"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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Word of the Year Art Journal Reflecting Life


If you've been reading my blog recently you may remember my quote of the year: "Plan to be surprised." from the movie Dan in Real Life. Life hardly ever looks like I think it will.

I like plans that follow through, events and deadlines nicely spaced out on my calendar, having something to look forward to, etc. In other words, I like to feel like my life is manageable and I have a reasonable measure of control. Nearly mid-year, I am trying to embrace the uncontrolled nature of my word of the year FLOW with new enthusiasm.

A couple months ago, when sharing in a monthly group meeting about our words of the year, a friend got a picture of me, feet first, laying on my back being carried down a river by the flow of water. I laughed. I don't like being cold and wet in a river teaming with God knows what. When she said that, I got a picture of me grasping at branches hanging over the edge of the water to try and stop the movement. Then I heard that still small voice say, "Let go and flow with Me." God was speaking to my mind, drawing my heart into His flow, which required me to let go of controlling, of knowing.

Now I am focusing on letting go of my expectations of outcomes, making drawing closer to God my expectation, and leaving the outcomes to Him. It is challenging me. As I work in my journal, I pray, listen, learn...

I think the accordion style journal I have been working in the past year and a half reflects the idea of ebb and flow.


For the the accordion style journal with pages sewn in, I decided to make the pages out of a full sheet (22x30") of 140 lb Fabriano Artistico Hot Press Watercolor paper. I measured the height to fit in the journal (8"), along the long length of the watercolor paper (30"). This 8" x 30" strip will be the folded accordion page. Then I measured and tore pages to sew into each of the accordion folds. I sewed the pages together with button thread. You can find a bit more of the cover process in the original post 9/24/2014 by clicking here. 



On the left is the original journal started in Fall of 2014. On the right is how it has turned out after a year and a half of processing. The cover was made from an old embossed hymnal I found at a thrift store. It was going to be my Celtic travel journal, but it didn't quite turn out that way. (Surprise.) I had made a Celtic cross in the center of the gothic arch (shown above left), but with the journal repurposed as my Word/s of the Year journal, I recently re-painted the cover inside the arch with a new image inspired by the interior symbolism of the journal. Then I glued the first blank accordion paper journal page to the inside front cover using bookbinding glue, and weighting it down overnight.


Now the cover is attached to the pages and the pages are nearly full. I am leaving the last two pages and back inside cover to fill with this year's theme and journal writing as it is revealed in the coming months. I feel a different kind of completeness in it. Untimely mid-year, and yet that too reflects the "surprise" quote and flow. One thing I consistently find in art and faith journaling is that the process is the most important thing and reflects the life being lived at that time.


Here is video of a flip through of the journal and below that, 
another view showing pages of last year's word, AIM:


Once again:

ART REFLECTS LIFE


Cheers to you and your grand creative life adventure!



Here are the Amazon links to the supplies used for the journal in this post:


           

Blog Affiliate Disclosure
To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.

Content, images and text in this post and entire blog are copyright© Valerie Sjodin 2009-2016. For your personal inspiration only. Commercial use prohibited.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Heart Flow Coloring and Art Journaling Page


After I finished the Flow pages shown in the last post, I moved on with the "Flow" theme found in John 7:37-39, using a coloring page I had made for the second coloring book: Colorful Blessings - Celebrating Everyday Wonders. I also added the definitions of "flow" on the left and my response on the right of the image used. Here are the steps I used to complete the page:


1. The coloring page image was too big for my journal so I reduced it and printed it out with a laser printer.


2. Next, I cut out the image I would include in my art journal.


3. Then I glued down the image by first brushing a generous amount of matte medium onto the entire surface of the journal page. I set the coloring page on top and firmly brushed matte medium over the top of the coloring page, brushing out any wrinkles or bubbles, making sure it is glued down thoroughly. I left the top of the coloring page hanging off to tear off the edge at the journal edge, after the page was dry.


4. I wrote the text with a Faber-Castell Pitt pen size S, and let it dry for over an hour. I waited so long because the ink was applied on top of the dried matte medium. Because the matte medium seals the surface, ink takes longer to dry. If I wrote the text on plain paper, I wouldn't have had to wait so long because the ink soaks into the fibers of the paper. 


5. The final stage is painting. For me this is where the journaling page comes to life. The supplies I used are: Matte Medium, DecoArt Media brand or Golden; Golden fluid acrylics: Pthalo Turquoise, Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, Quinacridone Magenta, Ultramarine Blue, Iridescent Gold Bright, Faber Castell Pitt pen size S, Royal Brush soft grip round brushes, Loew Cornell brush for matte medium, coloring page from Colorful Blessings - Celebrating Everyday Wonders

Jesus invites,
"Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 
Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!
For the Scriptures declare,
'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'
When he said, 'living water'
he was speaking of the Spirit
who would be given to 
everyone believing in him"

John 7:37-39 NLT


The above image is another view of the pages in a modified accordion journal I have been using for my Word of the Year in 2015-2016.

Here are the Amazon links to the supplies used for the journal pages in this post:

    

   

Blog Affiliate Disclosure
To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.

Content, images and text in this post and entire blog are copyright© Valerie Sjodin 2009-2016. For your personal inspiration only. Commercial use prohibited.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Using Coloring Pages in My Art Journal


In the first Colorful Blessings coloring book, many of the drawings were drawn from my art journals. Now with the second book, Colorful Blessings - Celebrating Everyday Wonders, finished and being published by Taunton Press (released in June), I am beginning to use the coloring pages in my art journals. I thought you might like to see some of my process.

I began by choosing images that resonated with the journal I'm working on: My Word of the Year Journal, and my word FLOW. The journal is made out of watercolor paper. Here I chose "Nurture Tranquility" from the first Colorful Blessings coloring book, and "O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus" page from the second book, Colorful Blessings - Celebrating Everyday Wonders.


1. First, I cut out the part of the image I want to use. Because it was to be glued onto an accordion page folding outward, I cut the image where it will be glued along the outward fold. 


2. I wanted to plan more of what would be on the pages shown. Knowing I would write quite a bit on the pages, I decided not to coat the pages with matte medium (I use DecoArt Media or Golden Matte medium). Instead, I wrote/sketched out my words lightly in pencil first.

3. Then I wrote the text in pen, over the pencil. After waiting for it to dry thoroughly, I erased the pencil lines with a white pen eraser. 


4. I reduced and printed a copy (laser printer or photocopy with non-waterbased ink) of the second coloring page so it would fit on the right-hand side page. I cut off the bottom portion I wasn't going to use. and left the other two edges, so I could tear the page edges like the rest of the journal.


5. I put deli paper (any paper will do) under the pages so they wouldn't get matte medium on them and stick together. I brushed the entire surface of the pages with matte medium and blued the coloring pages down, brushing more matte medium on top of the coloring pages to seal the entire surface of the journal. Let dry.

After it was dry, I tore the edges of the second coloring page to line up with the torn edges of the journal page. Now I was ready to paint and add collage papers. Yay! My favorite part.


6. I spattered fluid acrylic lightly with a toothbrush and spritzed it with water. I used Golden Pthalo Turquoise, Quinacridone Magenta and Green Gold. Let dry.


7. I looked through my Marbling & More papers and found my "water" type of papers. I cut waves, swirls, paisleys etc and glued them down with Matte Medium. 

8. Then I painted the coloring pages and tinted around the collage elements to integrate them more into journal page. Similar techniques are taught in the Hope journal in my Marbling & More and Lettering & Doodling Hope online classes 

Here are the Amazon links to the supplies used for the journal pages in this post:

    

 


Blog Affiliate Disclosure
To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.

Content, images and text in this post and entire blog are copyright© Valerie Sjodin 2009-2016. For your personal inspiration only. Commercial use prohibited.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Create, Be Brave, Be Vulnerable


This tag was found at an open studio I had about a year and a half ago. I had a "treasure box" of tags with questions or statements to finish. People could sit down and finish the tag they chose. A person left this, face down on the table. I found it as I was cleaning up. The message expresses the longing so many of us have, and the fear. 

I don't know who wrote the message on the tag. I wonder if she knows I want to be that kind of person too, that her message echoes the longing of my heart too? Making art is a vulnerable act. Blogging and putting oneself online feels even more vulnerable to me. There have been times when I have seriously considered backing down and settling into a more quiet, local, and private life. 

Then I read this tag  left in my studio by an anonymous artist and author. It sits on the shelf above my computer reminding me to be brave, to keep creating, keep communicating, and to risk being vulnerable. 

I don't have to be perfect. It's okay (even good) to take a break when I'm tired, like now after finishing a second coloring book. I sense I am entering a season of grace, giving more grace to myself and others. Receiving more of God's grace and returning to the question I used to ask God each morning, "Lord, what are you giving me grace for today?" Then step out in the grace given. 

Merriam-Webster defines GRACE as
- a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward
- an ease of movement
- a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving
- a pleasing appearance or effect
- unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
- a virtue coming from God

Grace and Peace to You today.

Blessings,
Valerie


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ask God and put out a fleece? Really?!

That was the advice given from my good friend and mentor Linda Eld after my quote of the year rang true, literally, in the form of a phone call.

"Plan to be surprised." 
- from "Dan in Real Life" movie. 

I was surprised. I may have mentioned before that I don't like surprises. In January, the editor at Taunton who worked with me on the Colorful Blessings coloring book called before my copies of the coloring book had arrived. She said they wanted to do another coloring book asap. The good news was that Colorful Blessings had gone into its second printing and the publisher wanted to keep going with the momentum and publish a second Colorful Blessings coloring book.

It was good news, but very unexpected. I was stunned. The possibility wasn't even on my radar, so to speak. In my mind and efforts, I had moved on to work on another project my heart has been yearning to do for over a year. I was just starting that project when the call for the first coloring book opportunity came last August. Now, a section of that project was nearly completed when I received the phone call about making a second coloring book. In my mind, I was thinking: "If I go ahead and work on another coloring book, I will be putting the project off again." Even more daunting was the question, "How was I going to come up with 47 new images so fast?" The proposed deadline: impossible. I said, "No." The editor asked what deadline would work, and asked me to take the weekend to think about it. That is when I called my friend Linda and asked for prayer and advice. She generously gave both.

As previously stated, Linda suggested I put a fleece out. (Like Gideon)
I laughed saying, "Like God giving me a list of 47 things to draw?"
"Yes," she said. "Like that."
"Okay then." I felt I was off the hook with that kind of request, but God had another idea.

Later that day I thought of my "loser" drawer. I have this drawer in my studio filled with projects, dreams and collaborations that have gone nowhere. In that drawer of dead dreams and disappointments, there is a book proposal I wrote exactly 16 years ago about how nature reflects and praises God. I had done quite a bit of research, which included a list of specific things in nature with accompanying Scripture verses. The outline was a list of 47 things I had written in February of 2000. Can you believe it? Well, that answered the fleece question. It was an unexpected resurrection of a dream I thought was dead. It would require me seeing its fulfillment in a whole new way, but God is in the redemption business and wastes nothing.

Now I found myself on the hook to make a new coloring book, moving ahead as an act of faith. I said, "Yes." The process required me to let go of my preconceived ideas, and place this new opportunity in God's hands, asking for His help as I choose to put my heart and hands to work. It has been a journey, hard fought on one hand, and full of miraculous grace and wonder on the other. Grace and wonder have won. I am grateful!

So today, before the deadline, the second Colorful Blessings coloring book is now off to the printer to be released in June. I will have ordering info soon. Here is sneak peak at the front & back cover:



Speaking of surprises, I have another SURPRISE I will be sharing with you very shortly. The one that has been on my heart and in my in-person teaching for a long time. I am excited about the message and beautiful possibilities for you to explore.... More about that coming soon!




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Cozy Story Behind Colorful Blessings: Home Sweet Home

We are all on a journey and have a story to tell. Often the journey leads us back home, to who we are meant to be. Here, is the story behind some of the coloring pages in the Colorful Blessing coloring book.








We all need a place to call home. Every person is significant. In the  Colorful Blessings coloring book, the pages give a glimpse into my story expressed through line. They are waiting to be colored, to connect with your story.

May you belong, be-long, be-loved.




If you purchase and enjoy my coloring book, 
would you write a review on Amazon? 
Thank you!


Products I Use to Color Pages: 

Prismacolor Colored Pencils, Blender Pencil, and Pencil Sharpener. Here are the links shown on my blogsite:

    

Blog Affiliate Disclosure: To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

An Alphabet Story Behind the Art of Colorful Blessings

Sometimes it amazes me how something that seems insignificant ends up being something of meaning and connection. It was like that with these pages. I wanted to be a part of an online Art Journaling group Bernice Hopper invited me to, An A to Z of Me. The trouble was, I was so busy, I didn't have time to get out my paints, start a new journal etc. Fortunately, Bernice's groups have the flexibility to go with your own flow. So I decided to do what I could to participate. That meant not doing the techniques, but doing the prompts in my everyday, calendar, Moleskine journal. It turned out to be a great process for me. I learned how to take it with me and work almost anywhere. My supplies and journal all fit into a gallon ziploc bag. It changed how I journaled and how often: more. The same materials are used in coloring now. Go figure...

M is for Mindfulness

K is for Kindness

X is for "X marks the spot"

Here is a link to a post that shows all of the letters in the A to Z of Me art journaling challenge: http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2013/04/all-of-a-to-z-of-me-moleskine-journal_17.html

We each have a story to tell, and our stories relate to one another. In the Colorful Blessings coloring book, the pages give a glimpse into my story expressed through line. They are waiting to be colored, to connect with your story.



If you purchase and enjoy my coloring book, 
would you write a review on Amazon? 
Thank you!

Products I Use to Color Pages: 

Prismacolor Colored Pencils, Blender Pencil, and Pencil Sharpener. Here are the links shown on my blogsite:

    

Blog Affiliate Disclosure: To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Symbolism of Palm ~ Bible Journaling Palm Sunday

When Rome ruled much of the known world, palm branches were a symbol of victory and goodness. This was the context and meaning of the triumphal entry described in John 12:12-19. The people were proclaiming Jesus as victor and king.


I'm one of those people who has always asked, "Why?" If I read the chapter before, it says Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after Lazarus was dead four days. No wonder it caused a stir and people were believing in Jesus! Can you imagine? The news spread like wildfire, and without any technology, a crowd quickly gathered when they found out Jesus was coming into Jerusalem. They brought their symbol of victory and goodness, palm branches, and cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" But the leaders felt threatened and were plotting Jesus as well as Lazarus.


Personally, this is one of my least favorite stories in the Bible. It is the fickle crowd that troubles me. Because I know the rest of the story, I can imagine the cheering crowd turning to a jeering crowd just a few days later crying, "Crucify him!" I see myself in the crowd and find it revolting. When I read it this time, I was moved to tears. I wonder how Jesus felt as he was hailed as King knowing it was the beginning of his journey to the cross. Regardless of how he felt, Jesus moved forward, knowing his purpose and calling. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) says, 

 "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, 
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Jesus' journey of victory, shows us that the path to victory may look very different than we imagine or hope. It reminds me to keep my eyes on Jesus, looking at the big picture, not just at what is going on at the moment, while still being present in the moment. Not easy.
1 Corinthians (NLT) says, 

"He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ." 


He did it for us. He died for me. He lives in me. He is with me on my own journey. This is not the end. We have hope of eternal life that starts here and now! I am so grateful.

To read the process I use on pages like this, here is a link to a post where I list the process for a similar page and the supplies used:  http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2016/01/bible-journaling-my-animal-of-year.html

ART SUPPLIES USED in this post are shown with Amazon links below:

NOTE: Sandwich deli wrap paper is not available everywhere. I bought mine, First Street brand at Cash & Carry here in the U.S. The paper is also called Dry Wax paper, but is different than the regular wax paper I buy at the grocery store. I also have used Kabnet wax brand that is available on Amazon or at Costco. It is folded and more waxy on one side so I prefer the First Street brand, although it works if you use the pen on the less waxy side. I have noticed other brands on Amazon, Marcal and Logan, but I haven't tried them.  If you have, it would be great for you to let us know in the comments.  There may be substitutions where you live. Look for translucent paper that can withstand wet media.

You will notice I have listed both Golden brand and Deco Art Media for a few colors. That is because I have found them very similar and if there is a price difference, it may help you with a purchase decision. There are links to both a pen set and a single XS Pitt pen. The XS Pit pen has the finest size line of that brand, so I use that the most. 

        

Affiliate Disclosure

To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Faith Story Behind the Art of Colorful Blessings

Since my faith is such an important and integrated part of my life,  I made a journal expressing my faith. Here, is the story behind some of the faith-filled coloring pages in the Colorful Blessing coloring book.


Here is a blog post link see a flip through of my Faith journal: http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2013/11/journey-through-my-faith-journal.html. If you would like to learn the lettering and doodling techniques shown in these journals, check out the Lettering & Doodling Hope online workshop: http://valeriesjodin.com/online-art-journaling-workshops/. More techniques for backgrounds, marbling, and creating unique edges are found in the other workshops listed there. 


We all believe in something, someone. In this journal, I write a statement of faith. On the coloring page is space for you to write yours. Here is a link to the post where I show a step-by-step process of making the "Believe" journal page: http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2013/02/believe-step-by-step.html


The above coloring page is taken from my "Identity" journal. It was an online study done on Ephesians facilitated by Bernice Hopper. We listened to the insightful and practical sermons of Rob Davey from Jubilee Church Solihull.

Click on the link to the blog post for links and to see more of the Identity Journal: http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2014/03/identity-journal-heavens-citizen.html

We each have a story to tell, and our stories relate to one another. We all believe in something. In the Colorful Blessings coloring book, the pages give a glimpse into my story expressed through line. They are waiting to be colored, to connect with your story.



If you purchase and enjoy my coloring book, 
would you write a review on Amazon? 
Thank you!

Products I Use to Color Pages: 

Prismacolor Colored Pencils, Blender Pencil, and Pencil Sharpener. Here are the links shown on my blogsite:

    

Blog Affiliate Disclosure: To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Trust - The Story Behind Colorful Blessings

Trading fear for trust. It is a part of the life journey I find myself on. So it is not surprising a number of the coloring pages have Trust as a theme and a process. The page below is from my Faith journal:


Part of trusting is being brave. It is what my name means, but I have often found myself feeling anything but brave. Being brave means stepping out with courage, trusting it will all work out, that I don't have to be perfect. Instead, work for excellence and move forward...


The page above has encouraged me to trust God, be still, be loved, listen and then move forward. It is more about being. In that being, I will know better how to proceed forward. It is true now as it was then, at the beginning of 2013 when I put this in my everyday calendar journal.


The above journal, "Abba's Love" is one of the more innovative designs I've done in the small 2-day Art Journaling workshops. It was also a unique group of women who participated. My longtime friend Michelle Watson and her cohort of beautiful leaders in The Abba Project came to the studio for a 2-day daily art journaling retreat. You can check out more about Dr. Michelle and her ministry at: http://www.drmichellewatson.com/. Here is a blog post about our amazing time together:
http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2013/03/amazing-abba-art-journaling-retreat.html
Here is another link that shows my journal, finished later that week:
http://visualblessings.blogspot.com/2013/03/abbas-love-weekend-journal.html

We each have a story to tell, and our stories relate to one another. In the Colorful Blessings coloring book, the pages give a glimpse into my story expressed through line. They are waiting to be colored, to connect with your story.



If you purchase and enjoy my coloring book, 
would you write a review on Amazon? 
Thank you!

Products I Use to Color Pages: 

Prismacolor Colored Pencils, Blender Pencil, and Pencil Sharpener. Here are the links shown on my blogsite:

    

Blog Affiliate Disclosure: To make the products I talk about in this blog and videos more accessible and to answer product questions, I've affiliated with Amazon.com. I do not get paid for using any of the products and only share products I use often, and am pleased to recommend them. I get a number of questions regarding the products I use. I thought this would be the win/win opportunity for you and I. If you click on any of the Amazon product links above and purchase the product, I receive a small percentage, like a tip. It does not cost you anything.