I don’t write much any more…

That isn’t exactly the truth. I write a lot. I write a lot in my journal. I started a new practice called morning pages after getting the book “The Artist’s Way”. I’m applying her techniques. I’m only in Week One but I’ve made it my first priority every morning.

After I do my morning pages, I then select a daily affirmation.Today’s is “Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.” I write this ten times after my morning pages. Following each iteration, I write down a negative thought I had as I wrote the affirmation. I don’t have to make up any negative thoughts, they come without any prompting on my part. By the end of writing the affirmation ten times, I have ten negative thoughts. I look these over and I rewrite them into positive thoughts. I write them as though they currently exist, even if they don’t.

Following the daily affirmation, I then create a section for me to write down something I’m grateful for that day. I fill this in usually at the end of the day or I will do it the next day when I’m setting up my journaling section for the new day. This is followed by a To Do list.

The To Do list is a simple one, containing only things I can get done in a single day. Items that take more time go on my weekly To Do list. This isn’t to say I actually do all the items on my To Do list for that day or that week. If not, I add them to the next day’s or week’s list.

Then comes my daily Tarot card pulling which I also write about in my journal. I pull only one card after asking what does the Universe have for me today, or what does the Universe want me to know today. Usually these are very insightful and give me much to think about or something to focus on discovering about myself or opens my eyes to something I’ve been ignoring about myself.

I’ve been alternating between two different decks. Osho Zen Tarot and Revelations Tarot. Today, I pulled one card from both. I was curious what would come up. The first was Four of Swords (reversed) , the second was XI Breakthrough. Both are interesting because the Four of Swords (reversed) means I’m being forced to rest, which helps me to understand why I’ve been unable to find a job over the past year and why I was laid off. The second, XI Breakthrough, is a card about transforming. I found this statement brought me clarity “To transform breakdowns into breakthroughs is the whole function of a master.” and then “The dawn is not far away, but before you can reach the dawn, the dark night has to be passed through. And as the dawn comes closer, the night will become darker.” From “Revelations Tarot Companion”.

I found both cards interesting in how they relate to what is going on right now. Since my breakdown last year in May, I have been on medication. The last time I saw my doctor he had me increase the dosage because I seemed too lethargic. The increased dosage just increased my feelings of sleepiness, fogginess and just not caring, so I got my doctor’s approval to discontinue the medication. I had to wean myself off of it. I’m now completely off of it and my mind is starting to come to the surface, and out of the fog.

This medication did not help me rest. It just numbed me, kept my emotions at a manageable level. It didn’t help me to understand what was going on, it just helped me to not think about it too much. Thinking about it, fighting against it, not accepting it and not learning used up my energies, depleted my resources, kept me from moving on. What it did do was give me time. Time that I needed to get enough distance from being laid off and not having a job, and to get closer to connecting with my inner artist.

This past year has been a roller coaster ride of emotions, mostly of despair and feelings of impending doom. I dislike feeling that way. Recently, in my ongoing artistic endeavors, I’ve been drawn to teachers who don’t just teach art and art techniques, they teach how to use art to heal, work through difficult periods of your life, recover from trauma and so forth. This has been an interesting journey. Even so, I’ve been finding myself going through the motions, taking the classes but not really connecting with what they were teaching about how to approach my art so it will help me heal. This just reveals how out of touch the medication was causing.

I’ve been so confused about why it is no one is calling me or hiring me for the jobs I apply for. Even as far as having one interviewer tell me she had a difficult time making a choice and that she was sorry to have to tell me she had chosen someone else. She told me she thought I would do well in whatever I did. Sometimes I know people say this to make the blow less severe and to give a person hope. However, I am sure she was not just saying it. I have reasons for believing this other than just the words she wrote to me in the rejection email.

It has been frustrating, even though I know things happen for a reason, I could not, no matter how hard I tried, come to a good reason for the Universe or God setting in place my not working. I couldn’t see anything good come out of my losing my job and having no income.  I could only see the bad outcome of losing everything, and not being able to feed my daughter. I felt like I was being punished for something no one was telling me I did wrong.

Pulling the tarot card four of swords helped me to understand this is a time of rest for me, of regrouping, of letting my mind stop, become silent and let my energy pools fill up, become restored. Fighting this only kept me depleted. It helped me to see, the Universe was forcing me to rest, something I desperately needed but fought against.

I can be rather stubborn. When I look back over the past few years I can see moments when I was being told to give myself time to rest. To work on recovering and allowing my energies to be restored. I stubbornly refused to pay attention to the signs.

Now, as I follow my inner urging, usually driving me to distraction, if I try to ignore them, I am given gradual direction into areas of learning how to do deeper and deeper inner work. Each step takes me further than the last. If I take the steps required that is. As long as I was on the medication, I wasn’t being given any direction other than some light inner healing work. I needed much deeper work but had no idea how to do it. Once I stopped the medication and my mind became clearer more direction has been given and I am seeing things I missed earlier. I am now learning and moving forward.

Actions, bear consequences, or they bear fruit. Taking the medication at first, helped me to calm my inner turmoil, long enough to gather myself and accept what is happening in my life. I want to say I took it too long, however, I’m learning we do things as they need to be done. I took the medication for as long as I needed to, in order to get me where I am today. Now that I have stopped the medication, I’m able to think more clearly and have the courage to look deeper at what is happening.

My life is changing. It is changing into something I never dreamed of but secretly desired my whole life. In order to get there, I have to do the inner work. I have to let go of my past preconceptions. I have to let go of the suit I allowed myself to wear in order to fit within what society makes us believe we need to wear, in order to fit in. I don’t want to fit in any more. I want to be who I am, in all my glorious being. Being accepted by others would be a wonderful plus, however, I will no longer live my life in order to be accepted, except in the only way I need to be accepted and that is by me.

I spent the past year fighting against what the Universe wanted for me. I fought so hard, I almost lost my mind. I fought against it, never dreaming what I was fighting against was my own happiness and feelings of joy, I can have with this new life.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have concerns about how we will survive. Whether I will have enough money to feed, clothe and keep a roof over our heads. BUT… and this is a big BUT… I need to learn to trust I have enough. I have what I need and if not, the Universe will see that I am given what I need.

I believe life is about learning to accept the struggles it brings with it but even more so to learn to trust we have what we need to work through those struggles. What I love doing, my art, my creativity, gives me joy, joy that carries over and surrounds my struggles with pure happiness and acceptance that all will be well.

I have to or otherwise, I’ll go insane from the fighting of it, from the worry of it, from not accepting it.

Sometimes we know things, deep down we know them, but we either forget about them or we choose to not believe they are true or real. I have known for a long time, that we are given challenges in our lives. Those challenges are to help us grow. To help us meet our true selves. The struggles we face are usually the Universe or God’s way of getting us back on track. When we choose a different path which is not for us, we are given obstacles to try and steer us back into our true life’s path. When we fight against this, is when the obstacles,  our struggles become so unbearable we think we will die or fail or our lives dissolve into a woeful mess. When we start working with what we are given is when our lives begin to change and become something we never thought it would be or imagine it would become.

I still can’t imagine where this path is taking me, where I will end up. I forget that life isn’t about where we end up but about the journey. Even though I am not sure I have enough to sustain us financially, I am enjoying the process of learning, of meeting my inner artist and helping her grow. I’m enjoying no longer working in a high stress, time driven environment in an increasingly unstable corporate environment. I don’t miss it one bit. If, however, I were yanked back into a similar job, similar environment or just working full time again, I would greatly miss what I am doing now. There is something to be said about that, something to be grateful for. It doesn’t mean I’m giving up on looking for a new job. It does, however, mean I’ll be approaching it a bit differently.

~Kate

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Do we ever really let go….

I have been combining my art journaling with learning more about myself. In doing so, I invested in two year long classes. One is Life Book 2017 provided by Tamara Laporte and the other is Book of Days 2017 provided by Effy Wild. Both women subscribe to using art as a healing process. They help you learn how to dig into yourself and learn, by questioning and being deeply honest with yourself. The honesty is sometimes the hardest part.

Since what I call my breakdown at a job I had last year, I have known I need to understand why and explore the triggers which cause my anxiety, especially to such levels as I have had.

The lay off shattered me in ways I didn’t fully understand. I allowed it to make me believe I was laid off because I wasn’t good enough or that I was no longer needed. I allowed it to make me feel worthless and ashamed or that maybe I had done something wrong which they refused to tell me.

These feelings carried on with each job I applied for and was not called or failed the interview process.

I’ve allowed this to effect my home environment. My home chores have been ignored at least until the point I have no choice but to do them. I delay other tasks risking the loss of things like financial reimbursement from medical treatments. I’m allowing myself to take medication which is effecting my ability to function.

These things are all connected with my feelings of worthlessness.

My art which I do every single day helps provide me with feelings of happiness, joy, accomplishment and close to being valued. Thank god my daughter values me which helps at least for me to feel loved.

I don’t say all of this to gain sympathy. I don’t need sympathy. I need to let go of all these negative feelings but when I hear this whether it is from myself or from others, I always wonder if we ever really let go of anything or is it just buried so deep we forget about it? I know there is a big difference between the two.

Some days are better than others. But since my doctor had me increase my medication I have also felt an increase in feeling the need to sleep which lasts almost all day. I tried switching to taking the medication at night instead of in the morning but it doesn’t seem to make any difference, so I think it is time to stop them. Allow myself to feel what I really feel and dig deep as to why. Consequently, I have made an appointment with my doctor.

I do have a natural alternative suggested by my Naturopath which should help reduce the anxiety and mental stress I’ve been experiencing. This is good as long as I can afford it.

What I know and how I feel contradict each other which is sometimes difficult to reconcile. I know for a fact that being laid off was not a result of anything I did or didn’t do. Lay offs have been happening in the area I worked in for a couple of decades or more, almost every year. This is the way of the corporate world. They lay off in time to show the board of directors and stockholders that action is being taken on the bottom line financially without acknowledging the negative impact this will have with their business and those left to handle the workload.

This has nothing to do with my self-worth. I performed a valuable job for the company and its customers and I did it well. So well in fact, I was the last one left doing that particular work. Now it is covered less efficiently and squeezed in as an after thought only when it is absolutely needed by people who are already overworked. This means there will be more and more things left undone and possibly misinformation given to customers and those making the major decisions. This is no longer for me to worry about.

In regards to applying for jobs. It is a difficult position to be in with so many people looking for work. There is no shortage of applicants. I have other alternatives which I allowed my present frame of mind to interfere with, all because I’m afraid to fail. The thing is because I’m not doing it, I’m already failing.

Self-sabotage is a dangerous loop to get into. Even though I realize I’m in this mode, it is difficult to remove myself from the loop. I could potentially create something that has the potential to be the best thing which ever happened to me. That is the kicker. Potential. If I don’t take action and seize the potential, then there really is no potential. Nothing is going to be dropped into my lap, except for the negative things I wish to avoid.

It is time to stop looking at the past, let it go. Stop looking at tomorrow, since tomorrow really doesn’t exist. My focus should be on today and what I can do TODAY to bring about the changes I want in my life.

I don’t think it is about letting go. I think it is about being present in the now and realize the present is all that exists, the only place we ever really ARE. What each moment becomes is only what we make it to be.

My art work is wonderfully fulfilling but maybe I can combine my technical knowledge with my art work to build something today.

Today is now. I am now. This is now.

I’m going NOW, so I can make something of this moment.

~Kate

 

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In case you were wondering…

I’ve been spending my days arting. Usually that involves youtube videos, free classes I found, and some not so free classes I splurged on that were incredibly priced for the content they provide.

Arting is my way of coping with what is and is not happening in my life.

I still haven’t found a job. I have mixed emotions about this. Is this the way it is supposed to be and I need to stop fighting it? Or worrying so much about it? I love spending all day on my art. This includes crafting. I say crafting because I’m not sure if creating handmade journals/books is art or crafting, probably both. I just love having all this time to do what I love. The not so good emotions about this is the worry over money. Something catastrophic could happen and all my funds would be wiped out or I could lose my home and so many other bad things could happen. However, I realize, probably the majority of retired people are living like this, and maybe I can too.

Another thing which is happening is my daughter’s menstrual cycle issues have gotten worse. She has two weeks of bad days and two weeks of good days, which means she misses a lot of school. She is at risk of failing her current grade. We are looking at alternative education and trying to get her enrolled basically so she can learn from home. All of this combined is having a toll on her emotional well-being.

My emotional health isn’t too stable either. The tiniest bit of stress and I can feel like I’m going over the edge. The medication is helping, although I think it is making me feel numb in some ways, not caring in other ways, and I feel tired and sometimes sleep a lot. My doctor is having me adjust the dose to see if it helps.

Since I’m on that topic, here is a poem I wrote:

Closing Shutters
I stare, seeing nothing
Brain feels like thick sludge
Pushing behind eyes seeing nothing.

Heavy weighted lashes
Dragging down
Closing upon images
Making no sense.

A hole in my chest
Squeezing ache
Ready to shatter
Leaving shards piercing lungs.

Rising up
Through the fog
Sludge thick and viscous
Blending
Becoming one
With aching shards
And laborious legs.

A glob of gelatinous matter
Misfires, lost signals,
And scattered images.
Recordings fail,
Darkness prevails.
Floating
Waiting
Pull me from this nightmare.

4:16pm 29January2017

I always put date and time on my poems. It helps me to connect with where I was at the time of its writing.

I haven’t written much poetry lately, though I’m planning on changing that. I want to include it in my art.

I have been surprised at times when my art is bright and colorful, and I know I don’t feel that way inside. It’s obvious from my poetry I’m in rather a dark place and yet my art can be quite bright and colorful. I read where someone said the same thing and they thought it was because subconsciously she knew she needed to brighten her life and add more light and beauty into her life so it comes out in her artwork. I have to agree with what she said. I feel this is the same for me.

I am wondering what kind of reaction I would receive if I added one of my dark poems to a brightly colored piece of art I created. The contrast I think would be stunning and possibly shocking.

At this time I am not sure where this blog is going or if it will progress. It has changed dramatically from its inception in so many ways. I considered taking it down completely but I think that would defeat the purpose of the blog. This is about my journey, no matter where it goes. I’m realizing it is definitely reflecting a person in search of herself. Her authentic self. I can be a chameleon, which can be so confusing for me. The one thing I know for certain is I’m not a person who confines her beliefs, morals and lifestyle to a nicely confined box. I love that about myself. I love what that means about me. However, it means I can become rather confused when I measure that against what I was taught as a child. It isn’t easy and sometimes it can be rather lonely.

My daughter is discovering this too. Which means it can get rather…. well… let’s just say…interesting.

~Kate

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Breaching walls….

This will probably be short. It is late and I should have been asleep by now.

I’ve been utilizing my time learning new things. I must say I am thoroughly enjoying what I am doing and really don’t want to go back to work but I understand the need for it.

Thanks to all the various YouTube videos, I’m learning a lot. Tonight however, I find myself really amazed at what I’ve accomplished, thanks to Christy Sobolewski’s videos on YouTube. Under Art Geeks, she posted some videos on drawing faces. She has others but so far I have only watched “Art Journal How to Draw Faces”. She isn’t teaching the traditional method. Instead, she is teaching her way of creating whimsical faces for her Art Journal. I sat down tonight and followed her step-by-step. The pictures below are the results of two drawings I did after that.

faces

 

This is by no means the first time I’ve drawn faces. The first time was in high school. Then any subsequent attempt after school was a failure and I often put away my pencil and drawing pad for years before trying again. My first attempts no matter what, even in high school never accomplished what I did with these two drawings which were done immediately after watching her video or actually the first was done while watching her video.

I no longer feel like faces are a “no fly” zone for me in regards to my art. I’m excited, because this shows I’ve breached another wall.

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Not a good place…

For the past few days I’ve been thinking about what to write in my next post. I’m still struggling with exactly what to say and it doesn’t help that my “h” key is only working for 1/3 of the time if that. Doing anything right now feels like a burden too heavy for me to bear. Even my artwork can feel that way which doesn’t bode well for my frame of mind.

Why? you might ask…

If you have been reading my posts, you will know it is an accumulation of events over the past couple years which has an appearance of no end to what is being thrown at me.

I thought for sure I would be hired for one of the many jobs I applied for but so far nothing.  Just as I was getting ready to apply for one I think was right up my ally, I’m struck with excruciating pain, which practically had me flat on my back for a week and a half. I’m still in some pain. It is getting better and I’m able to sit up, and walk a bit without ending up flat on my back again in excruciating pain or have a set back. This has made me re-think my ability to do the job I wanted to apply for since it would involve lifting and being on my feet a lot.

Depression has taken hold and I don’t know how to shake it, which is why my artwork is also suffering.

To help financially, I was able to cut my internet/cable/phone service costs by cutting out cable, which was a huge chunk of that bill. Even so, it won’t be enough to make much of a difference if I don’t find a job soon.

So, if you have wondered where I have been… this is where… not a good place to be.

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What I’ve been doing….

Back in March, I ran across references to what people call Bullet Journals. I was intrigued so I started researching it and in the middle of the month I started creating my own. This was a rather interesting journey which has taken me places I had been wanting to go but seemed rather hesitant to go there.

Let me explain, and for those who don’t know what a bullet journal is, I’ll describe it in my own words as best I can. Many start to use it as a planner because they can’t find a planner that fits them the way they want it to and have become frustrated over spending loads of money on something they end up using only for a short while and give up. I’ve been there. Others use it as a way to express or exercise their creativity. Basically you can make it as simple as you want it to be or as complex as you may need it to be.

Honestly, I don’t really have a lot I need to track, or at least I didn’t think I did when I started it. I started it mainly because when I lost my job and I was so stressed over how devastated that made me feel and needing to find a job, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any important appointments. I was having a lot as you can imagine, between financial adviser, doctor appointments, insurance adviser and so on, so I basically started this to make sure I had a place to track all my appointments with the added plus of giving me something to focus on.

At first my Bullet Journal (BuJo) started out very basic and bland, a calendar, a weekly spread and I tried using the dailies where I list tasks for each day. The dailies didn’t work out, things got in the way or emotionally I was just too distraught so I ended up carrying the tasks forward several times. I decided a monthly overview calendar and weeklies would work best and they do. The dailies I do are really just journal entries, my thoughts about the day.

Once I had ironed out the layouts I liked, I decided to use a tracker for those things I need to do consistently, whether it is daily, weekly or monthly. Then in June I introduced a mood tracker for me. In, August I introduced a mood tracker for my daughter which I have her fill out. I’ll explain that a little later.

By June, I was adding a little color and doodles to give a bit of a decorative touch but I was less than thrilled with how it was coming out. In June I also started some challenges which I will also talk about later. Over the months I watched A LOT and I do mean A LOT of videos, mostly on YouTube, not just about bullet journaling but also about art journaling and some scrapbooking and just arts and crafts in general, like watercolor and acrylic painting. These all led to changes going forward in my BuJo.

I can’t begin to list the various YouTubers for fear of leaving someone out.

Now in August, I feel as though my BuJo has become a mixture of a bullet journal and an art journal and I’ll show you what I mean.

When I started my BuJo, I decided to use one of the journals I already have. I have lots of them partially written in. I selected the MiquelRius, which has grid paper and around 300 pages. It worked beautifully. Except I didn’t like the ghosting from the pens and markers I was using, so I started gluing two pages together. This eventually caused the journal to start coming apart at the binding. I was upset about this but I decided to make the best of it.

Remember me saying, I was one of those people who had tried other planners? Well, I had a DayRunner binder which I hadn’t used in years. It was perfect size for the pages from the MiquelRius journal. I found I could pull out the pages fairly easily and keep them in tact, punch holes in them and put them in the binder.

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DayRunner Planner binder

I decided this was the perfect opportunity to improve upon my BuJo, so I created a title page and did some decorating.

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Title page for my Bullet Journal

On the back of the title page, I added some more decoration. I had been playing around with creating mandalas and so I thought I would add one to my journal.

I also updated my Index pages. I disliked the original index I had because it was so hard to read and find anything and I had seen this layout and liked it. I felt it would work better with the new flexibility of using a binder instead of a fixed book where I couldn’t reorganize my pages. This is an example of how plain my original pages were when I first started my BuJo.

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Back of the title page and the first page to my index

I also recreated my yearly calendar. I like having a yearly view so I can look ahead, especially if I have appointments being scheduled before I have the monthly calendar created for when the appointment is being made.

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back of my first index page, and my yearly calendar

On the back of the yearly calendar, I added a “Dates to Remember” page. I’m awful about keeping up with birthdays or special days, so having this list, I can refer to when I create monthly calendars helps remind me when those dates are coming up.

Today, I created dividers for my BuJo, so I can easily find things. I also added pockets on the dividers in case I have something I need to add or use to reference.

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Dates to remember page and divider with pockets

July was the first month I created a “Hello July” page which is like a title page that announces the new month starting. I enjoyed creating it so much, I made a “Good-bye July” page, and then an “August” page. This is all hand drawn by me. Many people use stickers and tape to add color and decoration to their journals and at first I thought about doing it too but with not having a job, I need to watch my expenses. Plus, I like creating it all. That means it is an original piece of art by me. And will be great for my daughter to have.

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back side of the divider which has a pocket, and my title page for August

After the title page, I create a 2 page monthly calendar spread. I put anything on here I want to be reminded of so I can add it to my weekly. There is a future log section on the right so I can write down any appointments or things I need to do down the road after August. I create small calendars of the preceding and following months just for a quick reference.

As you can see I added color to the whole page. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of whether my pens would react to water so some of them bled and smeared. Others I smeared on purpose. Since then I have made a Pen Test page to check for their reaction to water. I used watercolor to color the page. I tried adding some decorative design between the days, didn’t like it, so I used water to blend out the black marker. I have rectangles at the top of the pages for numbering later. At the end of the month I’ll number the pages after I’m sure I won’t be adding any more pages to August. That way I can insert pages wherever I want them to be without causing an issue with the numbering.

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August monthly calendar spread

Following the monthly spread, I create my weekly spreads and I also created “Be Thankful” pages. To make it easy, as I work on each week, I put the “Be Thankful” page I’m working on next to the weekly page. I have a bookmark with a hole punched in it so it doesn’t fall out of my planner, which it did quite frequently until I figured out this simple solution.

I made the bookmark, and the beads are glow in the dark, which I love. As you can see I’m adding color to all my pages. I just do a simple watercolor or acrylic wash on them after I put down the layout. Then when I go to a new page I add the details, or I add them as I have time. I make the layouts for the whole month ahead of time if I can. Which is what I did here.

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First week of August, and first 4 days of “Be Thankful”.

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A better view of “Be Thankful” with the bookmark out of the way.

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Be Thankful and weekly layout

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more weekly layouts

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another weekly and be thankful layouts

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more be thankful layouts

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last be thankful layout and the divider page with pockets

Next comes my trackers. This first one tracks things I need to do daily, weekly and monthly. I basically use this as a reminder for me for some things and for others just to gage how long it has been since I’ve done something, like cleaning out the fridge, or how long it has gone since I clipped our dog’s nails.

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divider with pockets and my tracker

I have mood trackers for both my daughter and me. This is for several reasons but mostly because we both suffer anxiety and panic attacks and I want to see if we can determine if there are any triggers. There are other reasons too, mostly to make us both more aware, because sometimes one really bad day can make us feel like our whole life is bad. This helps us to see it isn’t as bad as it might seem.

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my daughter’s and my mood trackers

Next are the challenges I’m involved in. Back when I had my breakdown when working at my new job, I lost all interest in everything for several weeks. After having to quit my job because I was on probation and my doctor recommended I take 3 months off work, I really wanted to reawaken my creativity. I came across a Zen Art Challenge in July. Making that commitment wasn’t difficult because it would take at the most ten minutes out of my day. Plus no one would see it unless I wanted them to. It didn’t take long before I felt the desire to do more and more, and eventually by the end of July I was adding more and more art to my BuJo.

Then in August, I continued the Zen Art Challenge and added a Doodling Challenge. These are pictures so far of this month’s drawings.  I will create a couple in pen, and then wait until I have a couple done, then I’ll use watercolor pencil to color them.

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Next, I have my daily pages. These are just journaling pages. I write whatever comes to mind concerning my day and what I want to remember about it. I started the end of June creating borders around my daily pages and I’ve continued it but now in August I’m adding color to the whole page. I love this effect. Some pages ended up looking like old documents. Some end up upside down, like August 1 and 2, because I got confused with them out of my journal which direction the pages went. I laugh every time I see those pages.

I’m working ahead on my daily pages in creating the borders and adding color because I have realized I sometimes may need to write more than one page for a single day. These pictures show how I’m working ahead. I first do the border design in pencil, go over it in ink, then add the watercolor or acrylic wash to the pages. I used different color of ink each day to write my journal entry.

I keep all my daily pages together. I like grouping the different types of spreads together and using dividers to separate them so I can easily turn to the section I want.

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The last section is for collections. Those things that aren’t associated with any particular month or year. This is at the back of my binder and is for things like my Pen Test page, Books I want to Purchase page, Color Charts. I also have some other things I won’t show here because of personal information, like tracking medical appointments, medication, etc I need to file claims for, and things like property tax, renewing passports, driver’s license, etc. so I can keep track of when things expire or come due.

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Soooo…. this is what I’ve been up to.

I’m doing other things too.

I started a Positive Words Art Journal, which I’m enjoying. I needed to work on being more positive. Each spread is devoted to a letter of the alphabet, and I try to find something artistic to do on the page besides just words that has some relevance. I don’t do this every day, I work on it over several days.

I tried an ICAD 2016 Challenge (index card a day), which ended up with me doing just whatever in order to decorate an index card every day. This didn’t happen until about Day 20.  I ended up with a couple of really nice cards and actually discovered a technique I fell in love with. In the end it became more like a chore, so I put it aside. I just won’t be doing them every day. When I have something I want to try, an index card is perfect because it is small and will take no time to do.

I continue to watch live streams and youtube videos and have come across some ideas I want to try, something like combining a scrapbook with art journaling, and actually incorporating small journal books into the scrapbook. Instead of gluing in pictures, I can insert my small art pieces onto the photo mats.

I have also been creating a digital copies of my layouts and borders I’m creating in my BuJo. The border designs are in jpeg format and can easily be inserted into a word document and stretched to fill whatever size page a person wants, then be printed on printer paper or card stock or whatever paper can be printed on by their printer. I love this because it means if I ever don’t have the time to hand draw them like I’ve been doing I can just print one up, punch holes in it and insert it into my BuJo.

Oh and I’m still doing my tangle cards.

In other areas of my life, I’m not working. I am looking for a job. I’m hoping for something not so stressful. The last job had way too much stress involved. I’ve had a couple interviews just no offers yet. I’m going to rewrite my resume after hearing some suggestions which made sense the other day. Wish me luck.

~Kate

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Update on… tangle cards… art and more…

I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting to find out the process I want to use to create my tangle cards. I finally narrowed it down and came up with a process that is working quite well.

Below are pictures of the back of two cards which contain my own tangle designs. I can’t show the back of any other cards because they all have other tangle patterns created by other designers. I don’t want to infringe on any copyrights.

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Back of card, watercolor wash in light pastels so tangle step-outs can be seen clearly.

The below two pictures are examples of the front of the cards. Most cards are done with a mixture of watercolors, acrylic paint, ink, pigma micron pens, and gelly roll pens. I sometimes use stencils and stamps to add designs or I freehand them.

CCF07082016-2 Kate

Front of a couple tangle cards, done in watercolor, acrylic paint, and using a couple texture tools.

 

CCF07082016-3 Kate

The front of a couple more cards, the backs are like the first ones but done in a light pastel watercolor. I can’t show them because the tangle patterns aren’t mine. The front is done in watercolor, acrylic paints, pigment pens and gel pens.

My process is generally the same for all cards. I start out with an 8 1/2″ x 11″ 65lb card stock. Usually white. I use a watercolor wash in a light pastel color on the back, sometimes a blend of a couple colors or just one color. I keep it light in color so when I draw in the step-outs for the tangle pattern it can easily be seen.

Once the back dries, I then put a watercolor wash on the front, this side is generally brighter using a mixture of several colors. One color is the same color as the one I used on the back. I let the watercolor dry because the paper can start to fall apart if I do too much to it when it is wet.

Once the watercolor is dry then I start adding layers of acrylic paint. I may use a brayer to roll out drops of paint, or I may use stencils, or just a brush to get an abstract design and sometimes use odd things for texture like a small bottle cap. Once I am happy with it or feel I’ve taken it far enough then I let the paper dry again.

Once it is dry, then I consider what else I may want to do. I may use gelly roll pens, or pigma micron pen to add some embellishments to make the design pop. Or I may splatter it with inks or acrylic paint. I just let my imagination take me where ever it wants to go.

Once I’m satisfied with the design and it is completely dry. I spray it with a workable fixative. Then I cut the paper into equal 4 parts, in this case 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″. I use either a pigma micron pen or some other permanent ink that dries quickly and use a template to draw in the squares on the back and use red and black ink to draw in the step-outs for the tangle pattern. I round the corners, and using permanent ink pad, usually black, I edge each card in black ink.

The last step is spraying both sides with a UV-Resistant gloss clear acrylic coating. I like the gloss because it gives the cards a slight shine and I want the cards to slide easily against each other.

As of this writing, I have 40 cards made. You are probably wondering why I’m making the cards. In Zentangle, the process is to use a random design, to not worry about trying to plan out any design when you create a design on a tile. I have problems just randomly selecting a design. My mind immediately wants to plan out exactly how it will all be laid out and fit together. After watching a video where art journal artists use prompts and prompt cards they shuffle and randomly select a prompt for what they will do next on their art journal page, I thought it would be neat to create the same thing but use tangle patterns as prompts which if I want to I could mix in with other types of prompts like the art journalist use.

So, basically, I’ll shuffle my deck and then randomly select cards. I won’t know what is on the card because the front side of the cards give no indication as to what the tangle is on the back. And there is no way for me to memorize what is on the cards because each card is different, though there are 4 cards from one card stock page, the designs are abstract and therefore no two cards are identical and there is no way I can remember what design is on which card with there being so many designs. Forty cards barely dents the designs out there on tanglepatterns.com and there are more on other sites.

The pictures of the cards don’t really give the cards justice. I didn’t realize it until earlier this year, probably around February when I really started getting into my artwork and working with paper just how much touch feeds my senses and makes me feel alive.

I love the feel of paper. I especially love the feel of paper that has undergone the treatments I have been doing to create the cards, or the painting I did the other day. Looking at the cards stacked, seeing the effect on the paper, the colors, the warping, is like eye candy. My fingers reach for them and just want to flip through the cards, or shuffle them. I am the same way with a deck of cards or a book I’m reading. I probably flip through the pages of my bullet journal a hundred or more times a day. I could die a happy person just touching and feeling the textures.

This is what is keeping me sane as I continue to look for a job. I wish there was a job doing this for a living and paid enough. I’m still making the borders on my Daily pages in my journals which I am also enjoying very much. I’m scanning them so they can be printed and inserted as a page if I want to or if someone else wants to use the design too.

I also started what they call ICAD 2016. I believe ICAD stands for Index Card A Day. It goes for 61 days. I started late. It started June 1st and I started it about 5 days ago. They provide prompts. You can either follow the prompts or do your own thing. You can do whatever you want. I am using this to experiment with different mediums and see how they interact together. I created one with watercolor, let it dry, then used acrylic paint and a letter template to brush on random letters. Let it dry, then used a couple different colors of watercolor to create a wash effect, then sprinkled with sea salt. I let it dry, rubbed off the sea salt, then coated it in mod podge. It ended up really flexible and feeling a bit like textured leather. I can’t stop picking it up and touching it. It was such a surprise result. And that was just one of them. Each day and so far I’ve done 5 days, each card has surprised me in different ways.

It is interesting to think I am only just now learning what really brings me joy and happiness. Its odd to think that just touching paper, and delving into art can provide this. I knew I enjoyed touch, it was obvious in my relationships but hadn’t realized how it extended into this aspect of my life. Without the other, I guess, this one now has the opportunity to make itself known.

~Kate

 

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