The Real Truth on How to Cover Layers You Love

Yesterday, I shared the progression of a painting. Today, I want to share the progression of an art journal spread (or pages). Since I know I need to have something to blog each day, I've been taking more shots as I work (and plan to shoot more video while I work, to turn these written transmissions into art video diaries).

Ky recently commented on FB: 

Do you ever feel you've killed a life when you paint over another image? I do. Makes me feel almost criminal. Hush that inner critic!

Honest answer? I used to. I would be petrified of painting over things, especially if I liked them. I felt that I had to save them all, if I could, and even devised a way of painting a background in my e-book that allowed me to save those bits. 

We all make backgrounds we adore, those moments when it all comes together and the magic happens. And while we may feel the urge to continue working and developing what has appeared, we stop, because those urges and instincts can't be right. 

They are.

Example: I have a larger piece I've been working on on-and-off since I got back from Berkeley last month. I was in love with it as each layer developed, but the entire piece felt scattered, without focus. So I kept adding layers. But I hit a point where more layers weren't going to fix anything, and in fact, would only be me avoiding developing the painting further...I'd be procrastinating instead of creating.

It's still sitting on my easel, actually. I started to pull things out last night, after a month of indecisiveness. 


There are two reasons I allowed the joy of spontaneous creativity to begin keeping me from deeper work:

1. I have lately felt that each painting needs a focal point, and can't be abstract. I'm working on this, on allowing a painting to progress without a recognizable subject, but also like painting subjects, so need to go with my gut. 

2. I liked too much of what was underneath and thus got stuck between the past layers and the future painting.

One thing that has helped is this month of daily blogging. I need to do something each day. Even if it's for me only, or just for play. I can't give up or give in: time to Show Up and do the Work. It's proven that inspiration is waiting on you, not the other way around. 

Once I started showing up & creating each day, I felt myself loosen up. Remember a few days ago, when I just gave in to that punch-drunk creativity feeling and made random marks? It really unlocked something inside of me, and I now have this sense of  trust & peace when I create. I no longer fear covering up something I've made and like....I trust that I can continue creating things I'll like since I already know I can

Faith, not fear, in art. 

It may sound like a tall order. You may not believe that I'm all here, or that I'm just telling you something you want to hear. Or perhaps you're stuck in that middle ground where you struggle to create something you like. It's fine. You'll get here. There's a giant red X painted on the ground, and the treasure map's already in your hands. 

I wanted to go back to basics and do a gesso resist in my journal. I consciously chose this because it seems like such an "art journaler" thing -- those techniques we all know and do from time to time. It's been years since my last one. But I wanted to play, and did it with some stencils. 

I've forgotten how to do it right, though, because my results weren't as pretty as seen on Pinterest....but that's okay. I went with it. Rolled as the path became clear. Each decision leads to another, and thus, each is important, even if you can't see them all. Without those hidden layers, you'd never get to the top.


I added fluid acrylics (I do love Golden brand), then played with my new script brushes. How else are you supposed to learn how to use them? Layered some Liquitex Ink! and then hit the pages with acrylics....doing some new stuff, varying the brushes to get different shapes. 


Are they finished? No. Going back and adding detail is the best part! But I love the conversation I've had already, and there are so many possible places to go, how could you not be inspired? 


If you must, shoot pics of layers you love. Keep a record. It helps. You can then replicate the process again, if need be. But let them lead you. Inform you. Give you choices. The more layers, the narrower the choices, until you sit back and find there's nowhere left to go but turn the page and start over again.