Fun, funky paint effect that gives a wrinkly and smooth effect with wrinkly plastic wrap on green at the bottom, with blue, then yellow above, with orange in the top right corner for a sunshine vibe.
52-Week Art Journal

Week 18: Paint Playtime!

It’s Week 18 of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, and we’re going to have some fun!

You’ll need your watercolor and/or acrylic paints. Other things I used are plastic wrap, table salt, coarse kosher salt, and aluminum foil.

If you’re new here, and want to start by making your journal and this journey your own, check out the Week 1 prompt. It will also give you a better idea of what we’re doing here.

Getting started

I’ve played a bit with watercolor and salt before, but never plastic wrap though I’ve wanted to. I’d started a couple different small-art projects for this week, but they just hadn’t taken off for me. When one of my Study Buddies from Stacie Bloomfield’s Leverage Your Art (yes, we’re still meeting from last year) mentioned both, I thought this would be the perfect time to experiment… and invite you along for the ride.

If you don’t usually watch the videos, this prompt may be a good one to watch, as I play with different techniques with varying levels of success, so you can see what I mean, and choose which to try.

If you’re here to watch the video first, scroll on down.

I started off with plastic wrap. And instead of watercolor paint, I used acrylics on water instead. I lay down a sheet of newsprint previously used to protect my counter from paint. Then remembered, as I rarely do, to put paper beneath the page I’m working on, to protect the rest of the journal. Don’t forget that if you want to be able to do your journaling while your paint is still wet, make your small art on the left-side page if you’re right-handed, and right-side page (the “usual” page) if you’re left-handed.

I put down a layer of clean water, as I would for a watercolor wash, then dropped on some acrylic paint. I had Lake Ontario on my mind, so I chose lake-y colors, particularly the atypical shades of Robert Wehle State Park. I’ve been playing with metallics lately, so threw in some silver. Then I lay a piece of plastic wrap on top, NOT smoothly.

After I set my plastic-wrap experiment aside, I got out the salt. And some watercolor paper. To keep experimenting.

The start is the same: a layer of water, and an acrylic (or watercolor) wash. I then sprinkled on table salt. I decided to use the coarser kosher salt on the same piece. If you try out the effects you can create with salt, it will also have to be set aside to dry.

I let both my plastic wrap and salt dry overnight.

I’ve tried rolling crumpled rolls of aluminum foil across wet paint before, with limited success, but decided to try that and balls of aluminum foil next. Yeah… not so great with the wetter, runnier paint, but it still had interesting results. So… although it didn’t work quite like it’s “supposed to,” it can’t be considered a fail. Not just because I like how it turned out, but also because I learned AND had fun.

And fun is what this week’s art and journaling are about.

Getting writing

As I mentioned, your paint is going to have to dry. If you have time to experiment with multiple techniques, you may have to bring in extra paper, as I did. If you bought the three-pack I recommended, you could be working in multiple journals if you want. Whatever you decide to do, however may pieces you play with over the week, you want your paint to be completely dry before you peel off plastic wrap or brush off salt.

As things dry, let’s consider… FUN for our journaling.

What do you like to do for fun? I know this can be a tricky question when you’re struggling with depression. Or stressed from too much busyness, too many responsibilities.

But there are things you’ve found fun even if you can’t find them interesting right now, or if you feel like taking time for “just” fun is a waste of time.

If you’re stuck in either of those, I’m so glad you’ve turned up here and have made it this far through our prompt. You need some time to just playfully make. And consider things that light you up. We need that release. And we need things like that to look forward to.

So, what’s fun to you? What about it do you enjoy?

I find this art play fun. And, in a different way, light hiking. Both of these feed something in me… that needs to be fed.

I have fun making art with my art-journaling group at the library.

We need things we enjoy on our own, and things we enjoy with others to be healthy. We’re not one-dimensional, and neither is mental health. We need to pursue healing and recovery by nurturing all aspects of our selves: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social… and creative.

Have some fun. Write about what’s fun… which I hope will help you see that making and taking the time for things you enjoy is important.

A lighter heart

When I Googled fun, the result it gave me was from Oxford Languages:

enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure.

Lighthearted… This week I pray you’re blessed with many moments that lift your heart, particularly if you’re struggling or sinking or feeling crushed by the weight of a heavy heart.

Thank you for another opportunity to encourage you to reclaim your creativity, and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care through art journaling.

If you’d like an extra bit of weekly creative self-care encouragement in your inbox, click here.

If you’d like to follow along this and other parts of my arty journey, I share daily on Facebook and Instagram. You can find links to those and my other arty stuff, click here.


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