Art · art journal

Planting A New Story

Today, I stepped into a creative flow that I haven’t experienced very often, but hope to experience much more often in the future. In my writing practice, I have been doing something different. I have been coming to the blank page and writing what comes to me, and it is working! I wrote 2000 words today, and a part of the puzzle was put into place.

I normally write in a chronological way, and I get stuck wondering…what happens next??? and my creative flow just stops. But when I come to the blank page, and just write a description of whatever image I see or words I hear in my head, scenes just start to branch out from there, and I spent most of the time trying to get it all down in a frenzied state. Another approach that has been working for me is starting out asking the question “What if…” at the top of the blank page and then creating a scene with whatever comes to my mind first.

Today, an image and words showed up. My protagonist emerged as an 8 year old in an orphanage and said to me, “I was angry all the time, even at a very young age. I could never figure out where the anger came from.” And the story just took off from there.

Stepping into the creative writing flow might have something to do with taking the weekend off from writing. I decided on a creative practice routine which includes writing Monday through Friday and then making art on Saturday and Sunday. My grandmother passed away on Saturday, August 25th, and that brought me into the space of grieving. Maybe moving into a different space, created space for my creative mind to slow down and breathe. As I sat on the couch last night, binge watching television, an idea I had had before for an art journal project I’m working on came back to me in a sudden flash. I have been creating an art journal using pages from Meera Lee Patel’s Start Where You Are and an art journal I made by hand. I ripped out the next page in the book which had to do with leaving behind old stories that no longer work for you. You can see the page from the book on the left side of the spread below with my flower embellishments. On the right, is the layered garden I created with my old stories/beliefs, black gesso, textured paintbrush ends, gel pens, my new stories/beliefs, watercolor paints, and Gelatos. Along with the pictures below, I discuss the process I used to create the garden.

The prompt from the book was “What do you wish you could leave behind?” So, I wrote my answers out all over the page as you can see below. They included old stories I have been living through the lens of and old, worn out beliefs that I have been living by.

Then I covered them all up with a homemade black gesso (I mixed black acrylic paint with white gesso) as a way to erase them, but also to create the soil to sow the seeds of new stories and new beliefs. Then I ran a textured paintbrush end all along the page to till the soil.

Then I added some embellishments with watercolors and with a gold gel pen wrote out my new stories and my new beliefs that I want to embody to serve as a kind of fertilizer for the garden, and then added golden dots throughout to serve as seeds.

Then on top of that layer, I added the blooms using watercolors and Gelatos to signify the blooming of these new stories and new beliefs in my life.

Art · art journal

Start Where You Are: A New Spread

I find it fascinating that if I give my creativity even the slightest nudge, it will take off. For today’s creative practice, I decided to return to the #StartWhereYouAre book by Meera Lee Patel. In my #handmadeartjournal I’ve been pulling out the pages and using her art work to create the left side of the spread along with my own embellishments, and then answering the prompts with my own writing and art work on the right side of the spread.

A few weeks back, I reached a point where I was stuck. The prompt asked the reader to list her passions on one side and the goals that encompass them on the other. I don’t know what my passions really are. Lately, I’ve been working to disentangle my own passions from the passions, opinions, guidance, and judgment of others. Because I couldn’t answer that prompt, the book, and my journal, just sat there staring at me every day.

So today, I decided to approach it by starting out simple. I would just create the left side of the spread with Meera Lee Patel’s artwork and then deal with the answer to the prompt on the right at another time. But…my creativity took over. It said: Who said you need to know right now what your passions are? Why can’t you just say you don’t know? It was right. So, instead of writing down my passions, I wrote down my dreams, and my confusion about what is mine and what belongs to others. I wrote and then turned the page and wrote over it again. Then I just let my intuition take over, and WOW! Like Meera Lee Patel says…Start Where You Are!

I am constantly amazed by what happens when I just let my intuition take over without judgment or parameters. Things I never would have thought of emerge. Once again, I have proven to myself that if I just sit down and start, my creativity will take over and something will get made!


Start Where You Are: Courage

For today’s sketchbook practice, I did another two-page journal spread using a page from Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel. Using the torn out page, “Courage, dear heart,” I played with some new stamps and stencils I got in the mail today. Some worked out really well, and others did not, but it was fun playing with them all.


Start Where You Are: Fears

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.