Art Journal #2,  Art Journaling

Eastern State Penitentiary Art Journal Page

Last weekend I visited Eastern State Penitentiary with the hubby.  He got us the tickets as part of my anniversary gift.  Eastern State Penitentiary is located in Philadelphia and was built in 1829.  It was one of the first true penitentiaries which inspired penitence through solitary confinement, religion and work. The exterior has a gothic look while the halls were made to give the feel of a church.  The inmates cells were concrete walls with a metal door and a wooden door and it contained a single skylight to make them feel like God was always watching them.  Eastern State Penitentiary housed some well known criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton.  Eventually the prison was closed in 1971 and while the government tried to figure out what to do with it the structures fell into decay and nature started to take over and the yards and cellblocks filled with trees and other plant life. Twenty three years later the prison was opened up for tours and is known as a living ruin because no real significant restoration is being done except for stabilizing the deterioration and keeping areas safe for tours.

It was a fun experience hearing the history of Eastern State Penitentiary and walking through its decayed halls and cells.  I definitely recommend it if you are ever in Philadelphia.

I took a lot of pictures while there and decided to use them in an art journal spread.  I might even create another page or 2 next week.  I would have done it this week but I ran out of time.  You can view my pictures here.

The full spread.


The first page with photos I took at the prison in old cardboard slide frames.


The second page with the prison name and a picture of the prison. The picture I printed out from a google search.


I did different things with the slide frames. For the first one I bent it several times before painting it and attaching my photo.


For the second slide frame I painted it and then added mesh tape to the top.


To achieve that look in the back ground I covered the pages in black gesso and then painted over it in blue tempera paint. I then took a paper towel and pressed it down on the pages; removing some of the blue tempera paint and leaving the pattern from the paper towel on the wet paint.
To get the drips I mixed black acrylic paint with water and used a dropper to create the drips under the photos while I tilted the journal slightly. I’ve done this before on another page but I had used black spray ink. It was more transparent than the mixed acrylic paint and water. For this page I wanted something more opaque so I went with the acrylic paint and water.



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