To change or not to change.

It’s been an interesting week.  I started off in a bit of a blue funk.  I didn’t feel like doing much of anything.  I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t distract myself with shopping or the like.  I was stuck here with myself.  It could have turned into a really ugly situation.  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like being moody.  But, something amazing ended up happening.

Three things really, but three things wound together into one life-changing realization.  Not a big “we’ve sold everything and are joining a cult and moving to a small island off the coast of Africa after having a sex-change” kind of life-changing moment…this was a small, significant change in a way of thinking that makes good change possible.

First, I realized that I was really, really tired of the themed journal-a-day challenge I set up for myself.  Not so much the journaling part, but the “bird” over and over and over again.  I stopped doing them and then have been trying to catch up.  Ugh!

Next, the Get Messy Journaling challenge for the week dealt with the topic of “what would you do if you had the courage to live your dream”…I’ve paraphrased a bit.  We were also supposed to challenge ourselves to a new art technique.  As I wrote yesterday, my first two pages were – not something I liked.  I tried to create without paint and layers.  I went for a plain background.  I handwrote with pen and ink in a free word-association style reacting to the photos.  The photos were of myself at two points in my childhood.  One was a photo of myself as a young child before I have any real memories of life and the other at the beginning of junior high during a particularly unpleasant time.  I know that nobody enjoyed junior high really, but this year of my life was particularly horrible.

And third, I read someone’s post about “having a habit or being in a rut”.  I’m sorry but I can’t remember where I read it and I can’t seem to find it again.  If and when I do, I will give proper credit due.  It talked about the difference between doing something intentionally out of habit and repeating something without intention (being in a rut).

This is what I came up with after a day or two of thought:

  • The journal pages had become a “rut” and thus, were boring.  They all look somewhat the same.  I wasn’t risking anything new or using it as an opportunity to learn.  Of course, they were boring.  I had simply turned it into a chore or task to be done…a check on a checklist.  They were never supposed to be completed works of art, but experiments and practice.  Lesson 1.
  • The challenge was supposed to be exactly that – a challenge.  What I had viewed as a disaster was actually a stunning success.  It’s called art journaling for a reason.  Art is only part of the picture.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed myself artistically and personally.  Equally important:  I participated in community by sharing of myself even though it was uncomfortable and difficult.  Being a part of a community is not always comfortable (the rut).  I needed to make an intentional decision to be part of the community.  In the process I dealt with some personal stuff and took another step in my personal journey.  Lesson 2 – the difficult personal one.
  • Habits are good; especially if you deal with mood issues.  Habits ground us and help us grow artistically.  “Practice makes perfect”.    But I need to avoid falling into a rut in my art making.  I need to challenge myself and grow.   This will mean taking risks and investing myself emotionally in my work.  Lesson 3.

I’ve long hoped to grow in my art and infuse it with more passion and emotion…more of me.  Now I know that, at times, that may be painful or difficult.  I can do that and survive…grow.  Living with intention is never “done”.  It is a process, not a product.

Life and art -a process, not a product.


Get Messy Thursday/Adventurous Dreams

IMAG0369IMAG0370Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practice our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt. Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style. We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal.

Journaling Challenge: Live your adventurous dreams on paper. What would you love to do, or at least try, if you had the courage to live more adventurously? I would, for example, like to live on a houseboat or a train wagon.

Art Challenge: Try a method or material you’ve never worked with before. Be adventurous

The journaling challenge:  For me, it’s all about continuing the adventure I started when I began writing my blog almost two months ago.  I’m focusing on changes and goals for my life.

The art challenge:  No paint, using paper I’ve been saving forever because I didn’t want to mess it up or use it up, and keeping it very simple.

Now……….for the hard part.  As I’m typing this I’m trying to decide how much to share and whether to share at all.  We’ll know if this gets posted or not.  One of the things I wrote was “bravery” and I’m not feeling very brave at the moment.  The posted photos are actually my second attempt at this challenge.

My first attempt was not successful from an artistic standpoint.  I tried to do a photo transfer with gel medium.  I’m okay with art mistakes or failure.  Most of my work is built on that…that’s why so many layers.  After I finished the pages though, I totally lost it emotionally.  I got angry and snapped at my husband, and deleted the posted photos.  Racing heart, light headed, chest pressure…classic anxiety attack.  Worst I’ve had in a long time.  I don’t know what in particular caused the reaction and I started to throw them away.  As I type this, hours later, the anxiety is returning.

But, the point of journaling is more than practicing our art skills and trying out new stuff.  And, I said I would share without restraint each week.  So, I’m not going to post the black & whites on instagram, but  I am going to post them here and on our facebook page.

Like I said, I don’t know what was so emotionally upsetting about these pages.  I’m gonna have to deal with that.  And I will deal with it.  That fits in with the challenge of “what I would do if I had the courage to live more adventurously”.  So, here’s the photos and I’m going to hit publish.  And it’s all going to be okay.  Growth and change are difficult.  I am brave.

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Get Messy Thursday.

Get Messy  is an art  journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal pages we have created to practice our skills and push  past our creative limits with hopes to inspire.  We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt.  Go check out these crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have  a unique perspective and style.  We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag (40)photo (38)


Get Messy Thursday.

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Get Messy is an art journal challenge where a gang of crafty vixens are sharing art journal

pages we have created to practice our  skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire.

We share our pages without restraint every week, and once a month we create around a prompt.

Go check out the crazy talented ladies who are creating pages who each have a unique perspective and style.

We will be sharing our work around social media so follow the hashtag #getmessyartjournal.

So, I look at the clock and realize that it’s after midnight.  That means it’s Thursday.  I haven’t done my journal pages.  I was going to do them, but something else just kept coming up and now I’m tired and I just want to go to bed.

But, I signed up for it and I committed to doing it and I don’t want to not post.  Off to my desk I go.  Except it’s piled high with all kinds of stuff.  I can’t even see the desktop.  I make a space and grab some paper.  I am not in a good mood.  Did I mention that I really want to go to bed?

Definitely followed the instruction of “Get Messy”.  I slap on paint with my hand because I don’t want to wash the brush.  I just want to go to bed.  I don’t plan.  I don’t worry about the layout.  No glue.  Just gel medium.  Scraps off of the floor and out of the trash.  Flip through a magazine and grab words.  Smear, tear, drop.

Hmmm.  Those words go together.  Play, community, enjoy, chill, cool off…  The arrow is pointing up.  That’s optimistic.

The words “field trip”.  Getting out – of the rut – real life.

Taking a break from what has to be done.  Doing something I love to do – even when I don’t want to start.  I feel better.  It’s not art.  It’s an experience.  A mood lifting, transformative experience.   And that’s what it’s all about.

No pretensions about the finished product…the pages or the writing.  Just free-flowing ideas.  And I really do feel better.  But, I still want to go to bed.  So thank you, fellow Messy Journalists.

Good night and blessings for a beautiful Thursday.  (The blessings are for everyone, messy or not!)

Who I Am!

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Today is this posting day for the art journaling group that I recently joined:


Our prompt this week:  “Who are you?  If you had one page to show the world who you are what would you put on it?  Use anything except an actual photo of yourself to make a self portrait.”

Easy enough.  Life drawing isn’t really my thing anymore, but I can do collage all day long (I wish I could all day long)!  I started with a stack of magazines and my stash and soon had a nice little pile of things I do.

Problem #1.  What someone does all day isn’t who they are.  Doing and being are not necessarily the same thing, right?  The activities make up a part of who you are, but they are just that:  a combination of stuff you have to do and a bit of want to do.

Problem #2. How do I actually do this thing?  What if I don’t show everything.  What if how I depict myself is erroneous – my conception is somehow different from people’s perception.

Problem #3.  What if it looks like crap?  If I can’t even do a decent piece of art that shows who I am, what the heck am I doing calling myself an artist?  (This is not a new problem, by the way.)

Here we go…

  •   #1…The things I do make up the clothing I am wearing… because the activities I am involved in daily “clothe” me.  Each day  I cover myself with the needs of the day.  Some days I dress up, most days I wear work clothes.  These things I do sometimes obscure who I really am – like a worn out pair of jeans and a baggy sweatshirt.  Sometimes they protect me like a suit of armor.  Most days, they prepare and equip me for the work I’m doing – like a worn out pair of jeans and a paint-stained T-shirt.  The “real” me is always present; underneath it all.
  • Skipping on to #3…It’s not art, it’s a journal page.  Duh.  Lighten up, Kelly.
  • Back to #2…Here’s the best I’ve got:

Wings that are somewhat tattered and worn because so I am, but I still have some flying to do.

A heart of gold because I really do have a lot of love to share even if I struggle with trust sometimes.

Paintbrush bristle hair for all the times I’ve gone somewhere and realized I have a big glob of paint in my hair.

Striped tights just like the Wicked Witch of the West because I sometimes have the tendency to act like her.

Ruby slippers because no matter where I go, I long to go home.

Empty hands (not really empty, just open) letting go of “bad” stuff and open to grab “amazing”.

A glittery pink crown because somewhere in time, I quit thinking of myself as a princess (the magical child-like kind).

It’s not perfect and finished because neither am I.

Everything isn’t shown because parts of me remains hidden and there are things I haven’t discovered yet.

I know I forgot something because, as in real life, I’m sure I’ve forgotten (or lost) something.

If folks see me differently than this, that’s probably as it should be.  I’m different things to different people.

Oh, and I realize that it’s not actually a page – it’s a paper doll…because sometimes I don’t like to follow the rules.

I hope you have a day full of discoveries ahead!



Art journal.

I mentioned last week sometime that I had joined an art journaling group, “Get Messy”.  I haven’t journaled regularly for quite some time.  I miss it.  I also believe that journaling is important for many, many reasons.  I just don’t do it because there isn’t enough time.  What does that even mean?  There isn’t enough time.  Definitely a post for another day.

Joining a group makes me accountable to others.  If I don’t post two pages on Thursday, lots of folks will notice.  A public failure, if you will.

Did you notice that I’m posting this on Friday?  Yep, I missed my first Thursday.  FAIL.  Public fail.  I’m new to the group, please like me – fail.

But wait!  On this new journey, I’m trying to be nicer to myself.  So, here’s the best I’ve got.  I was sick yesterday and could care less about art, much less journal pages.  I was focusing on the most basic of human needs…trying not to throw up water.  So, no apologies.  Here they are.

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Raising Ducks in Alaska.

For the longest time, when things got stressful, I have threatened my family with moving to Alaska and raising ducks.  Alone.  By myself.  Just me… and the ducks.

Yes, I’ve lived in Alaska.  I know how cold it is.  As far as my tumultuous childhood is concerned, it was a great year.  I don’t remember much about my family life, but I do remember living on the banks of Salmon Creek, an abandoned gold mine a short walk away, blueberries by the pound,  a bear or two in said bushes, and panning for gold.   The star of the basketball team, Mark Kelly asked me to be a cheerleader.  I’m not really the cheerleader type now, but I always imagined if we hadn’t moved, how my life might have been different if I could have become the cheerleader type.  Whatever that means.  Better somehow.  But we did move.

Raising ducks in Alaska is my mythical, make it all better place.  Emphasis on mythical.  Can you even raise ducks in the wild?   I know it wouldn’t be all that great in reality terms.  I might get lonely eventually, but it would be nice to try for a bit – with a return plane ticket in hand.

It’s been a stressful day.  Can you tell?

The highlight:  I’ve joined an art journaling group.  I’m looking forward to the community and accountability.  It’s too easy to let the artistic me fade into the background…talk about adding stress!GetMessy1000px

By the way, I did coach cheer for my daughter’s homeschool football team cheer squad last year.  How did it go?  Let’s just say that it’s a good thing I have other gifts.   I did okay except for the whole jumping, perky, smiling, rhythm, dancing, cheering part.