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Welcome to another Art Journal Express – a free video tutorial series where I show you how I created one of my art journal pages from start to finish. Each and every Art Journal Express video tutorial is in “fast forward” mode and then narrated so that you can see each and every step and hear my thoughts behind my process without having to sit through a loooong video.

Those of you that have followed me from my earliest days online (as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator when I shared my card creations with you on the Sunny Stampin’ Blog which used to be at www.andreawalford.com) may remember me saying many, many times that I had always perceived myself to be creatively challenged.  I thought that some people were born creative, and others were not.  Because I had been your typical right-brained academic all my life – I just assumed I fell into the latter category. The funny thing was, despite believing that I wasn’t creative, I desperately wanted to be. I was a total creative wannabe.

Art Journal Express #18: "Explore" Art Journal Page Close Up Photo

So I decided to approach it the same way that I had approached many other skills in life.  I started by taking a class –  tole painting (i.e. folk art painting).  The interesting thing about tole painting is that you don’t have to be artistic to be able to create beautiful artistic-looking pieces.  You have to have the right tools and supplies, and you have to learn the techniques (i.e. the various brushstrokes) and from there you can follow patterns. I frankly often astounded myself at what I was able to create by following that process.  That was when I started to believe that creativity was a trait that was inherent in all of us – we are all creative beings – some of us are just blessed with it in greater measure than others.  I also realized that creativity was something that could be developed.  And that was the mindset that I applied when I started scrapbooking and making cards.

I started off by copying – the lingo we used to use when I was with Stampin’ Up! was CASEing – meaning to “copy and share everything”.  Other people’s cards became my “patterns”.  As I spent time re-creating cards I loved, I eventually went from outright copying to slowly tweaking little things here and there – a different design element, different colour combos, a slightly different layout.  Until I eventually got to the point where I started creating my own interpretations of designs and simply using them as a springboard, or inspiration.

When I first started art journaling, I tried to approach it in the same way. Only it didn’t work quite so well – I think because art is so much more free-flowing.  In a card or a scrapbook layout it’s fairly easy to look at it and break it down to it’s basic elements, figure out how it’s done and then create something similar.  It was a problem-solving approach which actually worked really well with my right-brain nature.

In art journaling and mixed media my tried and true “formula” didn’t seem to work for me very well – because art work is layer upon layer upon layer and you have various mediums blending with and interacting with one another to the point that it’s hard to know how something was done unless it’s explained or demonstrated.  So I turned to books and magazines and I took online and in person classes and workshops to the nth degree.  Which helped me start understanding what I was seeing when I looked at other people’s artwork.

Now once I got to that point I thought I had finally broken through the art journaling “barrier” – I was back to simply learning the techniques and following a “pattern” and I would be good to go!…..not so much.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t re-create the beautiful artwork that I was seeing. I found it super hard, and my artwork always turned out super ugly.

That’s when I think I had my real “aha” moment – which was that art that is a true reflection of you – who you are –  can’t follow a pattern or a formula or a method.  In fact you need to put all of that aside.  Yes it’s good to have an arsenal of supplies and mediums and techniques, but ultimately you need to learn to let go, to shut your brain off and let yourself be guided by your intuition.  For some people that comes naturally. For us right-brainers, it takes practice.

And that’s what I’ve been doing pretty much every since I started the Art Journal Express series, is trying to shut off my brain, and just explore and have fun and create and not get too hung up on the outcome.  *Confession* – I still get hung up on the outcome, but I’m getting better.  Previously, when I hated something I used to rip my page out of my art journal and start over.  Now I try and work with it LOL.

With today’s page – it was the first time that I really felt like I finally reached the “let go and let intuition take over” stage because I did’t think about anything.  I had one starting thought which was when I grabbed my India inks, and everything else just flowed – as an idea popped into my head I went with it without thinking about what the outcome might be.

Art Journal Express #18: Explore Art Journal Page - Single Page Photo

Supplies: Gesso, Teal Fluid Acrylic Paint(Golden); Matte Gel, Professional Spray Paint Carbon Black (Liquitex); Black, Golden Yellow, Magenta, Green Bombay India Ink (Dr. Ph Martin); Life tissue paper (7 Gypsies); Artisan Words (Pink Paislee); Titanium White Heavy Bodied Acrylic Paint (Dick Blick); brayer, bubble wrap, shelf liner (other); chevron washi tape (Glitz)

Here’s the video tutorial:

Here’s a snapshot of the two page spread – I am working in my Dylusions journal and I always use the right side for journaling and the left side to list the supplies and make notes on what I did in case I want to use the techniques on other mixed media pieces.

Art Journal Express #18: Explore art journal page - double page photo

Here’s a few close ups I took with my macro lens so that you can see a bit of the detail and texture – you can click on any of the images to enlarge them,

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I hope you enjoyed today’s video tutorial. If you haven’t already, please be sure to subscribe to the  You Tube Channel I’ve created specifically for the Art of Simple blog HERE so that you don’t miss a single issue of Art Journal Express.

Also, I’m re-starting  posting to my Andrea Walford Designs Facebook Page. I encourage you to “like” my page, as I’ll be sharing exclusive content that you won’t find here – including pictures of some of my other art work (art journal pages, etc), tips and techniques I find around the web, and the occasional Facebook only video tutorial.  That Facebook Page won’t just be art journaling and mixed media – I will be posting some card creations as well.

Also, I’d love to hear about your thoughts surrounding creativity and art journaling and whether you struggle with it, or have tips that help you get out of your own way.