Monday, December 30, 2013

Visual Journal Spread: Protect Your Sacred Space

Temple Guardian Spread, Right page

There are a lot of layers here and the last bit, the journaling, has still to be added.
I collaged images of the Tara or Guanyin being protected by a temple guardian.
The first layer of the page was a hand made stamp using Wood Icing on styrofoam
to create the stamp.  I painted over the stamped images with iridescent acrylic.  I
used my Big Shot to emboss sticky backed metal sheets (Ranger) with an embossing
folder called "Pattern and Stitches Set" by Tim Holtz.  I used the metal strips for a
border all around my pages.  I last added the mandala using a stencil from the book
Stencil Me In, by Marthe Le Van.  This book, which I found on sale, included 28
light-weight stencils!  I used color box ink and a cheap pouncing tool, which is just
a stick with a foam gumdrop shape attached that you can find at any art supply
store along with the craft paints.  I really like the subtle look of ink applied this way.
Finally, on the edge I tried Faber Castell Gelatos , which I had never tried before.  A
pigment stick sort of creamy like lipstick.  The fuchsia line on both pages was done
with a Gelato stick, blended with my finger.  Will try those again!  I have found them
in small sets of related colors at craft stores.   I had not found the National Geographic
images of the Chinese figures found in a cave when I prepared this page with all
the right colors.  Overall, my favorite thing about these pages is the range of colors.
I remember once being in an American Hindu temple that had walls of this color.
I was told, at the time, that this pinkish color is the color of the heart and supports
meditation.  I had good fun cutting out shapes from the fabric picture on the
magazine pages to fit the upper corners.

Temple Guardian Spread, Left Page

I this page I collaged a fierce temple guardian protecting the Buddha statue.  I used
all the same techniques that I used on the right page.  I added the words:
"Protect your serenity.  Protect what is sacred"

These pages are something about my need to set a new level of priority surrounding the importance of honoring
and protecting what is sacred to me.  What IS sacred to me is my meditation and my art making.  Lately I have
been mostly focused on stressing about how to make a living as an adjunct college teacher and an artist.  The
adjunct work has been shrinking over the last few years but it really became alarming when I was only offered
one class for the January term.  It has been ok in the past because I'm also working a bit for other schools and
I can make my finances work with three classes at my primary school and other art courses I can teach, art I
can sell and individual classes from other schools.  Suddenly I am terribly under employed!  

Part of me is saying, "do what you love and the money will follow" but another is listening to creditors and
realizing that I just need a JOB, any job.  But how does one protect their sacred space when working in the
market place?  How do I get my just short of retirement age body to do what I need to do to work along side
the young and vigorous workforce of today?  I remember being one of those dynamos, working all hours
and 2 or three jobs at a time.  Be I am now in the place where I work for a while on my projects at home, or work
in the classroom for several hours, and then go and take an hour nap.  I suspect that my soon to be employer
may not approve of my required naps, lol.  

I also have a renter moving in, another teacher who is getting divorced, who just needs a couch to sleep on
while he is making a meaningful mosaic of his shattered life.  He also identifies as a Buddhist but seems to be
somewhat dismissive of much of the strange mixture of art/psychology and spirituality that comprises my world.
So how do I protect my unique self from the onslaught of an extroverted masculine who is soon to arrive?
How do I protect my sacred space?  An adventure is soon to begin.  I'll keep you informed.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 2013 Idea-A-Day Journal Spread

Cloud shape cut out of a foam dinner plate
used approximately a 2" square

In July I saw someone Else's calendar spread, a field of flowers, but it reminded me of a painting I
loved when I was younger: Georgia O'Keeffe "Sky Above Clouds IV" .  It made me want to create
a sky full of clouds for August and do a Dream-a-Day record for August.  Cut out a cartoon cloud
shape (doesn't look like O'Keeffe after all) from a foam dinner plate.  It is so cool that I can cut out
any shape I want from a foam plate, as long as the shape falls within the approximately 2" square size,
and on a 8" X 10" journal page you can get 3 of those shapes on the left and 4 of the shapes on the
right (or do it the opposite way) to make your calendar for the month.  

I made my foam template, traced around it, drew the month/title and numbered the days.  The trouble
was, although I am a person who frequently remembers my dreams I didn't as August began.  Instead
I have been waking up with brainstorms--ideas of projects to try and solutions to problems, feeling as
strident as marching orders.  So my clouds became thought bubbles and here we are.

I used Tombo Markers for the words and numbers and to outline each thought bubble.  Sharpie Pens
and Gelli Roll Metallic Pens for details.  The background is Derwent InkTense Water soluble Pencil,
Iris Blue.  Brushed around with water.  I like the blotchy effect, like the real variations in a cloudy
sky.  Already getting ideas for what I want to focus on each day for the next months.  No surprise
since I am a person much more excited by the idea than the work involved in manifesting the idea;
although the process and all the problem solving and discovery is actually more fun in reality. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 2013 Mandala a Day Pages

Completed July 2013 Spread (right)
Completed July 2013 Spread (left)

Description of page background and banner pages in previous post
Mandalas drawn with Sharpie Pens, Gelly Roll Metallic Pens,
Office Max Metallic Markers, Tombo Markers, Pitt Pens

Mandalas drawn with Sharpie Pens, Gelly Roll Metallic Pens,
Office Max Metallic Markers, Tombo Markers, Pitt Pens

Here is my July 2013 Mandala a Day calendar spread.  I must confess that sometimes I've had to play
catch up to keep somewhat up to date.  I've always doodled mandalas like these but have rarely used
them as part of my art creations, so it feels good to acknowledge their importance to me.  I'm part of 
Dion Dior's Wisdom Circles group on facebook and appreciate how she honors the mandala in art.

I think the thing I've learned the most by making mandalas as art on my July calendar is how
to begin to make my favorite pens work together.  I love my sparkly Gelly Roll Metallic Pens but
not all of my usual pens want to write and draw over them.  So here is what seems to work: draw
the basic mandala with the Sharpie Pen (I've got a range of colors) and then next with the Tombos 
and add sparkle with the Gelly Roll Pens.  Tough to use a brush with Twinks (Twinkling H20s) and
Silks (acrylic glaze with mica added) since the mandalas on this page are size limited. I'll post a
picture with all my mandalas completed at the end of the month.  

My birthday month has been pretty good except it's been too hot in Colorado!  As a birthday gift
to myself I got my car's air conditioning fixed--oh happy day!  Started teaching at an additional 
technical college mid-month and have been paying my time and attention to Soul Collage.  It is
really a healing process!  I'll blog about that sometime this week.  Getting excited about my August
calendar spread.  Going to do pages like Georgia O'Keeffe Traveling Above, Looking Below cloud
painting that I often used to visit at the Art Institute of Chicago.  I'm going to attempt to record a
dream each day in the cloud/day shapes.  What image or idea are you going to play with in August?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2013 Art Journal Calendar Pages

Reeves water soluble crayon, cardboard star
Stars traced in silver pencil, erased

Deja Views Banner Stencil
multi-media paper colored with Reeves WC crayons

Days decorated with gel pens & markers
Banners cut in pieces for each day

Page decorated and journaling added

Page decorated and journaling added

This is my July 2013 calendar page.  I've committed to creating a calendar page spread for each month for the rest of the year.  This is only my second month.  I did want to do something with stars and stripes but did not want to do the traditional red, white, blue.  I settled on a sky blue with dark pink days.  I colored the star background and the banner strips with Reeves Water Soluble Crayons, a set I just picked up last week.

I scribbled on the color and then used a damp sponge to spread the color around.  I like that it looks like the sky.  I intended to use a guide to draw on consistently shaped stars and then paint them in white.  When I made a tracing error I erased it with a white eraser and found that the eraser erased the background color as well.  I kind of liked the ghostly, cloud-like star gotten by erasing within the lines.

I next used a hand-me-down banner stencil to make the days.  I originally intended for the banner to be continuous but later decided on cutting the banner into random rectangles for the days.  Took me a while to arrange the days coherently but found that they eventually looked right as I puzzled with them.

I decorated each day with Martha Stewart makers, Pitt and Micron Pens, Sakura Metallic Gel Pens.

I've decided to do a mandala doodle a day this month.  Really like the idea of my calendar page spreads helping me to know more surely when I made or completed each page in each journal.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 2013 Calendar Page Progress

June Calendar Spread with doodles and notations: Pitt Pen,
Spectracolor colored pencils, Sakura metallic Gelly Roll pens

June Calendar Spread before doodles added: Dylusions Ink, gesso,
sponge, Pitt Pen, cut-outs from envelope art, Joanna Grant's free
backgrounds with light added, Sakura metallic Gelly Roll pens.

I'm making my July 2013 calendar spread on June 29th with my visual art journaling group so time to talk about making the June pages.  This group is also on Meetup.

I am so happy!  I have every color of those beautiful, super-saturated Dyan Reaveley's dylusions ink sprays but sometimes find them too intense and too hard to control.  With these pages I cracked the code for how I can use these great colored inks in a way that makes me happy.  I sprayed the Campso Teal ink spray on a disposable plate and then sponged the color on my page.  I then sponged gesso onto that.  Love the variation in color!  I then cut 2" squares from a Joanna Grant free background page which I scanned into Picassa, which is a free Microsoft download for managing images, and added light to make the writing show up more easily on my days, printed that out.  Glued on cut-outs from envelope art flower doodles.  Drew the words for June 2013 on the background paper and cut them out.  Drew the numbers for the days in Sakura Gelly Roll metallic pens.  BTW, Joanna made these backgrounds with collage and the Gelli Plate.

And now, some three weeks later my June 2013 is almost finished.  Like last year I ended up making
botanical doodles on most day squares. My friend Alice gave me a set of (now discontinued) Spectracolor colored pencils.  They are very creamy and visually delicious! Guess they are most similar to Prismacolor colored pencils.  It's been very fun to play with them on this page.

I am committing myself to making a calendar spread for each month on-goingly now.  Seems like a great way to keep track of major events and to put my various journals in the context of time, when I look back at them.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Artist's Brain Jam

Today I need to blog about "Artist's Brain Jam" as opposed to "Artist's Block".
I think of artist's block as an experience of being in the doldrums, a place of 
no motion where the creative flow, like wind and water around a ship, is still and heavy.  Becalmed.  There is a feeling of not knowing what to do.

In contrast "Artist's Brain Jam" is when the flow of ideas, images, techniques, alluring supplies and materials, all completing for attention, swirl around me like a hurricane.  I find myself able to focus for fleeting moments on bright colors and shapes as they rocket past me.

How did I get to this state?  Part of it was feeling like I had a little more free time this summer and asking myself what I wanted to do with that time.  Hmmmm.  Learn to sew better and make some art quilts (got a new-to-me sewing machine); get an easel and go back to oil painting in the garage (bought a new-to-me studio easel); try some new mixed media techniques; take a couple online classes.  Oh, and unpack from my recent move, finish the three books I've started writing, finish designing and producing the online classes I want to teach on three different platforms.

Then I signed up for 21 Secrets. 21 mini-workshops, each with a different
artist/teacher teaching multiple mixed media art techniques.  Open until
the end of the year.  Oh, and, like a dieter left alone with a plate of
lovely cookies, I signed up for a class on Craftsy plus added 10 or so classes
to my wish list there.  Also signed up for Juliana Cole's League of Extraordinary Journalers, MaryBeth Shaw's Stencil Club as well as a Soul Collage workshop.
Plus somehow I joined a dozen or so artist's facebook groups.  Oh, and there were those courses with the amazing Joanne Sharpe as well as the astounding Jane LaFazio.  Might take that one course from Pam Carriker and Craftsy just emailed me to say they would like to offer a sale price on one of the courses on my wish list.

Know that Zen story of the centipede and toad?  I think I first read this
anonymously penned tale in Alan Watts book The Way of Zen.

The centipede was happy quite
Until a toad in fun
Said, 'Pray, which leg comes after which?'
This raised her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch,
Considering how to run.

My brain feels like that now--flat on my back with legs and arms waving in a distracted way.  Gee, who did this to me?  Note to self: don't leave my
artist self alone with a credit card and the internet on payday.  All those
brightly colored candy jars are just too attractive to resist.

Of course some good will come from my personal indulgence. Probably a little nap will help with my overwhelm headache.  Here's something, although still on lesson one of Valerie Sjodin's Embellishing Edges and Text. My first page popped out from that workshop, below.

"One day you finally knew what you had to do and began."  Mary OliverPencil, Pitt Pen, brush markers and Gelly Roll metallic pensfrench curves to shape the right edge of the page.
Flowers perhaps inspired by my trip yesterday to "The Enchanted Gardens Tour of Northwest Denver".  But the face was a surprise.  I started with the shaped edge of this page and then worked along the upper, lower and left edge.  Next I added the quote, a find from my sketchbook.  The negative space suggested
a face.  She looks like a cartoon of a Flemish portrait, the queen of hearts
and my niece.  Makes me want to start painting a few Matisse style portraits,
something I did in art school.  For the last years I've been focused on
botanical imagery.  Good advice from Mary:  let yourself finally know how
to proceed (at home) rather than frantically traveling to foreign lands (or workshops) seeking wisdom and inspiration.  Trust that you will know.

Finally, I want to include the Chuck Close quotes below.

"Sign into the process and see where it takes you"
"Inspiration is for amateurs.  The rest of us just show up and get to work."
"All the best ideas come out of the process itself.  They come out of the work itself"
-Chuck Close
Inspired by the CBS interview of Chuck Close, part of their "Notes to Self Series".  So many great statements about how and why to engage in the artistic process. And one of the places that true to you ideas and inspiration comes from.  I've blogged about this video and these pages before, but needed to include these thoughts in this blog about being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of artistic ideas available to us online. Chuck reminds me to show up and engage in the process and see where it takes me. That the true learning and access to fresh ideas most often comes for the work itself.  

Don't need to buy a ton of shiny new art supplies or sign up for 30 classes.

Do check out an online class or two, but pace yourself.  And print out your
craft store coupon of the week and see what one item you can buy with it. 

I'm learning to practice moderation.  Let this be an artist's moral tale. Keep those feet on the ground. Take your creative self to the studio (however small or temporary it may be).  Look inside, not in an anxious way, but through turning your curiosity towards an exploration of what comes out of your artistic process itself.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Found Impressionist Landscapes

1.5" squares glued into my sketchbook in prep for a June calendar spread (left)
free background download from Joanna Grant

1.5" squares glued into my sketchbook in prep for a June calendar spread (right)
free background download from Joanna Grant

Joanna Grant free background download
acrylic, Gelli Plate, collage

Joanna Grant free background download
acrylic, Gelli Plate, collage

Joanna Grant free background download
acrylic, Gelli Plate, collage

I recently downloaded 4 of Joanna Grant's free backgrounds.  I was 
starting my visual art journal calendar for June and thought I would
cut squares out of Joanna's backgrounds which I'd downloaded and 
printed.  As I looked at the squares I suddenly "found" dozens of 
"Impressionist Landscapes".  Ah! Heaven!  I messaged Joanna to tell
her of my "find".  What a dear heart.  She said "Yaaah" when I told her
I was going to make some paintings using squares cut from her backgrounds.

Joanna tells me that her free backgrounds were created using her
Gelli Plate, acrylics and collage.  Aren't they gorgeous?  Also a reminder to
play with your Gelli plate as well as look at your old watercolors, paintings, etc.
Scan them, cut them up and look for your own Impressionist Landscapes inspiration.

Want to sew it, stuff it, paint it, journal it...the possibilities are endless.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mandala Flower Doodles

Mandala Flower Doodles

(made during Ro Bruhn's "Flower Power" workshop, 21 Secrets 2013)

Tombo and Martha Stewart brush markers,
Pitt Pen, business envelopes 
Fun Flowers on tags and bookmarks

(made during Joanne Sharpe's "Bling It On" workshop)

tags, fabric paint, glitter glue
Mandala Flower Doodles

(sketchbook doodles in an essay notebook)

Gelly Roll metallic markers, Tombo and Martha Stewart
markers, Koi watercolor, Pitt Pen

Something has come together for me recently.  I've been doodling
mandalas for many years.  All my day timers, papers and notebooks
are decorated with mandala doodles.  Not consciously "art", just
doodles.  In my "real art" life I've been going to the Botanic Garden
in Denver and drawing flowers, my favorite thing.  As I'm writing
this I realize that this is like my art and doodling during art school.
In the studio I was painting in a Neo Expressionist style and in
private I made botanical sketches.  Hmmmm.  

Know it has a lot to do with what is artistically intuitive and natural
and what is considered "legitimate" art.  Not sure what it means
but I had a revelation when I posted my mandala flower sketch on
the Dion Dior's facebook page Wisdom Circles.  Without thinking I
wrote "Wisdom Grows". Caused a psychic shiver.  Something about
drawing and painting and doodling the circular shapes of flowers
connects parts of myself as well as petals and stems.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gifts of the Muse Journal Pages: It's OK to Go Inside

"It's OK to Go Inside" pages, first stage 

Credit card scraped acrylic background, stenciled acrylic spirals
with Tombo Marker detail. Clipped out raised wall-paper scrap colored
with stamp ink, spray ink, Tombos. Magazine clips of sea vegetation.

"It's OK to Go Inside" page left

Recollections "snow" opaque marker, Pitt Pen, Office Max metallic marker
fish cut-outs recycled from copy of my prayer flags
"It's OK to Go Inside" page right

Recollections "snow" opaque marker, Pitt Pen, Office Max metallic marker
fish cut-outs recycled from copy of my prayer flags

In my visual art journaling group I've been opening each session with a 
guided imagery taking us down to a garden to meet with our creativity
muse.  In our meetings we've asked to receive a symbolic gift (like a shell,
etc.) or a message of insight and encouragement.  I've begun to call this
activity "Gifts of the Muse".  In this group my muse (yes, I meet with my
muse while doing the guided imagery) reassured me that "It's OK to
go into your shell".  I do a number of extrovert seeming things in the
world like teaching in the classroom and running groups but I am a
dyed-in-the-wool introvert.  In the US the extrovert rules and sometimes
I feel guilty or weak because I need alone time and become exhausted
when I overextend myself in the outer world.

I recently showed my psychology class this great Susan Cain
TED Talk about introversion.  

It reminded me about how our culture treats introverts like failed
extroverts.  Introverts need to remember the gifts available to 
those who turn inside to be inspired and energized.  Because I am
blogging for creatives and we tend to be an unusual and thoughtful lot
I just wanted to share my muse's words:

It's OK to be an Introvert
It's OK to be Reflective
It's OK to Think and Dream
Go inside
It's OK to go into your shell
Go inside. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

More Envelope Art

My first window envelope art, about a year ago.  Alcohol ink and markers

My first envelope doodles this year, markers and Pitt pens.

Envelope 2.  Jane LaFazio inspired flowers and a blue-bird drawings.  Pitt pen, markers, Gelly Roll pens.

Envelope 3.  My more usual doodled mandala flowers. Pitt pen, markers.

Close up from envelope 3.  I really like the wavy lines and curlies.

I signed up for 21 Secrets this year when it first opened.  I've only had a chance to do the first
assignment in Ro Bruhn's "Flower Power" workshop.  In her workshop we were asked to make
flower doodles on the inside of business envelopes.  This background was used in order to add
interest to our drawings with the envelope security patterns.

I think this series of envelope doodles is interesting in terms of my various styles.  The first
doodles seem blobby and overworked.  For the second envelope I was looking at some Jane
LaFazio flower drawings.  I like the second set better, but they look like Jane LaFazio's flowers,
not mine.  I drew the bluebirds from a Google image of bluebirds and ended up being pleased
with how the male bluebird turned out.  I think the female does not exactly have a bluebird shape
but I like her as a generic bird drawing.  So, after envelope 2 I was more relaxed,
happy, playful.  I returned to my usual mandala flower doodles and even tried a curly wavy line
around my final doodle.

I'm not sure what it all means but it is interesting that my doodles progress during my three attempts.
Makes me think about how useful it is to warm up, experiment, relax and play, and persist.  Also
love the up-cycling of business window envelopes.  Life gives you phone bills?  Answer the call to creativity.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Prayer Flag ARTsignment

Rice paper with stencils and spray ink over Gelli Plate monprint (acrylic)
Details of Koi and lily pads with Twinkling H2Os.

Rice paper with stencils and spray ink over Gelli Plate monprint (acrylic)
Details of Koi and lily pads with Twinkling H2Os.

Rice paper with stencils and spray ink over Gelli Plate monprint (acrylic)
Details of Koi and lily pads with Twinkling H2Os.

I am going to start blogging about  ARTsignments that I've created.  This one has to do with creating prayer flags
to fly to put your prayers "out there" to the universe.  Also serves as a great visual reminder.
In the text of the activity I've referred to "your client" but I think that this will be an activity you can do yourself.
My prayer flags, which I haven't written on yet or permanently attached a ribbon to, are about aligning with
what it means being in "Flow" for me.  I have an affinity to lovely Koi and water as well.  When you complete
this ARTsignment please leave a comment below about the insights you gained from this process.

Prayer Flag ARTsignment

Gayle Bodine April 23rd, 2013


This ARTsignment is based on the idea of Buddhist Prayer Flags and Vivika Hansen DeNegre’s
Prayer Flag Project.  Vivika was inspired by the Tibetan prayer flags that her family hung
in their home.  Here’s how Vivika describes it:

“My family has several strings of flags hanging in our home... not because we are Buddhist
or even know what the writing or symbols upon the colored fabrics mean, but because they
are beautiful and a reverent reminder that our prayers are heard and answered.  In a
nutshell, it is believed that the prayers on the flags are lifted to God and spread throughout
the universe as they flutter in the wind.  Everyone who is touched by that wind,
is touched by the prayers.  The wind spreads the prayers through the world,
extending happiness, good will, and peace”.

Vivika suggests a 5” X 8” rectangle of fabric (I used rice paper) with 3” folded over on the
short end to make a pocket for string to hang the flag.  One can use twine, ribbon, etc.
for hanging them.  The pocket can be closed with a line of stitching, hot glue or duct tape.


A person’s prayers or heartfelt wishes are often closely related to the Principles they hope
to enliven in their lives.  In this ARTsignment the client can activate what they wish to
manifest through the creation of a prayer artifact. 

1.     Talk about prayers and heartfelt wishes.  Talk and/or write about prayers that s/he would like to send into the world.  Alternatively ask your client to choose one of the ARTbundance Principle cards from the coaching room deck that they would like to explore through the making of a prayer flag.

2.    Use rice paper, paper cloth
or light weight fabric like muslin.  Cut rectangles approximately 5 “ X 8”. 

3.    Fold over and sew, glue or tape an approximately 3” pocket for hanging your flag.

4.    Decorate your flag using paint, collage, spray ink and stencils or your medium of choice.

5.    Write your prayer on your (fully dried) flag with permanent marker or fabric paints with applicators designed for a fine line.

6.    Discuss sending this prayer out on the wind as well as displaying it.  Journal about what this means.

7.    Your client’s prayer flag(s) can be a visual reminder to give energy to the Principles and goals that are of meaningful to them.  You could also suggest that your client make a prayer flag for each one of the Principles.

8.    Your client can also connect with healing community through this activity by making a flag for themselves and also one to be hung with others in the ARTbundance workshop.  The client could also submit an image of their flag to the Prayer Flag Project.

side note: the Koi images were stenciled on.  I made a cardboard stencil from my Koi drawings.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Finding Flow as an Artist

My Creativity Muse "Flo"

Detail of Flo's Teacups

Drawing with Associations (my invention) Style Mind-map

I suppose some might have wondered about the drawing of a genie that I use as my profile picture on facebook.
She came out of a creativity coaching training I have been in since July 11, 2012.  I worked on this training every
week until around September, then got distracted by changes in my job, a move, life in general.  Have decided this
week to finish up the training and go for certification as an ARTbundance Coach and Practitioner.  

I am actually already an art therapist (got my master's in 1989) but, after spending years working with women and
 children struggling with PTSD and other effects of childhood abuse, I realized I was struggling with my own
depression and secondary traumatization (also called compassion fatigue).  So I closed my art therapy office and
went to college teaching to support myself and my son.  It is now 11 or so years later and I am aching to return to
using creativity and art as an agent of healing and my primary source of income.  I kept my hand in as an artist
by making artsy scrapbooks, then artist cards (ATC).  Slowly, but surely art making has become central to my
life again.  I've taught botanical art classes for the last two years and as an art teacher and artist, in any spare
moment I have continued to connect to healing through self expression.

Back to the image of my inner creativity muse.  In the first weeks of the ARTbundance training we were
asked to "Create and converse with an ARTbundance Muse".  I was no stranger to connecting with inner
resources and the idea of an artist's muse but was eager to create a personal image related to this idea.
That's how "Flo" was born.  Of course my subconscious sprang into action to provide me with cues and 
clues for connecting with the source of my creative expression.  I love Flo because she reminds me of so
many things, one that the genie appears to manifest wishes when the tea pot is properly warmed and tea is
correctly brewed.  For me this represents mindfulness meditation, like a tea ceremony, serving others
and myself through contemplative steps.  

Once the genie appeared, in my image, I could see what she is holding in her right hand.  It is an artist's 
palette, and from it grows a body of work related to nature.  I was surprised that the books I want to write
and my ability to "fill my cup" and the cups of others comes from my work as an artist.  Many art therapists
and artists know this well, although it is easy to forget, that authentic creativity is the source of creative
expression, inspiration and healing.  

I lost my steam (ha, that's a pun) before the training ended in October of 2012.  Now I am picking up the 
missing pieces and finishing assignments.  I started with reviewing notes and making a list of tasks to complete.
In week 13 I was supposed to create a way to gauge connection to my source of core motivation. 
Marney Markridakis (founder of ARTbundance) calls this your "ultimate motivator" or "OH!" or One Hunger.
Guess one could also call it your purpose or source of passion.  The "OH!dometer" I was to create gauges how
 connected you are to the way you want to feel everyday.  

I decided that the way I want to feel every day is in FLOW.  You may also know it as being "in the zone".
I am a great supporter of Positive Psychology, the psychological approach that focuses on what works, the
gifts of individuals, and how happy and successful people respond to life.  One proponent of this approach is
Mihaly Csikszentmicalyi who writes about Finding Flow.   The assignment asked me to brainstorm the
things I can do when I don't feel connected to my OH!.  So I asked "What fills my cup"?  

I ended up enlarging the tea cup portion of my muse drawing and making it into a "drawing with associations".
I found a reminder of the activities that are essential to keep me in my flow.  They are: meditation, time in the studio 
making art, time in nature, exercise and healthful eating, seeing beauty in the world, being grateful and staying
connected to my wild heart.  I was surprised that writing turned out to be an activity right up there with
mediation in terms of fueling flow.  So I'm writing to you tonight.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Visual Art Journal Exchange

Visual Art Journal Exchange Cover and Back

Duct taped back, Wood Icing leaves with Stencil Girl Stencil, Distress Stain and Gold Marker 
Shared Art Journal inner cover and page 1

Collage, tea bag stain, Martha Stewart Markers, Tombo Markers, Sharpie Pen, Stencil Girl flower stencil

Below: pages 2 and 3

Decorative tape, acrylic paint, collage, newspaper; Sharpie Pen, Koi Watercolor, Office Max metallic pens

My friend Lisa, who lives in Nebraska, and I are going to exchange our 5 X 7 Strathmore Visual Journals.  The plan:  I fill a few pages in my journal, and hers and send both journals to her.  She fills a few pages in my journal and hers, then sends both back to me.  This way we both end up with a journal to keep.

Along the way we can inspire each other with new ideas and techniques and share some snippets of our lives.  I want to show Lisa what I'm up to and want to know what she's up to artistically as well.  

In this digital age it's great to see the work of others electronically, but nothing beats the experience of holding and looking at actual pieces that others have created.  Sort of the same, for me, as seeing great art in books and then getting the opportunity to see those same pieces face to face.

What I'm up to: embracing Spring and appreciating new beginnings and new growth.  Experimenting with stencils and Wood Icing, trying new materials.  Trying to practice compassion and grow spiritually as well as artistically.  Working from images that inspire me, working in layers.  

We are just beginning so just sending my journal off, tomorrow, for the first time.  Can't wait to see what
Lisa creates!