I hate throwing away paper. In fact I’ve been rather careful saving the bits and pieces of My Altered Book (a.k.a. My Happiness Journal) that I’ve been cutting out. They might come in handy for “repairs” or do-overs, or I might need them for a totally unrelated layout. Paper is paper. When I like working with a certain “surface” or texture, I will save even the cut-outs.
I have painted flowers on such scrap papers with watercolor, drawn and defined them with a sign pen and then cut them out. The idea is to use these flowers (most of them cartoon-like and whimsical) as embellishments for the “happy” pages of my book. While I was doing these flowers, I was rather pleased with the way they came out and I am seriously thinking of doing a video of how I produced these embellishments. Nothing so out of the ordinary, but rather a video for non-artists like myself to show that hey, we CAN do this, too, even if we don’t have the skill and talent of those artists whose works and layouts we drool over.
I even finished a card that is now on its way to my dear, dear friend P. Watercolor background, and a collage of layered watercolored flowers.
One thing I’ve learned is that it helps to browse these great pages and look at the beautiful layouts of the real artists for inspiration. While I cannot duplicate nor equal those masterpieces, they show me what colors I can look at working with, what styles I can try — and then render them in my own way, crude as it may be. I try not to pressure myself about producing masterpieces — I just have fun. (I know, it’s so cliche and sounds so “American Idol” like. LOL) And I AM having fun. Seeing my book progressing and the layouts taking shape one by one is very fulfilling, and that by itself helps to bring a smile to my face.
The Happiness Journal is a good way to force one’s self to look for optimism. I end up browsing at least once a day for a happy or happiness quote I can add, and when I find one, I scribble it down or work on a layout that will represent it in my happy book. At the end of the day, you find yourself remembering those positive thoughts and it actually stays with you. No matter what happens that upsets that positive energy as your day unfolds, or when something allows frustration to creep into your heart, the “happy” exercise stays. And at the end of the day, there is that time when I browse the pages yet again. Even if it’s to paint another page a special color and do a certain layout, or just so I can see if the pages are holding up, the happy vibe stays with me.
I haven’t had the chance to do much today except “retouch” a few things I’ve already put in, and stamp one layout with a floral border. I brought home a word art “block” I rendered in Microsoft Word with very elementary word art and I want to slap it on to one of the pages to get the journaling going. Perhaps before the night is over.
Bits and pieces.
The pages are a work in progress simultaneously. I am even skipping a whole set of pages to work on another layout first. I have groups of pages all relating to one layout, and yet in those pages, you will find different entries. (Eventually, that is.) Time to sleep…