Art Journal Recommendations

I created this mixed media painting in my art journal yesterday.   I’m curious what thoughts or feelings it might evoke for you?

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I also couldn’t resist giving Strathmore another plug.   As some of you know, I absolutely love the Strathmore Visual art journal series.    I’ve now filled my second one and started on my third, which really has me stoked!   The Visual journals come in several flavors.  I started with the Drawing product, then tried the Mixed Media, and now I’m hooked.   So I ordered a couple more, in two sizes.   Why?  I’ll tell you.   I can throw any medium at this paper:  pen, watercolor, acrylics, colored pencil, graphite, Tombow markers, water soluble oil and wax pastels, even collage.   No bleed-through. Is there rippling?   Sometimes, but only a slight bit.   I’ve worked with (140 lb.) watercolor paper that has buckled a lot more.

While working in this journal, it seemed to me that every medium I tried just loved the paper.   It is smooth, with just a slight tooth.   It reminds me of Stonehenge paper, which is much more expensive.   And yet, these little journals (the 5.5 x 8″ size) start at just over $5.   I definitely had to have more of this paper.   So I called Blick, and talked to a product specialist (Blick-speak for artist).   Long story short, the paper in the Mixed Media Visual Journal is their 500 Series paper.   This is 100% cotton paper, their top of the line!   It’s archival, acid free, and sized for wet media.   It is a joy to touch and to work on.   It turns out that I couldn’t even buy the paper and make the journal myself for less money.   These journals are an amazing deal.   I just had to let you all know!

The painting was a journey.    I needed some space to sort out my thoughts, and my little journal was the perfect way to do that.    It includes watercolor and acrylic paint, as well as water-soluble oil and wax pastels.   I really enjoyed marrying all these mediums together on this delightful paper.   By the time I was finished, I felt like I’d been on a mini-vacation, refreshed and at peace.   Just what I needed.    And I wish the same for you this Sunday.

66 thoughts on “Art Journal Recommendations

  1. Peaceful tranquil refreshing beauty in nature is what came to mind before I read your entire post. Honest! Then I read you felt refreshed and at peace. That is exactly what I felt! Wow! And now I must look into that paper. I’m loving learning from you and your passionate art quest!!!

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    1. I’m so glad this is what you experienced, my friend! :)))) This was so much fun to do. And what a nice way to track progress, too, in little books. It’s not better for watercolor than Arches, but it is wonderful for a journal that you’ll want to have lots of flexibility with as to mediums.

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  2. Your image says “cabin hidden in the woods” to me. By a lake. How did you place that image in my mind. I want to do more experimenting, like you. How do you do it? Just pick up a brush and choose a color and…start?

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    1. I’m so glad; what a wonderful image to evoke in someone’s mind.

      To answer your question: yes. I usually start with a feeling of some kind, or a place in my mind that evokes feelings for me and two colors that I think go together well. As I start making marks on the page, the painting starts talking back to me and it tells me what comes next. Sometimes the key is knowing when to stop. One video I watched said to stop when you feel that adding something else will no longer make the piece better. Sounds obvious, but it surprisingly isn’t. For me, anyway. It’s so much fun, Kirk, and I think you’d really enjoy it.

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          1. Deal!. And I’ll commit do doing them this week. I’ve got Monday’s image queued up already. Be prepared: whatever I produce will most certainly look childish and juvenile..

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  3. Thanks for the paper tip Laura, I saw you’d mention it before so now you’ve got me really wanting to check it out!! This piece is beautiful. When I first looked at it there actually seemed to be a figure in the upper right area looking out over reflections in the water (small in the vastness of nature), so peaceful contemplation was my immediate feeling for this piece! Likely no figure was intended and I probably need coffee before looking at art, but that’s what I saw! 😉

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  4. Nice reflections. Also one of my favorite papers. I am currently working in their mixed media 7.5 x 9.5 inches. It costs a little more, has a soft dark brown cover without the spiral binding. It will open flat for you so you can do a double page spread.

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  5. To me this looks like an evening landscape. Imagine you standing up on a tower having this breathtaking view over lakes, meadows, in between some bushes and cottonwood trees… Until the horizon. Very nice painting!!! 😊💕

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            1. You mean, guess what he was trying to convey? Sure, if he wants us to! I’d love it! I think it’s really cool to have a feeling in my mind and sit down to paint….and somehow that feeling gets translated to people. It’s like knowing this foreign language and a bunch of people I’ve never personally met know the same language too! ((((((Ann)))))) 💛💛💛

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  6. On your third journal, Laura?! WAAAWHOOOO! You go girl! 🎨🌟💜
    And I enjoyed hearing that the Strathmore Mixed Media journal is the 500 series! Very cool! I purchased some watercolor paper that is in a tablet of the 400 series and absolutely love it. It doesn’t buckle like my 140 LB Arches paper.
    Your painting reminds me of reflections on the water. Very peaceful. I enjoyed reading what others saw in it as well. 🎨 Enjoy your day, Laura! 😊

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    1. Thanks, Jill! Yes, on my third one, thanks to you, my friend! It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to have a whole collection, and as you said, be able to trace back and (hopefully) see my progress. I got a block of Strathmore 400 series watercolor paper and it buckled horribly, so Blick replaced it, and the same thing happened second time! And I have very little trouble with the Arches, ever – not on blocks! Isn’t that weird? But in the Arches, I am normally working pretty small so maybe that’s why. I do remember that large painting I did buckling just a bit. I am not a fan of Strathmore’s watercolor paper, but this paper, I love. I wonder if I’ll like the large mixed media journal as well. I’ll find out, as I did order a new one in the large and the small size. Happy Sunday, Jill! 💛

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  7. That is interesting to hear about the watercolor paper. I bought the spiral bound 9 x 12 size Strathmore 400 series and found I did not have to tape the pages down which is kind of a pain to do IMO. I used it for some of my watercolor doodles. Maybe I wasn’t using a lot of water? 😊

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    1. Maybe, Jill. I bought a block for the same reason and I couldn’t believe the buckling! I called Blick and they said it must be defective and they’d send another one right out. The second was exactly the same. And I don’t really use that much water, although I was trying to do a sky so I had wet the whole paper. I’ll be curious how you do – maybe both of those blocks were from a bad batch? I hope you continue to like your paper. 💛

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  8. I’d bought one of these at our local art store before I saw your previous post about them. I’ve not started using it yet, but I think I will after I’ve filled up my current sketch book…or I may just give up on my current sketch book and save it for times when I’m out and will only use graphite on it. Multimedia sketch books are so much more versatile!

    Your painting makes me miss the beach! 🙂

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    1. Bah! I was hoping you’d feel like you’d been to the beach! :)) Oh, i do hope you love that book as I do. What amazing paper and it’s just the perfect size. I just love that it waits for me at the end of the day and everything in there is dated and sequential. It’s so much better than any diary I ever tried to keep. A real delight!

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  9. Meditative. The sort of trance like feeling one can slip into while staring at the gentle movement of water and the light as it dances across the surface. That is what came to mind looking at your lovely piece of art. Thank you for the mixed media journal suggestion, always on the look out for sketch/doodle books to have fun with.

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  10. This is awesome! Since you’ve praised Strathmore so much, I’m now itching to try it as well, but I’d have to check first if we have that here in the PH (sad no?) So far, the only premium sketchbook/pad here is Moleskin but it’s just too pricey (one can easily fetch $20). I’m settling with Canson (student-grade) for now but it buckles a lot.

    The painting has a soothing effect; like looking into a pond’s reflection and something you’d love to stare at if you’re in deep contemplation.

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  11. Thanks for your review of the journal and paper! Always nice to hear from other painters what they do and don’t like and why! I can see why you love that paper – I have a small and a large journal like that.The paper is really heavy and will indeed take all kinds of media. For me they were a little more expensive, though, so I feel hesitant in using them.
    As for your painting – it reminds me of when I was a teenager and walking along a lake near my home , looking across it to an island, or just sitting and looking at the rippling and pondering something. ( I find I am not the only one, looking at the other comments). This is a good, peaceful memory for me.
    Looking forward to seeing more of this kind of work from you!

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  12. Lovely loose lily pond scene – that’s how I see it and I do like the easy flow to the piece. Thanks for the tip of the Strathmore paper – I been thinking of doing a bit of Notan drawing to open some avenues of creativity and this would be perfect. Have a wonderful week Laura!

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          1. Wow Laura thank you. Many a day I feel like I’m still at the starting gate, with something new to learn everyday You are moving right along, my impression is that watercolors are a bit difficult to master – I’m inspired by your progress and diligence at the medium.

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  13. I was curious what you were doing your watercolor work on. I had a Multi-Media sketchbook that I was doing prisma color markers and ink sketches on, but can’t find it anywhere. I remember being happy that I could use the fat tipped permanent marker on it and it not bleed through (it’s the simple things in life really lol).

    I wanted something I could get messy in and not have to worry about it going through to the other side… I guess it’d be too much to ask for if you could paint on both sides? 🙂

    This painting reminds me of a slight breeze over the surface of a lake.

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    1. Aw, thanks Jesse! I think you’d love the Strathmore Mixed Media series. I always use both sides and I never have any trouble! I’ve thrown lots of stuff at those journals too. I’ve just started on my third one, and I’m sold on them. Also, they’re pretty inexpensive. What’s not to like?? I hope you like them too.

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