Not quite an art journal -- but more fun

colorized black and white photo
If you're a real artist -- especially a mixed media one -- you need to keep an art journal. Right? I was ready to give it a try. But then I started looking at pages created by other artists. Clearly, their journals were mini artworks. 

I just wanted a place to doodle, play with color, and practice new techniques. A blank journal wouldn't work (even though I make them for other people). No, those bright white pages would just be an invitation to get all serious and perfectionistic.

Instead, I dug out an old photography book I've had for years. Decades, maybe. Full of black and white photos and warnings about toxic chemicals, the book was headed to the recycle bin. (I wonder why I only have volume six?)
Old photo encyclopedia
But then I thought, what a great canvas! I could cover the pages with paint and gesso -- or even incorporate some of the photos. Colorize them. Deface them. Have fun.

Some of the images made me think of a coloring book. So I colored them. Here I managed to turn a happy photo of two little kids into a poster for a horror movie. "Terror of the Abstract Background!"
colorized black and white photo
This next image was more successful (oh, wait, I'm just playing, right?) I painted the giant eye realistically and played with different textures in the background. I wish the orange was opaque -- I don't like seeing the text underneath. I'm still learning about different levels of transparency with acrylic paints. 
colorized black and white photo
Can you guess how I made the black circles? I used them in this collage too.
collaged page
They're plastic rolls from empty scotch tape dispensers. The honeycomb fabric swatches are from antiseptic wipes, dried. I used acrylic matte gel to adhere them to the collage.

Next I brought out my stencils. After painting the page below yellow, I stenciled chevrons in red-orange. Using oil crayons, I added the columns and spheres freehand. I finished by adding lines and squiggles with Sharpies. Too much?
colorized black and white photo
This is the next page I plan to tackle. So many possibilities!
black and white photo to colorize
Have you ever colorized black and white photos? The next time you're at a thrift store, try to find an old photo book with lots of images. Then dive in!


  1. Brilliant article, really inspiring and it definitely gets the creative fingers twitching :D


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