A Page in My Artist Journal (Process Photos of See No Evil)

A Page in My Artist Journal (Process Photos of See No Evil)
See No Evil artist journal page See No Evil (mixed media) by Polly Castor

The series of images below gives you a good idea how non-objective work evolves. Often in my artist journal I’m just experimenting around, without an end point in mind, layering in different ways and combinations. It is more about learning, discovery, quiet meditation, noodling about, and fun, than product or outcome.

In the photos below, I explain each step in the caption of the photo.

Sometimes the unexpected emerges. Sometimes you take it too far and should have stopped. Regardless of what you think at each stage, you can make a new choice, take a risk with a bold creative step, or add a subtle transparent layer, and see where you are from there. If you don’t like something, cover it up. If you like a bit, keep it, while not being too “precious” about any of it. Putter around with it until you like it, and then stop.

Layers of accruing choices gives depth and complexity to the work. What I ended up with here was just as much a surprise to me, in this case, as it is to you. Sometimes it is great just to go along with the flow, and be receptive to the ideas as they come, instead of trying to steer the ship all the time. At each stage the idea of what to do next will come. I love it as a listening process, and see the process of doing this type of work a great metaphor for life.

The release that comes from doing non-objective work in my journal, refreshes me for artwork I do with more intentionality. It also provides me with the technical expertise to understand how each layer will affect the next, so I can plan for the eventualities I desire when attempting more serious conceptual work.

So check out these process photos, and let me know if this kind of post is interesting and/or useful or not. I can do more posts like this, or resume just showing you the completed items, without their genesis and growing pains.

Starting with a black watercolor crayon scribble


A little wet white paint into the watercolor crayon gives a nice range of value…


Some pink paint worked into the white…


Collaged corners with absorbent packing paper and a layer of clear acrylic gel medium…


Added transparent quinacridone gold acrylic paint in some areas…


Combed pale green through areas…


Added two pieces of hand painted collage paper and started to see a face… Should I have stopped here?


Accentuated eye, forehead, and chin shape… proportions bothering me…


Added hair and took the face too far…


Obliterated the face with bold, simple marks done with turquoise acrylic paint chosen as a complimentary color to what remains…


Decorated the turquoise with circles and dots in acrylic… Liking the complimentary colors. Because of the hidden face underneath, I titled it See No Evil.
I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John gregory 2 years ago

    I loved the proportions that bothered you ….third and fourth one above comments.

  2. Connie Adams 2 years ago

    Yes, Polly. I like the evolution of the work, even if ( can’t say I particularly like the final result. The process is what is fun. Please share some more of it. Thanks.

  3. Meg Hanson 2 years ago

    Your ideas about this art apply to life too.

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