January Art Journal With Me

The sun peaked out just enough today to beckon my three wildlings to go out and play. Winters are notoriously rainy and damp here, so having them out of the house and not begging to be entertained was a needed respite for this mama. I decided to put on some music, kick the heater on in my studio, and play in my art journal. I do get enough time, to make enough time to play these days. Every time I do it I think, “why do I not do this more often.” While I do paint or create something every day, I do not crack open my art journal daily like I once did. It’s always so refreshing to make something just for me. Something that has no other audience. It’s not going to be for sale or on display. It is going to live out its life right there on the page.

Art journaling is where I dipped my toe into the art world for the first time. A local art studio was offering art journaling classes, and I convinced some girlfriends to join me. I had just stopped teaching (I was a high school English teacher once upon a time) to stay at home with our then two little boys. Shortly after I decided to stay at home, I got pregnant again. It was just like the meme. I felt like I was drowning, and someone handed me a baby. I needed something adult to do to save my sanity, and art journaling sounded appealing. Catching up with friends and getting to explore something new sounded magical after spending the day massively pregnant while entertaining a kindergartener and a toddler.

Honestly, I was always hesitant to do to wine and paint or art class thing because at the time a canvas felt intimidating and strangely vulnerable. Plus, let’s be honest, I was not going to hang that amateur painted bluebird anywhere in my house. Art journaling offered a happy medium for me. It was all the fun of a wine and paint night without having to show what I was doing to the whole room. What I quickly found out though is that art journaling is much more vulnerable at times. It is play and reflection and spontaneity and intuition. All of which I needed more of in my life.

So, one night a week, my hubby took over bedtime duty by himself (bless him), and I met the girls downtown to paint and play. I quickly discovered that there was a whole world of art supplies that I knew nothing about. Stencils and pastels and ephemera oh my! I learned that I had a knack for it. It turns out all the years of staring at design magazines and reading home decorating blogs had trained my eye in certain aspects of composition. But more than just enjoying a night out, I began to realize this was something much more. Art was something much more. Like almost everyone I know that does art journaling, I bought all the things. I learned what I liked and did not like. What I wanted to repeat and what I wanted to edit out. Creating became a life-giving practice for me. It felt as natural as breathing. But not just breathing, it felt like taking a deep breath (while still drowning) but a breath nonetheless.

I call myself an accidental artist because of the way art found me when I did not even know I was lost. It brought me back to a place where I understood creation and my Creator more than ever. Over time, it became less a need for relaxation technique and more a creative rhythm. Art journaling became a weekly practice that turned into a daily ritual that became a full-blown art career. It came very naturally and organically. Just like breathing.

So, I encourage you to find the things that fill your lungs. Whether it’s art, writing, making music, or doing the laundry (if this is you please come live with me), and just practice it every day. Even if all you can get is a little sip of fresh air, take it in. Let it fill all the dry places of your life and remind you of the One who first breathed into you. The simple act that set all of humanity into motion is available to you and me. So let’s concentrate on the breath.

I’ll go first with this little time-lapse (amateur video editing skills and all). I pray you find inspiration here for your breathing practice. Also, if you are interested, the supplies are listed in order of appearance below the video.

Breath Deep Friend,

#6 Master’s Tough Paint Brush
Indigo by Daniel Smith Watercolor (I bought mine from ArtisticKatt on Etsy)
Phthalo Turquoise by Daniel Smith Watercolor
Pentel 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil
White Gesso (Liquitex is my favorite brand)
General Peel and Sketch Charcoal Pencil
Staedtler 2mm Pencil
Ceramcoat Paint in Sea Foam
Master’s Touch Palette Knife
Prismacolor Nupastel (not sure the color, but it came in the 24 set)
Master’s Touch Acrylic in Warm Grey
Dina Wakley Media Tool (I used the flat one)
Charcoal Stick (I just get the cheapest ones at Hobby Lobby)
Heidi Swap Date Stamp
Mini Ink Pad (I just buy cheapest ones at Hobby Lobby)

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