Willing to Embark

I thought I knew what I was going to write about tonight. However, the idea never quite settled in, or locked into place as the day progressed. I stayed open, and early in the evening, just as I was about to prepare dinner, I suddenly thought about my altered book, the one I am using as an art journal. I have not created a new page in it for several months.

As potatoes roasted in the oven, I flipped through my journal, waiting for the tap of inspiration that whispered here…create on this page. The book is called Captivating…Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by Stasi Eldredge. This is a duplicate copy of the book that I have read several times. I stopped on page 19, captured by these words mid page :

You can find that life—if you are willing to embark on a great adventure.

I had found my inspiration.

Willing to Embark

Before that sentence, Stasi writes that most women end up living two lives. Outwardly we are busy, efficient, professional, getting by. Inwardly, we lose ourselves in a fantasy world or give ourselves over to food or other addictions to numb the aches of our hearts. But our hearts are still there, longing to be set free, to find the life our desires are hinting at.

You can find that life—if you are willing to embark on a great adventure.

As soon as I read those words, an image popped into my mind. Two years ago my word for the year was Surrender, and my symbol was the River. I learned much that year about surrendering to the flow of life, and going where that flow took me. I could easily compare Life to a Great River, and imagine myself in a canoe, being swept along from adventure to adventure. I didn’t try to resist the River’s current, or take up an oar to navigate. I trusted in Divine guidance, knowing the Dream Giver was just around the River Bend, calling to me.

I knew what to create on this journal page.

Willing to Embark

I used a sketching pencil to quickly outline a rising sun, full of promise, and a canoe being carried down a river. I am riding in the canoe. Those lessons in the manga workbook are paying off! The sketch came together easily, and drawing from my imagination used to be difficult for me.

A black gel pen with a fine tip defined the components of the drawing. I was ready to color. This is the part of art journaling that I most enjoy. I gathered 100 colored pencils, Crayola and Prismacolor brands, and created a color palette that relied on blues for the river and yellows, golds and pinks for the sunrise.

Coloring is meditative for me, soothing and relaxing. As I colored and shaded, I thought about my journey. I have lived as two people…the quiet, correct, do-what-others-expect woman…and the wild spirit who kept her desires hidden deep within her heart. I reached the point of being willing to embark on a great adventure, which first involved an inward journey, to rescue and free my heart.

The outward expression of who I have become has been, and continues to be, the greatest of adventures! It truly is about living as the woman I am and embarking wholeheartedly on that journey called Life.

I just looked up the word embark. It originates from the French word embarque, literally meaning in a ship. My illustration is amazing, in light of that definition. And the unexpected connection between the word and the image that came to me is itself symbolic of my magical journey. Yes, I was so willing. I have embarked.

Willing to Embark

Creating an Art Journal Cover

Tonight’s project was extraordinarily fun…and totally unplanned. I had another artistic journey I had planned to take. However, as often happens, a shift occurred, due to an invitation from Inspiration to play in a different way. 

Inspiration can come to me in the form of a visual download, which is exatly what happened this evening. From nowhere, seemingly, I began to get images popping rapidly into my head: brown craft paper, an inspirational quote, colorful cut outs, the newly arrived J Peterman Catalog, the travel publications…and my art journal. Ah! My art journal. Putting those clues together, I knew where Inspiration was leading me. Would I play? Of course!

Creating an Art Journal Cover
I have enjoyed an art journal that I created, using a technique called altered books. You can read about art journaling HERE

I removed the book’s original cover. Tonight I would create a new one, decorating it to suit my current journey, using collage. Collage work has been a favorite activity this year, and I feel like I’m just getting warmed up. 

Here are the simple steps to creating a new cover:

Creating an Art Journal Cover
I used the original book cover as a template to cut out a new cover from plain brown craft paper. 

Creating an Art Journal Cover
The new cover is a blank canvas, ready for my artistic touches.

Creating an Art Journal Cover

I created the front cover first, using cut outs around a favorite quote that I hand wrote. All pieces were glued down. The word “beautiful” reminds me to fill my soul with beauty every day. 

Creating an Art Journal Cover
I used the back flap to tell my travel story for this year. I’ll add a cut out of an airplane or a world globe or luggage to the empty space at the bottom. 

Creating an Art Journal Cover
The front flap was embellished, and I love the play on words, with a cut out from the J Peterman Catalog, that just arrived in the mail today. Not only do I love the little black dress, with its off the shoulder look, I love the name of the dress, Some Innocent Embellishment, and the description. I cut out a section of the descriptive copy. 

The dress makes me think of classiness, and the feminine mystique, and the healing journey I am on. I am inspired to own that dress!

I have left the back cover of my art journal blank, for now. I have some creative ideas for it that are in development. I had SO much fun creating this art journal cover, thinking about upcoming travel opportunities and creative projects, and feeling truly inspired as I played. I am grateful for the tap on the shoulder from Inspiration and the invitation to engage. 

In fact, the project was so satisfying that as I finished, the evening felt complete. I almost forgot to write about it. When playing captures my attention to such an extent that all else fades away, that is a good thing. That means I’m in the moment, fully present with myself and my project, and experiencing deep joy. 

Want to play? Oh yes, thank you, yes I do. 

Creating an Art Journal Cover

Art Journaling

At the bookstore recently, Greg found and bought a publication that intrigued me. Titled Art Journaling, the gorgeous oversized magazine has pages and pages of artwork and techniques for creating art journals, which are books where heart and creativity combine.

I spent time late this afternoon, slowly turning the pages, savoring the beautiful and meaningful artistic journaling examples. I was especially captivated today by the work of Ana Campos. Her journals, using altered books, inspired me to try this art form myself.

Art Journaling
Book altering involves repurposing an existing book, turning it into a sketchbook/journal. I love books, and I have always been extremely careful with them. I don’t typically write in my books, unless I am deeply inspired by the words within, and I don’t bookmark my place by turning down a corner of the page. I was both alarmed and excited about the prospect of drawing, coloring, painting and creating collages in a book.

I recently decluttered bookshelves, releasing many books to new owners. Duplicate copies of favorite books were the first to go. As I stood in my creative studio, pondering which book to turn into an art journal, I saw The Phantom of the Opera. A possibility, I mused, yet it was the only copy of that classic that I own. I felt drawn to the closet, even though I knew I had removed and sold or given away the books inside.

Art Journaling
I opened the drawer of a storage bin in the closet, seemingly at random. Wedged within was the book Captivating, written exclusively for women. This was perfect on several levels. The word captivated kept coming into my mind. And this was a duplicate copy. I checked to make sure that I had the book resting on a shelf in my bedroom. I had my art journal.

To move beyond the slight hesitation I had in marking up a book, I began by creating a Cindy’s Art Journal page and then enjoyed adding to the title page, by gluing on cut outs. This was going to be a fun project!

Art Journaling
Over my nervousness, I moved on to the first page of the book. As I read, certain phrases stood out to me. I outlined those phrases, allowing images to arise that fit with the words. Grabbing my colored pencils and a black gel pen, I journaled. More specifically, I practiced art journaling.

This was such a beautiful experience. Creating something fresh and new was rewarding and freeing. And focusing on the phrases that stood out to me allowed me to take those words deep within, to contemplate them.

Art Journaling
Coloring is a meditative activity for me. I discovered that the book paper took the color well. Using the Tom Petty quote for inspiration, I sketched flowers, a tiny heart, and a sailboat call FREE. On future pages I may employ collage making, painting, and covering portions of the page, in addition to cut outs, drawing and coloring.

Art journaling is fun! I enjoyed creating my first page so much that I am keenly anticipating spending a few minutes each evening, adding to my journal in this way.

I also have something new to look for at flea markets and junk stores…interesting and inspiring old books to create with. This is an open door that I am eager to enter through, to explore the unique territory beyond.

Art Journaling

Check out this book on Art Journaling by clicking picture below. 

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