To Nikki on her 38th Birthday

Look at this magical book of color. This became my birthday gift to myself. Exactly one year in the making.
I set a goal to finish my 112 page art journal by my birthday. It would be a book that reflected my 37th year. It seemed like a simple goal but I was surprised by how big it seemed as I neared the finish line. This is a large scale book...9x12 pages and lots of them. There's preparing the pages, applying gesso, letting things dry...telling stories and going to deep places to find them. It wasn't just hard in the sense that it was material based intensive, it was kinda hard on an emotional level as well. Here it is below, at the beginning of the process...
When I started on my 37th birthday, I didn't know the journey I was about to embark on. It was simply a fun outlet...a new artist pursuit, to get my creative juices flowing.
Anyways....I finished this bad boy on July 8th...a day early. It was the exact day I envisioned for spending my birthday, but a day early. I think most people imagine that I spend almost all my days playing and painting, I hate to burst that fantastic bubble but I don't. I do set an hour everyday aside to create...but then real life sets in. Meetings, housework, driving, entertaining the kidlet, walking the dog, church calling, writing, time for get the idea. All good things, not going to deny it, but I longed for a day of nothing but art and Friday was that for me. Best early birthday ever. EVER.

Here are a few of the pages that have been created...lots of girls!
I don't know what my fascination with drawing girls is...but I know I have one. Above I was working on drawing a little girls dolly.
Christy Turlington and her She art inspired the above layout.
A new set of stamps can create all sorts of new ideas...the dresses and skirts above are from a stamp set, the rest is hand drawn.
I love the girl with white hair. Still to this day, she is one of my favorite girls that I've ever drawn.

Since I loved drawing girls...I figured it was fitting to end the book with a what else...a girl!
Lots of exploration with texture and color. I truly believe that the first stage of art journaling is exploration with washes of color and layers. It's a celebration of this new outlet, our enthusiasm over having this new creative adventure. Often it's all you do. You fill your art hour with page after page of glorious color. That is how it should be. Enjoy this layers will come as you keep playing and exploring. It happens when it needs to happen.
I've been inspired by other artists...and have explored their illustration style for fun in my art journal.
I've gotten really deep and told stories that are intensely personal.
My next project looms before me and I've given myself a much shorter timeline. Till the last day of summer. It's a pretty HUGE undertaking...which I'll tell you more about in the coming weeks. Till then...turn the computer off and be creative.

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