Create Beauty · Paint · Paper

My Documented Life Cover 2015

Last year I discovered the wonderful ladies at Art to the 5th and the Documented Life Project. The project is a combined art book, journal and planner all compacted into one book. Well, maybe compact is a relevant term. You understand what I mean if you’ve participated in the past.

Last year I got a late start and never did catch up on my pages. Then I got a new job and well… It was all downhill on the planner after that, but this year I’m back again, with a renewed spirit and a lot more motivation.

I see the Documented Life Project as a way for me to keep my calendar, art lesson ideas, inspiration and experiments all in one place. I’m going into this with a 110% determination that at the end of this year I will have many memories and many lessons learned and taught wrapped up in 52 weeks of artistic style and creative joy!

As an art teacher, I’ve discovered that we often get so busy teaching others, we seldom find time to create for ourselves. The DLP will be my weekly dose of Me Time and I am now officially committed.

Yesterday, was a snow day, and I spent all of it creating my journal cover. I had no idea where it would go when I began, and it was a little intimidating as I stared at the blank space – knowing I couldn’t throw it out if I didn’t like it. This book would be with me all year and hopefully for many to come. I had to just take that first step…

Step 1 – I pulled out some favorite tidbits from my stash. I love vintage, so I began in my vintage paper folder. Pretty soon one thing led to another and I had a nice stack on my table.


Step 2 – I knew I didn’t want to cover the entire journal with paper collage, so I began with a faux painted antique white background. This sealed the surface and prepared it for the paper layers.


Step 3 – Not certain what direction the design would take, I began by collaging on some torn paper pieces from my selections. Adding a bit of Ranger Distressing ink to the torn edges before gluing. The hands reaching upward, from 7 Gypsies, are the most intriguing element for me and being a writer I love the pen nibs. It began there and the design just evolved as I worked.


Step 4 – I knew I wanted some hand-painted elements along with my collage, so out came the watercolors and a photo I took of our honeysuckles in the back yard. I think the most relaxing part of this cover was just sitting and sketching/painting. It made me realize how much I miss my personal creative time.


Step 5 – I added some black ink detailing and some rub-on words from the Tim Holtz collection that speak to who I want to be and what I want to do in 2015.

Step 6 – A little spray fixative to set the ink and watercolor.


Step 7 – Some aging and shadowing with my burnt umber acrylic paint and then a nice brushed on finish of satin varnish. Wa-Lah!


Best snow day I’ve had since my kids grew up and after all my procrastination of getting started, I love how my journal turned out! In the end it speaks so much of who I am and want to be and holds a lot of symbolism that I never anticipated when I began. A reminder that art is a process. The first step is to simply begin. New Year, New Journal, New Adventures to come. Want to join us? Check it out here.

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