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.



Studio Table: The Reveal


Earlier this summer, I totally cleared out my studio and started the process of purging, rearranging and reorganizing. Well, unfortunately I didn’t get it done before having several big things come up on my calendar that took me away from it. So I just got back to it last week. I am still not done, but honestly right now my table is the most organized it has been in quite a long time. Seth Apter is doing a day to celebrate our studio tables. Wrecked and messy. Mine is slightly messy, but honestly it is more wrecked in reality. So I have it on my calendar to revisit this in a month and see if it is more messy. But for now the above photograph is the current state of my studio table.

Starting at the top middle of the photo and working around kind of  clockwise…

* a little Art Nouveau book shelf that holds art journals, a tool kit, and accordion envelopes for ephemera (just the little bits – I have large pages and bits in boxes and bigger files on the shelving unit and on the floor by my table)

*pink and purple mini lunch box with oil pastels

* 4 tier lazy susan type organizer – picked it up at Harbor Freight and my studio mate put it together for me.  It is fairly empty right now, but I am sure will be overflowing with supplies soon

* My mandala is leaning against a black long pencil box that has pencils, pens and markers in them. On top of it barely seen is a pencil older that has scissors, and tools to make marks on paper with like a stick, an awl, chopsticks and such. Next to it unseen is a mug with micky mouse logo on it filled with glue sticks

* a pad of mini post-it notes

* 3 little owls – middle one has paperclips, little one is empty at this moment. Big one has blades for Xacto knife, needles, blade for paper cutter, a little container of stick pins…basically if it is sharp it is in there

* 2 colorful mugs that I painted and doodled on – I use them for water with paints.  One right now houses 3 little spray bottles of paint

* in front of those is the last thing I worked on and was letting ink dry.  I have a container of Golden’s gel medium sitting on it to hold it open.  Next to the journal is markers, pens, glue stick.  Under journal I have a plastic cutting board to catch paint and glue.  I have several and will wipe them down and route them out while one dries.

* stack of Vogue pages that I want to use in an art journal

* box of paints. White paint is the only one up right as I use it all the freakin time so it is in a bigger bottle that I refill constantly. On top of the paint you can see a corner of a Raven that I will blog about soon. It is a totem that I made for a friend.