Hi again!! I just sold another journal on etsy (!!!!!) so was looking through it before packaging it up to send it off. It is a journal I filled in 2001, so I thought you’d like to see some of my beginning journal pages (you’ll see a bunch more later in one of the videos) But since this spread had a mermaid on it, I thought I’d post it. I figured it also was a good example of a bunch of different styles of lettering. The yellow parts on it were crayon (plain old crayola crayons) that were applied to the white page before going over it all with watercolor. The blue marks you see on the yellow was simply the watercolor. I could have blotted it up but I decided to leave it and let it dry that way.
Whoa…life has been crazy around here. Since my last Art Romp ended, we have been in FULL SWING preparing for our daughter’s wedding in our backyard on June 16th. I am her wedding coordinator and she said “mommy, can you just make it really cool…I am way too busy to make any decisions” (ugh…nothing like a little pressure). Today we have a friend giving us new counters in our kitchen (we had black mold on the counter by the sink), we have another friend installing a fence cuz our neighbors just cut down a bunch of 200 year old trees that was dividing our properties. And another friend who is a landscaper is coming out to help us decide what will work best for the wedding. It’s major construction guy city around here and I feel like my life has been turned upside down…so I retreated to my sewing room to make something fun today. It’s not a cool video like Jane does, but hopefully it’s the next best thing.
So…to start with, I use www.spoonflower.com to upload my journal pages and have them printed onto fabric. I love using these pieces in all sorts of things. (I actually have a few for sale on etsy right now), but I would encourage you to do your own amazing mermaids on fabric. It is super easy to upload your designs and decide on the size, repeat, etc.
I decide I wanted to make 2 mermaid doll pillows to lay next to each other on our bed. so I pulled out some other fabrics to go with them.
Here I am visualizing the body. I really have no idea what I am going to do other than use a head and have a body and stuff it.
I don’t mark it…I just start cutting and trust the process. For some reason, I wasn’t feeling the tail fins right now.
trimmed it up a little. he looked like hunchback of mermaid land.
Here’s another piece from my journal that I want to use.
and another one…
I just dig in and start cutting and placing things around. I’m starting to feel like I want to make this into a flat wall hanging instead.
Not sure how this will turn out but I just start sewing the extra pieces on.
As you may or may not have noticed I am in LOVE with the maltese cross symbol. Not sure why. It feels like a past life thing. I cut out the striped fabric but didn’t like it, so found another piece I’ll use instead.
So…I think I’m done with the design work. I pull out some cotton batting. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of it. I bought a king size piece years ago and keep cutting chunks off of it. Buy the heaviest one they have. I don’t ever trim the piece until after I have sewn it.
Next, lay a piece of backing fabric with the wrong side up under the whole shebang and cut it out.
Then sew through everything about 1/8″-1/4″ around edges.
Cut along the edge about 1/4″ from seam.
You can see batting on the edges which really doesn’t bother me, but I knew I needed to finish it. I decide to edge it with fabric strips.
I just start sewing each piece on along the edge and as I come to the end I tuck another one in and keep sewing.
I did one side and stopped.
I turned it over and continued to sew around the edge again. I sewed about 1/4″ from edge.
I then went in and trimmed up the excess.
the finished edge.
when I saw this, I had a thought for next time that sewing things along the back like that could look really cool…maybe…
since the thought of trying to go around the hair didn’t sound like fun…and it ALWAYS has to be fun for me, I decided to simply zigzag stitch it and it worked out fine.
Now I realize it needs a tail. I cut out a leaf shape using colors I like.
I use the first one as a template for the next one.
same technique…top piece, layer of batting and a backing piece at the bottom.
This time I dug through my bins and found this beautiful bias tape I bought in Tokyo. I wanted to use it on the edges.
voila! He’s pretty tall (as you can see from the bookcase) and I’m not crazy about the red at the top of his head…I’ll probably fix that later. But there you go…another way to use your beautiful art you’ve been creating. I’ll be making his female counterpart soon. will post when I am done.
Thank you all for helping me work through some insecurity & inner critic issues. I learned a ton and feel like I jumped over a hurdle that I have had in front of me for far too long. Of course it had to happen in front of a very large audience (not my choice), but it had to be that way. I always want to be transparent and authentic.
One thing I do know a thing or two about is INTENTION. I have seen this concept work it’s magic time and time again. I recently was talking to a group about it and reading them my intention list out loud and wouldn’t you know, the 2nd thing on the list came true a week later…I was the proud owner of a camping trailer. I had written on my list “Airstream” but in my mind any kind of camper would do as long as it was cute and clean. Tracy and I want to create more out in nature and this has been a wish of ours. Out of the blue, I was googling something else and a page popped up from craigslist. The second listing from the top was for a camper for $700. When I clicked on the pictures, it was the cutest thing ever. I emailed the woman and sat and waited. In the meantime she told me that she received 100′s of emails about it but “since I was the first one”, she was offering it to me first. Somehow I had managed to see it right after it posted without even looking for anything like that. We had just made $700 in sales from the art romp retreat (selling pens, collage sheets, a journal made by Tracy and some thread). So it was like we traded a journal and a few supplies for a camper! It was a sign that it was a gift from the universe. When Tracy went to get it, he texted that it was a 1963 Artist model! That was the year we were both born. What Tracy had mistakenly read as “artist” ended up being “arist” (short for aristocrat), but we both laughed and took it as another confirmation that intentions work.
How it works
Make a list of 20 things you want. Keep it personal. World peace is fine…but we generally don’t really think about what WE want and it is OK to think about ourselves! This can be material objects, prestigious honors, emotional desires, resolution of physical or psychological problems, etc. Make every item on your list personal to yourself and completely selfish. It was extremely difficult to come up with 20 things. It took me days to write mine because I tend to be happy with what I have and who I am. But it’s only those who dream big that achieve it. After you have come up with your list, shorten each thing into a one or two word name.
Now, translate each item into a visual image that suggests the wish has already been granted. Choose images that are ends and not means. Don’t imagine yourself with a big pile of money. Instead, visualize the yacht or condo or all the art supplies you would buy if you had the money. Don’t think about the bad knee you want healed. Imagine yourself playing tennis or doing something else you couldn’t otherwise do. Don’t think about ways and means. Seize on each image as if it were already a reality. One of my wishes is to lose weight which I translated into “new wardrobe”. In my mind I envision me buying it from anthropology (who only sells skinny sizes).
Invest at least 5 minutes in each image. Enter into it by using all your senses to make it a real and present part of your life (maybe even do a journal page on each wish). Imprint it onto your brain. Once you’ve compiled the list, regard every item on it as equal. The desire for a new computer is therefore no more or no less important than imagining your name on the cover of a book or president of your company.
Consider your list dynamic. Redo it at least every week to see that it continues to reflect your current desires and concerns. As soon as a wish has been realized, remove it from the list. Otherwise, you’re expressing an unconscious fear that you’ll lose what you already have. If you stop wanting something, replace it with something you do want.
It’s best to memorize the list and cycle through it while creating. This will help in distracting your mind from the creative process and work on your intentions at the same time. At the very least read through your list as often as you can and speak it out loud whenever possible. Spoken words have SO MUCH power.
I really learned this last year when I was under enormous constant pain in my arm that even the heaviest pain killers couldn’t help. Well meaning people would ask me how I was feeling and I would truthfully tell them “not so good!”. One day I was tired of talking about it…it didn’t feel right to go on and on about the pain and then hear stories of other peoples pains and aches. It just didn’t seem to serve any purpose at all. So, I decided from that point I would say “I am well” even if I had pain. I focused on the fact that I was happy it wasn’t much worse so I could say those words with conviction. Believe it or not, the pain subsided within days and has not been back since. Think what you will , but I believe it was a different mind set that changed everything.
I have always felt that my journal was not the place for negativity. Some may disagree but for me, I want to focus on what is good in my life, not what isn’t. I truly believe that giving energy to the good makes it even better, just as giving energy to the unpleasant parts of our lives only amplifies it. Besides, at this point in my life I can look back and see that those unpleasant times were all part of growing and really the “good stuff” when all is said and done.
One more thing that is in this same topic is to write an affirmation list. This is different from your wish list, but kinda the same. Things like “I am an amazing artist” or “I relate well to my children” or “I love myself”…the list could go on…is just more confirmation to the universe of what your intentions are and what you are trying to achieve. Read it aloud every day and you will see changes. I can promise you that!
note: some of the above ideas are from a book called The Energy Cure by William Bengston. An amazing book about hands-on healing but so much of it I related to the creative process as well as great tools for using intention.
Hi gang! Just got done watching myself NOT being in the flow while working on that journal page. It brought me back to that excruciating day when I was too much in my head because I was being taped. The page wasn’t working (as is evident) or perhaps I was being too critical of myself (or both!)…but what you are seeing is not my normal way of working. I have only actually torn something off the page maybe 2 times in the last 20 years. I work fast and I usually don’t think about something longer than maybe 10 seconds. I am usually ok with what goes down on the page but if I don’t like it, I make minor adjustments and then it starts working. I also rarely just cover over something entirely.
Anyway…You are seeing me at my worst! LOL…but hopefully there are more flowy moments in the upcoming videos.
For me, the biggest *high* is being in that creative flow with the universe through art. This is why I have 100′s and 100′s of journal pages. I don’t necessarily care what is on the pages…usually all I am interested in is reaching that flow where I am swept away by something that is warm, intelligent, happy, comforting, energizing and just feels like I am truly HOME again. I love coming out of it and being surprised at what just happened on the page.
These are some tips I have for getting in the flow:
Always set your intention (intention will be my next little talk) to connect with the Universe…That huge wellspring of creativity.
Engage your mind with music so your gut is free to create without your mind getting in the way. I find that listening to my headphones is even more powerful than music in the room.
Work fast and go with your first gut feelings to stay in the zone. Trust your gut. Trust the process.
Imagine white light coming down from the universe through the top of your head, filling your body and then flowing out the tips of your fingers onto the page. (I know this is a little weird but try it)
Practice transferring your mind down into your gut. Hard to explain but try it.
Allow yourself to PLAY when you journal. The journal is your sandbox and you get to make whatever you want. It is of vital importance to Enlarge Your Imagination! Do not let anyone trample on your imagination sandbox. It’s yours only.
Practice leaping into the unknown, having absolutely no fear, trusting your instincts, and believing you are capable of anything.
Practice non-attachment to your own work. When I start falling in love with something, I freeze and then start worrying I’ll ruin it. My mind is now involved and if I keep going I probably WILL ruin it. In these instances, I give it a few days and come back to it when I am back in the flow. If you still can’t work on it, make a photocopy of it and then dig in. You can always use that photocopy on something else.
Use images you love (stuff that makes you excited) and colors that just make you happy. Draw lines and shapes that resonate with you. If something doesn’t feel right to you, be aware of this feeling and switch gears right away.
When creating I try to envision my body stepping to the side…almost like taking a little nap so my gut can dream onto the pages of my journal. When we aren’t in the way, that universal flow can travel more easily through us and our art is better.
Here are a few quotes that I love from Thomas Moore on the subject as well:
Perhaps only in our mystical moments do we really know what is happening in our lives.
Relaxation is the pre-requisite for that inner expansion that allows a person to express the source of inspiration and joy within.
Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.
The possibility of stepping into a higher plane is quite real for everyone. It requires no force or effort or sacrifice. It involves little more than changing our ideas of what is normal.
We need to be able to manifest our originality, not at all for ego rewards, but as a necessary way of giving it life and substance. A value is incomplete when it is merely an idea; it has to be lived consistently and usually courageously to be a real value. The simple act of showing one’s deeper nature (one’s art) is a form of personal liberation and a generous contribution to community.
If we could live from that deep place of recognition, we might allow ourselves the beauty of our eccentricity and tolerate in others their efforts to find their souls in the odd collection of emotions, fantasies and behaviors that form the raw material of human life.
Not consciousness and self understanding but a passionate inner presence makes us what and who we are.
A good musician (artist) allows the music (art supplies) to take over, becomes absorbed in the complex harmonies and tempos (designs and shapes), and is the servant of the materials at hand. The secret is to allow someone or something other than the usual self to be in charge.
Doing the prudent thing may prevent us from following our passions. It may overrun our intuitions and may give us the illusion of being virtuous when life is asking us to explore territory lying beneath the horizon of virtue.
Our neuroses are the raw material out of which an interesting personality (artist) may be crafted.
Not wallowing in our limitations but creatively dealing with them as resources for a vital life *the Prima Materia of the alchemists* we arrive not at shallow self acceptance but at a profound love of the soul (of our true selves), which, with it’s rich mixture of the good and the bad, is the starting point of a creative life.
We can still the yearning heart that longs for satisfaction, by perceiving, perhaps for the first time, the pulse of eternity in the moment at hand and the contours of the whole in the ordinary thing currently in sight.
It’s clear to me from seeing everything on facebook that you are reaching that “flow state” already. I am just over the moon thrilled with how excited everyone is, how much fun you seem to be having, and how much sheer creativity is being stirred up. Thank you all for being such awesome students and being brave and showing your work. It is truly inspiring to see.
ps. I especially like these 2 books by Thomas Moore: Original Self and A Life At Work
(click to see a little video showing my collection)
Since I have 10 plates spinning on my hands and feet right now, I thought I’d write a little about pens. I will still try to do a video to show you but I thought of a few tips that might help in the meantime.
Copic Markers: I use these like I do watercolor. They are great for adding color to hand drawn images. They also are great for adding color on collage pieces (glossy magazine pages) and even on the background (painted page). I have used them for lettering, but not as fond of them for that. I am CRAZY right now about the warm greys (the entire set of 10). I also love a deep red and the black is a must. For using like watercolors, you need the light shades. You would be surprised how dark a color goes down on paper that looks super light.
Paint pens: My all time favorite tool. They add vibrant color over just about anything. I use the extra fine pens in both black and white for about 98% of my lettering. I still love Sharpie Poster Paint Pens (water based NOT oil based), but Molotow makes some unique colors and Montana makes some good ones too. Always remember to shake them really good and then depress the tip in on a seperate piece of paper. This gets them flowing. If you have used one for along time (like on lettering), you may need to depress the tip again a couple times to keep it flowing good. Always do this on another piece of paper ( I have made big blobs way too many times in my journal).
Gelly Roll pens (or MoonLight Gel Pens): I pretty much just use these in the neon colors. They provide tiny lines of neon here and there and are much better for smaller areas (than the paint pens).
Colored Pencils: I still love the Derwent Coloursoft pencils for their buttery texture. Jane turned me onto Prismacolors and since I had a 40% coupon I bought the set. The coloursofts don’t come in near the range the prismacolors come in. I use them interchangeably and really don’t have a favorite between the 2 brands.
Tombow Pens: I don’t use these nearly as much but I did find them useful when adding color to my drawn images in my moleskin journal because they do not bleed through the paper. The copics do (although if you have a nice layer of acrylic paint down, the copics don’t bleed). When I work in my little moleskine journal, I don’t paint the pages and I mostly just draw and collage and use tombows.
Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens: I like these in the fine tip for tiny black lines. I don’t use them near as much as I used to. The black is not nearly as black as the paint pens but sometimes you just need a fine tipped black pen. I use these alot when just drawing. I don’t use the brush tipped markers (even though I have them)…although they are a nice substitute for the copics or even the tombows.
Regular pencils: I love a nice soft lead pencil for shading mostly but also lines. I usually use a 4B all the way up to a 9B. For sketching though, I prefer a regular lead like an HB or a 2B. I also buy these little smudging sticks that allows you to blend the pencil without using your finger (which usually ends up all over my face).
For me, art goes hand in hand with connecting to the universe…that creative force that flows through us. Even when it seems like we are having fun and creating playful pages…we are connecting. So as these weeks go by, I’m going to try to write several little blog-blurbs about different things that I feel are important to say. As always take what resonates with you and leave the rest behind (also do this with the art lessons being taught too).
There is a difference between *self confidence* and *ego*. It is very important to know the difference. I don’t think any of us give ourselves enough credit when it comes to how powerful we all are, how amazing we are, how we are incredible just as we are, and we rarely see how good our own art is. Ego, on the other hand, makes us pathologically self-centered. So if you can realize your greatness but break away from the ego, you are way ahead of the game. You will see the world through different eyes and you will be able to contribute your gifts and who you are to humanity. You can *know* you are powerful and amazing without feeling like everyone else should know how amazing you are too. There’s a quote that goes, “There are two types of people…those that walk into a room and say ‘Ah, there you are!’ and those who walk in and say ‘Here I am!’.
The reason I wanted to write about this is because sometimes I think women equate self confidence as ego. It isn’t the same thing. I am seeing AMAZING work from you ALL. I know you all can see that as well and can gain even more self confidence as we go along.
Next up: How To open to the Flow so that you create amazing work without much effort.
Please note that it is not ok to make color copies of the pages from a book to use. That goes against the copyright. However it IS ok to tear out the pages and use those in your collage as long as you make a valiant effort to alter it. This goes with magazines too. You can however make copies AFTER you have used the actual page and alter it on your page.
This is why I only buy books from thrift stores or clearance racks at used book stores or use the ones in my collection that I no longer am interested in. Paperback children’s picture books are great sources for this sort of thing.
I first met Teesha at her Workshop in Portugal in 2011. It was a Life Highlight. This is the Video I made of my Journal coming together. It’s fast and full of energy - a bit like me! Apologies in advance if you get seasick – but some video is better than none right?
I also want to point out that even though this journal is Teesha influenced, it’s still very ‘Me’. Just as your Journals and books will be in this workshop. EVEN when it doesn’t feel that way. Your artistic voice may be strong or still developing, but its there.