What To Do With A Finished Art Journal That You Simply Cannot Stand: A Texture PLUS PanPastel Tutorial

I had this mess of an art journal a while back.  It was one of my earlier art journals where I was still unsure of my process.  I had made the book myself and I liked that part about it; the structure, the size, the heavy paper weight, etc.  The cover was made from a cute vintage record sleeve.

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What I had done on the inside was hideous.  I guess it was a “bad art phase” or something like that, but it all rubbed me the wrong way.  The pages seemed somehow contrived, they lacked drama, there was no connection to the real me, the paint I had used was too glossy, etc. etc… It was just plain ICK.  What do you do with this big chunk of negative energy taking up space?  Something had to be done, and fast.   I could chuck it.  I could donate it to Goodwill.  I could abandon it on Maine Street in Brunswick.  All of these were viable possibilities.

My brain fired off a spark of a thought.  Instead of ditching the journal forever, I would make one last attempt to save it.  I love creating texture in my art journals.  Real touchable texture.  So I decided to add a bunch of real texture to each page.  Book pages, lace, trim, AND plaster casting material.  I used a sewing machine, set it to a long straight stitch length, and stitched paper and fabric elements to each and every page.  It was all quite random, with no preconceived notion of design. There was no glue needed either; machine sewing is strong to enough to hold everything in place.  And no need to back stitch as that would simply create a hole in the page.

Once this stitchy feat was accomplished, I gessoed every page, twice!  I had to start fresh, with a blank, fully textured, mostly white page.  When dry, I adhered the wet plaster cast pieces with a bit of heavy gel medium.  And I even gessoed again. Yes, a third time, after the casting material dried.  It was triple insurance that those pages wouldn’t haunt me anymore.  Here are several page spreads, full of delicious texture, ready for greatness.

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Here it is standing up.  Just look at those fore edges!

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Well, you get the picture…  So what do you do exactly with these pages?  The possibilities are endless, of course, but what I’ve done thus far involves PanPastels, black acrylic paint, white Sharpie poster paint pens, a bit of paper, gel medium and some Liquitex Modeling Paste.

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This cute little bird flies south soon, don’t worry.  And the message basically says shit or get off the pot.  In more ways than one.

I may actually be in love with PanPastels…  They are AWESOME.  Really really awesome.   The birdie above was made with 3 colors plus a dark brown chalk pencil.

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PanPastels are dusty and thus need a sealer.  A stinky aerosol sealer.  I usually try to avoid using these as they tend to off-gas for a long time and I can’t stand the fumes.  However, I tried out a new-to-me brand.  I found a matte varnish by Grumbacher that stinks to high heaven at first, but the odor dissipates very quickly.  In just a couple of days after I used it, the page spread barely smelled.

My overall plan is to fill my big textured beauty of a book with PanPastel delightful-ness.  It’s nice when art disaster is averted, isn’t it??

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