As an artist and creative, I’m always looking to stretch myself and try new things, sort of change things up to keep me on my creative toes but not so much that I feel strained or burdened.
JOY is what drives me to pursue different paths. My curiosity gets initiated and then I eventually just MUST make space to try out what’s been in my heart and desire to do.
One of the issues I face as a artist is putting myself in a creative box, one I invent for myself, sometimes, without even realizing it. Then I begin to feel the confinement of that box, like something doesn’t feel quite right. Like my creative freedom is being minimized somehow.
We all put ourselves in boxes of one sort or another, don’t we? And often, we have no idea that we have done so.
We just start to feel restless, like something has to change, or we might just get a little annoyed!
As a painter, for the past several years, I’m delved into intuitive transparent watercolor, both on canvas and on watercolor paper.
I built myself a portfolio, both for public viewing as well as some personal paintings I have tucked away.
But, alas, I have still felt other artistic urgings begging for attention, and I think they were starting to feel forlorn that I hadn’t done something about it already!
Well, it was just a matter of time before I broke out of my transparent watercolor box and decided to try some mixed media, often a combination of transparent watercolor and gouache paint (which is more opaque in nature), as well as adding pen work with india ink.
Plus the subject matter that has been pining after me has been fashion focused whether garments, jewelry, or handbags and shoes, etc.
In the past year, I did do several pen renderings of my own jewelry and then I added a bit of watercolor marker for a colorful flair.
But recently, I decided to make space for a fashion rendering of a colorful fur jacket that I’ve had pinned to my inspiration wall for some time now.
Out came my gouache paints and my sketchbook, and I finally went to town with a paintbrush. I didn’t do any sketching ahead of time for structure or for figure work. I just started applying paint and ran with it.
After the initial gouache groundwork, the next day I used my Winsor Newton watercolor markers and Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pens for added depth and texture.
So this is basically my first attempt at rendering a fashion piece with paint and pen after many years of sketching/drawing fashions with pencil in my youth.
I was quite delighted with the result.
No, it isn’t perfect and I see my flaws. But it was a complicated piece and I’m satisfied with how it came together.
I’m sharing this with you, dear reader and friend, to show you the importance of making space for what is calling to you. Whatever it may be.
I know we all have busy lives. And we all fall into our ruts of sorts that we just naturally follow, until we feel that pining inside and finally decide to do something about it.
I’m glad I did. Yes, it took me a while from the time I pinned that image. But timing is everything.
And I did this rendering on the heels of another painting I just completed, that is a combination of transparent watercolor, gouache, and collage with card stock, which is another creative goal I have met.
Yes, in a sense, I feel like I'm on a roll with breaking out of the boxes I was in for a long time and really making space for the new.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to donate all of my time to those new ventures. I like dabbling. And I still have my go-to stippled watercolor painting I so love to do and have from the beginning of my watercolor journey that started almost 7 years ago.
My aim is to follow my intuitive heart wherever it may lead and indulge in what brings me the most creative JOY for my path.
What will your Creative Path pine for next?
Make a list of 10 ideas you want to follow. Which one is pining most for your attention right now? Start making plans to open up space for one or two ideas that you feel the most drawn to. Remember to keep it simple so it’s do-able and brings the most JOY.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Break out of your art journaling “box” and try a new approach to a spread that you’ve been wanting to try but simply haven’t made time for. See what this new approach opens up for you!
Draw a box and items in the box that that have been your go-tos, things you’ve been doing for a long time or using that you want to put aside for now.
Draw another box with the items that you are pining for or that are pining for your attention!
Subscribe to The JOY Finder here!
Get Creative with Dawn's Directives and Life Affirmations Coloring Pages with Prompts here!
Copyright 2017 Art Rendering by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2017 Blog Text by Dawn Herring
Note: The image to the left is from Elle magazine and is copyright to them. Thanks for the inspiration, Elle!
In the throws of Hurricane Harvey, with catastrophic flooding causing many to lose their homes and their belongings, I observed the difficulties and challenges laid before so many.
Without their own space, running water, and just having what they brought with them, if anything, in the face of such a daunting storm, my heart broke for these folks.
So what does JOY have to do with such heart ache and loss? Is that even possible?
As I considered their circumstances and prayed for their recovery, I realize a-new the importance of seeing what I have Right in Front of Me with renewed gratitude and appreciation.
Like water in my kitchen sink.
My own restroom.
A comfortable bed.
All of my clothes dry and ready to wear.
Electricity where needed.
I began to see these Basic Necessities as Gifts. Because, in essence, that's what they are.
And as I looked at these basics and experienced this deep gratitude for what I have, JOY made its presence known.
When we see what we enJOY daily a-new, it can change how we see and experience life completely.
Just paying attention to that running water in whatever capacity we are using it for. Or those lights that illumine our space.
The comforts of home can bring us New JOY as we take a moment to appreciate what we have.
It's really about being mindful. That word Mindful has become so popular, as I read recent headlines on magazine covers.
But mindfulness can be a true source of JOY.
Just taking that moment to say Thank YOU to the Universe for giving what is needed.
Here at Refresh with Dawn Herring, Finding JOY Takes Center Stage.
And as the evacuees exited the Houston area as well as Floridians leaving in the face of Hurricane Irma, the Basics have taken center stage.
May we never see them in quite the same way again.
Take a moment in your journal to really pay attention to one thing you have that makes you really happy, realizing gratitude a-new. What would it be like if you lost that one thing? If it was no longer available to you? Detail how you feel in your journal.
Art Journal Prompt:
Create a spread that invokes gratitude for the simple things you use every day. You can use images of these simple things collage style to be focal points of appreciation.
Using a writing implement you truly value for its performance, color or comfort in your hand, create a doodle that initiates an attitude of Joy and Gratitude, keeping the design as simple as possible showing that just basic design can also be meaningful.
To get more JOY in your inbox, subscribe to The JOY Finder to stay abreast of happenings here at Refresh with Dawn Herring plus get quality content to help initiate more JOY in your daily experience.
Follow this link to listen to my first Refresh Daily podcast episode titled, Observation is a Key to JOY.
Copyright 2017 Dawn Herring
Copyright 2017 Header Art by Dawn Herring
Note: If you are interested in listening to the audio of Self Care: Optional or Essential, please click here.
Here at Refresh with Dawn Herring, Self Care is at the TOP of our Priority List every day. That means, you're engaging in something you love every day, initiating your spirit being lifted, leaving you feeling fabulous, full of energy and ready to roll with your daily life tasks because you're taken care of yourself.
But the question is, are you making self-care a priority? Do you still see time for yourself doing what you love as optional rather than essential, vital, and necessary for your well being?
I would like to share with you my Top Ten Reasons to Make Self-Care Daily (and without guilt!!)
1. Self Care Boosts Your Immune System. Yes! You will actually benefit from greater health on all levels as a result of making Self Care a Priority. I know that motivates me to keep it going!
2. Self Care Gives Energy. Obviously a healthier immune system will initiate more energy in your body. And the more energy you have, the better you enjoy life.
3. Self Care Aids in Appreciation of Self. Do you appreciate yourself for Who You Are? When you engage in any kind of self care, it gives you the impetus toward really seeing yourself and appreciating what you see (perhaps instead of beating yourself up, comparing yourself to others, etc.)
4. Self Care Helps you see your Value. This goes hand in hand with self-appreciation. It can be easy to overlook what you contribute to your immediate environment of family, friends and outwardly to your community. Taking this step can initiate prevention of undervaluing yourself and what you do every day.
5. Self Care Enhances your Physical Well Being. With your immune system boosted, and your energy lifted, you're enabled to boost your physical activity, doing what you enjoy to get your blood moving and those endorphins activated to make you feel fabulous! Not to mention the health benefits of being active!
6. Self Care Initiates Stress Relief. When you engage in what you love, often what is currently on your stress radar fades into the distance as you enter the "Zone." And the more often you engage in self care, the less stress you have. Motivating, isn't it?
7. Self Care Enables Self Expression. Being able to express yourself and use your "creative voice" in whatever way lifts your spirit can really give you new ways of enjoying how you see life and how you like to share that view. And your unique "take" is different from anyone else's. And that's what the world needs!
8. Self Care Opens your Creative Flow. As you make self care a daily priority, you will see an increase in your creative ideas which can really activate some fun, inspiring action! Who wouldn't want to tap into all of that? I know I do!
9. Self Care Makes a Way to Give to Yourself. When you care for yourself regularly, you are essentially giving to yourself what you deserve: Time, creative impetus, greater value of what you contribute. You really begin to see what you've been missing and can feel like you've hit the jackpot! And when you give to yourself, then you have more to give to others. See self care as oxygen to your life dimensions. You will see growth, positive change and all kinds of good things!
10. Self Care Helps you Learn to Love Yourself. You begin to see all the ways you benefit from putting yourself first as you're feeling good, you're looking good, you're experiencing more JOY, more Happiness, a greater sense of well being and value, and your soul feels nurtured and alive.
And here's a bonus one for ya!
11. Self Care Reduces Depletion. Instead of ending up exhausted, irritable, and even resentful and angry that you have nothing left to give since you haven't given to yourself, you make way for rejuvenation, which re-energizes you. Don't wait till your depleted. Make it a daily priority so you can experience all the goodness Self Care brings to your life table.
Journaling Prompt: What does Self Care mean to you? What is the first thing that comes to mind that really showcases self care from your point of view? Let your Intuition guide you as you make a list of at least 10 ways you can initiate self care in your every day life. Start today with your favorite one!
Art Journaling Prompt: Create a Spread using Self Care as your prompt and use the colors that inspire you toward loving and caring for yourself. You can use images as collage pieces that show specific self care actions to inspire you.
Doodle Prompt: Create a fun visual using Self Care as your starting point, making fun and spontaneous marks on the page and see where it takes you.
I want to leave you with this song, The Greatest Love Of All by Whitney Houston, that is kind of an anthem here at Refresh with Dawn Herring since it truly shows the value of Loving Yourself and why it's so important to take care of yourself. Truly, when you do, it leads to positive change and opens up your Personal Empowerment like never before. (See? Two more reasons right there!) Listen and Enjoy. And then go do something right now that makes you feel fabulous!
Copyright Text 2017 Dawn Herring
A Golden Buzzer Moment.
A Moment in Time when all seems to stand still as golden confetti cascades down over you after one of the judges on American's Got Talent determines that after your fabulous performance, you're ready to go to the live shows. Now.
That's pretty amazing...especially when you have no idea of how good you really are.
I've had the wonderful opportunity to be the hearing recipient of a very talented young girl's performance on AGT; her name is Grace VanderWaal. The thing that really struck me about Grace is her authenticity. She offered a self-penned song that has gotten a replay in my head on repeat for several days. Quite catchy and I must say, quite empowering. She's got my attention! See her performance below. (I've seen her follow up performances which are just as delightful and heart warming.)
After thinking about Grace's Golden Buzzer Moment, I realized what this can mean for us on a daily basis.
A Golden Buzzer is a validating and very surprising external action on someone else's part letting you know how good you really are.
Sometimes we get that kind of validation from someone who sees our potential or who appreciates us for Who We Are at the Heart of what we do every day.
But we can actually create our OWN Golden Buzzer Moments on the internal side.
How, you ask?
By paying close attention to our own Value, to what we are contributing every day to our immediate worlds: our selves, our families, our communities and our worlds.
An example of an Internal Golden Buzzer Moment:
when you're writing a journal entry and you experience clarity on something that's been puzzling you.
when you connect with someone on a deep level that is totally unexpected.
when you validate another person because you see their potential.
when you're working on a painting, drawing, collage, or sculpture and it works out exactly the way you want it to in that moment
when just the right word comes to you to complete a poem you've been working on
when you are aligned with Who You Are and you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be
when you hit that sweet spot in your creative practice and you wouldn't change it for the world right at that moment
You know your Golden Buzzer Moments when you feel them because they leave an impression. (And maybe even a life changing one.) But when you are LOOKING for them actively, you may find that they replicate, which only increases the Value of your every day experience.
So, go on. Validate Yourself. See Your Own Potential. Congratulate Yourself on a Job Well Done. Enjoy that Sweet Spot with Relish and Relive it in your journal!
The more you pay attention to those GB Moments, the more you will experience them. And it might just lead to some external ones too!
Record every Golden Buzzer Moment that comes to mind. Make a list. Don't be shy. What have you experienced that would qualify? Think Small too. It doesn't have to be huge. Look with expectation over the next several weeks for those moments when you simply hit your sweet spot.
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the words, Golden Buzzer, create an art journal spread that speaks of your potential, of a time when you hit your creative sweet spot. Relish with colors that showcase you at your heights. Really Celebrate!
I've been wanting to share with you something I've been experiencing in my creative practice that has given me some serious food for thought.
My Creative Practice consists of journaling, art journaling, doodling, intuitive watercolor painting, walks, and reading inspiring books as well as a deep spiritual practice that directly impacts all the other elements.
I've been keeping an art journal for five years (since 2011). I started with collage elements and watercolor, moved into stamping and a bit of stenciling, a dabble in transfers, then mostly just layering with watercolor and bit of collage to create fun, vibrant pages that speak directly to my heart.
In January of 2014, I started doodling a word or phrase that summarized my day in my evening journal entry and in November of that year, I started filling my doodles with watercolor markers.
I'm still trying to determine a shift I have felt in the frequency of my art journal time versus my daily doodling. I've tried to figure out if the energy I put in to my night doodles is "taking away" from my time at my art journal table.
I have noticed that my art journal spreads have been taking a lot longer to come together. Sometimes I'm simply not sure what the next step is or I don't have the energy/time to sit and do. I do still love to art journal, but I have noted this change in the frequency of my spreads. But another thought also occurred to me that the change I'm noticing in my art journal practice may simply be a reflection of how I am Processing what I am learning As I Create and that's why I'm not doing it as quickly. Some of my spreads have taken 3-6 weeks to complete, which has really surprised me. I still find my art journaling practice enjoyable and a great way to listen to my heart, so that's not the issue. But why the spread in time frames and lack of frequency?
So that's why I started looking at my daily doodle in the evening and how I've been making that a priority rather than my art journal practice being in its usual prominent space.
I have wondered and pondered about this for the past several months, have journaled about my thoughts on this matter, and thought I would share was seems like an apparent shift taking place in my creative practice.
So, it has given me some food for thought about the possible Shifts that can take place in our creative practice without our even realizing it at first. And how we might respond to such changes. Do we question it? Do we wonder, is this not working for me as well as it used to? Am I overloading myself? Expecting too much of myself? What's the deal?
Yes, I have asked all of these questions. And I think I've determined that it doesn't really matter how frequently I do any of my creative practices. (Although I did create a goal to paint with watercolor daily.) As long as I'm honoring Who I Am creatively every day, I'd doing good. As long as I'm listening to my heart, I'm on the right track.
These shifts may even reflect changes deep down on the inside of us, in the core of our being, showing us how we are growing and what is working for us. And that IT'S OKAY to let something we've been doing for a while not be as prominent as it once was while something else we are enjoying takes more center stage.
It's funny: I actually thought about my art journaling and my doodling competing with each other and vying for my attention. So, I suppose that's why it was sort of bothering me once I saw the change taking place. But, again, I realized, IT'S OKAY.
Our creative practice will have shifts that we create simply by following what interests us the most and what is speaking to our heart Right Now. And as we go deeper with what we are experiencing as we activate our creative center, we will notice growth and change naturally.
So, if you experience a shift in how you choose to be creative, simply see it as a reflection of Who You Are right now and just enjoy every minute of creating.
Have you ever experienced a creative shift and saw yourself doing less of one thing and more of another? How did that shift feel to you? Did it disturb or were you simply delighted with how you were spending your time? Why do you think this change took place, and were you happy with the shift?
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the words, Creative Shift, create a visual that shows any changes you have experienced in your creative practice and honor those stages to show what they have meant to you over time. You can also make a spread that showcases your favorite creative practice element right now and why you love it so much.
Copyright 2016 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2016 Header by Dawn Herring
Hello, Art Journal Friends. Today's featured spread, Follow the Yellow Brick Road, had an interesting start. I recently got my hands on a different kind of bubble wrap from a package containing a book that I used. I applied watercolor to one side and then applied the paint on the wrap to the page with a brayer. And--whalla! Lovely, colorful texture! I applied this on repeat with several colors: red violet, yellow, and violet.
Once I had those layers down, I found some magazine pages with yellow and violet colors, tore them in bits and adhered them with matte medium. Once I had that down, I had to give this beginning some serious thought. I didn't have a "message" come to me right away. But once I came back to it, I eyed the "path of yellow" created by the torn bits of collage and it reminded me of the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz. Aha!
I now had my message: Follow the Yellow Brick Road!
Once I knew this, I went to work/play on how I would display each word. The words, Follow and Yellow, I cut out free hand from colored construction paper. I love the long, exaggerated letters. I then adhered them with matte medium in a random fashion. Once the letters were down, I used oil pastel to bring out the edges and highlight them. I also cut out rectangles of purple and stamped each one with a letter to spell "the." I also highlighted the letters with pen.
Then I got to work on the words Brick Road, and I knew I wanted to do my own lettering with Uniball Pen. I love doodling in my evening journal entry, so I applied my same lettering techniques here, adding lines to each letter and alternating the colors. I added black dots to every other space to create bricks in the letters. I also accented the letters with a black brush pen to give them a bit of shadow for more pop on the page. I added musical notes and other stamped words to enhance to purpose of the spread.
I did want to say a word about the message behind, Follow the Yellow Brick Road. The thing that stood out to me the most about it was the difference between when being able to recognize when the road you are traveling leads to HOME or if it's a situation where you feel you've been confused by an illusion. And when you realize it was an illusion, it's as if you've seen behind the "curtain" to what's really there, and it's a true disappointment. Yet, the silver lining is what Glenda the Good Witch told Dorothy, "You've had what you needed all along." What I say is this: The Truth Comes From Within. And you will always find the Truth if you are seeking it, even if you have to get past Illusion to find it.
Can you remember a time where you felt like you were on a yellow brick road and how what you thought it would lead you to was an Illusion? How did you reckon with this discovery? Were you disappointed? Where you relieved to discover it when you did so you could get past it? How has it impacted you in your life today?
Art Journal Prompt:
Create Your Own Yellow Brick Road and show where it led you and where you are now. Honor your path by validating how you felt at that time and how you have responded to the Truth you have discovered since. You can use map pieces to create a travel perspective as a background visual.
My youngest daughter, Hannah, recently had her 21st Birthday; so it gave me pause as to how I would celebrate with her creating a visual like I've done for the past 11 years. But I found that my circumstances had changed a bit since I did the last one (no color printer and not as much time to prepare).
Over the years as I've created these birthday collages (you can read more about The Birthday Wall here) the approach has morphed and changed to reflect their age, their interests and my approach to my presentation.
What started with a glorified birthday banner (which you can read about in my e-book, The Birthday Wall: Create a Collage to Celebrate Your Child), moved into a full 3 foot by 3 foot space on their bedroom wall to showcase their interests and their personality in full color; then I got a bit more creative. Last year I used a manila file folder, covered in gesso primer, and then created a layered collage that looked similar to my art journaling process for my eldest daughter, Sarah's 23rd birthday.
Then I decided to use a binder notebook for Hannah's birthday last year when she turned 20, which I share about here. Many pages with layered colored construction paper and images later, she had her Birthday Binder.
But this year, I decided I didn't want to use any past approaches, since I am also dabbling with some super FUN art forms, including doodling, which is essentially playing around with black pen, Winsor Newton Watercolor Markers and creating illustrated designs with words, phrases and objects. So after thinking on it a bit, I decided to create what I eventually called an Illustrated Birthday Doodle.
I used one sheet of acid-free card stock paper in a neutral color and a waterproof black Uniball pen and Winsor Newton Watercolor Markers. I decided on a layout that would work with her name, Hannah Joy, her new age of 21, plus various favorites from song lyrics to foods to hobbies. I also included important memberships to organizations, her college related info and her website, byhannahjoy.com, which is The Stressed Out College Student's Destination.
I must say that I had a lot of fun creating this gift for Hannah; I love drawing and creating illustrations without too much planning ahead of time; the entire process was intuitive and I just went with the flow. Hannah considers it a grown-up version of The Birthday Wall, so that's makes it the perfect gift for her right now.
And that leaves me content and satisfied as we celebrate Hannah's 21st birthday and her year ahead.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Birthday Images by Dawn Herring
Ah, it's back to school time...whether it's next week where we live in Texas or in the days ahead (after Labor Day) in other places.
Time to shop for school supplies, clothing and shoes, and getting back to a "school schedule."
It's all about getting ready to learn and grow and discover the world around you, whether you're a young student, in college, or maybe you just want to learn something new as a Pupil of...Life!
To me, going Back to School is really about immersion in the things I want to learn about that help keep me Aligned with Who I Am.
Whether it was my avid interest in drawing as a child which eventually morphed into doing portraits for many years, or my seeking out writing-related resources, including books and magazines from the library and some purchased for my personal in-house space as I delved deep into fiction and then non-fiction/memoir.
Then I moved into learning all I could (and can) about my favorite art medium, Watercolor, as well as mixed media in the fun world of art journaling and collage. I'm always eager to discover new techniques and find inspiration from other artist's and their authentic artistic paths.
Back to school can really be about listening carefully to those intuitive nudges that can push us into uncharted territory to discover more of Who We Are...perhaps in a place we didn't know existed.
My discovery of watercolor came to me late in life...just 4+ years ago even though I've been a lifelong artist. You can never know when you're going to delve into something that brings you to life and activates your creative center like nothing else has. It's important to be open to such possibilities...it could even change your life!
What does Back to School mean to you right now? Make a list of all the possibilities of learning for further exploration that are drawing you right now and pick one to investigate with all of your delicious curiosity, as if you're a small child discovering something delightful for the first time. Revel in this new something and record all of your delight on the page.
Art Journal Prompt:
Honor the School Person in you by creating a page of all of your favorite school supplies, whether in image or doodle/illustration with your favorite pens. You may even use some crayons to color in areas on your spread, focusing on the primaries to take you back to your younger days.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Graphic Header by Dawn Herring
I find art journaling to be a process..a good process, of course! I'm always interested in what I learn as I create and listen. This particular spread was one of those where I had something in mind; and you know what's funny? Every time I approach my art journal with something in mind, I often find that I struggle with it. I mean, art journals are a GREAT place to Experiment and I love experimenting! But experimenting always comes with challenges, since experiments often mean, you've never done this before, right?
So for this experiment, I had Boxes in mind. Over the 4 1/2 years that I've kept an art journal, I have run across many examples of boxes in an art journal spread. Some of them have featured boxes across the entire page, each with something original to fill it. And this is sort of what I had in mind. But what came out is not quite what I envisioned, but isn't that typical, right? What we see in our mind's eye is not often what we actually get. And That's OKAY.
But one thing I learned through this box making business is..you can work with what you've got. So I started out with 4 boxes on the left side of the spread and the other side I considered one big box with borders on the time and bottom. I used stencils to create the borders, in blue, green, orange and red. As soon as I put down the stencils and had the borders, I didn't like it. Oh, it's colorful, but it simply felt TOO Boxy for me, like I should've made the boxes around whatever I put on the page instead of creating boxes first. I think that's what threw me. I knew right away I'd have to go "outside the box" for me to feel satisfied with this spread, and that's exactly what I did!
I decided to cut out circles of all kinds (using some magazine collage pieces) and added some textured circles made from home-made Modeling paste (baking soda mixed with gesso) which represented Moments of Time for me. What was really fun for me what cutting out Tall long letters from colored construction paper for spell out the words The, Time and Truth. I didn't use a stencil for these letters. I just cut them free hand from scraps I had stored. I also enjoyed embellishing the letters with white Uniball gel pen. I used alpha stamps for the other words using watercolor paint.
I used a watch stamp several times and a eye exam letter stamp for visual interest, and I added a dotted line between all the circles to tie them together as one big time connection. I realized that as time passes, we often discover what the truth is about our life experience. Illusions fall away when you really look at what IS rather than what might have been or what we thought we would have. So the message for me with this was that the passage of time reveals truth, and what we DO with that truth can make all the difference in creating the most authentic path possible to Honor Who We Are and Our Purpose.
When you look back in time, even if it's just a few months back, what truth comes to your understanding? Do you recognize any illusions that you realize are not true about what you have experienced? See this as a positive a-ha moment and determine any positive change that might result from this realization. *Remember to be gentle with yourself when dealing with truth vs. illusion. It does take courage to create positive change.*
Art Journal Prompt:
Whatever Moment of Truth you've experienced, use that truth to create the most honoring art journal post you can. Your process should include at least one of your favorite art journal techniques, if not more. Sometimes when we do what we love, it makes recognizing that truth a bit easier. And Empowering!
Copyright 2015 By Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Art Journal Images by Dawn Herring
Welcome back to my art journal pages! This particular spread, Forge Ahead, is unique for several reasons.
First of all, it took a total of six weeks to complete due to delays, blocks and lack of energy/inspiration. With the recent changes I made to my studio (which I detail here in A Creative Experiment), the energy wasn't flowing quite as well as usual. And I'm still working out the logistics of where everything should go as far as my three work spaces, but at least I made progress! I had no idea that this spread was open on my desk for so long. I looked at the date of my previous spread and was very surprised at this discovery. I thought it was at most, three weeks.
Another way this spread, Forge Ahead, is unique is the way I started it. Usually I put down color first, but this time, I started with the words, Forge Ahead, stamping out the letters with a new ink pad I recently purchased, another new approach. I usually stamp with watercolor. So with two new approaches to this spread, the words and falling letters stayed that way for a while. I had to think out what would come next.
Collage is always a welcome addition to my journal spreads, but the first time I thought about it, I wasn't sure what colors I wanted to use so I put it off for a bit. Eventually I did come back to it and chose earthy tones from my magazine stash. I started with the darkest hue, then on to orange and then the skin tones. I liked the way the color scheme came together. (I also had a later thought when this spread was complete that the lightest colored collage pieces reminded me of sustaining bread when you're in need of nourishment during hard times.)
The other way this Forge Ahead spread is unique is it includes my first attempt at working with a homemade modeling paste using gesso and...baby powder? ;) It did do the job as you can see below with the close up of using a stencil in between the letters, but I must say that I won't plan to use baby powder for this job again. The smell from the talc was too overpowering to make it workable. (I did look up other possibilities and plan to try baking soda next time.) Once I had the modeling paste installed, it was time to decorate with color. The thought that came to mind was Forge being a source of Fire, so the color scheme between the letters and around the collage pieces is associated with fire. Once I added watercolor as fire based hues, I also added a bit of oil pastel to give it a bit more texture.
Once I had this done, I really took a good look at the texture from the modeling paste and the long thin shape of the stencil, and realized it reminded me of bones. When that came to mind, I was like, Yikes! Bones? Yes, bones. And with the color scheme of fire, it could appear to be like a war zone. I found this to be somewhat disturbing. (This is what I often refer to as the subconscious coming to the fore!) So I began to think about Forging Ahead and what that can sometimes look like. Life is not all sweetness and roses. As a matter of fact, it can sometimes be downright difficult! Like you're in a war zone.
We don't often like to think about the challenges and difficulties of life but sometimes there's a time and a place for it; and for me, with this spread, it was a time and place. When I forge ahead, do I sometimes feel like I'm wounded from various life experiences? If so, what kind? That really got me to thinking and journaling too!
When have you recently found yourself feeling "bloody" or wounded by a life experience? Has this situation happened before, just in a different context? Honor that experience by validating whatever you have felt and may still be feeling from this. You may want to use a fire colored pen or marker or crayon (red, orange, yellow) to express your deepest feelings.
Art Journal Prompt**:
Using the colors of fire, Red, orange and yellow, using wet media, oil pastel, or using collage materials, create an art journal spread to express any woundings you have experienced, whether recently or from a memory that comes to the fore.
Using the word Forge, do a mind map, writing down any associative words or phrases that come to mind. See if any repeating words/phrases show up and use them in an art journal spread.
When we honor our life experiences by either writing about them or create visuals to commemorate them, we give space to validate how we feel and how we would like these wounding experiences to be resolved.
By the way, as an end note on this Forge Ahead Spread, I wanted to share that I did not find this particular spread to be visually attractive. I wasn't even sure if I would share it publicly, but I decided to share this experience with you all so we can see the benefits of working in our art journal and listening to our hearts. <3
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Art Images by Dawn Herring
**This prompt is not meant to be a substitute for counseling.
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.