Years ago, likely in my first and last college drawing class, I decided I couldn't draw or paint people. That was over fifteen years ago and I haven't tried since. Today I stared at several background and felt stuck. On a whim, I decided to try creating faces again, but this time using a different and less realistic style. I incorporated a mixed media background, stayed loose, imperfect, and messy with my lines, and didn't have any expectations about the results.
Except that I loved everything about the process, my mind was racing with different ideas, and I couldn't wait to paint more. I felt inspired, to say the least. So I kept painting.
This time I added more techniques from Kelly Rae Robert's Mixed Media Mantras e-course. I added medium through a stencil to create a resist, layers of acrylic paint, stamping, and collage.
I've completed all the lessons in Kelly Rae Robert's Mixed Media Mantras e-course and made my first painting. I loved the background, but moved between frustration, adoration, and dislike for this finished piece. I feel like I added too many small collage elements, I really wish I would have done a different placement with the mantra, and the balance is off. However, as the day progressed, I gave myself permission to be imperfect and reminded myself several things: I'm still learning, stay unattached, this is only the beginning.
I've been thinking so much about the role of creativity in my life lately. I've been having a hard time sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night, mind spinning, questioning my life choices to date, and wondering where I'm headed next. You know, the little things. Instead of getting frustrated trying to fall back asleep, I've been getting up and paper crafting. It doesn't mean I'm any less exhausted, but I'm more productive and it puts my mind at ease. Creativity is more than a hobby these days, it's my self care, my passion, my joy, my healer. This page was started in yesterday's early morning hours and finished this morning. This is one of my favorite memories from our trips to Kaua'i, renting bikes and riding along the Ke Ala Hele Makalee, the path along the ocean heading to one of the best beaches for boogie boarding.
This page was inspired by Jot Magazine's October/November mood board. I love it - the colors, the wood grains, the fibers, and the doily. It's a departure from my normal style, but I really enjoyed how it came together. I pieced it like a collage, antiquing the edges of it all, overlapping journaling cards, adding a doily, chipboard, wood veneers, thread, and various embellishments. The background paper is Heidi Swapp and the chipboard pieces are a mix of BasicGrey collections.
Closeups and details shot below:
I have an insatiable need for creativity right now and I'm thoroughly enjoying all forms of paper crafting once again. I've been so focused on other forms of creativity (mostly quilting and embroidery) the last few years that it's been a long time since I've busted out my stamps and dug through my stacks of paper that have been collecting dust. Art journaling helped me rediscover my interest in scrapbooking, only this time I'm integrating mixed media techniques. This is a messier, less refined, and free-form type of scrapping and I adore it. Namely, it lets me use my scrapbooking tools in new ways.
Here's a recent page I made for my friend Katy's birthday in tribute to her two adorable dogs.
Week five of Brene Brown's e-course highlights the importance of music, song and dance in living a wholehearted life. Don't I know it. While my favorites have changed throughout the years, music has always been vitally important to me. I've often dreamt of being a singer, playing an instrument, joining a band, and going on tour. My first career aspirations were to be a singer, namely Madonna. Much to my family's disdain, I loved to sing, loudly, and with lots of emotion. Unfortunately, I wasn't gifted with any musical talent whatsoever. For real. While my voice leaves much to be desired, my enthusiasm for music continues.
Now one of my favorite activities is attending the concerts of the musicians I adore. With summer quickly approaching, I'm particularly thrilled about the onset of outdoor concerts. Portland has some fantastic venues and I have a slew of amazing concerts lined up in the next few months. My wallet cries, but my heart is happiest watching live music, singing along with friends, and dancing as the sun fades.
This week's art journal prompt was to create an authenticity playlist with a song that lifts you up, a song that you love to dance to, a song you want to sing along to, a song to get you through tough times, and a feisty song. Creatively, I believe this is my favorite art journal spread to date and the process came easily. The hardest part of this journal was determining my favorite song for each category. I quickly decided not to limit myself to just one and picked three songs for each. As I was creating the page, I had an actual playlist of these songs on in the background. Our house is typically filled with music, but it was little louder and there was even more dancing this week.
Here's some closeups of the pages and my favorites for each category.
Moving into week 3 of Brene Brown's e-course, the next guidepost and intention focused on calm and stillness. Play (week 2) is a large part of my life already, but I really struggle with slowing down and finding stillness. I am constantly go go go. I make to-do lists in my sleep. My brain has a hard time shutting off and sleep has become problematic in the last few years. I started taking a yoga class in January (Fat Yoga and it's awesome!) and that has helped. However, the last five minutes of yoga, during shavasna, are always the hardest. The goal is to create more clearing in my life and to integrate more moments of stillness.
With this art journal spread I wanted to integrate collage again, but I wanted the paper piecing to be more visible. I painted a bird onto the collaged paper and then added background paint and stencils. Following Portlandia's Put a Bird on It skit, I've heard many a joke about the bird mania in this town. It's true, I love birds. I am that person. I've been making bird and owl crafts (pillows and broaches mainly) for years. I have no shame for my bird love!
During this course we're encouraged to be brave and share our journals with the e-course community via the Courage Board. While I still have self doubt every time I post, it's been really encouraging to see the posts made by others and it makes it easier to share mine. I don't think I would have started this blog if I hadn't started sharing there first. I was happily shocked (seriously, heart racing and HOLY SHIT!) when I went to the website one day to see my journal page above featured on the front page of the courage board! The photo was also included in emails that went out that week regarding the course. Truthfully, I was also a little horrified. I don't even know what I was so afraid of or (the exposure? critiques?), but I talked to my friend Vanessa (who is the greatest of encouragers) and reminded myself that those were shame gremlins and "brave" is my word for this year.
Here's another art journal post for week two of Brene Brown's e-course. Apparently, I really enjoyed the lessons around Play and wanted to make several journal pages on the topic. As I've ventured into this new area of creativity, I've checked out many books from the library and pinned many pins on pinterest generating ideas for new journaling techniques. I was hoping to find some mixed media or art journal classes in Portland, but was surprised to learn that's very few. Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong places? I'll keep looking. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, because I want to know everything and try all the things right now. I was having a hard time sleeping, because this creative exploration has been so exciting and I just want to be in my craft room creating all day, everyday.
Up until this point, all my journal entries started with gesso and then acrylic/watercolor paint and/or spray ink. Trying something new, I start this one by digging through my scraps of paper and using gel medium to start a collage.
I took acrylics and started adding color with a brayer, some stencils, and sprays of water for the drips. This is where I learned an important lesson about "mud" while color mixing. I'd never heard that term before, but since then, I've spent some time reading about how to avoid it for future projects. As a recovering perfectionist, the brown blotches really bothered me, but I can just add it to the list of things I'm working on.
Next, I added ripped paper with washi tape, which helped cover some of the mud and gave me space for journaling.
Lastly, some stamps, some black paint, some doodling of flowers and some journaling about play. All done.