We only just got started.

We’ve reached the end of the last week in the Mixed Media Journaling course. As with many of our courses: it went by too fast! And these weeks were only the beginning. It’s been a blast taking this course as a student, and I am so happy I’ve been keeping up with my homework but I do feel I have barely scratched the surface!

Some beautiful takeaways from the past weeks:

  • I am learning to let go, little by little, with each page I fill
  • I am learning to embrace the mess
  • Mixed media art is a fantastic combination of play and mediation
  • It’s easy to go overboard with gold and silver paint. Pink too.
  • Mixed media journaling can be a very personal, reflective way of making art, as well as an opportunity to inspire and get inspired by others
  • New plans and activities: after doing our homework together twice now, my mother-in-law will keep planning art dates. My dad’ll also join again every now and then.
  • The biggest treasures and tools are right in front of your face
  • It’s all about the process, and boy is it addictive!
  • Glue gun!

Making art together

For the homework in this final week I brought together two of my favorite classmates: my mom-in-law Esther and my dad Frans.

So. Much. Fun!

Frans had missed a few weeks in class so he took the opportunity to catch up, surrounded by paint, stamps, paper, pieces of wallpaper, crayons, brushes and much more. Esther had layed out all of her collected mixed media stuff on and around the big dining room table. Soon enough, all three of us got in the flow of things. I loved seeing the very different styles and approaches.

Telling a story

Esther usually partly plans out her paintings, and with this course, she has been working even more intuitively. There is however, always some kind of story she’ll tell in her art. Either the story is in the back of her mind when she starts the piece, or the story just unfolds as she is working. Below are the two pieces she made during our play date this week.

Out of the comfort zone

Frans brought a few magazine pages with him, and some cool wrapping paper that he had been wanting to do something with but didn’t now what exactly. It was so great seeing him bravely dive in, even though he is out of his creative comfort zone with Mixed Media (too messy, sticky and unpredictable). Once he got started, he was encouraged by seeing the page grow with each paint stroke and color he added. Then he made another piece mainly using stamps (the left one below).

Stencils!

I hadn’t been working with any stencils yet, even though I was really curious about them even before the course started. So with Kecia’s awesome advice on using a glue gun to create your own stencils, I was really excited! I can’t even express how much I love making those stencils… it’s quite meditative and I could do it for hours!

I had no idea whether or not my home-made stencils would even work, so I was happy to see they did when I tried them. They work best with undiluted acrylic ink, dabbing the paint on with a brush. Esther used a few in one of her pieces too and we were discovering as we went along.

From there on, I just kept adding. Initially, I used the opposite page for testing, but then decided to use that page and added collage, a bit of writing (“loslaten” means “letting go” in Dutch) and at the end I used plastic letter templates adding those numbers. It’s messy and I am kind of done with the pink and purple by now, but I don’t even really look at the end result. When I look at the page, I feel the flow again, I remember the layering and the warm fuzzy feeling I got, being surrounded and encouraged by lovely family.

Now what?

It’s interesting to me that for the course homework, I didn’t miss drawing at all. I didn’t even think about it! Of course I have been drawing the past weeks, in my regular sketchbook, but it was completely separate. A completely different process, almost a different world. maybe a different part of the brain? I don’t know. I’m not done yet, now that the course is done. There’s so much to discover still! So I’ll keep going, and it’ll be a great excuse for art dates with other mixed media journalers. My mixed media journal will live next to my sketchbook and my iPad, which has also become part of my sketchbook collection (just a digital version), since taking the iPad course. It’s pretty amazing how many different types of artmaking you can learn! And I love it.

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