• Cécile Graven

Art Journals and.. stamps

The dutch word for artjournal should be kunstdagboek, but globalistst that we are ( 😉  ) we use the word artjournal. And work in an artjournal we call artjournaling. 😉

The first time I heard the word artjournaling was in a dutch facebookgroup about MixedMedia.

Pages and pages and pages were shown of artjournals. They all had whimsical faces on them. Round heads with a lot of strange stuff in their hair ( copied from Finnabair I know now), big bambi-like eyes with straight lines around it for eyelashes, a strange white nose and a small mouth with thick lips. And don’t forget a long thin neck like a swan. yeah. Even a Barbiedoll looks lifelike compared to these “whimsical girls”.

And then there were spreads… before that I knew the word spread only from Heinz sandwichspread.

Now I learned that if you draw such a whimsical girl and you spread the background and the hair over 2 pages it was called a spread. Ah, so enlightening !

I could not understand what it had to do with journaling and I could not see what it had to do with art either.

Later, on Pinterest, I discoverred that art journaling came from keeping a diary and making art around it as an illustration. It ‘evolved’ to a kind of moodboard with words scribbled over it. And later it was allowed to be artjournaling without words. I did see some great pieces of work, but I kept wondering why one should wish to make good art in a book no one could leave through and most of the times with non waterproof materials from sometimes very bad quality.

Okay, I admit, I am cynical.

Do I have an art journal?

Yes I have.

Do I use it as a diary?

No, I don’t, most pages are not dated.

Do I make art in it?


I use my artjournal to paint leftovers of paint on pages, I put wet stencils between pages to put them out of the way of the artwork I am working on. And when I like the random outcome of that I sometimes work on that page to make it more fun to look at.

Like in this page:


I do use my artjournal to try out if pencils are as waterproof as the manufacturer says.

Like here:


Sometimes I enjoy myself with making drawings with those pencils that are not waterproof, like this:



Sometimes I use my artjournal to try out ideas for altered or artistbooks I am working on, like these:




This ^one is a tryout for my book Time and the River.

Sometimes I use my artjournal to try out new stuff I bought, in this case stencils designed by Seth Apter:


And past few days I have enjoyed my self by stamping with my handcarved abstract stamps, all but one made from erasers.


Handcarving stamps from erasers, I love to do that, especially in a shady place on hot days with  a pitcher with cool water and some slices of lemnon sitting next to me and the hum of bees and bumblebees around me.

Oooo, how I long for summer to come!


#Finnabair #kunst #SethApter #artjournal #ink #mixedmedia #drawings #stempels #acrylic #stamps

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