Art Journaling Ideas

Yes, I was supposed to finish my taxes, no I didn’t . Instead, I spent a lot of time in the studio, working on art journal pages.

Splash Inks are really very interesting. There are just four of them: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. By mixing various amounts of them, you can create thousand of colors, hues, shades, and tints. Here’s a journal page I did with just yellow, blue and black. True, the background used a tiny drop of magenta, too.

Page. succulent

All those green colors just from mixing and adding water for transparency. You can layer really well with this ink. This is a larger image of a succulent I planted this morning–the repetitive leaf shape just charms me.

Most of my journal pages are now free-standing pages with an image on one side and a piece of writing distilled from my journal on the other. It expands the meaning to have the side relate to each other. (I’ve been using this with my coaching clients with some delightful results.)

The front of this page (a 5 x 7-inch Strathmore Ready Cut) is colored with Ranger dauber paint in Distressed Wood (light gray) and Vintage Photo (brown), a clock stencil and a piece of paper printed with rulers. Of course, I had to finish it with found poetry.


The found poetry reads:

Traveler’s timekeeping

Nearly 200 years earlier, another man
on the deck of another ship
had a radically different sort
of awakening about the stars.
The whales chanted the songs back and forth
for hours at a time.
The wisdom of thousands of years flows
through their lips.
Then you come to me like the progress of a shadow on a sundial.
We lived by the stars. The stars told us when to go fishing.
We had a name for every star.
You gave us calendars and clocks and schedules and we forgot the stars.
We don’t read them anymore.

The back of the page has a background of Ranger dauber stain in Moss which I  immediately spread with a wet watercolor brush. When it was damp-dry, I sprayed it with purple ink and let it dry. Then I stamped it with a compass, added gold to the compass rose (hard to see, I know) and then wrote on the back.


Next, a journal page with two kinds of fabric, stitching, and torn marbled paper. First, the red and orange swirl fabric was ironed on  Strathmore Ready-Cut with Pellon fusible webbing. Then the sheer fabric with spangles was put on with MistyFuse (you can see it through the fabric on the scan, less so in real life). I love that the fabric is visible through the sheer fabric.


I then cut the top of the mountain shape and tore along the bottom and glued the mountains onto the fabric. When it was dry, I wrote in the lines of the mountain with one of my new JetPens fountain pens with an extra-fine nib. This is refillable and writes with a thinnest line–the same as an 03 Rapidograph.

Next, I stitched my signature waves over the land portion of the page and then zig-zagged all around the edge to finish the fabric and hold it in place.

OK, now I really have to do my taxes.

Disclaimer: I purchased all the products myself and did not receive any compensation for mentioning the product names.

-Quinn McDonald  is taking mixed-media waaay multi.

16 thoughts on “Art Journaling Ideas

    • I’m excited about “commonplace books”! I’ve been keeping one for years and didn’t know it was called that. Now I’m delighted. Thank you so much! And I’m honored that my found poem found its way into your commonplace book.

      • I also didn’t have an idea what I had been doing since my teenage years until 2011 when I bough Hugh Cawdor’s (the 6th Earl Cawdor) ‘Thistles in Aspic – Leaves from the Commonplace Book of Hugh Cawdor’ on my latest visit to Scotland and Cawdor Castle. He collected down everything it seems, from ‘DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS, THEY’RE DEAD. – Graffito in Smithfield Meat Market’ to snippets from Shakespeare. And thank you for mentioning my blog! That warmed my heart. I think I’ll make a post about by commonplace books this evening. That one will give me an excuse to include Indiana Jones too. 😉

  1. I totally expected more comments about taxes! Mine are still spread all over the table waiting for me to get back to them. Can we be the ONLY ones who are not done? not……..
    I enjoyed the poems too. In fact I asked my daughter, sitting beside me if “found” poems are ones you make up using words and phrases you find. It sounded too “un” found to be “found”. Nice work, beautiful colors, inspiring words. thanks

    • Yep, that’s exactly what found poetry is. You cut out words and phrases you like from various magazines and books. Cut out much more than you’ll need. Then sit and stare and push around tiny snippets of papers until poems form.Sometimes a poem forms and it’s the wrong one. Then you start over. I think this is meditative and inspiring. Not everyone would agree with me.

  2. The “We come from the stars and the sea” poem combined with the blues and greens plus image of the compass is a knock out. Why isn’t there any cool artwork like this in my neck of the woods?

  3. Your poetry is amazing.
    And the Freudian slip in “OK, not I really have to do my taxes.” gave me a chuckle. The time you posted was interesting. I haven’t been up that late in ages even to read, my favorite pastime.

    • Ahhh, those Freudian slips. The not/now typo is one I make so frequently that before I send business emails, I run a universal search for it. I use it as an example in my proofreading classes. And still it eludes me. The found poetry is tricky. I will admit this one took me a long time, but I loved every minute of it.

    • Found poetry is one of the biggest joys of creating for me. I don’t know where they come from, but when they appear–particularly when I am using a book on the history of clocks and a book on oceanography and out come phrases that are lyrical–it’s magic! Thanks for liking them, too.

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