Artist Spotlight

Kay Losey’s creative practice provides the left brain with a much-needed break while the right brain enjoys itself making

Kay works full time and practices art journaling, calligraphy, bookbinding, book altering, and stamp carving in her “spare” time. She also loves to travel and making travel journals is a favorite mode of expression.

What is art journaling to you?

A practice that provides my left brain with a much-needed break while my right brain enjoys itself making. A practice that reduces stress. A practice that fulfills the innate human urge to create.

What does community do for your art?

Community provides the support and encouragement I need to practice regularly. Being in the company of others who understand the varied benefits and purposes for art journaling as well as the struggle to maintain a practice among busy people, is crucial for me.

How do you live a creative life? How do you incorporate journaling into that?

I look for the unique, unusual, beautiful in everyday life. And I travel whenever I can. Traveling instantly switches me to a hyper-observant and open state—one I’d like to stay in all the time. My favorite type of journaling is travel journaling, but even when I cannot travel, I try to find inspiration near home (even online)—an art exhibit, a garden, the woods, an old building I never noticed before, even how the same plant changes throughout the year and from year to year, etc. These observations lead directly or indirectly to the art journal page.

What does your creative space look like? Where do you journal?

It is not neat. It looks like someone is working there. I have a small desk with a big table next to it for drying pages or weighting them overnight (with a big pile of books as weights, also there.) The table also holds my favorite adhesives in reach of my right hand. And collage papers are a bit of a stretch away. All paints and tools are within arms’ reach to the left. Art books (and lots of them) are on the shelves in the room.

The space doubles as a guest room. Any guest at our house will understand.

Do you have creative routines?

Walking into my art space serves well to get me started. To get to that room, however, I have had to work to develop a habit. Right now, the habit is showing up to my space at least one weekend morning for an hour or more. Meeting virtually with an art partner has been key for developing this habit.

What is your favourite art journal page that you’ve ever made and why?

This page evokes a particularly early spring in April 2019. When the first daffodil of the season appeared by my office building. I snapped a picture. At home that evening, I did a quick semi-contour drawing from the photo and made this simple layout. I love the simplicity – not overly fussy and 100% my style.

What is your biggest barrier to creating? And how do you overcome that hurdle?

For years I have said, “I don’t have time to create” and that had become a default mental barrier. But by creating the weekend habit, I have recognized that I do have the time.

Have you ever made something you don’t like? What did you do?

Yes, I regularly make things I don’t like. I usually try to figure out why I don’t like them, and, if the problem can’t be “fixed,” I take it as a lesson. Hopefully, I will remember that lesson in the future.

Have you ever been through artist block? How did you return to your work?

I haven’t experienced a real block, but when I’m not sure what to do, I switch genres (e.g., from journaling to bookbinding). My default in these situations is often to try to take on a travel journaler’s mindset and just keep things small and low-key, documenting what I’m noticing with mini-collages, watercolors, and words.

How has Get Messy impacted your creativity?

The judgment-free and encouraging Get Messy community has helped me to develop a creative habit, so I am practicing more on a regular basis. Exposure to a variety of styles and techniques has opened new avenues of experimentation, as well.

✨ Free class for creatives ✨

In How to Start Art Journaling, we’ll walk you through the art of art journaling, including how to start doing (🙌) and make your very first art journal page (even if you’ve never even opened an art journal before).

What journal do you use?

I either bind my own journals with a simple pamphlet stitch or use a Strathmore 500 Mixed Media journal—soft cover (5.5 x 8.5”).

What is your one *must have* supply?

A black Micron pen

What do you make when you don’t know what to make?

A collage

What is the most important (non-tool) thing to your creative practice?

I used to think it was time, but now I know it is supportive people.

Who are your favourite Messy artists?

Caylee Grey and Chris @stumblingoverchaos

What’s the best art advice you’ve ever received?

Never compare your work to anyone else’s.

Advice to new art journalers:

1) Do not worry if you are doing it “right.” There are no rules and experimentation is valued. Honest expression is the goal.

2) Find your supportive “tribe.” Get Messy is great for this.

Kay Losey

Kay works full time and practices art journaling, calligraphy, bookbinding, book altering, and stamp carving in her “spare” time. She also loves to travel and making travel journals is a favorite mode of expression.

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