A Photo Art Journal Tutorial & The Second Way to Align with the Heart

I've fallen in love with altered collage portraits and thought I'd include a photo tutorial for a fun art journal exercise. Last week we talked about the power of dialoguing with the heart to align ourselves with growth. And I mentioned I would talk about one more thing....it's vision. If we want to blast out of our boxes and into skies of potential, we have to give energy and daily time to creating a vision of ourselves feeling absolutely free, radiant, blissed to wake up to each day and abundant in every way.......you get the idea.  The vision is your creation.  Use your thoughts and paint away. The sign that you've created a powerful one is that you will feel it in your heart.  If you don't feel it, you may be too stuck in seeing yourself more as a physical being than a spiritual being or too stuck in physical outcomes rather than the way you ant to feel. When I create my vision, it helps to see myself as light, as energy, as radiance.  You can make it as wildly beautiful as you like.

But in addition to making it the vision of your dreams, there's one more essential ingredient.  If this were a cake recipe, the vision would be the flour, and this next thing would be the sugar.  It's about consistency.  The trick is to do this two times a day for at least five minutes each day. Whatever you give energy to grows and we have such a strong habit of giving energy to what's wrong. By giving equally intense energy to your soul dream, you awaken it and bring it to you much more quickly. If in doubt, try it for at least two weeks and see how you feel.  Eventually your vision will change your outer world and opportunities will arrive on your doorstep. Then you just have to say yes and step out of the comfort zone. That's what this page was about...doors opening that led to new skies...somewhat terrifying but also deeply peaceful and joyful..

So start with a reflection before you create your portrait.  What's growing in you right now in a good way...what is beginning to shift? Or what would you like to feel like? Any of those can help guide you to your altered portrait. Then it's time to play...the tutorial is below...ready? 


1) Collage some papers onto your journal. glue them down with soft gel gloss or mode podge. Photocopy stencils for interesting back and white paper designs. Throw in a copy of a music sheet or map. I wanted to mix black and white papers with brightly colored shades. So I also tore out pieces of brightly hued magazine pages. Let your mind be still and tear them and place them intuitively as you see fit. I then went over this by scraping titanium white paint over the page, using a credit card to swipe the paint.

2) Find body parts from different magazines. Resize them on the copier so they're more proportional. Or don't. Imperfection has character and can be fun.  Enjoy this part. Sip your coffee, flip through some magazines and let the image angel visit you.

3) Color them and fill them in with new hues. I used water soluble pastels, a sketching pencil and a black stabilo pencil. I ended up giving her a whole new face because I love drawing faces but you can do whatever. Tis your vision.


4) You'll want to open the windows for this one or spray it outside. I spray this fixative over pencil work and pastels. That way, you can easily write over the pastels with gel pens and pencils. Otherwise pastels have a really waxy surface that doesn't allow you to write over them or do much of anything over them. This fixative fixes that!

5) Fill in the details. I did this page over several days because I like to give time to the journal, time to doodle, embellish, listen for new inspirations. Let yourself add patterns, stencils designs, dots, words, etc...Giving your page and yourself time is an act of love. It slows you down, allows you to enjoy the process more and it opens you to listening to what wants to emerge next.

6) Think about what the portrait represents for you, what it says to you. Then flip through some magazines and find words that draw your eye and heart. Cut them out, arrange them on the page. See if a message is emerging. Feel free to add a few of your own words in there. Glue them down, add the final doodles to your page and rest when it tells you it feels complete. 

Have fun and let me know your visioning goes! Lots of love!

Carry your Portraits and Yourself to New Places...an art journal video

I love reinventing portraits by cutting away parts of them and adding new elements and features. Then comes the message and the words! This one spoke to me on levels that I didn't even realize until it was done. I taped the process...As you can see...even at bunny speed, it was a long and luxurious one. I think taking time with your pages and really letting them flesh out and evolve is an act of love for the journal and yourself. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the materials or the process.


graphite pencils, black stabilo pencil, scraps of old journal pages, collage elements from magazines, soft gel gloss to glue it all down, clear gesso (to cover the magazine image and create tooth that holds the paint and creates texture), stencils, uni ball signo white gel pen

paints: titan buff paint, titanium white, quinacrodone gold and quinacrodone red, mars black

Have a beautiful week!

This little journal page grew out of two inspirations...

The first was a quote I stumbled on that rang true to the bone.

The second inspiration came from a dirty traffic cone. Yep. I'm learning that inspiration requires us to keep our eyes peeled. I saw this bright green traffic cone with brown mud drips coming down the side last week. It was strangely enough a really interesting color combo...so it also found its way onto the page. Since then, I've been paying special attention to color combo inspirations....


I've also realized that inspirations grows not just with open eyes and ears but with a craft that's tended. Once I started spending more time art journaling again, the urge to create returned. It's always a good experiment to try. If you find your muses sleeping, spend more time with your endeavor whether that be meditation, an art form or a relationship. Quality time wakes the muses. It's something they can't resist. Have a beautiful week!

Creative Boredom ...a brink or an end?

Soooo....I've been in a creative block zone. Do you ever go through that? When you feel you've forgotten how to paint or create? I think it's just another opportunity to breathe deeply, stay present and listen to the new direction creativity wants us to go in. The muses won't let us keep doing the same thing. To me, boredom is a clue that it's time to expand and explore new directions in creative expression. But often we get bored and we give up...on a relationship, on an art form, on whatever.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes an ending is what's in store. That's where it gets tricky. But most of the time boredom is the brink of expansion. So I'm practicing patience and listening deeply to where things want to go. As much as I've loved drawing faces, I find myself wanting to create something more subtle and less physical and bound in form....

So what do you do when you're clueless & creatively blocked? You decorate your refrigerator...

 I found some wall paper from a company called Walls Need Love and thought it would be a fun adventure. My landlord got me a new fridge cuz the other one broke. It's quite dark in the living room of sunlit hues. So it needed a bit light.

When the block comes, I also love finding inspiring quotes that tempt you to create imagery ...like this one

"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."   De Chardin.

Then you let life bring you clues. I just got asked to help out with art on a brochure and they wanted the imagery to be more abstract and less "human" which is right in line with what I'm being drawn towards....


What about you, what do you do when boredom arrives and the muses sleep?

Word play and the choice of creative energy...a bear or a beauty?

So this morning, I enjoyed a coffee and meditation and worked on a journal page. I stumbled on a poetry exercise for art journaling and wanted to share it with you 'cuz it's an engaging one. Here's the exercise.

1) Go into the zone and create a background in your own way.

2) Then find an image that reflects where you are mentally and emotionally. I sketched this image using a magazine face as a model. But you can also transfer it or just glue your image down and paint over it to reinvent it and make it your own.  For this face, I used titanium white paint and a charcoal pencil.

3) Flip through magazines or your word stash and collect words and phrases that speak to you for whatever reason. Cut them out. Scatter them on the page and rearrange them. There's only one rule.  Though I'm not a fan of rules and they usually make my heart race, this rule doesn't limit your creativity. It stretches it in new directions.


4) So here's the golden rule. When finalizing your poem, you can cut out individual words from your phrases and rearrange the words you have, but try not to add any words of your own. Use what you have. It's a game of removing the words and phrases you don't want and finding the message with the words you do have. I cut out words from phrases and deleted others because there wasn't room and they didn't  lend themselves to the heart of the poem. It's a great way to move your expression in new directions.


You're in and you're out...from scaled to healed.

time, contents, taste buds, hearts...

Blow up your dark side of the moon.

Find something new to love.

a feast of color....

the wild air....

There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.

Hello in there.

Here's what I want to know.

Can we lighten up a little?


As always, poetry and art journaling are healing. If I go over 4 days without it, I feel "off" and slightly edgy. Creative energy is an energy that needs to be released. I've learned that when we don't release it, it finds other creative outlets...like inventing "dramas" and problems that don't need to exist. I think Creative Energy is either a bear or a beauty. Release it and you'll find wings. Keep it inside and you'll come face to face with its fangs....dramatic but true.

Have a beautiful weekend and may you find some healing moments of expression!


When you sketch a face from a photo, you learn a lot about shading, dimensions and features. But when you sketch from your mind, you look in the mirror.   I laughed when I sketched out this face. She looked like drugged jelly...which was much in keeping with the way I felt. My doctor just gave me a medicine (which I won't take again) that made me sooooo sleepy. The face mirrored that right  back. I love how spontaneous doodles and sketches reveal the subterranean layers of the soul and invite you to tend what needs to be tended.

A day later, I painted the page and enshrouded her with all the things that counteract the "drugged jelly medicine" effects.  It's a shot of medicine that lasts 3 months so I may as well look on the bright side of the drug effects until they wear off.   I'm wide awake at 2 every morning so now have extended meditations...more yoga and quiet time is a good thing.


 I pay more attention to juicing fresh greens from the garden to counteract the "medicine".

...and last but not least,  a dear friend sent me an image that made me smile...captures the intention of 2015. Gratitude is always a good thing to wrap yourself in...'tis a grand medicine.

Happy New Year and hope you're finding plenty to be thankful for in the wild whirls of life. Treat yourself to some spontaneous doodle sketches and have a  chat with your subconscious.




The Seed has Finally Hit the Soil

I finally began taping the tutorial! Lordy loo...tis about time the seed finally hit the soil. It'll feature ways to create mixed media faces by sketching them, transferring them and reinventing them. It'll also include tips to invite inspiration and open the heart to the "listening and receiving" that's part of art and life.

For me art journaling is a blend of play and and mastery. I love to explore, experiment , splash paint and let loose. But I also find a yummy satisfaction in mastering new techniques and diving deep.  If you're wanting to build your drawing skills for the art journal, there's a site called Craftsy with some really good online classes by Patricia Watwood. I wanted to delve into  shadows and light and her classes have been a nice sea to swim in. Click on Craftsy to see if it's something you might be into. Twas a nice Christmas find for me.

Also, I wanted say thank you to those who just joined me on the new blog. I hope your holidays are bringing meaning and quality time with family and peeps.

A friend sent me the pic below and I think it's a sweet reminder of what it's all about. Take care and  be well....

Painting Wide

Whether you go from painting on single pages to painting spreads or from painting on squares to painting on rectangle substrates, I always find a new dimension takes you to new places creatively. It's a good exercise. When I took art journaling from single pages to journal spreads, a new world of composition opened. I was recently given several large pieces of pinewood and have been doing my "journal pages" on them...it's good to mix it up and make your substrates like new cities you're visiting for the first time.


As always, art translates to life. I also find when going to new places, my mind and heart somehow expand and think in new ways that refresh me. 



The Call of the Soul

This is my first official post on the new blog. I feel as December approaches, the soul recalibrates and gets ready to listen more deeply not just to what it wants but to what is calling the soul. Life has called me in the past year to do some deep and lovely healing on the heart and I would like to keep that up and find ways to help others work towards that be it through creativity or spirituality. I feel we can only truly share what we've had to learn and all the pieces seem to be coming together and pointing me in that direction of doing work in the world that heals me and others. I know that dream is too big for me alone, but I always feel that our calling never demands we go alone. That's the beauty of it. A calling is an invitation from the Divine to co-create for sake of the whole. What's your calling these days? What do you feel life is inviting you to be/do?

I've also been growing plants in a grow tower. They have gone from babies to toddlers and I light up each time I walk out my door to see them bursting green and bosky.  I paid my landlord to make this for me. In the center is a compost tube with worms so I've been enjoying researching what these little critters love to eat. I blend all my fruit and veggie scraps in a blender and place it in the tube for worm feasting.