could explore on this page?
- Is there a launching point here - a corner of mint green that you adore - a fresh starting point?
- What worked well on this page? What do I want to do MORE of?
- Could I let it sit and leave that decision for another day?
- Am I scared to mess it up?
- Am I uncertain as to what I want to do next?
- Do I feel pressure to work on it?
- Could I just drizzle, spritz or splatter paint on top?
- Do I feel like taking a creative risk today?
Do I feel like writing today? Drawing? Painting? Sketching? Stitching? Follow the path to find what you want to do.
This page spread in an altered hardback book began with spheres. I loved the planetary vibe and thought I would take this in a celestial direction, but every time I paged through this journal to see what I wanted to work on, I would stop here and wonder what to do next. It wasn't until I was flipping through a book about 1970's Fillmore Concert posters that I put 2+2 together and turned these spheres into groovy lettering bubbles.
More art journaling inspiration?
If you'd like to explore the process of mixed media art journaling, join me for a workshop!
Explore the groovy world of mixed media art journaling in a hardback book, creatively combining with heavy body acrylics & those yummy collage papers that you have been collecting:) Discover a fresh, playful, loose approach to the page and open up the possibilities!!!
➸ 30+ sections including 4+ hours of video tutorials, prompts, essays & insights about the creative process.
➸ Taught via video tutorials on a private workshop website.
➸ FB discussion group where artists share work and encouragement.
➸ Students at any experience level welcome!
Workshop access thru 12/31/19.
See the workshop section for more details.