Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Mirrored Blackbirds

One of my goals for 2022 is to finally finish the Dina Wakley Media Journal I received as a student in one of her classes way back in 2017. 

You are now probably thinking, “Wow, Nicole, that’s a long time to fill a journal!” And, you are right! However, this journal is a little different as it’s the one that I’ve used for most of my design team work (unless it was a canvas or other substrate) or different YouTube hops, classes or assignments/projects. Honestly, I never planned it that way, it just kind of happened, and I’m glad it did. It’s really fun to have all those art pieces together in one place. 

When paging through to find a place for this month’s StencilGirl® project, I came across a spread where a canvas page and a burlap page met. I had already created on the other sides of these pages and had no clue how to even begin to create in such an odd spread. 

Then, it dawned on me. I could create outside of the journal and glue the pages in. 

To begin, I grabbed two loose sheets of Dina Wakley watercolor papers, trimmed them down to fit on the pages and then added a couple layers of gesso.

Next, I added book pages and ledger pages with matte medium and topped them off with some watered-down gesso. 

I decided I wanted to use the Black Birds in Trees Stencil and flip it like I did in my 100 Day Project ledger pictured below to make mirrored images.  

On one of the pages I added all warm colors of acrylic paint, allowing them to mix and mingle. I watered down the paint a bit, used a hair dryer as needed to set and dry some of the layers and then added more color.

I set the warm page aside and copied the same process with cool colors. My idea was that these would be sort of night and day type pages. At this point I wasn’t sure if I’d add anything besides the stencil or not. It’s always fun, and nerve-wrecking, to trust your creative process!

Once the pages were completely dry, it was time to be very brave with the spray paint. 

There’s no going back once it’s sprayed down! I used black paint through the stencil onto the blue pages for night and then flipped the stencil over to stamp the wet stencil onto the warm pages.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well as my ledger pages above. So, I sprayed the stencil again to re-stamp it a couple times and also sprayed some paint on paper to paint a bit with my brush. 

Honestly? I was a tad disappointed with the results, but I stuck them on the journal pages anyway with regular gel medium.

As I was sticking the pages down, I could hear Sarah McLachlan singing the Beatles “Blackbird” in my head and knew I needed to add those lyrics to my pages.

I grabbed my typewriter and some vintage notebook paper to type out the words, then I cut them out and stuck them down with matte medium. Before this point, the pages were feeling a bit disjointed. Adding the song lyrics across the center helped to unite the pages.

The pages still felt like they needed something else, and I just happened to find a bird feather in my yard earlier in the day. I added some words to it, wrapped the end with gold thread and stuck it to the page. Once it was down, I also splattered some black India ink on it and my pages.

And, just as I was about to photograph the spread for my post, I decided I needed to add a feather to the other page as well! I found one more feather from my yard, wrapped it, stuck it down and splattered on it as well.

While the pages didn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned them, adding the lyrics, feathers, and splatters helped them come together (and disguise some of the mistakes, too!).  

You can watch the entire process in the video below (or click here!).

Art journals are the perfect place to play, experiment, learn, and grow. They also help with problem solving allowing me to become more confident in creating. I hope you are encouraged to play in your journal today!


Find me on Instagram @nicolewatsonart
Over at YouTube
And, my website


  • Dina Wakley Media Journal
  • Dina Wakley Media Acrylic (warm and cool colors)
  • Dina Wakley Media Watercolor Paper
  • Gesso
  • Matte Medium
  • Ephemera (dictionary pages, ledger pages)
  • Regular Gel Medium 
  • Feathers
  • Gold Thread
  • Word Stickers
  • Typewriter
  • Vintage Paper
  • Bombay India Ink (black)
  • Liquitex Spray Paint (carbon black)


  1. Love this project! (And the Hermes 3000 ! ❤️❤️❤️


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