Journal Prompts

Let there be . . .

I need light for . . .

I shine, when . . .

Make a to-be list for today.

A gift card is a great, multipurpose mixed-media art tool! I love recycling things, so when I noticed other artist's using empty gift cards as a tool, I started saving mine. You can use it as a squeegee, a straight edge, a scraper. You could trace around it to make a journal box or use it to apply paint by smudging it across your page or dabbing an edge to create lines to journal on later. It helps to flatten out images that you glue to your page, getting out the wrinkles and air bubbles. I am sure you will discover other ways to use it, too!

Today, let's talk about acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is so versatile and forgiving. It comes in several varieties. If you go to art school or YouTube, you could learn about the various grades of paint. But for our purposes, I will share my way of categorizing the choices:

If it costs a lot of money, it's the BEST quality.

If it costs a medium amount, it's STUDENT quality.

If it's the cheapest you can find, it's USEABLE quality.

I have experimented with all three in my art journals. My conclusion is that the more money you spend, the higher quality pigment you will get. But that said, craft paints like AppleBarrel and Folk Art are very suitable for art journaling.

Another thing to know about acrylics is  that they come in fluid form (like the craft paints) and in heavy body, which is what you get with the student Simply Acrylic brand, that I buy at Walmart. Golden and Liquitex brands (lots of money category) come in both fluid and heavy body. The difference between the two is fluidity. Fluid does not mean watered down acrylic color; it just means it flows easier.

All acrylic paint is translucent, meaning that it will allow background material to show through to differing degrees depending on how much you apply to the surface. When you let a layer of acrylic dry, the next color you apply  will not obscure the first layer completely.

My favorite thing about acrylics is that you can wipe them off with paper towels or baby wipes to get different effects. You can etch images into the wet paint. When it's dry, you can sand it off to create a distressed look. Possibilities abound.
If you're going to use acrylic paint, usually you need a palette (a surface for the paint to wait, while you decide how to use it) and an applicator (traditionally some type of brush). I have found that wax paper makes a nice disposable palette. I also use the plastic lids from produce containers. For a more permanent choice, I bought a piece of bathroom tile from the hardware store, which washes off easily with soap and water.

If you want to try acrylics, start small. Buy a few of your favorite colors or just a set of the primary colors plus black and white and you'll be set. If you don't want to invest a lot of money, the craft paints are very acceptable. Plus they come in regular, glossy and metallic.

Have fun! Play and let your intuition lead you. It's all about experimenting and exploring to find out what YOU like!



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