Art Journaling

Not sure how I ended up at Artistic Art Workshops’ website. But I’d like to send you there also.

My younger years were spent keeping diaries. (Shredding them years ago, as they seemed a waste of space that kept me in the past.) Combining visual images with words, I’ve tried Art Journaling, before. But a sort of perfectionism set in quickly. Words or images would come, but usually not together. The beautiful, large, mixed media journal I had purchased to start this path went back in the pile with the other sketchbooks.

For the past two weeks I have been using Shelley Klammer’s Deepening Creativity method found on the website linked above. The simplicity is it’s beauty. A notebook or sketchbook, a pair of scissors, a glue stick and a pen. Three images, one word and 10 minutes. That’s it.

It’s instinctual. You allow your insides to pick. No thinking, just whatever visually appeals to you. And then you ask “What does this collage say to me?”

Shelley Klammer suggests meditating or waiting to the end of the day to write your thoughts about your image. That doesn’t work for me, as they come quickly, so I glue them down and write immediately. And, I’ll admit, somedays I might have more than three images or more than one word. (Yeah, I’m such a rebel.)

Ms. Klammer sends a thought-provoking email about every other day. I find myself looking forward to her emails. And I really look forward to my journal time each day.

To put it simply, this process totally changed my perspective on one day in particular. The revelation made me laugh out loud about something I’d thought I always believed! On another day, Ms. Klammer’s email touched on exactly what I had journaled about earlier that morning.

While my written journal is far too personal to share on this blog, I’ve included some of my favorite images. Most of my material comes from the “to do” pile next to my computer, the junk mail, or a pile of incomplete paintings.

The Deepening Creativity e-class is free and offered on the website on the right hand side bar. Even if you’re not an artist, or writer looking to deepen your creativity, I’m thinking you’d probably learn an awful lot about yourself. And, it’s a great way to recycle. Please check it out.

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Special Place

Edwin B. Forsythe - Watercolor $200 unframed
Edwin B. Forsythe – Watercolor $200 unframed

With the skyline of Atlantic City as a backdrop, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge provides a safe and wonderful oasis for wildlife and humans. About an hour from our home, it is our “go to” on a beautiful day. Walk the trails, or drive the wildlife loop. Birdwatching is usully our top priority. But lunch eaten in the car overelooking Gull Pond is magical. The afternoon light brings a golden glow to the marsh grasses, and combined with a clear blue sky the visual beauty can send shivers down my spine.

Winter brings snow geese with a vibration that has to be felt to understand. Spring is the lovely migration of warblers. Summer means no leaving the car for fear of being carried away by the bugs, but shorebirds test (and admittedly frustrate occasionally) my skills in identifying these seemingly all too alike creatures. And fall, with it’s color and Marsh Hawks sweeping low over the grases makes me long to be able to fly.

Always filled with the unexpected, the delight, I feel like I’m whole, at peace and at home. When we pull into the parking lot, the expansive, sweeping view of wetlands and the wildlife loop brings a collective sigh from both of us.

What is the draw? Is it the physical beauty? The delight in the possibility of the unexpected that keeps you so in tune to the present moment. Perhaps the diversity? Or the fact that it brings me back to the beauty of the day that’s been given to me.

When we listen to our souls, our special places become ingrained in our blood like DNA. Bringing us back again and again. Where do you go to experience the “special”? My hope is that you’re heading there soon.

Creatively Connected?

Watercolor - Private collection
Watercolor – Private collection

She sat demurely on the bench with her computer notebook drawing a rudimentary rabbit in bright primary colors. Surrounded by adults, she looked small, out of place and insignificant. The reception was an awards presentation at the local art show.

Always on the lookout for an opportunity to encourage creativity, I complimented her on her drawing. Asking her if her mother or father had a painting in the show, her father told me she was the model for the gorgeous pencil drawing that her grandmother had done. It had received a second place in the show and you could see why. Love permeated the soft drawing. The judge’s comment: “Ringlets in hair make you long to run your fingers through it.”

Charmed by her heart-shaped face, and feeling an inexplicable need to make the evening less boring for her, I suggested she look around the room, find her favorite painting and try to draw it. Her mother was thrilled, and encouraged her to leave her seat to begin the discovery.

Later I watched her standing proudly with her computer, drawing her rendition of a large watercolor still life. Her confidence amidst this room of elders made me smile. The need to create had once again prevailed, removing barriers and connecting across all ages.

When her grandmother discovered what she was up to, I could see the genuine surprise and laughter in their exchange. It turned out the piece the child had unknowingly picked to replicate, was another piece in the show which had been done by her grandmother.

I believe, we’re all connected on some level….but that night was an especially wonderful example.

Surprise!

8 1/2 x 11 1/2 watercolor and gouache
8 1/2 x 11 1/2 watercolor and gouache
Fresh back from a vacation in the South, in amongst the junk mail was the wonderful news that my painting “Winter Finches” won a third place in the Center for the Arts of Southern New Jersey’s Annual Open Juried Exhibition.

This painting was also my “People’s Choice” winner for my body of work created in 2012. Hmmm…..think there’s a theme here!

The original is still available for purchase ($150 matted only, $200 framed.) Also, prints can be ordered from the wonderful Fine Art America website and can be found here.