When Something (or Someone) Comes to an End
I had an idea for this spread before I even started, which is not usually the way I go about things in my art journal. And even with an idea or a simple plan, it often doesn't go as expected.
Although I have shared a list of materials below, I will give you a brief overview of the process. I started with india ink as first layer, pulled out some leave stamps and planned out what I would use where. I used 2 of those stamps to create "blooms" which ended up with many layers of pencil, pastel, gouache paint, plus collage elements of magazine paper and fabric, along with some embellishments.
This whole process was very slow going, but it began to pick of speed during the holidays and now it is complete.
I didn't know what the message would be until the very end, which is unusual for me. I often receive its meaning within a short time of beginning.
But alas, 2023 was a complicated year for me, to put it mildly. So it doesn't surprise me that the message came in the last few sessions in January of 2024.
Once I did, it all made sense to me: Falling Apart in Order to Bloom.
I am grateful to have experienced what I have as an individual, as a woman, a family member, an artist, a creative. This is why I say that my creative practices, are a necessity, rather than a nicety. (You can view and listen to that topic here.) My art is my way of processing deep, life changing events that impact all of me in one way or another.
My love of this process is what keeps me coming back to the page again and again, to see what my heart and Spirit is speaking to me that words might not capture initially. Image, color, texture, raw expression, the whole intuitive process is foundation to Deep Listening. It keeps me wide open to receive what I need in my core. So I can Bloom.
water soluble pastel
colored pencil, both water soluble and non water soluble
fabric in various prints
leaf stamps in various types and sizes
Have you experienced a "falling apart" in order to bloom in a new place? What was that like for you? What did you learn from it? What new undrstanding do you have of yourself now that you didn't have before as a result? How did you take care of yourself in the process?
Thank you so much for being a part of my journey as artist and creative.
Your presence is greatly appreciated. <3
I wish you the Happiest of New Years in 2024 and the very Best of Beginnings!
Let's Celebrate 2023 Together!
I will be sharing from the categories I talk about here at Beginnings which include music, journaling, art, illustration, and anything else that has inspired! Do join me as I review 2023, since, without you, there would be no blog! Right? Your readership, support and interest are an inspiration to me, and for that, I am grateful.
So let's do this, shall we? Get comfortable with a snack or beverage and read on...
This year, my JOURNALING PRACTICE took center stage. Although I do journal daily in multiple journals for multiple purposes, I found some ways to stay connected to the inner parts of me, focusing on my Higher Self and my Inner Child, as I navigated Loss and understood myself on a whole new level. Dialoguing became a Power Tool essential to my wellness and resilience during this time. The wisdom and direction I received as a result really showed me ways to take care of myself, listening to the deepest of wisdom within. It continues to be a moment by moment process, breaking patterns that no longer serve me, and creating pathways that strengthen my faith and my determination to Keep Self Care at the top of my list, making it even more primary than ever.
This can look like taking frequent breaks during the day due to fatigue, adding new foods to my diet that enhance my well being, and taking time to be quiet and induce more calm.
I continued playing in my Art Journal, using mixed media such as inks, gouache, fabric, pastel and stamping. I have found myself spending more time on each spread, many months sometimes, taking my time and enjoying each layer of creativity it gives me. Even if it's just 5 minutes at a time. Those incremental steps build upon one another for the greater whole. Sometimes all you need is 5 minutes for yourself!
I continue to keep a bullet journal with many trackers that are helpful for easy reference, whether dreams, food and sleep patterns, music, what I watch and read, along with family updates (so important!). I also use it for business for my office work.
Speaking of journaling, This past year, I've recorded quite a few short videos for my YouTube Channel (which you can view here) for those of you who follow me for journaling purposes, (Think #JournalChat!). I've answered a lot of questions and given some fun and insightful tips you can use to get yourself going and stay journaling because it's fun and relevant for you. You're welcome to drop any questions you may have in the comments below!
Well that concludes my Year in Review. I trust you enjoyed this perusal down memory lane with me for 2023; I appreciate your being here and for being a part of my life journey as I share my Beginnings with you. Your comments are always welcome.
I look forward to what 2024 will hold for me. And for you too! Remember that every day is a new Beginning and worth celebrating. And I will be here to cheer you on as always.
Wishing you the Very BEST of Beginnings in the New Year!
Going Gentle: What Is Working for Me Now
For this post, I will share with you, my dear reader, about Gentleness and why it is the Centerpiece for me in my life right now. But first, a bit of back story.
About 10 years ago, I wrote a scripture down on an index card that contained the Fruits of the Spirit:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.
These are obviously character qualities we all desire to have and be in life. And when we emulate them, we are aligned with Spirit.
When I first wrote them down, I decided that I would choose one that I was most drawn to and focus on that quality in my life, both in giving and receiving.
My first choice was LOVE. I had remembered another scripture that says, Love your neighbor as yourself.
Now the part of that I hadn’t really discovered was the Love Yourself part. I was never taught how to do that in my religious upbringing in school or church. (A life time of teaching, really). But through my own study and discovery, I came to understand what it really meant, looked and felt like to truly love myself. And it changed my life in many ways, and it was noticeable.
The next fruit focus I chose was JOY. I took a deep dive into everything that brought me JOY. And I brought it and shared it with you, my dear reader, from newsletter to blog posts to videos. so much JOY!
Life goes on and I dealt with lots of changes on the home-front, attempting to choose Peace from the fruit list awhile in the midst of dealing with losses and responsibilities and moves and business and so much going on. It was a step by step, moment by moment process.
But in the past year or so, especially since the passing of my Dad in January, I realize now that I have HAD to choose GENTLENESS. I have always tried to be a gentle person and have even been told by some that I am gentle, which I always appreciate hearing. But being GENTLE with myself has become a key factor for me these past months.
How have I chose to be Gentle with myself? Let me count the ways:
Giving myself margin between tasks.
Resting when I’m tired. (And that includes naps!)
Realizing my limitations and not pushing myself too hard (still working on that one!)
Taking one small step at a time.
Not apologizing when I have to say no. And No is a complete sentence.
Setting boundaries where necessary, especially when I feel disrespected.
Doing more of what I love, like playing my piano and really enjoying the process.
Being careful with what I eat and listening to what my body needs and wants.
Seeing my need to cry when necessary as I continue to mourn my father’s passing (and it comes up when least expected.)
Going Gentle is Key to my Well Being, my connection with Spirit (who is oh, so gentle), and with my mind set. Slowing down. Not rushing. Taking it easy. and not feeling guilty when I don’t get it all done or when I disappoint another’s expectations of me.
Going Gentle means taking care of myself first. Because I know that everyone else has to take care of themselves first too.
I know I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but my own. (This was a deep realization I’ve had in the midst of Going Gentle.)
My prayer for all those who I love and care about is that they will have their own Gentleness Breakthrough that will change their life like it has done for mine.
And I pray that prayer for you, my dear reader and friend. Remember to Go Gentle with yourself.
We all need to learn to take care of ourselves in the best way possible. With no apology needed.
And Gentleness is key. May it unlock all the JOY you can experience and LOVE for yourself. Every Day.
What does Gentle mean for you? Make a list of ways you can Go Gentle with yourself. Choose one from the list that you’re not already doing and do it today. Create a mind map with Gentle as the Centerpiece and see what associations come up for you. Don’t censor. Just associate. Have fun with it. Then Go Gentle!
Copyright Image 2023 by Dawn Herring
Dawn Herrings is an Artist, Illustrator, Aspiring Musician, and Avid Journal Keeper. She enjoys spending time writing songs, composing for the piano, playing with all kinds of art media, including colored pencils for illustrating, exploring design and textures, having fun creating spreads in her art journal and writing about her day, her dreams and her vision in her journals. Dawn is also Office Manager and partner in business with her husband, Bill, of 33 years.
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