art journalling

Art Journaling Idea - Step By Step Guide

Today I have an art journaling idea that you just might like to have a go at yourself…

What’s brilliant about art journaling is that it’s so flexible - anything goes as Amy from the Mindful Art Studio shows in her post How To Start An Art Journal.

Please use the supplies you have to hand, a sketchbook is great but equally a piece of paper with some gesso brushed over is fine also. You don’t need a firm idea in your head what the piece has to look like either…

art journaling step by step.jpg

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Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
— M. Scott Peck

Supplies I used:

art journaling supplies step by step.jpg


Pen for writing out my uncensored thoughts

Grey Gesso

Pencil HB

Golden Fluid Acrylic Paint - greens, brown, yellow, red, white

Winsor & Newton Tear off palette

Black Stabilo pencil (for mark making)

Peel and Sketch charcoal pencil

Collage papers

Brushes/water/paper towel

Adhesive/glue - I use Liquitex matt medium but equally, craft glue would be fine for your sketchbook

Ready for some art journaling? Here we go:

  1. Write out all your stresses, worries and generally anything that’s taking up head space right now - just get it all down and if you run out of space, simply write over what’s already there. Scribbling and scrawly hand-writing with spelling mistakes are all totally fine and - please put perfection to one side!

  2. Next, slap on some gesso - it’s like an undercoat for your work - preparing you for the next stage of painting over with delicious colour. You can use white, grey (this is what I used) or black gesso or, why not mix some acrylic paint into whatever colour you have.

  3. Give a blast with a hairdryer - move it around the piece so it dries evenly.

  4. Grab yourself a photo, magazine image or whatever inspires/touches you - it doesn’t have to be a portrait.

  5. Find some collage items - paper, stamps, fabric, old envelopes, wrapping paper - whatever you like and whatever you have to hand. Place and position them and then adhere them to your substrate with craft glue, glue sticks or matt medium.

  6. Lightly sketch out your main element - mine is obviously a portrait but you could feature a pretty flower, an animal, pattern, or an object that you love etc. Take your time…

  7. Dilute some acrylic paint and start adding darker values signifying shadows.

  8. Add white or lighter values for areas of highlight.

  9. I added a red scarf and decided I didn’t like the shape I’d constructed and so altered it a little.

  10. Start adding some other hues - I added various greens, red and hints of yellow.

  11. Details - I painted in a snazzy earring, a little bird, some foliage and a cute little house. Getting personal with your touches is a beautiful thing - go to town with this.

  12. Mark making - I created some loose marks on the collaged papers which kind of looked like rain and funnily enough I realised when I was finished that it had been raining.

  13. Lastly, I added some more words and this time my words had transformed from being full of angst to feeling playful, relaxed and all with a feeling of gratitude.

Here’s the finished piece. Art journaling is a wonderful way to bare your soul, get messy + then feel so good after…

Here’s the finished piece. Art journaling is a wonderful way to bare your soul, get messy + then feel so good after…

So, I do hope you’ve enjoyed this art journaling inspiration today. My hope is that this will give you a creative and gentle way to vent some of your worries and make ‘all things new’ by painting over with a different message, one of hope and gratitude.

Lastly, remember, I love hearing from you, so please let me know how you get on in the comments below.


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Collages Now Available + #MentalHealth Young People + My Progress

Updates and Some Mental Health Statistics

Yay, I'm excited to say that my first two #HeadsUp50 collages (see below) are available via my online shop and so far I'm finding the process of creating these collages really cathartic and stimulating both from an artistic point of view but also it feels really good to be able to 'give voice' to some of what is on my heart from a visual perspective. 

I've been feeling pretty good (see here for a background) and would say that so far, I'm coping well and not noticing any particular changes to my mood.  Since the topic of mental health is very much on my mind as I'm actively working on my #HeadsUp50Project I would say that there have been a couple of occasions where a memory has popped into my mind and it's floored me, making me think that under the surface there is quite a lot buried and probably needs to have the light of the day shine on it at some point.  

As I'm reading and researching more on the topic of depression and mental health, I came across the fact below (UK based research):

Suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged between 5-19 years, and the second most common for girls of this age.

This is a big wake up call I think for society and our young people.  This statistic shows just how much our children are struggling and that the problem is growing.  Unfortunately, the majority of young people don't seem to be able to access the support they need due to NHS cuts etc.  In addition, a new survey tells us that more than a third of young people have self-harmed and as we all know, cyberbullying seems out of control. 

Listen, I don't have the answers to this scary reality but all I can offer is a little bit of hope from what I know:

  • The obvious but love your kids.  Accept them for who they are and don't dwell on how you would like them to be.
  • Talk to them openly about your challenges, difficulties and how you were when you were their age.
  • Help them to look after themselves and mirror to them how to do this.  If you struggle with this, learn some strategies yourself.  
  • Don't be afraid to say that you don't have all the answers but that you'll be there to help them discover their way through, bit by bit.  
  • Let them know that this isn't their fault - there is so much guilt and shame with mental health.  
  • If you are struggling to cope as a parent with a child who suffering, don't forget your own needs and seek professional help if you find yourself struggling.
  • Remove devices from their rooms whenever and wherever possible.  Encourage a healthy sleep routine.
  • Encourage your children to invite their friends over and try to get to know them.
  • Keep the line of communication with your spouse/partner open and talk often.
  • Know your family's boundaries and what is and isn't acceptable behaviour for your children.  
  • Sometimes you don't have to say or do anything, just be with them.  Watch a dvd together, go for a walk, make a meal together, go out for a drive or start a hobby together.
  • Remember, we all make mistakes, don't be afraid to admit that you don't always get it right but that you're trying and that you too are learning along the way.
  • Give your child the gift of self-expression.  If you can encourage your child to let out some of their feelings through art, journaling, poetry, writing or music etc. it will be a step in the right direction and give them a really worthwhile and safe way to 'let it out'. 

So, that's it from me and I do hope you have a wonderful weekend and Mother's Day if you live in the UK.

Much love and thank you for being here...

Jane x


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Painting out your stories

painting writing our stories

We all have stories that are begging to be explored with paint and words...

In my post the other day, I shared with you some of the feelings that have surfaced for me since our son has been diagnosed with high functioning autism (aka Asperger's).

I'm still processing everything but really felt a need to explore my emotions so far - you know the pictures, images and stories in my head, the words on my heart and then putting them on paper by 'painting out' my story as it stands at this moment in time.  Someone who does a great job of this is Tim's Sally.

I didn't have any pre-conceived idea as to how this might turn out - this was purely for my own exploration and the great healing benefits of painting out our stories.

joseph journal diagnosis 4 Jun 2014 11-29.34

Every time I do this, I learn something new and profound.  Often when I look at these pieces much later, I'm still learning.   For me including words in the piece makes it more relevant still because not only can I set down the story visually, I am processing the words in my head surrounding the story too.

close up painting out our stories

I don't know why I had us by the sea - we don't live near the sea but I do find the sea very healing though, so maybe that's why.  I like the fact that I've painted bunting - it has a positive and happy vibe to it.  The bunting is about finding answers and feeling empowered at long last.  There are birds flying, the sun is shining and we're standing close next to each other.  I realise that we're both smiling.  The last detail was adding the star - just because he is 'a star' and it fitted in with how I felt at the time.  A little bit of washi paper always works - don't you think? ;)

I like how the strokes are haphazard, messy and spontaneous because with this piece, I didn't want to take ages getting it just right - I'm painting what's on my heart, not a perfect composition.

painting our stories

I then added these words:

'Autism - it's just words.  It doesn't describe who Joseph is - his gifts, his talents, his personality.  It's not who he is - it's just an aspect, not a definition.  He's so much more. 

So, I will stand close by him.  Cheering him on and holding his hand if he needs it.  I'll catch him when he falls.  I'll help him spread his wings and tend to him when he calls me. 

Joseph you are loved, always have been and always will be.  And when you feel alone, it's at those times that you're carried on the wings of love'.


It might be that you have a story on your heart that needs to be painted out.  I encourage you to give this a go, even if it's something you've never tried before.  All you need are some paints (acrylic, watercolour or coloured pencils), a journal, brush and a little bit of time.

Then think about your story - is there an image that comes to mind?  What colours do you feel or see in your mind's eye?  Any words?  Or, is there an abstract shape or series of shapes that better reflect your story?  Whatever it is, it's just right - after all, it is your story.

If you want to try this for yourself, I find the following tips are helpful for me and might be for you:

- I tell myself that it WILL be messy and imperfect but that's okay (and actually quite freeing).

- Sometimes it may spark other emotions too - I've learned to welcome that.

- I am gentle with myself - if I don't like something, I paint over it - try not to listen to your inner critic, just keep going.

- I 'gift' myself 20 mins or so of uninterrupted time and ignore the voice saying I don't have time...

- I try to be as honest as possible - responding to my emotions as best as I can either through colour, imagery, words or all of the above.  Nothing is off limits.

- Sometimes the imagery is positive and sometimes not so - that's okay - it's life, my life.

- I know that if I need to have a good chat with a friend, I can.

painting out our stories

Let me know how you get on and let me know if you need any help...


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