Tag Archives: paint

Journal page update

Worked on this page again today. Still trying to figure out what to do in the top left corner…

An artist friend suggested a nose, though at first I was thinking the lack of one is symbolic of how depression makes you feel like you can’t breathe. I dunno. It still needs something. The right side definitely needs work too, but that’s looking like a total overhaul. This side just needs *something*…


I have to admit though, I worked my butt off on those stupid strings sewing her mouth shut. I must have redone them at least 5 times. They look a bit better in the photograph than in real life, but I’m still pretty proud of them. I had originally planned to glue actual thread on there, but wanted a more 3-d look to her lips, so I painted them in… I’m sure they look amature to more experienced artists, but they’re the best I’ve done so far. I’m happy with how they turned out.

More art

Progress on “flashbacks” & some other stuff…

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Last night’s art journal class & a moment of zen

I barely got out of bed yesterday. I got up to go to the bathroom and take care of the dogs…

In the early afternoon, I decided I need to take some sort of action to help me stabilize a bit. My friend then posted that there were still spots let in her journal class that night. I told her I was going. I didn’t really have the money for it, but I needed the distraction and to get out of bed (and the house). I’m really glad I went.

Not only was it great to see my friend, but I met some cool new people also. And the journal page came out really cool. I liked the concept so much (and I was bored waiting for the first one to dry) that I did one in both journals.

wpid-20150529_215618.jpgFirst we created an abstract background with tempera paint (the blocks, so it ended up looking like a grungier watercolor). It took a few layers, but they came out really cool. I might have to invest in some tempera blocks. Then we traced/drew some feather outlines on the page and painted around them with diluted gesso. I did the first page as she showed us (painting the whole page but the feathers). The second one I tweaked. One of the other ladies in class painted one half of her journal, then did the reverse (painted the feathers in) on the other half. Her’s came out really cool, so I tried a similar technique.

I showed TM both of them today, and upon seeing the smaller one, she commented how bright and happy the colors were… Then she looked closer and read the poem. She frowned a bit. She said it was surprising (or interesting? or striking? I can’t remember her exact word choice) that at first glance the page looked so happy & bright, but the words and additional images were so sad/dark/depressing. I hadn’t put it together in as many words at the time, but it was somewhat on purpose. It matches my presentation a lot of the time: I may look happy & bright and together at first glance, until you take a closer look. Then you see the darkness…

wpid-20150529_232604.jpgThe second page looks a bit more chaotic and grungy even at first glance, but the words are happier. They are lines/words from a song (“I won’t come down” & “fly”) I guess I liked the concept of having to look past initial impressions to get the true feel of the piece; contradictions in appearance and substance… Much like all of humanity. You can’t judge anything on appearance & first glances alone. There’s always more to it… (sorry, I don’t have an updated picture of the second one with the additional lyrics on it, but they are at the top, center of the spread).

I had a lot of fun doing them. I’m also ::gasp!:: pleased with how they turned out 😉

And finally, for a moment of zen; tonight’s sunset & moon: (yeah, so the sunset keeps getting more dramatic as it progresses… jumped up like 5 times for pics already. gonna miss this view a lot…)


Memory is a shifty thing

I have a slight obsession with skulls and human anatomy… I keep trying to draw it, but my memory of what it should look like is seldom accurate. I tend to be a bit stubborn about reference pics (more so lazy as sin about having to look for an adequate pic from which I can draw), so my sketches are off until I get frustrated with the result. Then I look up a reference pic and do better…


It got me thinking about memory. There’s an interesting TEDtalk by Elizabeth Loftus on the inherent errors in memory. She demonstrates how malleable and suggestive we can be around reporting events… So what makes me think that my memory is all that reliable about the past? I mean, yeah, there’s the flashbacks which may or may not be altered by perception and time, but what about the rest of it? We get so riled-up in emotion around things we remember, but how accurate are they really?

Just something to think about…

New art journal pages

After almost 2 weeks of nothing artistic happening, I worked on 2 pages. There’s been a lot going on that I am not comfortable expressing directly (though it needs addressing. Maybe with the next therapist?), but it’s finding its way into the art, even if no one knows it but me…

Safety MeasuresThis page was started while I was visiting L last weekend. I was stalled on the dog image transfer. Finally figured it out tonight. “Safety Measures”… whatever it takes to keep breathing, because monsters are real.


remember meAnd this one was started yesterday. “(don’t) Remember Me”… not sure how I feel about the visual balance of this one, but going to call it “mostly done” (for now) until I decide what else needs to happen to it.


The weekend was nice. It was the first time in a long time that I was out and about all weekend without too much thinking… it was pleasant even if anxiety did come a few times. TL would say this is huge. I’m content on saying it was nice.


Yesterday and Sunday was spent doing art all day, both days. I was waiting for various things to dry, so I started other things. I actually did complete one piece last night. I kept the layers to paint and ink so I didn’t really have to wait for gel medium to dry. It is the second large piece I’ve attempted recently, but the first to be finished. It was done in the style of my art journal. I have ideas about how it should be mounted, but that looks to be way too expensive to make happen. I want to float-mount it inside a shadow box frame. To get a prefabricated frame big enough to fit the painting, I’d be spending upwards of $150. I simply can’t afford that right now, so I’m not sure how to even display the painting for proper pictures. Maybe if I could find some older frames that fit my needs, I could tweak them to work, but even that is difficult. Shadow box frames have only relatively recently come into fad. They are pretty difficult to find in thrift stores and flea markets. :/ maybe tomorrow I can head back to the flea market and see what I can find…


I’ve also been working on a piece that I had intended for TL, but I’m not liking the way it’s turning out. The gel transfer at the top doesn’t look clean enough. I may just suck it up and paint in the mountains. It might also work better for the figure I will be painting in there.

On an unrelated note, the cats are being jerks. One of them is peeing on or around the couch and I can’t find it to clean it up. It stinks. Really badly. I know it’s my fault (I’m slacking on litter box cleaning and there are still lots of fleas in that room despite the blanket of diatomaceous earth)… I need to dig up that black light I have to be able find this stuff. It smells worse than a neglected kennel in here. :/

Art journal prompt: mess up a page when you like how it’s going

I was turned on to a set of journal prompts by the teacher of the workshops. I read through them (there are 10 in this set, only about 4 are actual prompts, the rest describe her process, so a good starting point for journal)…
Anyway, this particular prompt was to start a page, then when you were liking how it was going, mess it up. Paint over it, smear it, do something totally different than what you started liking… it didn’t mayer if you hated it or loved it in the end, but it’s supposed to get you in touch with the discomfort of changing something you are happy with.

I had kinda liked where the original page was going (distress stains and embossing), but I figured I’d take the risk and “mess it up”. I have to say I like the end result way better than the direction it started in. I’m finding as much as I like the concept of the the words in the pack I purchased, they just don’t have the words I’m really looking for. I guess that could go along with the “limit yourself” prompt from the set of 10 I mentioned, but… I’m finding I’m simply using them for implying words more than the actual ones on them. Anyway, I’m distracted.

It was a fun prompt. “The places you will go when the years start to flow”.
Guess I wish I could cry and get the release from the tears. Hoping the healing kicks in again whenever that happens…


To the World & On the Outside – Final

I finished this today…

I wanted to keep the tissue paper with words visible, so I did the left side in charcoal and crayon. Turns out it also works for the concept of not having “the full-color photo” when you only see what someone presents to the world. You have to see the darkness as well as the light to be able to see the real picture. Seeing just what’s presented to the world is lacking in substance…

art journal workshop #2 – “I’m still learning”

It’s actually workshop #6 being offered by this teacher, but it’s the second I have been to.  I am totally loving these!!! The teacher used the phrase “take a deep breath”, but allowed us to pick our own if we wanted.  Since I already have more than one page on breathing, I thought I would try something different.  I went through some inspirational images I had on my phone and found the phrase “I’m still learning”.  I thought it was appropriate enough.

wpid-20140807_192302.jpgWe started by decopaging colorful paper onto our pages.  The instructions were to use one or two colors to make the choice of a top color easier.  Me being me, and being on my black/white/grey kick of late, I chose to do clumps of all sorts of colors for this part. I happened to pick paper that was too thick (closer to cardstock than regular paper), so I needed more gel medium to get it to stick.  Looking back, I would recommend using thinner paper so the gel medium can dry properly before you move on to the next step.

wpid-img_20140807_212721.jpgAfter that first layer, we were given our phrases cut out in vinyl lettering (you can also do this free-hand using masking, but make sure your gel layer is completely dry either way or you will pull it up when you take the letters off). We arranged the phrases on our background, then carefully painted a thin layer of gesso over it to help with depth and texture.  Over the gesso, we added our foreground colors.  Like I said earlier, I am on a black/white/grey kick, so I blended those over my letters.  Before the  layer of paint was allowed to dry, we peeled off the letters revealing the colors of the background (easier with the vinyl than with masking I am assuming, though could be accomplished with the masking if you are careful enough). We then dried the paint layer, and added details. I don’t have more in-between photos, but the final product came out pretty cool I think… (I know the teacher took more pics, but she has not put them up yet. I will keep checking back on the meetup page to see if I can find more progress shots, and maybe even examples that followed the instructions properly ;))

I kept the vinyl lettering to use for another project down the line. I think that, if yesterday’s record-reading taught me anything, it was that I am most certainly still learning.

Also, I really want to get my hands on a cricut machine.  While I like the freedom of doing things free-hand, sometimes it’s nice to have something make life a bit easier…

Updates to my Wreck This Journal

Still going at it little by little.  I should be doing other things, but sometimes a girl needs a distraction (and sometimes this is all I can muster)… These are not all the updates to date, but all I have pictures of at the moment.

our beautiful brain – the altered book

very cool idea. I think we have to try this L…

Where I Stand


What you will need:

– A Hard Cover Book to alter – if you don’t have one -Thrift Stores often have hard cover books for a dollar or less.

– Something to stick things down with – I use all types of things when gluing, Mod Podge, White Glue, Double Stick Adhesive, you can use whatever works for you.

– Mod Podge to seal your Masterpiece

– Acrylic paints, colored pencils, crayons, pastels, markers, and pens to doodle with and to add color

– Anything that you would like to use to collage – virtually almost anything can be used in a collage. My favorites are pictures from old books, vintage jewelry, and patterned textured paper.

How it works:

An altered book is an artist-made book recycled and modified into something new in appearance, and meaning. An altered book offers a long-term art-making process for healing. Altered books can be…

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playing with wrecking things

wreck this journalI had seen the “Wreck This Journal” books a while ago and brushed it off as something in which I wasn’t interested.  I looked down on it thinking it was stupid after having looked at only a handful of the pages… then I started to see what people were doing with them.  I fell in love with the idea.  I know I could come up with my own prompts, but it’s just so much easier (and uncomfortable) to use the ones in the book.  I caved and ordered 2 books off amazon (one each for L and I) and they arrived yesterday.  We got to work pretty much as soon as they were out of the box.  L has done a lot more with her’s, but I’m getting there.  It’s a fun, creative process.

Here are a few of the one’s I’ve done so far.

doodle over this pageThis first one was done during couple’s therapy yesterday (we met at Starbucks because it was closer for all involved. It was a bit weird, but not too bad).  The leaves were inspired by the plant on the property across the street, and the bird was inspired by all the birds flying around… I used chalk to color in the line drawing later on that night.





you forgot your flash driveThis next one was also done during couple’s therapy, and inspired by Big Bang Theory. If you watch BBT, this is from a pretty iconic scene. The prompt was to doodle or write on the outside edges of the book.



color outside the linesThis one was inspired by the chalk box that I had decorated several months ago… I love spirals, the sun, and water. This one is also done in chalk.





batik sunflowerThis prompt was to tear out the page and crumble it up.  I remembered seeing a kid’s art project where the students drew and colored sunflowers with crayon.  They layered the crayon really heavily, then crumpled up the page to create the creases.  The pictures were flattened again and painted over with black paint.  The excess paint was wiped off before it dried  onto the wax, which created a really cool batik look.  I thought this was the perfect place to try it myself.  Here is the result. (sorry for the blurry pic.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until I saw it on my monitor.  I will take a better one tomorrow).



rip it to stripsFinally, this page was a white page with dotted lines.  The prompt was to tear it into strips.  I wanted to color it first, so I did.  The following page instructs you to glue, staple, or tape the two pages together.  I sprayed the bottom half of that page with adhesive and stuck the strips to it.  I had intended to keep them flat, but the unruly strips had other plans… I just went with it.


If you have not seen these books around yet, I suggest looking them up.  If you are like I was and hesitant because they seemed “stupid” I suggest taking another look.  It give you the chance to be creative, messy, inspiring, social, destructive, and experimental all at once.  If you are not quite sure what to do for any one prompt, just set it aside.  There is no set order to go through the pages, and you can choose to do what it asks, or ignore it and do something different.  Play around, have fun, and try not to judge what you do.

Most people will only publicise the more interesting pages they did, but I will try to keep a balanced log.  I think I may also end up creating my own version that has more of a therapeutic spin to it (maybe something along the lines of a journal version of the 100-theme challenge). Wreck This Journals do have maybe 5 more-introspective prompts, but I think the concept leans towards the creative process rather than any introspection.  It is pretty much the surface aspects of art therapy in a book, but I would want one that entices me to dig a little deeper about stuff… and maybe something that has paper made for art.  The stuff used for this book is pretty porous, which leads to a lot of bleed-though. Being a perfectionist and rather anal about my pages all being useful, this bothers me a bit (though I’m working on accepting the “mess” of it all).

No words (WIP)



When there are no words… or the words don’t make it past your tongue.

100-theme challenge 2014

I have participated in 100-theme challenges twice now, and I really liked some of what I produced because of them.  This year however, I wanted to put my own spin on things.  I wanted to come up with one myself.  A lot of my list can be interpreted in therapeutic ways (though admittedly, some were inspired by objects/events in the living room at the time of its creation), so I thought I would post it here in case anyone wants to participate.  The rules are simple: interpret the prompt however you see fit.  You can choose to post your work publicly somewhere, or keep it to yourself.  It can be in any form you wish as long as it can be considered creative in some way (drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, music, sounds, pictures, words, collages, performance, anything).  It’s really just supposed to give you topics you may not have thought of on your own to help spark creativity… I have liked the challenges in the past because I did things I never expected to do.  It forced me to take time out for creativity and story-telling.  Since I have been focusing more on my own art therapy of late, I figured this next one could be a way to help me express to De what I need to get out.  I will try to post anything I do of relevance.  I must warn you however, I go in spurts with these things.  Sometimes a whole bunch of work will show up at once, other times, there will be months without anything.  What I’m trying to say is: don’t hold your breathe for me to get the list finished in a timely manner.  I have had 2013’s list for the past year and only this past month have I started it…  I really liked that list though, so I will continue working on that one as well (rather than incorporate stuff from that list into this one).

Without further adieu, here’s my 2014 100-theme challenge:

1) candlelight
2) magnified
3) left standing
4) aftermath
5) breaking ground or ground breaking?
6) reaching out
7) trust
8) broken
9) in the daylight (everything is different)
10) rats in the walls
11) shattered
12) open to interpretation
13) flashbacks
14) heaviness
15) lighter than air
16) combustion
17) lights
18) hope/hopeless
19) under pressure
20) disclosure
21) history
22) presence
23) disappearing from…
24) gone away
25) at the dinner table
26) unbalanced
27) highlights
28) even snakes get the blues
29) enlightenment
30) despair
31) rave with me
32) the itch you can’t scratch
33) slippery slope
34) in my travels
35) it’s the end of the world
36) here there be dragons
37) firefight
38) spirals/spiraling
39) a blank canvas
40) just a thought
41) reflections
42) big trouble
43) happiness
44) wrath
45) associations
46) to the world
47) on the inside
48) truth in advertising
49) memory
50) deception
51) hollow
52) survival
53) turmoil
54) bad choices
55) comfort
56) falling (is like this)
57) open up
58) feety pajamas
59) what would you do?
60) superpowers
61) once upon a time
62) AWOL
63) hunger
64) the light’s gone out
65) running
66) awareness
67) transition
68) humility
69) conscience
70) memorable
71) convergence
72) destroy
73) buildings and bridges
74) the last time
75) vision
76) burning bridges
77) why
78) the first time
79) meditation
80) technology
81) walls
82) containment
83) distraction
84) anxiety
85) heart
86) it hurts like this
87) play it again
88) talk to me
89) open book
90) animals
91) brutality
92) nature
93) family
94) obsession
95) release
96) skeletons
97) peak performance
98) water
99) drowning
100) rescue
In case anyone is interested, the list I’m working on for 2013 is this (I think I have pieces to cover 7 of the topics… I’m seriously slacking!):
1. Break Away 2. Bites the Dust 3. Innocence 4. Drive 5. Sound of Settling 6. Mother Nature 7. No Time 8. Standing Still 9. Two Roads 10. Foreign 11. Breaking the Silence 12. Keeping a Secret 13. Blind Man’s Bluff 14. Waltzing 15. Traps 16. Mischief Managed 17. Lazy Days 18. Hot/Cold 19. Anyone Out There? 20. Seeing Red 21. Through the Fire 22. Between the Raindrops 23. Safety First 24. Puzzle 25. Gateway 26. Fantasia 27. Everyday Magic 28. Irregular Orbit 29. Change in the Weather 30. Nowhere and Nothing 31. Charge 32. Turn the Car Around 33. Colorless 34. Assassin 35. Daughters 36. Instant 37. Don’t Be a Hero 38. Born Without Time 39. Sound Effect 40. Little Bombs 41. Freak 42. American Boys 43. Clue 44. True Believers 45. Portable 46. Caption 47. So Close 48. Under the Red Hood 49. Dragon 50. Making History 51. Rivalry 52. Death 53. Excuses 54. Colors 55. Family 56. Music 57. Off Topic 58. Black and White 59. Memories 60. Song Title 61. Fighting Chance 62. Childhood 63. Shenanigans 64. Elements 65. First Time 66. Lost 67. Strangers 68. Insanity 69. Mirror 70. Silhouette 71. Zodiac 72. Dreams 73. Hope 74. Misunderstanding 75. Relationship 76. Stay Gold 77. Beauty 78. Alice in Wonderland 79. Runaway 80. Our Own World 81. Kiss 82. Little Things 83. Secret Admirer 84. Sweet Dreams 85. Past 86. Present 87. Future 88. Forgotten 89. Human 90. Silence 91. Breathe Again 92. Breaking the Rules 93. Fairy Tale 94. Death 95. Umbrella 96. Pattern 97. Season 98. Clothing 99. Animal 100. The Ones We Left Alive

Finally feeling something remotely “holiday”

My wife and I spent the day making holiday cards for local friends and family. It was nice to be able to do stuff together.  I would draw and cut them out, she would paint and write into them. There are a few more to make I think,  but we quit for the night after number 6. They are quite time-consuming, and the cards we used did not come with envelopes,  we had to go out and get some… well, we tried to get some, but they didn’t have any larger square ones at Michael’s. We ended up buying some red card stock to turn into envelopes.  I guess they worked out ok. Anyway, here’s some of the finished product:

The partying snowman got a face lift before I gave him to my friend. She is a Dr. Who fan, so I wanted to make the tardis obvious. Sometimes painting the cards mutes the papercutting, so I chose to only do 3 colors… The original is above, and this one is what she got:


This guy was actually for a friend’s stepdaughter’s baby shower, but done at the same time. I slacked with this one. I was tired and didn’t do all the fancy cutting. L did a great job bringing him to life though with her coloring.



I drew up the reindeer for L, and she cut and colored them.  After this one, she decided to have me do the cutting and she would help with the coloring… I like the way they came out, but she says she has no patience for the details of cutting.


Merry Christmas to a Fun-gi!



Dory will be sent to Ellen Degeneres & her wife… maybe it’ll even make it on air?


This is the Santa Minion.  I am obsessed with the little christmas lights this year for some reason, but felt bananas were more appropriate.


These were the first 4 I did.  The ornament was actually the first one, and I still really like it a lot.



This one was was modeled after a friend’s Dachshund… Not perfect, but hope she likes it.


This turtle is going to a family that celebrates both Jewish and Catholic traditions:


Things are still going well.  I’ve managed to keep in a really positive emotional space despite a lot of negative energy floating around. I’m still holding my breath for a crash, but not hoping for one. I kinda like this positive stuff.

art therapy session 2

Well, that didn’t go quite as planned (namely I didn’t really finish the piece I was working on). I did end up showing De the art notebook I had brought to show her the last 3 sessions. She likened it to a journal, and I guess that’s a good way to describe it.

I kinda wish she had asked more about some of the pages, but she didn’t really talk about them beyond asking how recent a few of them were. She also said that she liked it. She doesn’t like to give homework or make things tedious, so she said she wouldn’t say I had to do more in there, but she would like me to continue it. There was one page that caught her attention, but then she figured out if was from February, so she didn’t really ask more about it. I wish she had. It feels very relevant again. I may take it back again on Tuesday.

It was weird. She had complimented me on the contents of the book and on a drawing I had showed her. When I did my usual “thanks, but…” she called me out on it immediately. I don’t remember talking about it before with her, but the way she said it made it sound like we had… Maybe I should ask her about that next time…

I told her a bit about not really being able to even vaguely represent some of the issues I want to put down in the work with anyone else in the room… she suggested going even more metaphorical and symbolic instead of concrete representations. I told her my frustrations with not being able to figure anything out to convey that.

I also told her how the concept of self-injury and my scars has been really embarrassing lately, so much so that I have made an appointment to get a half-sleeve tattoo started on my right arm with the main intent to be covering the scars there.  I’m not sure why I am so self-conscious of it (even with her or J, or even L!).  The panic around hiding the evidence is huge though.  I haven’t SI’d in a while, and I had come to terms with my scars quite a long time ago… Not quite understanding where this sudden insecurity about it comes from. We didn’t get to talk too much about that before time was up. I’m hoping I will be able to figure it out a bit better on Tuesday.

I told her my dad was coming again tomorrow. We planned additional sessions, and she reiterated the concept of having the days planned out so I can escape as needed. I’m not sure what I should be more worried about this time around: M, G, myself, or L… And with the added puppy in the house, things may get crazy…

Oh, I was also able to tell her that I can talk much easier while slightly distracted: either drawing, coloring, painting… It’s easier not having the pressure of all the attention.

At the end of the session, I asked her what to do with the painting. It’s not exactly finished, but I wanted to shred it. She laughed and asked that we at least hang on to it till we can talk about it some. I’m not sure why I wanted to destroy it so fast… Towards the end of the session (before she even mentioned cleaning up) I had wanted to scribble it all out…

Oh, she was also introduced to SJ in concept. I’m sure we will be talking about that at some point too…

feeling the need to write something creative…

but I just don’t have anything…  All I can think of are not creative in the least.  I hate when I get blocked.  Lately, I was able to paint a bit of the emotion, but I feel the need to write tonight… yet nothing comes.

Oh, speaking of painting… Here are 2 of my recent works.  It’s missing the last installation (or maybe the last 2 installations), but they have not yet materialized.  I have ideas though.  We will see.

First: There’s Something Black in my Heart


And then I did this one… I also screwed it up by poor execution of an appropriate suggestion, but I don’t have a pic of that, so you get the version before I messed it up.

I don’t have a real title for it, but the working title is: Tears/Fears