Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Daisy Yellow art journal prompt cards

When Tammy asked me if I would “test drive” her new art journal prompt cards I jumped at the chance.  One, because Tammy is full of good ideas and I’m always delighted to participate in her adventures, and Two, because I just don’t use my journal as much as I’d like and this seemed like a good motivator.

 You can check out Tammy’s full description of the cards here, but I’ll give you the quick synopsis.  Each card is a Bingo board and contains 24 different words (and a wild card.)  To use the card you mix and match one word from each column and let those words inspire your journal page.  She sent me 5 cards (for a total of 120 different words).  If I was better at math I could tell you how many possible combinations those five cards provide.  Suffice it to say, it’s a lot.

plus, they are really beautiful and lovely to touch and she sent them to me in this sweet little origami envelope.

You could use these a lot of different ways.  You could just read the words and pick the ones that speak to you.  Or you could use dice to select your words as Tammy suggests, or you could choose one pair or coordinates, such as B5 and then use the word found in that square from five different cards.  

 I liked the idea of having the words chosen randomly and since I didn’t have dice I used scraps of paper numbered 1-5.  I tossed them in a cup and without looking, pulled out a number to correspond to column “B”.  I threw the number back in the cup, pulled out another number for column “I” – etc.

here are the words I came up with:

Here’s the page that came out of it:

I immediately interpreted “fall” as the season rather than what happens after you trip on your shoelace.  Fall is a tricky season for me. It starts out so crisp and clear and colorful. I have never lost my association of “back to school” and so fall always feels like a time of new beginnings. I find myself energized by new ideas, and the world seems full of promise. But then…. we change the damn clocks and it gets so dark, so early, and my mood and energy plummet. Sometimes to the point of depression. And so while I’m starting to get excited about a new school year and the cooler night-time temperatures and changing leaves, I am also starting to dread what comes next. The gray starts to creep in by late October, and unless I work very hard and take appropriate measures, it will move in as a permanent resident until April.

I started my page with a collage of black/white/gray papers.
I rolled on a light coat of gesso.
I wrote about the false promise of fall and all that comes next with a fine point pen.
I glued down some translucent yellow papers in the middle of the page  
I got out my black ink and cool little bamboo dip pen and wrote some larger words around the perimeter.
and then stamped charcoal inkpad over my stencil of bare branches.
(forgot to take a picture)
I continued to smudge the inkpad around the center of the page, leaving only a small triangle of hope.

I wasn’t expecting to get so emotionally dark when I sat down with the cards, but it was very therapeutic and I guess that’s what journaling is all about.

But since that page was so bleak, I decided to take another stab at it using a different bingo card.

this time the words I got were:

None of these words were really speaking to me and I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with this.  I wandered over to my bookshelf to try and find an old book that might have some images of desks.  Instead I found this rather large book I got at the library book sale called “Water Atlas of the United States”.  I bought it because it had some cool maps in it.  As I thumbed through it, it occurred to me that instead of pulling the maps out, I could just use this book as an art journal.  I could choose to incorporate the map and text, or I could just cover it up.  Either way, the size of the book is so different from anything I’ve used before (the spine is 9 inches high and the pages are 13 inches wide.  when opened it creates a 26 inch spread) that I felt compelled to use it.
I grabbed the book and opened it up on my art table, contemplating how I could turn it into something about desks.  Jake (a.k.a. Mr Helpful) immediately jumped up and stretched himself across the full 26 inches.  Naturally I had to take a picture.   
And then I realized how many other pictures I have of Jake on top of this work-table.  And couldn’t this table just as easily be called a desk?

and so this page was born:
"my favorite desk accessory"
Instructions:  Open book, cover map and text with gesso
 add many many layers of paint using a plastic card, fingers, stencils, and stamps.   
Twist some string, drag it through black paint, press it around the edges as a border.  Decide this does not look as cool as you’d hoped. Find the funny “Velcro” hair curler laying around, dip in white paint and twist in a circle on the page.  
 Love the way this looks and make a bunch more twists.  Print and glue pictures of Jake on the desk. (no, no, no, silly! don't glue them on the desk....glue them on the page!) Add a few other images of things you might use at a desk. Stamp some text. Crack self up.  Look forward to using the prompt cards again as soon as possible.
Like maybe tomorrow.
As soon as I wake up.

Thanks so much, Tammy for sending me these beautiful samples.  I had so much fun playing with them and would  recommend them to anyone who is stuck for ideas, or who just likes to play with words.


  1. What a stunning idea, and I loved the twists and turns you took as you made the ideas your own. Love those pogo prints!! Very cool spreads.

  2. great idea! love what you made..I think Tammy has a hit on her hands.

  3. Fantastic interpretations. Jake is a willing model that's for sure. Like these cards by Tammy. She is most clever and inventive. xox

  4. Those cards seem a wonderful idea -sure to be on this year's Christmas wish list, if not before.

    I'm always amazed at the way you use ordinary everyday objects in such creative ways in your art. Such an original mind! The combination of you and Tammy seems to have been made in heaven, and she couldn't have asked for a better tester.

    Your idea of using the book as a journal inspires me to see if I can find a book to use in the same way. Thanks, and love all the 'test pieces'.

  5. I love reading about the ways your mind works! You make the neatest stuff out of all those fantastic thoughts!

    Jake IS very helpful, afterall :)

  6. My fave thing about this post? That you used Tammy's cards and came up with 2 such entirely different looking pages! One dark and kind of graphic, the other playful and focused around something you love (Jake). I think that speaks to the versatility of those inspiration cards (and maybe you a little bit-ha). Great, inspirational work as usual - thanks for sharing your process. I can't tell you how many times I take a little glimmer of an idea, turn to my bookshelves and find just what I need.

  7. Don't fall for it, indeed. I agree on the grey, and also, I am cold from October to April or May, too. This is why I go to the beach as much as I can in the summer. I need to photosynthesize while I can.

    Love all the cool prints. I think printmaking is my favorite. :)

  8. This is a great post -- I love hearing about and seeing your process. I love what you did....

  9. Such a fun post, following your progress - you create such great texture with interesting things, that's for sure. And they turned out great!

  10. I love both of these projects Karen! So many great tips and tricks for texturing goodness--thanks for sharing so generously. (I hear ya about the fall btw.) Your handsome Jake is helpful like our Willy. Aren't they wonderful!

  11. OMG, you blow my mind every time I see your work/process. I'm so kindergarten level!!! I still wanna grow up to be just like you, and I still love Jake (next time I visit the Beantown area, you may wanna keep me away from you/your neighborhood becuz I might cat-nap him.... Of course I wouldn't!)