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 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 – 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 – Changing My Tune

Well, this is my first full week back at work! Gone are the days of living the charmed vacation life. Rather than having an abundance of free time for my creative projects, I’m back to finding the balance. As I approached this day, I worried about how things would change. Would I still be able to regularly engage my creative side? I can be quite the worrier at times! So as I often do in such situations (see my previous post on being confident!), I turned to my journal. This page is called “Changing My Tune.”

Art Journal Page - Changing My Tune

Art Journal Page – “Changing My Tune”
Supplies: crayon, Babybel cheese netting, Stabilo pens, Gelly Roll pens, washi tape, marker

I went with the musical theme on this one–even though I haven’t played the guitar in years! The idea of this was more about changing the direction in which my mind wanders. Rather than focusing on the past and factors I can’t change, I want to work on framing things more positively. Another note I added was to not say the words, but also follow through on them. It’s one thing to say you’re going to think positively, but it’s another thing to actually act upon it.

It’s been a long, slippery road and I know the challenges won’t end, but making these affirmations in my journal definitely help. I’ve definitely committed to living the life I love in 2015 and if I hold strong, I know I’ll be able to find that balance.

One of the things I want to work on this year in my journal is adding more depth and texture to my pages. For the first time, I tried using the netting from Babybel cheese bundles as a stencil. I laid the netting down over my page and simply colored between the holes using a crayon. It was an easy way to add a little something extra and I think I liked the way it turned out. I think I’m going to work with this technique a little bit more and see what other things I can do.

Artfully Megan Signature

Are you returning to work today as well? How do you plan to find the balance?