Mermaid Calling

Work in progress… I have added some purple and red to the white bits of the background paper peeking out. Added more purple to her tail, but having problems seeing where to go with it further. Just kind of loving her and don’t want to detract from her. So maybe a quote or words on right page and call it good. It is the last spread in this art journal so maybe why I am having troubling letting move on.



Simple Art Journal Backgrounds


darbycaseygiftcardThis is my favorite way to do backgrounds.  I didn’t use one brush on these backgrounds. I used an old gift card and those fake credit cards you get in junk mail that says “your name can be here” on them.

I do this a few ways depending on the amount of paint I want to be using.  If I am wanting a large area covered then I squirt some paint straight on to the paper and then spread it around  with the card. I scrap it up and down and to the edges.  As it builds on the card, I make sure to lay the card flatter to the paper as I pull it across the page.

I am really bad about waiting for layers to dry, but it works better of course when you wait for them to dry before adding another color.

If I want less color, then I just put a little on a palette and run the card across that or I put  just a few dots of color right on the card and then run across the page.  Such as in these first 2 photos below: I  put just a few dots of metallic gold paint on the card and then smeared it across the pink and blue.

The second photo, I had white on a palette and ran it through the paint. I run the edge through the paint and then across the page to get those long lines.  I smeared purple over the white after it had dried to make it blend in to the page more.

I keep layering the paint until I get the right color combination and textures on the page.  This art journal the paper wasn’t good so it wrinkled at times with the layers of paint. But for my art journals, it is more about the process and getting out what I need to in the moment. Sometimes layering the paint is therapeutic all on it’s on and other times it is just a simple way to get a background so that I can get to the things I really need to express on top of that page.

Examples of backgrounds using this technique:

darbycaseybk5 darbycaseybk6darbycaseybk7 darbycaseybg1 darbycaseybk2 darbycaseybk3 darbycaseybk4


Art Journaling Supplies


I go in cycles with my art supplies.  I will get hooked on how some supplies feel when I apply them to the paper of my art journal and then use them over and over again for several layouts.  These are supplies I am really enjoying right now:

Scissors – to cut ephemera

Sharpies – especially that black Professional sharpie that writes on wet surfaces and white oil paint sharpie

Paint – I use inexpensive paint in my art journals as they aren’t needing to last forever.  I use white paint so often I have a big big bottle of Golden white paint that I pour into that larger squeeze bottle. Also in the background you will see a spray paint.  It is a little water and acrylic paint in a spray bottle.

Rubber Stamps – the one in the photo I was given years ago in an artist swap.  A bunch of artists swapped supplies and ephemera and that rubber stamp was in one of my packages.  I honestly think I have used it just a couple times over the years. But in the last few weeks, since being to the ocean, it has popped up in my art journal more.

Stapler – I sometimes like the look of bits of paper stapled instead of glued

Glue Sticks – again in my art journal I use a lot of glue sticks instead of using gel medium which I use when creating a piece outside my art journal

Bubble Wrap – I love the texture it gives when I dip it into paint and press it to the paper

Old Credit Cards/Gift Cards – those fake credit cards you get in the mail that say “your name here”  on them or old gift cards – I use instead of paint brushes.  I am especially loving them lately when I layer paint on with them. Oh the layers come through and create a lovely texture

Oil Pastels – These again are inexpensive and I love the layering I can create with the colors.  I like to apply them to the paper and then use a soft cloth or sponge to smear them.  When doing this on textured layers of paint, it enhances the texture.







I moved to Colorado quite a long time ago from Cleveland, Ohio. I had a tribe there – a group of friends that I had real connection.  When I moved here, I became more shy and introverted then ever before (although I have been both of these all my life).  I have found some good friends now in Colorado, but it has taken me a long time to open myself enough for it.

It often starts with me being more compassionate towards myself.   In this art journal layout the image at the top is me.  So working on cultivating compassion towards myself so I can continue to reach out and find those connection that really are necessary to being.