A Dubrovnik-inspired Art Journal

Before I went on my spring trip, I was planning, upon return, to start one of the projects my mom asked me to make before she passed. It was an emotionally difficult piece to create, however. I was determined to get to it, but found myself procrastinating. The creative block I always get after long breaks didn’t help. Neither did the bout of Covid I experienced upon return.

And so, Instead of fulfilling my mother’s wishes, I eased my way into art by responding to the magic of spring that happened all around. Once that got my creative juices flowing, I kept on playing. I decided to create a travel journal similar to the one I made after my trip to Greece last summer.

I visited many places in the spring, but none was more charming than the old city of Dubrovnik. Hence, I decided to make the art journal Dubrovnik centered. I looked at the hundreds of photos I took in that picturesque city, and noticed three dominant colors: the brownish-tan color of old stone walls and cobblestones, the rusty-red color of tile roofs, and the light blue color of the Adriatic Sea and the sky above. I decided to limit my palette to these three colors.

Printing and More Printing

I pulled out my gel plate and started mono printing. I tried to recreate the layers often seen on old, peeling walls, the layers that hint at years past. Leaving the plate uncleaned between prints, I never knew what surprises the next print will hold. Layer upon layer, color upon color. In some cases, I added some marks to hint at textures I saw on roofs, maps or walls.

I also played with stencil printing. I used two stencils for this project. The first reminded me of cobblestones and tourist maps. The second echoed some of the wallpaper I saw in old palaces. I printed the stencils and then the ghost images, experimenting with different background papers and different colors.

I got a bit carried away, printing more collage fodder than I can use, more than I had room for on my studio drying rack… Can you tell I had a ton of fun??

I’ve always been fascinated by old doors and windows. Since my trip to Cartagena in 2019, however, I also find myself on the lookout for interesting door knockers. Croatia had plenty of those. I couldn’t create a Dubrovnik-inspired art journal without including some door knockers. So into the collage fodder they went…

Tearing and Cutting

Many of the printed papers I created for my Dubrovnik-inspired art journal were really beautiful all on their own. It was really tempting to leave them untouched, but that wasn’t really an option. So I took a deep breath and started tearing.

I began to make collages on the brown, Ikea wrapping paper I saved a while back. Then I realized my collages will be a lot more interesting if I added stencil cutouts on top of the stencil printouts, similar to what I did earlier in my Creative Play series. After I made that series, someone commented that I could have speeded the process by using a machine cutter to cut the stencils instead of doing so by hand. that is true. I don’t have a cutting machine, however, and actually enjoy cutting stencils by hand. It is very time consuming, true, but it is also quite relaxing. Also, I think that hand-cut items have a quality to them that a too-perfect machine cut item doesn’t have. So I cut the stencil shapes by hand. It did take time, but creative time is always time well spent, I think.

The Collages

My Dubrovnik-inspired art journal consists of two long pages folded in half and sewn together.

Each page has collages on both side, resulting in eight collages total. I am quite happy with how they turned out:


A Few More Small Pieces

After completing my journal, I was left with lots of unused collage fodder (did I mention I got somewhat carried away with the printing?). I didn’t want to waste it, so I made a few more, smaller pieces. I really love those, too:

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