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Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Making of a Page

Just because a sketch is made in the spring doesn't mean the page gets finished then :)  I got caught up in some research about May Day...

There was a lot of room left on the paper when I finished my plein air pen and watercolor sketch. And, since it was May Day and the sketch of Sparkleberry... Well you know, just that tree's name on my tongue makes calligraphic notes sing in my head! I decided to settle into a more controlled environment to finish the dressing on this May Day page.

A tissue paper overlay is a great way to experiment with the placement of other elements you want to add to your page. It keeps the paper from being compromised from too much erasing.

The trick is matching the same placement that you like on the overlay. There are transfer papers you can use, or you can flip over the overlay and trace what's on the front side using a very soft pencil. Once finished, flip it back to the original side,lay it over your journal page and retrace your original lines with a sharp pencil. Lift the overlay tissue off of your journal page and your lettering will/should be on the paper beneath.

But, I know from experience that I lose total spontaneity when I use these methods. My lines become stiff as I get caught up in left brain control. I honor my free flowing plein air sketch too much to let that happen. I want all the elements to compliment that freedom. So I guess-ti-mate :)

My version of cooking without a recipe :)

Click on images to enlarge :)


  1. Absolutely charming spread! :)

  2. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this page! It's lively and happy and sparkly! I look at it and think, "Oooh, I want to try writing around the edge of the page like that! And I want to try that lettering style! And I want to incorporate more poetry on my pages!" You've inspired me, Pam. THANKS!

  3. I love your explanation of process, as WELL as this gorgeous page! I keep forgetting the tissue paper trick for exploring placement...and like you, transferring like that seems to affect spontaneity...

  4. Thank you, Leslie! Then we inspire each other as I think your pages are divine!

    Thank you, Kate! It was hard to write about the flipping the overlay etc... The first pass I left a lot in my head :) Kind of like a speak.. ha ha!

  5. What a delightful journal entry... I have used clear plastic sheets (for an overhead projector) to try out things on a painting... would not have thought of tissue paper, or tracing paper for the same purpose... very clever idea.

  6. Thanks, Elaine! I call it tissue but technically it's tracing paper. I use the clear sheets when painting, too. So great to have helpful tools :)

  7. What an inspiring, beautiful piece of art. Thanks for sharing your process. I was wondering if you had ever tried wet media acetate. You can actually lay it over your painting and paint on the acetate to see if the color and addition works before you actually do it on your watercolor page. I saw it demoed, but I haven't tried it yet. Still hoping you will have an online class someday incorporating lettering and watercolor journaling.

  8. You never fail to inspire me, Pam. Your entries are so fresh and "sparkling" themselves--poetic and joyful. Now I really must get back to that entry I left undone this spring when the orchards came into bloom...

  9. Lovely! I liked your idea of the overlay to play around with design, but I totally agree that that would probably make me get all anal and not have the looseness I so wish I could maintain. This is great.

  10. What an amazing inspiration!! I wish I could do caligraphy this beautiful!!!

  11. Love this, Pam! Although the tissue paper might affect spontaneity for you, it would give me a bit of courage. Great idea. I'm so glad you posted this page. It makes my nose and fingers twitch to do something similar...


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