We’re Splashing Paint in the Studio!
Hello and Welcome Back to Beginnings. We are having Fun in the art studio creating a new art journal spread. We started with cutting fabric for a new design. This week we’re splashing paint on the substrate! I’m thinking in terms of negative space and how I want it to look organic and spontaneous in the way it shows up in the design.
In the video I show what art supplies I used to make the fun marks, along with my plans going forward with fabric. I also share the positive aspects of following intuitive clues as I make my designs and have fun.
It is my delight to be a source of inspiration to you in your own creativity! Do join me and leave a comment about what creative pursuits you are engaging in! I’d love to hear from you!
Do you pay attention to the intuitive cues that come to you through your curiosity? If so, what was the result? Did you have fun following what you were drawn to? Do you want to do it again? Explain how this felt for you and why you want to go back.
Thanks so much for being a part of my creative journey with me; I enjoy sharing it with you.
And I wish you the very Best of Beginnings!
Prepping Fabric for an Art Journal Spread
Welcome back to Beginnings, where we talk about Fresh Starts, New Cycles, Exploration, Experimentation and Creativity! This particular post is in two parts. The first part is focused on my Illustration Pic of the Week. The Second part is focused on the video content above and what I am sharing with you from my studio space. If you're interested in my illustrations from my personal journal and/or you would enjoy an inside look at my art journal process, then this post is for you!
Now on to the Illustration Pic of the Week. I create an illustration in my personal journal each evening as part of my daily journaling practice. So that's 7 illustrations to choose from for the Pic of the Week. This week I'm sharing "Prepping," an illustration to highlights the time I spent in my art journal, using a new tool for cutting fabric! I'm excited to experiment with using something other than a regular scissor to create a new design in my art journal.
In the Studio with Dawn: Art Tools of the Trade
For this Part 2 segment, I am sharing a video of my behind-the-scenes activity in my Art Studio space, and I am showing some new cutting tools, my experience with each one, and I demonstrate how I am building a design for a new art journal spread. I'm excited to try new tools that might make my work with fabric easier, since I love using fabric as collage material, which I discuss in detail and show in the video.
I decided since the Illustration and the video cover the same topic, I thought it would work well together to put them in the same post, so you can see the process of my art journaling and how it translates into something worth remembering from my day!
My goal and my delight is for you to be inspired by what you see that will lead to your own creative pursuits! It can be exciting to find a tool that really works to make creating easier and more fulfilling. I wish the same for you in whatever creative activity you enjoy engaging in. If you have recently found a tool in your creative trade that has made a difference for you, you are welcome to share in the comments below! I love celebrating with you in community!
What makes keeping your journaling practice easier? Is there a particular tool such as type of pen, journal or other accessory that you especially enjoy using? Why? Is there something you would like to experiment with that you have yet to try? How do you think it will enhance your experience?
Thank you for being a part of my artistic journey. I appreciate your presence here.
And I wish you the Very Best of Beginnings!
Come with me into my Studio as We Declutter
Welcome back to Beginnings! We are having fun in the Studio making some decisions about Art Supplies; I have recorded a Behind-the-Scenes video showing you some of my art supplies and discussing what I have determined to remove from my art supply collection and why I'm choosing to. Get a peek at some of my rubber stamp collection and Alpha stamps, and a bit of history about my Art Journalig Journey (I reveal how long I've been keeping an art journal!).
I also want to give a shout out to my daughter, Sarah, who's birthday is today, 1/23/24! I filmed this on her birthday so I want to wish her a Happy Birthday! May all your wishes come true!
Do you have any supplies that you have accumulated, whether art or otherwise, that you can declutter, that you aren't using anymore?
Let's declutter together!
It's perfect time with this being a New Year of 2024. Out with the Old, right? I'm cheering you on!
Thank you for being on this artist journey with me; and for your interest in my Studio life! (And if you give me a thumbs up on my video and subscribe if you haven't already, I will be delighted!!)
What do your art supplies say about you? What are your favorite go-tos in your studio and why? What have you been meaning to remove but haven't yet and why? Make a list and take action to make your space as inviting and relevant as possible. Happy Creating!
And I wish you the very Best of Beginnings!
Time Management with Family Updates
Hello and Welcome Back to Beginnings! For this post, I am sharing a longer form video answering a Question from Carrie, a viewer of my short video on how I do Family Updates in my journals. She wanted to know how I manage my time with these updates, especially with the various approaches I take.
Thank you, Carrie, for this question and I am delighted to answer it! I did a short version of this video that you can view here on my Art of Journaling page.
In the longer form video, I share more detail about my process with recording family updates as well as my overall approach to my evening journaling practice.
One key takeaway: Brevity helps. And abbreviating makes it easier.
I also discuss my illustration process in connection with Family Updates.
My whole desire is to make Family a Priority, making time a non-issue since I see it as an investment in what matters most to me rather than an obligation. It’s my choice to record family happenings and why they matter.
I also address the issue of being too busy to make a journaling practice a front runner in your daily activity.
I trust this Q & A will inspire you to get started or to keep up with your journaling practice in a way that is relevant, meaningful and manageable for you.
Questions and comments about journaling are always welcome; I am delighted to share my journaling experience with you! If you watch the video, please give it a thumbs up for the value it brings to you. And subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already.
Your support helps more people find my content to help them in their journaling practice in 2024!
Thank you so much!
And I wish you the Very Best of Beginnings!
How do you manage your time with journaling? Have you found a time, place and purpose for your journaling practice? How you found a way to keep it brief so you can engage with your journal that is comfortable and meaningful? You’re welcome to share below!
Blooming in 2024: My First Art Journal Spread
Hello and Welcome Back to Beginnings, where we talk about Fresh Starts, New Cycles, Experimentation, Exploration and Creativity. And this is my first blog post for the New Year of 2024, and I'm excited to bring you my first completed art journal spread, which I have titled: Falling Apart in Order to Bloom. I did the majority of this spread in 2023, starting back in July, when I was in the throws of grieving my father's passing in January (1/8/23 will be a year).
Now, what does that mean exactly? As of this writing, (1/5/24), I'm still contemplating. But in reflection, I think it speaks to the "falling apart," or breaking down phase when you are reckoning with a life changing event that correlates with some very deep rooted parts of your life experience that are foundational to who you are. And my father's passing certainly contributed to that experience. Somewhat of a metamorphosis, which entails a breaking in order to re-build and bloom. And this takes courage! And discernment of how to get from the beginning of this process to the beauty of transformation.
So here is my art journal tool and supply list used in this spread:
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!
Live Music for the First Time!
Hello and Welcome Back to Beginnings, where we talk about fresh starts, new cycles, experimentation, exploration and creativity! And I am excited to share with you a video that was originally recorded as a Facebook Live, where I shared all the new updates to my new website, plus new videos to celebrate the One Year Anniversary of Beginnings blog. And I played several songs on the piano which was a first for me, having never played LIVE before! So exciting! One of the songs I played has never been released before, titled It's Possible. I read the lyrics in the video. I also played the very first song I composed for the piano when I first got my piano keyboard almost 3 years ago. Of course, the melody has been upgraded so to speak, so I'm excited to share that with you today.
Videos mentioned are my new Welcome Message which you can view here on the home page, A Re-recording of the Beginnings theme song which is at the bottom of the home page. Plus a In Real Time video of creating the new logo for Beginnings blog which you can viewhere.
You're welcome to check out this Live Video (which has been edited) in celebration with me!
Thank you so much for your support and interest in my content here at Refresh with Dawn Herring. It means a lot to me.
Thanks for giving my videos a thumbs up and for subscribing to my channel.
My goal is always to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to your own creativity.
I wish you the very Best of Beginnings!
Let Me Show You How I Made Beginnings
Welcome back to Beginnings, the place where we talk about Fresh Starts, New Cycles, Experimentation, Exploration and Creativity. And in this special post, I am sharing a behind-the-scenes view of the Creation of my brand new Header Logo, Beginnings! I'm excited to chat with you about what Beginnings is all about and why it's important to Celebrate each beginning we encounter as well as how we can be Intentional about our Beginnings. In between chatting, I also share with you my art supplies, my color choices, and the reason for the steps I take to create this piece of art.
I recorded the above video in Real Time so you can see and hear me as we create this art together...bring some of your own art to work on if that inspires you! And I'd love to hear about what you're creating. This piece of art/logo is actually a special one because I am Celebrating One Year of Beginnings, and I'd love for you to join me.
I did record the creation of Beginnings Logo in several sessions so it's a longer video of 35 minutes, which includes introduction of what we are making and the action behind-the-scenes. It is my delight to share this with you and I trust you will be inspired with your own creativity and maybe learn something along the way. You're welcome to drop a comment, either on YouTube (and subscribe!) or right here at Beginnings, to let me know what you think, what your greatest take away is and how you've been inspired.
And of course, I wish you the very Best of Beginnings!
New Art Studio Tour & Illustration Update
Hello and welcome back to Beginnings where we talk about new cycles, fresh starts, experimentation, exploration and creativity. For this post, I’m sharing an Art Studio tour (fresh start!) (still in the organization stage but progress is progress!) along with my busy illustration happenings (both commercially for blogging and personally in my journal). You’re welcome to come along with me as I show you behind the scenes including some antiques from childhood! Plus I chat about our friendly felines in the neighborhood. I hope to inspire you in your own creative pursuits!
What fresh start are you celebrating right now? Detail it in your journal. How do you feel about it? Are you excited, uncertain, disorganized or aligned?
It’s ok to feel out of sorts with a fresh start; after all, you’ve entered some new territory. Try to take it slow and go gently. Don’t expect perfection from yourself. Where do you want to go with this fresh start? What would the ideal look like for you?
Write the smallest step you can take in this new space to make it feel like Home. And then, do it!
I wish you the Best of Beginnings!
My Song: I Believe
Hello and Welcome Back to Beginnings, where we talk about fresh starts, new cycles, exploration, experimentation and creativity.
In this post, I will be sharing with you some Music I’ve released, including lyrics and my reflections on what the song means to me, as well as some journaling prompts for further reflection.
I always get excited when I’m ready to release new music so I can share my joy with you, with the intention and hope of your spirit being lifted in some meaningful way as we traverse this world at the same time in history.
The new song I’ve recorded is titled, I Believe.
I wrote this song several years ago (I’m not exactly certain when, but it was within the past 4 years since I’ve been writing music for about 5 years, just to give you an idea.) I’ve had this song in my piano book for a long time, but recently it has really been speaking to me, and I’ve been playing it with a new cadence that is deeply meditative, with a supplications vibe toward Spirit, and for me, it is a deeply empowering message.
Here are the lyrics below:
by Dawn Herring
KEEP ME SAFE
I AM SET FREE
IT IS ALL
DONE FOR ME
I CAN SEE
WHEN YOU SEE
THE TRUTH IN ME
YOU WILL BE
(Words and music copyrighted to Dawn Herring 2023)
When I wrote this song, it was in response to my scripture study and prayers in connection to my song writing, which is a natural outpouring of what Spirit speaks to me in the moment.
In the process of writing the words, stanza by stanza, I sensed a supplicating essence that I could feel within myself. My desire to feel safe, secure, loved and heard was deeply resonant. And as I made my requests, I could feel my faith rising up, knowing I was heard and was not alone. Then a deep realization of what I actually truly have in Spirit came upon me, I felt more awake to what was alive inside.
Then, in response to my faith and supplication, I sensed a reply and directive coming from a deeply loving essence of Spirit that shared the importance of vision, clarity and truth and how Waking UP to this reality brings Freedom. Yes! What a victorious response that lifts my spirit, bringing me hope that I AM FREE.
In this world filled with so much uncertainty, we all feel the need to be protected and loved; we need that assurance that we will be ok. That we are not alone. That we can see. And with what we can see, we are Free. Free to be Who We Are. Not bound by societal standards but only the boundaries we set for ourselves, for protection and care.
Spirit is there for us when we need Spirit most, during those moments of the deepest fears, doubts, insecurities, overwhelm, and uncertainty.
As we reach out for what we need, as we seek, we will find.
And when we seek together, we can support each other through the toughest of times.
And experience freedom in community!
Sounds like the Best of Beginnings to me! How about you?
Below I provide some journaling prompts for further reflection. I trust they will help bring clarity, focus and freedom to your life in this moment. ❤️
Make a list of the times when you have felt most free, whether in childhood or whatever time comes to mind naturally. What is the common thread that you can see on this list? People? Places? Activities? Pick one from the list and detail it as much as possible, reliving that sense of freedom you felt.
Do you feel that way now? What has changed or what is different?
When have you felt the most protected? Was there someone who came to your aid, such as a good friend or mentor or a family member who really gets you?
List times when you felt the most heard. What was the conversation about? Who was listening? How did this impact and change you for the better?
What is your truth right now? What can you come back to again and again that grounds and centers you no matter what you’re facing?
Write this down on an index card and keep it in a place where you can be reminded of this central truth. ❤️?
Disclaimer: journaling prompts are to be used at your own risk. If you feel overwhelmed or emotionally distressed, please seek out a counselor or therapist or call 911.
A Parade of Cats: Sharing Our Delight with You!
Hello and welcome back to Beginnings, where we talk about Fresh Starts, New Cycles, Exploration, Experimentation and Creativity.
Well, I have a treat for you today! Below I share a story of the furry variety and what we can learn even from the beloved animals among us.
Since coming to a new neighborhood in recent months, we have had the pleasure of making acquaintance with the furry felines that stray about the ‘hood. And it didn’t take long for that to happen. No. As soon as we made our first appearance, so did they. It’s like they owned the place…and I suppose they really believe they do! Ha!
Well, I decided that I just had to share this experience with you, my dear friend and reader! Why keep the delight to myself, right?
Now, below I have shared a summary of sorts of each furry feline we have become acquainted with through conversation, observation and of course, tasty meals of the cat variety plus a bit of human delight as well. Let’s just say that when the communal bowls are filled, we like to refer to our place as The Cat’s Meow where we feature the tasty "fast food" of dry bits in the bowl (or two…), plus some gourmet options of the fish, chicken and beef variety that just hits the kitty spot! (It’s so much fun watching them devour the goodies!)
Due to the nature of the feline stray, it has taken some time to build human-cat trust, so they can be very skittish and run off if we’re not careful. (But they always manage to make their way back…)
I like to talk gently and ask if they’re hungry and looking for some nibble and assure them it’s alright. We’re just here to make sure they have full bellies!
Since they do run off, it has been difficult to visually capture them on camera. We’ve managed to get some video here and there and some photos through the window blind, so if the images aren’t the clearest, you now know why!
I will introduce you to each feline in the order we have come to their acquaintance:
Desperado (Despi for short)
Ah, Desperado! He immediately appeared when we did. Medium black fur with a spot of white on his chest and with dark yellow eyes. Despi (the nickname I use for him that he answers to!), has the look of always being worse for wear. Why? Well, in a word, cat fights! Yes, he seems to draw them unfortunately. He often has wear spots in his fur from being attacked by other male felines, especially Big Tom who I will introduce below. Plus, Despi is a very assertive cat with his loud persistent meowing for attention, affection and food. (We think he might have once been an inside cat…) Now sometimes he can be a real trouble maker, especially with using the immediate lawn as a litter box instead of being more discreet (and more so than the other cats), and even when we scold him for being less than neat about it, he does it anyway. We think he’s marking his territory concerning the other male cats, but he still gets bullied anyway. He recently has been coming and going, rather than sticking around most of the time like he used to, since he’s trying to avoid more trouble. But he still comes for the nibbles! He was our first buddy. So we have a soft spot for him.
What we can learn from Despi: Stay in your own lane and don't try to usurp someone else's spot if you can help it! (and be more civil, especially towards those who help take care of you.)
Mama Oreo with Dancer, Prancer and Vixen
When we first met Mama Oreo, she was a regular companion to Desperado. Black with white tuxedo and boots, I named her Oreo. She is quite the queenly cat in disposition and attitude. After having seen her and feeding her for several weeks, we were met with quite the surprise: three kittens! She brought them up onto the porch in pile and we were delighted to meet them and feed them as well. (You can see them feeding in the video.) Once we found out she was a female and a Mama, we were determined to give her lots of attention, especially when feeding her little ones. (No petting, just food and conversation in gentle tones.)
One day she brought up a small rat ? she killed and brought up to the porch to train her little ones. We got to see them pounce and learn how to handle their prey. She disposed of it later herself.
Her three little ones:
Prancer is a mini me, looking just like Mama Oreo, and the way she walked around, she looked like she was prancing!
Vixen and Dancer were both grey and white, Vixen being much rounder in shape, and Dancer being the runt of the litter with a stub of a tail. Whenever Dancer would walk, he appeared to be dancing. Thus his name.
The little ones are no longer in our vicinity. We hope they went to good homes.
What we can learn from Mama Oreo: You can be Queen and stately in your approach to life, even if you meet with the unexpected.
Shadow appeared from no-where one day all by himself which was quite the surprise since he was just a kitten (still is!). But Mama Oreo soon adopted him so he was like part of her litter. She even let him feed on her. Shadow has made our outdoor patios his regular pad. And since Desperado has been getting into so many fight with Big Tom, he has made himself scarce except when he gets hungry. So Shadow has been making himself the dominant Male (or attempting to!) in our space. Of course, Despi won’t hear of it and puts him in his place with bites and even hissing, even though they’ve been buddies for a while. Shadow is a beautiful kitten, all black with pale green eyes. He is the most energetic of the lot, playing hide and seek and peek-a-boo with Precious (see below), and chasing his own tail. Absolutely adorable. Shadow is our buddy!
What we can learn from Shadow: Seek and you will find. And don't be afraid to assert yourself even if you meet with resistance. Enjoy life to the fullest and have fun!
Princess (Mama) and Precious
The next family of cat includes the Mama Princess, who we had seen before a few times, along with her little one, Precious, who is play buddies with Shadow; they are now regulars at The Cat’s Meow! They look identical to each other, with white and gray coloring, which is so adorable. Sometimes they each come solo and sometimes together. Princess is rather skittish so we have to be very gentle with her and our approach when bringing food. Precious is also skittish but she has a more assertive way about her, less shy than her mom, especially when other cats are around.
It is so much fun watching Precious and Shadow play together. (You can see on the video!) Pouncing, Peek-a-boo, and chasing. Precious is always curious about what Shadow is up to and often follows him, if at a distance.
What we can learn from Princess: Even if you're shy or insecure, you can still get what you need with courage.
What we can learn from Precious: It's fun to make friends and see what they're up to! Seize the moment and don't be afraid to go after what you want.
A Very Pregnant Snow White
Now, Snow White, all white as is obvious, comes from down the street in the other direction. We saw her sitting on the fence two houses down initially. She was not a regular. But in recent weeks (July 2023) she showed up regularly for food as she was VERY PREGNANT. She was so round in the middle, she swayed. So we put food out especially for her during that time. Then once she had her kitties (off site from our space), we continued to feed her until she didn’t come around. (We trust the other neighbor is feeding her). Don’t know if we’ll see her kitties in the neighborhood at some point.
What we can learn from Snow White: Don't have all your eggs in one basket. Sometimes you have to look for what you need.
Ok, Now for BIG TOM. There is only one other cat we’ve seen in the neighborhood who is bigger than Big Tom. He has the widest face, the longest, thickest body, and he is tiger striped with a swirl on the side with white boots. Tom is a handsome cat and he has taken issue with Desperado, who attempts to be the King of the neighborhood and Tom just isn’t having it. So cat fights have ensued. But recently, Despi only comes around for food and then leaves. And whenever he sees Big Tom nearby, his body language goes into high caution, ready for takeoff if necessary!
Interestingly enough, Shadow has been in the process of taking Despi’s place, so he is attempting to assert himself with Big Tom, who actually puts up with a lot of pushing and shoving as Shadow tries to get him away from the feeding dish! (You can watch on the video!)
We gotta give it to Shadow for trying to assert himself and only being a kitten!
What we can learn from Big Tom: Sometimes you have to fight to keep your place and sometimes you give a little, especially with a new comer!
Smokey & Midnight
The final two cats in our Parade are worth mentioning. They’ve been coming around more so of late and we think one might be pregnant and one might have just recently had kittens.
Smokey has been here before when she wasn’t pregnant; gorgeous shiny smoky grey fur with green eyes. Since she’s been back, we’ve noticed her looking heavier, thus suspicions she’ll be Mama Smokey with kitties soon!
Midnight is a very recent arrival, with inky black fur and yellow eyes. We think she might be nursing kittens due to how dominant her feeding area is underneath.
They are both cautious but not overtly skittish, probably because they need to eat for the little ones they carry or they are feeding as well. We always try to put out extra nibbles for the ones with littles! We have a soft spot for the Mama cats around here at The Cat’s Meow!
What we can learn from Smokey: You gotta do what you gotta do!
What we can learn from Midnight: You will always find what you're looking for.
We trust you enjoyed our Parade of Cats as we shared with you our experiences with The Cat's Meow and the furry, fun felines we have had the delight with which we aquaint ourselves! I'm not sure how each of our stray kitties would feel if they knew they were the star of the show...Despi would probably want all the attention. Mama Oreo would be attentive but not looking for glory. Shadow would show you how much fun he has! Princess would probably take a back seat but Precious would be too curious not to check it out alongside Shadow. Snow White wouldn't even know about it at all since she's too busy feeding her littles! Big Tom would be cool and busy eating all the food in the bowl and keeping Despi from taking over the show. As for Smokey and Midnight, they'd be too occupied getting what they need in the moment.
Thanks for reading our fun feline story and have yourself a Furry Nice Day!
Of all the Cats featured here, which one do you identify the most with and why? Which lesson (what we can learn from) resonates most with you and why? If you were a cat, what would be your disposition and what would you look like? Describe this in detail in your journal.
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.