Monday, 18 April 2016

Old Journal Spread Revisited

Browsing my image archives today I found a journal spread I did for DecoArt for CHA 2014.
I haven't shared it so far because first of all I simply forgot about it and secondly its content is about a personal issue I had been struggling with for a long time back then...and I know not everyone wants to to be confronted with more earnest or sad topics being displayed in art.

But hard times go by and we learn and move on and get better with each crises. And also fortunately the human brain is programmed to forget about how hard it really was "back then". So we can look back at our lives without feeling that same pain again.

For those who don't want to read any sad or earnest stuff - please, move directly on to the images section with the how-tos. I am not offended if you do so (and I won't know

In my life there had been deaths and deadly or serious illnesses of family members from the time when I was six until my late thirties and even though my mom tried her best and did an outstanding job raising her two daughters as a widow (and loosing her mother only three years after loosing her husband), I know now (as a grown up) that she lost her trust in fate back then and part of her simply gave up on trying to be happy again. I never felt that I didn't have a good childhood though...but my heart (or inner child or however you like to call it) never learned "happiness" and to trust in fate. And sadly this is something that cannot be fully caught up on once you are a grown up.

That doesn't mean I am sad all the time. I am not. On the contrary - I laugh a lot. I smile a lot. I like to tell funny stories. I know what makes me happy and how to enjoy good times. And I am very aware and thankful of the many everyday life things that can make us happy - and there are a lot if you are on the lookout. I enjoy and treasure all of it - but it will never become a "natural feeling" for me. It always takes a conscious "act of will" for me to be happy (or at least close to) - if you know what I mean.

But enough of that. I really do have a good life. I am loved and have wonderful precious people I can love back. And I am constantly working on adapting to my "new life with chronic illness". It isn't as dramatic as it may sound, but it also isn't easy and honestly there comes quite a learning curve with it - and a lot of ups and downs.  Which brings me to my journal spread that was made after one of those downs:

Looking at this spread almost two years later, I recognise that my "sunlight" that I recommend trusting in, still looks a bit scary with all the zig-zag-ish and pointy "sunbeams". I don't think that I did the sun (to the right...just in case you struggle with spotting it) like this intentionally - it just happend to come out like it did and I totally blame it on my subconscious. But honestly I smiled today when I saw how it made me do the sun...a sun that was meant to be warm and gentle. Which it definitely isn't on my journal spread.

But hey - it perfectly represents my feelings...the ones I obviously don't have as much control over as I would like to. ;)

I have left those dark times behind. I know that and I can feel that.
But sunlight is happiness - and part of it will always scare me. At least a bit. So my sun is more that of a desert, burning trees instead of making them grow if I look at it closely...(the longer I look at it the more it makes me smile and chuckle honestly).

But on my journal page the person is reaching out - and I am sure he or she can already feel the warmth (even though it feels still a bit scary)...and that it is a good and healing kind of warmth.

But even though I wasn't very content with the shape of my cut out figure back when I made this spread, I now think it perfectly shows this timid approach in all its attitude. Not running at full speed towards the lighter times. But its back is definitely turned on darkness - so someone is on his or her way. And we all know it's small steps when recovering from hurt- and stressful times. So the words "explore" and "journey" are there and exactly where they should be.

I started my spread with a sketch.

Then I added some black acrylic paint to the left as a background and glued on some chipboard arrows and cogs and rough ribbon.

The sun was done scraping on white modelling paste and scratching lines into it with the side of the palette knife.

These were painted with black acrylic paint too so I could dry brush them later.

I worked with a reduced colour scheme and fused the right yellow side with the black left hand side via a grey section. This picture shows all the colour tones and media used on my journal spread:

The paints were  blended directly on the pages while still wet to create a soft blending effect from the black left to the light yellow side. But I also made sure there were visible brush strokes as well.

I stamped on some crackles with black archival ink to add a bit of detail to the background. Then I dry brushed the black glued on pieces with shades of orange and yellow to make all the texture pop.

The bird, tree and lamp post were stamped in place and the stamped and cut out quotes and figure were glued in place too.

The edges of the single quote tiles were shaded using a back watersoluble pencil and a wet brush.

 A bit of white Gesso was scraped on the background and the sun for more detail. The figure's edges were outlined with a black and brown watersoluble pencil and blended. Voilá!
Sadly this piece got lost after CHA, so I never got it back. But here it is now (at least virtually) ;)

Thanks for stopping by! 
Hugs and happy (and I mean it) crafting,


  1. Wie auch immer ... eine geniale Doppelseite ... großartige Techniken !
    Und damals hat es sicher auch dazu beigetragen wieder ein Stückchen zu HEILEN...
    Ganz liebe Grüße an Dich!

  2. Wow, ein echter Fav for me !!! Es hat innere und äußere Tiefe, die Sonne hat irgendwie was von einem Käfer ;-) und da du eine Schwäche für diese Krabbler hast, passt das doch wieder. Das Kontrastthema ist voll gelungen und die Geschichte erzählt sich auch ohne Worte. Absolutely stunning!!!

  3. congratulations for being so brave and showing all the trauma of your past life and the hope and sunshine for your life now and in the future, beautifully done, and I hope the rest of your life will be filled with love and hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! jasann

  4. They always say Let go and throw your feelings on the paper but its the most difficult thing to your spread it tells your story, and i think it's great looking at it after those years and see how you feel about it now
    Gr miranda

  5. I often start my work with a sketch too and really love that you painted over the actual sketch in your journal. Beautiful spread and concept! Hugs, Autumn

  6. Wow, Claudia...what a great and open sharing about what is behind the scenes of your spread. I am really happy that you are now in a better place than back then. Change is so hard to make, especially when it is ourselves, and I love how you show your transition from the "dark past" to the "light". It seems to me when I look at your sun rays, they are reaching out to draw you in, kind of like tentacles. I think sometimes we truly want to change, but don't know how, or struggle with it, and sometimes need a force to draw us in the direction we want to go. Thanks for sharing this, and bug Hugs! Maura

  7. Absolutely stunning! I need you to teach me how to use acrylics hun, I love this Karen x

  8. Yes I think it's brave to look back and face those hard times through your AJ. I feel your character is here more self confident than in the previous sketch. I love the strength of this spread, Claudia, and thanks for sharing!


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