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Using found poetry and a Spark of Art-spiration in an art journal page by Carolyn DubeA little found poetry did not go as expected on this art journal page.  I had high hopes for it since I was using a page out of a Danielle Steele novel.  Turns out…I don’t know Jack but I do know how to play and have fun!

Watch Using found poetry in an art journal on YouTube.

This page started with a free Spark of Art-spiration which are a part of my weekly newsletter to download and print. Click the button and get this Spark sent immediately to your inbox.

Yes, Send me this Spark!

Where was the best place to put this on the page? Anywhere! Since I had no plan what so ever, it didn’t matter where I put it.  The important part was to glue it down and play. All that white space was an invitation to play.

Using found poetry and a Spark of Art-spiration in an art journal page by Carolyn DubeI searched for words or phrases that popped out to me from a randomly chosen page from a book to create a bit of found poetry.  I expected something a bit racy…after all it was a Danielle Steel novel.

Here are the words that called to me, ” Jack was cautious.  She asked me if I had something in common.  An easy smile she said.  She couldn’t argue with that.” Not exactly Pulitzer worthy.  In fact, it really doesn’t make much sense now but it did in the moment.

All that kept going through my head was, “You don’t know Jack.”  Did this mean Jack Sparrow or Black Jack Randall (I’m finally caught up on Outlander)?  I don’t know, since I really don’t know Jack.Using found poetry and a Spark of Art-spiration in an art journal page by Carolyn Dube

Apparently time passes more slowly for me when waiting for anything to dry.  Waiting just a minute or so felt like weeks with that white ink so some quick blotting sped up the process and shortened the wait.  Using found poetry and a Spark of Art-spiration in an art journal page by Carolyn Dube

What will I be doing with this cardboard art journal page? Binding it into a Permission to Play style journal. You can see how step by step in my free workshop here.

Using found poetry and a Spark of Art-spiration in an art journal page by Carolyn Dube

Want to play?  Get the Spark, print it out and see where it takes you! And of course, would love to see what you’re making in the Facebook group too!

Yes, Send me this Spark!

Using found poetry and a Spark of Art-spiration in an art journal page by Carolyn Dube

Here are the supplies I used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!


I did a happy dance when I opened up the latest issue of Art Journaling Magazine to see my cardboard Permission to Play journal in there!  Once I stopped dancing,  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this entire issue -lots of inspiration and ideas in there from so many art journalers!

Many of the published pages in the journal were created while I filmed the free workshop, Permission to Play. So that means you can watch it being made.

What’s the workshop all about? The details and what students are saying are all below. There’s still time, so come and join the play!

Watch on YouTube.

This free workshop shares 3 of the ways I reclaimed my sense of play. You’ll see these in action while we make an art journal out of ordinary cardboard as I share some of my favorite mixed media techniques. Get signed up and let yourself play! Can you tell I am all about the play?

When does the workshop start?  As soon as you sign up you can start playing. Watch the videos as your schedule allows since all the videos are all downloadable and you have forever access to the classroom.

Yes, I want to play!

A free 5 lesson workshop for you with each new video lesson every 3 days starting as soon as you sign up.

  • 5 lessons + a bonus lesson
  • Downloadable videos
  • Lifetime access to the classroom

Permission to Play: A Free Mixed Media Workshop with Carolyn Dube

Who is this workshop for?
-Is it for someone new to mixed media?
-Is it for someone who wants to be creative but feels she isn’t? Hint I think you are creative if you even wish you were and a workshop like this can help you reawaken your creativity
-Is it for some one who is already creating but wants more freedom and playfulness?

The answer is all of the above!

5 Downloadable Video Lessons!

Don’t just take my word for it…here are what students are saying!

Permission to Play gives you the freedom to play again like you used to as a child before all kinds of rules took the joy out of play. -Jeanne Brennan

Carolyn, your wonderful permission to play workshop helped me to put my inner art critic back in her box. It was a wonderful freeing experience. I now try to give myself play time as often as I can and I’m a happier human being as a consequence. Many many thanks! -Ali Mauger
Using recycled cardboard takes the stress away from the fear of wasting substrates while learning to paint the rainbow. There’s no such thing as a mistake and just an OOPS. You’ve opened a whole new world for me and I won’t ever let you/myself forget. -Theresa Sim

The way this online class worked for me really broke the limits! I don’t have to care whether something is good or bad and just playing with colour is so freeing. It was the first time I realized I should quiet the inner critic and just have fun!!!! -Anja Kieboom

I got to the assembling video and you mentioned how nicely they stand up. That triggered a whole rush of ideas for my own finished product. That and the way the journal is bound with a kind of neglected ribbon upcycled nicely is what helped me the most. 🙂 -Erika Schneider

not only this wokshop but all your videos are low treshold by which I mean you bring in it such a way that I am not intimitated and I want to try it myself. In this workshop particularly the use of cardboard as a substrate let’s go of the fear of messing up an expensive artjournal.-Vicky Fisher

I enjoyed just being able to play and do what ever I wanted to without having to ‘make something’. I loved the OOPS, and able to just do that on these. If I didn’t like something, I just said oops. That takes a lot pressure off. – Debbie Reed

Carolyn, I was so thrilled to join in the permission to play and learn all about your oops philosophy. You encourage us to push through those ugly page moments and create something we are happy with. Thank you for allowing us to find our inner child again and just PLAY. -Dianne Cahill

For me, Permission to Play, is loosening me up. I am a tight detailed painter most of the time. This is freeing and fun and it’s helping me learn to set myself free of perfection. I have a ways to go yet to be completely loose, but I’m getting there. Thank you, Carolyn, for this free Workshop. -Audrey Gallagher Fish Pfeifer

Permission to play allowed me to “just do it” i had been buying supplies and drooling over other peoples work in groups and on pinterest for months but breaking that first page terrified me. Your enthusiasm and the use of trash (cardboard)flipped a switch inside me and since it was trash anyway i couldn’t ruin it and that let me finally begin. -Erika Beaty Friend

Permission to Play really freed me up to just play without judgement and thought….this kind of creating is so relaxing, fun and therapeutic! I really loved it! -Marsha Sue Pitman

Permission to Play forced me out of my comfort zone and as a result I have been trying so many new techniques! Luckily,I recently retired,so I have lots more time to play! -Nanci Ring

Permission to Play let me discard all the should’s and shouldnt’s to make room for can’s and could’s. I loved the focus on the process of arting (surely “art” deserves for be a verb), rather than the final product. Its wonderful that I can say a piece isn’t done until my inner self says its done, and then I can change my thoughts on it later if I’ve a mind to — fluid rather than finite. -Annette Lansing

I will be forever grateful for stumbling on this class offering. Permission To Play allowed me to see the lighter side of creating, taking risks, learning new techniques, and truly getting my hands dirty…and that’s okay! The class is instructional for for the inner artist in all of us and was so encouraging. -Marie Cimpl

I still remember the intense joy and freedom I experienced just playing without having to worry about the results. It has also taught me how to work on (play with!) multiple pages at the same time, which is not normally what I do. Working on multiple pages allows you to loosen up and not get too obsessed about tiny details. This has helped me tremendously! -Zsuzsa Karoly-Smith

Carolyn, Permission to play gives you the freedom to actually put paint to paper without fear.. Your “OOPS” philosophy gives us permission to keep going regardless of the results. Using cardboard makes it ok to “go for it” It is a “freeing experience” Love your positive attitude. Thank you. -Stephanie Lamb Denninghoff

I tend to be purposeful in my art work which becomes very frustrating very fast. After I started taking your on philosophy about “playing” with paint and any other mediums to heart and letting my “OOPS” become an opportunity rather than a disaster, making “prettythings” became easier. I have stopped punishing myself for not being good enough and being so self-critical. The part of me that wants order in all things gets a big “shut the heck up” from my Muse who sees “prettythings in all in my messes all the time. Thank you so much Permission to Play. -Annell Sampson-Jones

I loved having your suggested guidance in Permission to Play, as well as the full allowance to do whatever I’d like to do, with the spirit of play! I learned a lot about building backgrounds up and letting go of always having to have artistic expression be beautiful! It was invaluable! -Katie Crommett
I think its just a great reminder to LET GO! .. I forget that.. and go ahead , get all your stuff out.. play with it.. make a mess and have fun.. stress free that it all has to be perfect! -Kelly Rish

I loved the workshop! I’m so used to making carefully constructed cards, that mixing medias and following Carolyn’s loose instructions and generous encouragement really helped me leap out of my comfort zone. I still have my little book and Permission To Play contract on display! -Reen Lee

Yes, I Want to Play!

Jump on in and join the fun! I’m looking forward to seeing what you create!


Already signed up?Click here ( Mixedmedia.carolyndube.com ) to get into your account!


What is Art? A Simple Question with more than one answer.

What is art?  A simple question that has many many answers.  It can be a wide variety of things, but for me, it is a journey of  expression, connection and an adventure.

It’s an exhilarating adventure to see what will happen when I add patterns or colors.  A place to ask what if and get lost in the building up of layers.

What is Art? A Simple Question with more than one answer.

Art is a way to express myself, my feelings, my moods, and my thoughts.  Seeing what pops up in my play is like having a conversation with my subconscious.

What is Art? A Simple Question with more than one answer.

Art is a way to connect with myself and others. On those difficult, stress filled days, art lets me reconnect with myself. Through art in my life, I have gotten to know so many kind and generous and caring people that I otherwise never would have met.

What is Art? A Simple Question with more than one answer.

Art is magical because it is personal and different for every person.  How it impacts the heart is unique to each one of us.  What is art to you?

What is Art? A Simple Question with more than one answer.

Stencils used in this piece are Finding Your Tribe and Circular Patterns for Play.  Other supplies used:  A plethora of paints and anything else in arm’s reach.