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!

=)

 

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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!

10/10/15 How Often Should I Art Journal? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Whenever?

So how often should you art journal? And why am I even asking that question when my goal is to practice art journaling every day? Good questions. The reason I ask is really due to formats. Formats? What the heck are formats?

When I have been true to my art journal practice and actually journaled everyday it didn’t mean I did a page everyday… and it didn’t mean I didn’t. What? At certain times I “art journaled” as I could, everyday. And there was a time when I did an entire page each and every day. That’s where a “format” comes in. It really isn’t so much a strict set of rules on what to do but rather a guide.

For example: I had a job not too long ago where I actually had a full hour for lunch. While I was at this job I actually worked on an art journal page at lunch every day. My format was daily. And I look back at my journals from this period and am truly impressed that I was able to do so much art journaling. Also, because of this hour of time, doing a page didn’t feel like a chore at all. In fact it was a really nice way to blow off the steam and stress of a busy day. What I loved about this format was that I got lots of art journaling practice. I was able to complete lots and lots of pages. I was able to make lots and lots of really cool art with some journaling added in. When I look back at these art journals, I can see my art skills and style really develop.

 

Then my job changed and my format changed as well. There was no more hour lunch breaks. Bummer! Half hour was all I get and that leaves little to no time for art journaling. So, I started out preparing background pages in a journal. I did about 15 pages per week. So I would have something on the page to start out with. Then my art journaling was more of a journal entry style. I would add collage, lettering, doodles, journal entries based on what happened of note during the day. I might use a quarter of a page one day and two pages the next. And it made getting something down every day really easy. This was a Daily Open-ended format. What I love about this format is that it was more of a hybrid art journal/written journal. There was less focus on the art and more of a focus on reflecting my day using art and writing. My Daily Open-ended art journals really reflect my daily life during the period more than any other format I have used.

The format was changed abruptly when I decided to do a “Weekly Challenge” and after I took Dawn DeVries Sokol’s Art Journaling Class (thru Creativebug). I started doing a weekly art journal challenge, so during the week I collected bits to add and make my pages and on the weekend I created them. I loved the pages I made. I actually did lots of painting and drawing with my bits from the week. But jamming all the creative work into the weekend didn’t really work for me. After I took Dawn’s class, I changed how I did this weekly format. I actually made a background on a two page spread on Sunday. Each day I added something that happened, a picture, a receipt, a doodle… by Saturday I had a finished page that reflected my week. This was a weekly format. I look back at the weeks that I worked in this journal. I really loved how it came out. There is a certain style I developed, learned from Dawn’s class, and practiced on my weekly pages that I just love, love, love! What was really nice about this format is if you are limited in time you can spend 5 or 10 minutes a day adding a bit or two to the spread and by the end of the week you have something wonderful. I wish I would have finished this journal and filled in every page… but I didn’t… but I still could!

 

Then I changed again, as I often do, and ended up doing a daily doodle kind of journal out of a Junk Journal. I had started getting burned out and wanted to do at least something everyday. During this time I also explored Bullet Journals and new and improved Junk Journals. Then I stopped. I stopped doing any journaling and took a break due to burn-out.

When I started journaling again, my goal was different. I didn’t set a page amount, or a daily amount, or any of that. I set a practice. I would practice art journaling everyday. It didn’t matter what that practice was… or how long I spent on it, as long as I practiced in some way. I didn’t want to burn out again so I was gentle and set a very open-ended goal. So my most recent pages, the ones I have been sharing on this blog, are the result. They are kind of a Daily/Open-Ended hybrid format.

So what format do you use? Does it work for you? Do you love the results? I would love to know!!

 

9/22/2015 Making an Art Journal Page, My Art Journaling Practice

Funtime! Time to start placing elements on the page and see what I like and don’t like. I grab my collage bits and try them out in different ways on the page. What do I like? What don’t I like. Do I like this here or do I like it better over here. It’s a process that I let happen naturally. I don’t stay in this step too long because I don’t want to over think it.

 

This time I am using Gel Medium to glue down my collage pieces. I also brush gel medium on top of the images, to make sure they are glued down well and to add a less glossy surface so it will be easier to write, doodle, or whatever on top. (Even if my gel medium is “glossy” it is easy to write over than just the glossy magazine surface).

 

It needed a little something… so I pulled out a stencil and added a white curvy design in a few of the darker places on the page. After looking the page over I thought it needed more color… the red was nice but it needed something more. So I grabbed some yellow acrylic paint and stenciled on some feathers.

Like it much better but the yellow of the feathers is a little transparent. Hmmm. I have run out of time for today.

Have a great day!

 

Spilling My Fears, Using my Practices to Help Me Through

It is Sunday. I feel like my world is coming apart. Emotionally I am raw, disappointed, but mostly angry and so very scared, worried, and down.

At work I have a new job, a new set of tasks, completely new to me and to my employer. They restructured all the offices to accommodate a huge change. I have been training for the first part of implementation… which was really just getting set for the real change that will happen in 10 days or so. I have worked really hard to make this transition because I especially care about some of the people in charge of these changes. But I am so very fearful. There seems to be a complete and utter lack of understanding of what the job (the work, the time it takes) entails… Truthfully, I don’t think many of management wants to know. They made an arbitrary decision on what would work without any knowledge of what the job requirements were. The dice were cast. Now, as we get closer to complete implementation, I am scared out of my wits. The introductory stage of the process is barely coming together. I can’t see this situation turning out successfully. I feel so trapped. I feel like I have been set up to fail… something I hate… I feel like I have been set up to disappoint people I respect… something I hate even worse. It makes me really angry… and that anger has morphed into depression, stress, and worry.

There are four of us in this new position. None of the others care too much about it. It is just a job. I feel like, for them, if it works out that’s great… if not, so what. Paychecks and incoming finances are the BIG WHAT. There will be a lot of unhappy big wigs and a whole lot of very unhappy employees if paychecks can’t go out because the grand vision didn’t work.

I wish I could do what I can do and not worry (even if that is all I can do, anyway). It is one of my biggest challenges. Worrying will get me nowhere. But all weekend I have been tied up in knots. All I can think of is I am going to fail and let everyone down. I just want to run away and hide. If I could, I would do the ultimate runaway, and quit. Just to get away from all these negative feelings. That is bad, isn’t it? Wanting to run away and not dealing? I am just so tired and wornout with all these feelings. I wish I knew what to do to let go… maybe see things from a different perspective. I just don’t know how.

It is my greatest hope that spilling my fears on this page will somehow lessen these negative feelings and help me get a grip on things.

 

 

Distraction and Art Journaling

I haven't blogged sooner because I have been distracted. Distracted by all sorts of cool, interesting, and fun projects. It all started with my Junque Journal. I was all set. I had gone to Hobby Lobby and picked up the ribbon and scrapbook paper I needed. Whammo! My planner class talked about Midori Planners and I just had to refurbish what I had so I could start using a Midori to (hopefully) get a grip and a plan on my daily life. So I used some of the scrapbook paper from my Junque Journal stash to cover some thick cotton canvas…and Viola…I made my own Midori cover. I just strung it with elastic. Easy peasy! Then I needed to learn how to make and print out my own inserts. I ended up hand lettering my inserts because I couldn't find a Word Processing app for my tablet that could do columns, the Word Processing program I tried to download to my laptop didn't load properly, and I just didn't want to wait! I actually like the inserts I made better. Besides it is kind of neat that I can make my own.

As a result my Junque Journal is sitting in the same place I left it two weeks ago. I think part of it was, I made the cover and it just doesn't jazz me at all. It just doesn't have the pizzazz I wanted and I don't know how to fix it in a way that won't completely botch it all up. As soon as I kind of got stuck with what to do with my Junque Journal… the Midori project jumped into my life and got me focused on something different.

The good thing about this example of distraction is that one project switched to another. I actually feel like I really accomplished something really good and helpful with my Midori planner. I have been able to establish some really helpful habits and feel like I have more control over my life just because of my new planner.

This isn't always the case. I can easily be distracted by the internet surfing, watching television, or any number of other unproductive behaviors. And that happens to me plenty.

The thing is to notice. Have I been distracted from my project? If yes, why… Is it because of another, bright shiny project? Or are you being distracted into unproductive behaviors? Why do you think this is happening? Are you getting bored with your current project? Has it come to a stand still? Or have you found another project that sparks your interest?

This time, my distraction was a good one! I put off my Junque Journal for a bit and feel like I got a GREAT Midori planner in return! I wish all my distractions could be as productive as this one!

How about you? Do you get distracted from journaling and other projects? How does it make you feel? Do you do anything that helps? Let me know, I would love to hear!

 

Sojourn 6: My Examples

So how did your week go? Did you actually try journaling, then decorating your page afterwards, even just once?

How did you feel about the journaling? Do you feel anything after doing this process? Relieved? Productive? Cleared?

What color pen/s did you use? How did you like using your pen choice? Was it easy to write with? If not, did it affect how you were able to spill your ideas onto the page? The first pen I picked to use was what I thought was a light purple color… but it turned out darker than I thought. I wasn’t sure how the darker ink would work out with writing on top of it. The second pen, a thin, lime green, crayola marker… turned out to be dried out as you can see below. It got lighter and lighter as I spilled down the page. I am not too hip on using a marker. I think I have been spoiled by some of the smooth writing ball points and gel pens… but the experience still was fine.

When it came to jotting down notes about what I wrote, I have to admit that the lighter the pen the harder it was for me to read and pick out what I wanted to focus on. So as the week went on, I actually would put a star beside a line or section I wanted to note as I wrote it. Starring the section didn’t seem to take away from the flow of the journaling but helped me locate what I wanted to note after I was done will the journal spillage. So, I think I will continue to do that.

Next came decorating. On this page I chose to tear out collage elements that I liked and glued them on the page with a cheapie glue stick. Not a whole lot of thought. Just grabbed a handful of magazine images, picked a few out that seemed to go, than arranged them on the page. Glued them down. It took maybe 15 minutes at the most.

The main image… the girl in the left corner… seemed to blend in a bit more than I wanted. I grabbed a red water soluble crayon, outlined some of the collage pieces, including my girl image… then smudged it really well with my fingers. And it made it pop out of the page a bit more. Then I took my black waterproof pen and my white uniball ink pen and doodled, did my lettering and added the things I decided to write down on my scrap paper. And of course HAD FUN!

 

To be honest, my loudmouth inner critic, tells me this is a really lousy page… the lettering is just terrible, it is too busy… on and on. Again, your inner critic will probably often tell you that any artsy endeavour you do is not good enough! The truth is it doesn’t matter. I will alway like looking at the pictures I chose to add to my collage… that’s why I chose them. The rest was all fun! It really is okay to have fun… And you have a memory of your fun to boot! Looking at the page makes me smile. I journaled and have a fun, funky, interesting page. A page that will remind me of the important things that I journaled about. A page that is so much more than a page filled with written journaling.

 

This is my doodle page. I took my black brush marker and started to doodle some flowers, quick. Not much thought. I even added the my Hibiscus Happiness zen doodle design in the middle (I made it up myself).

Again, I grabbed my scrap sheet and added the items I wanted to remember on to me doodle page.

It could have been done. But I decided I wanted to take a little more time to unwind, so I got out the crayons and…

 

I hope you tried Sojourn 6… and if not… maybe decide now to give it a try! Please, I would love to hear from you! Make a comment below and let me know how it went!

Tune in tomorrow for Sojourn 7!