Friday, November 1, 2019

A Bucketful of Art for Meg

My Bucket List is art, art and more Art!

Art by Jenny mixed media journal page artwork featuring the theme Bucket List

A bucket list isn't something I've ever really thought about until now. It turns out that dreams are just like a bucket list and I've had plenty of those... as you do! They've changed over the years but there seemed to be a reoccurring theme...! lol

At 4 or 6 I was going to be a prima ballerina! At 9 I wanted to be an artist, writing and illustrating books. At 16 I decided I wanted to work as a designer in any full colour magazine (and wrote to lots, ending up with an apprenticeship as a compositor (typographer, graphic designer) at the local newspaper then eventually (many years later), as a designer for an embroidery magazine). At 20, I wanted to travel around the world and climb huge mountains, go on a cruise ship, read more books and colour, stitch, paint and draw. Thanks to a fab paying job, I saved up and at 23, I did all but the cruise ship, unless ferries count! lol :)

Fast forward past the dark years to a "few" years ago... 2006 ... started working towards a new dream of working for Pixar or Aardman Animation as a digital artist, illustrator, clay modelling sculptor and animator. As much as I loved what I was learning, I'm not quite good enough and don't live in the UK or USA (and wasn't moving).

So now I have a new bucket list... one that I'm now working on creating. Business mentors call it a goal, people in the real world call it self employed... I call it living the dream!

Have an art gallery and studio, guesthouse B&B for art retreats, online and real world classroom, and little shop. Creating, sharing, teaching, inspiring, healing and helping. By the seaside, anywhere in Australia. I'm getting there, one tiny ant sized step at a time! So, a life of art, art and more art :) Why not!

So that's what I've created for Meg - thoughts about art. Its more like a sampler the way it got created but art doesn't have rules or must have any particular look.

I shared a pic on Instagram the other day but blogging has been delayed due to work and life interrupting. Time is so precious as it goes super fast - and I'm not the best at managing how I use it. Its on my to do list, or rather, my Bucket List, to manage time better.

I've taken a gazzilion photos so will do an easier to follow tutorial soon on my blog but here's the long story short...

art journal page background preparation using acrylic paint by Jenny James
Smoosh and blend green and blue paint over the background using my fave little tools, the Mini Ink Blending Tool from Ranger - fyi, the foam discs are washable if you wash them at the end of the day, before the paint is dry!
The large Darkroom Door "Crackle" stencil was used to add a bit of yellow, and the Tim Holtz "Grime" (my new favourite) and "Splatters" stencils were used with blue paint. And some green and yellow...

art journal page background preparation using acrylic paint by Jenny James
I've blended paint through all the stencils using the same foam tools, one for white, the other for everything else.
The wording stencil is from Darkroom Door called "Creativity". Its perfect for this as its all about art :) Blended over the whole page using white paint. Then I added Maisie, a Dylusions stencil and mask set (this one's the middle child), also using white. Then more white to create definition in her hair, skirt and boots.

Above : Art is the window to the soul ... I saw this as I lifted off the Maisie Stencil after painting her basic shape - so of course it had to be photographed :) The border or rather, window, is the stencil of her head. Seemed perfect at the time! lol :)

art journal page wip showing how to make pencils with collage by Jenny James
Making pencils... in the past I've used skewers and tooth picks to make pencils and paint brushes, coloured with paint and for the brushes, squishing the ends to make into faux bristles.
This time I've used skinny flat sticks (spatulas or thin iceblock sticks) and cut to shape using scissors.
I coloured each with the Distress Crayons, then blended the colour into the wood using my finger.
I wanted shiny 3D pencils, so gave each a coating of Ranger's Glossy Accents then left them to dry somewhere flat and level.
Of course I forgot they were on my book when I put something down on top of them! whoops. Didn't matter, they still dried shiny :)
I've glued the pencils and paint brush (its only about 15 years old) using gel medium and held them in place with pots of paint.
Had to leave that for a while cos each time I tried to do something else, I moved the brush.

art journal page with embossing powders and acrylic paint with collage by Jenny James
I much prefer using embossing powders for abstract art and creating raised layers. Its certainly much easier than how they're used in cardmaking and scrapbooking. Plus, if you get spatters, it doesn't matter!

How I coloured the lettering :
1 ... apply some embossing ink, glue, paint or gel medium to your die cut shape (I smoothed out the squiggles but for something different, they could be used as they landed).
2 ... fold a sheet of dry paper in half and unfold, pour on some embossing powder.
3 ... dip your sticky shape into the powder. I jostled it around a tiny bit and lifted and patted it into the powder, making sure a really thick amount was stuck. If you find its too thin a layer, repeat the process. Fold the paper and pour the excess powder back into the jar.
4 ... using your heat tool (also called a hot air gun - not a hair dryer, its too blowy and not hot enough), gently hover over the powdered piece until the colours melt and blend. Careful not to get too close or stay in one spot too long - but then, charcoal is a nice colour too!
You will need to use something to hold the piece as you're heating it, so you don't burn your fingers!
If using glue or gel medium, the powder seems to melt better if left to set but not absolutely necessary.

art journal page with embossing powders and acrylic paint with collage by Jenny James
Above... Maisie's boots were created in the same way as the alphabet. I painted on an abundance of gel medium and poured on some powder. Pink for the boots, yellow for the trim, then lifted the page to let the excess powder fall back onto the folded sheet of paper.
Rather than wait for it to dry, I heated and melted the embossing powder straight away. It only bubbled a little bit, hardly noticeable.

To cover up my embossing splatters, I painted in the ground using green and white acrylic paint.
While the paint was drying I added some stickers, words and a butterfly.

art journal page with embossing powders and acrylic paint with collage by Jenny James
Accept who you are and revel in it.

Wise words stamped onto plain paper using Tim Holtz rubber stamps. The words "to do" is a sticker from Dylusions Dyary collection (hoping it makes it look more like a proper bucket list) and the "Create Art" banner is an Idea-Ology embellishment from Tim. This is a better photo of Maisie's boots :)
The flowers are hand painted after using foam daisy stamps for the initial placement. Sometimes its easier to just let the stamps go where they want and then alter and add to them. All the spots and dots and splatters are from the ends of my brushes and tools being dipped into paint.

So much for long story short...

Have a happy creative weekend!


  1. Love this spread Jenny, and your bucket list sounds idyllic!! 💙💚

    1. ❤️ Thanks so much Lisa! Its a happy life too 🐸

  2. very well written Jenny; no doubt you could have been a copywriter too! You sound a bit like me - dreamer. Love your art and your words :)

    1. Thank you so much Janie 😻 I like being a dreamer! I'm so grateful to have all these skills cos it helps when I want to share all the noise in my head!

  3. Fantastic Jenny...I need to come back and have a slow read.


Thank you so much for popping in to see our lovely journals as they are developing. We love to see your comments.