Category Archives: Art Journal Pages

I’m back! With a junk mail art journal page.

So okay.  Sorry I’ve been gone.  My life went into a blender and hasn’t really come out yet.  Gist of it is, I’m giving up most of my possessions to hit the road.  I’m a spiritual counselor and am in total obedience to Spirit’s Call, and it’s calling me and my partner and daughter to Mt. Shasta.  But we have to give up nearly everything we own and arrive with just what fits in the car.  For my partner, that means some really tough choices going through her books.  She’s a writer with lots of novels that are like friends.  For me, it means paring down my art supplies, which are also precious.  We can store just what will fit in an old car that we’re leaving behind with my grandma, and we’re going to ship a few boxes ahead of us to the temporary furnished cottage, but all the rest is being sold or donated.

Life’s been beyond wild.  Beyond stressful.  Beyond crazy.  I don’t wanna talk about it really.  And artwise, except for a few paintings around the solstice, (which I will share in their own post) I haven’t been doing anything.  Oh, and I definitely decided the C.A.P.I project was all wrong for me, since I’m getting ready to live on the road and answer a Call to a whole new life and purpose.  So, anyway, the last few weeks have been spent deciding and re-deciding what I absolutely MUST carry with me in a portable studio, what I absolutely MUST ship ahead to the cottage we’re renting, what I can stuff into the old car, and what I can sell or give away.  Gah.  I’m SO not a hoarder, but when it comes to art supplies, I pretty much want it ALL.

I’ll do another post on what I decide on for my portable studio, as well as my little travel art journaling kit that fits in my bag, since I know I LOVE those posts and hey, you might be curious.

For now, going through my supplies has made me nostalgic for the days when I was arting or art journaling every day, and today I took the day’s junk mail and made an art journal page.  Something about making art with garbage gets my muse going when nothing else does.

This is done with watercolor paint, Sharpie poster paint markers, Sakura gel pens, and a Uniball Signo, and junk mail and trash off the floor of the car.  I need to do this more often.  It really lets my inner child out and helps me get past my insecurities.  It also shows me what main things I reach for every time I make anything.  Hope you enjoy!

DSCN0888

P.S.  Anyone wanna buy some used art supplies?

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Art Journaling again!

Well, I’m doin’ it again.  I’ve been slurping up art journaling videos on youtube, (you can see what I like on my Flighty Artist Channel) especially my favorites Leslie Herger, Diana Trout, and Jennibellie, and I took the plunge today and spilled some myself.  I just kept Leslie’s (Comfortable Shoes)’s words in my head:  “It’s about process, not product.”  And Diana Trout’s Journal Spilling advice to, “Keep moving, don’t think.”  And I ended with a new avatar image for my craftster account!  I was totally about the process, though, and didn’t even think of using it for that myself, even though the whole thing started by me just randomly stamping with my goddessgarb stamp all over a page.  When it was nearly done, my partner came and saw it and immediately suggested I use it for my avatar, which is perfect, since the username comes from there.  Here it is:

Mixed media in Strathmore Visual Journal.  Homemade stamps, a custom stamp, purchased stamp, alphabet stamps and white pigment ink, Sakura Glaze pen, Bic White Out pen, white Uniball Sigmo gel pen, Krylon gold paint marker, Inktense Blocks, Crayola Twist-Up Metallic Crayons, and I think a Sharpie red Poster Paint marker.  Plus a couple of ribbon scraps and a couple of stamps I got in swaps that I particularly liked.  Oh, and black paint sprayed through a mister and alphabet stencil.  And blue painter’s tape.

It was FUN.  I nearly rinsed my paint brush in my chai tea, but disaster was averted at the very last second.

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Face #12 and why they don’t smile.

I think some of you wonder why most of my faces don’t smile.  It’s not because I’m not happy or enjoying myself.  In fact, if you see fake smiles in my art, I’m probably sad or depressed or trying to make someone else happy.  I have been drawing faces forever.  I taught myself to draw faces when I was a very little girl, to be like my grandma whose favorite thing to doodle was the “Blondie” face from comics.  I honed my face and figure drawing by reading Archie comic books.  My drawings were, as you can imagine, all cartoonized and at least attempting to be the pretty, perfect feminine ideal Barbie doll figure.  I did thousands of these drawings.  I did them all day.  I made paper dolls of them and designed clothing for them.  I once entered a set of them, complete with fashions, in a high school art show and won.

But I could never quite get the hang of doing more realistic work.  I would draw from life again and again and it would never look like the model.  Others liked my work but I knew there was something wrong that I just couldn’t ‘get’.  Even during my two years of commercial art school, I was trapped by my cartoonish drawings.

Then I stopped doing art, for reasons I will explain in another post because I don’t want this to go on forever, until about a year ago.  And I realized why my face and figure work had never gone where I wanted it to and had always stayed cartoonish.  I was drawing what I wanted to see (and be) and not what I saw (and was.)  And the thing that pushed me to this realization was seeing ALL the pretty, perfect, doe-eyed, stem-necked, smiling dolly faces in the mixed media world.

Oh how I came to LOATHE them.  They hurt me.  I don’t look like that.  Can’t look like that.  No one can.  And yet, they are nearly the only portrayal of beauty you can find in the mixed media world.  THIS is pretty.  THIS is how you make your art pretty, your pages pretty.  This is what is taught to new mixed media artists and women learning how to make art journals.  Whimsy faces.  Dolly faces.  Pretty girls.  Not ugly girls, girls that look like your daughters and students and nieces and neighbors and YOU.  And not women.  Pretty girls.

It hurts me when someone hurts girls and women.  When women hurt themselves and each other.  And who is drawing and painting these dolly faces over and over ad infinitum?  Women artists.  Middle-aged, chubby, unsmiling women artists.  Artists who want their work to be pretty and so would never think of putting their faces and bodies in it.  The pain was too much for me to ignore any longer.

So I rebelled.  Bigtime.  As is my nature.  I grabbed my journal and a red Sharpie and scratched a sketch into the page.  Something so daring, scary, brash, and shocking that I almost couldn’t believe I’d drawn it.  I did it from imagination, and I did it angry and super fast.  Then I did something even scarier.  I posted it on my Facebook.  In front of friends and family alike.

And people loved it.  I could NOT believe it.  And it touched me and changed me so deeply I cannot find words.

In loving this sketch, they were loving ME.  Because it looks like me.  I have long hair now, but other than that, it’s pretty similar to my body type and face shape, etc.  And they thought it was beautiful.

It blew my mind.  And I realized what had been missing.  I wasn’t drawing what I SAW because it wasn’t what I wanted to SEE.  And in not drawing what I SAW, I was discounting its real beauty.  So one year ago (check the date on the photo) I began to draw what I see.  The wrinkles, the stretchmarks, the shadows under the eyes, the asymmetrical faces, the dimples and rolls.  The weird shapes and lines and colors that don’t look like people at all.

The real beauty.

And I began to like my art again.  I felt inspired to make it.

And so, the smiles.  Or lack thereof.

People don’t walk around smiling.  They smile when they talk to each other, but that’s often fake, and if they’re alone, they don’t.  Go to a store and look around.  Most people aren’t smiling, they’re just ‘being’.  People in old photos don’t smile.  Photographers back then hadn’t decided that they didn’t want to look at someone unless they were smiling, I guess.  They just wanted to capture the way people actually looked.  And yes, it took forever to take a photo and no one can fake it that long.

My beloved looks sad when she is just reading or writing or thinking.  She has a little downturn to her mouth that appears when she relaxes.  She’s not sad.  She’s actually one of those people who is naturally happy and loves the world, good and bad, and radiates a light that brings everyone up.  She also has an absolutely radiant smile.  And she’s beautiful both ways.  She has a fake smile, too, that most people find beautiful.  That smile makes me sad.

I can tell the real smiles from the fake every time. Probably because of my intuitive gifts, I see the energy, the truth, straight through the lying smile.  Fake smiles hurt my heart.  If you want to learn about REAL smiles, hang with my autistic daughter. She doesn’t know how to smile a fake smile. Just can’t. So when she smiles, it’s pure joy demanding to be made manifest on her face. And it’s transformational to all around her.

I want to draw and paint smiles, but they must be real smiles, with mixed emotions and meanings and secrets, not placating smiles put on a face to make people comfortable.  I don’t smile those smiles and I don’t want to smile them on paper or canvas.  And genuine smiles are NOT easy to get ‘right’.  It’s capturing the nonphysical truth and making it physical.  That’s a challenge I want to face (ha!), but right now, I’m finding it easier and more rewarding to paint and draw the unsmiling face.  It is important and meaningful to me to find beauty in the unhappy and in the just not-smiling-happy.

Okay.  So, all that said, this face is meant to be creepy.  Because I’ve never done one like that and thought it would be fun and interesting.  And I think it is.

And I’m smiling.  🙂

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Filed under 29 Faces in 29 Days, Art Journal Pages, Drawings, Watercolor

8 Things I’m Wishing For

This is an art journal page with the theme 8 Things I’m Wishing For.  It’s a prompt I gave out on my Journaling Dark and Light group:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/225168170904801/ to kind of turn things to a more positive note after we did 8 Things I Miss.  So, this is what I came up with:

 

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Shift

I turned 42 on January 29.  I had a lovely, peaceful, positive birthday, and then I fell into a rather deep depression.  Not suicidal deep, but no fun, either.  A lovely, wise woman from my Book of Days group, Maryann, said that 42 is a very powerful birthday for a woman, when she tends to pop out of the grid.  Which made me think of the fact that when we undergo a jump in frequency, or a large initiation in our lives, we usually feel crappy for about 3 days, because we are higher and lighter and so we feel all the heavy stuff even more as it is leaving our new level of being.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but my life has been shifting out from under me in huge ways this past week.  I mean BIG things that truly change my life and that of my family in ways that are totally out of our control.  Every day it seems things are shifting, and there is NO stable foundation to stand on.  That was really getting to me.  I was angry and frustrated and going into a fear spin about it all, feeling totally out of control and not knowing one damn thing I could do about it.

So I just decided to get through it.  And last night I hit a low, and my partner and I had a really good, deep talk, then things shifted again this morning and we had another one.  I’d be lost without her, by the way.  Anyway, afterward, I journaled about it.  And I realized…

If things are constantly shifting in huge ways…which they most certainly ARE for us…then they can easily shift just as rapidly in wonderful, miraculous ways, too!  Plus, these shifts that we were seeing as scary and some of them bad are really just different!  We have NO way of knowing what they really mean, only that they are changing our lives in big ways.  Then I started to wonder when it was that I stopped believing that I could have what I wanted (as long as it was aligned with the Highest Good)?  Was it when things were going so peacefully and so well, and then something shook that up?  Well, that’s stupid.  Things are going well so I lose my belief?  I don’t like the cycles of up/down, bad/good, but where there is a down, there will be an up, and in my life in the past few years, the up times have just gotten longer and longer and my life has just gotten better and better…so really, what needs to SHIFT now is my mind!  My attitude…my mindfulness…my thoughts!  When I feel a negative reaction, I need to examine what faulty beliefs are leading me to feel bad.  I need to look at the Truth, in the Now, and remember what I TRULY believe.

The Truth:  My life is totally rearranging itself around me, not like I expected or would choose…and because I am NOT all-knowing or all-seeing, I cannot possibly know whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.  And since I believe that after everything I’ve been through, now is MY TIME for things to just get better and better…well, hey, that must mean these are good things even if I can’t see how at this moment!

So I made this page to commemorate and remind myself of this realization so that I won’t forget it again as things continue to shift in this phenomenally-transforming reality we are currently living in.

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The View

No, not the estro-fest television show, but the one out my window.  You’d think this would be celebrating it, but it’s not.  I know, here’s where you pull out the smallest violin player in the world to play, “Oh, I feel sorry for you,” but we moved here in October of last year and I don’t want to live here anymore.  I LOVE the ocean.  And I feel twisted having a view like that and wanting nothing but to move out.  But we all need more than just a view, and I feel it more every day, so I made this journal page about it.  You can see words painted in clouds if you really, really look (and especially if you look at where I’ve cropped the page to show them.)

The painting is acrylic in my Book of Days journal (matting added by Picasa for effect):

And here is the wispy wording:

“A beachfront house does not a home make.”  Yes, pull out the tissues.

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I’m taking a NEW word for the year.

So as you know if you’ve read my blog, I had taken the word FEARLESS as my word for the year.  But I found that rather than empowering me, it somehow made me fearFUL.  And last night I hit a wall that I couldn’t get through on my own.  My writer partner told me about a poem she felt would help, and it gave me the way through to my new word, COURAGE.  I realized that in taking FEARLESS as my word, I had inadvertently denied the part of myself that was, indeed, quite fearful.  I was telling myself I had to be fear-less.  I had to have no fear.  And myself was feeling very bad that she couldn’t live up to that.

My new word, COURAGE, which is about feeling the fear and doing it anyway, empowers me, rather than denying part of me.  The poem is featured in my journal.

Confession:  I’m a participant in a year-long, make art journal pages every day project called, “The Book of Days.”  The intention is to use an altered book to do a mixed media page for each day of your life.  The FEARLESS journal cover is the book for that project.  And there are no finished spreads in there except for one very failed attempt at following the prompt, “Surrender.”  After two tries and hours of work, the page ended up making me look like a serial killer, and that ain’t an exagerration.  So I won’t be showing it here.  I will be redoing that page.  A third time.

Mixed media collage is brand-spanking-new to me as a way of doing art, and I’m not good at it yet.  And it does not come easily or naturally.  So to make a long story short, I haven’t done my pages in this book.  I’ve done art every day, but not in this book.  I’ve been doing art that comes more naturally to me but not pushing myself beyond that.  In fact, I’ve been working on the inside cover since I joined a couple of weeks ago, and I hated it until last night, when my partner gave me the poem.  I finally finished it.  And now I love it.  My intention is that it will give me courage to do the pages in my book, even though it’s all new to me and sometimes I literally become paralyzed with fear.

Okay, so ’nuff talkin’, here’s the art:

Once I posted that to the group, another artist there gave me a link to an amazing page:  Ordinary Courage.  I went there and read the first page with another, extremely powerful definition of COURAGE and got chills.  It is sooooooo prescient in my life right now.  I am going to do a page on it for sure, on the page right after that cover, so I just run into all kinds of courage whenever I open the book.  I anticipate doing many spreads exploring this word.

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