Happy New Year!

This year I am striving to have the most creative year I’ve ever had.  I know, lots of people say that, but I am going on record to say that I’m determined to make more art, teach more classes, and work harder than I have ever worked before to make creativity a top priority in my life.  It sustains my soul.  I get grumpy if I don’t get to work on art projects for several days in a row.

Bright and early this morning I finished a journal that I started at Thanksgiving during a Gratitude Journal class that I co-taught with my closest friend, Jessica Hartwell.

The journal was created by spray painting large water color sheets with stencils.  Then the sheet were cut down into size and bound together. Jessica and I swapped a few pages, so my journal has a mix of colors.

All of the stars on the pages inspired me to do a motivational journal rather than a gratitude journal and once the cover was complete, I added the title “Magical Me.” (Yes, totally a Harry Potter reference in case you’re wondering).

Here is a flip through of the final product.  If you like it, please leave a comment below and let me know which page is your favorite and why.

 

Week One – Swatches

So I’m taking another wonderful class from artist Kelly Kilmer called “Swatches: Little Paper Books.”  The idea is to work small, to use bits of things, to work with recycled materials and explore doing things differently than you have done bookbefore.  I’m loving the class and the challenge faced with working small.  I’ve worked small in the past – created scads of Artist Trading Cards, but with my journals, I’ve always worked pretty large.  My typical journals are 8 1/2 x 11 pages.  So working in this little 5 x 5 inch book is quite different for me.  You will see I’ve come up with a few creative solutions so far.  As always, I’m learning alot.  I cannot say enough great things about Kelly’s classes.

In making my book, I decided to use a recycled street newspaper that is published here in Portland – The Mercury.  I picked it up one day because I liked the cover image and I have been saving it for a while.  I realized that I could cut the paper apart retaining only the top left corner and this would give me the headlines for all the pages with which to play with.  I bound the pages together by hand using Kelly’s instructions.  Here’s the resulting book.

I haven’t decided how I’m going to alter the cover yet;  I think I’m saving that for last.  Other things I decided to do is have curious tabs here and there and also try and have a paint swatch used on every page in some way.  The following are the pages I’ve completed within the last seven days – the first week of class.

Day1_Left  Day1_Right   Day2

day3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

day4Day5_Closed

Day6  Day7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now some of the pages have special details worth mentioning.  The first is that the page for day 2 includes a transparency cover that may be lifted up so you can more clearly read the journaling beneath.

Day2_Detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

And day 4 is a set of doors which opens to reveal the rest of the page.

Day5_Open

 

 

 

 

All the pages are individuals with the exception of day 1 – took a whole spread.  I’ve tried to keep the adjacent pages color themed similar so that visually the spreads look good except that they are for completely separate prompts.  Here are the spreads for the first seven days.

Day1_Spread

Day2-3_Spread

Day4-5_spread

Day6-7_Spread

 

 

 

 

So far, the only combination/page I’m not completely happy with is day 7.  I am not too fond with the green along the bottom.  I’m thinking of a way to fix that.

Stop and Smell the Roses

StopandSmellI realized last night when I was creating this page that the theme was emerging from an inner desire to be able to just stop. A lot has been going on in my life, all good things, but these things have been eating into the time I spend with my journal. I realized last night that my journal creates a place of pause for me, a haven where I can stop, look, and listen to my heart and soul.

Fall has always been a favorite season of mine since I was a child, but the longer I live in the Pacific Northwest, the more I love Spring! I love the bright vivid chartreuse green leaves emerging from the skeletal trees dominating the landscape all Winter. I love the bursts of color from the early spring bulbs – crocus, daffodils, and soon tulips. I adore the abundance of cherry blossoms, especially the trees that have double blossoms and look like puff balls. I am energized by Spring and restored by it. I think I’m just a bit frustrated by everything (ie. life) moving so fast. I need more time to focus on what is beautiful around me. Art is one of the ways I do that. Working in my garden is another. There are so many opportunities to live and breathe and be. I am full of gratitude and it’s abundant.

Journey Within

Journey_coverI started on the Journey Within class with Kelly Kilmer last night.  This class is going to challenge me because it seems less directed than the last one, but I’m very excited to see what comes out of my work and the ideas presented by the instructor.  I worked on the title page and the first journal page.  I think they turned out pretty well, but I can tell that I’ve hit a spot where I need to push myself to go farther.  The title page feels to me like it needs more work, but I’m pretty satisfied with the first journal page.  Let’s see what you think:

journey_page1

Perpetually Pensive

Prompt 31Well this journal page marks the last prompt from the Marvel Class with Kelly Kilmer.  Can you tell I was procrastinating the end of the class?  I simply didn’t want it to end.  The good news is that I will be starting on another online guided class with Kelly called Journey Within.  I find her prompts very thought-provoking and I am really loving how quick and easy putting together a page is by replacing paint with paper.  This particular page I constructed in the span of about 20 minutes tops.

For color, I went with the floral on the brown paper as my inspiration and chose the rest of the papers based upon that.  Everything else is in neutrals and I found the image of the couple in my stash – perfectly matched my thought process in my journaling and perfectly color coordinated with the page.

As far as the journaling topic goes, I wrote about my feelings in the moment yesterday as I relaxed with my boyfriend after a very busy Saturday.  On the one hand, I was very happy and centered, “feeling pretty” the journaling begins, “just like the song.”  On the other, I was pensive about the fact that the weekend was coming to an end and my boyfriend and I had to return to our responsibilities and separate households.  We’ve discussed living together, but with children involved, it’s not as easy as it would be if children were not involved.  We have to take things slower than we both would like to and this means that there are lots of opportunities to think about everything.  I don’t know about you, but in a new relationship, thinking is one of the last things I would like to find myself doing.  Less thinking and more feeling.  Feeling is where I want to be.  So the image of the girl laying on her man’s chest, looking a bit restless represents me in this moment perfectly.  I am a bit restless with my thoughts lately.  I have no doubts about my relationship or where things are going and it’s so incredible to have complete faith in my love for another and his love for me.  But I cannot help imagining what it will all look and feel like when the waiting is over, and that’s the perpetually pensive topic occupying my mind.

Image

I am… reflecting.

Prompt 30I have so much gratitude for everything that I am graced with in my life, especially right now. It is tough though to be watching one of my closest friends struggle so much with his reality right now. My journal page talks about the bittersweet symphony that is life. You cannot forget where you came from and you cannot only look forward. You have to look both ways. Reflection does this for us. It can ground us. Today, I am reflecting. Once not too long ago, things were so different for me. Things were rough and many hard lessons were learned. Thanks to those experiences, today’s reward is multilayered and today’s joy runs deep.
Blessed be!

Listening

I’ve got two prompts left from my class with Kelly.  This has been quite the journey.  It’s freed me to journal faster.  It’s helped me explore tough questions that I haven’t thought about before or perhaps because they’re topics I’ve avoided consciously or unconsciously.  This particular page is about so much more than what I chose to write about.  Visually it conveys extra layers to what is running through my mind.  I don’t think of myself as a caged bird, but I do think that sometimes over thinking causes me to create imaginary cages, aka self-imposed limits.  I’m trying to be as awake and aware as possible in all areas of my life and what this means is that sometimes I come across things that are unexpected or not so pleasant.  I have immense joy in my life right now and even that is punctuated by a tinge of sorrow for things that have been lost or didn’t go as planned.  I think it’s human to look backward every once in a while.  It only becomes unhealthy when we dwell on that which we cannot change.  Looking backwards teaches us perspective about what we’ve learned.  My life lessons have been pretty big, perhaps not as big as some, but I’ve definitely been through much more in my life that is significant than I mention to anyone.  I keep it to myself.  It is a conversation I have inside.  I am listening to my soul.