Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Never Alone

I've been art journaling for years and it has lately become my most favored mode of self expression. I can see as I look back on my old journals how much I have learned about art and how to use various mediums and supplies in my work. I would never show anyone most of those old pages and hate looking at them myself, except in order to see my creative growth.

I am still very much interested in incorporating poetry into my mixed media art but I am also looking to expand my art journaling to include more writing, more exploration of thoughts and feelings. Many times that writing will be covered with gesso or paint as it is only for me, but I am working at using art as a starting point for journaling and vice versa. I'm particularly in search of ways to use an art idea as a means to write. 

In this particular piece I began with a coloring page from Stampington's publication "The Coloring Studio," which sadly is no longer being published. I colored and cut out the woman, not using the background in the book but creating my own. The sentiment "never alone" was part of the original picture and though I hadn't planned to use it, as I created the layout it called to me and I thought of two way to interpret it.

Never alone, can mean that you never have to feel alone. That can be due to having family and friends around all the time, or because you have a spiritual belief that some higher power is an eternal escort in your life. It can mean that somewhere, somehow, there is always a person or group you can turn to.

But it can also mean something else. It can mean that you are bombarded by the noise and company of other people and that you are literally never alone. And that can be a stressor. Solitude is a necessary and welcome state, especially for writers and artists who require large blocks of alone time in which to create. Never alone, can mean you never have the quiet you need in order to go deep into your soul and figure out what your true life purpose is.

Like anything, "never alone" has its pros and cons. Its good points and bad. It opens one up to interpreting for your own life and perhaps is a door to discovering more about your heart and soul. A simple sentiment like this can be a creative opening for art or writing and lead me to think in new ways.

Open doors are entries into the creative mind and how lucky that a short phrase, a poem, or a picture can be your open door.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Autumn Art Journaling

We moved from New York to California a year ago. At the time the drastic change of this loveliest of all seasons was buried beneath unpacked boxes, learning how to get around our new hometown and getting to know our newest grandchild. This year however is different.

Now that we are settled into our new home and know where to find everything we need in our new neighborhood I am feeling the loss of autumn in New York. Where is the crisp cold air, the wild colors on the trees painted by my favorite artist, Mother Nature? It is going to be 95 degrees in Temecula today but I am pre-programmed to be slipping into jeans and sweatshirts in the middle of October, not wearing cotton shorts and tank tops. I am missing the splendor of autumn in the northeast. I am missing my friends and the chance to go out with the girls. I am missing my tribe of writers.

Art journaling is my creative expression of choice these days. I love the fun, mess and relaxation of the paint, glue and the feel of the scissors in my hand. But more than that, art journaling has become a way for me to deal with feeling homesick, even when I know I am home. Playing with my art supplies and messing up my art journals brings me joy and distracts me from the feeling of loss.

And so I had to create an autumn art journal page just to give me a feeling of what it was like.

I used Distress Oxide inks and a script stamp for the background. I used a Tim Holtz die to cut out the leaves and colored them with Distress Oxides as well. It is unusual for me to use my own handwriting in my journals but this was such a personal layout I felt it needed that.

So as I head out today to meet friends for lunch at a local winery I will try to remember the crisp air, the farm stands of the North Fork with their colored squashes and big orange pumpkins. I will recall the smell of wood smoke and the aroma of roasted corn. And I will toast autumn in New York, and all the friends we left behind.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Happy Art Journaling

Many poets, journalers and art journalers begin this practice in order to process difficult times and emotions of their lives. And what a perfect way to slowly explore where you are and where you need to go, what to change, or what to keep. It was that way for me in poetry and journaling but not with art journaling.

I am a typically happy, optimistic and Pollyanna-ish woman and when I think of art I think of art I think of my childhood and hours spent drawing, coloring with a huge box of crayons, painting by number or coloring with a Venus Paradise colored pencil kit. Those were hours of pure and joyous creation with no particular investment in the outcome. And that is how I approach my various art journals.

These two pages are examples of how I express my happy moods. Not to say that sadder emotions don't creep up but I prefer to tackle those feelings with words on the pages of spiral notebooks. I leave my art journals for fun, happy and whimsical splashes of color, image and words. I work in several journals at once all with mixed media pages so that they can hold up to the weight and wetness of paints, inks and gel medium. But they are in different sizes. Sometimes my choice depends on the images I want to use and other times I choose a size to reflect my mood. Am I working tight and small or loose and intuitive. 

I came to art journaling in my fifties and I'm glad I discovered this wonderful way to express myself and to play.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tribute to a Poet

Several years ago we took a trip to Amherst, Massachusetts and visited the home of poet Emily Dickinson. It was a wonderful experience to see where she lived and wrote her hundreds of poems cloistered in her room all alone. Artifacts of handwritten poems, notes and letters, her iconic white dress with lace collar, the garden outside the door. As a poet and lover of poetry I was touched and inspired by merely being in the same house she had once been in.

I do enjoy incorporating my own poems into my art but many times I like to make an art journal layout that honors a favorite poet. Here is one I did in honor of Mary Oliver and my favorite poem of hers.

Today I made my Emily Dickinson page because the need for hope is strong and crucial right now. Here is her poem about hope.

And here is my art journal in tribute to the solitary poet, the Belle of Amherst.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Making the Most of Every Moment

Before dawn raises her sun striped arms in the sky I gaze out the window, stretching awake my muscles and bones. Hummingbirds flitter outside at the feeder and butterflies hover over the flowers. Each day is a gift and we cannot let even one go without stopping to witness new growth and creative ideas. We cannot pass one moment not observing beauty or being grateful for Mother Nature's gifts.

do not waste time
on idle hours
this life graces us
with moments we must cherish

I take to my art journal in order to spend my moments creatively and to wash my soul of the chaos in this world. I look for images and quotes, or create my own poems, that bear witness to the good in the world.

No matter what I am in the process of creating I feel a thrum in my soul that lets me know I am fully alive and witnessing all that each day holds. I am not idly waltzing through life, but taking advantage of its gifts and appreciating everyone and everything I come to know.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


It's time to give this blog a face lift and some much needed attention. My creative muses have conspired to lead me in directions filled with heart and passion. That means poetry and art journaling and ways to incorporate the two. I've been exploring ways to combine my art journal pages with my poetry and here is a fresh example of what I've come up with.

For me poetry and art are equally satisfying and soulful ways of expressing myself. I can't abandon one for the other so it was necessary for me to find a way to combine the two. I like more structured art journal pages such as the one below.

But I also like the free flowing form of intuitive painting. Therefore I have to work in two journals. I use my moleskine sketchbook to create art using stamps and quotes and design theory and structured techniques. But I am beginning a new 8x8 inch art journal that will include my intuitive painting journeys combined with new poems.

Intuitive painting such as this:

allow me to freely express what's happening in my head, which is always a turmoil of creative inspiration. It lets me play with paint and get messy without worrying about what the finished painting will look like. I can put on any kind of music that attracts me at the moment and just smear paint across the blank page. 

I like the idea of using these paintings as a backdrop for my poems and will be busy working on these pages. Poetry and painting emerge from the same place in my soul and give me the same sense of satisfaction at self expression.

It's a new creative journey that I look forward to and to sharing the stops along the way with my readers.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Finding Myself in Poetry and Art

The morning is born in silver and blue, calling to me from the slats of light between window blinds. Black crows squawk, demanding attention, the way my mind demands I rise from the bed and head to my desk. A pen with ink the color of a mid-morning sky and a blank page of notebook paper await. The pen will dance my thoughts across the white page, curling dreams into letters and joys and sorrows into verse. The conduit from my mind, through my arm and my fingers, through the pen and on to the paper is a golden ribbon that unfurls from my soul. And here in morning silence I find myself.

Poetry touches the heart. I read poems and a fire lights in my head, birthing flames of new poems. I write and the fires are staunched for the moment only to burn again at the sight of flower blooming or the song of swallow.

If I feel lost, I can open a collection of poems and find myself in depictions of happiness and nature. But writing poems or even stories can act as a mirror to my soul and show me what is important in my life.

Once the poems are written images of paint emerge to be danced across a canvas or art journal to express the parts of myself I have newly discovered. Life begins in the lines of a poem and the swirls of a paintbrush and my spiritual practice unwinds like a song.