"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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

From Travel Brochures to Art Journal - How-to Video


During our trip, the travel information and maps gathered at the national parks were extremely helpful. Now that we're home, I don't want to store the paper stack of info, but I don't want to just throw it away either. Solution: make a spontaneous art journal (of course :-)

Below is a video I made showing how I made a journal page spread using collage pieces from our travel brochures, some personal photos, writing and a little bit of paint. The techniques used can be used in any journal that can withstand mixed media such as matte medium, collage, and a little bit of paint.


The best part of this trip with so many transitions and activities, the best part for me is after traveling together for nearly 3 weeks, we aren't tired of each other. It wasn't always like that. It has been quite a journey indeed! We get to come home to our life together. Home sweet home.


Whether we can travel far, or stay at home, my lesson for the day is in the acronym:


Today, may you be blessed with rest, no matter what you are doing.

The supply list and links for the travel brochure are listed below. The supply list for the watercolor travel journal is listed in the two previous blog posts.

Supplies used:
  • Matte medium or fluid matte medium
  • Black gesso
  • White gesso
  • Paint: transparent red iron oxide
  • Fabercastell Pitt pen or No-Bleed Sharpie
  • White Gelly Roll pen
  • Fabriano Artisico Hotpress 140 lb watercolor paper or art journal that takes mixed media
  • Stencils from http://craftersworkshop.com/ : TCW321, TCW363, TCW290S
  • Cosmetic wedge sponge
  • Paint brushes
          

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, July 13, 2016

Dream Realized in My Moleskine journal

Dreams realized are sweet to the soul!


My visit to the Grand Canyon was a dream come true! It was on my bucket list and everything I hoped for. Keith was a great sport too. He does not like heights, but went along, delighted and cringing at my joy of feeling on top of the world. 


The little Moleskine watercolor journal offered me various ways to include photos, write, paint etc.

Some pages were title pages such as this page below. Here is a photo that shows the process: painted with a fine pointed tipped waterbrush using the watercolor kit, and then outlined in black:


Here is the page finished:


And in the spread with a photo of me at the entrance of the canyon. It was fun to take our photos at the national park signs. We often took photos of other groups and they took ours, a place of pleasant connection with those on a similar journey.


You may have noticed, I've outlined the photos with a wobbly fine line (XS Pitt pen) to tie in the hand done feel of the book, linking the photos with hand written text and watercolor painting. 


Usually, it is not practical for me to paint on locations when we travel, so I take photos and then airdrop them onto my mini iPad and paint a little painting from that. I try and paint it as soon as possible after I took the photo. There were opportunities in the heat of some of the days when we were resting in the comfort of air conditioning. This spread shows the photo and the painting. When I paint, I try and capture the feeling I felt when being there. No pressure to replicate the place. After all, I have the photo, right?


Sometimes I write around the photos too:


One thing I really like is when my travel companion is willing to write in my journal. It is good to get other perspectives and handwriting in my travel journals:


If my favorite part was standing on the heights, Keith's was hiking at the base of a canyon wall, in water. Here at Zion National Park, his dream was realized. I love that!

At Zion, along the Virgin River, we hiked (along with many other people) along the beautiful river bed, such as the photo below on the left. On the right I drew and painted a stack of stone cairns people had left on a big rock in the river. Keith ventured out to take a photo of them. It reminded me of the lesson I looked for each day on our trip. The lesson for that day was that each person's desire and dream is important. We lived it as we made choices and took action during our visits to the Grand Canyon And Zion national parks. 


We go farther, deeper, and higher with each other than on our own. I am so thankful!


SUPPLIES USED:
  • Moleskine Journal - 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" watercolor journal
  • Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box, by Sakura (It comes with one Medium/small tip waterbrush)
  • Yasutomo Niji Waterbrush, Small
  • Prismacolor pencil sharpener
  • Kneaded eraser
  • White eraser (The one in the link below is not the one in the photo, but I have used it and it works well)
  • 2 HB pencils
  • Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens: size XS, S and C (Calligraphy) Note: I did have a Sharpie no-bleed pen on hand, but if the Faber-Castell Pitt fineliner pen set is purchased (a better deal in the link below), the Sharpie is not needed. 
Amazon Links to Supplies:

               
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, July 6, 2016

Summer Vacation in My Moleskine Journal - Part 2


6-20-2016
I listed the points of our journey on the left side of the page. I tried to get the idea of heat from the colors and sun ray shapes. On the right side I drew a little map of our stops and filled the center with shapes of rock art we saw at the Edge of the Cedars museum and excavation. It was a great little find and well worth the $5 entry fee. Here is Keith, a momentary installation in the sculpture garden there.


It was soooo very hot our eyeballs almost blew out! Seriously, after a walk to a viewpoint in the Natural Bridges National Monument, we each had a blood vessel pop in the white of our left eyes. 107 degrees = non-hiking weather! A big driving day, and being in the air conditioned car was a relief.

A climb down a branch ladder into a kiva excavation at The Edge of the Cedars showed us how people lived. It was cool and livable down in the meeting area under the ground.  We also visited the Gooseneck State Park. It was interesting, but in the heat, not that impressive.



Lesson - The Power of a Symbol

The lesson today that impressed me was how powerful symbols are to us humans. In the rock art, symbols are preserved from hundreds of years ago. Some of the meaning is a mystery to us now, but others communicate what the life and culture was like for the ancient people that lived in the area. Even doodling on dishware was preserved, and is valued. Who knows what will be valued from our culture in hundreds of years and what it will communicate?

In looking at the petroglyphs I noticed the same symbol could have different meanings to different people. For example, a spiral shape meant water to one tribe, and to another tribe it meant migration. I think this is good to remember, that different symbols we use can have different meanings, therefore we should not be quick to judge someone else's use of a symbol.


Another evidence of the power of a symbol is that we drove 120 miles out of our way to stand on and take a photo of a symbol, the only place in the united states where for states come together: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. We stood in line at Four Corners to take a photo over a metal plaque that was so hot it could've fried an egg. The marker with two words in each state section says: "Four states here meet in freedom under God."




Words and symbols = significant!


SUPPLIES USED:
  • Moleskine Journal - 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" watercolor journal
  • Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box, by Sakura (It comes with one Medium/small tip waterbrush)
  • Yasutomo Niji Waterbrush, Small
  • Prismacolor pencil sharpener
  • Kneaded eraser
  • White eraser (The one in the link below is not the one in the photo, but I have used it and it works well)
  • 2 HB pencils
  • Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens: size XS, S and C (Calligraphy) Note: I did have a Sharpie no-bleed pen on hand, but if the Faber-Castell Pitt fineliner pen set is purchased (a better deal in the link below), the Sharpie is not needed. 
Amazon Links to Supplies:

               
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.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer Vacation in My Moleskine Journal


I'm always experimenting with ways to travel journal, seeing the creative process reflecting the journey into the unknown of traveling. This past month, I've been experimenting with two types of journal. The first, a pocket Moleskine watercolor journal, is more familiar to me. I packed my 3.5" x 5.5" Moleskine, travel watercolor kit, pencil, sharpener, eraser, pens, brushes, paper towel, all fitting into a gallon Ziploc bag. Actually, I took more than that in the bag, but these are all I used, so next time, I'll know what I really need. The supplies are listed and linked at the end of this post. Here's a photo of the supplies I used in addition to the Moleskine journal:


The photo below marks the beginning of our Canyon Tour in Utah. I like to make some kind of title page for each place we stop. We flew into Salt Lake City after visiting family in Texas. Below, I summarized our journey to Utah and included a photo of my husband next to the car we rented for the adventure.


Our first stop on the U.S. National Park tour was Arches, in Moab. We arrived in time to check into our hotel, eat an early dinner and visit the park just before twilight. It is a wonderful time to see the park. It isn't as crowded, and it's a little cooler that other times of the day, and the light is beautiful for taking photos. 

In the journal, I lettered "Arches" with the Faber-Castell Calligraphy pen and wrote thoughts underneath, leaving room for the photos I sized, printed, cut, and glued in with an acid free glue stick after we were home. All the photos you see in the book were added after we got back home. 


Lessons from Nature

Sometimes I choose a specific writing theme to weave throughout the journal. When we went to Hawaii, we each made a Haiku poem each day and included it in the journal. Keith is a very good sport to do these things with me, don't you think? This time, seeing so much majesty and different places, I looked for a lesson from nature at each place we visited, and wrote it in the journal. 


Here is my entry of the lesson learned from our experience the second day at Arches:

6-18-2016
"Today it occurred to me that we are on a spiritual journey as well as a physical one. We wanted to see the famous Delicate Arch. In order to see it up close and personal, we had to go on a somewhat strenuous 3-mile hike. We got up early and were on the trail around 7:30 am, ahead of the tour buses and before the heat of the day. I was a bit concerned I couldn't do it with my feet, but I did and am so glad. It was empowering. Experiencing the climb and arriving at the arch was worth it. It struck me, as we were hiking, how it reflects seeking God: it begins with an invitation, reading about it, counting the cost, then choosing to make the effort, taking the time, stepping out, and walking through the process until the goal is reached. This thought was confirmed when we saw the arch from two other vantage points shortly after the hike. From the short walk from a parking lot, the arch looked small and unimpressive. Beyond that view was a trail that led to a closer view. The hike was longer and steeper than we thought, but not near the 3-miles we had just hiked. The view was better than the one close to the parking lot, but again, not even close to the awe of the view on the 3-mile hike."

Here below is a photo close to "Windows" in Arches taken on our first evening there. I drew and painted the Delicate Arch image from a photo I took after we arrived at the arch.


One thing we noticed throughout the canyonlands are cairns, which are small stacks of stone that mark the pathway of a trail. It reminded me that we all have something to leave behind. I want what I do in life to be like a cairn, marking the way on the path of life.


The day after we were at Arches, we visited the nearby and vast Canyonlands. 
Sometimes instead of writing and drawing, the Title page of a place is a photo of one or both of us at the sign at the entrance of the national park. 


The lesson I learned at Canyonlands was opposite of the one I learned at Arches.

Here's my entry:

6-19-2016
"Today I learned the opposite of what I learned yesterday. Both are true. My favorite part of today was the first stop after the visitors center - Shafer Overlook. It was hardly mentioned on the map. It was an easy walk to breathtaking views. The joy, the wonder and awe came as a surprise - almost effortless, exactly opposite of yesterday's effort climbing to Delicate Arch. 
   Throughout the Canonlands, many spectacular viewpoints have been made accessible, even by wheelchair. At the same time, there are numerous trails for the extrememely fit and experienced explorer, something for everyone. 
   We drove the park and hiked short distances to major overlooks. The canyons are so vast, it was hard to grasp, at least 6000 feet above sea level, often 1500 feet above the canyon floor. The photos are nothing compared to being there. In the spiritual sense, it reminds me I cannot fully grasp the majesty of God, not even close. God is beyond me, yet all around me, and in me. God invites me to follow the hard road, but also surprises me with effortless joy and wonder."

I am filled with gratitude!

SUPPLIES USED:
  • Moleskine Journal - 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" watercolor journal
  • Koi Water Colors Pocket Field Sketch Box, by Sakura (It comes with one Medium/small tip waterbrush)
  • Yasutomo Niji Waterbrush, Small
  • Prismacolor pencil sharpener
  • Kneaded eraser
  • White eraser (The one in the link below is not the one in the photo, but I have used it and it works well)
  • 2 HB pencils
  • Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens: size XS, S and C (Calligraphy) Note: I did have a Sharpie no-bleed pen on hand, but if the Faber-Castell Pitt fineliner pen set is purchased (a better deal in the link below), the Sharpie is not needed. 
Amazon Links to Supplies:

              
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.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

From Coloring Page to Personalized Cards


I wanted to make some personalized cards, so I decided to use one of my coloring page drawings from the just released NEW coloring book: Colorful Blessings ~ Celebrating Everyday Wonders (see link below). 

I am quite pleased with the results. It was easy to do and easily personalized. You may want to give it a try, giving your own personal message to someone you love. 

Here are the steps to make the cards:
1. Tear out the coloring page from Colorful Blessings ~ Celebrating Everyday Wonders coloring book.
2. Color the houses with colored pencils in the color of your choice. Note, I didn't color the leaves because I was going to cut the houses out and draw trees etc. on the actual cards. 



3. Cut out the houses.



4. Using a few sheets of white card stock paper, cut paper in half and/or in fourths, and fold in half to make cards. 

5. Cut any other shapes from found papers such as the hearts I cut out here from painted tissue paper.


6. Glue houses onto card stock. Glue Hearts or other shapes you've cut.

7. Add your own lines, doodles and text with black drawing pen. It may be helpful to lightly draw and write first with pencil. Trace over it with pen. Let it dry thoroughly, and erase the pencil lines.

8. Bless someone's day be writing in the card and sending it to that special someone.


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

SUPPLIES USED:
Colorful Blessings ~ Celebrating Everyday Wonders Coloring Book
Regular White Card Stock
Scissors
Colored Pencils
Glue Stick
Black drawing pens such as Micron
Pencil and white eraser
Envelopes (optional)

         
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, June 8, 2016

YOU are an Artist!

This week I was invited to speak at a school chapel. It is not often I speak to children, but I got excited and knew what I wanted to talk about: How to stay an artist when you grow up, and for those older attending: rekindling the artist within.  Here's a bit of what I shared. It began with some questions:

Have you ever made a drawing or painting or sculpture? 
Have you ever written a story or a poem?  
Have you ever sang a song, or danced, or acted, or made a video? 
Have you ever thought of a new idea?

YOU ARE AN ARTIST!

Pablo Picasso said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

The definition of an artist on Google is:
  • A person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby.
  • A person who practices any of the various creative arts, such as a sculptor, novelist, poet, or filmmaker.
  • A person skilled at a particular task or occupation. “A surgeon is an artist with a knife.”
Other words for artist are: designer, originator, creator.

Photograph by Heidi Helser

God made you an artist. How do I know? God is the great Creator, and says in the Bible, Genesis 1:26-27 NLT

“God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us… So God created human beings in his own image….male and female he created them.”


We are made creative in God’s image! God, our Great Creator has created such variety and amazing beauty all around us. Look at the birds. Each particular type of bird builds the same type of nests according to their instincts, but we have creative choices of how to design and build a house. God invites each of us to co-create with Him.


The enemy wants to rob us of our creativity. He cannot create, but only destroys and twists the beauty already created. He lies and says, “You aren’t creative.” “Don’t waste your time and energy on making things.” “You aren’t good enough.” “You can’t draw.” “That’s just for children.” Lies!

If we believe the lies, we eventually stop noticing the wonder of God’s creation and beauty around us. We lose our sense of wonder of creation and awe of God. We can justify it as "growing up."

But then once in awhile there comes this longing of the heart, this little niggling that dares to say, “There must be more…” “Oh God, is there more to life?” God invites us to become like a child again, to discover, to be full of wonder, to experience the "more."

When I was a young mom, my children kindled my sense of wonder. Each time they discovered something new, I entered into that discovery with them, through the eyes of a child, like the first time, with awe and wonder. 

A child is constantly engaging the imagination. Last time my grandson came to the door for a visit, he was a train. I was greeted with "Choo, choo." Smiles and hugs.


In Mark 10:14-16 The Message Bible, Jesus tells his disciples, “These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.” When I imagine myself in the scene as a child, I see how Jesus loves. I can experience Jesus love.


In becoming like a child again, the ordinary is transformed into the extraordinary. I notice the beauty of light as it plays on my morning cup of coffee. I feel joy as the birds are singing. I wonder at the stars in the sky. I am amazed at the growth of a seed into an edible plant or colorful flower. A walk on the beach is like heaven...


Here in the United States, school is just getting out for the summer. 

May this season hold blessing for you, blessing of becoming like a child, with permission to PLAY...