An annual April experiment in creating a Fake Journal~ FAKE: pretend, simulate; counterfeit; to alter.manipulate.
or treat as to impart a false character or appearance.

A fun exercise in pretending to be someone else, maybe in an alternate universe!

Monday, March 31, 2014

April Fool - Fake Journal 2014

"Life is short. Why live only one?"

 ♦    ♦  

Maybe I was a court jester
in another life...

 ♦  ♦

Monday, March 17, 2014

Journal Relationship

click on image to enlarge

Several years ago, Roz Stendahl
had a project inviting people to draw
her in their journals. The project is over
but I still thought it would be fun to sketch
her image if I ever found a photo to
work from...

and from looking at these pages, I see 
that I do tend to explain things...
I use the text to give background info.
So..."NO explanation" is a challenge for me.
When I make my 'fake journals' I try not
to explain stuff, but I still make notes on the pages.
 I attempt to think and write
the way I think my character would.
And keep the secret of
who I am -- and what I do,
until the end of the challenge.

I do a 'wrap up' at the end of April
to explain it all.  And evaluate 
what I learned and how I think it went.
So, I have to think ahead for content...
and what I would be drawing or painting
in my journal, without 'giving away'
the secret!

Examining the 'relationship' that I have
with my art journal is revealing...
In my real art journals I normally
 just make things- sketches,
drawings, watercolors, collages
without thinking about why...
Roz is suggesting we examine
our relationship with our art journal~
how we usually work, and why.
So I am mulling it over
 in my mind and
thinking of possibilities...

join me for the journey...
beginning in April!
◘  ◘  ◘

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fake Journal 2014

It's time to start thinking about my Fake Journal for 2014...
what paper will I use?  
Who will my character be? 
Where will I live?  
What will my art journaling methods be?
What will my pages look like?

♦   ♦   ♦

Roz Stendahl, who is the originator of the
 International Fake Journal challenge, 
encourages us to 
"explore new ways to interact with your journal."

This year, the motto for 
IFJM 2014 is
NO explanations.

♦  ♦  ♦

So far, I've been a student of 
Japanese art and philosophy,(2012)
and a modern day Native American Shaman. (2013)

Check back in April to see if you 
can figure out my character...
NO explanations.

♦  ♦  ♦

Meditations of a Shaman~ Fake Journal 2013 Conclusion

The cover of my 2013 Fake Journal is made from burlap lined with white cotton fabric, and the pages were bound in pamphlet stitch.  The images on the cover were painted with craft acrylics and details added with Sharpie pen and white gel pen. Shells, stems of greenery, and dried lavender were glued and stitched onto the cover.

The petroglyph on the lower right  of the cover is an image of an actual petroglyph in Jackson County, near Leo, Ohio. It is not known what it represents. Some theories include a humanized owl? a horned mask? an 'Iroquois flying head'?


WHO: My character in the 2013 Fake Journal is an artist who loves nature, and turns to the Native American culture and wisdom of the shaman.  I considered making this a historical journal, as though I were the shaman making the petroglyphs, but rejected that idea. In the time these carvings are estimated to have been done (A.D. 1200-1750) there would have been no writing as we know it, and the dating of the entries would have been difficult. I did think about using a 'sun design' for the time of day, and some type of hash marks for dates, but decided not to pursue that.

WHERE: Ohio, USA. There are a lot of petroglyphs in the world, many in the western U.S.  I chose to limit the designs I used to those found in the Ohio area, which seem to have different motifs than in the west.  Definition: Petroglyph is a carving or inscription on a rock.

MEDIA: Brown craft paper, gesso, gouache, watercolor, Sharpie pen, white gel pen, red gel pen, and pencil.

GOALS:  Write and draw about the world as a Native American shaman might. 
--Feature petroglyphs in Ohio as art that shamans created in the past
--Vary text and image placement on the page for more interest
--Leave pages unbound until end of project for ease of scanning
--Sketches represent what my character sees and draws, petrolglyphs represent art of shamans of the past
-- Draw and paint what I see in a realistic manner (as opposed to stylized drawings and layered collages that I often do)
--To draw and journal at least 10 days over the month. I did 16 days worth of pages.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Craft paper absorbed the media rapidly, and easily showed on the reverse side of the page. I solved this by doing some of the pages on a separate piece of craft paper and then gluing it to the page.

A few days into the month, I treated myself to the purchase of a book called Artist's Journal Workshop by Cathy Johnson.  I highly recommend the book...Roz Stendahl, along with many other artists, has work featured in it.  It really helped me get ideas about how the text on the page can be varied in shape with respect to the placement of the drawings.

RESOURCES: Petroglyphs of Ohio, 1984, by James L. Swauger, Ohio University Press (out-of-print)
Animal Spirits, by N. Saunders; Encyclopedia of Native American Religions, Hirschfelder and Molin; Artist's Journal Workshop, Cathy Johnson.

NOTES:  In this journal, petroglyphs represent the art of shamans of the past. Swauger estimated Ohio carvings to have been done A.D. 1200-1700 by Late Prehistoric people, who may have spoken the Algonquin language.  Some designs show "x-ray" views of the inside of an animal or person.  "Power Lines" emanate from parts of the body-- indicating superior powers, magical powers, the ability of a shaman, or the ability to communicate with the Spirit World.  "Horns" coming from the head of a person or creature also indicate superior powers, according to Swauger.  The drawings and watercolors represent the art of the author/shaman character.  "The People" refers to Native American people.

 My research revealed that Native American beliefs about nature and the Spirit World vary by tribe. I tried to make general statements about those beliefs in this journal that would apply to most tribes.  It's an interesting topic on which volumes have been written, and there are many avenues that my journal could have taken.  Common themes that Native American stories address are the Creation of the world, how was man created, cosmic space and earthly space integrated into the everyday world, interpreting the essence of nature and society, opposing forces, heroes and tricksters.  Heroes and Tricksters would be a lot of fun...Crow and Coyote being two prominent Tricksters. What manner of trouble they could cause!

I found myself thinking and seeing in a more meditative manner as I was planning and executing this fake journal.  It felt a bit strange, and I suspect that is something that authors of fiction experience--an immersion in their characters.  I spent some hours at the public library researching the petroglyphs, which I find quite fascinating.  Unfortunately, some of the petroglyph sites are now submerged beneath several feet of water due to the construction of a dam on the Ohio river.  The large sandstone rocks and ledges at the river's edge were ideal surfaces for carving.  The hours spent carving into rock with primitive cutting tools, such as harder rock tools or antler, represents a real commitment to representation--for hunting success? for magical power over the creature portrayed? or just a desire to represent what they saw?  We cannot know for sure...

The above petroglyph was labeled by Swauger as a human figure of unknown meaning...with a large bump protruding from its side.  I believe it portrays a pregnant woman, perhaps a shaman. The circular shape inside may be a growing baby, or her heart?  The 'power lines' emanating from the bump could mean the life force of the growing child.  It is interesting to speculate...

The themes in this journal--of respect for nature, its sacredness, the belief that all life has Spirit--even plants--and that everything in the world has something to teach us-- created a satisfying experience for me, both in its doing, and in its completion.

Thanks Roz, for hosting International Fake Journal Month!

Meditations of a Shaman

The end of April, and the end of my 
Fake Journal for 2013...did it
become clear that the character writing
the fake journal was a shaman?

Next week I'll show the cover and discuss
my goals for this project. If you want to
see more Fake Journals, go to the

Stones ~ Fake Journal 2013

Stones have been a canvas on which
artists of the past carved images...

Were they sacred?
Did the images give men 
power over the being portrayed?

The beginnings of my medicine bag...
I will keep my eyes open
and search for other
objects which will speak to me.

Drawing Spirit ~ Fake Journal 2013

Drawing in a meditative concentration
reveals the true nature of the subject...

White Clouds ~ Fake Journal 2013

Gouache on craft paper, with Sharpie pen

Click on any image for larger view

What do you see in the clouds?

To learn more about
click on the link.  There's still time to
make one of your own!

Trees and Thunder - Fake Journal 2013

Fake Journal 2013
never explain...

See With Your Spirit - Fake Journal 2013

To see with your eyes is a fine thing.
To notice the details of what you see
is even better. Understanding what you see
is wise...and feeling the Spirit of the
visual world around you is a gift to be
sought and nurtured.

Fake Journal 2013 ~ 

Fake Journal 2013

Pages in my 2013 Fake Journal.
As April progresses,
see if you can figure out who or what
my character is.  Join me in the journey!

Visit Roz Wound Up if you want to see
other Fake Journals, or make your own.

Fake Journal - Embrace the Fake

What if you could be somebody else?
A different person, doing different things?
That's what a Fake Journal is about...
life is short, why live only one?

Visit Roz of Roz Wound Up if 
you would like to do a Fake Journal
during the month of April! 
Click HERE to read 
how you can be part of the Fake Out.
And...Embrace the Fake...

Fake Journal. Recap. The Very End.

Cover of the Fake Journal~
made from handmade paper 
created by my friend Elizabeth.

Inside the cover I wrote pertinent
information about the project, with
dates and credit to Roz as the
project creator.

My alter ego for the month was
 a student of Japanese art.
  I purposely didn't explain it
in my posts, but I believe it was fairly obvious
in my choice of subject matter and notes.
(My art journals and sketchbooks are filled
with notes about all sorts of art-related
things, I don't always show them here.)

My goals for the month were:
--to draw from life more often than I have been
--to simplify the compositions of the art
--more awareness of the negative space 
around the subject
--to draw with a paintbrush
--explore Japanese philosophy of art

With the effort to simplify, came the idea
to progress to the abstraction of the subject itself.
The 'Stones', above, were my favorite
painting of all the entries in this Fake Journal.

With the idea of abstraction, came the
progression to 'anime' or cartoon-style art,
that is widely appreciated in popular culture.
But being a fan of Kandinsky, I knew that he
had painted abstractions of what looked
like 'little creatures,' so I decided to
include a painting inspired by his work.
The post showing these two pages is here.
Also, with the cartoon creatures, the idea
of a 'simple' composition was left behind,
but the creatures themselves are simplified.

I did not really intend to create a story,
but there is a progression in my pages.
I did indeed draw with the brush more often than
I usually do, but also 'fell back on' my normal
watercolor & pen technique. I did paint and draw
from life. I did simplify somewhat, and that has
always been difficult for me. Complex collages
have been taking place in my other journals
all the while! I do have a renewed appreciation
for Asian art in all its forms, Wabi Sabi, and 
nature in art.  What looks like a 'simple' composition
was probably a most difficult thing to achieve!

I confess that I didn't actually bind 
the pages into a book until I had
completed the art work on each page.
It was much easier to scan unbound pages.
Additional blue Canson paper was
glued onto the inside of the 
front and back covers. A pocket for
research notes, above, was adhered to
the inside back cover.

The Fake Journal could have been
anything, by anyone.  Think Dr. Who traveling
to another version of your own universe.
Wonder what I should do in 2013?

And this really is the end of the Fake Journal 2012.
I promise.


Fake Journal. The End.

Watercolor, Sharpie pen and
red gel pen on paper in Fake Journal.
The last entry on April 30th.

In 1938, Kandinsky painted
mythical creatures in a 
cosmic world...

In 2012 popular culture,
we create mythic creatures in
a cyberspace universe...


Fake Journal: Real Girl

Watercolor, and gouache on
Canson Mi Tientes paper.

Text reads:
modern phenomenon. "cuteness."
lovable, adorable or cute...
a prominent aesthetic of Japanese 

popular culture...