I'm in the last throes of preparing for a trip to Santa Monica. I'm very excited--I haven't been on an actual vacation since 1998! I've been on short, weekend trips, but most of my traveling since I moved to Portland in 1999 has been back home to the Chicago suburbs to visit my family.
To me, part of the enjoyment of a trip is figuring out just the right things to take with me. I've been gathering my clothes, buying a few new things, making lists (oh, I love lists!). But the most fun for this trip has been making an art journal for it.
I decided to use a map to create my journal pages. I got a very large Rand McNally map of California--so large that it wouldn't fit on my work board when I laid it out to gesso it. So, I cut it into pages first then gessoed it. If you decide to make a map journal and need to cut before gessoing, I recommend cutting it into a few larger sheets. It took forever to get all the pages gessoed the way I did it! Still, I love the way it came out. I love the raggedy edges, the way the pages are slightly different sizes (which happened because when I took them apart to gesso them, I didn't get them back in the original order I had them in when I first stacked and folded them). And I really love how the maps show through the thin coat of gesso I used.
I was going to make a cover out of painted watercolor paper or a paper bag. But I kept seeing this shopping bag I brought home from a trip to get some summer clothes for the trip. It's one of those bags made from that weird paper-cloth hybrid, the kind you can buy at the grocery store to carry your food home in. But this one had a vinyl coating on the outside in bright, summery colors and a leafy, flowery pattern. It seemed perfect for a beach vacation journal, so I cut it up and used part of it for my cover. I'm planning to put a post card on the front so it won't be quite so garish, but I'm loving how it looks as is.
Finally, with the book all sewn together, it was time to prep the pages. The plain white was a bit dull, even with the maps showing through, so I decided to add some color. But I wanted the pages to be easy to write on, and paint is not always easy to write over. So, instead of using acrylics, I used a variety of inks and some watercolor crayons to color my pages.
I went through and added some decorative details, including a couple of folded in sheets of decorative paper and one really cool advertisement that just screams to me of beaches and vacations. I have a list of things I want to write about and a whole pouch full of pens. I think I'm ready! Bon voyage!