Golden Years Art Journal page

I’ll walk beside you through the Golden years

This page was inspired by an old song that my mother used to like, “I’ll walk beside you”. I also used the ideas from one of the Wanderlust 2020 online course lessons, the one by Kate Crane. I took quite a few process photos so I decided to make a little video with them, with a voice over explaining my process. Towards the end of the video I included a recording of some of the song. You can see it here.

This page is very meaningful for me because my husband and I are now in our autumn years, both being in our 60s. We are very happy to be walking through our golden years together.

Pandemic Art Journaling

Here are a few of the art journal pages I have made in the last few months that are related in some way to my feelings or thoughts about the pandemic. I will include some process photos if I have remembered to take any. The first one is my favourite Covid related page that I’ve made so far. I call it “Stronger Together”…it’s about the importance of friendships and family, how we need to help each other to keep safe,how we’ve been missing getting together in person, how we will love it when we can be together again without fear. I hardly ever do black and white pages but I love how this one turned out. As you can see I used black and white images of the Covid virus seen under a microscope. I enjoyed cutting the chains of people holding hands. The white ones are cut from the sheet music of the song “I Will Survive”

This next page I made at when I was feeling the weight of the world’s increasing dismay and fear at all the deaths from this pandemic. I used an image of a medieval plague doctor wearing the long pointed mask (in which they used to insert herbs and incense they believed would keep away the bad “humours” ) and an image of London during the plague. I also used one of Picasso’s paintings which I tore down the middle separating the woman from the man and child. You can see here the collage pieces before I added paint.

The next page is more light hearted…it refers to the fact that in lockdown many of us don’t even know what day it is anymore. I used an odalisque from a painting by Matisse as my focal image and I painted some tissue paper with the same colours I was using on the background. I decided to cut out the painted tissue paper into shapes which i thought looked vaguely Turkish. Or Moroccan maybe. Anyway, my odalisque is having a nice relaxing time, and indeed at the time I made this page I was enjoying not doing very much…my classes and singing groups were all cancelled and I didn’t have to go anywhere and had a lot more time to read and make art.

What day is it today?

Here’s an earlier version of the page, I enjoyed the combination of blue and red.

The last one for this post is from my altered book journal (which is smaller than A4). This page is about the loss of identity that sometimes occurs when we no longer have our roles and occupations. In this page I am missing singing with the Songbirds and ask the question “Who am I if I am not singing?”

A Video of my recent pages

Just threw this together with a piece of music I love (Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre). It’s all the art journal pages I have done since January last year, except for the ones I did in my travel journal when I was in Europe, which I have already made into a separate video..

Actually I don’t think I have posted that video here, so I may as well add it here too. These are all art journal pages I did while traveling in Europe, over 2 trips, 2018 and 2019.

Collage backgrounds

In the last couple of weeks I’ve made 3 art journal pages using a similar technique (inspired by a Wanderlust class with MaryBeth Shaw) in which I created a background almost entirely covered with collaged ephemera and patterned papers.

Some of these papers were scrapbooking papers I already had, some of them were black and white print outs which I then painted over in the colour scheme i had chosen, and some were just watercolours I painted wet on wet.

The challenging part came after I had glued down all the papers to make a nice patchwork like mosaic background. How to tie it all together somehow and make it cohesive and not just an assortment of patterned rectangles??

Here you can see one of the pages at this initial stage. What I chose to do on each of these 3 pages was to add some acrylic paint in a light colour to some areas, especially over the edges of the pieces of collage trying to tie them together a bit more and also to provide a less busy area where I could place a focal image.

The next thing was to add some stenciling, which also made the page a bit more cohesive. All 3 of these pages turned out to be about coping with the Pandemic situation we are now in, and calling on the angels for some help.

Wanderlust 3 Flourish

Flourish finishedHeal and Flourish.

This is my tribute and prayer for the Australian flora and fauna following the recent devastating bushfires. I followed the main steps of the Wanderlust 2020 online course, week 3 but ended up putting my own spin on it.

We were encouraged to draw our own profile to start…I gave myself a bit of a face and neck lift (cheaper and less painful than the real thing!!) The next step was to add some neutral coloured undercollage. I put a light layer of gesso over it.

Flourish 1

Next I added some colour. I really appreciated my transparent yellow iron Oxide paint because it’s TRANSPARENT so it didn’t cover the undercollage too much. Flourish 2

Next I had to paint the face…this was a bit nerve racking, especially trying to put shadows in the right place. afterwards it looked a bit less like me, but that’s OK. The next step in the class was to add inks to the hair in blobs and then draw some hair like strands with the ink. I only had one ink, in a sepia colour, so i used watery paint as well in the redder brown colour. Flourish 3I had decided by now that i wanted to use some Australian animals and plants for my collage elements on the hair. It was actually supposed to be about our relationship with self, and what we wanted to bring into our lives this year. I think. But I am upset by the plight of our native animals so that’s what I wanted to do…a prayer for them, for healing, and for Mother earth.

I printed and cut out some animals and birds, but when i tried placing them over the hair they became a bit lost in the busy background. As you can see here: Flourish 4For me this is the downfall of this particular lesson..I would never usually choose to place my collage elements on such a busy/messy background. What to do? A trick I’ve used before: sponging! I sponged a darker area and a lighter area as well, to place the collage on. Flourish 5

Flourish 6

As you can see, this improved things somewhat. The animals and birds stand out more, and you can still see the background peeping through a little bit. For finishing touches I added a stencil along the bottom, some penwork in black and white around the collage, a few white dots and some writing. Sending my love to all the creatures of Australia, heal and flourish, heal and flourish. Flourish finished


Wanderlust experiments

I’ve signed up for wanderlust 2020, an online art journaling course, because I want to be pushed to try some new things in my art. So far we’ve had 2 weekly classes and I have actually completed an art journal page for both of them, so I’m quite pleased with myself. For week 2 we we encouraged to paint a portrait of an ancestor, either real or imagined, copying from a photo or internet image. I didn’t have any good photos of grandmothers so I decided to paint my daughter as an imaginary Scottish ancestor. I have Scots ancestors on my father’s side, but my daughter has them on both sides, (the Mackays from the island of Raasay on her father’s side, and the Frasers and MacDonalds  from Skye on my side)….plus, she’s beautiful!

Scots Ancestor

I imagined her as a kind of Celtic warrior queen. I draped her in the Mackay tartan and added a wolf as a power animal companion (there were wolves in Scotland until the 17th century) because she is a strong person and a sheep or rabbit just didn’t feel appropriate!I googled Scottish flowers and painted those orange Gazanias as a contrast to the blue/green background.

In this class we had to do a tonal underpainting first in black and white, then put colour over it. It was all quite challenging, I haven’t ever tried to paint a portrait in acrylics before. I was going to trace the main outline with carbon paper but decided to just print a desaturated photo, glue it down and paint it with clear gesso and then paint over it. At least then I’d have the proportions correct. My tonal underpainting I did with brown and white: Katy for portrait B&WPhoto of my daughter, desaturated. Ancestor 1Tonal Underpainting, Van Dyke brown, white and Paynes grey. Neck is far too dark!!

Ancestor 3Next I painted over it with colour, skin tones (this was very challenging!), plus I  added some appropriate ephemera undercollage on the left page and gessoed over it with a mix of clear and white gesso.

Ancestor 4I painted the background with some blues and greens (all mixed with a bit of Paynes grey and Raw Umber, I didn’t want bright colours) and added some stencilling (a beloved Stencil girl gnarly tree stencil) Ancestor 5Next I added the wolf, the tartan and jewellery embellishments and I painted the celtic shield at the top with gold. To finish I painted the flowers, then did some writing.

Google translate once again came in handy….Tha Sinn Comhla Ruit means “We are with you” in Scots Gaelic. I wanted to convey the idea that she (and perhaps, I ) have received gifts of strength, canniness (love that word!) and resilience from our Scots ancestors, and also that somehow they are watching over us, protecting and assisting us.

For the first weeks lesson we focused on creating an art journal page about our 3 major relationships, using scraped on paint, ephemera and patterned papers and choosing images to symbolise those relationships. Here is my finished page: In my heartI used an image of Artemis to represent my daughter, planet Jupiter for my son (he’s a Sagittarius) a tiger for my husband (Year of the Tiger) and a fish for my Piscean sister. Tying it all together was a bit of a challenge. Here’s how it looked a bit earlier: In my heart 1We were directed to use a stencil in the centre in a dark colour.

I pretty much followed Kasia’s instructions for most of it, and added a few ideas of my own. For example I did a bit of sponging in a dark colour before I glued down the Tiger and Jupiter (so they would stand out better) and then painted some floaty clouds to tie it all together. I used the words of the poet e.e.cummings to convey my feelings.

I like the page, It’s a bit different to what I usually do, and that is why I signed up for the course, to try a few different things.





Out of the Ruins

Ruins finishedInspired by the old ruins I had seen in Europe I decided to run an art journaling class called ‘Out of the Ruins”

I asked “What have been the ruins in your life” and “What are the flowers that have grown out of the ruins?” Speaking metaphorically of course, not literally. I used photos I had taken at Tintern Abbey in Wales Here are some process shots to show how the page developed.

  1. Image of ruins, Undercollage of medieval script, patterns, tissue paper for texture.
  2. Ruins firstI painted greys, browns and soft green around and over the collage. Ruins second









3. Then I added another image of the ruins and the rather depressed and distraught looking woman (from a 19th century painting of Sappho)

Finally i added some cling wrap paint textures (trying out a new idea) a red poppy flower and some brown hessian braid on the left for more texture.  Ruins SapphoRuins finishedThen I quoted some of this poem. here is the whole poem: The Unbroken by Rashani

“There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken.
There is a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow beyond all grief, which leads to joy.
And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words through which we pass with each loss, out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.”


Artist study Journal p4

Italy Whiteley 1 Italy whiteleyI’ve finished another page in my “Inspired by Brett Whiteley” art journal. For this page I used a section of one of his paintings of Tuscany, and I also copied some trees (on the bottom left and right of my page) from his Tuscan paintings. I love itlay and tuscany so it was delicious to make this page. I love the stencil I used in the centre too! The woman is from a 19th century painting. I imagine she is reading a book about Tuscany!

Travel journal video

I’ve made a video of all my art journal pages in my recently finished travel journal. This covers all the pages I made while traveling in Europe in 2018 and in 2019. I took with me some small tubes of acrylic paint, some images I printed before hand that i thought I may want to use and a few stencils. I made the decision NOT to print off any photos along the way as I wanted to avoid a scrapbook style of journal. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I have already made a couple of  travel journals like that.

So on these last 2 trips I searched for images along the way, in found magazines, airline magazines, museum and castle brochures, maps etc I made pages about whatever thoughts and emotions I had at the time, mostly (but not exclusively) in response to the places I visited. This was very satisfying and deeply enriched my travel experience. Hope you enjoy my little video!

Art Journal Cover

Heroines Journal coverMy Heroine’s Journey art journal is finally  finished! I wanted a fittingly gorgeous cover for it (I always wait until a journal is completely finished before I do the cover) and I came across this idea of using aluminium duct tape. I watched a couple of Youtube videos to see what to do.

Heroines Journal back coverThis is the front cover and the back cover, finished.



First I chose some stencils and applied Light Molding Paste (Golden brand) through the stencils. I let it dry overnight before applying the duct tape. Be careful what sort of duct tape you buy. I wasted $16 on a roll from Bunnings which turned out to be no use, it would not mold itself. You need the one with a paper backing that you peel off. I found it at FDBs. (Fair Dinkum Bargains) for only $5. As I had seen on Youtube, I cut the tape into pieces about 8cms to 10cms long and applied them overlapping, over the molding paste patterns. tapeCover 1

back cover 1toolsI embossed the tape onto the patterns, first I used a white coloured pencil and a blending stub which worked ok. Then I borrowed some embossing tools from a friend and that worked even better.

When I had covered and embossed both back and front covers (time consuming!! but meditative) I painted over it all with black paint, then rubbed most of it off again while it was still wet. Some black paint still hangs around especially in the creases which gives it an aged pewter look. I love it.

Here you can see the stencilled molding paste, before I applied the silver duct tape.