Tag Archives: fall

Veranda View

The rising sun casts light over the mountains, calling last hues of orange to waken. Flecks of green and gold raise their hands to be noticed amidst the predominant brown. Bare branches along the ridge top stab a brilliantly blue sky. Leaves litter the ground, shrugging their way down the trees.

Autumn is heavy upon us.

From my perch outdoors on the third floor veranda of the Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Center, I hear sounds of voices young and old. Coffee steam rises from the eight ounce hotel lobby lidded cup in my hand.

Couples check out, walking to their cars, coolers and roller bags in hand. Children argue as parents snap at them and each other. It’s a time of transition, and I get to be still a little while longer, drinking coffee, rocking in a chair, writing, before my turn to depart.

As always, time away has been kind. Unexpected, unpredictable, unfamiliar, yet kind, nonetheless. My heart feels the rustling of return. Places I thought had settled comfortably, nudge for attention.

I sit with what is right now. Crisp air, bright sun, chirping birds, laughing child. Rocking, feeling the steady back and forth movement, drinking in the comforting warmth and wake of hot coffee.

Solace.

This moment offers Sabbath for my heart, a heart full. So much is happening behind the scenes rather than front and center. I hold loosely. I hold close.

The more present in reality we are, the more fullness we feel. There is a very thin veil between life and death. ~ Scott Moore

I am feeling the presence, the fullness, the joy of life, the grief of death. All of it. During lulls in the passing traffic, I can hear the leaves hit the ground.

Eight ounces of hotel coffee does not last long. Minutes tick past the hours that remain before I, too, must pack up, roll out, and return. A golden gleam from the lawn below catches my eye. It takes me back to church in childhood, my sister shining her Strawberry Shortcake compact mirror in the pastor’s eyes.

This vintage Strawberry Shortcake makeup compact has Strawberry Shortcake on the cover and has a mirror inside the lid. The compact was originally from the Berry Pretty Face Boutique set and had face cream in it, but it's now empty. You can use it to store makeup, pills, small jewelry, or anything else that will fit inside. The Berry Pretty Face Boutique set came with strawberry scented lip gloss, face cream, and cologne and items from this set are some of the more rare and hard-to-find…

 

Image result for strawberry shortcake compact mirror

The brilliant golden shine is not a golden ball of reflected sunshine but an outdoor ground light remaining on from a time change that has not been adjusted.

Nothing gold can stay. ~ Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Stickerless Smile

All day I watched as I Voted posts filled my social media feeds. Friends shared selfies with circle or oval stickers pressed to their clothing. One picture showed Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter with stickers on their noses.

I planned to walk to my polling place and vote, but that did not happen. Morning rain cleared as I headed to the grocery store for much-needed provisions. Returning home I had less than an hour before another commitment that would continue past 7pm when the polls closed.

My daughter graciously unloaded and put away groceries as I drove to vote solo, a change from this year. I did not need any literature and quickly checked in, removing my ID from my wallet. Yearly pleasantries were exchanged with my favorite poll worker, as the man checking me in waited patiently then asked me to state my address.

I took the paper ballot and sat at a table behind a cardboard privacy shield. Looking over the ballot, I took deep breaths. Voting always reminds me of how not right everything is. I colored the ovals of my choices and walked to the scanner, which was sporadically spitting ballots back for retrys.

It’s been doing that all day.

Waiting for my ballot to scan I noticed that the exit poll worker’s hands were conspicuously empty, and that no one was getting a sticker.

Wait! Are there no stickers?

We’re all out. Someone left to go get more.

Inside my head I heard, Noooo! I really want a sticker! Tears stung my eyes, cluing me to the fact that I was experiencing feelings that were probably not about the sticker. I refrained from repeating the other words springing to mind.

I feel disenfranchised!

That would have been making light of a serious scenario, comparing myself to someone who was actually deprived of the right to vote. Though, in hindsight it feels a completely appropriate initial response, because these days if you vote and don’t get a sticker or post a selfie on social media, did you really vote?

Outside the polling place, I told one of the workers who held an armload of sample ballots, They were out of stickers! How can I prove that I actually voted?

She felt my pain and mentioned that people had been taking selfies in front of the signs.

Which I did.

Returning home, I expressed disappointment to my daughter who offered comfort in the form of suggesting I create an I Voted sign out of M&Ms. Which I did.

I left to fulfill my evening obligation. My husband voted, and daughter accompanied.

They brought me a sticker, which I made into a page in my Art Journal.

I am thankful for thoughtfulness, the ability to vote, laughter, M&Ms, a fun daughter, a conscientious husband, for scraps of paper and cardboard tissue boxes with designs on them and glue.

I am also thankful for a space to share my stories and for people who care to read them.

I am Glad I Took Time to Look at the Leaves

The wedding is over. There is much to process. It was a beautiful, perfect weekend. I do not use that phrase lightly. Those who know me understand this. Nothing is ever perfect, but this event came mighty close.

The time was amazing. The weather was kind. The leaves were glorious.

The morning after returning home I sat in my favorite spot, looking out the window at my favorite tree. Its branches were mostly bare. Only a few leaves were left clinging to the ends of its limbs.

It inspired this art journal page and poem.

I am glad I took time to look at the leaves
While their glorious color was still on the trees

Before they began the descent to the ground
To be raked up and piled up and blown all around.

I know it’s the season, they never can stay
They all end up down at the end of the day

They don’t wait for me to have things all lined up
To sit with the perfect drink in my cup

They fall when they’re ready, when their time is here
Seasons and cycles, year after year

And I get to watch and see what they do
From green to orange to brilliantly blue

The scene out the window, it changes each day
As more sky appears and the leaves go away

So I’m glad I took time to look at the leaves
While their glorious color was still on the trees.

Bonus Feature

For all of my kind, faithful readers, here is a bonus art journal page created last year on a piece of paper. I thought I might frame it, didn’t.

One of the reasons I bought myself a bound journal is because I have so many single pages falling out of books and piles everywhere, and I thought it would be fun to have them all collected in one space.

I taped it opposite today’s page in my art journal. That way I can take it out if I ever decide to do something else with it.

I have to say, I really love the way this looks together. I had no idea where I would be this year when I played with collage last fall. It is all just casting it on the waters and seeing what returns.

Happy casting!

Harvest

Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. Psalm 126:5,6

Day 1. Early Autumn

Day 31. Harvest

 

I love how this project began and ended with fall-themed scenes.

While the official month of creating is over, by no means am I finished creating. It has been such a fun joy to prioritize making art each day and sharing it with all of you. I have been humbled by your feedback and blessed by your encouragement.

I step into November with deep gratitude and much reflection. Stay tuned to see what’s up next!

Bird

We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap, The trap is broken, and we are free!
Psalm 124:7

As excited as I was about yesterday’s page, I was equally frustrated by today’s. In fact, it was difficult to push through creating and even more difficult to want to write about it. At one point I said, I do not like this at all!

A voice from the other room said, Ohhh, I hate it.

I assured her that hate was a strong word which I wasn’t ready to use. A few minutes later I was ready.

hate this page.

While reading in Psalms this morning, I was eager to choose a word. It was almost mercy from 123, but when I reached the end of 124, I knew it was bird. An image came to mind that I wanted to create, much like yesterday’s thistle.

I envisioned an open cage with a bird flying from it or maybe a trap or something that looked like a trap with a bird escaping. I wanted to portray being set free and freedom. I also wanted to use watercolors again, because I loved yesterday’s look so much.

It’s today, though. A new day. A different one. What worked yesterday was not going to work today. This became painfully obvious shortly after I painted the background. When I added colorful triangles around the border that I thought would look like a trap, they didn’t.

Glue stick would not work, so I used wet glue. Which smeared the watercolors.

I have lots of ready cut pictures of birds. All perching, not flying. I did not have time to search for a flying bird. I was hoping to get this page knocked out quickly. Instead it was knocking me out.

Looking through my cut pictures, I chose one of the perching birds. I was also drawn to a house shown from the side with manicured shrubs and rose bushes lining its brick walkway. I glued it on. It took up most of the page.

I decided to perch the bird in a tree, so I found some branches and glued them on the page. I cut random parts of other trees for the leaves and perched the bird. This is what my work space looked like all morning. I felt as if I were working upside-down and backwards as I tried to compose the page.

Here it is almost finished. There are a lot of layers.

This is the end result looking nothing like I imagined. I have gone from hating it to tolerating it to loving it. As I study what I was drawn to add to the picture and where I could or could not place things, I see how the bottom and left side are more structured, rigid, and formal. There is movement to the right and upwards where the bird is. This area is less structured, more playful, and free-flowing.

It depicts movement into freedom!

I find my words on the opposite page ironic. This is my style, my touch, the way I show up. And. It’s. Okay. I totally showed up in this space as myself today. I could not hold it back, no matter how hard I tried to do it the right way. 

I share this as encouragement to continue to trust the process, wherever you are in it. Today looked nothing like what I planned time wise and picture wise. I battled perfectionism and self-doubt and fear. There was anxiety. Then I stepped away and looked back.

And it was just right.

Thistle

Out in the Lebanon mountains a thistle sent a message to a mighty cedar tree, “Give your daughter in marriage to my son.” But just then a wild animal of Lebanon came by and stepped on the thistle crushing it. 2 Chronicles 25:18 (NLT)

It is 2 Chronicles we are talking about here. I wanted to use the word thistleThat is the only meaning I am taking from this verse other than we are going to absolutely crush the wedding next week!

I also wanted to use the box of watercolors that has been sitting on my youngest child’s bedroom floor for quite some time. I asked her this morning if I could borrow them, and she said yes.

I began with the background building from the ground up.

This is the finished background.

I added the thistle.

really wanted to use glitter, so I covered the blossom. I also added marker detail to the leaves.

Finally, I wrote the title at the top in purple.

However, I still felt a nudge to more on this page. It is something I have contemplated going back to do on others after sharing them publicly. I wanted to write about what was going on inside of me during the process.

A phone call with a friend this morning prompted me to add more words to the last picture, which is the real finished page. Scroll further.

As I think about art and myself ~ what is me ~ I battle the insecurity that says not good enough or not like someone else’s. This inspired the following words that I transferred from my journal to this page.

What is your style, Dear Reader? It is not mine. My intent in sharing this (rather personal) series of pages from my art journal this month is to inspire you to find your own artistic eye, not to copy mine. It is to share the joy of bringing something from inside of you out onto a blank page and create. It is to help you discover the beauty within you.

Each day I wonder, Is there something more inside of me? What if there isn’t? What if it isn’t good? What if I mess it up?

And each day that I create something the doubt grows smaller and the joy grows bigger.

And I show up.

Water

As they rode along they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized? He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went into the water, and Philip baptized him. (Acts 8:36, 37 (NLT)

It’s late, and the day was long. I am excited to share what I created based on the theme of water, though.

I worked on this in 15 minute blocks of time in my room. One day my bed won’t be my workspace, but today it was. It was an emotionally challenging day, and I found that the process of tearing paper and arranging and gluing it was grounding.

Today’s page is torn paper collage. I began with the water background. I took a picture at the end of each work session.

 Here I continue to build the water working in a circular direction.

 Finished water. This leaf was my inspiration for the design. I loved the look of it floating on the water. I debated leaving this the finished page. Bur there were these cute underwater animals that looked happy and playful. I decided to add this smiling beluga and smirking seal for fun. I also added a stream of water down the side with the title at the top.

 My daughter added her own touch to my underwater theme and had me laughing hysterically when I discovered it. It was not glued on. I took the picture for fun. I mixed some blue-tinted water with modpodge and coated the picture for effect, inspired by my fish page. I also added silver glitter to the stream of water and the edges of the leaf.

This is the finished work. It is another one that I like better in real life.

Here is what it looks like across from yesterday’s page.

Goodnight, Friends!

A Refuge

The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.
Nahum 1:7 (NLT)

Knowing that Friday is minor prophets day, I chose a bleak-looking National Geographic from my stash and brought it to the TV room where I have my morning quiet time. My idea was to read, choose my word, then look through the magazine for a few minutes for inspiration.

I don’t always have three hours to spend poring over my page and hunting for images. I knew that today would need to be a quick session. Pictures of dwellings caught my attention, and I tore them out. Later, I cut them and assembled them on the page, like so.

They illustrate various places of refuge.

I added apartment buildings and a Siberian Chum. 

I love the nest as the final dwelling. It’s perfect.

I am including the subtle change of turning the nest around so that the bird at the bottom is looking directly up at you. It’s all in the details.

This is the finished page. Final touches are the word Refugeapartments cut and surrounding the title, and Washi tape border across the top and bottom. I am pretty fond of the results.

Enjoy the weekend, Friends! May your heart find a place of refuge in the midst of the busy.

Mountains

I look up to the mountains does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1,2 (NLT)

I began today’s page, Mountains, with no ideas.

Paint? Watercolor Markers? Inktense pencils again? Collage?

I looked through a folder of cut-out magazine pictures, and inspiration came. I did not document the early stages of work, but I began with the large mountain at the top. From there I cut various mountain ranges from scenes and began assembling them like a puzzle, working from the top down.

A flow developed resulting in this.

Next I added a strip down the left side, title at the top, and John Muir quote at the bottom

I cut and added bits to the side for more blended color. I thought this was the finished piece.

But, wait! There’s more! Look closely at the sky where there is textured white paint. Also see if you can tell where I squeezed in a final mountain piece.

THIS is the finished page, and it is one of my absolute favorites. I was so excited about it that I did not even notice my daughter taking a video of it coming together.

I am grateful to have made this project a priority this month. Each day brings new insight and anticipation for what is to come. It is kind for my heart.

What do you do that is kind for your heart, Dear Reader? Feel free to share! I am curious.