“Look Around”

Greetings to all.

Like many other Americans, the tragic events that occurred Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia have impacted me deeply. While the violent protest featuring white supremacists, white nationalists, members of the Ku Klux Klan, and neo-Nazis was indeed a flashpoint that exposed a dark undercurrent of hatred within American society, I unfortunately cannot say that I found it surprising. For me, the extremely divisive rhetoric coming from the far right and from certain politicians during the 2016 election cycle served as prior warning that America was already turning down a dangerous path.

In the last 18 months, my art journal has often been the place in which I’ve gone to express my feelings of fear, sadness, disappointment, and disillusionment in regards to the current political and social climate in the United States. At this particular point in our nation’s history, it’s hard not to feel as though we’re taking huge steps backward instead of progressing forward, especially when it comes to how we as a nation deal with racial, ethnic, and religious diversity. Back in June I created the following page, and it happens to sum up exactly how I’m feeling this week. I’m truly ashamed of the bigoted beliefs held by some of my fellow citizens, and endless questions keep reverberating through my mind and heart, such as, how in the world is America still in this place–in the year 2017? How did we get to the point where hatred is actually tolerated and excused in some corners of our society? What’s happened to the country that I thought I knew?

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This journal page was created with patterned paper, magazine images, a piece cut from a paint sample, found text, text generated on a vintage typewriter, and a white gel pen.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. God bless (and help) America.

 

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“I Miss You”

Hi everyone! Hope your week is going well so far!

This is a page from my “K.I.S.S.” journal, entitled, “I Miss You.” The page was inspired by an image of an empty sofa that I’d clipped from an interior decorating magazine, and addresses the feelings of grief I’ve harbored since losing a beloved pet a few years ago. It is one of several pages on this topic that have appeared in my art journals, and I know they’ve all assisted me in navigating my way through the grieving process.

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This page was created with pieces of paper cut/torn from vintage books, scrapbooking papers, a magazine image, a length of ribbon, alphabet stamps, pigment ink, and pens.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!

 

 

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“Bring Healing”

Hello to all! Happy belated Canada Day to my Canadian friends, and Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! I’m enjoying the extended holiday weekend, and I hope you are all doing the same!

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On this July 4, I will be grateful not only for the opportunities afforded to me as an American citizen, but for a gradual return to good health after an extended period of illness. Since June 10, I’ve been battling severe bronchitis, likely the result of a virus that invaded my system in the waning days of the school year and then evolved into a bacterial infection. For many people, a bout of bronchitis is a temporary inconvenience, but for an asthma sufferer like me, it can be a significant threat to one’s health. My asthma has indeed been exacerbated during the last 3+ weeks, and the constant coughing and wheezing has been uncomfortable and, at times, downright scary! At one point, I was sure that I’d even fractured a rib from coughing–though fortunately, an x-ray showed it was merely bruised. After the first course of antibiotics, I tried returning to my normal activities, but unfortunately the bronchitis wasn’t through with me yet. It took another course of azithromycin (the “z-pack”), two courses of oral prednisone, countless puffs of albuterol, almost a full bottle of honey (nature’s cough syrup), and many more days of rest and recuperation before I started to feel as though I was finally on the mend. The hardest part for me has been having to take a hiatus from my exercise regimen while my lungs recover. I love to jog and lift weights and have been doing this several days a week throughout the last year, but was told by my doctor that exercise could be counterproductive (and even dangerous) right now. I hope to be able to return to these things soon–but I’ve learned my lesson that rushing things is not the answer in this case.

I created “Bring Healing” in my current journal recently as a way of dealing with the slow process of healing, and used magazine images, old book pages, patterned paper, cardstock, ephemera, pens, and my vintage typewriter. I found that making this page and working on other art projects has brought me great comfort as I’ve struggled with the feelings of sadness and frustration that often accompany illness.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Enjoy the fireworks and other festivities!

 

 

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“Ignite Me Not”

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I’m looking forward to sharing some pages here on the blog from my “K.I.S.S.” (“Keep It Simple, Sister!”) journal, which was created during a five-month period between August 2016 and January 2017. Several other pages from this journal appear in the Jul/Aug/Sept issue of Art Journaling magazine, which is available on news stands right now.

The concept of the “K.I.S.S.” journal arose out of a growing frustration that I was feeling during the school year, when my teaching and home responsibilities left me with little time or energy to work in my art journals. In order to get around this, I decided to create a journal using limited supplies and dry media, and found that sticking to this plan not only allowed me the time to start and finish more journal pages during the school year, but expanded my creativity and helped me to further develop my collage skills.

“Ignite Me Not” was the second page in the “K.I.S.S.” journal, and expresses my deep-seated reluctance to return to the classroom after a summer of relaxation. It was created with old book pages, paint samples, a magazine image, text typed on a vintage typewriter, found text, rub-ons, a date stamp, pigment ink, pens, and a colored pencil.

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!

 

 

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Art Journaling, Jul/Aug/Sep 2017

Hello, readers! I know it’s been a long time since my last post here on the blog–would you believe, six months? I’ll readily admit that I haven’t done such a great job fulfilling my New Year’s resolution from back in January, which was to post at least three times a month…but the good news is, the summer’s finally arrived and I’m on an extended hiatus from my day job, so perhaps this is my opportunity to make up for lost time! I thank all of you who have followed me this year, and look forward to interacting with you in the future here on WordPress!

There is some wonderful news to report.  I’ve been selected as one of the featured artists in the Jul/Aug/Sep 2017 issue of Art Journaling magazine! My article, “Keepin’ It Simple,” provides practical tips for busy artists who want to work more often in their journals but don’t have a lot of free time, and presents several pages from my “K.I.S.S.” (“Keep it Simple, Sister!”) journal, which I completed throughout the hectic first semester of the school year! Thanks again to Managing Editor Devon Warren and her staff at Stampington & Company for creating such a fabulous issue, and for inviting me to be a part of it! It will be available on news stands July 1!

Here’s a sneak peek of the issue!

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Hope your summer is off to a great start! See you soon! 🙂

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Somerset Studio Gallery, Winter 2017

Happy New Year to you all! Hope yours is off to a wonderful start!

After several months of relative inactivity on this blog, one of my New Ýear’s resolutions for 2017 is that I will attempt to post at least 3 times each month. I look forward very much to being a more active participant in the blogosphere again!

The New Year has brought another outstanding issue of one of my favorite publications, Somerset Studio Gallery, and I feel very blessed to be one of its contributing artists! My “Choose Health” journal, which I completed in 2016 and posted about here on the blog throughout its process of creation, is the subject of an article in the Winter 2017 issue. This issue is available for purchase on news stands as well as at Stampington.com.

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Here are some images of the article:

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Have a great weekend! 🙂

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“Blurry Vision”

Hello! Hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving, with plenty of time dedicated to family, friends, and hopefully, your artistic pursuits!

I just realized it’s been almost a month since my last post. As you might recall, I had very good intentions of posting more regularly, at least on a weekly basis, but again, I’m finding that when life and work interfere, it’s very hard for me to cobble together enough time. I think that posting 2-3 times per month, at least for the time being, is a more modest, realistic expectation for me at this juncture. Hopefully now that the weather here in Wisconsin is finally getting colder and I’m forced to spend more time indoors, I will be able to carve out more time.

Today I’m sharing the last of my journal pages that appear in my friend Kim Rae Nugent’s recently published book, Journal Starters: Nature Backgrounds, Textures, & Collaborations, which is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. Entitled “Blurry Vision,” this page was created earlier this year and sums up much of the confusion I’ve been feeling the past few years when it comes to my life’s work.

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I’ve always had a challenging relationship with my current profession. Like many who spend their daily lives serving others, I’ve struggled with burnout, and as an artist, I’ve often felt the calling to create for a living. Almost four years ago, I enrolled in night school in pursuit of an Associate’s degree in graphic design, and finally received my diploma in August 2015. At the time I was strongly considering leaving my job and making the transition into the field of design, and also wanted to continue my schooling in order to earn a Bachelor’s degree; however, financial limitations and pressures made it impossible for me to make the break, and I ended up staying where I was.

While at the moment I feel more fulfillment and satisfaction in my career than I have in a long time, I still feel confused at times about my vocation, and continue to find myself pondering what it is that I’m truly “meant” to do. Sometimes I feel jealous of individuals who are certain that they’re in the right place, simply because I don’t possess that kind of certainty. I guess all I can do is keep listening to my heart, and praying for guidance. I need to keep my eyes open and look for signs that I’m in the right place and that I should keep following my present path–or signs that it’s time to move on. I guess these signs will appear in their own good time, and I just need to be patient.

In the meantime, I will keep creating–if not for my livelihood, for my peace of mind and my heart.

Thanks for listening–and have a great week!

 

 

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