I Miss Journaling Circles!

I think many of us can agree that moving to a new place is scary. It’s not just adjusting to a new place and learning where all of the essentials (i.e. – grocery store, police department, post office, best pizza place…) are. It’s also about meeting new people and keeping in touch with those you left behind. Even though I’ve been living in Pennsylvania for almost 4 years now, certain aspects of my current lifestyle and the natural drifting apart make it hard to have the social life I wish I had.

It was this feeling that necessitated a change that drove me to join meetup.com, a site where people with similar interests can coordinate gatherings with one another. I tried a few here and there and since I knew I was into the arts (though not actively practicing at that time), I went to my first Journaling Circles meetup in 2012.

Art Journal Page - Garden of Secrets

Art Journal Page from Journaling Circles – “Garden of Secrets”
Supplies: marker, gel pen, chip from old artwork

 

I can’t begin to express the impact it’s made on my life. The first way it’s changed me is that it’s helped me to release some of my inhibitions. Something I know I need to let go of is the need to always please others and be “perfect.” There’s a certain freedom that comes with going into a restaurant, pulling out your art supplies, and just going to town. It’s helped me understand the importance of “play” and experimentation in making art. It’s something purely for me and my own happiness and growth.

I’ve also had the opportunity to meet other artists, which really helped to fulfill a social need–even if we met just once a month. There’s something special about meeting up with those that share your passion. I was exposed to different ideas, techniques, art supplies, and ways of seeing the world.

Sharing our journaling pages like we do at the end of every session was a tremendous help to me, too. I’m typically one to keep things bottled, mostly because I think no one’s interested and I find other people much more fascinating. But the more I came to Journaling Circles, the more I learned that everyone has a story to tell and knows things worth sharing–including me. It’s something that I still remind myself regularly, but opening up a little bit more about my own life and experiences has become a lot easier compared to when I first started attending.

Lastly (and potentially the most important), through Journaling Circles I learned to let my passion guide me. When art is such a deep part of you, you cannot and should not deny it. Being in a positive, encouraging, and creative environment has really helped me to focus on nurturing my inner artist and letting it be as big a part of my life as possible. I’m creating more artwork than I ever have before and rather than hiding the majority of it, I’ve shared many pieces on social media and with friends and family. It drove me to start this blog, which I hope to grow into something wonderful someday.

This is the first Monday of the month I won’t be attending Journaling Circles. The facilitator, Rosemary Augustine, will be moving out of state and embarking upon a grant new adventure. I wish her all the best and wanted to let her know how much I’ve enjoyed being part of the group. I know it’s not good-bye for any of us, but I’m forever thankful to everyone I’ve met through Journaling Circles for the inspiration and support!

Artfully Megan Signature

Art Journaling Magic – Recap!

I’ve picked up a lot of tricks from my high school art classes and the sculpture class I took in college, but until recently mixed media had been largely unexplored. Mixed media increasingly appeals to me as I grow in my art journaling practice. There’s something both beautiful and magical about the way the layers and textures come together into one cohesive piece. So it seemed like destiny when Art Journaling Magic, taught by Rosemary Augustine, was offered on a day that I was available.

Art Journaling Magic Page

This piece was created by layering gesso over mixed media paper and creating an initial background of acrylic paint. I then used matte medium to collage magazine images and stamped tissue paper in layers. Texture and depth elements were added in the form of stencils and punchinella. I finished it off with some pen embellishments and 3D stickers.

Around the time of the class, I watched an episode of American Experience highlighting the life and career of Dorothea Lange. One of the things she was quoted as saying resounded in my mind as I worked through the process:

“Beauty appears when one feels deeply. Art is an act of total attention.”

– Dorothea Lange

I think it’s so true and that’s one of the things I like the best about mixed media. There are so many individual elements, each added for a special reason or for no reason at all, all coming together to create a whole. I think it’s remarkable whenever I see mixed media pieces in person. It’s easy to get lost in every daub of paint and every altered image. It’s also easy to lose yourself making your own pieces.

Since I’ve taken the class, I’ve used the techniques I learned to create front and back covers for my next daily journal and a birthday card.

I do plan on continuing to use these techniques and build upon them on my future projects. And remember that blank canvas? I’ve already started drafting studies to get it filled!

Artfully Megan Signature

Are you a mixed media artist? What aspects of it do you enjoy the most?

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?