"Holy Spirit, think through me till your ideas are my ideas." ~Amy Carmichael

" Holy Spirit, think through me till your ideas are my ideas.”

~ Amy Carmichael

Friday, October 24, 2014

Traveling Changes Things Back Home...

A number of young people in my life have said everybody who can, should travel because it changes them for the better, pressing people into new perspectives through new experiences with people, transitions and places. I agree.

This past weekend was our local county Artists Studio Tour. It's my fourth year opening my studio people in my community. It's a highlight of my year. After traveling last month and visiting so many places, I was determined to give people their own experience in the studio, making time and space for them to express themselves. This was impressed on me during our trip because of my own experiences when I was able to participate in a place verses just looking, walking through a space quickly. So I painted a door with chalkboard paint and my dear husband put a doorknob on it and mounted it in the studio. People added their gratitude all weekend:

 


I also had a station with a box of tags with keys stamped on them. People were encouraged to pick one and turn it over to read a question or finish a statement. It was very open ended, and they could write an answer, draw, doodle, color, take it to think about, share with friends etc. I wondered if those who came would take the time to engage with it, but I only had three key tags left by the end of the weekend. Here's a photo of people in process:


While on our trip I got an idea of how to present my journals. This is always a challenge. When we visited the Dublin Castle there was an exhibit of an artist who designed invitations and amazing paper cards for the royalty. The pieces were displayed in a stair-step fashion in glass cases. It inspired this:


I found this display sparked a lot of conversations about Art Journaling and Workshops.

Here are some close-ups:



And of course, the best part: engaging in conversation with neighbors, connecting with old friends and meeting new. In my view: a success. 

For those of you who came: 
THANK YOU! 
You truly made my day. 


One other way this year was different was I had a great sense of peace in the midst of a busy process. My computer crashed the day before the tour, and I couldn't do some things I had planned. I let them go. Honestly, God helped me. I couldn't have done that a couple years ago. I am filled with gratitude.






Tuesday, October 14, 2014

We Played Like Children...




Our last full day in Iona, Keith and I hiked to Columba's Bay, along a winding street with cottages, walking by pastoral farms with the prettiest livestock I've ever seen. Sheep seemed to be almost free range. Just close the gate, the sign said. By the golf course on a trail not clearly marked, along the rugged, beautiful shore of the island. Up and down hills, through rocky terrain and heather sprinkled purple midst the green and grey. When we reached the bay, there were signs of previous play, a makeshift labyrinth and celtic cross. But the most amazing thing were the rocks. Oh so beautiful!



We picked and played for hours like two little kids. To commemorate our time together I drew a Celtic knot on one of them which now sits with candles by our bathtub.




That evening we spent in the sitting room of our hotel, the kind of place you might expect Miss Marple to walk in at any moment. I painted in my watercolor journal while Keith read.



It was time to say "Good-bye Iona!"


Shalom! 


Next met up with our daughter and Son-in-Love. 
To read about their travels and see her art travel journal visit: http://atravelingtwo.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Iona: Dream Realized in a Thin Place

I've dreamt about going to Iona. It's known as a thin place, where heaven and earth meet, where people focus on unity and peace. Also, the birthplace of the Book of Kells which has fascinated me for years. It is a pilgrimage to get there from where we live: two long plane rides, bus shuttle, train, ferry, bus, and ferry.



Fuschia bushes were in abundance on Iona, even outside our hotel





Here is the view outside our room:


We walked during the day and evening to the Abbey:



The Cloisters are my favorite part. After services, we were invited for tea in the cloisters and to visit with someone we didn't know. It fostered a sense of peace and community. We even met Lizzie who knows our good friends back home. A small world.





I spent some time in Columba's Chapel located behind the cross:




Meaningful time spent...Worship...

Our first evening there we walked into the little chapel in the ancient cemetery. A group was worshiping. The instrument was a tuning fork and something with a rim. People found their note, offering praise. We were invited into the circle. Each person gave a single word. More worship. We hugged people we had never met, left, and felt we had just been a part of something holy, simple beauty.

I came back another day, lighting a candle in prayer...


In the middle of our trip, we met up with our daughter and Son-in-Love. To read about their travels and see her art travel journal visit: http://atravelingtwo.blogspot.com/





Sunday, October 5, 2014

Beginning our Travel Journal: Scotland

Because it was a trip of many transitions with many places to go to, I needed to pare down my art journaling supplies. Here is what I ended up using on the go.


I kept a written record of nearly each day in my Documented Life journal. The calendar base was made before the trip. I also used a small Moleskine watercolor journal to document the cities we visited and some of my most meaningful places. The little Celtic reference journal was used as a reference for lettering and Celtic knots drawn along the way. My trusty old travel watercolor palette came in really handy, and two brushes with water in them. My used paper towel once again shows that I cannot seem to paint without a paper towel on hand. My drawing and writing supplies were: pencil, white eraser, pencil sharpener, Copic Multiliner Pen set, and two Pitt Faber-Castell pens, a "C" calligraphy and an XS, superfine. I found these were all I really needed to record in my watercolor journal and write in my Calendar Journal, along with my phone camera. My iPad was a luxury to paint from, but sometimes the airdrop wouldn't work so I just used my phone as a photo reference.

When busy going from place to place, sometimes its hard to figure when is a good time to work in my journal. I found the transition time on trains and planes were good times to write what happened that day, look through my photo reference, and draw in pencil in the watercolor journal. Then in the evenings when we took a bit of a break, it was a good time to get out the pens and paints.


We took two long airplane trips and a bus shuttle to reach Glasgow. Before we left I had been praying and asking God what to look for. The sentence, "Look for secrets and signs in plain sight," immediately came to mind. We got to Glasgow and saw hot pink banners hanging from the lamp posts that said, "People make Glasgow." Well said. People make any place meaningful in one way or another. That message is still with me as I am now home. We each have choices and make a difference, just our presence, and especially how we treat people. I am humbled. The kind man at the check in desk let us in early to our room where we were able to take a  nap before going next door to our first Scotland pub dinner.

We had a chance to walk around the downtown of Glasgow. It was a great introduction to the UK. Here is a photo and my interpretation in the little watercolor journal:



In the middle of our trip, we met up with our daughter and Son-in-Love. To read about their travels and see her art travel journal visit: http://atravelingtwo.blogspot.com/


YOU ARE INVITED TO:

The Oregon Open Studios, Washington County Artists on October 18-19th from 11 am - 5 pm, seemed like the perfect opportunity to invite you to participate in the "Door of Gratitude" and discover a key of your own. In addition, there will still be prints, cards, and artwork available for purchase, and of course the famous cookies some are counting on, but now you get to participate even more! I am excited and hope to connect with you!

18 & 19 October 2014  |  11am-5pm

TOUR WASHINGTON COUNTY & VISIT ARTISTS’ STUDIOS
A project of the Washington County Art Alliance

Here's a link to the Open Studio blog site that has an article telling some of what you can expect when visiting my studio. http://artiststudiotoursofwashingtoncounty.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-chat-with-valerie-sjodin-mixed-media.html

Photo by Heidi Helser Photography©





Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Re-Entry with Renewed Perspective

Blarney Tower from the Castle above
One of the things I was hoping to get on our big adventure was a perspective adjustment. Traveling can encourage that. This journey helped me to step back, live in the present moment as the unknown unfolds, and be open to a new view. 

Sean O'Brien took this photo of me at Blarney Castle
This trip involved so many transitions and connections, that we had to live in the present moment, often without internet connection. I was able to take a break from my virtual life for awhile.

Carrying my luggage at one of many train stations we visited
Our Scotland-Ireland-England adventure was one that Keith and I dreamed about taking and planned a long time for. It had numerous transitions, places, and people to experience. My life is richer because of it.

Now is the time to re-enter our familiar life. We've "hit the ground running" so to speak. It wasn't a surprise. Schedules were filled before we left with: a family reunion, wedding, Art meeting for upcoming show, babysitting my grandson etc.  Even so, I don't want to neglect the reflection of, "What am I taking away, or rather, bringing home, from this trip?"

Sean, Merri and I at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin
The number 1 thing is GRATITUDE. I feel intensely thankful. Keith and I have been married 35 years and are more in love than ever. Of course I am grateful to have been able to take a journey like that in the first place. I loved meeting with old and new friends, and traveling with our daughter and son-in-law was the best time I could have hoped for. I am coming home so grateful for the extraordinary people and life I have.

Keith and I still in love after 35 years of marriage - BLESSED
Sean, Merri, Keith photo bombing my photo of the entry into Trinity College in Dublin
Here are my funny photo bombers doing their thing as I am taking a photo of yet another doorway....
To read about our Daughter and Son-in-Love's travels visit: http://atravelingtwo.blogspot.com/

our room key on the island of Iona - the number 4 is Dalet in Hebrew which means "Door" 
Keys and doors have been the symbols for me this year. I have been continually looking for "keys" that open good things.

The Oregon Open Studios, Washington County Artists on October 18-19th from 11 am - 5 pm, seemed like the perfect opportunity to invite you to participate in the "Door of Gratitude" and discover a key of your own. In addition, there will still be prints, cards, and artwork available for purchase, and of course the famous cookies some are counting on, but now you get to participate even more! I am excited and hope to connect with you!

18 & 19 October 2014  |  11am-5pm

TOUR WASHINGTON COUNTY & VISIT ARTISTS’ STUDIOSA project of the Washington County Art Alliance

Here's a link to the Open Studio blog site that has an article telling some of what you can expect when visiting my studio. http://artiststudiotoursofwashingtoncounty.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-chat-with-valerie-sjodin-mixed-media.html

Photo by Heidi Helser Photography©

Coming up next: a journey through some of the highlights of our journey through art journaling