Nala’s Adoption Story

I believe reflection through journaling helps you become more attuned to the things that change your life. Everything, no matter how big or small, has an impact. One thing that has definitely influenced my life is when I adopted my cat, Nala, three years ago this week.

Cat Journal Page

Art Journal Page – “Crazy Cat Lady”
Supplies: watercolor, crayon, collage, gel pen, marker

 

I became a full-fledged transplant in the summer of 2011, leaving my hometown in South Jersey to live the dream in corporate America. There was a lot of excitement around this new life, but it was (and continues to be, in some ways) very lonely. A few of my co-workers and long distance friends recommended getting a cat. As someone who’s only raised goldfish, this was completely foreign territory!

I eased into it slowly and soon the extensive research progressed into compulsively visiting the animal shelter website. Every day I would check to see what new friends they had and one day I found myself inside the shelter. It was supposed to be an exploratory visit—a “look, but don’t take home” kind of visit until…

“Can I help you?” asked a shelter employee.

“No, just looking,” I replied. “I’ve been thinking about getting a cat.”

“Oh, well we have plenty! Just look around and if you have any questions, let me know. If you find one you like, we can help you meet with them.”

“Thank you! I haven’t had a pet before, so this is all new,” I admitted as I began to browse the cattery. I cheerfully peered into each cubby, every step pushing me closer to pet ownership.

Nala the Cat

I selected three cats to meet with separately. The first was a (very) large, playful white cat named Snowball and the second was a serene, blue-eyed tuxedo named Mr. Teddy. Adorable as they were, I wasn’t convinced the fit was right. And then there was Nala, a 1-2 year-old brown tabby recently surrendered to the shelter.

She caught my attention when I approached her cubby. She meowed, reached out her paw, and purred. She was friendly and affectionate as I cradled her in my arms. When I set her down, she poked around the room, stopping to warmly rub her head against my hand. I hadn’t planned on taking a cat home that day, but I’d fallen in love and it was far too late.

The next few months were definitely an adjustment for both of us. I became familiar with feeding, hairballs, and other fine aspects of cat ownership. She adapted to my constant cuddles and attention. The decision I was extremely nervous about became the decision that couldn’t have been more right.

Nala the Cat

Suddenly my days became less lonely and I felt a little more grounded. We had our home together and we were friends. Our relationship has been the subject of many art journal pages and my daily journal is filled with the crazy cat stuff she’s done. I can’t imagine my life without her and I truly consider it changed for the better.

Artfully Megan Signature

Have you adopted a pet? What was your story and how has it changed you?

Art and Life: An Unbreakable Link

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve slowly started sharing with the people in my life that I blog. I’m finding that it’s difficult even though most of these people already know that I’m into art. I think the difficulty stems from the fact that I keep most aspects of my life heavily guarded and private (it was hard enough to share my lifelong resolution), but to me, art and life are joined by an unbreakable link.

Art Journal Page - Creativity Takes Courage

Art Journal Tile – “Creativity Takes Courage” (Henri Matisse)
Supplies: rubber cement, watercolor, black pen, gel pen

Admitting that I keep an art blog is intimidating because art can be a place to be vulnerable. It’s a place where I put myself out there. It’s a place where I can freely experiment without judgment or consequence. It’s a place where raw emotion meets a tangible surface in a beautiful, expressive collision. For me, it’s not only a place where I learn and discover new techniques–it’s a place where I learn about and discover myself.

Creativity certainly takes courage–not just the courage to make, but also the courage to share. When I look at my story and why I chose to start blogging in the first place, it gives me the courage to continue. Letting the creativity back in has transformed my life and I’m hoping to make a connection with those that feel the same way.

Do you find it hard to share your artwork and/or blog with others? 

Artfully Megan Signature

Art Journal Page – Martin Luther King Jr.

I’ve been crazy busy lately, but I did want to take the time today to make an art journal page for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I included one of my favorite quotes: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Each day the world feels more fragmented and there’s a lot of fighting over what makes us different. With so much focus on the differences it’s hard to remember the humanness that makes us all the same, so I always appreciate these positive messages of love and hope.

Art Journal Page - Martin Luther King Jr.

Art Journal Page – Martin Luther King Jr.
Supplies: watercolor, rubber stamps & ink, gel pen, washi tape, pen, chalk

I’m not usually into the “grungy” backgrounds (I usually make them too dark. I have to work on it!), but I got some new art supplies over the holidays that I wanted to try out. The background was done with watercolor pencil and I used ink pads stamped directly onto the paper. After that, I used a rubber stamp with text. I’ve really just started discovering stamping and I think it’s going to be an interesting technique to explore. The embellishments were done with black pen and gel pen, while the white highlights were done with chalk.

Artfully Megan Signature

 

Do you have a favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quote? Why is it your favorite?

Art Journal Page – Waiting to Bloom

Has it been really, really cold for anyone else the past couple of days? Don’t get me wrong–I love the way fresh snowfall looks. It shimmers and sparkles against a serene winter backdrop. It’s beautiful enough that sometimes I just stand there in awe of it all…until the cold hits. Oh, the cold! The past couple of days had me dreaming of a warmer spring, which inspired my latest art journal page – “Waiting to Bloom.”

Art Journal Page - Waiting to Bloom

Art Journal Page – “Waiting to Bloom”
Supplies: paper (collage), gel pen, washi tape, marker

 

Since I liked my last black paper project, I thought I’d give it a go in my art journal. I did some collaging with floral paper and plain notebook paper. I like incorporating lined paper just because I have so much of it. I think it’s a great way to recycle sections I haven’t used and it helps keep my words organized when I create pages with more writing. I found the floral paper in a catalog and added some of my own embellishments with marker and gel pen. Since washi tape is semi-transparent, I tried layering them so that one pattern could be seen underneath the other pattern. It was an interesting look and I think I’ll be playing around with that more.

One new thing that I tried here was glue dots, which I used to stick the notebook paper to the black paper. I think they achieved their ultimate purpose of joining the two surfaces, but I think it would be better for non-paper materials. The paper didn’t lie as flat as I wanted it to, but I did like the almost crinkled look on the lined paper. Does anyone else use these? I’d really be interested in hearing how you use them in your art!

Artfully Megan Signature

Is it cold where you are? Are you dreaming of spring, or just enjoying the snowflakes?

Review – Pentel EnerGel Pens

Journaling is one of those things I try to do on a regular basis. Much like showering, praying, or snuggling with my cat, it just doesn’t feel right unless I journal every day. It’s especially important to me when I’m the most tired, frustrated, or creatively stuck. Those are the times I usually need it the most and nothing helps me get through it like a good pen. One of my current favorites are the Pentel EnerGel pens.

Pentel EnerGel pens review

Why I like them:

The EnerGel pens are among the smoothest I’ve tried. They don’t skip and the ink applies evenly and dries fast. The fast-drying ink is advertised as being particularly good for lefties. Even though I’m not a lefty, I can certainly say that the ink rarely smudges when I use them.

Another thing I like is that there’s a decent variety of colors. EnerGel pens come in the standard black and blue, but also green, red, purple, and pink.

There are two different choices of points: 0.5mm and 0.7mm. I have both sizes, but I prefer the 0.5mm variety because my handwriting is small and thin. I’ve also used the 0.5mm for Zentangle-type activities and I like how clean and crisp thinner lines look.

I like the general design of the pen. They look sleek and because the pen is the same color as the ink inside, it’s very easy to tell which color you’re about to use. Though I think the grip is comfortable and my hand doesn’t get sore after a lot of writing, I think it could be a little bit softer.

I’m not sure if it’s because of how frequently I use these pens or if they just don’t hold a lot of ink, but I do find that I go through them very quickly. Luckily, the EnerGel pens seem to be widely available. I’ve seen them at office supply stores, supermarkets, and drugstores.

Artfully Megan Signature

Do you journal regularly? If so, what are your favorite pens to use?

I was not given this product for compensation or review. The product was purchased by me and the opinions supplied are my own.