New Paints and Watercolor Cityscape

After my last attempts at abstract watercolor, I decided to try something different. It has been a while since I watched CeeCee painting one of her watercolor cityscapes. With what I  remembered, I decided to try my own simplified version of a cityscape with my new Koi water color set.

Supplies:

  • Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box
  • 4 1/2″ x 6″ Artist Loft Watercolor paper 140 lb/ 300 g/m
  • blue painters tape
  • hardboard

Let me tell you. I don’t know if changing from my Prang watercolor set to the Koi water color set made a difference or if trying out a new set just put me in a different frame of mind. All I know is this. I felt completely different while working on this simple painting than I have in any other watercolor painting I have done. Trying to create a watercolor painting on my own without following any instructions always ended up with me feeling frustrated. Not this time. But before I get into that let me go back a bit.

A couple weeks ago I started looking into upgrading to better watercolor paint. Because I am on a tight budget, I wanted the most economical set at least at the next level up in quality. I wasn’t sure if I wanted pans or tubes, so I started comparing prices. I checked locally, as well as, online and after a lot of research I finally settled on the Koi water color pocket field sketch box. I felt it gave me the best options for my money.  I also heard Lindsay Weirich say good things about Koi so I felt it would be a good investment. She wasn’t wrong.

I did a quick swatch of my colors in the set so I could identify which colors I wanted to use in my painting. It is hard to tell for sure what the colors are by just looking at the paint in the pans, so creating a swatch was beneficial.

IMG_1629

I didn’t mix any paint. I used the paint just as it came from the pans using the water brush that came with the set. I didn’t really mix any of the paint on my paper either except where it accidentally touched another color while it was still wet, which happened on one or two of the trees. I did add a second color of green to the trees and to the bushes and grass.

IMG_1628

First, I want to say how easy it was to pick up the paint. All I did was let a drop of water drip onto the paint in the pan and sometimes I wouldn’t wait at all before dipping my brush into the paint. I didn’t have to wait for the paint to soak up the water in order for me to lift any paint onto the brush.

Second, I barely had to touch the paint in order to get enough to paint with, not even for the buildings. I knew Lindsay said these paints would go a long way but it was hard to reconcile that in my mind when I saw how tiny the pans are. After trying them just this one time, I know what she said is true. I will, however, have to recondition my mind to not think that I’m wasting paint when I clean my water brush on a paper towel when I want to change colors. Although I bought the paint set on Amazon when it was on sale, it was still more than I have ever paid for a set of water color paint. From what I have experienced so far, I think the set is worth the money I paid for it.

I will admit that switching from a cheap watercolor set to one that cost more and is higher quality paint created a different mindset for me when I sat down to paint. Because I felt the paint was more precious, I was very careful. I started out by picking up a small amount of paint, as small as I could to see what the results would be and was astonished to discover how fantastic the tiniest amount of paint spread across my paper.

I’ve used water brushes before so that wasn’t new to me. It worked very well for me on the watercolor paper, with picking up the paint, and also for dripping a small drop of water into the paint in the pan to get it wet. I learned quickly to wipe the excess water off the brush before picking up the paint or I would have a puddle of water on my paper. However, from watching CeeCee and Lindsay, I learned how to dab up the excess water off the paper with the brush and the brush did this rather well too.

This really is my first landscape watercolor painting. It is also the first watercolor painting where I left a lot of paper untouched. In all my other paintings when using the cheaper watercolors, I felt I needed to cover the whole surface, but not this time. Before I started to paint, I did tape my paper down using blue painter’s tape because I wasn’t sure how wet I would end up making the paper. In the end, I probably didn’t need to tape it down but I’m glad I did because I love the crisp white edge around the painting.

I knew a better quality of paint would be a bit different to paint with. I just didn’t know how it would also bring my artist’s mind into a different level as well. Is it because I know the paint is better quality or is it because the artist in me responds to how differently the paint reacts? Probably a bit of both, but I suspect more of the latter. If it is the latter, then I don’t want to think about what it might mean for those who cannot afford the higher quality supplies. If I can’t continue to buy Koi or watercolors of similar quality, will increasing my skill as a painter suffer? I hope not.

I do know this. It will be difficult to go back to Prang, at least for a while. I want to practice more with Koi to see what I can do. Then maybe I’ll go back to Prang to see if what I learned with the Koi set alters the way I use my Prang set.

 

Advertisements

Experimenting, seeking, and blessings…

I have been playing around with watercolor pencils and my watercolor paints. I have been watching some youtube videos to get some ideas for what I can do artistically to support my bible studies and my spiritual journey.

First, I learned how to highlight text in my bible and then use the same highlighter color to mark my notes I make in the border of my journaling bible, so it is easy to find my notes which refer to the text. This is great because it not only makes it easy to reference the scripture with my notes, it also adds some marvelous color to my bible.

I also have a notebook where I write down notes regarding the chapter I read in my daily bible study. But the notebook is rather plain and uninspiring since it is written using black ink and in a cheap composition notebook. I decided to start making changes:

  1. The first thing I changed was the format so what I read daily was grouped together and each day was separated by a date.
  2. The next thing I did was use a different color of ink each day. I have about 6 different colored gel pens so I started using them to write my notes changing to a different color the next day. This created an obvious division between each day’s studies.
  3. The third thing I did was see if I could use watercolor pencils on the paper and a waterbrush to activate them. This is where I started to run into issues. The watercolor pencils didn’t move hardly at all on the untreated paper of the composition notebook. This also caused the paper to wrinkle.
  4. The next step, I tried some watercolor paint but that also didn’t move very much. Below is a picture of the watercolor paint layered over the watercolor pencils and you can see how splotchy it appears. I wasn’t crazy about it at all, although when I started writing my notes over it, I kind of liked it. This page has an interesting crinkling sound to it and it is wrinkly, an effect from becoming wet which I sometimes like and sometimes don’t.IMG_1613
  5. The next thing I did was try treating a page front and back with clear gesso and applying watercolor pencils to it and activating it again with a waterbrush. This worked better but still had issues with getting it to blend out the way I wanted it, so I put a wash of watercolor paint over it. This is still blotchy but better than the one above and the page doesn’t wrinkle or crinkle like the untreated page above. I actually love the texture of the page from the clear gesso I’m using. The gesso isn’t gritty and it gives the page what my touch and mind can only interpret as an almost leather type feel to it on both the surface and when bending and turning the page. It feels sturdier and not at all like paper in how it bends.IMG_1614
  6. On the other side of the treated page, I used just watercolor wash of paint over the clear gesso. This is by far my favorite and is what I plan on doing going forward in my bible study notebook.

IMG_1615

I expect my next change will be to decorate the cover of my notebook, after watching a video today on youtube of someone covering their composition notebook, it made me want to do something similar.

The thing I am most pleased about is finding a way to work with a cheap composition notebook. I have seen other people on youtube and in some art courses I’ve taken who use composition notebooks for their art journals, junk journals, bullet journals and so forth but when I tried to use one in the way they did, it just didn’t appeal to me. Most of them didn’t treat their pages, some of them glued pages together to make them sturdier.

As you read above, I don’t generally like the page when it gets all crinkly after it dries, though the sound is pleasing the results of the medium on the untreated page isn’t.  As I learned in my creative journaling bible and now in this notebook, treating the page with clear gesso is what I like best because it gives me a broader range of options for anything I might want to do on the page. Consequently, I’m going through clear gesso quite quickly, luckily the clear gesso I can get locally isn’t expensive and I like it.

I only have a couple pages done with watercolor in my journal, even so, when I flip back through my journal, I definitely like the ones with color more. I am hoping to add some doodles or some variations in my writing to help make my notes more visual so I might be able to have instant recall on what was in the text I was studying. Right now my notes just run together. I am intrigued by those who are able to create doodles in their notes as they go and have them make so much sense. I have never been a doodler, so trying to come up with simple images to draw that would emphasize what I’m learning doesn’t come easily or naturally to me. I think I’m more of a word person, so creating changes in my writing may be what I need to do.

What I’m learning is experimenting, trying different things, is helping me to find what works for me. This is being driven home even more so in my play with watercolor paint. These next two images are from practicing on two pieces of 4 1/2″ x 5″ watercolor paper. I have watched a number of artists on youtube paint with watercolor and each time I try to do something without following a lesson or what they are doing and just try to do something on my own, it ends up something like these. Then I don’t know what to do with them.

The first one looks like an out of focus picture of flowers that have no connection with the earth or each other.

IMG_1610

I have no idea where I was headed with this one, I just started putting paint down where I felt like placing it and letting it run. I think when I was letting the paint run we had a bit of thunder and lightening happening outside which doesn’t occur very often.

IMG_1606

Basically, I was just playing. I think I should try a challenge of doing one of these small watercolor practice squares a day for 30 days and see what happens. I’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed with other things I feel I should be doing and not progressing as fast as I think I should be so to add something like a challenge right now might be a bit too much.

It is hard to justify playing with my art when I feel I should be focusing on things to improve our financial situation. I have to keep myself open to what God wants me to do. After winning a spot in “Paint Your Heart and Soul 2019” and another spot in “Life Book 2019”, I have to believe that God wants me to continue pursuing my art and including it as often as I can in my day-to-day activities.

I started a prayer journal and I’m using my artistic skills to bring prayer to life for me. That may sound strange so below is an image of a page in my prayer journal. I don’t want to confuse anyone and have them think the artwork or text is mine. I got both from Pinterest.  If you want to look up the text graphic you can find it here. If you want to look up the image you can find it here.  The footnote to the image states, “Praying is a painting by Dorina Costras which was uploaded on April 11th, 2017.” I had the background painted long before I found the text or image so to find an image which spoke to me so deeply and blended so well with my background and also the text is wonderful. I would love to have this image on canvas or print for my wall but in my present circumstances I can’t afford it so I opted for a small printout to put in my prayer journal.

IMG_1616

The image and the words together bring prayer to life for me. It has been difficult to have faith that my prayers will be answered. Throughout my life, I have prayed more times than I can count where I felt like no one was listening and nothing came of my prayers. The more I read my bible, the more I realize there was a very important element missing in my life when I accepted Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior. Learning was disjointed, had no cohesion, there was no direction given to me as a new child of God. Would things have been different if there had been a more structured teaching to help someone like me? I can’t answer that. I would like to think so but God does things a certain way for a good reason. Maybe after being saved, I needed to become lost and lose almost everything so I would truly seek him for the right reasons. Seeking God for one’s own personal gain is wrong. I originally sought him and accepted him because I feared for my life that I might die and go to hell. I didn’t seek him to glorify him or out of fear of him. In April, when I decided to start reading the bible, I did so because I wanted to get to know God and who he really is. Not the God I was taught about as a child because I felt what I was being taught was a bastardized version of him and not the real HIM.

It is hard to sit back and study the bible at the pace I am studying it. I want to fly through it learning all I can as fast as I can.  Even though I’m moving through it chapter by chapter instead of verse by verse which is what is recommended by Anne Graham Lotz in her 3-Question Bible Study method, I feel like I’m learning at a snail’s pace.

I came across Anne’s method a couple weeks ago when I was searching different ways of studying the bible. I also discovered she has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and has just started chemo treatments. From what she writes it sounds like her diagnosis is more severe than mine and her treatments will last a lot longer. I pray for her every day for God to give her strength and healing. I used to listen to her father Billy Graham many years ago but had no idea she had her own ministry. From what little I have read and listened to so far, she may become a rather important source of inspiration for me.

I am slowly finding my way in this life, this new life which is developing out of the ashes of my old life. I often feel as though I am no longer standing on solid ground, so unstable it might dissolve completely leaving nothing to stand on, or that I’m standing on the edge of a cliff where the slightest breeze could push me over the edge. God is the only one who is keeping me grounded. He is answering my prayers and giving me hope. When I am left to my own devices, and I try to rely on just myself, everything just feels like it is falling apart and there is no hope left in me.

I am learning to lean on God, and he is showing me in amazing ways that he is listening and answering my prayers in his own way and in his own time. It is hard to be patient. It is hard to change from my old ways. It is hard not to let doubt bubble up and overwhelm me. But each time I witness God’s helping hand in my life, my faith grows a bit more, a bit stronger and becomes a bit more rooted. I am glad my art has a part in my life. I love how it is becoming entwined with my spiritual growth.

Maybe one day I’ll discover my true purpose which God has for me.

Added pages to my Faith Journal…

I added some pages to my Faith Journal. These additions including the tags provides me with 56 areas to put text!

img_1571.jpgIMG_1570IMG_1554IMG_1551IMG_1552IMG_1553

turned page

IMG_1555IMG_1558IMG_1560IMG_1556img_1564.jpgimg_1562.jpgimg_1563.jpg

turned page

img_1565.jpgimg_1566.jpgimg_1568.jpgimg_1567.jpg

with the tags inserted

IMG_1573IMG_1574IMG_1575

I decided to try and video tape a flip through since the individual pictures don’t really show how it really looks as you flip through the pages. You can see the video here.  Forgive the poor video, this is my very first video EVER! lol When I decided to record it, I didn’t think about what I had playing on my television so you can hear a bit of it in the background. It was an impromptu filming using my phone and I didn’t have the tags right beside me so at the end when I decided to insert them I had to reach a bit which is why the journal went off camera for a moment. I have no setup for filming so this was a fly by the seat of my pants sort of thing. lol

I am loving this journal so much that I wish I could add in all the scriptures and the dangly bits so I could have it to just read through over and over again. However, it is going to take some time to complete. The main reason is I want to add scriptures which have meaning to me and not just any scripture. I’m sure I could search online to find scriptures on faith but that isn’t my goal. I’m going to fill it as I am inspired to do so from my daily reading or from sermons or other situations where I am touched by scripture that will help me with building my faith.

When I started on my art journey, I never thought I would be creating something like this. Looking back, I can see how everything is connected. I really started with just doing tangles to get my confidence up in drawing or creating. At one point, I was frustrated over not finding the type of journal I wanted so I started researching how to create my own.

I found tutorials on creating scrapbooks, as well as, art journals.  I tried scrapbooking but it never took off with me, although I did create a few books. Those books sit unfinished on my shelf. One though is used to store my small tangle tiles. The foldouts I created in my Faith Journal, I learned from a few scrapbooking tutorials. The one page wonder which is the base for this journal, I learned when researching how to create my own journal. At the time I never imagined how I could add to the small one page wonder booklet, so to discover I was able to expand it to have 56 surfaces for adding text made me sort of giddy inside. I will need to figure out some sort of closure, either a tie closure or a band or clip of some sort. I’m still working on that, plus I want to get some lace or material to add to the tags for decoration. That will come over time as I add scripture and things I see inspire me for adding as decoration.

I LOVE creating journals! This one is no different. I have another I made from watercolor paper which I use for mixed media or watercolor journal pages. If I had the supplies I would have my shelves filled with my handmade journals filled with every type of paper imaginable. Maybe over time that is what will happen, if this journal is any indication of just how versatile they can be.

I created this journal from 3 pages of 14″ x 17″ Canson XL Mix Media paper 98lb/160g. One page for the booklet and two pages for the inserts or flipouts.  Using watered down Elmer’s glue, I layered one side of the paper with a collage of old book pages and some lightweight decorative scrapbook paper. For the booklet I also layered some napkins but I didn’t do the napkins on the inserts. The acrylic paint I used was CraftSmart and a couple inexpensive dollar store brands and applied three or four different colors using a sponge. On the page for the booklet I also applied gold acrylic paint over the surface. On one of the pages for the inserts I applied gold paint through a stencil. Once the paint was dry I added some marks by using different stamps and mark making tools, such as a circular object from a tape dispenser to make circles, the side of a gift card for straight lines, a natural sponge and other odds and ends for other various marks. When it was all dry I folded and cut one sheet of paper to form the booklet. The other two pages, I cut into strips that could be attached to the booklet and folded for foldouts. The tags were layered with a thin coat of acrylic paint and then stamped using permanent ink.

The pages of the booklet were adhered in such a way as to create pockets with side openings and top openings. The foldouts were adhered to the pocket openings using two sided tape. I actually didn’t add the marks to the inserts until after I had attached them to the booklet. I could add more tags if I want to or not use them at all. It all depends on how many scriptures I want to add.

The scriptures are added by printing the scripture on printer paper, then tearing the words or group of words out of the paper so they have a ragged edge. I used the watered down Elmer’s glue to glue down the bits of paper with the words on them. Once they were dry I used a black Tombow marker and the blending marker around the edge of the paper. I used different colors of Tombow markers to color in the text on the front of the journal. I will continue to do this same process when I find more scripture to add.

This is where I am now. I plan to add ribbon, lace, possibly yarn or other material to the tags and possibly to the journal. Maybe some charms or I might find some pictures or other things to embellish the journal. This will develop as time goes by and if I find anything which inspires me to add to the journal.

On one hand, I want to rush and finish the journal, on the other hand, I want to take my time. I am torn between wanting it completed and excited over having it available to add to for probably the next year if not longer. To have something completely made with my own two hands which I can add to for the next year or more which will reflect my growth and faith in Christ is blowing my socks off.

I have never felt this way before. I want to rush and learn all I can, which means sometimes I have to fight against the desire to skip over the rest of the old testament and start reading the new testament because I feel as though the majority of the scriptures I will want will be from the new testament. Or I want to just hurry and read past where I am now in 2 Chronicles and get into Psalms where I also know there is some good scripture to support my faith. I don’t just want to rush so I can fill my journal, I want to gobble up all I can, to learn all I can, with so many good things so I’ll grow spiritually. It is like being a kid again and trying to rush to become an adult which we all know we can’t rush or we might not learn some important information we might need to know.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is a journey and it is important to take it one step at a time. I can and have spent my whole day working on this journal and studying scripture. The more I read the more I want to read, the desire grows in me every day.  I remember when I was a kid and accepted Jesus as my Savior.  I don’t remember anyone telling me that it is a learning process. I didn’t have this drive to learn back then. I think I thought I was home free just by accepting him and life would be simple from then on. Since I started reading the bible in April, I am learning about so much that was left out of Sunday school teachings and Sunday morning sermons. I can’t rush this. Like a seed that is planted, it can’t just be full grown over night. It must grow through its various stages as it matures and I must do the same.

Art is the same as well. No one becomes a master artist over night. We all must learn and develop through the various stages an artist must go through before they can become a master in their craft. I love that I am able to blend my art and my spiritual journey to support each other. My spiritual journey is also supporting the rest of my life. Without it, I would be completely lost.

I don’t understand why things are so different for me now. It isn’t as though I only just discovered God and believed in him. I have believed in him my whole life. Only recently have I become aware of a growing hunger, an insatiable hunger and thirst for a deeper understanding and relationship with God.

 

 

 

Additions to my Faith Journal

I am thrilled with how my Faith Journal is evolving. Below is a closeup of the front of my journal.

IMG_1529

I used Tombow markers to add color to the text, and the shading around the white paper. The black was used throughout the journal around the edge of the white papers. I loved it so much on the cover I felt it would work well through the rest of the journal and I think I was right.

IMG_1530

Here you can see what else I added to the journal, tags. Yes, tags. I wasn’t sure I was going to use tags. That inner voice of mine told me to just play around with them. I could always change my mind since they aren’t permanently attached and can be pulled out. I have other ideas which I might still use. It all depends on what further changes I decide to make.

IMG_1531

This photo and the next two show the inside pages with the black Tombow marker added. I blended it using the Tombow blender.

img_1532.jpg

IMG_1533

Below are two of the tags. I used acrylic paint using a wet wipe to apply the paint and blend it, then added some stamps using a Stazon ink pad. Stazon won’t move once it is dry and since I wasn’t sure how I would add scripture to these I wanted to make sure the ink didn’t move with whatever method I use.

IMG_1534    IMG_1535

Below are two pictures showing the tags slightly pulled out of their pockets. Two pages have the opening at the top, creating a top pocket and two other pages have the opening on the side, creating a side pocket. The pockets are the full depth and width of the page.

IMG_1536 IMG_1537

I counted all the sides and pages I have available for adding scripture and there are 19 in total counting the tags. I believe I can add even more to possibly create a total of 54 surfaces or more for scripture.

I would love to fill it completely right now, however, I want to choose scripture which resonates with me. This means I should take my time and make note of what scriptures call to me, either during my daily reading or other events.

I am considering other ways to decorate my journal. Maybe dangly bits of odds and ends, shiny twinkly things, or whatever else I might have lying around. This is about creating something which inspires me to keep my faith, constant and true. The glorious thing about this is, it doesn’t just do that, it lifts me out of the darkness which has been enveloping me recently and not so recently.

IMG_1539I need to mention one other thing.

I AM FLABERGASTED!

When I saw how my Tombow markers worked in my bible on a page treated with one coat of clear gesso. As long as I do not use too much water the Tombows will not bleed through the page. I definitely don’t want to use Tombows on an untreated page. I tried it in a small area and not only did it bleed through to the backside, it also bled through to the page underneath. But on the treated page I think I found my new ‘go to’ markers. I love the way they blend and move over the clear gesso. Not to mention the brightness of their colors! For tiny areas I will still rely on sharpies, and other permanent markers and highlighters for text. But, DANG, I do love the Tombows on the artwork on this page.

I love how my bible is providing me knowledge in many ways. Not just knowledge of God, though that is my main purpose in reading the bible. It is also teaching me what my various art mediums are capable of over clear gesso and that I don’t always have to have heavy art paper in order to use them. I am also enjoying how I am being inspired creatively with the projects designed around my faith. I haven’t felt this type of connection with my art before so this is new and exciting for me.

 

New idea: Faith Journal

My art  journey is morphing in a way I never expected or could have foreseen. It is quickly becoming intertwined with my faith. My searches now, not only include various art techniques but also art related to bible journaling and bible study.

I have a bible that is designed for bible journaling and has in some of its margins artwork to color in if, I desire to do so. Adding my own artwork isn’t happening but maybe it will in the future.

I did do some testing of a few different mediums in my bible. I discovered a couple of interesting facts. Prang watercolors bleed through the paper. They also bleed through clear gesso! Even 3 layers of clear gesso!!! Daler Rowney watercolors from a tube, DO NOT bleed through unprepped (no gesso) bible pages!!!!!! Sorry for all the exclamation points but I found this rather AMAZING. I may have to invest in better quality watercolors if I want to use them in my bible and not have to prep the pages with gesso. I currently prep them with clear gesso so I can use sharpie markers or other markers, for highlighting or coloring, otherwise they will bleed through the page. I did a test on an untreated page using Inktense pencils, by using a waterbrush and pulling color from the pencil tip and painting it on the page. It has a high ghosting factor, not really a bleed through but possibly could if the application is too heavy. I plan to work with them more in my bible at some point and test them over clear gesso. I was quite frankly amazed regarding what would or would not bleed through the untreated pages of a bible considering how thin they are. I had expected everything to bleed through except maybe ballpoint pen or pencils.

Maybe some day I’ll do my own art in my bible.

Right now, I am more focused on my bible studies. From my searches I came upon a method some people use during their studies. I am more of a writer/note taker when it comes to studying than I am an doodler/artist creating pictures to help me remember what I’ve read. This helped me to understand why I felt a bit blocked when I tried to add artwork to my bible. Instead of drawing, I highlight and write in colorful text which in itself is pretty to my eyes.

I often find myself intrigued by how God influences my life. I find myself drawn towards things not understanding why. I was drawn to sign up for a free tutorial called Magical Manifesting Journal tutorial which I ran across on Facebook. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I wanted yet another tutorial about manifesting. First, because I’ve tried it before with little to no success and secondly, because of my renewed faith in God. I won’t go into the spiritual implications of this. Just know I’m rethinking some of the things I have dabbled in over the years and whether they are appropriate in my life now. Manifesting is one of these things I’m reconsidering so I was intrigued as to why I would be pulled towards this course. I truly believe this was God’s influence, so he could show me how I can alter something that may seem inappropriate for my faith and make it appropriate and supportive of my changes in my life.  I believe he uses everything he can to bring us into his chosen path for us. And this is just one example.

I went ahead and signed up for the tutorial. I watched all the videos. As I reached the end of the videos, I realized I could still use the idea of the manifesting journal but altar it slightly. I had to first understand what it was I wanted. I want to build a closer relationship with God. I needed something which I could turn to and have it help restore my faith or turn my thoughts from feelings of negativity to positive feelings. I, all too often, sink into despair and depression when life just doesn’t seem to be going well for me. I wanted a quick reference to particular versus which resonate with me and help me on my spiritual journey.

So… I altered the idea of a manifesting journal to a faith journal.

What I would do is create a simple booklet from one page. You know, one of those one page wonders, where you fold a large sheet of paper into a booklet containing about 8 pages, including front and back cover. Adhering the bottom edge of the pages and not the top or sides, creates pockets, which I’ll show in another post when I start to create items to insert into the pockets.

Here is what I have created so far. It isn’t done yet, but I was so excited about how this is turning out, I wanted to share it, in case, anyone else might want to try it as well.

IMG_1516

Front Cover

 

IMG_1517

Page 1 and 2

  Pages 1 through 4 were inspired from last Sunday’s sermon at CAC.

Page 1: “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy” James 1:2

Page 2: “when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” James 1:3

The point of the journal is to add scripture which I can refer to when my faith begins to wain or I feel challenged and need to feel God’s support. Since I am currently facing some personal challenges these particular verses in James resonated with me and help to give me hope that there is a purpose behind these challenges.

IMG_1520

Page 3 and 4

Page 3: “when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” James 1:4

Page 4: “if you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you” James 1:5

Page 5 came from my daily reading from a week or so ago. “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5  You might recognize it from the art journal page I showed in my previous blog. This one gives me hope that God hears my prayers and is actively helping me.

IMG_1527

Page 5 and 6

I still have page 6 and the back cover where I can add more scripture as I come across something that resonates with me. But don’t think this is all I have room for. As I mentioned earlier, if I only glue the bottom edges of the pages together it will  leave the sides of a couple pages and the top of a couple other pages open forming pockets. I can add decorated tags or decorated paper which I can also add scripture to and store in the pockets, plus I could add tip-ins or fold-outs for even more space to add scripture. This means I have a lot more I can add to this journal. When I feel it is full, I can create another one.

IMG_1528

Back Cover

For the text I found free fonts online I can download for personal use. I printed the scripture on computer paper and tore them out and used a bit of slightly watered down glue to adhere them to the page.

The background is several layers. First, was a collage of different paper, text, decorative paper and music pages. Next came a layer of napkins, followed by a layer of maybe 4 different colors of paint some of them metallic. The last layer was some stamping and mark making using different items like bubble wrap, a lid, the side of a gift card and so forth. I did paint the back of the page, partly to help it lay flat and secondly so the inside of the pockets wouldn’t just be white.

These pages are not done. I plan to do something to help the white paper, with the text printed on it, to blend into the background more, just haven’t settled on what I’ll do yet.  I think I want some embellishments, but again I’m not sure what. Ideas are flowing. I just need to settle on which ones I want to try and just how far I’ll take this project.

I finally feel like I’m finding a focus for my artwork, which is such a wonderful feeling.

The Light in My Darkness

It has been almost two months since my last post. As to why, well, the answer can be quite complicated and too personal to want to talk about. I’ve been struggling with life, mostly, which means I am also struggling with my art. Or rather, I find when I loose interest in life, then I also loose interest in my art.

There is one thing which has remained consistent since I added another element to my journey a few months ago. That element is reading the bible every day. I don’t know why NOW is any different from the times I tried to do this in my past.  I only know that it is. If I miss a single day in reading the bible, I feel compelled to read twice as much the next day. The hunger inside of me to read and learn what the bible has to teach me is strong. It keeps me going. Though I have felt lost these past few months in my life, the one thing which has kept me from loosing myself completely is my daily reading.

I have heard other artists say that art has saved them or helped them through some tough times. I wanted this to be the case for me but it wasn’t. I believe we all have something which can help us and we each have to find what that one thing is. I’m learning, mine is feeding the hunger I feel in my soul to get to know God through my reading of the bible.

I pulled out a bible I bought some time ago. It is called “Inspire, The Bible for Creative Journaling”. I bought some clear gesso and started prepping the pages so I could use markers for making annotations in the wide borders or coloring in the artwork that was already in the wide margins. If I don’t do this then the markers bleed through the page to the other side and I’m finding I don’t like using colored pencil as much as I thought I would. It is too slow for me to keep up with my reading. Also, some ink pens will also bleed through the pages so the clear gesso prevents that.

On two of the pages, I discovered parts of scripture which has come to mean a lot to me these past couple of weeks. I decided to create a couple loose art journal pages so I could display them as reminders. Below are the two pages I created.

IMG_1509

This first one comes from 2 Chronicles 20:12 but is a shortened version and I changed it to have a more personal meaning for myself, which is why I didn’t reference the verse of the bible on the page. It has become a daily prayer of mine when I’m feeling particularly lost.

IMG_1505

This one, I did reference the bible verse. Though it isn’t the whole verse the words are verbatim and part of the verse. This one gives me hope that my prayer is being heard.

It may seem odd that I came across the verses in the order they are presented here since I’m reading the bible from front to back and not skipping around. Not even to read any versus that are referenced in my study bible.

How I discovered these verses is like this…

I was feeling rather tired and went to put my bible on the table but instead it fell on the floor. My first thought was, “I wonder what it opened up to.” This is what I saw:
IMG_1510I immediately knew I needed to make this my daily prayer when I’m feeling lost and in the need of help.

I don’t remember if it was the same day or the next day or the day after. All I know, was within a day or two, I came across the second verse when I was flipping through the pages getting ready to prep them when I saw this:

IMG_1511

I knew I wanted to put these two versus on display in my house so I would be reminded every single day to not loose faith.

Things happen in the way they do, for a reason. I believe I was shown these two verses in the order they were given to me, to help me regain my faith.

I had both of the verses in mind when I started working on the first page. On the day when I put the finishing touches on the first page, I was given an answer I was looking for. I created the second page soon after and finished it tonight.

I have a lot of hard work ahead of me in order to follow up on the answer I was given. My artwork will continue to be a part of my life and always will be. There might be times when it seems like it has taken a backseat but hopefully if I do my work, and keep my faith. All will become clear.

After adding the text to my second page, I was given another answer I had not really known I was looking for. I knew art would always be a part of my life but as time continued, it was beginning to look more and more like my time was going to be pulled away from art. I wondered if it would slowly disappear from my life completely. Then, just as I was almost completed with the second page, I received my second answer.

I had been doing the steps for Let’s Face It 2019 and Paint Your Heart and Soul 2019 to try and win a spot in their giveaways. I started doing this last year when I realized my income might not make it possible for me to purchase both the courses and art supplies. If I could win the courses then I should be able to purchase the art supplies.

Let’s Face It was easy to get the information for each of the artists to enter the giveaways. However, Paint Your Heart and Soul was rather frustrating. There were some I couldn’t find any postings for at all. The dates in the post containing the list of artists indicated it was the date for the giveaway. There were links to the artist’s social media pages but a couple had issues with the links, others had no posts for the course or any instructions for the giveaway and there was no way to tell when the artists would post for the giveaway. Some artists posted well before the date of their giveaway and others, well, some I never found and I reached the point of just giving up and be satisfied with just the ones I had entered.

Then one morning (20 Sept) I was checking Facebook. I discovered a friend request from Sabra Awlad Issa.  I didn’t realize immediately that she was one of the artists only that she was friends with other artists, so I accepted her. That was when I discovered, I won a spot in “Paint Your Heart and Soul 2019”!

Sometimes signs/messages/answers come to us in ways that we may miss them or barely even notice them and we barely acknowledge them and most often forget about them. Then there are times when they come to us like a bolt of lightning or a two-by-four over the head or just so blatantly obvious we can’t ignore what we are being told. This is how I feel about winning the spot in “Paint Your Heart and Soul 2019”.

I hadn’t realized I was looking for a second answer regarding my art. I have always been creative and though I had doubts about how much time I would have to devote to my artwork, I didn’t doubt I would continue. This, however, was a sign to tell me it will continue to be a major part of my life.

Between the two answers I received, I understand the message being given to me. Work hard to get what I want. Stop doubting my abilities. But most of all be strong in my faith.

These past few years, I have felt like I was being buried alive. I have felt like I have no future and my existence on this earth has no meaning. I’m still not sure about the last part but at least I don’t feel like I’m being buried alive anymore. I have my work cut out for me. There might be gaps in posting because I have new priorities which I must not let slide. I might just post a piece of art once in a while but I can’t promise that because I love writing too and I feel like I need to write too if I post any art. Only time will tell what I’m inspired to do.

I am so thankful to God for all that He has done for me, especially this past week. I was so deep in my own darkness there was no light at all. But now…. now there is light and I’m hopeful but most of all I have faith and a direction to head towards.

❤ ❤ ❤

~Patti

Finally completed…

I waited a few days before calling this one done. I wasn’t sure if there was anything more I wanted to do with it. I had thought maybe I would add some designs to the background but decided on just this simple pattern from a stencil I created. I used watercolor through the stencil similar to the background colors. Then I added dark shadow lines and white highlight lines which in real life makes the shapes pop up off the page. Sometimes when I look at it, I’m sure it would feel like I applied texture paste. I didn’t. It is just an illusion which is something I love just as much as I would have loved the physical texture.

IMG_1440

This is probably one of my favorite spreads in my journal probably because it is the first time I did a puppy and the puppy made itself known from the background design. All of his contours were in the background all I did was draw around the shape. And I mean even the eyes and ears. I didn’t have to do anything but add the detail to the eye and his little nose. Even the eye was already looking upwards. The fact that he reminds me of our dog is a wonderful surprise.

To think that this all developed from a major mess when trying to create a floral pattern using watercolor just astounds me.