J52 – Aromatherapy

Journal 52, Week 8

Prompt: Aromatherapy

I love coffee. I enjoy having my coffee and starting my day slowly. Coffee at home is always enjoyable. When I am able to have coffee at work, I have it while checking emails, getting caught up on reading or proof reading whatever presentation I am doing that day. It’s a rather calm part of the day. So the smell of coffee is kind of calming to me. That’s my aromatherapy.

Since this page is about coffee, I painted the background with coffee. It worked quite well! When the coffee dried, I sketched a girl enjoying a cup on top.


I coloured the girl with watercolour pencil crayons, Derwent art bars and Neocolour II. I had to use all three media to get all the colours I needed. I’m experimenting with faces a bit. I’m not too fond of this one, but I like her hair.

I wanted the side of the spread the girl was on to be calm because she was having her coffee. I wanted to other side of the page to look busy….as if the aroma of the coffee was keeping the chaos at bay. I used “Tea Dye” Distress Ink on dictionary pages to make them closer to the coffee colour. I inked the edges of the journal pages too.


The dictionary pages were “A” words. I checked for “aromatherapy”, but only “aroma” was there. I circled it in purple/pink to make it stand out a bit.


I wrote a “To Do” list on paper from my stash. I inked the edges of it like I did with the dictionary pages. I stuck a few plastic clocks on with E6000. I wasn’t sure if I needed glue that strong for them to stay on, but I figured gel medium wasn’t going to work. The E6000 was pretty strong, so I had to open the balcony doors to air the place out. It was cold!!


I wrote in words to fill the spaces that looked empty. The coffee quotes was written with a black Sharpie paint pen. The busy words where written in gold Sharpies paint pen and outlined with a regular brown sharpie to make them more readable. The rest was done with the same brown sharpie.

J52_wk8_aromatherapyPaper ephemera courtesy of Creative thINKing

DLP4: Friendship

The Original Documented Life Project – Journal (2015)
For more details on this week’s challenge, visit the gals at Art to the 5th.

Week 4:
Art Challenge – Writing
Prompt – Words with friends

It was nice to be able to think about my friends this week. Being an introvert, I don’t have huge amounts of friends. Also, I do best one-on-one. None of them really know each other. My friends are forever friends. It doesn’t matter how far apart we are or how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other. We just pick up right where we left off, like nothing has changed. It’s really great. This was my line of thinking for my art journal page this week. Also, I had just gotten the Steampunk set of gelatos and wanted to go with a time theme.

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I started with a white gesso background. Gelatos move around your surface better when it is gesso’d. I scribbled the gelatos on and left them dry. I smudged them all over the page with my finger. I don’t recommend this, my finger was kind of sore afterwards.

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I added some steampunk washi tape. One of them was gears and the other clocks. I also added a magazine cut out of a friendship tattoo. I stenciled some gears in using a MIX-ables stencil and brown acrylic paint.

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This spread was a lesson in layering. I used distressed ink from Tim Holtz to stamp in some gears and clocks which just smudged off, even after drying. Note to self: Ink and gesso don’t work together. I later found out gesso is used as a resist when working with distress inks…woops. To remedy this, I painted the whole spread with gel medium, dried it and tried stamping again. This time the ink took.

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The challenge was to use writing, so I wrote a couple sentences on what I thought true friendship was about. I wanted the words to be in elongated cursive. This didn’t work out very well. My handwriting is naturally quite backhand, so trying to stretch it out was difficult. I used a Fude pen for this.

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At this point, I still had a lot of empty space. I decided to add a compass. I had lots of clocks and gears to represent time, but needed something for distance. A compass did the job. I used a silver Sharpie paint pen and a distress ink pen. I used the same Sharpie paint pen to colour in some stenciled gears too. There is still a lot of empty space, but I’m out of ideas for now.

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J52: Run Wild

Journal 52 2015, Week 4

Prompt: Silhouettes

I have fallen behind with my art journaling. It’s week 5 and I’m still mucking around with week 4. I liked the prompt for week 4. Silhouettes are fun to play with, there are so many different shapes. Since I haven’t been well, I figured I didn’t have the gusto to draw my own silhouette, so I cheated and used a magazine figure. The only magazine subscription I have right now is Women’s Health which gave me lots of different sports poses. I went with a runner. I used to love running.

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For some reason I went with a runner going through a forest at night. I don’t know why. I started with a white gesso background and outlined the trees with a stabilo pencil. I coloured everything with watercolour pencil crayons. I cut the runner out of my magazine with teeny tiny scissors so I could get all the details. I blacked her out with two layers of black gesso and highlighted with silver Sharpie paint pen. The stars are done with the same paint pen. I outlined the trees with an ebony pencil and highlighted them with a white Sharpie paint pen. I smudged the white paint with my finger to blend it in a bit. I tried to darken the colours by shading black over top, but that made it a bit muddy. That’s ok.

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I cut out some phrases from my magazine that I thought went with the picture. I glued them in with gel medium and outlined them with ebony pencil. I had a hard time getting them to stick down flat. I kept getting bubbles and wrinkles as you can see below. I ended up using scrapbook glue to stick the figure in because I didn’t want to get the same wrinkles. The glue wont hold like the gel medium. I guess I’ll just have to re-glue when it falls off.

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Loving Yourself

The prompt for Week 2 in the 2015 Art Project was “Loving Yourself”. Just looking at the theme, I knew this week was going to be a tough one. I am awful at self love. I feel guilty nurturing myself. Lately, in order to improve the state of my mental health, I have been taking me-time. It’s definitely not without guilt, but I find if I do something I enjoy, like art, then I get distracted and the guilt of not working or cleaning the house doesn’t get to me so much.

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This week’s exercise was one I am familiar with. It’s similar to one of the staple activities of cognitive behaviour therapy. The idea is to re-frame negative thoughts about yourself into positive ones. I find it helpful. It can also be applied to other things. I normally use this activity to deal with my anxiety or perfectionist tendencies. I write down my worries and rationalize the hell out of them. Here is my exercise from this week.

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It was recommended to a double page spread this week, so that’s what I have done. We were to interpret the exercise and the loving yourself theme. When I think of love, I think of hearts, pinks and reds, so I’ve incorporated those into my spread. Loving myself is something I am working on and finding difficult, so I doodled a cartoon of myself looking skeptical and pasted that in surrounding it with question marks. You can’t really see it, but I used a stencil full of gears in the background. The gears represent the hard work that has to be put in learning to love yourself when it doesn’t come naturally. I filled the rest of the space with other methods you can use to learn to love yourself.

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For the art folk out there, I started with a layer of white gesso, then scribbled all over it with gelatos. The big heart is also gelato. I used white acrylic paint to stencil in the gears. The smaller red hearts are stamped with ink. The writing was done using a Uni-ball Signo gel pen. Letters were coloured in using Sharpie paint markers. The same was used to draw the question marks and the white ruffles around the big heart. The figure was coloured with regular old pencil crayons and outlined in a Sharpie fine liner. I used Modge Podge to glue the figure in.

Does anyone have an opinion on Modge Podge? I got a whole bottle from my sister-in-law, but I’ve heard it’s no good for art journaling and I should be using gel medium. What do you think?

Anyway, on to Week 3! If you’d like to join the fun, you can find more information on Victoria’s blog, or join the Facebook group

How My Past Has Shaped Me

It’s week three in my art journal workshops and I’m already behind! It’s not bothering me much though. These workshops are free, I’m not being graded and no one minds if you post late. I think my favourite one so far is the 2015 Art Project. The theme of this workshop is stress management and positive change. It’s the smallest of the three workshops, so everyone was able to introduce themselves. It seems like they all have their own set of struggles, myself included. For some reason this makes me feel at home and unafraid to share my work. I feel like they’ll be kind and give me constructive criticism without being mean about it. I’m a little nervous about posting my pages to the other groups.

Week one was all about how your past has shaped you as a person. We were to think of some of the main experiences in our lives (good and bad) and come up with positive qualities we gained from those experiences. It was pretty easy for the good experiences, but it was hard to focus on the good that came out of a bad situation. I think this is a really good exercise. My bad experiences weren’t as traumatic as some, but it still gave me perspective. It made me feel like there was a reason I went through the bad stuff rather than just needlessly suffering. Anyway, back to what I was saying, the positive qualities were then used to cover your body in a self-portrait journal page. I did a two page spread because I wanted to include the initial exercise in the journal.

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On the right side I scrawled my life experiences and the left is my “self-portrait”. It really looks nothing like me, lol. Well, maybe the hair is pretty close. Here is a close up of the left side.

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The experiences I chose were

  • Strabismus (crossed eyes) – If you want to know about that experience, read this post. The positives I pulled out of this one were self-aware, unique and more confident.
  • Living with depression – This one was hard to work with, but I came up with modest, empathetic and grateful.
  • Meeting Hubby – We had a rocky beginning which made me more honest (blunt, haha) and communicative. Once I figured out how to just talk to him, we were great! His influence has also made me more adventurous.
  • Adrian – He is a former boss who was interesting to work with. I think emotionally and verbally abusive about sums it up. I haven’t written much about him on the blog. Maybe I will some day. I hear that he is mellowing out in his old age. Anyway, from working with him, I got self-sufficient, placid and determined. He used to feed off of your reaction. If your voice cracked while he way yelling at you or you turned red when he singled you out, it just made thing worse. I learned to speak to him with confidence, a blank face and no reaction despite what he was throwing at me. Eventually he got bored with me and saved his drama for the people who reacted to him.
  • University degrees – I think this one is obvious. Disciplined, hard-working and determined.
  • Bullying – It was hard to put a positive spin on this one too. I came up with self-aware, kind and sociable. Sociable sounds odd right? The person doing the bullying was actually a friend, or I thought she was at least. This forced me to find a new circle of friends, so I was being more sociable and I met some great people.
  • Moving to Montreal – I came up with adaptable, versatile and loyal. I really learned who my friends were when I moved.

And here is a close up of the right side.

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I started with a layer of white gesso. I should have done two coats because I definitely missed spots with just one. Watercolour pencil crayons were used for the background and the figure. The figure is also outlined with gel pens to cover up the pencil lines. The clocks are from a stamp I found at Walmart. The letters and swirls are stencils, also from Walmart. I’m not very good with stencils. They tend to come out kind of mucky. I think my paint brush is too wet? The writing is in Sharpie paint pen, the water-based kind and Uni-Ball Signo pens. I like the Uni-Ball Signo pens because they write well on top of paint without getting destroyed. My Sharpies tend to stop working if I use them on paint. What I don’t like is that the Uni-Ball pens bleed when anything wet gets near them. Does anyone know of a pen that writes on paint, but doesn’t bleed if you want to go over it? I tried the Uni-Ball jet stream pens, but they don’t write on paint very well.

If you think you want to give it a try, you can find instructions on the 2015 Art Project Blog. So far I’ve found the exercises and interpreting them into art very therapeutic. I’m learning more about myself. Also, don’t worry about skills and supplies, you work with what you have!

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