Reflections on Art Making + Spiritual Practice

Creative Goal Setting

Establishing a goal for your daily practice will help support your art making. Having a goal allows you to focus on developing your artistry. It also gives you something to aim for. Maybe it’s a week for working on building up pages with stencils or a month of working with nature quotes or a year of being BOLD in your art making. If you’re just getting in the habit of establishing a daily art making practice, your specific art goal can help focus what you will do when you open up your art journal. It’s good to go further than just figuring out what you really want to do. Ask yourself these questions: Why is this goal important? How will you get it? What could prevent you from accomplishing it? How will you know when you’ve accomplished it? These questions are important to answer whether you’re working on a specific goal for a week, a month, the season, or the year. The answers help you prioritize your goals as well as root their significance to your creative development. Time: 30 minutes -2 hours. Materials list: Art Journal. I was working in a 11×14 spiral bound, mixed media journal with 98lb paper. Markers + pencils. Paint. Acrylics. Palette knife and paint brushes. Ephemera. Collage elements. Scissors. Adhesive (gel medium +/or glue).     Instruction: Brainstorm things you’d like to be able to do as an artist and how you’d like to feel. Write them down. I started by making a grid not really knowing why or where that would take me. I ended up filling in the boxes with what... read more

Mixed Media Morning Pages

One of the hardest parts of establishing a solid daily art journaling practice is showing up. I find it very helpful to pull from contemplative practices to create a strong foundation for my art journaling. Clearing your mind aka letting go and noticing what comes will help you find and stay true to your unique artistic expression. A great way to incorporate clearing your mind and noticing what comes into your art journaling is to work with what I call Mixed Media Morning Pages. Mrs Lefferts, my 9th grade english teacher, first introduced me to free writes, a writing exercise meant to get you writing. It doesn’t matter what you write, just that you write without lifting your pen (or crossing anything out) for three minutes. This, as Julia Cameron wrote about in The Artist’s Way, is a wonderful way to clear your mind and activate your creativity. Combining free writing with art making allows you to develop your daily art making practice and creativity. Time: 30 minutes-2 hours. Materials list: pen, pencil paper ideally 90b weight (suitable for applying gesso, paint, collage, etc.) timer acrylic paint, brushes, paint markers, stencil, photo of yourself printed out, pastels.   Instruction: Your first step is to choose a writing implement, one that inspires you and will be fun to write with for three minutes. Grab heavier stock paper, preferably at least 90lb (I use a mixed media journal from Canson or Strathmore), set your timer and begin writing. Don’t think. Just write! When your three minutes are up, read what you wrote and pull out anything that catches your attention. This... read more

Go Ahead, Make Art :: a lesson in accepting + doing

Have you ever felt intimidated, awe struck, envious, like you didn’t have what they have when it comes to making art? If so, you get that those feelings can stop you dead in your tracks and leave all your beautiful paints + fabrics + paper + pastels untouched. For years. You don’t make art. Yes, we know it’s fear. But do you know what to do when that fear arises? It’s not so obvious. Well, it is obvious, but it requires two things that can be tricky to get the hang of: 1. Accepting 2. Doing Accepting is a skill that improv actors and comedians along with yogis everywhere, develop. Turns out, artists need to work at this skill too. Accepting allows us to meet the difficult or unexpected moment and not get stuck. When we don’t want to accept what is we waste a lot of energy. We rationalize why we shouldn’t lift a paint brush, or try and draw our hand or (oh my gosh, no!) call ourselves artists. Accepting requires us to not know how, to be afraid, and, to try. Accepting says YES! as it leads us into doing. Doing is where it’s at when it comes to being an artist. Doing whips us out of dream land and into the hear and now. Doing creates bold marks on paper and shows us it matters that they are shaky or cautious or true. Doing offers us feedback that can guide us if we accept where we are and what we see. Your fear most likely won’t go away any time soon but the secret is... read more

Friday Sneak Peek :: Why I Make My Own Weekly Planner

Usually I make my own weekly planner. What does your schedule look like for the week? Week by most weeks, I tend to make my weekly plan on Saturday or Sunday or, sometimes, even Monday. Whenever inspiration or necessity hits, I begin. Using my current art journal, I’ll draw (or block out) shapes to work as containers for each day. Sometimes I make a grid for particular months. I like to build in freedom to choose what I’ll be doing. Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken to scheduling time for me, just me, to do whatever I want. I no longer leave me time to leftover unscheduled time. You know that time when you say you will get to it if you have enough time. This one audacious act carries a lot of impact. You will come to value yourself and your time differently. It’s especially helpful if you tend not to honor yourself. Watch what happens when your calendar is packed and something or someone else comes along and wants to do something with you (that someone might even be you!). Do you bump what you previously scheduled? Are you inflexible? Or, do you politely say, “Sorry, I’m booked then. Is there another time that works for you?” Making a planner helps me get to know, accept, and love myself. At first, I thought it was all about getting my sh*t together. You know organizing myself. Scheduling my life. Getting stuff done. And it is, it is about that. But, I’ve come to know, that’s not where the magic lies. The magic doesn’t lie with checking... read more

Published. Featured in the new Art Journal Kickstarter book.

Such fun, Art Journal Kickstarter has arrived! I was selected to contribute to this book last year and have just received my copy. It’s a yummy smorgasbord of delightful art journalers who talk about their methods and art journaling process. If you’d like to get the book and be inspired by passionate art journalers, it’s available on Amazon. Happy... read more

Remembering Maya Angelou

On May 28, Maya Angelou passed away. Today I honor her with the gift she gave to us. “Listen, she said. Listen to yourself, in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.” May we listen and hear and always give... read more

my idle chatter :: mixing media with a quote

“Let my idle chatter be the muttering of prayer, my every manual movement the execution of ritual gesture, my walking a ceremonial circumambulation, my eating and other acts the rite of sacrifice, my lying down prostration in worship, my every pleasure enjoyed with dedication of myself, let whatever activity is mine be some form of worship of you.” ― Adi Shankaracarya, The Saundaryalahari or Flood of... read more

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