Collage Word Pendant

A few weeks ago, I taught a couple of creative workshops with adult women. First of all, I love teaching. I always have -whether it’s to a classroom of stuffed animals or a group of adults. I especially loved this doing this project with women. So much that I had to share it with you!

To get started, I walked the women through a short exercise to identify a word or phrase to use on thier pendant. If you’re up for it, we can do it together now.  

First, take out a sheet of paper. Allow yourself to be unfiltered with this. :)  Then answer the following questions with as many words or phrases that come to mind. 

-What values would you like yo invite into your life? 

-What characteristics do you admire about yourself and others? 

-What characteristics would you like to cultivate in your life? 

Look over your list. Is there a word that really captures what you want? If not, look up your words in a dictionary, thesaurus, books and magazines. You may have some words listed more than once or words that are similar. This is a great place to start. The post from earlier this week is a good place for inspiration as well. And remember- you can always do more than one pendant. Once you have your word, you’re ready to get started on the project!

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Ultra Thick Embossing Powder

Heat Gun

Basic Jewelry supplies

book text or similar  

Thin wood slice

Collage papers

Scissors

Glue

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1) Using old books, find your word and cut it out. You can also use stamps, typewriter, or write out your word.

2) Add a layer of paper to the wood slice using liquid glue. You don’t have to worry about having perfect edges here. Also, mywood slice had a hole in the top. Add one if yours doesn’t.

3) Collage an image or elements related to your word on top of your paper. Since my word is blossom, I chose to create a flower. Thinner paper works better here than card stock. Add your word on top.

4) Cut any access paper from the sides. Seal with a layer of glue.

5) Apply a few layers of Ultra Thick Embossing Powder to give it a hard, shiny, water-resistant finish. If you don’t have the powder, you can seal with acrylic medium. Be sure to keep the hole open when using the powder. Add a jump ring and attach to a necklace or key ring. You can take this an extra step by creating a beaded necklace for your pendant.

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I guess now the only question left to ask: 

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Creative Intention Cards

Play.

Accept. 

Seek. 

These are just three words in my deck of creative intention cards. This deck serves as a way to center me and give me a focus for my creative time. Sometimes I don’t feel the need to pull a card. Sometimes I already have an idea or the motivation to start. But other times, I can feel myself getting in my own way. I can feel myself closing up at the thought of staring at a blank page or canvas. These are the times when this deck proves so helpful. The cards are there when I need a reminder or suggestion for how to approach my creative time.

Luckily, they are super easy to make! Cut a piece of card stock into cards 2.5 inches by 3 inches. Paint each card individually and write an intention on it. I chose to stick with one word mantras, but you could expand on them. Do these however it feels natural to you!

 

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Digital Paper Freebie!

Who doesn't love to start the week on a good note?


Well I have some free digital papers for you today! Just my way of saying “thank you” for being here! These papers are hand-painted in a black and white color combo. 
You can download them by clicking on the links below. 
Arrows
Painted Plaid
T’s
Dashes
Basketweave
Strokes

Happy Monday everyone!

 

Hidden Journaling

I recently changed jobs. I had been working for there for over three years and really felt at home in many ways. I truly had mixed emotions about leaving. It's funny how you can be so excited about new opportunities and still be a bit sad about it all. I think all new beginnings are like that to some degree.

I find it so helpful to write about all the conflicting and confusing thoughts running through my head. Even though I don’t keep a journal just for my written thoughts, I infuse a lot of that into my art journal pages. I find I can work through my thoughts and emotions more fully with words and color and shapes. Sometimes when I do a lot of writing, I don’t like for it to visible in the end. One of my favorite ways to do this is to use a water soluble pen. I write everything I want to say. Then I go over it with a wet brush and it becomes part of the background. It’s a really cool effect! On this page I also added lots of paint splatters so it could blend in with writing.

 
 

Here are some other fun ways to cover your text:
-Use a water-soluble medium to write your thoughts like I did here. There are many options to chose from- crayons, colored pencils, paint pens, etc.
-Paint over it with opaque or semi-opaque acrylic paint.
-Collage over it.
-Write on a separate sheet. Then tear it up and use that for collaging.
-Make a pocket to hide your thoughts in.

Do you use your art journal to work through stuff?

The mantra I can't stop repeating

Everything is as it should be.

I find it so easy to blame myself for not doing enough, for saying too much, and for playing it too safe. This is the case in my life and my business/artistic goals. A few weeks ago, I came across this mantra while doing this yoga video. Once the video was over, I wrote it on a post-it and stuck it to my bathroom mirror. Whenever I find myself in the mind loop of berating myself for everything I think I’ve done wrong, I stop, take a deep breath, and repeat this mantra. It’s helped me to take things at face value. I’ve started to see my path, my struggles, and my successes in a better light.

Recently, I started a new art journal. It seemed fitting to make this mantra the first spread. Here are a few details about it. The background is layers of teal tissue paper adhered with matte medium. The letters were stamped and white embossed. I added payne’s gray paint to the edges and splatters in white paint and dark purple acrylic ink.

It was an easy spread that allows the words to be the focus.

Is in person learning better for you?

In the world of online classes and Youtube, it’s easy to get distracted by all the opportunities to learn something new. More than once (or twice), I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of Youtube videos. I really only wanted to watch one video to see how to use my new Distress Crayons. But then hours later, I resurface feeling a little dazed from all the information and even a little unmotivated. I hope I’m not alone in that (but I’m guessing I’m not). So what’s the solution? Well you could set a timer and practice self-control….

Or you could change your approach to learning the techniques you really want to learn. I still think Youtube and online classes are a valid place to learn, but it’s not right for every person and every skill. That’s way I suggest in person workshops for learning the techniques you are really excited to learn.

Here are five benefits to taking an in person art class:

You can learn and practice skills in real time.

When you learn something during an in person class, you will try it on the spot. Instead of what typically happens: You buy an online art class. Binge watch all the videos and ooh and ahh at your creative ideas. Then say you’re tired from watching hours of videos and you’ll pull out the supplies tomorrow to give it a try. Only tomorrow comes and you don’t really remember all those amazing ideas and you feel too intimidated to try at all. In a class in real life, you learn something and immediately try it. You also get ideas from watching how others do the same techniques.

You’ll get instant feedback.

Not only can you get instant feedback from an instructor during an in person class, you can also get feedback from the other students. I’ve never taught a class where the only constructive feedback came from me. Every student comes with varying levels of education and expertise. Therefore, they are able to offer suggestions and thoughts on how to get you through your struggles.

You’ll take the guesswork out of buying supplies

My workshops provide all the supplies you’ll need to create the project (and a take home goodie bag with extras!). I do this so you don’t have to worry about getting the right supplies or buying something you may not use again. When you come to class, you’ll have access to the tools you need to make the project and plenty of materials to make it your own. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions about supplies you may want or need. Then, you’ll know exactly what you want to use your Michael's coupon to buy. And get to creating with it even quicker!

You can try your hand at something new.

Maybe you’re not sure if you’re really an art journaler. But taking a three hour workshop about art journaling techniques can give you a pretty good idea if you are. I think this is one of my favorite things about in person workshops. It can be so scary to try something new, especially if all you have is a few thousand Youtube videos to go on. In person workshops give you the chance to try your hand at it without a huge time or money investment. Then you can decide if it’s for you from there.

Make new friends and meet like minded people

When you go to an art class, you’re surrounded by people that are interested in the same thing as you. And not just art in general, but that type of art done in a certain way. Chances are you have other things in common too.  Did I mention these are friends in real life and not just a small thumbnail picture in a chat room?

What are you reasons for taking an in person art class or workshop?

 

Questions I ask while Creating

I’m not sure about you but I sometimes struggle with “being in my head” too much. I do this with art, but really with just about anything in my life. When in comes to overthinking my creative process, I’ve learned to direct it more. Today, I’m sharing the common questions I ask myself when I’m creating. 

How can you push this farther?

This question is all about pushing the boundaries of my work. Sometimes I feel that I'm holding back. Asking myself this gives me broad possibilities for the next step. It also means I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone which is usually heavily influenced by outside sources. 

What is working?

I use this question a lot! Anytime I'm unsure of the next step, I take a hard look at the piece and ask what is working. Sometimes I phrase it as "what am I liking here?"or "what isn't working?". It helps me to hone in on techniques and colors that I really like or don't like. 
Side note: I also ask this when looking at others people work. 

Is there a technique or supply I haven't used in while that could work here?

This is a great question for when I feel tired of my supplies or stuck in the process. Sometimes simply adding one thing differently can change an entire piece around. This is also the fun of mixed media- anything is truly fair game!
Side note: It's also helpful to keep a catalog of techniques to browse through for this question. 

What color would I like more of?

It's easy to get into a certain color story and use those colors repeatedly. It's not a bad thing. It actually makes for work that has a sense of personal style. However, sometimes you need something different. So just like when asking about different techniques, asking myself about different colors is extremely helpful. And sometimes I ask what color I want to see less. This gives me the opportunity to let go of something to invite something else in. 

Is this finished?

Of course the never ending debate about "finished art". When I find myself questioning this it usually means two things. One it is finished and I have to be courageous enough to stop. Or its really close to being finished and I need to consider some finishing touches. Sometimes deciding those finishing touches involves asking the questions above. 

As you can probably see, there is a lot of thought and intention behind my creative process. But I also make a point to find my flow and work mindlessly. Each piece is usually a combination of both very little thinking and a lot of thinking. 

Do you have questions that you ask when creating? 

Tips for Setting Creative Goals

The start of the year always brings out the goal setting in people, me included. About this time each year, I spend some time reflecting on the past year and think about what I want to accomplish in the coming year. I usually set a word for the year to be an overarching theme, but I also set a few small goals. My goals typically span from creative to personal to financial. But today, I want to talk about creative goals. I want to share my tips for setting creative goals and my goals for the coming year (2017). 

Be realistic.
     I suggest by looking back on what you have accomplished in the past year creativity. Do you think you can do more, less, or about the same? I tend to have so many goals that it's impossible to accomplish any of them. This year, I'm being realistic with myself about the time and energy I will have to accomplish my goals. Therefore, I'm setting three goals. They are pretty broad. However it feels more realistic for me considering some of the goals I have for other areas of my life.

Be courageous.
     Last year my word for the year was “courageous”. And while I didn’t really approach my creative goals with a ton of courage, it taught me so much about being courageous and having grace for myself. In the past, I’ve been scared to set daily art goals. However this year, that is one of my main goals over all. Let yourself dream big and bold. Set a goal that may seem unattainable, but approach it with passion and curiosity. Then when things get tough, focus on progress and not perfection. Rest when you need to, but don’t quit. 

Be flexible. 
     Like a mentioned above, my goals this year are broad. Most goal setting experts would frown on this. However, I have found when I have the flexibility to let my goals morph and change over time, I am open to better things happening for me. 

Be creative.
     These are your goals and your chance to make plans for what you want to invite into your creative life. So be creative. You don’t have to make goals like other people or do the same goals year after year. You have the choice to structure your goals however it makes sense for you. Use the creative mind that you have in your goal setting as well.

My goals for this year:

1) Daily Sketchbook Project: create a sketchbook page each day using different mediums. Some days I may spend hours creating something. But other days may be quick sketches to keep my creativity flowing. This may be all a create some days. I'm going to keep track of this through Instagram and by dating my pages.

2) Complete a 100 Day Project: I have lots of ideas floating through my head of what this may be. I’ve tentatively set a date in mid-February to start. That’s about all I have figured out. :)

3) Share my work regularly: through this blog, on Instagram, and in person. I feel I do an okay job sharing my art online, but I know there is room for improvement. In addition, I want to learn to be more open about my work in a personal way. So technically, this is a personal/creative goal, but one that is going to take courage. This one may be a little harder to keep track of, but I basically know when I'm holding back on sharing and when I'm not. And some of this will be accomplished through the first goal. 

Have you set your creative goals for this year? I would love to hear about them!

Organizing Creative Ideas

The thing about creative ideas is you never know when you're going to have them. Sometimes it seems like you can easily think of one idea after another. But then sometimes you feel as if your creative well has completely dried up.

Does that ever happen to you?

I've lived through both extremes and discovered that having ideas on hand is so helpful for when you have no ideas or so many you're overwhelmed.

Here are some things I do to organize ideas so they are always on hand. 

1) I use Evernote or some kind of note taking app on my phone. I like Evernote because it allows me to tag and sort things easily. And I can go back and search if I can't remember where I put something. But the point is, when I have an idea I pull out my phone and write as much detail as I can about it. Size, shape, colors, function, etc. I've learned that including a bunch of details here means I'm less likely to look at it later with no idea what I meant. I'm also more likely to be able to expand on the idea into more ideas.

2) Sometimes we have ideas that are best drawn or doodled. For those times, I keep a small notebook in my purse. And honestly I grab this sometimes when I want to write the idea too. It gives me plenty of space to draw and write what's in my mind. Many times I will go back to these and input them in Evernote so everything is together.

3) Pinterest is another tool I use. I know it's easy to get sucked into the never-ending scroll of Pinterest. But if you stay focused and don't look, you can avoid that. (Easier said than done right?) Sometimes when I have an idea, maybe for a specific project and I want a color scheme to go with it, I'll search for it on Pinterest. Or if I see a technique that I'm not exactly sure how to do, I'll search it there. Anytime I feel I need more visual direction, Pinterest is my go-to. 

4) Sometimes the idea doesn't come from my own head but from something I've seen. Maybe a window display, a photo in a magazine, or an outfit. When this happens, I try to take a photo or screenshot. Usually I do this for textures, color combos, or the aesthetic of a piece. Later, I'll go through my photos and upload them to Evernote with notes about what I liked or want to remember about that idea.

5) One last thing I tend to do is combine these tools. I'll see something that sparks an idea. Then I'll take a photo and write and draw where I want to take that idea. Then I'll use Pinterest to fill any missing pieces of the idea. Then I can put it all into Evernote for easy access when I'm ready to create.

Most of my ideas don't come when I'm at my table ready to work. But keeping track of my ideas means I have somewhere to look for inspiration when I am ready to work. Using Evernote for this gives me one place to look for inspiration. When I'm thinking of projects, I go to the art projects notebook there. Then I can take a seed of an idea and make it work for what I'm doing. Or if I have no ideas then at least have somewhere to start.

What are your favorite ways to organize creative ideas? 

How do I know when my painting is finished?

First and foremost, it’s a feeling. For me, it’s not really a sigh of relief, more of a “I’m tired of this and ready to let it go”. I don’t mean that to sound harsh. I love painting! I love the process and most of the time I love the end result. Let me tell you about a painting that I tried to keep finishing. It was several weeks ago. I was working on a canvas a good bit bigger than I’m used to. I added many, many layers to this canvas because it kept calling for more. I finally got to a point where I was ready to be finished. But as I looked at it I really hated it. It felt ugly to me on every level. So I thought, “This can’t be finished if I don’t like it.” I’m supposed to love everything I paint, right? With the hopes of “fixing” it, I hung it on my wall. I looked at it from a distance and in different lighting. But over the course of a few days, it became uglier to me. So what did I do? I painted over the whole thing with black paint and stuck it back with my blank canvases. The reality was, that painting was finished. I was ready to let it go and take the lessons I had learned from it on to another piece. Do you want to know the really cool thing about that painting? The very first layer I had painted the words, “let go” all over it. If art is about the process and if we allow it to seep into our soul, we can really learn something from it. 

Black and White- Art Journal Page

In case you haven't noticed, I really love color! And I have a hard time with white space. However, for this page idea, I really wanted the words to come across without being in competition with a colorful background. So I decided to just use a black paint pen on this page. That's it. One supply. A black paint pen. And I'm really happy with how it turned out. It feels dynamic but not cluttered. The proportions on the person are off, but that's the first time I've drawn that, so it's ok. This page gives me the courage to try more "clean and simple" styles while still embracing my style.

If you're thinking you would like to start art journaling, I suggest you give the Get Messy community a try. Not only do you get weekly journal prompts, but it comes with an amazing supportive community of artists!

Just one step at a time...

Just take it one day and one step at a time.
I'm pretty sure this is what God is telling me lately. I so easily get caught up in the distant future and how it's all supposed to work out. Then I forget the small steps along the way. I forget to focus on what I can do today and in this moment that can lead me to those bigger dreams. I forget to be present. I forget that I can't do it all right this second no matter how hard I push myself. 

 

Art Journaling to Remember

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, art journaling helps me work out things or emotions. But lately, I’ve noticed I’ve been adding an extra layer to this- including things I don’t want to forget. Specifically with these two pages, it’s scripture I want to make sure I remember. These two verses tugged at my heart when I read them. I wanted to process that feeling but also I wanted to document them so I could easily find them again.

Art Journaling hurts sometimes

Last week, I discussed how I love the freedom of art journaling. And I still do. But you know, art journaling can hurt sometimes. Or at least it can help us face things on paper that maybe we've been avoiding in our everyday lives. When given the push to look at our true selves through an avenue as safe as paper and paint, it's amazing what comes up. While working on this spread, I had to be honest with myself. Honestly with ourselves can be hardest to muster. But I pushed through and I'm glad I did.

My Lettering Technique

With my upcoming trip to Rwanda, I've received some super sweet support from family and friends. I wanted to thank them with special "thank you" notes. Using my faux lettering technique, I came up with these. I'll walk you through how I made them!

First, I started with an printed outline of Africa. 

Then with a pencil, I scripted out my words. This is where I played around to get the shape of the letters right.

Next, I used a fine tip black pen to outline it all. Keep in mind, at this point, it doesn't have to be perfect. This is all about getting the base outlined.

Next, I went back with my pencil and added a thicker line on the downstrokes of each of the letters. The downstrokes are simply where you naturally would pull down on the pen if you were using a calligraphy pen. If you're unsure, pretend to be writing the word and see where you are pulling down. 

Lastly, I filled in the thicker lines and cleaned up any lines that weren't smooth. Don't forget to erase your pencil lines.

I took everything a step further using my digital die cutter to make them into card fronts from printed papers. I used Matte Medium to adhere them to kraft cardstock.

I love how they turned out!!

 

Mixed Media Supply Budgets

I’ve been thinking lately about my go-to supplies. And the supplies I’ve had for years and can’t seem to part with. I’ve been thinking about how I do mixed media and art journaling and painting and just art in general. I guess you could say all that (over)thinking is really me figuring out my style. I’ve been creating in some form or another for well over ten years. That’s kind of a long time. It’s actually about a third of my life so far. And really I would say I’ve been creating since childhood. But anyway. Last week, I shared about finding free supplies for your mixed media projects. Today, I thought through different budgets and created supply lists for each. This is totally my opinion and based solely on how I create. I suggest you use it as a way to determine what you want to spend your money on. 

I’m going to assume you have a basic kit of a ruler, scissors, paper, and pen/pencil. 

If I only have $30 to spend where should I start?
$5-Paint. Start with a red, yellow, and blue, any shade that speaks to you. Get black and white (maybe in a larger size). Then fill in with other colors that you love. When you start on projects, experiment with color mixing and keep notes of the colors you like. I’ve worked up a collection of colors, but I still mix almost every color I use. This adds depth to a project.
$3-Paintbrushes. Get a large flat, a small round, and a fine tip one. In some stores you can get an assortment pack for a few dollars. This will help you decide which size brushes you use most often and you can begin to replace those with better quality when you need one.
$10-Acrylic Medium (not Mod Podge. This is the one place I suggest getting an art supply instead of craft supply. In the end, I’m always happier with my results with Acrylic Medium over Mod Podge.) 
$5-10-Stamps. I suggest bold lined floral sets that can be painted and cut out. 
$2-5- Permanent Dye Ink pad. Black is probably the most versatile. 
$1- Brads, Buttons, Trims, stickers. Fill the rest of your budget with these items.

If I only have $75 to spend where should I start?
Start with the basic supplies above. 
$15-Stencils. Get a few basic patterns that you love.
$5-10-Stamps. Pick up an extra stamp set or two. You could consider background stamps here.
$20-Gel Printing Plate. It’s so much fun and will make the best printed papers for your projects.
$5-White and Black Paint or Gel Pens for doodles and journaling.

If I only have $100 to spend where should I start?
All supplies listed above
$10-assortment of glitter because who doesn’t need a bit sparkle
$10-texture/molding paste to add more texture to your projects. These work great with stencils.
$5- Stencils. Stamps. 

Where you’ll want to go from here?
Canvas
Mixed Media/Watercolor paper
Heat Gun
Embossing Powders and Ink
Colored Pencils/Pens/Markers
Paper trimmer

What you didn’t see:
-Patterned Paper. You have the supplies to make your own
-Colored Cardstock. Paint a white piece of paper the color you want it. 

What are your go to supplies? 

The Freedom of Art Journaling

I recently joined the Get Messy Art Journal group. It's a monthly membership site that provides you with weekly art journal prompts. Every two months a new season begins. I somehow had the lucky timing to join just before a new season began! This season is called "introspection". I'm not going to share the specific prompts, but I wanted to share my first pages and some thoughts. 

I started first my altering a hard bound journal with watercolor and cardstock pages. (I'll be sharing a more detailed look at how I made my journal soon.) Then I decided I wanted a title page of sorts. This is what it looks like. It's pretty simple. 

After the prompts were realized, I created the spread you see on the bottom. The photo was collaged after I painted the basic rays of color. After adding my journaling, I added those dots. I know there are a lot of them, but I painted them while talking to my sister on the phone, so it went by quickly. When I finished that, I had a bit of paint left over so I added some dots to the cover of another journal. 

Here is a closer view of that. 
So, here's the thing I love about art journaling. Ever since painting those dots, I've had ideas for a larger painting developing in my mind. I'm sure something I saw at some point influenced those dots. However, without the freedom of my art journal, I may not have come to the idea of the painting. Or it may have taken a while longer. While I was working on that spread, I wasn't thinking about what it may become or how it would look in the end. I was just taking one step at a time and not over thinking it. It helped something unlock in my mind. 
Have you tired art journaling yet? 

Free Mixed Media Supplies

As I'm sure you know, arts and crafts can get pricey sometimes. Those supplies add up fast. But today, I wanted to share with you a list of free (or almost free) supplies that you may already have!

-Magazines. I love using home goods catalogs. They usually have swatches of colors and patterns that can be cut up and added to your project.
-Books. I’ll admit it took me some time before I felt comfortable ripping up a book. I told myself I had to read it first. Then I got over myself. 😃 Book text is so great for backgrounds, stamped or drawn images, die cuts, anything really. Just have fun with it.
-Telephone book. I don’t think they deliver these to doors anymore, but you can find them at the phone company usually. 
-Digital Images/fonts to print
-Cereal/Cracker Boxes. I love these for journal covers or in place of canvas.
-Gift boxes. I like to paint the front as if it’s a canvas then you can still use it as a box.
-Buttons from clothing. You save those little bags of extra buttons that come with your clothing, right? You can use those bags too.
-Fabric from old clothing. Chances are you have a box of clothes you don’t want anymore. This is a great place to find fabric that can be added to your mixed media projects.
-Shopping Bags. Not the plastic ones (Although you can do some cool stuff with those.) But the ones that you get at boutiques and fancier stores. 
-Junk mail. The envelopes are cool to create pockets on your projects. The letters are fun the print over. 

I keep supplies like these in a box under my work table. It's easy to grab a small piece when I'm working on a project or wanting to use up leftover paint. 

What free supplies have you used in your art?