Friday, November 23, 2012

Upcycled Art Journaling

Upcycle: using ordinary objects to make something extraordinary. describes it as: taking an item that is no longer needed or wanted and giving it new life as something that is either useful or creative.

Upcycling in my art journals and travel journals is a habit I began quite by accident. The graphics on a conference flyer I received in the mail at work drew my attention and I couldn't throw it away. I cut it up and used it in my art. That led to looking at mail and other items with new eyes. Then, earlier this year, I took a class with Stephanie Ackerman ( and she had us cut words from magazines to use on our art journal pages. When I started making art journals from old books my love of upcycling took on a life of it's own. Now everything is a possibility to be used in my art. Nothing is viewed as it once was...trash or junk or old or useless.

One woman's trash is another one's treasure.

1. maps  2. magazine words  3. sheet music  4. altered book art journal binder 
5. book pages  6. paint chips  7. magazine pages  8. maps
9. magazine words & letters  10. old books  11. book pages  12. envelopes
13. sheet music & dictionary pages  14. catalog  15. book page  16. map & book page

Monday, November 19, 2012

Art From Study Notes

One of the members of an online art journaling group I belong to posted a picture of how she was using art with her research proposal notes. She posted this picture on our community group page:

Thanks, Anna Tapp (Anna's blog:, for the inspiration!

We have just started a series called "Images of the Incarnation" at church. So, while studying last week in prep for our Creative Team planning meeting, I was reading in Matthew about how Jesus tells John the Baptist's disciples who He is.

"When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (Matthew 11:2-6)

I got off on a rabbit trail as I started thinking about what Jesus says to them. Quoting from the prophet Isaiah, He says that His identity is evident by what they have SEEN and HEARD. So I started looking back through the first 11 chapters of Matthew to see exactly what it is that these men has seen and what they had heard.

First, what they HEARD:
Jesus' ministry begins in chapter 4 verse 17: "From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
4:23 says that, "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people." (Also repeated in 9:35)
In 10:7, when Jesus sends out the 12 disciples, He tells them to "As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’"
In fact, in the book of Matthew, the word "kingdom" is used 53 times, 48 of those times referring to God's kingdom. 7 times Jesus mentions the kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount; 15 times Jesus mentions the kingdom in His parables, 10 of those times He starts the parable out saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like.."; 21 times outside of the Sermon on the Mount and parables the kingdom is the illustration or point of Jesus' teachings.

So, John's disciples heard from Jesus all about the kingdom of God (heaven). In the Lord's prayer He calls His followers to pray, "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt. 5:10). They heard that the kingdom was now near to them...THIS is the incarnation - the Kingdom of God coming near to us in the person of Jesus Christ!

So, then, what did they SEE?
They saw the very things the prophet Isaiah had foretold:
  • the blind receive sight (Matthew 9:27-31)
  • the lame walk (Matthew 8:5-13, 14-17; 9:1-8)
  • those who have leprosy are cured (Matthew 4:23-25; 8:1-4, 14-17; 9:20-21)
  • the dead are raised (Matthew 9:18-26)
Jesus pointed to himself as the Messiah ~the Savior of the world~ and told them that they had already received the evidence of this through what He taught and preached and by what He did. The kingdom of God draws near to us and points us to the Savior. We see and hear evidence of His identity all around us. We too are called to declare who He Jesus is and then show those around us the evidence of Christ in us by what we say and do.

So, like I said at the beginning of this post, I was inspired by Anna Tapp's artistic notes and while I watched TV yesterday put my study notes on paper artistically.

I love rabbit trails when I'm in God's Word...and it's a bonus when art comes out of it!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Art From My Journal


As Law & Order's stories are "ripped from the headlines", I am making art of quotes and thoughts taken from entries in my written journal. Currently I am reading "The Cry of the Soul" by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman. What I've read so far is about dealing with our emotions honestly, especially the one's we generally would label as negative or bad. Instead, dealing with them honestly, they can be opportunities to draw closer to God and know ourselves better.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Emotions, Bible Study, and Art Journaling

I have been making an attempt to work on three areas in my art journaling:  1.) Getting more of "me" on my pages - my emotions, my issues, what I'm working through and dealing with, etc.; 2.) Putting my times of Bible study in my art and expressing what God is showing me through His Word; 3.) Practicing and improving my own hand lettering.
Last week I worked on a page spread that combined all three of these areas. The spread focuses on a topic I deal with and try to work through quite often: dealing with negative thinking. The week before I had spent some time reading some articles online about changing perspective and dealing with emotions. It's only been in the past decade or so that I have struggled with this issue, so when I get bogged down by negative thinking it feels so abnormal to me and causes a battle within me.
Some quotes from the articles I read:
"Your perception of experiences makes them positive or negative."
"How you choose to think about things alters how you perceive them."
"What you focus on is what you get. What you set your mind to will affect your experiences in life." These were all from Bridget Webber, a counselor who writes articles for
As I was reading different articles, I began to think about the verse in Philippians that calls us to think about things that are positive. That led to a wonderful morning of studying Philippians 4:4-9. Reading books and articles and blogs are all helpful but when God leads me to His Word I find true wisdom and the path to healing. God calls His people to have a mind set on heavenly things and a perspective that focuses on the ways of Christ.  In this passage in Philippians Paul gives us four imperatives:
1. Rejoice in the Lord always. (verse 4)
2. Let your gentleness be known {evident}. (verse 5)
3. Do not be anxious {worried} about anything. (verse 6)
4. Rather, in everything make your request known to God.(verse 6)
What I see then is 1.) have an attitude of gratitude and look to God and His loving kindness in all things. 2.) Focus on serving, loving, and being in relationship with others as Christ calls us to (there are over 38 "one another"verses in the Bible). 3.) Don't worry, look to God, gain His perspective on life and circumstances. 4.) Give what you worry about to God. How? The verse goes on to say that we do this through prayer, petition, and with thanksgiving. And the result will be the peace of God guarding your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (vs 7)
Then the passage goes on to call us to think about things that are positive ~ true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things. Focus on them and practice them and the God of peace will be with you. (vs 8 & 9).
And my page spread trying to express some of this: