Tag Archives: collage art

Satisfaction is Creating Your Own One-of-a-Kind Altered Books

Creating one-of-kind altered books is a deeply satisfying process. You simply choose a book you are thinking of recycling or donating, or you buy something at a used book store. Then you begin to alter it by collaging, painting, adding ephemera, or making any number of alterations to make it your own. The pages from my altered book below are mostly collage, however I kept the picture in the book of this man sitting in a lotus position as a focal point. When I saw the coral skeleton I thought, “Now that is a heart that embraces all of creation.” Who knows why we are drawn to this image or that one. We could spend hours analyzing our work. But we really do not have to – we simply feel something and that is what matters. And, if others enjoy, that is icing on our cake. Now we can share ourselves with them and perhaps inspire them to choose a book and see what happens…I feel blessed to be working with wonderful women weekly who inspire me with their creativity and enthusiasm.

Collage Pages from my Altered Book

Collage Pages from my Altered Book

To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage. – Georgia O’Keefe

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Filed under Art Journal Workshops, Mixed media art, Mixed Media Art Journaling

Art As Escape from the Matrix

Play in Your Art Journal and be Free From the Matrix

Why make art? Why spend hours working and playing in our art journals? For me, it’s a way to temporarily escape the Matrix. Remember the movie, “The Matrix?” Remember when Morpheus tells Neo the Matrix is like a “splinter in your mind?” We feel the itch, the pain, the pointlessness of this dualistic reality – we get tired of being batted about by the play of opposites, the never ending wars of good versus evil. We know all too well we are tethered here, we are tethered by time, by our temporary forms, by the attachments, and the demands. Along with the joys and freedoms we experience, along with the glitz and premisses, we know we are plugged into a system that somehow runs us, that dictates the course of our lives, that calls the shots.

Art Journal Page

Art Journal Page

The creative process, however seemingly humble and insignificant we may sometimes think it is, offers reprieve from these demands. We can find ourselves in the flow, outside of time, and hopefully free from the internal editor or the voices of parents and figures of authority. This is why artists have been willing to sacrifice everything to devote themselves to the call of the muse. This is why we make time to sit and write our blogs or novels, our prose or poetry. We continue to pick up our crayons, put ink to paper, brush color onto the blank white canvas. And, humans will continue to express themselves creatively – to  sing, dance, draw, scribble, doodle, garden, write music, and explore the unknown until the end of creation. It is one of the ways we escape from the Matrix and tap into our unbounded source.

Start an Altered Book

Altered book Madona

Go to a used book store, or simply select a book from your library and begin the process of alteration. I’ll post more on getting started soon!

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein

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Filed under Art Journal Workshops, Mixed media art, Mixed Media Art Journaling, Uncategorized

The Soulful Art Journal Workshop: It’s all about the layering

Mixed media art journal page

Mixed media art journal page

Experimenting with layering:

Yesterday afternoon was the 4th session of my Soulful Art Journal Workshop. It seems the participants are focusing more on layering and becoming more comfortable using mixed media. The technique of layering adds interest and dimension to art journal pages. It requires experimentation and time to find what you like and what works for you. This is one of the pages  I finished yesterday and it was very satisfying to see how it evolved as I added layers.

The layering process involved:

  • Starting with some paint strokes using black gesso. I love colored gesso and I just bought some grey and black. They are now staples in my art supply stash along with the classic white.
  • As I collaged, I continued adding acrylic paint by rubbing it on with my fingers. I absolute adore M. Graham and Co. and use the color Terra Rosa regularly.  It has a rich earthy look and reddish tones.
  • I also added areas of color using oil pastels. I picked up a nice little box of these at one of my artist friend’s yard sales. I was thrilled because I’d never used oil pastels and I love the oily texture and strong colors they produce.
  • I finished my layering process with some Ranger Ink in Distressed brown. I could not make art without it! It is so versatile and looks beautiful layered over photos and collage images.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the techniques of layering, and I’m fascinated to see what I will discover next.

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Filed under Art Journal Workshops, Mixed media art, Mixed Media Art Journaling

The Soulful Art Journal Workshop: Working with Mistakes

Sunday was an interesting and fun Soulful Art Journal Workshop. This was the second session in a series of 4.  The workshop is working in the mixed media art journal, so on Sunday I introduced ink. I love seeing what the women come create. I worked on my own mixed media piece along with the other women, and some of us were struggling with the inner critic.

Altered book pages done in collage and mixed media

Altered book pages done in collage and mixed media

Why I love Titan Buff paint color 

Making art requires us to be flexible and learn ways to deal with so-call “mistakes.” In reality there are no mistakes because art is just a process of trying things and learning what we like and how to make what we like happen more and more.

What do we do when we don’t like what we are producing? Do we have to rip out the journal page and start a-new? This week while teaching my workshop, I used myself as an example. I admitted that I hated what I’d done so far, but I kept changing the paint color. Finally after trail and error and going over the color with diffferent colors a few times, I pulled out my tube of acrylic Titan Buff. It is a staple in my paint stash. I always have a Titan Buff on hand – all artists have their equivalent of Titan Buff (often it is Gesso, another favorite of mine). Titan Buff is a lovely, creamy off-white color. It is a paint color I love and it works well with all of my earthy tones. And, it covers beautifully.  It accepts layers well, so you can paint over it or stamp on it with great effects.

So that’s my little story for Sunday’s The Soulful Art Journal Workshop.

Happy art journaling and happy art making….there are no mistakes, just opportunities.

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Guan Yin: The Beauty of the Divine Feminine

Quan Yin collage by Kartika

Guan Yin collage by Kartika

This is a mixed media collage using paint, tissue, ink and fine art images. As part of my Buddha collage series, of course I wanted to include Guan Yin who,  as the Buddhist Goddess of compassion, reminds us that the feminine part of our psyche  must be enlivened and given its proper place in the world and within our consciousness.

Since the 1st century AD, Guan Yin has been venerated throughout Asia. Her image has been a source of healing and comfort for millions throughout the ages. This is because she offers unconditional love. Like Mother Mary of the Christian tradition, or Mother Divine of the Hindu tradition, Guan Yin represents the qualities of love, forgiveness, compassion, and motherhood. She offers compassion to all living creatures, to all sentient beings, as well as to all of nature. I see her as one with Mother Earth and as a protectress of creation.

I’m now reading Son of Man, The Mystical Path to Christ by Andrew Harvey. What a find, what a treasure. To read something brilliant, enlightening, and well-researched, by a teacher who is keenly aware of the need for humanity to move from the outmoded institutions founded on all things patriarchal.  Harvey believes that our very survival depends upon our ability to awaken to the fusion of the Father-Mother within the psyche and in the living practice of every human.”

The divine heart is really the Divine Mother’s heart feeling the suffering created by our ignorance. So, as the divine draws you nearer, it draws you through these rounds of beauty and bliss until you are ready to experience the agony of the Mother’s heart, which nearly kills you. – Andrew Harvey

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Buddha Collage Series

Collage by Kartika using fine art books, paint, and paper

Buddha in the City – Collage by Kartika using fine art books, paint, and paper

Collage by Kartika using fine art books, paint, and paper

Buddha in the Garden – Collage by Kartika using fine art books, paint, and paper

Collage by Kartika using fine art books, paint and paper

Buddha with Devotees – Collage by Kartika using fine art books, paint and paper

The Buddhist Way

I have loved working on this collage series because the symbols and the images of Buddha move me so deeply. Although I’m not a Buddhist, I love reading bits and pieces of the Buddhist teaching. The Buddhist practice of “mindfulness” is one we can all benefit from. Paying attention to our breathing, our bodies, the present moment is powerful. I’ve read books by Thich Nhat Hanh whose teachings help us be better Christians, Buddhists, and people in general. I believe love is the only religion we need.  And, who better to remind us to forgive and to love our enemies than Thich Nhat Hanh, a survivor of so many social injustices. Yet, his life is dedicated to love and to kinship with all sentient beings.

There are so many wonderful Buddhist teachers both known and unknown to the world. I love this quote by the Dalai Lama, one of the world’s greatest teachers , who in spite of all of the suffering he and his people have experienced, he teaches only love and forgiveness.

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple, the philosophy is kindness. – The Dalai Lama

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Filed under Mixed media art, Muses