Amanda Jolley

Studio Joy

Joy Journal Project Assignment #1

Hurray! The day has arrived! This project has a wonderful mix of experienced art journalers and those that have never approached journaling in this way. I have laid out detailed instructions, but please take the liberty of altering/adding/subtracting to any portion of this assignment. If any step leaves you with questions, would you let me know?

Most importantly, your self critic is not allowed here. There will be no comparing work to others or entertaining the thought that your page is not valuable. To let you know, some of my favorite journal pages had to grow on me. Walking away from your page and coming back at a later time can give you a fresh perspective. If you find yourself getting frustrated, make yourself a delicious tea, take a walk, read a book, or listen to some of your favorite music.

Have you ever had times when you couldn’t think of much to appreciate? I know I have. The purpose of the Joy Journal Project is to help us remember and train our brains to recall appreciation moments. Recalling appreciation can relax our bodies and minds and help us to return to a state of joy. In our journals, we will be laying down story after story of appreciation and joy. This first page will remind us of someone in our lives that brings a sparkle to our eyes when we see or think of him or her.

Now to begin! The first thing that I would like you to do is gather your art supplies around you, pull up a chair, and sit quietly for about 5 minutes. Breathe deeply and slowly. Closing your eyes can also help in removing distraction. Think about the person in the photo and the joy that they have brought to your life. Quiet.

Then here we go:

#1 Cover the journal pages with white gesso.

#2 Let dry.

#3 Intuitively pick paint colors. Grab what draws you at the moment. Squirt a few drops randomly on the page.

#4 Paint freely without too much thought or direction, leaving room for more colors. I also added a sheet of wax paper under each page to protect the rest of the journal from the paint.

#5 Add the next choice of paint.

#6 Spread that around.  I did not wait for the paint to dry in between, so my colors are blending in spots. This is my preference. If you do not want this to happen, let the paint dry between each addition.

#7 Add the third color.

#8 Now it’s time to add your photo or photos. This photo should be of someone that brings you joy. I printed a couple different sizes of this photo on a matte paper designed for photos. Photo paper or copy paper would work fine too.

#9 I preferred the larger photo and decided to cut off the background. Then I played with placement on the page.

#10 To glue the image to the journal page, brush on some gel medium. When I do this, I lay the paper face down on a junkmail catalog or unwanted magazine, then paint the gel medium on the back. When I’m done, I flip the page of the magazine. This keeps the extra goo from accidentally getting in places it shouldn’t be.

#11 After placing the photo, use a plastic card or something similar and scrape from the center of the image to the edges. This will help remove any air that may be trapped. Check your corners and edges to be sure they are glued down firmly.

#12 Now gather your collage elements. I am looking for symbols that are personal or colors and shapes that attract me.

#13 After you’ve picked some options, play with their placement on the page. Don’t concern yourself with making a nice layout, but rather do what is satisfying to your gut.

#14 Glue down the collage elements with gel medium, utilizing the “gluing magazine” like you did with the photo. Use the plastic card to remove air bubbles once the paper has been placed on the journal page. Start from the center and work to the edges with the plastic card. Check corners to be sure all is glued down well.

#15 Continue to add collage elements until you feel satisfied.

#16 Here is my journal page with all collage elements glued down. I decided to use an old piece of lined paper as journal space. Another option is to leave a space to write directly on the painted surface when it’s time.

#17 Find your oil pastels. I’ve chosen my 3 colors here.

#18 Add splashes of color and interest with the oil pastel.

#19 And keep adding color with the oil pastel until satisfied.

#20 The oil pastel color can be manipulated by smooshing it with your finger. Notice the lovely poison ivy on my finger.

#21 Here I have added color with the oil pastel and smooshed it until I smiled.

And here is where I grabbed the wrong bottle and accidentally squirted white gesso on my photo image. To save the day, I reprinted the image, removed the old one as best as I was able, and glued down the new image. I show you this to let you know that most “mistakes” can be salvaged.

Here the page is with the new photo glued in place. Phew.

#22 This is the correct gesso. Paint your page with it. As you can see, it looks white when it comes out of the bottle, but will dry clear.

Painting the page with clear gesso provides a protective covering for your collage. Oil pastel is very difficult to write on, so the clear gesso also covers the oily surface and allows a pen to freely flow. The Liquitex brand clear gesso feels a bit gritty when dry. I have not experienced other brands.

I chose not to cover the journal area in this case, finding it unnecessary. Some prefer to cover the page with gel medium rather than clear gesso, but I find that the pages can tend to stick together when this is done.

This is the resting state of my journal page. I am satisfied with it at the moment, but may add more words or drawings at another time.

I’ll be sharing the story about this page with a separate blog post, and would love to see your pages and hear your stories as well. Please connect by:

  • leaving a comment with a link to your blog post -OR-
  • joining the facebook group to share photos and stories

5 Comments on “Joy Journal Project Assignment #1”

  1. What fun! I can hardly wait to start on this tomorrow! I had to laugh about the poison ivy. I have a few spots on my arms. ITCHY.

  2. Journaling is so rewarding and what you are doing is brilliant. What I like is that every page is so personal:)

  3. Amanda,
    I am so happy that I found your blog! I have had much turmoil and stress in my life in the past year, and I am looking forward to this project so much. I missed the first assignment, but will do later in the week. I can’t wait for today’s project!


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