Saturday, June 28, 2008

a shared Journal

Studio Lolo and I work on a journal jointly - two, actually - it is an art letter that we send back and forth from coast to coast through the mail, and it is always so wonderful to get these journals in the post. When they are done, one is hers to keep and one will be mine. Although it will spoil half the surprise for her (sorry Laurel!) here are some of my latest pages:

Thursday, June 26, 2008


when stressed, get yourself in some water.
the best.
pretty good.
yes, when all else fails.
or just go there IN YOUR JOURNAL!
happy swimming!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

more on process . . .

so I thought I just better show you some pages and how they are created. . . .
step one: assemble materials - collage papers I made with photoshop - some whole sheets and some torn strips, ink stamp pads for creating color, sharpie marker for juicy writing:

step two: Then I spray mount the paper into the journal - I use torn strips and whole sheets of paper I made using photoshop:

step three: I felt it needed more contrast, so I added two strips torn from old Blueprint pages, then I add some color using the stamp pads:

step four: Added a photo of a bird torn from the New York Times Magazine, and finally, the mood feels messy and arbitrary enough to open up the verbal side of my brain, and let loose with some words; the pages are done:

kinda messy and arbitrary, but when I hit the writing part, the collage work has loosened me a bit, and instead of getting boring to do lists or gripes about how much I suffer in this cruel world, I seem to find words that get to the authentic voice I look for in my journal.
a dose of gratitude always helps, as well.
It's not about pretty, it's about feeling good in the process. . . .

the process

It's sort of a catch 22 showing my journal pages here -- I want my work to totally be about the process. I want to express myself freely with no expectation of beauty or perfection or worry that the image will "make sense."
Indeed, the reason I work in my journal is to break out of the worry of how things will look.
YET, here I go putting pages I make on line for the world to peruse.
Puts a little pressure on me while I am journaling, ya know?
but, if you can get around the fact that the page doesn't always look good, if my work can inspire you to just jump right in and play in your journal without care or concern or stress that it turn out right, then it is worth sharing the pages here.
The images don't always make sense.
and that's the point.
We don't have to make sense.
in fact, NONsense is sorta nice!
Now Go Play.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Hear You!

I was in a covenant circle at my Unitarian Church, and the main enphasis for us leaders was to listen. To create a circle where people could talk and be heard.
I think as humans that's what we crave. We just want to be heard.
I think for me, my journal helps me with this.
Even if it is just MYSELF who is listening.
Taking the time to make some art first,
taking some time to create something just for me, something that feeds my soul and makes me feel heard, this is what my journal does for me.
To create something freely with no judgment, no worries about deadlines or content or approval is such a gift.
I love to give this to myself.
In fact, I need this to stay on the path.
My path involves 7 others in my family who need my help, and my physical body has big issues that make it a bit stressful and painful to get through each day.
Without the gift of my journal time, I couldn't do it.
It feeds me.
It nurtures me.
It fills the tank when it gets empty.
The tank of inspiration and serenity and joy.
And I feel heard.
and sharing it here, also helps me to feel heard.
Thanks, readers!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just. Do. It.

That Nike catchphrase is really right on.
In life, it is so easy to over think.
To stew on why and what and never do.
To worry and wonder and wish it were something other than it is.
We live so much in the next moment, worry about ten thousand things that might not be how we want them.
Or we live in the past, retelling our stories over and over of how it should could might have been other than it was.
The idea of living right in the NOW, right in this moment has been changing the way I think.
I have been learning so much from Eckhart Tolle's conversations with Oprah about his book, The Power of Now.
and I am realizing that I can use my journaling practice to help me with this.
A fish?
A hand?
Orange smear of color?
What the heck does it mean?
I really have no idea, I just pull images that attract me, play around with them, then write some words.
This seems to really access some inner me-ness that otherwise my brain is too busy thinking around to find.
I find myself in this practice.
You might find yourself, too, if you try it.
Because the NOW really is all we have.
and luckily, it's all we need.
the past.
the future.
they don't really help us anyway.
so - just do it.
Try to make a collage in the now, and see what happens!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

what inspires you?

a starfish?
a shell?
crashing waves at the edge of a great ocean?
a hand in the white sand, sifting grains worn into tiny dots by millenea of force.
unless I take time each day to appreciate and enjoy the gifts all around me, I get bogged down in my own personal story with all its "suffering" and "drama."

Gratitude is a key.
a huge key to making it in this stressful world.
without gratitude, I tend to sink into irritation, anger, frustration, all the what-ifs and why-nots flood my thoughts and take over.

A great poet said:
a poem does not mean
but be

and maybe if we think of our lives like that:
just be
without always trying to figure it all out.

My journal really helps me do that.

Friday, June 20, 2008


When I was a little girl with long red ponytails, me and my three loud and rowdy brothers would be piled in the station wagon, way before seat belts, and driven to my Aunt's house in Katonah, NY. We had our picture taken on her porch year after year, and I don't think we once held still for the camera.
That lovely eccentric crazy aunt is now 90 and we have just moved her into assisted living, and it is my task to clean our her house to sell.
what memories I am discovering.
She was in the house for almost 60 years - and she saved everything. Some rooms are so packed you can't even get into them. . . . lots of junk and lots of treasures awaiting discovery.
It is quite am emotional and interesting journey, one that is both exhausting, and exhilarating.
I will be journaling a lot in the weeks to come using the antique photos I have uncovered, as well as one vintage Royal typewriter in perfect working order -- oh how that made my heart sing when I discovered that gem.
Memories are always ladened with sadness, things so long past and barely remembered that were once so vibrant and energetic.
a breath away.
we are all just a breath away from eternity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Following your bliss

Joseph Campbell coined that phrase and it has gotten maybe a bit overused lately.
But I think it still has powerful meaning.
The idea is that what attracts you and makes you fulfilled is also good for the Universe.
That you have a unique voice and contribution to make, and if you follow that path, you are doing good for all, not just yourself.
It can feel self-indulgent to follow our bliss.
We can feel guilty or irresponsible.
BUT NO -- doing what you long to do, following the love of your heart and your life is only good. If all of us did this, imagine the impact on the world with it's endless conflict and suffering.
My bliss right now is to work a lot in my journal, making collages, playing with images and color and words.
Mining the inner gems of my mind that otherwise I can't access easily.
I love sharing the pages that emerge from this inner space in my workshops and here on this blog.
I love knowing others look and are inspired to do their own creative journaling.
I also have family obligations that do keep me busy -- but I can follow my bliss and do what I need to do to help people who need me.
It all is in the balance.
The Universe seems to want to express itself in me in this way, so I am very happy to oblige.
How does the Universe want to express itself in you?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

YOU are worth it.

Today - just ignore the dishes and the laundry, the bills to be payed and the things you "need" at the store.
Ignore the voice that tells you your art isn't worth it.
Ignore the voice that tells you that your story is that you are NOT an artist.
Ignore the voice that tells you you need to earn more money, to be responsible and be an active participant in the game of money making.
Just be in the sunny (rainy?) space of your life.
Look at a tree or a flower and see the peace in it.
Get some paper.
Get some juicy markers.
Get some ink.
have some fun on paper or in your book.
Add some words that express what you need to say today.
Your ideas deserve this space.
YOU deserve this space.
The Universe wants to hear what you have to say!

Friday, June 13, 2008


when I see something this creative and fully realized, I just want to change what I do to animation. . . . amazing:

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu

Thursday, June 12, 2008

words and paper

This entry is from some time ago - I printed out words from an on-line journal I wanted to archive in my paper journal.
some images, some ink.
that's really it -- it is nice to know even if for some reason the on-line words I make go away one day, I have them in paper form.
Journal as life-scrapbook -- sometimes this is what it does for me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

color, mood, words. . . .

Sometimes some blue and some gold as all I need.
To the Salish people of the Pacific Northwest, the word skalatitude means:
"When people and nature are in perfect harmony, then magic and beauty are everywhere."

I often use nature to help me find this beauty. and of course, my journal.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

How are you today?

What a weekend . . . . and more to come this week, but I am learning to take what I am given with a spirit of acceptance. The tough times make us more aware of our inner being, more in touch with spirit, more able to be in the now.
No past, no future, just in the now.
And since all of life is spent right in the present moment, that's a good place to be.
Hope you all had a great weekend.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

interesting photographs

If I am stuck, I often just find an interesting photo - something that catches my eye. Then I might tear it or cut it out partly, add some other paper and color, and see where it leads me in my writing.
The reason it caught my eye in the first place often connects with something in my subconscious I need to get out - something I need to express.
Journal for art therapy - and the more I do it, the more it seems to work. . . .
These pages also have a photo of a relic I made for an art show. . . . it always is nice to save bits of your life and see how they fit into journal pages, too.
What is seen and what is unseen sometimes come together and teach me things.
All thanks to playing in my journal.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

so what's up with you?

This blog has been focused on how-to sort of posts.
Ideas and hints for making pages in a visual journal.
and letting you know my idea that if you collage first, then write, you can find words that you might not otherwise have access to.
But right now, I feel like veering off that course.
My life is very full right now - I am in what they call the Sandwich Years, kids to take care of, and aging relatives to take care of.
Basically - I have two young adult kids still at home needing guidance, and one younger kid starting the You-Don't-Know-Anything years.
and this weekend we are moving my 90 year old aunt into assisted living, against her will. This has been a huge project, legally, financially, emotionally, logistically.
I also have my own health issues (I have Celiac disease) and two of my kids are also gluten intolerant, so we deal a lot with doctors.
So, understandably, I guess, I have been a bit overwhelmed and this blog has been a welcome distraction.
I always have used my journal to vent and release tension.
I find it so therapeutic to make collaged pages, and write my inner thoughts.
I did notice a bit as I knew I would be posting the pages that some of the personal stuff was edited.
That's okay.
But one thing, this blog isn't a dialog - although lots of you read, I get few comments.
That's okay, too.
I have a counter so I know you are looking, and just knowing you are looking does feel validating.
So I will keep on, but for the next week or two, I might not post as much - this is the weekend of the big move.
So -- that's me.
Family stress, health stress, always money stress, of course, but my journal takes care of me in so many ways.
My personal art therapist.
and knowing I am heard -- somewhere out there in blogland.
Having a voice always makes life easier.
Self expression is key to feeling we are of value in this one short life.

Making a cool collage helps, too.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

... on the road . . .

I have been needing to go to D.C. and Westchester, NY and between the two for family business . . . .
long train rides are a great time to write - I love to do the collaging first and have three or four spreads to add words to.
Trains, planes, automobiles. . . .
I love to be on the move. and if I can't go in person, reading travel memoirs is a way to armchair travel.
I am reading The World: Travels 1950-2000 - 50 years of travel, and they are wonderful essays about his/her work all over the world. (His/her because he/she had a sex change operation in the 70's and writes about it in this book as well.)
Jan (then James) Morris was with Sir Edmund Hillary when he first climbed Mt. Everest and he got the scoop on this event, which started him/her on the lifelong work of wandering around the world and writing about it.
Talk about a broad perspective; the stories are wonderful and make me want to visit exotic places.
So if I can't go in person, I will go in my journal. . . .

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sex in the City

Why is my entry today entitled that?
I have never watched the show - it felt too much about looks and shopping for me.
But last night a friend invited me to go to the movie with a bunch of her friends.
and we did have a good good time.
No, we had a REALLY REALLY good time.
I don't like to shop.
I don't lust after designer things one little bit.
I don't use lots of products.
I mostly like to mess around in my journal for validation, and pleasure, and a sense of indulging myself.
But now and then, I pop open a magazine and see something so beautiful -- so lush and rich and well designed that I understand the whole retail therapy concept.
The four women in the movie are way too materialistic for me.
But in the end, love prevailed.
and friendship.
And those things, along with a bit of beauty to make it more fun, are worth while.