Today’s page is another I completed a short time ago, using an image from Kim Rae Nugent’s new book, Journal Starters Sampler Volume I. This fabulous resource for mixed-media art journalists is available for purchase right now on Amazon.com.
“Please Don’t Burst My Bubbles” was inspired by a photograph of the ubiquitous carnival game in which contestants throw darts at balloons in order to win prizes. I was reminded of how life, other people, and even the darker aspects of our own personalities can serve as darts and arrows to the values we hold dear–our sacred balloons, or “bubbles.” If we fail to build and maintain a strong outer shell of armor to ward them off, they may puncture and deflate our dreams.
In each of the “bubbles” on the page I recorded a value that is important to me in my life, and for each of the “arrows,” I wrote down an antagonist to those values; both were great exercises in honest self-reflection.
For me, self-doubt is certainly an arrow that I’m guilty of throwing at myself. It’s the ever-present voice in my head that tells me lies, trying to convince me that I’m not capable of doing what I want to do and that I’m just not good enough. I know I need to do a better job of ignoring and silencing that voice.
Rigidity is another of my pitfalls. I resist and run away from change, even when I know it is what’s best for me. I’m not always willing to look outside the box, although I must say that my art practice has forced me to get better at recognizing and exploring alternatives, instead of merely giving up when the going gets tough or something isn’t working out as planned.
This page was created with spray inks, stencils, watercolor crayons, vintage book pages, Washi tape, a bottle cap stamped with India ink, stamps, pigment ink, rub-ons, stickers, a pen, and a date stamp.
Here’s to suits of armor, and to the good sense to drop any of those sharp “arrows” that we may be clutching in our own hands. They only serve as hazards to ourselves and the brave, strong lives we’re trying to build.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Boy, preach it, Jenny! This is a WOW page. I am continually amazed when I see posts like this, expressing doubt, from an artist so obviously gifted, such as yourself! Art is a great way of working out these doubts and thinking it through; I love the way you’ve reasoned this and every time you look at this page, you have to KNOW you are gifted. And everything good comes straight from the Master Artist! Really thrilled to see this, and wishing my library (or any in the state) had any of Kim Rae Nugent’s books. I love the cover of this one in your link, but at almost $30…..not sure if it would be a good investment for me. Is it a good one for MM beginners, or would one of her others (or something else entirely) be the right one for me? Any suggestions? As much as I love drawing faces and doing representational work, I’m finding myself more and more drawn to art journaling and mixed media work. Especially when I see beautiful pages like yours in my feed! I hope you have a terrific weekend, Jenny. Thanks as always for the inspiration.
Thanks so much, Laura! I am grinning from ear to ear after reading your wonderful, generous compliments! I’ve always been someone whose inner dialogue tends to be very critical, and I also suffer from more than just a little anxiety; art journaling has been a tremendous help in so many ways. It reminds me to treat myself better, encourages me to listen to what my heart is telling me, and allows me to process emotions about what’s going on in my life. It also enables me to track progress on my personal goals in a visual way. When I’m having a bad day or feeling as though I’m stalled, I can open up my journal and there’s a good visual and tangible symbol of forward motion!
I really think Kim’s book would be great for you to try, especially if you are relatively new to mixed-media. The beautiful colors and textures of the photos–even just the tiniest pieces of them–offer great options for focal images that a page can be built around. I’m always looking for new inspiration for my page backgrounds, and I’ve found these images to be helpful in getting me to think outside the box and try something different. If you ever struggle to come up with an idea for a topic for a page, there are also thought-provoking prompts from which to choose, that can serve as a starting point. The nicest thing about the book is that if you don’t want to use it for mixed-media, you don’t have to. All kinds of artists can find something that helps them in their particular media. For example, several of the contributors added their own drawings over the backgrounds. Another contributor, a writer, used the images as a space to creatively render his written journaling.
If you do buy the book, be sure to let me know! I’d love to see what you come up with! 🙂
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Thanks for your kind and detailed response! 💜
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You are always very welcome, friend! 🙂
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“Rigidity is another of my pitfalls…my art practice has forced me to get better at recognizing and exploring alternatives, instead of merely giving up when the going gets tough or something isn’t working out as planned.” Rigidity is an interesting word choice. I like this journal page and the task of identifying the balloons and arrows. I’m assuming this was an exercise in the book and I find it unique. I also like that you’re marketing your friend’s book with your blog and journal pages.
I think as we age we get ourselves into ruts of comfort and reliability that hinder our ability to see and seek change. I think Eleanor Roosevelt said it best in her famous quote which of course I can’t remember but part of it is “we must do the thing we think we cannot do”. Many artists, journalists and psychologists say that the things that give us the most anxiety are the juiciest experiences for growth. They give us the most opportunity to learn.
From my experience, when I allow myself to ‘feel’ or move out of ‘the rut’ I gain strength that helps me move forward in my life. Otherwise I am numb. I spent many years as a drug addict in an effort to numb out. One day I realized I was stagnating and numb and I suddenly woke up to the life I had created and decided it no longer served me. In other words, I grew up. And growing up happens at more than one stage in our lives. When my mother died two years ago I had to grow up again and that became part of the grieving process which I am still going through (as evidenced by my recent blog post). One of the reasons I continue to move beyond anxiety and into the juicy is so I can become a better role model to my son. It also brings me peace. Writing about these experiences is behind my blogging. My words may help others ‘grow up’.
Cheryl, thank you so much for your thoughtful and thought-provoking words here! I especially find your comments regarding growing up to be compelling. I think our society does a great disservice to its children, because when they are small, parents and teachers tend to describe adulthood as if it’s a final destination, a place where all growth just stops (physical–and otherwise). We even call adults “grown-ups,” as if it’s the final stage in the journey, an arrival of sorts. I remember being a kid and assuming that by age 20 or so, I’d have everything figured out (ha!). I honestly can’t recall one adult in my life sitting me down and letting me in on the secret that even after someone has reached the age of majority, growth and self-discovery and the learning of hard lessons continue–and that there will be life-transforming stages like the ones to which you refer here, where one must undergo the process of growing up all over again.
For me, I’d say that the struggle over what I’m meant to do with my life in terms of a vocation has been one of these critical stages. I came out of college 100% sure that what I was doing was what I’d always do–and want to do. Now I’m not so sure. That’s gone against everything I grew up believing to be true. Art has been an awesome opportunity to grow, as well. I started out as a self-taught beginner six years ago; prior to that, I didn’t foresee that I’d even be interested in art, or that I had any aptitude in it. Learning I was a creative person in my 30’s was earth-shaking and powerful and scary–and so unexpected! It’s felt so much like a rebirth–and thank God for new possibilities like that! 🙂
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Thanks so much! 🙂