As an artist, these types of exercises refill my tank and get me excited in fresh directions.
A grid journal can have “windows” of any size, shape, or configuration. A page spread can repeat all the same aperture, or utilize varying ones. I change it up here, as you can see.
The one above I did on separate, deckled bits of watercolor paper, and the advantage to that is that you can mix and match them around to determine which one you like where in the matrix. I like this method because it lends itself to being framed, each piece slightly raised from the background and assembled as a proper piece of artwork, even though its inception was just that of a study. All those flowers are from our yard, by the way, still going strong this late in October!
The other three below I’ve done in an art journal (this one) and plan to fill the whole thing up with grid journaling that I’ll share with you in this new intermittent blog series, as well as use as fodder for compositional offshoots. I like having them in a journal for it releases the process from anything pretending to be salable, which reinforces the purpose of it to be exploratory and not result driven.
You can set little parameters for each page spread for yourself. You can map out the size and shape of the grid, and choose what topic you’ll focus on and what materials you’ll use. This will unify the page and increase your creativity.
You can use a viewfinder or not. I’ve made a whole bunch of different sizes of viewfinders cut from a stiff mailing envelope that you can see in the last photo below. For the flower exercise above, I clipped the viewfinder on the back of my sketchbook, and then painted the bits above from my sketches. Below, with the Google Earth topographical maps, I just leaned my circular viewfinder against my laptop screen, and painted or drew directly from there. With the rocks, I set up a magnifying glass in a jelly jar and taped the viewfinder onto that, as shown in the photo below.
Or, as with the forest pond study below, you can skip the viewfinder, and just go with a feeling of the subject. I tend to do this better, and more often, which is why I’m making myself use the viewfinder as a mindfulness discipline. Getting a feel for the larger view feels more fun and relaxing to me, however I liked the new compositions that came from looking at things more closely. In other words, both are great, and follow as you are led, without getting stuck in your comfort zone, since the point here is to burst into new territory.
And as usual, I never feel the compunction to use exact colors, but am led to a combination that feels evocative and true in a higher way.
I hope you’ll join me in this grid journaling adventure!