Monthly Archives: July 2013

Art Journal Pages: Taking Flying Leaps

Flying Leap

The signature  of artists is not in what they do but in how intense their motivation is to manifest the extraordinary. – Caroline Myss

This art journal page is about taking flying leaps, leaps of faith. I’ve come to see that life requires us to continue taking both large and a small leaps into the abyss. We are constantly asked to feel the fear and do it anyway. In fact, just the act of being born or giving birth is taking a flying leap. We enter the world as newborns embarking on a journey of self-discovery facing challenges every day and never certain of the outcomes. We give birth in the same way, full of faith that we will be able to go the distance and to love and nurture our creations.  From somewhere inside, we get the strength to keep open while life happens. We  continue trying to  love, to continue learning, to keep forgiving, and getting up after falling down. We continue navigating through the dark, trying to make meaning of this mystery.

I added this quote by Terry Tempest Williams from her lovely memoir, When Women Were Birds. This book is now on my list of must reads for women. Her words ring clear and true,

When women were birds, we knew otherwise. We knew our greatest freedom was in taking flight at night, when we could steal heavenly darkness for ourselves, navigating through the intelligence of stars and the constellations  of our own making in the delight and terror or our uncertainty – Terry Tempest Williams.

Bird song

I need to find my voice when I feel I’m getting stuck in a dark place, so I wrote on this page: “Lately I’ve been sad and a bit discouraged, but now I’m in my art journal where I can be free.”

This piece started in that place and led me to a space of joy. I love the apples and the green paint. The wolf stamped onto the green paper reminds me to follow my instincts and the birds with their open beaks ask me to continue to express myself creatively and to tell my truth.

Making art and telling our stories are ways to discover what we think, how we feel, and enhance our intuition.


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Today’s Art Journal Post: The Gatekeeper and Bird on a Teapot


I call this art journal page “The Gatekeeper.” Over the years I’ve become fascinated with the idea of the stages of the hero’s journey as described in the numerous works of Joseph Campbell and other teachers such as, Caroline Myss, Clarrisa Pinkola Estes, and many others who draw insight and inspiration from the wisdom of mythology.

I’ve come to believe that Campbell’s description of the hero’s journey is applicable to  both women and men and offers insight into the passages we move through toward self-realization or discovering our life’s purpose.  In the Hero with a Thousand Faces, these phases are separation, initiation, and return.

Once we accept the call to fulfill our highest potential, we enter a world of danger as well as the promise of initiation into higher knowledge.  But there is always a Gatekeeper, often a terrifying demon or shape shifter who tests the mettle of the candidate, who must pass tests before being allowed to proceed to the next level of the hero’s journey. In this collage, I chose a feminine figure to represent the Gatekeeper.

Art journal page - mixed media

Art journal page – mixed media

“Bird on a Teapot” represents the power of voice and speaking our truth. I imagine this bird as the part of me that needs to speak freely before being able to take flight. It represents the fifth chakra of the physical body’s subtle energy system. 

In this collage, the bird signifies the willingness to speak the truth in spite of consequences, to use speech as a vehicle to uplift, inspire, educate, sing, and bring beauty into the world. 

The heroine must become a spiritual warrior. … She must not discard nor give up what she has learned throughout her heroic quest, but learn to view her hard-earned skills and success not so much as a goal but as one part of the entire journey. She will begin to use these skills to work toward the larger quest of bringing people together, rather than her own individual gain. This is the sacred marriage of the feminine and masculine–when a woman can truly serve not only the needs of others but can value and be responsive to her own needs as well.

Maureen Murdock

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New Art Journal Page

New art journal page - mixed media collage and paint

New art journal page – mixed media collage and paint

This is a productive time for me. After leaving my job of six years, it is time to go even more deeply into my journey of self-discovery. Working and playing in my art journals is helping me to stay connected with “my bliss.” When I feel afraid of life’s challenges, art helps me to reconnect with  what truly matters. I’ve been reading Women Who Run With Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Her stories of women inspire me to stay on my path of self-discovery through art. She says,

“A woman must be willing to burn hot, burn with passion, burn with words, with ideas, with desire for whatever it is that she truly loves. One will arrange that one’s creative life has consistent fire under it.”

I also love this quote from Joseph Campbell who is one of the greatest world teachers. These words never fails to inspire me,

“The way to find out about happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what is called following your bliss.”

Peace and inspiration everyone!

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My Mixed Media Art Journal Workshop Is in Process

Woamn with a Jar



A Self Discovery Workshop for Women through the Mixed-Media Art Journal

What is your story?

Women among women:  Telling our stories to ourselves and others. As creatives and creators, we as women give birth to form, function, and beauty. Living a soulful life involves accessing and expressing our deepest selves and sharing our wisdom with others.

Art journaling is a meditative process that goes much deeper than simply producing a piece of art. It is a step into the mystery that is ourselves. It is indeed a process that allows us access to our authentic selves. The beauty of the process (and the result) is that everyone is able to partake and everyone is able to create a beautiful journal.

All aspects of our unique self-expression are welcome in a safe and nurturing space, in which we come together to simply be ourselves. As women among women, we support and inspire one another on our paths toward healing and wholeness through inner self-discovery.

Thus we join together to:

  • Understand our personal narratives

  • Create unique mixed-media journals through which to tell our stories

  • Explore and identify our personal archetypes

  • Support and inspire one another on a path toward healing and wholeness

  • Have fun learning to use writing, paint, ink, fabric, stamps, ephemera, and all manner of stuff to make art

  • Share who we are in a sacred circle

“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.”― Clarissa Pinkola EstésWomen Who Run With The Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman

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My Muse Blue

My Muse Blue

My Muse Blue

Women, poets, and especially artists, like cats: delicate natures only can realize their sensitive nervous systems.
Helen M. Winslow

This is Blue. He loves art and cannot help himself from wanting to get into the mix of things when I’m involved at my art table. He loves sitting on easels and standing on stacks of collage magazines, or pushing pencils and erasures onto the floor. This can drive me nuts, but he has so many good points. I think artists in general like cats and find them soothing, entertaining, and mysterious companions.

I think Blue would love to be a cat who paints, but I haven’t given him the chance. He is a big and patient boy. He is mellow and undemanding. He is very cuddly and good in bed. He likes to spoon. He doesn’t judge me for loving sleep and wanting to sleep in the afternoon – for being a night owl.


I’m certain Blue admires my creative endeavors. He isn’t the least bit critical of my art. In fact he considers me fascinating and never tires of the scraps of paper, the pencils, the markers, and especially the water in jars that I bring to the table. As far as he is concerned I’m Frida Kahlo or Georgia O’Keeffe. I adore him for that.

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The Art Journal Is a Personal Diary

The Soulful Art Journal

For me, the art journal is a sacred space. It is full with emptiness asking us to make it whole. It beckons us like the blank canvas of the painter. In spite of our excitement to begin a journal or journal page, we often feel somewhat intimidated.  The proverbial inner critic begins to rant that we have nothing to say so why bother picking up a pen, that we have no artistic ability, so why bother with the paint, and on and on. This can stop us dead in our tracks. Or, we can simply start something, anything. We can make a mark, write a word, and see where it takes us. We can surrender to the moment and tell the critic, “Okay, I recognize you. You’re the one who stops me from being who I really am. You’re like my Aunt Sally who told me I would never be able to drive a school bus because I’m a girl and I never should have listened to her. And, I simply don’t have time for your nonsense, It’s time for me to get on with MY life, my art, my journey where ever it takes me.”

Mixed media art journal page

Mixed media art journal page

And, if we allow ourselves to open to the unknown forms, ideas, and insights that reside within us, to trust that our creativity springs forth from an eternal source, we enter into a dialogue with our ourselves. That dialogue takes us to our sacred space, to our deepest parts. For me, There is nothing more satisfying then this soulful journey of self-discovery.

The Mixed Media Art Journal 

My journals are usually of the mixed media kind. They are made with sturdy quality water color paper and accept paint and ink, fabric, and ephemera. This kind of journal makes it easy to experiment and play with many materials and media.  Somehow working in an art journal feels less risky than working on a canvas or a single piece of paper. I’m more able to let go of expectations – after all, it’s just a little journal – and allow myself to simply play and enjoy the process. An art journal is where I’m free to have a personal dialogue with myself – no one has to see it or read my words unless I decide to share. It allows me to experiment with ideas and different media – so what if I make bad art or no art at all, that is not my purpose. Most of all, spending time with my art journal is like being with a friend who helps me heal and work through my demons and sometimes come out the other side.

Mixed media art journal page

Mixed media art journal page

It’s possible I may feel that serotonin rush when a color or a line feels right or the words make sense out of senselessness. I may even feel in synchronicity with my muse, the creative spirit that gives my life meaning.


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