A Thousand Words

June Theme
Travel Journaling
June 27 – Week 26
Art Challenge: Photos and Words
Journal Prompt:  A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I have had to work way ahead in my journal as I am traveling most of the summer and at times was at a loss for inspiration.  Sometimes, creating on demand like this really zaps my ability to be intuitive and let things just “happen” artistically.  Fortunately, one of our Documented Life Members, Angela Elizabeth Harding, posted a picture that she created in her journal.  I instantly felt a connection to this post and asked her if I could use it as my inspiration and she graciously agreed!

Isn’t her journal AMAZING? I ADORE how she sketched her photographs and it gave me an idea for this week’s challenge!  I love how we can learn from each other and how our members constantly inspire ME!  By the way, Angela has a beautiful blog – she is an incredible artist and I would love to sit and flip through her sketchbooks.  I hope you will check her out HERE.

So what I took from her “Say Cheese” challenge was the idea to create polaroid-style photographs for my journal and tacked them onto my pages much like my mother and grandmother used to do.  This was LOOOOOOONG before scrapbooking, and they would write directly onto the strip at the bottom of the photograph.  Today, looking at these phot albums I can see the integrity of the photos didn’t hold up well and I love their worn, yellowed and scratchy look.  I tried to recreate it in my journal.

I started by painting my pages with a mixture of white and payne’s gray acrylic.  Just a quick cover with a dry brush to get lots of texture and movement.

I printed out some photos I had from a trip to Santa Monica onto inexpensive plain copier paper.  The color is not as vibrant and they don’t even look like my original photos, but it didn’t matter for this challenge.

I cut each of them out, and adhered them FACE DOWN onto scraps of cold press watercolor paper with matte medium. All I wanted was an image – I knew it wouldn’t be clear and it certainly wouldn’t be perfect.  When you use this technique, words will be backwards and everything in the photo will be in reverse.  I scraped each picture on the back with a metal rib to get out any air bubbles or blobs of medium.  The ink ran a little underneath but I just wiped them clean with a baby wipe.

I let them dry COMPLETELY.  Several hours, in fact.  Once dry, I taped around each photo with painters tape to prevent the ink from running and I painted a good bit of water onto the back of each photo and let them sit for at least 5 minutes. You can see from the photos, the ink bled through the piece of paper – this is what you want to happen. Once they were saturated and the water had a chance to absorb, I gently rubbed the back of each photo until the paper came off and only the image remained.  In some places, the image even rubbed off and sometimes it didn’t transfer at all.  It’s OKAY – I want it to look aged!

Once dry again, I tore the pictures out into polaroid-style size and wrote a little caption underneath.  I tacked them onto the pages of my journal with a glue stick and was thrilled with how it all turned out!  This was definitely an experiment and I feel like it paid off!

I’m so pleased with the final journal page – its a wonderful memento of my visit to Santa Monica.  The aged look is a nice compliment to the iconic image of the Santa Monica Pier!  They appear to be worn as if someone has flipped through the photo album often!  They almost have an illustrated look to them!  Can’t wait to see how you all document with photographs this week – you all truly inspire me!

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  1. Mary Nasser

    Gorgeous, Lorraine! Thank you for sharing this cool process of transferring onto watercolor paper!
    Love the vintage/weathered look of the photos!

  2. Mary W

    WOW this is amazing. I can’t wait to try this technique and your pages are wonderful. You never fail to get me thinking and out of my comfy box. This reminds me that Polaroids have many different uses and one is the minute the picture pops out, throw it into a bucket of water. Then grab an orange stick to gently manipulate the unset film and it will look painted when it sets up, instead of photographed. They need to make polaroids again just as art supplies. Beautiful post and hope your having a blast. Just don’t fall out of a hot air balloon over Turkey!

  3. Sandi Keene

    Lo, Love the technique, the inspiration and the finished product! What a great idea! Hugs.

  4. cindy arrington

    Oh my gosh, so many lessons from you this week. The entire concept and execution is brilliant. The outcome is stunning! Thanks for sharing and bringing back my memories of Santa Monica!

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Thank you for commenting Cindy – it was so fun, and even a few "uh-oh" moments when I wasn’t sure it would work – haha!

  5. Avatar

    Thanks for your innovative technique on recording your memories in an art journal! I have seen image transfers and homemade Polaroid pictures but I’ve never seen the two techniques combined.i definitely will have to try this out in my journal.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Thank you Sherry – I hope you do try it – it was a lot of fun!

  6. Avatar

    I love this layout! !!!!! I want to try this technique now thanks for sharing.

  7. Avatar

    I love this! The look like you painted them with watercolor! Just beautiful.

  8. Patricia Jones

    I love the final product and look that you have achieved. I do believe that I am going to try this technique. My question on deck is as follows: inkjet or laser printer?

    Thanks for all you do,

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Hi Patricia – thanks for that and great question . . . I used my inkjet!

  9. Rae Missigman

    this is so awesome! I have used that technique and have always loved how the final result looks – less than perfect, so perfect in my book 😉 Thank you for sharing and reminding us to revisit old techniques that we sometimes forget about!

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Thanks Rae – I always like to go back through my bag of goodies and try them out on new things!

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