Art Journal Page – Seasons of Life

While snowed in last week, I watched Frida, a biographical movie about Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. I’m not thoroughly familiar with her work, but I’ve liked everything I’ve seen and I enjoyed learning about her life. I really like her style and the personal nature of her work. She’s been quoted as saying: “I am my own muse; I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” Her words struck me because it’s a lot like what I try to achieve each time I sit down with my art journal. This art journal page is a result of some of that self-examination.

Art Journal Page - Seasons of Life

Art Journal Page – Seasons of Life
Supplies: watercolors, markers, pens, gel pens, colored pencil

A few years ago, I started listening to motivational podcasts. Many of the podcasts focused on the idea of asking for what you want—a concept so obvious, but so foreign. I wanted to give it a try so I asked. And I asked. And I asked! Doors closed and doors opened, but things were still changing very slowly or not at all. This year I suddenly find myself receiving many of the things I had been asking for all of these years. Am I ready for it? Do I even want it anymore? Maybe I’m just surprised that it’s actually happening… I certainly have a lot to journal about these days!

I started this page with an ink and colored pencil drawing. Then I laid down a background of watercolor and markers. I spruced up both backgrounds with patterns done in gel pen (check out my review on Gelly Roll Souffle gel pens—they work great on dark colors!) and fine point colored pen. The text I chose is from “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, a song I’ve always liked and continually feel is appropriate. I’m not yet comfortable with decorative writing, so I based the way I wrote it on a computer font. I added a drop shadow with grey pen to help it stand out a bit more.

Artfully Megan Signature

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by getting something you really wanted? How has art helped you to cope with changes?

Art Journal Page – Lifelong Resolution

Since my vision of 2015 is still fresh in my mind, I thought I’d take the time to blog about another goal I have. It’s a lifelong resolution and very personal to me: weight loss. Every year, millions around the globe commit to losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. I know that I’m not alone in my fight and it’s because of this I want to share my experience, along with my latest art journal page.

Art Journal Page - Believe in Yourself

Art Journal Page – “Lifelong Resolution”
Supplies: watercolor, stencils, colored pencils, marker, gel pen, washi tape, black pen

I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. I experienced the teasing, mocking, and name-calling. I must have heard every variation of “If you lost weight, you’d be pretty…” and I’ve been passed over countless times because I don’t look a certain way. Whether meant as humor, “motivation,” or true injury, it became the phantom that haunted my life.

I think some people in this situation channel their hurt into becoming comedians or just plain angry. I became withdrawn. Every person I met was a new opportunity for judgment and pain. Every person I grew close to was another change for betrayal. I was protected as long as I didn’t open up my mouth or my mind.

This was my M.O. for many years until I realized that in the “real world,” shutting myself in wasn’t going to cut it. I had career goals and personal aspirations that I could not achieve if I kept quiet. My insecurity and lack of confidence were becoming increasingly apparent. I spent some time trying to sort it out on my own, but it never felt quite right. Things really didn’t start coming together until 2013, when I finally decided to take control.

Artfully Megan Before and After

Left: 2013 on one of my many adventures!
Right: 2014 after completing the Dirty Girl mud run for breast cancer

Over the next several months I lost more than 60 pounds with the help of talk therapy, exercise routines, and an improved relationship with food. Surprisingly, what started out as something very outwardly focused took a backseat to the internal change. Those months taught me that I was strong and had ideas worth sharing. I started running (sometimes outside!) and going to the gym (while other people were there!).

Though 2013 gave me a glimpse of a promising future, 2014 marked the resurgence of old habits and feelings. My efforts plateaued, my routines felt stale, and my loneliness began to get the better of me. But I think part of life is learning when and how to pick yourself up again. So for 2015 I’ve recommitted to keeping healthy and functionally fit!

Artfully Megan Signature

Have you made any health goals for 2015? How do you keep motivated?

Art Journal Page – 2015 Vision Map

With 2014 in the rear view mirror and all of 2015 an open road, I began dreaming up plans for my next vision board. I’ve been creating vision boards for the past three years now and found them to be extremely helpful. It’s a lot easier for me to work towards my goals when I see them on a regular basis. Instinct tells me that 2015 is going to be my year, and what better way to navigate to success than with a map? This art journal page is my 2015 vision map.

Art Journal Page - 2015 Vision Map

Art Journal Page – “2015 Vision Map”
Supplies: colored pencil, marker, Gelly Roll pens

 

  1. See the world
    I travel frequently for work, but I would love more leisurely opportunities where I can fully take the time to be inspired. It doesn’t always need to be far away–I’m perfectly happy exploring places right in my own backyard.
  2. Fill my canvas
    There’s a blank canvas that’s been sitting unpainted in my living room for 3 years now. I think it’s time to start working on it!
  3. Be surrounded by people I love
    It’s difficult to stay connected and make friends when I feel like I’m always somewhere new. I’ve lived in this state for 3 years and still don’t feel rooted. I want to feel like I have a home.
  4. Give back
    I’ve volunteered frequently throughout my life. I’m not currently involved in any volunteer program, but I’d love to become active again. I want to use the talents and passions I have to give back and touch as many lives as possible.
  5. Grow my blog
    In many ways, this blog is my creative side’s lifeline. It chronicles what I’ve done and what I hope to do. The act of recording and sharing keeps me going because hopefully as I change myself, I’m helping others become inspired as well.

Of course, I can’t take credit for this 2015 map idea. I created this journal page earlier this week from a prompt at Journaling Circles, a meetup group facilitated by journal aficionado, Rosemary Augustine. I’ve been attending this group for a few years now and it’s really inspired me to nurture my creativity. I’m excited to revisit this post at the end of the year to see what kinds of things I’ve accomplished!

As a special note, I met the multi-talented Andria from Drawing Near at Journaling Circles. She made a beautiful altered page to document her goals. Check out her blog post on the meetup and see what kinds of fun we had!

Artfully Megan Signature

What are your plans for 2015 and how are you holding yourself accountable?

Top 3 Favorite Art Supplies of 2014

Another year is coming to a close and as I look forward to the future and what it might hold for me artistically, I’d like to step back a minute and review my top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014.

Top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014

1. Gelly Roll gel pens

If there’s one product I had to say I used the most in 2014, it would have to be these. The Gelly Roll pens come in a variety of different finishes, but my favorites this year have been the Souffle and more recently the Stardust varieties.

When you first start writing with the Souffle pens, you almost don’t see a thing. But as it dries you get the full color. These dry as opaque, creamy colors with a matte finish. They also dry somewhat raised, which looks a bit like embossing. I like to use the Souffle pens to draw or write against all backgrounds, light or dark. I think it really makes things pop and transforms a one-color background into something really special.

The sparkle of the holiday season might have influenced my decision to add the Stardust pens to the list, too, but I really feel like I used them in almost everything in the later half of 2014. The best way I know how to describe them is that they are clear ink with very fine glitter included. Even though they come in a variety of different colors, I like using the clear Stardust pen the most for a more subtle shimmer.

In addition to the Souffle and Stardust pens, I also heavily utilize the white pen to add contrast, especially against the darker backgrounds.

2.  Washi Tape

I wasn’t always into these just because I couldn’t justify the $5 price tag, but then I saw quite a few of them on sale at my local craft store and in the dollar bins at Target (who knew?!) and I was hooked.

They come in a lot of different colors and patterns so they’re very versatile. When I went shopping for holiday card supplies I picked up a ton of festive washi tape that I used in every card. In addition to using washi tape to decorate greeting cards, I also use it for added interest in some of my art journal pages. I’ve also used them in the past to decorate boxes for the cookies I like to bake and distribute to friends and family.

I love that–because they’re made out of paper–you can write on them. Sometimes I will use them in my daily journal as colorful dividers or as page tabs to create sections. I also like that unlike other tape, there’s something about it that makes it just sticky enough to stick to what you need it to, but not so much that you can never take it off again. This has come in handy on projects where I’ve changed my mind and I absolutely love that there’s virtually no residue.

3. Prismacolor Colored Pencils and Colorless Blender

My favorite subject when it comes to art is portraits. Even though I haven’t created too many this year, the ones I enjoyed the most were the ones I did with Prismacolor colored pencils. I got my first set of 50 when I was in high school and even though I have a new set, I still use the old ones to this day.

What I like the most about these is that they’re soft and very pigmented. You don’t need to press down all that hard to get a lot of color payoff. They’re fairly easy to blend together on their own, but I really like having that smooth, blended look so I almost always use their colorless blender when I’m drawing. I think it does a great job of meshing the colors together without really altering the colors themselves. In fact, sometimes it looks as though the colors become more vivid after using it. Like the colored pencils, it’s also soft and easy to work with.

So those were my top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014. I think I’ll definitely continue using them in 2015, but there’s a couple things on my radar that I’ve been wanting to try.

Artfully Megan Signature

What were your favorite art supplies of 2014? Are there any you’re looking forward to trying out in 2015?

I was not given any of these products for compensation or review. The products were purchased by me and the opinions supplied are my own.

No white paper?!

I can easily say that I’ve been an arts enthusiast for my whole life. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t surrounded by art supplies, even during those periods I wasn’t artistically active. That being said, it was definitely a shock to me that there was no white paper in sight when I got the hankering to draw.

But that wasn’t going to stop me and I guess that’s just part of being creative. What seems like a block ultimately becomes a creative challenge so instead of trying to reach for what was familiar, I pulled out my drawing pad of black paper. Once I got going it admittedly felt a little nostalgic. It felt like a throwback to my high school art classes where we were just starting to learn about negative space. Even though using black paper wasn’t part of my original plan, it did feel good to have somewhat of a brain teaser. Rather than laying down dark colors to create shadows and contrast, I had to figure out how to utilize the black background. In the past, I had only used white conté crayon, chalk, or pastel so this time I decided to try it with a little bit of color.

Fan Art of Luke Bryan

Fan Art of Luke Bryan. Colored pencil on black paper. (December 2014)
Supplies: Prismacolor colored pencils, Prismacolor colorless blender

It may be a little-known act that I’ve been really into country music lately–both new and old. So the subject of my drawing was country star, Luke Bryan. Coincidentally, he also won the American Country Countdown Award for Male Vocalist of the Year last night!

Artfully Megan Signature

Have you worked with black paper before? What are your favorite ways to use it?