A Bitty Book of Backgrounds Project by Christen Hammons

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The creative process is a tricky thing. Sometimes ideas just come to you and you’re able to create exactly what you had in mind. Other times you just stare at the blank page, completely unsure of how to start. And let’s not forget the times when you have an idea in mind and nothing works out the way you pictured. I frequently find myself not knowing what I’d like to create and then when I finally start working, I get frustrated that I can’t replicate the picture I have in my mind. I’ll obsess over a wash of paint that is heavier than I imagined or a doodle that just doesn’t look good. I need to remember that I’m usually happiest with a piece when I completely let go of my expectations and just create for the pure joy it brings me.

Recently, I noticed a lot of art journalers making pages just to cut them up into smaller pieces to use later. I was intrigued by how beautiful some of the cut pages were and knew I wanted to do the same thing.

I grabbed a piece of mixed-media paper and got to work, detached from the outcome because I knew I’d just be cutting it up later. How freeing this was! Without thinking, I tore papers and glued them to the page. I scribbled with Distress Crayons and paint pens. I used stencils to randomly add patterns. I even placed the page on the floor and dropped paint onto it, not knowing where it’d wind up and what it’d look like. One of my favorite things to add to the page was torn pieces of the Dina Wakley Collage Paper Backgrounds because, when applied with gel medium, they blend seamlessly into the page. Once everything was dry, I cut the paper into smaller pieces. I didn’t measure the pieces I was cutting, and I really liked the random sizes I wound up with. I also didn’t pay attention to the orientation of the small pieces. I then punched a hole in the top left corner of each page and joined them with a binder ring.

This was such a fun exercise because I simply allowed myself to play. I had no idea what the final smaller pieces would look like, and as I looked at them, I was pleasantly surprised at how happy I was with the different compositions. I couldn’t have created some of those if I had tried. I look forward to building on these ready-made backgrounds to create a fun little book, though I think I’ll leave some of them alone, because they’re perfect as they are.

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The creative process is a tricky thing. Sometimes ideas just come to you and you’re able to create exactly what you had in mind. Other times you just stare at the blank page, completely unsure of how to start. And let’s not forget the times when you have an idea in mind and nothing works out the way you pictured. I frequently find myself not knowing what I’d like to create and then when I finally start working, I get frustrated that I can’t replicate the picture I have in my mind. I’ll obsess over a wash of paint that is heavier than I imagined or a doodle that just doesn’t look good. I need to remember that I’m usually happiest with a piece when I completely let go of my expectations and just create for the pure joy it brings me.

Recently, I noticed a lot of art journalers making pages just to cut them up into smaller pieces to use later. I was intrigued by how beautiful some of the cut pages were and knew I wanted to do the same thing.

I grabbed a piece of mixed-media paper and got to work, detached from the outcome because I knew I’d just be cutting it up later. How freeing this was! Without thinking, I tore papers and glued them to the page. I scribbled with Distress Crayons and paint pens. I used stencils to randomly add patterns. I even placed the page on the floor and dropped paint onto it, not knowing where it’d wind up and what it’d look like. One of my favorite things to add to the page was torn pieces of the Dina Wakley Collage Paper Backgrounds because, when applied with gel medium, they blend seamlessly into the page. Once everything was dry, I cut the paper into smaller pieces. I didn’t measure the pieces I was cutting, and I really liked the random sizes I wound up with. I also didn’t pay attention to the orientation of the small pieces. I then punched a hole in the top left corner of each page and joined them with a binder ring.

This was such a fun exercise because I simply allowed myself to play. I had no idea what the final smaller pieces would look like, and as I looked at them, I was pleasantly surprised at how happy I was with the different compositions. I couldn’t have created some of those if I had tried. I look forward to building on these ready-made backgrounds to create a fun little book, though I think I’ll leave some of them alone, because they’re perfect as they are.

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