For today’s sketchbook practice, I made a sketchbook for my boyfriend’s mother that he is giving to her as a gift. For the front and back covers, I used a piece of art he created with pastels. For the month of July, we have challenged each other to create some kind of art every day, and so far we have both met the challenge.
My favorite recent find is a deckle blade for my paper cutter. I was so excited when, while looking for a replacement blade for a paper cutter a friend gave me several years ago, I found the cutter has many different blade options including the deckle blade. Now all my handmade sketchbooks can have deckle-edge paper. Love, love, love 🙂
This afternoon, I faced my fears and read a scene from the second chapter of my novel-in-progress at the Bluegrass Writers Studio Alumni reading event. I am proud of myself for getting up there and doing it. I was very nervous, but I also had a lot of fun interacting with fellow alumni and listening to their readings. It was a joy.
Along with my other projects, I’ve been tearing apart the journal book, Start Where You Are, and creating my own art journal with its pages using one of my handmade sketchbook/journals. I love the quote pages from the book, and the exercises are interesting and fun. I thought the page I created tonight for my daily sketchbook practice perfectly exemplifies my day. The quote page from the book is “Fears are paper tigers” – Amelia Earhart. The exercise was to fill in the blank tiger sketches with your greatest fears and then color them in until you cannot see the fears anymore.
A few days back, I watched Lou Reed’s free #WomanUnleashed #ManifestingIntuitively session. I really connected with her session, and especially her #FlowerofLife exercise. Her free gift from the session was her year-long Art of Manifesting Quest, so I signed up.
This week I started the Quest, and the art prompt was to create a safe container for the work I would be doing. So, for my sketchbook practice today, I chose to create my own journal, mixing various types of sketch paper with watercolor and Bristol paper. I then stitched it together with waxed thread. I then followed the assignment by selecting images and words that spoke to me and gluing them onto the front and back covers I had created. After completing the covers, I spent some time with the images and words I had put together to find any hidden messages. It was such an insightful exercise that brought so many connections that I never would have seen otherwise. So much fun!
I recently signed up for a thirty-day “Find Your Flow” program with Karen Abend that begins on June 1st after taking part in her incredible Sketchbook Revival. My hope is that my participation in this program will help me to develop a daily practice of creating art. I have been a writer for as long a I can remember, but my struggle with persistent writer’s block, and despite it, an unquenchable desire to create, led me to art. I’m just a beginner, and don’t know much about anything, but I’m willing to give it a try anyway.
Something I’ve learned through my many starts and stops in my “creating art” journey is that it takes practice to develop skills and that learning is an on-going, life-long process – there is always something new to learn. I have come to realize that I allow myself a freedom in art creation that I have not allowed in my writing practice. I can see now how I have blocked my own writing process because of the need to always be perfect the first time around – that somehow, because I earned an MFA in creative writing, I should know everything there is about writing and what the hell I am doing. I definitely do not. I’m okay with accepting that when it comes to art, but not my writing. Why? I don’t know. I am hoping that through my exploration of art creation, I can wind myself back around to a writing practice that actually works, and along the way develop some much-desired artistic skills. I have always been frustrated with the inadequacy of words to fully encompass what I see in my mind. I am hoping that developing artistic skills will help me to fuse the two together in a way that is self-satisfying. If you are called to do so, please follow along on my thirty-day journey…and then beyond.
*The above photo is a watercolor that I created in a handmade sketchbook I learned to create in Kiala Givehand’s Sketchbook Revival session.