Thursday, January 23, 2014

Art Journal Thursday: More Room in a Broken Heart

Most mornings I wake up with a song in my head. A few days ago, I couldn't get Carly Simon’s “Coming Around Again” out of my mind, particularly the lyric, “…there’s more room in a broken heart.” Like an itch that I had to scratch (for this can be quite maddening) I knew I wasn't going to get any peace until I worked on what that lyric meant to me. So off to the art journal.

Using a torn coffee sleeve with gesso and undiluted acrylic paint spread over it adds great texture.

It made me think about loss and how we soldier on afterwards. My grandmother, Jessie (or Nanny as I called her), suffered the loss of a husband and a few miscarriages, but she kept on with a broken but open love. Pragmatic and tough, she was still filled with love that she showered on me and the rest of her family.

Taken before they left for Guam.

She married my biological grandfather, Michael, and moved with him to Guam. A career Navy name, he was stationed there before WWII began so she came with him. There are photos of her in the jungle, the mess hall, and hanging out with friends. My uncle was born there but he and Nanny had to flee as tensions with the Japanese began to intensify. She returned home to North Carolina to find that Guam had been invaded by the Japanese. She waited for 18 months wondering what had happened to her husband, giving birth to my father and caring for my uncle. She learned that Michael had stayed behind to blow up munitions and had been captured and killed.

Applied gesso to the burlap with a dry brush, let dry and used a palette knife for the red. 

She could have given up but there were children to raise and a life to live. She met the man I knew as my grandfather and they moved to Kansas. They tried several times to have children of their own, but sadly it was not to be. Again, she had the opportunity to give up and make a stone of her heart. But that just wasn't her. She kept herself open. I am sure that she had her days, dark and full of the weight that these tremendous losses caused. But they did not over take her.

Layers of paper and ephemera with gesso, rubber stamp ink and thinned acrylic paint applied over them.

Her heart may have been broken many times, but there was still room left to fill.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Art Journal Thursday: From the Journal to the Wall

Last week I shared my goals for 2014. And then I filed them away in my art journal file. (I was starting an art journal that would have loose pages that I would bind together later.) A few days after my post, it occurred to me that the goals wouldn't do me any good if I weren't reminded of them all the time. So I decided to make them into framed art.

Now I can see the goals and align my activities to them.

My first step was to find a frame. I went to my stash and found a lovely 10 x 10 frame. But my art journal page was the wrong size. So back to the stash. I found some black art board that I rescued from the trash many years ago and cut it to size. I then mounted the page giving it a quarter of an inch border on three sides. I decided to mount it off center so that I would only have one edge to embellish.

Raided the stash for the embellishments.

The embellishment is from Prima. The flowers are cut from a Tim Holtz Sizzix Bigz die. The black swirl is cut from a Quikutz Adornment die. (A little secret--I love this Adornment die a lot. I mean tons. It's a wonder to me that it isn't in more of my projects, but it just doesn't do to repeat one's self too much.)

Seeing the goals all the time will help me align my activities to them. This is an important aspect to achieving these goals. For example, this turning the art journal into wall art included two of my goals: "Spend less" and "do more me"!

If you  have a favorite art journal page, try turning it into art that you can see all the time. I'd love to hear about your projects so please drop me a line to tell me about them!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Postcrossing: A New Project

I just joined It’s a site dedicated to exchanging postcards with people from across the world. By signing up, you can send or receive postcards from its almost 500,000 members from more than 200 countries around the world. You can send up to five at a time. The site gives you a code so they can track your postcard. I read about it in this month’s Flow magazine.

Tim Holtz stencil on craft paper that's glued to a piece of card stock.

I decided to use it as a creative challenge and handcraft postcards. It’s exciting to think that I can make contact with people from around the world. I can’t wait to get my postcards!

Old stickers and a book cut out from a book page. Postcard is bound for Bravaria!

Look for upcoming blog posts to see how this new project is going.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Art Journal Thursdays: Goal Art

We are well and truly into the new year. As it happens, I had a significant birthday just a few weeks ago. And I finished an art journal. These things collided into a desire to do a goals page. I know. There are a lot of blog posts about New Year’s resolutions. I inwardly groaned as I thought about sharing this post, but goals that are not shared are too easily forgotten. So, dear friends, here it is.

 Goals written on vintage note paper.

Goal: Do more encaustic work.
I have a fascination and abiding love of encaustic artwork. When I was little, I remember my mother taking me to an art class. We played with melted crayons; it was yummy. Plus I have always loved the idea of depth (see my blog post, “The Old Me Meets the Current Me”). So encaustic painting seems like it would be a great fit. Except for one thing; it scares the crap out of me. I took a course from Serena Barton and it took the edge off of the fear so now it’s time to do some work.

Used card stock alphabet stickers from my stash. Gessoed, painted and inked. Then all of it removed with rubbing alcohol.

Goal: Buy less stuff.
I don’t think this one needs an explanation. You know what I am talking about.

Old sticker, mounted on ephemera and a cardboard letter stencil.

Goal: Document my life. 
Scrapbooking was my gateway drug into mixed media. I used to scrapbook all the time but when I learned that I could do other things, I stopped scrapbooking. But as I culled through our family photos looking for a particular photo, it occurred to me how important these photos are. I forget things

A Tim Holtz stamp stamped on card stock and cut out.

Goal: Journal again.
But scrapbooking isn't the only way that a life gets documented. I need to keep better records of my days and the things I am doing to achieve my goals. Lastly, I need to do more spiritual journaling. Taking the time to read scripture and working through what it means to me, letting God have the space to talk to me, has had a significant impact in my life. Sadly, I have let this practice lapse. Time to start again.

Goal: Do more me.
This goal is about trust. It’s about trusting my instincts. It’s about being willing to fail and move on quickly so that I can move more toward the artist that I want to be.

So that’s the list. What’s on your list?