Art Teaches

There are many reasons for art journaling: fun with layers, fun with paint, developing a planned page. My love of art journaling comes when I can develop an idea visually. If  concept comes alive through color and texture, it’s three ways to understand it–intellectually, and through color and texture. (Sorry to all you parallel structure purists; it wasn’t going to work.)

I’m an over thinker. When I’m too close to the problem, I can’t see the solution. And I don’t want to wait or see what develops. The journal page below came from that impatience of mine.

"Too close to see," Fabric, printed paper, ink, watercolor paper. © Quinn McDonald, 2012.

The bottom layer is inked watercolor paper. The next layer is a strip of paper printed with the phrase, “Too close to see.” Over it is a piece of lacy fabric, black with silver, that covers the type and ink. When I held the fabric close to my face, I could read the writing easily. Pressed against the type, it’s hard to figure out. Just like real life, these journal pages.

This page also posed an interesting problem. The easy way to attach the fabric is glue. Not possible in this case, as it would have distorted the ink as well as the ink-jet printed type strip. I had attached the strip with a glue stick. I couldn’t use glue to attach the fabric, so I borrowed from the sewing world and attached the fabric with fusible webbing–the stuff collars and cuffs are stiffened with.

Photograph on fabric, stitching to come.

The next page runs off in a different direction. Using one of Bo Mackison’s Southwest-series photographs (with permission), I wanted to take the rough pottery and adobe and translate it to a different medium. The ancients pots are ready for work, and filled with sun. Picked up, the pots cannot hold the sun. I had a flash of understanding–when we sit with frustration, or the heat of anger, it’s just a matter of position. If we get up to work mindfully, we can’t hold frustration or anger.

I wanted a soft medium, so I printed the photograph on cotton fabric. (See Bo’s original.) It had a margin on one side, and I will fill it when I stitch the fabric to a paper base.

I’m not sure how to fill the margin–I can use decorative stitches, or I can use a pen to write on the fabric. I’m not skilled enough to use free-form stitching to write. Any ideas–either for words or for how to fill the space?

Quinn McDonald is an art journaler who is making samples to take to her classes, One-Sentence Journaling and Journaling for Perfectionists, this weekend in L.A.