Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Journaling to Be Still

Although I'm not a dedicated art journaler, there are times when I feel the call of the blank pages. Usually I come back to my journal when I am feeling overwhelmed. And with recent events, well... I think we've all been pretty overwhelmed. Journaling gives me a chance to write and make art just for me. I'm not a big storyteller, but more of a note-taker, so journal pages often include snippets of thought, hidden in pockets and folds of paper.

This entry was created using papers from my scrap pile, paint, printed tapes, and deli paper. I stitched a few pieces together and wrote this message to myself.

So I begin this day with a prayer for peace.
Silence within my mind.
Quiet within my soul.
A look at my place here on earth as if seen from miles into space.
A mere fleck of energy swirling around other bits of energy.
And all is well.
There is time, there is goodness, there is love and patience and all that I need.
It's all here and planned in a way that I don't know nor will I ever really know. (I'm not supposed to know.)
And so I breathe,
And sit still.

Sometimes I feel like I'm standing on the shore of an ocean. The tides and the waves rush up. I become too busy. I'm flooded with ideas, projects, goals, and worries. I'm bombarded with the latest frightening news, trends, and social media. I can't finish anything. I become overwhelmed. I feel like I'm running out of room. There is no beach left. I am forced to return to the dock, safely anchored above the rushing waters. I sit down on the edge of the dock and look out to sea. I watch from a distance. I see the sun sparkling on the water, dolphins playing in the distance, and fish glittering beneath my toes. In time, the tide rolls back out. It's safe to go back to the beach.

Journaling forces me to sit still, to walk away from the roar of life and see things from a different perspective.


If you've never tried art journaling or if you need some new ideas, you might want to check out this new e-mag from Cloth Paper Scissors, Art Journaling Exposed, Vol. 2.

It's filled with fun ideas and short instructional videos. The "Caught on Tape" article features Jen Cushman showing us how to use Ice Resin to create slick journal accents, Kristen Robinson showing us how to use cereal bags for journal pages, and yours truly demonstrating a sewn paper technique. I got to meet Jen and Kristen when we filmed our video workshops last fall. If you have a moment, stop by their blogs and check out their amazing work!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Technicolor Farm

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about the farm. My parents live on a farm and I grew up visiting my grandparents' farm every summer. So many happy memories and images rise to the surface of my brain when I think about those summers. I decided to make some farm-inspired art. I initially wanted to use a delicate, muted color palette, one that would evoke the worn-away, dreamy, wheat-colored landscape. But... well, I just couldn't do it. Those neon bright colors kept making their way into my hands. So, I gave up and created some technicolor farm life instead.

I used layers of water-soluble crayons, an oil paintstick, and gold acrylic paint. The textures were created by scratching through the layers with a pencil.

The gold acrylic paint looks a lot like gold leaf on top of the water-soluble pencil.

Notice... no drawing skills here... I decided not to focus on accurate depiction, just quick movements and lots of color!

How about you?  How does your personal history influence your art? What themes come up? How do you put your own spin on those images?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Digging Out

A few weeks ago, my family, friends, and I took off for a spring break in Asheville, North Carolina. We were set to rent a cabin, see a few sights, soak in the hot tub, and eat too much. We did those things, but midway through the week, we received some horrible news. We learned that Jamie, a boy from my son's lacrosse team, was tragically struck by a car and killed while on spring break with friends.

Upon returning, we had to say good-bye. The visitation and funeral truly honored our friend's life.

The boys played their first game since their teammate's death on Sunday. They played beautifully, almost magically and beat a team they were not expected to beat. It felt good to see them out there, moving through their sadness, digging out of their grief, honoring Jamie by joyfully playing what he loved to play. 

I've been a little slow to action over the last few weeks. Grief has pulled me down. I just haven't had the heart to create. But as I watched the boys play on Sunday, I knew what I had to do. Dig out. Work. Do my best. Keep on moving. Honor Jamie's life by joyfully living. And so it is with everything that is happening in the news right now. In time, we've got to dig ourselves out of the sadness. Work. Love. Live joyfully so that we honor those we lost.