The Art of My Gratitude Practice, Step by Step

My Gratitude Practice:

This is my morning gratitude practice.

 

Tonight I will add some art with a plain black ballpoint pen (the same one I journaled in the morning with). I start by doodling on top of my “free writing”. Then I fill in the blank spaces on my guided journaling.

 

 

 

Now it is time to color. I love my Prisma colored pencils. I have so much to learn but I love the gorgeous color and shading!! I loved how the Winged Heart turned out.

 

 

That was fun. And very relaxing.

See you soon!

 

I Am Back

After my last post, I got sick. REALLY sick. I got the never ending flu. For weeks. I think I am finally getting over it but I am still stuffy. It was the kind of sick where I was completely wiped out. I was out from work and all I did was sleep. I was so exhausted I couldn't read or pretty much anything. The third round of medication finally kicked in late last week. So, no more coughing up a lung and my head is a lot clearer.

What does that mean. It means I finally got back to a regular journaling routine. I am working in one of my older journals now that had remained unfinished. It is a smaller journal but has lots of cool stuff in the portion that is finished. It gives me a bit of incentive to get back to it. Even if just a bit.

One of my new supplies… colored pencils. Actually, I never really liked colored pencils. I didn't like the “white” in between strokes. So for all these years, I have not wanted to use them.

In my “new”, old journal, I wanted to have something simple to color my doodles. Kind of like an Adult coloring book of my own making. Markers don't really give shading… and you have to worry about them bleeding through the paper. Chameleon Markers could solve the shading issue but not the bleeding issues (besides they are expensive). So I searched through YouTube and found some Adult Coloring videos to get some ideas.

I saw some beautiful work with colored pencils… and I decided to give them a try. I had some old Crayola pencils that had mainly remained unused so I tried them out. They were okay but didn't go down smoothly leaving some scratchy strokes. I saw the possibilities that colored pencils could have but wanted to find an option that gave a bit nicer result. So I got a pack of Prisma colored pencils.

This is my first try. My journaling routine is to Write a Gratitude Practice in my journal in the am. It includes answering a few prompts and then a page of free writing. Then tonight I doodled in the empty spaces and on top of my free writing. I got to try my pencils and I have to say they are fantastic!!! I am not so good at shading but they did a wonderful job. The color went on easy and smoothly. I really love the results.

Hopefully, tomorrow I can have more of a step by step.

 

Happy Tuesday!

 

Daily Planner Dilema

I have gotten back to Art Journaling. However, I also wanted to have something creative for my daily planner. I have just gotten a beautiful Midori Travelers Journal and decided to make a Midori insert to use as a Planner. So I grabbed some old printouts (on regular copy paper – you know printed copies of website articles, calendars… junk). Then I glued on some scraps of painted papers, collage papers and scraped on some acrylic paint. Then I scrapped on a thin coat of white acrylic paint to tone down the color so that it would be easier to write on.

 


 

A project that I thought would take an hour or so took way longer. I liked how the pages came out. I just hated the insert once I started to use it… and I can't really tell you why. It is formatted similarly to other Journal/Planners I have made. I should have loved it. But no, I didn't at all like how my writing looked in it. And I couldn't think of a way to change things to make it work.

 

Ick. So, what to do?

I pulled out the 16 month Weekly Planner that I had gotten last August. It was one of those coloring planners. Coloring sounded good to me but doodling sounded even better. I can practice the doodles that are on the pages and also keep track of my daily schedule. Then after the Planner is finished I can use it as an art journal. Sadly, I can't use it in my Midori. Still, it feels like the right choice.

 

The flowers on the left are ones I doodled. I also added some of the bugs. I really would like to color with crayons but the doodles are too intricate. I might add color to the background once I have finished the week with crayon(because it is almost impossible to write with anything over crayon).

I will give this a try and see how I like it.

What do you use as a planner? Something creative?

Let me know.

Happy Planning!

 

Finishing Up

I finished up my art journal page today. Well, at least I think I have. It was all about the elements I want in my life. I chose the images by how they made me feel, design, color. So today I added the words.


If I ever need a reminder of what I want out of life, I can always turn to this page.

Happy Friday!

 

Am I Flippin’? Yes, I am! I am now a Flipboard enthusiast.

This weekend, I found a new love. It has been under my nose for a long, long time. I am talking about the Flipboard app. I had tried it ages ago, I think on my Android tablet. I wanted a way to keep track of all my blogs. At that time there wasn’t very good instruction on how to add items other than the “choices” Flipboard gave you. I had fooled with this app for a couple of days and still couldn’t find a way to list all the blogs “I” wanted to follow.

These days I have been mainly working on an IPad (although in ways I still miss my Android). Flipboard just came out with an update of their IPad app and I received some information about in in my email. The new version looked intriguing. I downloaded the IPad app and gave it a try. For some reason it doesn’t seem like I received the updated version. The layout doesn’t seem to match the video I watched of the new Flipboard version.

 I can’t say that whatever Flipboard version I have is so much easier to use than last time I tried it. I can say that just getting it to work on a few of my blog sites and a Tumbler feed had me seeing its awesome possibilities. And its awesomeness is all because of “flipage”. Being able to flip through your blogs to find something interesting is quick, easy, and what is more, it is very relaxing. Each item from your blog/feed comes up as an “article box”. Usually there are three to four article boxes on a two page spread. For me the coolest feature is that each article box has a photo identifier (if there is/are photo/s for the article). Its like an amazing picture book.

 

An amazing picture book that you can fill with anything YOU want. To be honest, for me, figuring out how to add all the content I wanted to keep track of has been a challenge. Only because once I figured out how to add my blogs, I wanted my Youtube subscriptions, then my Tumbler feeds. Facebook, that would be excellent. What about Pinterest? If I could figure out how to add all these I could have one place to keep track of ALL of my interests. No more this app for blogs, Facebook for that, Pinterest, Tumbler, Twitter… On top of it all being able to “flip” through it to quickly look for anything that might spark my interest is just the best.

But it gets better. I can make my own magazines on my own topics. Flipboard will add things it thinks I like. I can add things I like. Others can read/follow my magazine and add articles too. It is kind of what my hope was for this blog: a place to keep all my Art Journaling contacts and information; except it is visually stunning. And… so quick and easy to navigate. Just flip.

Now I have a new routine for looking at any new information from by blogs, feeds, Youtube, Facebook … After work, when I am winding down and watching television, I often am not in the mood to really focus on new material… but it is a perfect time to look for interesting bits and flip it into one of my own magazines. When I have a bit of time when I can focus, read for a bit or watch a video I go to one of my magazines and flip through to find something interesting. As I flip through the magazine, I get to skim over what I have. So I get an idea of what is new. Then I can easily pick what I want to dig in to.

This app really fanned the flame of my imagination. I actually spent many hours learning how to set things up and make my magazines. I had focus… I had desire. I actually wanted to blog again. So I could tell you about this. I feel like the wings I didn’t realize I still had, from lack of use, are unfurling. I am doing more and more… instead of sleeping. I anticipate what I will work on in the next day, instead of dread what may come.

My hope is that if you have different internet sources that you like to keep track of that you will give Flipboard a try. Also, if you are interested in a look, I have included the link to my Flipboard magazine, “Art Journaling Bodacious Bits…” My hope is that you will find it intriguing.I know that for me, I have to be mindful not to burn myself out. I haven’t felt like this in such a long time. I feel hopeful, energetic and inspired.

 

 

Here is the link for Art Journaling Bodacious Bits; A Flipboard Magazine : http://flip.it/ok3U5E

Happy Flipping!

=)

 

A Little Bit More

Small steps.

That is what I am taking every day.

I am taking Andrea Schroder's Give Your Dream Wings free journaling class. It seemed like a perfect addition to my morning routine. It is an eight day class that only takes about fifteen minutes or so to view the video and to journal. She is amazing. I have followed her for so many years. Andrea has such a fun, light-hearted and powerful way to look at and make your dream/s come true. This amazing class is a perfect way for me to make a small commitment to and for myself. I did lesson four today. What I have been able to “see” is that before, when I took her classes (or any art class) I rushed through it. Andrea's classes are special because they often include creative visualizations. Before this class, I had always fast forwarded through them. I didn't have the time. Today it dawned on me that what I have needed for so long are these visualizations… and making time for myself to slow down and to really experience them.

I do a bit of exercise on my Simply Fit board. You know, that crazy balance board thing that you twist back and forth on that is being advertised on television? My hope is that this will gradually work into a more structured, longer workout. Right now, doing whatever I can squeeze in is just perfect.

Then there is my art journal. This morning my time seemed to vanish. Even so, I pulled out my journal. I grabbed the images that I tore out yesterday, ripped them down to size and set them down on the page, moving them around to see what position I liked them in best.

Okay… but not my favorite.

Kind of like this. Hmmm.

Time is up. Off to work.

Hope your day is GREAT!

=)

 

Life Happened…

Or not so much.  What I mean is that shortly after my last post I ended up in a mental and creative downward spiral.  I didn’t want to journal, do art… clean, exercise… I did sleep.  Lots and lots of sleeping.  I really didn’t know exactly what was happening.  I just knew I felt exhausted, old and tired. All the time.

I spoke with my doctor and my husband and couldn’t quite explain why I felt this way.  I was so tired and down.  It just seemed to get worse and worse.  Was it my thyroid?  My weight?  My heart?  Lack of exercise?  Too much sleep?  Too much stress? I didn’t know for sure. This rut just seem to linger on and on.

Then last week I heard a clip from the Delilah Radio show.  “What made you happy today?” The radio show host asked.  “Did you read a good book, garden in the sun, spend time with a dear friend…?”  I thought about that.  No.  I didn’t just not do anything like that on that particular day, I couldn’t remember the last time I did.  And that simple sentence that came over the radio waves created a spark.  A tiny little spark but a spark all the same. It spread a bit of light in all that overwhelming darkness.

And as I started really seeing what had happened to my life, I began to wonder why.  How did I get here?

As I thought about it I realized that around the time I gave up on this blog and my art journaling… and art in general. I had made a decision.  I decided to give up on my artistic dream.  In doing that I gave up on myself and my purpose in life.  I felt like I had missed my “chance” and could see no way to recover.  The result was: my life. It wasn’t pretty or pleasant.

Having this realization seemed to crack open a bit of my creative soul and I began to see life as more hopeful. I actually started to see different ways to move forward in a creative way. Missing that “chance” didn’t seem fatal anymore.  I actually picked up some paint and worked on some art journal backgrounds for the first time in what seemed to be forever.

So yet again, I start.  Taking baby steps forward.

I am so grateful that I finally have begun to see.

I only had a few minutes this morning so I did a couple of minutes of quick exercise and a few minutes with my art journal.

I opened up my journal, grabbed an old Elle magazine and started to tear out elements. Anything that reminded me about how I want to feel.

That it.  All the time I had. But it is a beginning.

A fresh start.

=)

 

 

Another Day of Practice, Another Perspective

I have decided to stick with my sketching/card practice, at least for a while longer.  I have been appreciating combining a creative practice with a more spiritual practice.  Today I sketched the Explorer of Water from Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot.  

 

 

As I drew the symbols on the card I really thought about them…and this beautiful card.  The title alone gives me a bit of a different perspective on what I have learned the past couple of days.  Explorer… Explorer of my emotions.  And using my knowledge to grab my board and ride the waves…to deep joy and peace?.  Hmmm.  How am I suppose to do this?  As I sketch I decide I will need to stay loose yet focused.  In the moment.  

As I add color I ask myself about the dolphin?  The dolphin, in this card, symbolizes to me intuition, spirituality and flow.  Which is right there with me as I ride.  Which is very cool and something I tend to forget. 

 Use all my emotional “waves” to find joy and peace. The time to pause has ended.  Now it is time to grab my board and hit the surf and just DO IT.  

 

Now, all I need to do is figure out what I need to do to catch my wave.  I will start by being mindful so I don’t miss it.  And I need to remember my intuition is right there to help me recognize my wave.

I have been using a plain black ball point pen for sketching and water soluble oil pastels for the color.  Originally I wanted to use a fancy, fine point micro pen.  I decided against it for two reasons.  One, I wanted something simple.  It seemed best not to get caught up in the “best art supply” trap and just get going. Second, I wanted something I knew would not bleed if I added water.  So far I have not used water but have blended the color with my fingers. To avoid the “perfection” trap I have intentionally sketched in a scribble style.  I am not that good at drawing to get it perfect and the scribbled style lets me be okay with the imperfections and move forward (not get stuck with trying to fix everything that is not perfect).  Most of my art jounaling has used collage and graphic design and lettering because I am just not that comfortable with my drawing skills.  It has been interesting so far to rely on just drawing for this practice.  What I have learned so far is that often my perspective is off a bit here and there and that my drawing may be off from the original but it is okay.  What matters is I can get what is important on paper.  That I can relax enough to draw the lines and think deeply about the image.  That I can capture the essence of the card in my imperfect, scribbly way and be happy with the result.

If you journal do you add art?  How?  Do you sketch?  Add ephemera?

Hope your day is great.  Today, like the Explorer of Water, I will be dealing with lots and lots of it.  The it being water.  I live on the West Coast of Florida and we are getting lots of rain from the Tropical Depression out in the Gulf.  🙂

The start of a new/renewed practice?

Today I decided to stick with the Knight of Cups but to look at a different deck to see if I can learn anymore about how this card can help me see my life. Today I pulled up an image from Steven Bright’s tarot blog Tiferettarot.wordpress.com. My hope is that he will make these blog images into a deck. I love his simple modern take on the cards.

Here is my sketch:

It is a very simple design. As I added color I thought about this version of the card. It is so interesting how this modern images gives much of the same message as the Rider Waite Smith card. The male figure in the card has paused as if in thought. Behind him is a large body of water and what looks like a lighthouse in the distance. What really gets my attention is the big lovely full moon. Under the silvery light of the moon our Knight pauses. There is so much water all around him…even in his cup. And mystery and questions about these emotional issues are highlighted by the moonlight. Is it as it seems by the light of the full moon or is it illusion? Are these emotions as they seem is he not seeing them “in the light of day?” The Knight looks into his cup. Is he comparing his emotions to all of those going on around him? Or is it that he feels as if his life is filled with emotion? Does the lighthouse help lead his way? I don’t see a beam… Maybe the Knight feels like he is adrift without a guide.

I feel like this image is telliing me that although I feel lost in my emotions that my vision is getting clearer. I can use my intuition to help guide me when I can not clearly see what to do (the moon in the darkness and the unlit lighthouse). Emotions are the focus. And again pausing to look. Into myself (my cup) and my life (the landscape).

This image really does sum up how I am feeling. There is a great deal going on in my life emotionally. I will pause knowing the answers won’t be revealed out right, (by the light of day) at least right now. I will need to feel my way and trust. Trust myself and my intuition.

A good lesson from today’s practice. What do you think? Please let me know. Have a wonderful day!

A Long Trip Back

Well it has been a LONG time since I have written anything for this blog. Life got crazy. I stopped blogging, working out, doing anything creative… I really just existed. I can’t say it was for a good reason, either, because a lot of it had to do with my job. Not saying I don’t appreciate my job but I have learned the hard way it isn’t worth killing myself over. And killing myself is kind of what it has felt like. I have gained 50 pounds and have had some chest pain. I feel exhausted all the time and no wonder with so much excess weight. My body doesn’t feel like my own. Everything is hard. Maybe some of my issues are self inflicted. I did this to myself.
The saddest thing is one of the dearest people I know and love, my boss, the main reason why I worked so long and hard, had to take medical leave and is so sick she won’t be coming back. In fact, she could be gone from this earth anytime. She has MS and just seemed to work herself out. Those that were closest could see something was going on. But still she worked and worked and kept our team going. We just didn’t know how bad it had become because she didn’t want us to know and worry. Day by day, my dear friend, has been able to do less and less and is fading away. It breaks my heart.
With all this happening you would think I would have see and faced my own problem. I knew, I just didn’t do anything. I had no drive to do anything creative… Really, anything. My life, my house, my body is all a mess. I have kind of felt like I did this to myself so it is what I deserve. This thinking doesn’t help. I have figured that out. Yes, I did this to myself but I can move forward, even if just a tiny bit at a time. In the last two weeks I have very gradually been working on some very small steps to work my way out of this MESS.
My new focus is tarot. Please bear with me because I understand that there are a lot of people that are going to wig out over “tarot”. As an artist, I love pictures. As someone who has worked themselves into a rut and depression I needed a different way of seeing the world. The way I use tarot cards is as a lens. A different way of seeing. By pulling a card that is just a piece of paper, finding one image or symbol on the card’s artwork (or maybe more) I have a way of looking at my life in a different way. Or maybe think of different ways of being that may be helpful. I hope this topic doesn’t drive you away or label me in a negative way. These cards have actually helped me find my way back to being, at least a little, creative.
I actually am using the cards as more of a creative meditation. I pull a card, do a quick sketch, then think about what it’s symbol/s could mean to me as I color it in. The first card I pulled was the Knight of Cups from the Rider Waite Smith deck (the deck most people recognize). What could a Knight in armour on his trusty steed holding a large golden cup (huh?) possibly mean to me, my life and my issues? Good question.

As I was picking out images to draw in my journal I picked out the knight on his horse, the mountains, the river and the cup. Although the Knight is the focal images the mountains drew my attention first. These mountains were barren and craggy – kinda how I feel about life right now.

As I color the roughly sketched image I think about them. What they might mean to me. The river, water, usually stands for emotions. The Knight has stopped by the river and is just staying put holding that big golden cup of his. When I think about these images and how they might help me see things differently, the word Pause comes to mind. Pausing, being with my emotions (the water in the cup), facing them could be something that might help. Yes, I have a river of emotions from the difficult times (mountains) I have experienced. So, I need to stop ignoring them and going full speed ahead with work until I am exhausted and take a break and be. Be with my feelings and everything that is.

When I was done, I had to smile. I had done my first creative thing in ages. I felt peaceful. I felt like I needed to start doing small things to make my life better. I decided a quiet pause, a mindfulness practice would be something to incorporate into my life – which for now will be my tarot drawings/journaling (and if it turns into creative journaling/art that would be great but it is not a goal). I will walk a bit or do some bit of exercise everyday. I will make one (or more but one will be okay) better choice in my eating. That is all. I know better than to go overboard like usual and have a list of all sorts of helpful things to add/change in my life. Gone down that route so many times. I get rebellious (resistant) and all my work goes to waste. Pause. I need to continue to take pauses. I need to let the rushing and craziness of the past months ebb away. It is time for me to slow down. See. Feel.

Right now I
am calm and happy. That is what I can only wish for for myself and for you in any creative endeavor (or any endeavor) you choose to pursue. Have a wonderful day. So glad to be back!