Now Winter nights enlarge
the number of their hours
and clouds their storm discharge
upon the airy towers.
I just finished my fourth art journaling class with Dina Wakley, Art Journal 103: Composition and Color Techniques. The class consisted of eight lessons, posted twice a week over a four week period of time. The first four focused on composition theory and the second four on color theory. Composition topics included symmetry & assymetry, white space, continuance, dominance, unity, combining and overlapping. Color topics included color combinations, contrast, color as a compositional tool and the power of black & white. Each lesson included a thorough discussion of its topic, including explanations and examples. At 20-25 pages per lesson (or almost 200 total pages), they were comprehensive enough to constitute a beginning course in visual design! To help put these lessons into action, each post contained a description of how to use the topics on art journal pages and a series of page challenge ideas. One of the best and most unexpected parts of each lesson was a discussion of how to break the design rules and still create a pleasing page. Last, but certainly not least, each lesson included an art technique to incorporate. These were all really fun and interesting, and, for the most part, new to me! These included watercolor with spray ink, painted & scraped backgrounds, butcher paper collage, underpainting, gel medium resist, and black spray paint. There was also a brief introduction to collaging, glazing and a download to make custom color charts. Every single lesson came with a video where Dina explains the various techniques, and you get to see her create page after wonderful page. The opportunity to see her at work as she explains her creative process is absolutely invaluable! The class included a discussion forum and gallery. Dina monitored both closely, answering all questions posted to the forum and commenting on virtually every image posted in the gallery. The activity level at the forum and in the gallery was enough to be interesting, without being overwhelming. The class cost $65, and I think the content was well worth it.
Overall, I really enjoyed this class. I found the page challenges and art techniques really useful as a way to jump start my creativity and make some art journal pages. I especially loved the the spray ink watercolor, scraped backgrounds and butcher paper collage techniques. The black spray paint technique really expanded my way of looking at things, even if I'm not sure how often I'll use it, and the color charts will be really handy. I know I can use the color and composition theory when starting a collage and need to decide which color to grab or where to place an element, or when I'm stuck mid-process and need to figure out my next step. The only potential downside to the class was that it didn't contain any journaling prompts, so some students seemed at a loss for subjects for their pages. This didn't bother me (especially because I was taking Shimelle's journaling class at the same time), but there did seem to be some frustration expressed about this. In all of Dina's other art journaling classes, there were lots of prompts and ideas for journaling topics, but that simply wasn't the focus of this class.
Look at the page at the top of today's post. It uses the gel medium resist technique, black spray paint, concepts of flow, white space, color contrasts and the power of black and white. It's a page that brings together many of the concepts and techniques from the class and one which I happen to love! Bottom line - I give the class a Solid A for helping me create this page and so many others.