52-Week Art Journal

Week 43: Abstract Calla Lilies… or Something Else Entirely

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at this for quite some time, since well before the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, or even #My100DayArtJournal (click here to learn more about that). I was still in that very long stretch of rarely making art when I first saw people dragging paint-laden metal-ball chains, which I was most familiar with seeing as pull chains on lights, or around necks, across various surfaces to create what looked like some sort of calla lily-type abstract flower.

It was really messy.

Messier than is convenient for an art journal.

And if I’m saying it’s too messy… you know it must be pretty messy.

But I’ve seen it done differently many times since then, and I’m inviting you to watch my first attempts at this on YouTube, and give it a try yourself.

Welcome to Week 43 of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey. I’m Melinda and I’m here to encourage you to reclaim your creativity and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care with my simple form of art journaling: one small-art and journaling prompt each week for one year.

If you’re new and curious, click here to learn more. And don’t miss Week 1, where we made our journals, and this journey, our own.

If you need an economical mixed media art journal option to get started, this is a link to what I use in most of my videos, and what we use for the art-journaling group at the library where I work. I love the paper, and it holds up well with wet, dry, and layered mixed media. If you use this link and make a qualifying purchase, I will make a small commission as an Amazon associate. This does not affect your price, but gives me a few cents toward supporting my sharing my healthy art habit with others. So, thanks if you do!

I started my experiment with yarn. Because it was nearby. I also had a short length of twine that came around… something I bought. I didn’t end up trying that because it was too rigid and held the curves it was already bent into. You need to be able to sort of… drizzle… whatever string-like material you use to lay and pull your paint.

If you’d like to see how it went before you read more, scroll on down to this week’s video.

I didn’t have any regular string. But we use what we have. As well as yarn, I had acrylic craft paint, of course. It’s a staple of this journey that proves it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to reclaim your creativity. It’s also a decent consistency for this. And an art journal is actually laid out ideally for this. Except for not being able to do your journaling on the page opposite your small art.

Speaking of journaling, let’s journal about music today. I’m often listening to something while I’m filming, or making art in general. My taste in music may be classified as eclectic. But I’m also realizing more and more how many people have diverse tastes in music. Maybe I won’t risk offending anyone by telling you the types of music I almost never enjoy. Yes, there are types of music I don’t enjoy, and even seriously dislike… I’m rambling, Friend…

Another creative self-care tool


Turning some on, and especially turning it up, can give me a needed energy boost. And I use it for that quite often.

It can also spark or inform creativity. Do you like to listen to music while you create?

I’ve wanted to do a prompt of playing some favorite music, or even something specific, and just drawing or painting or coloring along. But that wouldn’t work well for the weekly video prompt, with music copyrights and our varying tastes.

I still remember doing this at least once in music class during elementary school. I let the title of the music be my starting inspiration, and loved that day of class.

Do you ever use music to inspire or prompt your creativity? Do you ever play particular types to go along with your mood? Or to improve it?

Music and be another important creative self-care tool.

Take some time to think and write about how music influences you, and how you use it to enhance your life.

Back to the art

I chose two colors of acrylic craft paint. A reddish purple and a light yellow. I used an old plastic lid from from a cottage cheese container, and one from whipped topping later.

The first step is to load your string with paint. I would my yarn down into my small puddle of paint, and used and old paintbrush to fully cover it. The brush can also be used to sort of squeegee off excess. I held onto one end of the paint the entire time. You don’t want to paint the entire length, as you need to maintain an area to hold onto and pull.

Yarn absorbs quite a bit of paint. I used almost all of my original little puddle.

Lay your wet string length-wise on a clean page of your journal, adjacent to another blank page.

Don’t just lay it straight. As I said earlier, you want to sort of drizzle it, like drizzling something sweet onto a scrumptious dessert. You want curves. And loops are fine.

Line up the end of the painted section of your string with the bottom edge of your page.

Turn you blank page onto your string page. Apply gentle but firm, even pressure with one hand, and gently but firmly pull your string toward you, straight out from between your pages.

String choices

As mentioned, I didn’t try the twine. Too rigid.

I thought embroidery floss would be a good idea, but then nixed it because it’s made to have its strands easily pull apart. After failing with Elmer’s brand “Braiding Cord” (too narrow and not absorbent enough to effectively pick up the right amount of paint), I decided to try the embroidery floss.

Though technically, this particular floss is marketed to girls making friendship bracelets so isn’t called embroidery floss.

It worked pretty well.

I wrapped up this week’s experiments going back to yarn. You can get two or three decent pulls from one load of paint.

It’s an interesting small-art project. I’ll probably try it again.

Have some fun with it!

Why stop there?

It’s great if you’re using the 52-Week Art Journal Journey to establish a weekly creative self-care routine. And if that’s all you can manage in this season, keep at it! If you can find more time, there’s no end of inspiration. I know it can be hard to feel inspired, though.

Get outdoors; take a walk.

Look at others’ art. I mentioned in last week’s (very late) email that I recently visited CMOG – the Corning Museum of Glass. Others’ art and creativity can be incredibly inspiring. But can also make us want to quit if we decide to compare instead of enjoy and celebrate.

If you’ve been been following these 52-Week Art Journal Journey prompts, you know I get plenty of inspiration on Instagram. And YouTube. I’ve also been enjoying some fun online classes. Most recently Collage Keepsake with Cat Rains. If you’re interested in learning about creating harmonious collage with your own collage paper, click here to check out her free five-day Collage Kickstart.

If you’d like to collage with unique hand-designed papers but aren’t interested in making your own, or would like to add to your own, I’ll be opening an online shop soon, with my own collage papers, original art (prints to come), and items with my art. I’m so excited!

I’ll be back next week with another small-art and journaling prompt. Enjoy pulling some paint into interesting shapes, and click here to check out or revisit past prompts for more inspiration for simple unintimidating small art.

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