In November, I posted my photos from an online challenge called NaNoJouMo, organized by Dawn Devries Sokol. I also signed up for one of her online workshops that is running from the end of November to the end of February, called “Winter Wonderfull.”
We’ve been at it for just over a month and I’m, of course, totally behind (I have a two-year-old, people!), but I am loving what I’ve done so far. My biggest takeaway so far is learning to paint with my fingers. I love Dawn’s pages and the effects she gets with layering and with paint, so I finally broke down and started painting with my fingers.
I have one word for you: Control. And boy, do I love control.
The part I don’t love is the way it feels — I have neuropathy in my feet and I think it’s starting in my fingers now, too, so it feels really yucky if I spend too much time thinking about it. Also, washing my hands so much in our dry climate makes my fingers feel extra icky. But as long as I’m liking the results, I’m going to keep doing it.
Here are the pages I’ve completed so far in this workshop. Enjoy!
I had a little bit more time to work on this during Thanksgiving weekend, so that was fun. I had no expectations as I worked on it, so it’s a bit of a jumble.
22 – crown. doodled jaggedy lines, similar to a sketchy crown.
23 – “groups of 4” was the prompt, but I did “group of 4” instead.
24 – sisters. The prompt was a photo of 2 girls, so I pulled out a copy of a photo of my sisters and myself.
25 – circles. I love making circles.
26 – gratitude. Words about what I’m grateful for in my life.
27 – shine on. I used some glitter on the page, of course.
28 – focus in on the color yellow.
And for the last two days in November…
29 – ferris wheel. I used a new stencil from the Stencil Girl Club that mimics the lines on the ferris wheel.
30 – house. The prompt image used a really great shade of turquoise, so I decided to just use that on the page. (Spread isn’t finished, but November is.)
Weeks 2 and 3 were challenging on a number of levels, but mostly because I didn’t have as much child care as I normally do in a week. It was difficult to get things completed and I got behind on bills and groceries and all of the house management stuff, not to mention work, but I snuck in little bits of work on this here and there throughout that time. I’m pleased with what I did in the time I had.
15 – Disney quote
16 – When in Rome
17 – Things to climb
18 – The city
19 – “simple as this”
20 – trees
21 – lady liberty (musings underneath the flap)
I approached week 2 in dribs and drabs and completely out of “order,” but I love how this page spread ended up. The prompts are below the image and I thought it would be fun to tag the photo so you can see where I applied the prompts to the page. Click on the image to see more detail.
Day 8: 5 hot things (I made a list around the edge of the page) Day 9: start a bucket list (I’ve never been big on bucket lists, but I put down a few things that weigh on me as I approach birthday #49) Day 10: little houses (I applied the color scheme from the prompt to my background, tied in with the prompt from day 12) Day 11: just doodle (there is doodling underneath the flaps on the right, you just can’t see it!) Day 12: spread paint and find an image (that sticker from Rubbermoon just happened to be in the right spot to sketch in a long, tall body wearing a dark dress) Day 13: dreams (Saturday, I thought a lot about the attacks in Paris (and around the world, and I wrote down my biggest wish for humankind) Day 14: I am (lyrics from an old R.E.M. song)
Artist and author Dawn Devries Sokol is running a daily journaling prompt project this month and she called it NaNoJouMo (National Nonstop Journaling Month), in a takeoff on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
Every day on her blog, Dawn gives followers a prompt and we are to take whatever we want from that prompt and use it to jumpstart our journaling for the day. Folks are encouraged to take what they want and leave what they want, to journal for 5 minutes, or 5 hours or anything in between, as long as we’re getting something down in our journals daily.
I love this project. I used to journal daily, first throughout the day, then every evening on the living room sofa, and now I find that most of my journaling is hit or miss, with no set times, but I try very hard to fill in the details of each day, even if I’m catching up a week’s worth of days. So what I decided to do this month is, since I work weekly in my journal, to take what speaks to me from each prompt and incorporate it into the page spread for the week. Here’s week 1 (I put the thought bubble over some sensitive writing for privacy):
Day 1: The “Hello my name is” sticker
Day 2: I pulled a similar orange-y color from Dawn’s prompt image and painted it around these two little weird guys.
Day 3: I added a tag to the page and wrote a little on it about “I’m not really…”
Day 4: Added stars and scribbles using a scarlet watercolor crayon and then mushed the color around a tiny bit.
Day 5: Added the little house shape, torn out of a book page.
Day 6: I scribbled around the edges of the little guys’ clothes.
Day 7: I may have forgotten to do the “the way to…” prompt. HAHA!
So, I started this week’s spread last night and I’m super excited about what is starting to happen there. But you’ll have to wait till next week to see it!
I bought a Mindy Lacefield lesson online last week and this Tuesday, I thought I was simply starting the painting, but by the time I went to bed, I realized it was finished. I have rarely ever finished a project like this in one day, except maybe in some in-person classes. I’m really happy with the results, though I continue to be tempted by the character on the left…I want to straighten her out a little. But I won’t. I’m going to stencil some letters above their heads to complete the painting and then that sucker is going up on the wall!
Eh, I know that they are silly little drawings and they’re quite stylized, but that’s only because I rarely practice drawing/painting. I definitely need to keep practicing.
The thing is that I haven’t really made time for making things in so long…since before my surgery mid-August. I keep trying to work in my journal, but I haven’t been inspired. Luckily, tonight I came across some large sheets of decorative paper I got forever ago in San Francisco when we went to Flax Art. Still in the damn mailer I used to ship it home to myself. I know I used some of it because there are pieces cut out of some of the sheets. ANYWAY, I’m getting inspired by these papers for use in my journal and I’m pretty excited. Stay tuned!
I think I started this in the wee hours of 7/25 in one of the journals I made in last weekend’s Kelly Kilmer workshops. This book is huge, with the pages measuring about 9.5″x13.5″. We worked with large images in our collage exercise in class, but I felt like painting the other night and grabbed this book. I was having fun twisting the delicate papers to enhance what I painted. I think this spread is awaiting a special focal image still.
(acrylic paint, oil pastels, watercolor crayon, pen, marker and collage)
Last week, I led a 90-minute session at the Colorado State Foster Parent Association’s education conference to introduce foster parents to visual journaling. It was a success, I’m happy to say, and when I mentioned this on Facebook, I had a number of my friends, some of whom have known me for years, ask what that is.
I guess I’m doing a bad job of letting people know what I’m up and marketing my own art!
Visual journaling, also known as art journaling, is a way to keep a diary of sorts, using both words and images to express your thoughts. Visual journals can be used for a variety of reasons, by a variety of people. There is no wrong or right way to do it. My hope is to bring visual journaling to foster parents as a new-to-them tool for processing events and feelings as they help their kids through their time in care.
I’ve been journaling for years, beginning back in high school, when I’d carry an extra composition book around and used it to doodle and think when I was bored or needed to comfort myself (it was a rough time as my parents were divorcing and things were pretty bad at home). I still carry my journal around in my purse and work in it whenever I get the chance. These days I enjoy taking workshops to learn new techniques and practice new ideas. For the past 12 years or so, I’ve successfully kept one journal per year, usually a composition book, documenting my life, my thoughts, my happenings.
So there you have it! Watch this blog for more info over time.
Here be a few paintings in various stages of done. I’ve been reading Tracy Verdugo’s book, Paint Mojo, and I’m fascinated by her techniques and the results she gets from them. I feel like I’m taking all of the things I’ve learned over the years from Kelly Kilmer, Tracy Bautista, Judy Wise, Katie Kendrik, Leighanna Light, Lynne Perella and from my own experimentation and flinging it all upside down and getting something amazing. I’m so happy with these so far.
When you asked for advice on how to live a long life she would say, ‘Use a lot of skin moisturizer, treat everyone nice, love your neighbor and eat your own cooking. Don’t eat at fast food places.”
It made me think about banning fast food from my life, of course, but it really made me think about how extraordinary Gertrude’s life must have been and how much I’d love to look at her journals. What if she had kept a journal? What would it look like? I can’t even imagine. I wonder a lot about my own grandparents and what I would give to have even a year’s worth of their thoughts, dreams, musings. It’s just another reason for me to renew my commitment to recording my own life and encouraging others to do the same.