Category: Myself

Aug 052012

Joy Journal Project Assignment #3

I thought this day would never arrive. I was ready for this last week. Finally!

For those of you just joining us, this project has a wonderful mix of experienced art journalers and those that have never approached journaling in this way. I have laid out detailed instructions, but please take the liberty of altering/adding/subtracting to any portion of this assignment. If any step leaves you with questions, would you let me know?

And a reminder: your self critic is not allowed here. If you feel yourself judging your pages, shush that critic and allow yourself room to play. If you find yourself getting frustrated, make yourself a delicious tea, take a walk, read a book, or listen to some of your favorite music, then approach your pages fresh.

With our past assignments, we have focused on appreciation of a person in our lives, and a reminder to find that place of quiet. This month the focus will be on self. Stop for a moment and recall the things that delighted you as a child. Are they really different than the things that delight you now? Find a joyful connection with the childhood you. What makes you who you are? If you were to tell a story about your childhood that would help someone else know who you are, what would you tell that person? Allow yourself to ponder and perhaps even write out some memories.

Before going to our journals, I want to give a shout out to Jessica Herman Goodson, a friend I met at Artfest 4 years ago. She is an avid and wonderful art journaler. I was inspired by her latest project published in Pages magazine and have tweaked it to fit our purposes for this assignment.

The first thing that I would like you to do is gather your art supplies around you, pull up a chair, and sit quietly for about 5 minutes. Breathe deeply and slowly. Closing your eyes can also help in removing distraction. Think about the beautiful character traits that come so easily to you. Quiet.

Then here we go:

#1 If you’d like, slip some waxed paper underneath your pages to protect the rest of the journal.  Cover the journal pages with gesso.

#2 Collage one page. Apply gel medium to the back of the collage paper, utilizing your old magazine as a disposable surface. Press onto journal page and scrape with plastic card to remove any air bubbles.

#3  Intuitively pick paint colors. Grab what draws you at the moment. Squirt a few drops randomly on the page. Paint freely without too much thought or direction, leaving room for more colors. Add a couple more colors. If you would like the colors to blend, don’t allow the paint to dry in between colors. If you would prefer the colors not blend, allow each layer of paint to dry.

#4 Add additional marks with paints and markers. Play. Don’t worry about placement or whether it all fits cohesively. Also, on each page, write a word or phrase that defines a quality of yours, or that shares something about your being.

#5 Continue in play, adding elements to the page. Just have fun.

#6 Place a silhouette of your face down on the page. Paint around the head, holding the paper in place with your hand.
Note: To have a silhouette of my face, I had a photo of myself taken while I was standing in front of a window, so it would be high contrast. Then I just adjusted the photo to several different sizes before printing on regular copy paper. (I also “erased” much of the image before printing so as to use less ink. That is why my image is white in the center. This is totally optional.) When you cut out the silhouette image, be sure to save both the head and the “stencil” you have created.

#7 Here I added another light coat of paint and the blotted the excess away. You do what feels good for your page.

#8 Lift the silhouette and set aside.

#9 Add a silhouette or 2 or 3 to the opposite page. Here I used a smaller silhouette as a mask and painted around for one head, then used the stencil from a smaller cut-out silhouette to add smaller heads on the page.

#10 Here’s the pages after adding silhouette images with paint. Now begin to play again. Have fun adding details, making marks, journaling if you’d like.

Here’s my page as it rests now. I may add more details and continue to play with color. This page tells a story of how I thrive on change, but also find how there are many things about me that are constant, like my compassion for the broken-hearted. The mark making on this page is very personal to me. The orange doodle on the right page that is still seen as part of the silhouette was taught to me by a dear grandma-type person in my life. She’s also the one that taught me to make paper boats. I have found myself doodling this pattern repeatedly throughout my life.

I would love to see your pages and hear your stories as well. Please connect by:

  • leaving a comment with a link to your blog post -OR-
  • joining the facebook group to share photos and stories
Jul 232012

Suspended in waves of heat and other such ponderings

I lived in Jackson, MS for a short time in the 80’s. Although I wasn’t there in the heat of the summer, I noticed that the people of Jackson moved at a different pace than I was accustomed. My husband and I both asked around. “Why does everyone move so slow?” One voice remains in my mind, a thick, molasses-slow Southern drawl, “It’s ’cause of the heat.” I must say, I just didn’t get it then, but this summer, this particularly hot summer, I think I am beginning to understand.

So I’m blaming the heat for my sluggishness, my frequent naps and lack of drive. I have an exciting list of goals with deadlines and am moving at the pace of my great grandmother to get them accomplished. But my mind is still plugged in. I suppose this is the summer for pondering. Let’s all sit in our rockers on the front porch for a spell…

My greatest current ponder is about the true intent of some people. This group of some includes both artists and preachers among other shifty characters. I’ll focus on the former so as not to mix too many metaphors.

Now I haven’t always thought of myself as an artist. I don’t have a degree in the arts, but rather in accounting. When I first began my journey into creativity, I suppose I was wearing my rose colored glasses. But I had every reason to. Almost every person that I met, instructors and students alike, seemed so warm, friendly, generous and kind. I felt so very encouraged.

My first shocker was when a mixed media piece of mine was juried into a local art show. When I dropped off my painting, I was treated with disdain. To the curator of the gallery in which the show held, my piece was obvious crap and my experience lacking. I found this highly discouraging, but pushed forward.

Maybe the curator was right about my piece not fitting in the show, but I still love it.

Second shocker was being called out for copying a class that I had taken. While there were similarities to the other class, and I was using a technique I had just learned, I had not thought at all that I was copying. When confronted, I could easily see the other instructor’s point of view as she wasn’t familiar with the prior classes I’d taught, but then I was verbally attacked in an email by a friend of hers. These gals were from the same group that I had declared my tribe. When I tried to share my feelings about what had just happened, my words were dismissed as “drama.” All of a sudden, my tribe didn’t feel so safe.

And most recently, there is a blog post floating out there written by a professional artist. In the post, she makes some very relevant points about her topic, but does it in such a way as to instill a feel of exclusion and disdain for those outside of the “professional” realm. I will not refer or link to the article for a couple reasons. One is that I do not want it to receive any more traffic or attention than it is already getting which seems to be her goal. Two, if anyone tries to point out any holes in her post or address the underlying feel of contempt which is conveyed, she comes back with a comment as to how the person has missed the point and gives a detailed example as to how it was missed. In other words, negative or “other” responses are not truly being heard.

I’m learning so much through all my pondering. My biggest “aha” is to take off the rose colored glasses. In any group, some are bound to have a different approach to life than my own. I often make the mistake of assuming we all have the same end goal of sharing inspiration and art for the greater benefit of individual growth. I guess the hippie in me wants us all to be one big happy family.

Now that I’ve had a few bumpy experiences, I kind of wish that I could have do-overs. I have a wise artist friend that has assured me that some of what I experienced will happen again, so I guess I will get another shot at navigating the frustrating. I think next time I may be better prepared to see the other person’s intent rather than trying to understand what the heck just happened. And as for the last example of the “professional artist,” I know that there are so many professionals that are truly an encouragement and inspiration to others of us that are still a bit knock-kneed. I am so thankful for the beautiful group of strong artists I have been so fortunate to encounter, many of which have grown to be dear friends and mentors.

Just a glimpse of many in my tribe. They do have the best sense of humor.

It is them I desire to emulate. It is that group that spurs me on to push deeper into my own artistic voice. Thanks so much, ya’ll. xxoo


Jul 032012


I noticed a theme in our Joy Journal Project class on Sunday.

Joy Journal Project 4

Seems so many had paths as symbols of quiet, paths and nature.

Joy Journal Project 3

We really had a beautiful time, sharing thoughts and discoveries,

Joy Journal Project 2

as we painted and glued and such.

Joy Journal Project 1

While the class was intently working on their assignment, I found myself drawn into my own page, layering deeper and deeper. I was remembering my room as a little girl, the dog cards cut out and hung on yellow burlap on my wall, the little table by made bed with a special place to hold my books. I loved my cozy bed, my soft pillow, the sunlight streaming softly in my room. It was peaceful and quiet. I found it easy to rest.

Joy Journal Project class demo 1

While in Pasadena last week, I found prints of the same dog cards that hung on my childhood wall. They brought an immediate smile to my face and I knew they would be perfect for my Joy Journal.

Joy Journal Project class demo 2

But the prints were too large.

Joy Journal Project class demo 3

I couldn’t bear to cut them.

Joy Journal Project class demo 4

Folding the paper made the prints somehow even more mine.

If you are participating online, please leave a link to your blog or share on our facebook page!


Mar 172012


1 AJ front cover
Been working on deadlines for several projects.

14 AJ page 12
I find a good external deadline helps me to accomplish so much more.

12 AJ page 10
Now to find a way to accomplish internal goals with the same perseverance. But…

10 AJ page 8
I’m actually in the process of learning to be gentle with myself, planning ahead, but allowing margin for relationship and rest, self care.

6 AJ page 4
And I’m getting better with this balancing act all the time.

Dec 312011

Honor is an action verb

Choosing a word as a theme for the coming year has become a tradition for me. I have found that for each word chosen, the year has unfolded with a deep tie to it’s meaning. This past week I have been rolling around ideas, but the word, HONOR, envelops all the other choices.

Honor (verb): to regard or treat (someone) with admiration and respect : to regard or treat with honor

My journey the last few years has brought me to freedom. I feel God gave me a time of rest and showed me who He made me to be. This path has been very self focused, but necessary. But now I sense a shift. Solid in who I am, it is now time for me to become very intentional in honoring my Creator. The most awesome result from honoring God is that everyone is positively affected by it. God is just cool like that.

My plan:

  • Honor my husband, my children, my mother and father, and in-laws by planned and impulsive acts of love and respect.
  • Honor all those I come in contact with by kindness no matter their own behavior and not based on their accomplishments.
  • Honor God by being my true self, by worshiping creatively, and by listening for His direction.
  • Honor my body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit by right eating, exercise and proper rest.

Which means:

  • My mouth will need to blab less and my ear engage more so that I can sense the needs of others.
  • I will have to stretch myself in thinking of tangible ways to honor others. Action is key.
  • Self-discipline and go-with-the-flow will have to meet up and make friends.
  • Intentional communication with God is essential. I must view studio time, Bible reading, and prayer as priorities so that I hear my Father above the din of life.

Wow, writing this out makes it sound like work, but really I’ve already been haphazardly living this way. Choosing the word, HONOR, just brings a greater focus on what has already been knocking on the door of my heart. And I must share a link to an awesome sermon about honor given this fall at my church: Graceway 110611 by Jeff Cox. Yes, it was influential in my thinking.

Fabric & encaustic

What is your word for 2012? Please share a link in the comments if you have blogged about it. I want to know.

Nov 152011

Scripture pendants

AEDM Day 15

Scripture pendants cutScripture pendants wrapped
Scripture pendants almost done

More soldering. I’m so torn. I love wax, but lately the soldering has won the call.

I’m sure nobody noticed that I missed AEDM Day 14. I noticed, because when I slipped into my cozy nest of a bed, I was a bit sad about the end of the day coming before I was done with it. I have not created art every day in November for any of the years that I have participated in the AEDM challenge, but have rather learned to be gentle with myself about expectations.

Tomorrow I need to go on a glass run.


Nov 082011

Word flow

AEDM Day 8

Today I wrote and wrote and wrote so many drafts for a guest blog post. Several angles sounded flat. My chief editor said, “It has no heart.” (I love his honesty.) Back to the first draft. Swip swap.

I find joy in writing. Stream of consciousness is how the words flow. Then piecing thoughts together like a good Mexican train, matching what fits, leaving out what doesn’t. Finally comes the carving, the fine tuning, semantics.

So soon and very soon, you will get to read the guest blog post. I will sleep on it, submit it, and then let you know when it’s posted.

Nov 222010

Loving self

Art Every Day Month – Day 21
Canvas prep
Canvas prep for Faces: All Norah’s online workshop. I am ready to learn.

November has always been a stressful month for me. In years past, I struggled with seasonal affective disorder. Last year I was unaffected, and no noticeable signs this year either. I attribute the change to a very proactive stance, progesterone cream, and emotional growth. Nonetheless, November is still stressful. It is that month when I begin preparing for the continuum of celebrating and gathering and gift giving. With family traditions and a daughter’s birthday thrown in there, we are preparing for or celebrating an event until Jan. 2. I love all of these things. I just do not like the preparation, the shift in being.

I will remind you that I am an introvert. Although I do love being with others, my battery is recharged by alone time. It seems to be ultra-charged by creative time, so while being active with art every day may appear to work against the time constraints added by preparations and travel, I am so energized by taking moments to refocus and recharge. What may appear to add more stress by giving me more to do is actually decreasing my stress level because I am taking care of my most self-loving needs.

My favorite book says we should love others as we love ourselves.

Matthew 22:37-39  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  (38)  This is the first and great commandment.  (39)  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

I am limited in my capability to love others fully if I am drained and barely hanging on. Nurturing self, treating self with kindness and respect, is essential in the ability to love others selflessly. By setting proper boundaries for myself and prioritizing my most essential needs, I am really loving others more completely. I am equipping myself with the ability to give from a very full tank.

Because I am married to one who always looks at the other side, I will answer the antagonist retort. There will always be times in life in which we are out of control, in which we are not able to nurture ourselves because our lives have been so drastically smacked with shock that we turn to survival mode. There may be times in every person’s life in which nurturing self is not an option. Corrie Ten Boom immediately comes to mind.

In addition to survival mode, everyone has past wounds. I am intentionally working to heal these wounds, and training myself for that day in the future when I will have no option to nurture self. I am learning to become so in love with who God made me that when that point does occur for me, I will still have love to pour out for others. At all points, I will draw from the strength that sustains me.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

amanda ∞

Nov 032010


Sometimes when something is bothering me, I procrastinate doing what I love best. What would soothe and process upsetting thoughts would be to engage the right side of my brain, but I find so many other things that “just have to get done.”

Today I almost allowed my whole day to pass without giving myself the gift of artistic expression, but I am learning, growing, and working beyond what would have shut me down in the past. I am thankful that it is Art Every Day Month and I have my goal set.

I present to you my token and representation of love for myself, a Zentangle, for AEDM Day 3:

amanda ∞

1 comment
Jul 152009

Summer Self Portrait = Meanderings While Sweating

IMG00057.jpg on Twitpic
I sit in the heat of summer with my familiar perspiration making my face glow. (If only the models would realize that sexy shine comes from SWEAT.) The windows are open this evening, fans pushing air through the house. I have come to love the heat of summer permeating the air of my home. I choose open windows over air conditioning. What began as stubbornness a few years ago has become my preference. I was tired of giving my money to the electric company as their rates continued to rise. Now I am thankful.

IMG00055.jpg on Twitpic

Each day this summer I awaken and run a load of laundry through the washer. Then I retreat to my art studio with espresso in hand. My Bible opens and I soak in God’s amazing and living Word. I feel it penetrate to that inner chamber, that same chamber that was once sealed shut. Now the doors are flung open hungry for more truth, more love, more life. And I am ready for this day ~ whether gladness or suffering comes my way, my foundation is beneath my feet.

IMG00053.jpg on Twitpic

The temperature rises, the laundry flaps and snaps on the line. Through the open windows I can hear the birds, the loud song of the cicada, the poetry of the cottonwood. When I step outside I am not struck by a wave of heat. The warmth of summer has already permeated my home and my bones. The out of doors beckons me. I no longer dread what summer has to offer, but embrace it. As I wash dishes the sweat runs off my head dripping as the steam rises from water. As I pull weeds, the sweat rolls down my chest. Dirt is in my fingernails. Ice cream is prepared, mosquitoes slapped. It is hot. It is summer.

amanda ∞