Monday, January 30, 2012

The Word I Didn't Think Of

Today I finally read Julie Balzer's post from last week for her Art Journal Every Day group. Her post fit so well with our lunch conversation at the office last Thursday that I spoke about in my last post. She gave a name to those things that block our creativity: ePEcTaTioNs. Not a complex word, but one I didn't think of when I was writing. It fits so well. Our expectations of our art, of ourselves, of others, block us from moving ahead. So, we don't make art. We don't dream. We don't allow ourselves to grow. We don't work through conflict. We don't love others. We don't take steps of faith. We let our expectations immobilize us. Letting go of expectations is valuing and enjoying the process.

Some tips from Julie on letting go of expectations:

Here are some ways to help you let go of expectations:
  • Narrow your focus.  Instead of thinking of the end result, think about what you want to accomplish in the next few minutes.  For example: I want to use this stencil.
  • Follow the shiny ball.  What does that mean?  When something interesting flits across your line of sight or through your mind, follow it.  Take that detour.
  • Walk away.  I often find that the pieces I hate the most are the ones where I was relentlessly pushing and pushing and pushing and overworking my art.  Sometimes taking a break and coming back another day with fresh eyes is just the ticket.
  • Do something to purposely ruin it.  Rip it.  Cover it with paint.  Ruin it.  Gasp.  It works.  It makes you less afraid.  And forces you to let go of your expectations.
  • Don't compare yourself to others.  Maybe I should say that again: don't compare yourself to others.  As Dr. Seuss has taught us, "No one is youer than you."  Art journaling is not a competition.
  • Make art every day.  When making art becomes part of your daily routine it really takes the pressure off.  Release that valve by taking ten minutes a day to do something artistic.

So, I intend to make art every day this year and enjoy the process!

From my Scrapbook Life Journal

Expectation is the root of all heartache.  William Shakespeare
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.  Theodore Roosevelt

Dreams grow holy put into action.  Adelaide Proctor

Friday, January 27, 2012

Just Do It.

Ira Glass on the Creative Process

This video is cool and creative. During our lunch at the office yesterday we were talking about the things that block us or keep us from doing the creative things we feel called to. I struggled with this so much in the early days as I explored making art: the things I made had to have a purpose ( a gift or a specific project), I had to have it all planned out first, it had to be perfect, etc. But over the past year as I explored last year's word, freedom, making art became one of the big areas I gained freedom in. And slowly those things that were blocking me from being creative and making art began to subside. What I found was that it is actually the process, not the finished product, that brings the most release, relaxation and refreshment, and what energizes me the most. So, what actually stopped the creative blocks was simply doing it. Just make art. Just do it.

Just make art and enjoy the process!

Last weeks making art fun was Bible study notebooks for my group members for our new study of the book of Matthew. Making books is so relaxing!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Is It Just Me?

Last night we had a long overdue date night and went to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It was excellent. I think is was just as good as the first, maybe even better. While the special effects were great, the action riveting, and the story entertaining, the thing that captivated me the most was.....the artwork and the FONTS during the ending credits. I recall the same thing happened during the first movie. I couldn't find any images from the new movie, but the same type of artwork and fonts were used in the first:

I love the sketchy, watercolor, grunge feel with the ink spatters. And the font is to die for.
The very same thing happened to me at the end of Robin Hood (2010).

I think I have a serious typography obsession; a font addiction; a graphic arts infatuation. My attention gets diverted from magazine ads, commercials, mail, movies, etc. by the fonts they use. So, am I alone in this? Is it just my own weird obsession? Or am I maybe closer to normal than I think I am?  {At least with other creative types.} If you go see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows stay for the 8 minutes of credits. The art and the fonts are worth it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Random Thoughts Today

Some rambling random thoughts for today:

{Taken at Youth Haven Ranch July 2011}

This is one of my favorite photo shots from 2011 and it seems an appropriate photo for today, Martin Luther King Jr. day.  Yesterday in church we read Dr. King's speech "Paul's Letter to American Christians".  In this speech he talks about Sunday morning being the "most segregated hour of Christian America". Dr. Kind delivered this speech in 1956 and I hope that now, 56 years later, this is becoming less true of the American Christian church. I'm afraid, though, that we still have a long way to go. But there are changes. There is growth. I'm pleased that it is changing in my own church. And the children are leading us! This is what the above picture represents for me. Young children don't care about the things that tend to separate us as adults. They're just looking for someone to be a friend with. May we learn from them and from Dr. King.
"I still believe that love is the most durable power in the world. Over the centuries men have sought to discover the highest good. This has been the chief quest of ethical philosophy. This was one of the big questions of Greek philosophy. I think I have an answer America. It is love.  This principle stands at the center of the cosmos. As John says, "God is love." He who loves is a participant in the being of God. He who hates does not know God. It is here we find the true meaning of the Christian faith. This is at bottom the meaning of the cross...."  (from Paul's Letter to American Christians)

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35

I am determined that I WILL FINISH my Advent Art Journal, even if it takes me till spring. I am almost all the way through the first three weeks. Recent pages completed:

I'm loving collaged and painted backgrounds right now. I find that when I simply set out to make some background pages, the creativity flood gates open wide!

As usual, I am involved in multiple things at the same time. I am taking a year long class with Stephanie Ackerman that mixes faith, art journaling, doodling, and soul searching. January's prompt is "Being honest with yourself". My cover page for January:

Scripture on the tag is 1 Thessalonians 5:23: "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Enough rambling for one day. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Art Journaling: A Perfect Mix

Over the past few years I have begun to really get in touch with who I am in Christ ~ mainly how God has wired me: my personality, gifts, what energizes me and what drains me. The more I figure this stuff out the better I learn the most effective ways to find some balance in my busy life, which will, hopefully, keep burn-out from creeping in {or at least not as often}. Through this process the world of art journaling opened up to me and I found an incredible venue for "filling" the spaces in me that have been drained each week/month through the daily struggles, stresses, ups, and downs of life and ministry. If you are familiar with the practice of lectio divina, then you have an idea of how art journaling flows for me - Bible study, meditation, prayer, then I journal (written) for a while, and then I express myself in art for a while. It may or may not be connected to what I studied, but it relaxes me, energizes me, and refills the dry places within me. It also combines many creative areas that I dabble in: paint, paper,  Photoshop, color, photography, typography, collage, words, images, etc. {I have never been satisfied with being fully, exclusively in just one creative area.} I have found over the past two years that it is the process of making art that holds the restorative, energizing and filling qualities for me. So I may or may not finish things and I create with being creative as myonly purpose.
I am driven by the interweaving of my faith and my art. After all, in following Christ, we are striving to live our whole life, our whole being, as a reflection of Him incarnated in us. So why would our hobbies not be an expression of that. I am amazed how time spent studying the Word and time spent doing art have very similar effects on me spiritually.

Friday, January 6, 2012


This morning I experienced an epiphany: I learned what Epiphany actually means to the church and the church calendar. I don't remember learning about Epiphany growing up Catholic. It may have been talked about, but I just don't remember it. Since I committed to following Christ as my Savior and Lord in my late 20's, I have been a part of non-liturgical churches. In recent years our church has been getting in touch with some of the traditions that would be more familiar in liturgical churches, such as Advent. Most of my adult life, and especially in the years I've been a Christ-follower, I've had a negative reaction to church/faith traditions or liturgies. My experiences growing up Catholic, and maybe even more specifically some of the experiences my family experienced in the Catholic church, gave me an oversensitivity to what I felt was hypocrisy. And this is how I saw the Catholic church and many of its rituals which felt like they were done without meaning or understanding. Liturgies that were practiced on Sunday morning in mass but not lived out by people throughout the rest of their week. That was my experience and perception. So, since then I have "reacted" to liturgical practices. But in recent years God has been redeeming this in me. As I actually learn the meaning of some of these practices, liturgies, and church traditions I find myself connecting to the depth and richness they hold for our faith in Christ. This year I have more deeply connected with the practice of following Advent ~ anticipating the arrival of our Messiah and celebrating the joy of Emmanuel - God with us - the Incarnation.
So, this morning I stumbled on the meaning of Epiphany, as today is the Epiphany holiday celebrated in the Church calendar. Epiphany is the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. The day when the Magi visited the baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-12). 
In the words of Christine Sine {}

"We have watched and waited through Advent, we have celebrated Christmas and the joy of our Savior's birth and now we are being asked to follow, to recognize the revelation of Christ in our midst and journey into the new life he offers us."
Come and see, come and follow, go and tell others.

A page from my Advent Art Journal

Monday, January 2, 2012

My "Word" for 2012

My word for 2011 was "freedom".  That was also my word for 2010. My desire has been to be free from some mindsets and attitudes that are unhealthy and to be more free to walk in the freedom that is ours through our faith in Christ.

The other day I was writing in my journal. Over the past weeks and months I've been looking at God's love for us and our call to love others. I struggle so much with accepting that God loves me unconditionally. I struggle a lot with loving others - unconditionally. And it struck me, as I was writing in my journal, that all of this ~ receiving God's love for me and my ability to love others ~ can be summed up in the words "through Christ".  So, my "one word" for 2012 is "through". Through Christ. It seems to fit well. After having the word freedom for two years, it fits that "through" {Christ} is this year's word, since it is through Christ that we live in freedom.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces, all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."  2 Corinthians 3:17-18

So, there it is, my one word for the year ahead: through. I don't have a theme verse yet, but it will come. As will the art to express it.