Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Visual Diary

My maternal grandfather, who was a more disciplined person than you'll ever meet among his offspring, kept a diary / datebook that he wrote in every day.

(Were he here today, I am quite sure he would not approve of blogging as a substitute.)

Every year my mom would buy him the datebook, and every year he'd fill them up. I need to see if someone still has them. I'd love to read them. I'm quite certain there were no cat pictures in there, and not just because he didn't have a cat.

My paternal grandmother was a prolific painter. She'd paint on ANYTHING - pieces of wood - pieces of cardboard - any inanimate object.

I realized, after I started my most recent diversion, that there's a chance that I'm not a genius or an inventor, but in fact, quite perfectly settled between a few widely varied chromosomes.

My friend & co-worker Lori inspired me with this pin to embark on this project, which I ADORE.

It's the perfect mix of discipline and artistic chaos. I love it so, so much.

Here's what I did.

After my class last Saturday, I went to Staples and bought this calendar, after touching every calendar in the store - sooo many are wrong for this project. Lines in the squares, squares too small - words everywhere. This one was perfect. It has a very soft, leatherish cover that I like and I like the minimalist design on the front. Now that I found this on Amazon, I am pretty peeved that my Staples didn't have this gorgeous aqua one, but I'll get over it.

Now mind you, I didn't do this until the 17th, after my stamping class, so I was already part of the way through January. But never you mind. Better late than never.

I took my fave gesso - American Journey Gesso (it's my fave because you can watercolor on it - most gesso is made to prime for acrylic) and 1/5th of an old Amazon gift card that I use like a palette knife, and carefully spread gesso onto the square for January 19th - the day I started.

Then I just did a quick little painting on top with Golden Fluid Acrylics. It took me all of about three minutes. And I squealed. And I did it the next day. And I did it today. SO fun.

Pin It
For the second day, I used the Indescribable Gift Stamp set, and stamped it in So Saffron on top of the gesso and then just did no-line watercolor over that with Strawberry Slush and Mellow Moss Ink. Again, just a few minutes.

It's so fun and so quick. If I keep it up, won't this be a cool visual diary at the end of the year?

Today, it rained, and so today's little painting is grey - I'll show you that soon.

If you want to do this - be sure and have some freezer paper on hand. Put that between the pages while you're working so that nothing bleeds through the pages before the gesso is dry. Also, on the second day, I taped off my square with 3M tape before starting and it made it easier and cleaner.

I like having the dates show, but you can certainly gesso over those.

I don't have a plan for this other than to take a break each day and do something in it. It's just minutes to do a square. I think I will just let each day dictate what I put there and not overthink it.

I'd definitely recommend a calendar that opens flat like this one.

I'd also recommend not leaving watercolor water on your desk for your cat to knock off, but that's a tale for another day.



  1. What a wonderful idea, Lydia!! Do you think you will gesso the entire month at once, week by week, or one day at a time? Hope you will share your new journal often. Many thanks! ♡ Dawn

    1. Great question Dawn - After I finish one square - I gesso the one for the next day. That way only a small area is getting wet each day instead of the whole page, which might make it buckle.

    2. That makes perfect sense. Thank you so much for sharing your exciting new journal, Lydia! ♡ Dawn

  2. I think you are the coolest :-)

  3. I like the idea of gessoing just a square at a time. I would have been like Dawn, and gessoed the whole page, but your explanation sounds good. Art journaling in miniature has me intrigued.

  4. I love this idea so much, I cannot wait to see your months as they fill up with little masterpieces!

    And... if your grandfather would paint inanimate objects, it's probably a very good thing he didn't have a cat!

  5. Oh Lydia, every post of yours makes me gasp, only in the best way, you see!! :-) Did you paint these freehand?! I can't imagine what mine would look like if I tried that!! I'd be better off having my grandkids do artwork in them!!

    I love how you always link to Amazon - I'm an Amazon Prime lover as well - I've had it since they started the program, and I've been writing Amazon reviews since 1999. It looks like Amazon doesn't have your favorite gesso - I wonder if Dick Blick (I have a store about 15 minutes away) would have it?

    What watercolors are you using? I took the Online Card Class "Watercoloring for Card Makers" and got pretty much most of those and THEN I saw Jennifer McGuire's video on these:
    and quickly succumbed. I also got the Peerless ones. Maybe since I have those, I should get the gesso that works with watercolors? Do you need to gesso under watercolor when you're using watercolor paper??? Enquiring minds NEED to know! One of my 2015 goals is to USE the art journaling supplies I've been accumulating!! :-)

    Susan, aka Soozie4Him on SCS
    moot96 AT aol DOT com (I don't use my gmail acct)

    1. Oh thank you Susan!!! I used various things - reinkers - so Strawberry Slush & Mossy Meadow on the flowers - the first day was golden fluid acrylics, then later, splash inks, distress inks - everything! The American Journey gesso is key - regular gesso won't work with watercolor mediums - this one is amazing!

  6. So very cool! It is EXACTLY what I was looking for and I didn't even know it!!! I would very much love to join in ❤️🎨

  7. Oh dear, I love this a little too much. I've enjoyed seeing each day and want to do it but think I'd be a giant flop and half like 3 pages done. LMAO Hmmm, no more aqua on amazon. darn, that one was pretty! Guess I'll try to find a staples this weekend. Maybe I'll start in feb. and see how far I can go. I love working in small areas so that is an appeal and I love how you are combining stamps and freehand…Hmmm, I'm tempted, oh so tempted!


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