Behind the Pages: On being an Empty Page Ninja



“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”

Jack Kerouac


Monday, September 17, 2012

In my ever-evolving journaling practice, I am discovering the power of the Empty page.  I  like to differentiate between a blank page and an empty page.


A blank page, can be daunting.  A blank page is demanding; it uses obnoxious tones or bellows.  Quite frankly, it can be a bit of a bully.  And bullies require push back and fighting skills.  Which some days, I just don’t have…

 {origami paper, acrylic paint, 2×2 postal pix, watercolor, graphite, Sharpie pen fine}

But an empty page says, “Hey there, your mind looks full.  Why don’t you put those words and ideas over here.  In this box.  On this pretty paper.”


{tissue paper, acrylic paint, graphite, 4×4 postal pix}

and, “Look at all that brilliance; this corner has been waiting for just that very thought.”  An empty page is a good friend who knows exactly what you need.

In my practice, I set aside a day, every 7 to 10 days, to create empty pages.  Safe places to tuck words, images and ephemera.  Empty pages, by my definition, are pages that are started.  Pages with soft edges that don’t screech with blankness, but instead with a calm voice, point the way to expression and life.

I like to create more pages than I think I’ll need, so that I don’t worry about space or rationing.  For me, that’s about 6 – 10 double page spreads in one session.  And then, I put away most of the supplies.  The magazine pages and the paints, tuck away and I settle into a quieter method.  At hand, I keep a pen, a glue stick, a sharpie, something that writes in white and my ever-present watercolors.  With prepped “empty pages” in my bag, I’m free to carry only a glue stick and a pen or two. 

[If I’m traveling, I’ll add Inktense pencils and a water brush.]   In that simple place and pace, I’m able to put my energy into capturing rather than creating from scratch.


{paper tape, magazine cutout, 2×2 postal pix, Inktense pencil}

 Once I’ve made a handful of pages, I even free myself from writing things down in order.  I just find the empty space that matches what I have to say…or glue, or sketch.

One of the things I talk about extensively in workshop is the fact that my journals are not art journals.  The pages aren’t planned with emphasis on the final product.  They are a vital part of how I process life.  They are part of my spiritual practice and they ultimately inform my art, as I don’t differentiate between the two.  I write lists, draw, glue things down and capture thoughts.  In the pages and with a camera, I am in my life and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Let Go

{paper tape, white Jelly Roll pen, ink pad, tissue paper, acrylic paint, magazine cut out, stamps, graphite}

Empty pages create space and safety which ultimately allow me to be victorious over the Blank Page Bully.  Empty pages make my practice more contemplative and less like a battle.  Well, maybe still a battle, but one where I’m a ninja not a stormtrooper.  Here’s to climbing over fears, worries and stalls, one empty page at a time.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00September 17th, 2012|Art in the Crevices, Behind the Pages, Journals|8 Comments

On leaving space

Secure in your love.

Secure in your love.

{Security envelope hearts.}

Tuesday {Valentine’s Day} was a day full of cut out hearts and sweet words to share.  Wednesday left me with a lot of empty hearts – but only in paper.  I’ll be sharing them tonight with the folks in my Hug Your Story workshop – along with the question:

Ask: What is in your heart?

{Derwent Inktense pencils, Tim Holtz paper tape, school supply watercolors, acrylic paint on bubble wrap}

Send a bird to ASK.

What is in your heart?

Always nice to make space to figure that out.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00February 16th, 2012|Behind the Pages, Journals|0 Comments

Behind the Pages: Message from an empty page

May, June and July were sort of empty.  I mean, there was no shortage of activity.  The Brilliants are Coming and Going and Becoming and Excavating.  It is a collective household sort of thing, as R and I, in our season of a full-nest-that-is-about-to-burst-into-emptiness, are Becoming and Excavating too.   This all bleeds into my creativity and creates holes and spaces.  Things feel blank.

Empty, but not quiet.

Empty page door

Things are turned inward to a place of questions and consideration.  The necessary contemplation of what’s-coming-next?   I am in a deep study of the shift.  Wondering which doors to open and close and walk through…

As I pulled out the camera to share pages, I felt conflicted about what to capture and share.  Most of the words are too private for my introvert-self to comfortably share, and several of the pages are decorated but blank.

Empty, but not quiet.

Funny, it still catches me by surprise when my journey emerges on the pages.  Even though this is what I believe and say aloud to other people.  I’m pretty fond of saying, “If you approach the pages honestly, they’ll tell your story, even if you don’t know it yet.”

So, here are some blank pages.  Things are shifting and re-defining themselves.  I don’t have many words yet, but I’m Coming and Going and Becoming and Excavating.

Empty, but not quiet.

Empty page pink

Empty page pink

{scrapbook paper scraps, decorative packing tape, white acrylic, pink ink pad}

Empty page doily

Empty page doily

{doily, gesso, graphite}

Empty page scrap

Empty page scrap

{gold acrylic, scrap from paper that I put behind journal pages when I’m painting them, notebook paper scrap}

Empty page leaning

Empty page leaning

{magazine image, gold acrylic, gesso}

Empty page iris

Empty page iris

{packing tape transfer of photo from the front garden, origami paper, paper tape}

Empty page blue floral

Empty page blue floral

{scrapbook paper, origami paper, paper tape, masking tape, gesso}

Empty page bird

Empty page bird

{acrylic paint, gesso, origami paper, Derwent watersoluble Graphite, paper tape}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:34-04:00August 9th, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|0 Comments

Behind the pages: May

For many unexpected reasons, May turned into a blogging sabbatical.   However,  it wasn’t a page sabbatical.   Here are some May pages & posts.

May calendar

Also, as mentioned at the beginning of the month, the word for May is Redemption.

I have a WIP that turned out to be larger than I thought it would be, and thus is taking longer to complete.  But don’t worry.  Meghan’s blog post was on time and should be savored. Make a cup of tea and GO HERE for a lovely view of the word Redemption and then come back to peek at some pages.

Magic Hour at the barn

Magic Hour at the barn

{Postal Pix print (my new favorite journaling material), gesso, stamp, ink & Derwent watersoluble Graphite}

visit to the zoo

A day at the zoo

{gesso, tape & the Panda stamp from the zoo}

Family Meeting

Family meeting

{gesso, ink, stencil & white gel pen}

Where do I stop & start - Boundaries




{magazine clipping, ribbon & Pilot G-2 0.38}

Master List

Master List

{masking tape, Rhodia graph paper, paper scraps}

sometimes I make my own storm

sometimes I make my own storms

{watercolor, black gel pen, Derwent watersoluble graphite}

It was a good day for talking in circles

It was a good day for talking in circles.

{paper scraps, gummed reinforcements, acrylic paint, Derwent watersoluble graphite}

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

{security envelope scrap, seed packet, gesso}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:36-04:00June 3rd, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|3 Comments

Behind the pages: What is the difference between Flee & Retreat?

Flee & Retreat

What is the difference between FLEE & Retreat?

{a page from the Pilgrim’s Progress Journal}

I know it’s been quiet here at wild thyme creative.  No, nothing wrong.  It is simply the quiet of dormancy and processing.  To be honest with you, I didn’t realize that I’d gone silent until a dear friend asked if I was okay.

I have not fled.

My windows are wide open.

open window

{When I want to run away or depression hounds me, the curtains are closed.}

No, this is a retreat.  An intentional pull back.  This quietude is simply part of a cycle.  A part of the reset that has to come after a huge influx of information.  The last few months have been incredibly rich with change and depth, matching the cycles in my garden.  There is huge growth happening under the surface; I can feel it about to burst and I’m preparing for it.

For the something coming.

There is needed change and a returning to old passions

There are insightful conversations and honest assessments

And there is no fear…

What is the difference between Flee and Retreat?

Flee is what you do when you run for your life from a predator.  When, for safety, you have to get away from something – by running as quickly as your adrenaline-laced muscles will take you.  A retreat, however, has intention and is to preserve life and find peace.  You can walk when you retreat…and breathe.

cherry blossoms

This current season of retreat is a lovely quiet with the soft sounds of birds singing, typing rhythms and pens scratching paper.  There are sketches and words.  Plans and confirmations.  There are new things coming, but they’re not here yet.  For now, I am immersed in peace & contemplation.  Visions and dreams are coming to fruition even as I bump into my awkward imperfections.  Imperfections that are perfect for the Lenten season with its invitation to enter into the wilderness with Christ.

I am learning to trust The Quiet – this season that doesn’t have much product, but is connecting me deeply to my true heart.

Speaking of returning… I’m back to lists.

I am not:

jumping through hoops

staying busy just to move

dwelling long on expectations or outside opinions

I am:

occasionally picking up my “real” camera

daily documenting with my phone camera {@wildthyme on instagram}

making honest pages

walking often

visiting the garden

listening to birds through open windows

writing daily

planting seeds

breathing all the way to the bottom

leaving my hands open

By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00March 23rd, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|8 Comments

Behind the pages: Morning pages, paint and BIG thinking

About to wrap up my participation in this class with Connie Hozvicka:

It’s why things have been quiet here.  {because I’ve been painting like mad!}  I can’t wait to share more about the process and the class and the paintings, but the process and the class and the paintings are taking up all the extra space in my world.  Literally! For now, here’s a Connie quote that I’m chewing on.

“Don’t feel like you need to justify it; just paint it on the paper.”

Until I heard that phrase, I hadn’t really stopped to consider, how much I consider.  I analyze most every move I make when I paint from technique to design – to content and color, I’m always thinking… and wondering what other people are thinking.

This class has me feeling when I approach the page.

Engage {morning pages}

The art looks different.

{Probably because I am different.  I am making a shift…}

I Dream Bigger {magnet at my desk}

Here are a couple of Morning Pages from this week.  Note the paint.  I’ve been adding paint to my mornings and I LOVE it.

green hair girl {morning pages}

butterfly girl {morning pages}

I am large spaces {morning pages}

“I am large spaces waiting to be filled.  I am boxes to burst out of.  I am well-behaved, but that is changing.  I am boundaries falling in pleasant places.”

{acrylic paint, Pitt pen}

…more soon.  ~b

By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00February 11th, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|3 Comments

Behind the pages – A year in journals {2010}

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A year in journals

2010 was a year of journal experiments filled with new artistic ways and explorations.  2010 brought:

*   everything all in one book {mostly because I was losing things and having trouble w/ the upkeep of multiple journals.}

*  different kinds of paper/journals {my favorite was the Exacompta}

new places to journal {the bookstore becoming my favorite studio-away-from-home and the basement becoming my new place to spread out.}

* classes {I started teaching again – just a couple of workshops + some creative coaching.  <3 it, but I’m moving slowly… }

* more pages & less photos {here lately they’re combining more & more.} like this:

Rain, rain Don't go away...

I have a songwriting friend who periodically goes back through his journals to “mine for treasures” in the pages.  When he shared his process at our latest songwriting circle, I realized that I don’t often go back and look at my pages.   So, I’m spending the next few days with my 2010 journals & a camera.  In the meantime here are a few page photos that made it to flickr.


A year in journals

2010 Journals

{top to bottom} square {April – June}

Exacompta Sketchbook {Jan-April}

Picadilly unlined {to answer questions in The Artist’s Way}

handmade from Baghy’s Journals – a Mother’s Day present {June-August}

handmade file folder travel journal {July}

Picadilly Large graph {x3 used for morning pages}

Canson Mixed Media {August-Nov}

handmade file folder Christmas journal {Dec 1-31}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00January 6th, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|3 Comments

Behind the pages: NaNoJouMo 3&4

NaNoJouMo prompts for Day 3 & 4:  FORTUNE & QUARTER

a tea tag FORTUNE

“Do not live by emotions; instead live by intuition and consciousness.”

{watercolor, ZIG marker, tea tag}

QUARTER square triangles

Quarter square triangle - detail

Design based on “Card Trick” quilt block which uses Quarter-Square-Triangle units.

{6B drawing pencil}

And a bookstore doodle around a quote from an Artist’s Way friend.   11/4

the path

{ZIG marker}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00November 5th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|0 Comments

Behind the Pages: NaNoJouMo 1&2

in-cep-tion n. The beginning of something, such as an undertaking


{watercolor, ink, stapled NaNoJouMo checklist from Daisy Yellow, Micron pen .30mm}


{watercolor, gel transfer, date stamp, Micron pen .30mm}

CHOICE {NaNoJouMo 2}

{watercolor, iPhone photo on copy paper, well-earned I’m a Georgia Voter sticker, Micron pen .30mm}

“To live is to choose.  But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for; where you want to go and why you want to get there.”

Kofi Annan, 7th secretary-general of the United Nations, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00November 3rd, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|4 Comments

Behind the Pages: November challenges

“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Last November, I took up Dawn Sokol’s spontaneously formed NaNoJouMo challenge.  {It stands for National Non-stop Journaling Month and you can read about it HERE.}  I’m jumping into the challenge again this year.  {It starts today!}  But I’ve adjusted my expectations slightly.  My goal last year was to finish a page every day.  {I finished 10; you can see the wild thyme flickr set HERE.}  This year’s goal is simply to touch the pages every day.  I loved the prompts and structure and am delighted with the pages I did finish, but honestly, I really stressed myself out adding the daily creation of full art journal pages to my schedule.  However, the experience taught me quite a bit about how I create and what motivates me to paint, glue, tear and write.

Tammy over at Daisy Yellow, has created some cool checklists in pdf form.  {I know I’m using one – since I plan on journaling and blogging.  Thanks Tammy for tools and inspiration!}

The pages are still full of mandalas in black & white and quotes, quotes, always quotes.  {Sometimes I even quote myself…}  Ventured into a church service last week.  Here are my sermon notes:

sermon notes

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00November 1st, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|2 Comments

Behind the Pages: Moods and Mandalas

“An eye can threaten like a loaded and levelled gun, or it can insult like hissing or kicking; or, in its altered mood by beams of kindness, it can make the heart dance for joy”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mandala:  Spiky and Mean

Have been drawing mandalas in my art journal for the past several weeks.  I think mostly because my brain is so full of to-do lists and details that they’re all I have the space for.  Mandalas are “no-brainers” to me; and once eased into, are rhythmic and soothing.  The Girl told me that it’s easy to tell my mood from my pages.  I hope that’s true.  Not that I show all of those unfiltered pages here, but I’ve been coming to the pages authentically and unfiltered. It’s a relief not to be constantly editing myself for an unknown audience.

Mandala:  Spiky & Mean

Today I Feel Spiky and Mean

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00October 26th, 2010|Behind the Pages|0 Comments

Behind the pages: A rough draft

Thought I’d share a little of the process on this day.  Today’s morning pages ended with a couple of collages and a poem.  Too often as writers, we hide our first drafts – our disjointed thoughts and not-quite-right word choices.  It’s easy to forget our awkward starts.  Easy to create the illusion of ease in arriving at the end.  On the back of this scrap is a poem.  I actually forgot about the first scribble and started to cut up the words on the back for a second collage.  Ooops.  A little glue and tape saved the day.

The Thoughts

First Draft

I’m all about word pictures and metaphors.  Flowing streams; walls and windows; and birds in flight are all infused with meaning in my world.  Everywhere I look, I see information about how the world works.  As if the universe can’t help but reflect and reveal itself.  So pencils whisper of the trees that formed them and buildings come and go proud, and then aged and crumbling just like their builders.  Today, I am a collage.  Aware of the torn pieces that have come together to make a new life – an artistic expression of forgiveness {and} redemption.

The Metaphor

my brokeness has come together to form the wings that have given me...

...definition and flight

“my brokenness

[misspelled] has come together to form the wings that have given me definition and flight.”

The Poem
I am a woman of words and flight
of transformation and glory
Beauty and grace rise from the ashes
of mistakes and sabotage

I am a woman of words and flight
No longer cutting-anger-of-my-wounds,
but story-encouragement-and-gift
No longer skillful-retreat or running-away-before-you-hurt-me,
but airborne-to-new-destinations

I am a woman of words and flight

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00September 9th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|2 Comments

Behind the Pages: TRUST

A few pages into the Canson Mixed Media book.  This is the first time that I’ve journaled extensively in a spiral bound book.  Wow, I didn’t realize how often I create double page spreads;  I’m having to get used to the wire in the middle of the page.  {Although so far, I love the weight of the paper!  It’s been great for both watercolor and acrylic.  Want to see how it handles marker soon.}

This spread is for a weekly prompt group on fb created by my friend Lee Ann.  It’s called Joy in the Journey: Art Journal Prompts.  Lee Ann is a dear friend from college; a natural creative who is relatively new to art journaling and is handing out weekly prompts to dive into her journal.

This past week’s prompt was the word TRUST.  I’m posting these almost finished pages, so that I can share supplies and technique with the group.  As you can see, this was one of those pages where I had to work around the wire…


{background is Winsor & Newton Phthalo Blue Red Shade It’s from the Infinity Artists’ series, but I mixed it down with white craft paint and water and applied it like watercolor over a layer of tissue paper.  The tissue layer is adhered with matte Mod Podge.  Just a note – paint, especially when watered down behaves differently on the surface of the sealer, so you’ll get a different color and texture than on the neighboring unsealed paper.  I added an thin white layer on top of the sealed tissue to create contrast for the text.  Top layers:  Pellegrino label, stickers, torn paper sack and bird punched out from a piece of saved stationary.  Black lettering:  Ultra Fine Point Pilot G2 0.38 and white lettering: ZIG Opaque Writer

Text reads as follows:

It is amazing to me that I have boarded an airplane and crossed over the ocean when {I DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND} the intricacies of aerodynamics…

I believe the information on a nutrition label. {or is it that I ignore disbelief?} I will even eat in a restaurant without ever examining what is behind the kitchen door… but I don’t trust you.

Are we born without trust? Or do we have it and then lose it?

How do you move from here {nest} ———> to here {flying}


...but I don't trust you.

TRUST.  How do you move from here ---------> to here

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00August 21st, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|0 Comments

Behind the pages: Move.

A very dear college friend has discovered the world of art journaling.  {Yay! LA} And she jumped into the deep end of the pool by creating a facebook group that gives weekly prompts.  She’s asked me to help administrate, which I am joyfully doing!  This past week’s prompt {and the first of this journey that she and I are sharing} is the word, MOVE.

I had a decorated page with no text that was waiting at the very end of my current journal, so I used it.  {since today is Saturday and LA is giving us a new prompt tomorrow.}


The written text reads as follows:

“I am a thinker and a planner.  I like to UNDERSTAND before I take Action.

just MOVE ——->

sometimes I will think and plan AND NEVER START.

I don’t like mistakes and seemingly perfect people really freak me out.  Which is all a jumble of the same idea.

Nothing will ever be PERFECT.

{Detail added to background word PLAY:  On a side note, I forget to play.}

"Nothing will ever be PERFECT"

on a side note, I forget to play

Materials:  Background painted with Delta craft paint color Territorial Beige, layered with Windsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours and Staedtler Watercolor Crayons.  {the black circles are from the bottom of the watercolor crayon twisted dry onto wet paper.} Grey circles are from the dirty water swirled around on the page.  The green collage element is torn from a yoga magazine and glued in with matte Mod Podge.  The gold is tissue paper.  {Even  though it’s matte sealer, the page is still shiny and hard to photograph…}  Pens used:  ZIG Opaque Writer in white and a Pilot G2 {0.38}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00August 14th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|3 Comments

Behind the pages { early June}

butterfly wings watermark

I’m getting used to the journal.  {now that it’s almost full.}  I’ll write what I think about the book, and in more detail, soon.  {the paper, the specs, working in this size book, etc.}  Until then, here’s a handful of pages from early June.

Embrace your Uniqueness

Embrace your Uniqueness

{background: watercolor elements: egg sticker, tag from The Girl’s new yoga pants, a hotel post-it note that my friend Leslie shared and a recycled  strip of grocery bag}

Trust & Hope

Trust and Hope are intertwined

{background:  layers of scrapbook paper with watercolor and acrylic before and after.  elements:  magazine text and stickers.  “Trust and Hope are intertwined” is a quote from friend Candi.}

Those words brought to mind the bird & egg stickers which remind me of flying {the bird} and possibility {the egg}

be HONEST with your self

be HONEST with your self.  manage your preferences

{background:  watercolor and acrylic stamped through the mesh from a bag of oranges with white acrylic scrumbled on top so text would show.  Had quite a time with the lettering as the paint clogged the Pilot G-2 I was using.  I eventually switched to a Micron pen.}

My brain already flying wm

Because my brain is already flying

{background: watercolor and inked edges.  collage = origami paper and wings colored with Sakura Gelly Roll metallic pen with Pilot G-2 in blue for depth {see the difference between the front and the back? – photo taken before I finished the whole thing}}


am I supposed to?


{background:  Crayon & watercolor with inked edges.  elements: A couple of measures of music from a misprint from one of the Little’s voice lesson.  Journaling with a Pigma Micron 05 (I think…)}

less-MORE wm

less wm



{background: gesso & white acrylic elements: recycled clothing tag, origami paper and pencil}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00June 12th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|11 Comments

Behind the Pages {Jan 10-18}

I am slowly falling into the groove of putting everything into one place.  {currently the Exacompta journal}  Slowly.  It’s like learning a dance; I now know the steps, but still step on toes.  Often.  Here are last week’s pages.  I’m a little slow in posting them, because Rands & I took a weekend trip and I was away from the scanner and comp.  And actually, it’s more than a week’s worth of pages because I’ve included pages {in progress} from the trip.

Scanned Image 100210000

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Soren Kierkgaard   This quote has been my facebook status for a week now.  It’s what my journals are about: living and simultaneously making sense of it.  This page is combination of a Sudoku page that I worked in the middle of the night + gesso + watercolor + ink + an image.  The writing is done with the fountain pen that Rands got me for Christmas.  The ink is Sailor Jentle Ink in Blue Black.  I love this ink on the plain Exacompta pages but on top of the paint & Mod Podge… not so much.  Have switched to Sharpies, Faber Castel PITT pens & Prismacolor Premier Markers {LOVE the brown ink}

Scanned Image 100210006

This was another learning page.  I started out with some old scrapbook paper that I just wanted as an under layer, but it acted funny in the crease, so I tore {or tried to tear} off a strip.  {See the interesting texture top-middle}  Am finding that I need to be a bit more gentle with this paper than the cardstock in the Moleskine sketch.  Especially when using glue & watercolor.   Layers are from watercolor, acrylic, coffee sleeve, tea tag and a 2004 photo.  {My brain randomly remembered the green sweater…Note to self:  The color green is showing up again.}

Scanned Image 100210002

Tabbed Master-To-Do-List & a diary page.  Sketch on the right is detail from the fireplace in our room.  {I love the paper in this journal for pencil sketches!}  Another note to self:  #4B Tombow drawing pencil needs to be sealed.

Scanned Image 100210003

Notes & diary entries on an almost plain page.  {Giving myself permission to do this.}  Am learning that sometimes the thing is to capture information and moments.  {Not every page has to be an Extravaganza; at times a simple capture is enough.}

Scanned Image 100210004

Raw Umber watercolor pencil & coffee wash.  When I keep things like doilies with coffee rings & coasters, I can frustrate R.  I think it’s better if I make a page right away rather than keep a stash of stuff that looks like trash to him.  {at least when we’re traveling together.}

Scanned Image 100210005

Pencil & ink.  & more proof that drawing pencils must be sealed.  “The natural rhythm of this stage is slow and if you can come to  appreciate this and accept the gifts of deep rest then this experience can even be welcomed.  The tasks for stage one are:  Waiting, keeping faith, trusting the process and being patient with poor performance.” {Quote from The Mandala Workbook by Susan F. Fincher}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:40-04:00January 21st, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|10 Comments

Behind the Pages {this week in pages Jan 3-9}

janus_smallPulling out old articles and writing new ones…

Same with blogs & journals.  A few old and some new.  {the archive will be here soon!}

I guess there’s a lot of that in January, looking back & forward at the same time…

Here is last week in journal pages.  Mostly pages without writing, but I made a page, took a photo or wrote every day this week. {which was my goal.  yay! me.}

Scanned Image 100080001

Sometimes I just wear myself out.  I’ve been thinking a lot about my journals and how I keep them.  {too much I think…}  In an effort to loosen up, I’ve been doing free drawing in my Morning Pages  and current journal.  Just put the pen down and see what happens.  No filtering thoughts.  These swirls & dots {that’s what came out} drawn with PRANG metallic brush markers on a watercolor wash.  The “stars” in the upper left-hand corner are made by dropping kosher salt on the wet wash and brushing off when dry.  Tea tags and stars from my stash of random stuff.  Quote:  “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” I love Oscar Wilde.

She will show you who she is

Colors & thoughts from the kitchen/great room.  A designer from Ethan Allen made the comment, “She will show you who she is.”  I like to think he was talking about me and not just the house.  😉

I'm wrestling with body imageI want to use this journal to capture conversations & ideas as well as make art pages.  Page on the left has a quote from my friend Amy {“They handle the transition because instead of getting smaller, their world gets bigger.”} plus the time for our next get together so I won’t forget.   The doodle that I doodled while talking to her looked like a calamari appetizer gone bad, so I covered it up with layers of paint & tissue.  I guess I didn’t have to mention it, but it’s what I’m wrestling with these days.  Rough drafts, mistakes & messiness.  {that and body image…}

Fossil packing tapeThe oldest Brilliant ordered some cool belts from Fossil that came in a box with this awesome packing tape.  The page is waiting for words.  Btw, I also love vegetable stickers; these are from avocados & a pomegranate used to make Liz’s Pomegranate Guacamole.  So good.  {I’ll post the recipe soon.}

Scanned Image 100080005

This Exacompta journal is already getting bulky and I still have about 90 double page spreads to go… so, I cut out some pages and made some list pages.  Have decided that this will be my Read-in-2010 list.  {I also want to add a Books-I-Want-to-Read list & a Movies-I’ve-Watched list.}

Lady Grey Tea layer 1

This page is called “Lady Grey Tea – layer 1”  I don’t know what it’s going to be yet.  I included it because this is the kind of page that is new to me: a page that is in process & not finished all in one go.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:40-04:00January 10th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|8 Comments

Behind the pages {Exacompta: The next journal}

Scanned Image 100040000I started a new journal for 2010.  Which also means that I finally broke into a box that I received weeks ago from Karen at Exaclair.  I was delighted to find an Exacompta Basic Sketchbook in the more than generous box full of goodies.  {I was expecting one journal and ended up with several notebooks!}

At first glance, the gold edge on the pages and the yummy paper made me think of a traditional sketchbook, but then I remembered this review from Biffybeans over at Spiritual Evolution of the Bean and thought I’d use the notebook for my Life-catcher/ARt Journal of 2010.

I’m a few pages in and am thinking that I may end up tearing out every 10th page or so to make room for my fat, curling pages.  {Usually the pages that need to come out reveal themselves in the way the book falls.}  I knew from The Bean Blog that the pages would take more water-based media than appearance indicated so I pushed a little further.  I used several of my favorite techniques to see how far I could go with the pages.  Here’s what I found:

DSC_3531-3* Tube Acrylics applied with a heavy hand and a palette knife:  Beautiful texture after scraping with knife {especially on the side of the page where the laid texture is more evident}  Page curled immediately, but once dry was easy to flatten with a heavy book overnight.  Could easily add a couple more layers of paint

DSC_3499-1* Mod Podge:  Using lots of glue or mod podge is definitely at the end of the amount of wet the pages can handle.  I added some tissue paper layers and put a hole in the page when I went back to sand some bubbles & bumps.  {Moleskine sketchbook pages are still at the top of my list for handling this type of treatment.}  The hole was easy to cover up with another piece of tissue, so I don’t anticipate that those types of accidents will keep me from continuing to experiment & glue things in the book.

Scanned Image 100040002* Embossing:  Paper initially curled under heat gun and did start to show a little bit of burn when I held the gun in one place for too long, but the page responded well to being under a dictionary overnight.  Also, heat passes through to the other side pretty quickly so I did have to reattach some melted adhesive.

Scanned Image 100040001


* Inking:  I like to use ink pads around the border of my pages and to stamp shapes that I can go back in and write text in.  Some of the stamped ink from a new, wet inkpad showed through the page. But it was easy to cover with subsequent page design.

I’m currently carrying fewer notebooks.  Which means reconciling the Chaotic Artist with the Sort-and-classify Scientist.  So far this notebook has beautifully handled my moving back & forth between art pages and life pages.  {are they really all that different?}  In addition to gluing and painting, I can easily see myself writing a list or making a diary entry in pen & then moving on to a pencil sketch.

Incidentally,  this notebook came with beautiful green leather cover which I took off to manipulate the book.  The cardboard cover would easily lend itself to an altered cover, but since I plan on carrying it around I’m going to stick with the plain cover for now.  I’ll probably alter it at the end or start some Sharpie doodling… we’ll see.

For comparison, here’s a side shot of partially used 3.5″x5.5″ Picadilly {had to glue 2 or 3 pages together to create art pages}, the Exacompta & a partially used Moleskine sketchbook.


I know that some people are jazzed by new beginnings.  I am actually a bit intimidated by them.  New notebooks {especially beautiful and/or expensive ones} can be tough for me to start. {Yes, I was that kid that stood by the side of the pool dipping her toe in, trying to decide…} But my inner child, like the real 9 year old me, has jumped in {going in slowly via the steps is just torture!} I’m splashing around with this elegant sketch book and can’t wait to create in it further.

An idea that is developed...

** This blog post is included in The Sixth Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper.  Cynthia over at Journaling Arts is this month’s host and has gathered links to beautiful journals, pens & inks and articles for those who love them.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:40-04:00January 4th, 2010|Behind the Pages, Journals|5 Comments