One of my goals this year is to art journal something weekly. I did not think I was doing well with this until I looked back over these pages. I discovered that I created something each week this month.
I share them here to encourage you to do something, even if it does not seem like much. I feel at a standstill these days (maybe you will notice that in some of my work), but looking back I see movement that pushes me forward.
As February comes to a close and March steps up, I look forward to what is coming my way. I am not sure that that is, exactly, but that is part of the fun! What are you looking forward to, Dear Reader? Do share!
Friday’s readings come from the prophets. Today was the book of Jonah, so how could the prompt not be fish? Cliche? Maybe. It’s not the first time that word has been assigned to me, so I don’t mind. That story is for another time, though.
This morning I began the process of creating water from blue streamers and ModPodge. I asked one of my children to guess the day’s prompt.
Drowning my hopes and dreams? No. A whirlpool that sucks all my happiness? No.
Clearly my children are on to me, and I laugh at how well they know me. I actually laugh out loud as I am reminded that their job is not to affirm me. Somehow these responses are oddly affirming.
After creating the background I cut fish from a National Geographic magazine found in the stash of magazines gifted me by a friend. I arranged them in the water, reminding myself that I could put them wherever I wanted, and that I was not actually illustrating the story of Jonah.
Blue crepe paper streamers bleed dye all over when they get wet, and the ModPodge was making a mess. Even more of a mess was me choosing to pour small amounts from the container directly onto the page rather than into a small dish or cup to brush on from there.
The final pour was a miscalculation, coating the entire page with a thick glob of white. Blotting and wiping, I eventually had to stop and leave it alone. The area was a mess, my hands were blue, I couldn’t see the images, and a teasing voice across the room was giving me a life lesson.
Five days into the month, and there is much I am learning through this process that has nothing to do with the finished product.
It’s not about the word but the process of choosing the word. This touches on the not already knowing piece of my story. I have to trust that each day I will receive just what I need.
It’s not about getting it right. I am not receiving a grade or assessment for this. While others may appreciate or enjoy the final product with me, their opinion does not equal or negate success.
I can trust my instincts. I can believe that I know what goes where on each page and that whatever I do is the right thing.
I can make messes and mistakes and still create something with stunning beauty.
Creating beauty takes time.
This is a page that actually looks so much better in person with its glossy effect. I love the final result.
How are you doing with your word? It’s imagine, right? How are you imagining?
What are you doing just for you this summer?
Just wanted to pop in and say I’ve missed your words . . . I imagine it’s reflective of the way your summer is going.
These questions and comments were posed to me this month at separate times by separate friends. I am usually the one asking questions and noticing things, so they caught me off guard. My answers were honestly vague, as I have not felt imaginative, nor do I have a clear image of what I am doing just for me.
I have been reading more books, gathering up the words.
I have been practicing yoga most days, connecting body with breath.
I have been moving things around, decluttering, sorting, ordering the externals.
These were my answers.
This summer finds me caring for those in my home and adjusting to my husband’s new work schedule and routine. When he shared his one month evaluation, I joked that I should have a one month evaluation, as well, to see how I am handling the change.
Summer naturally brings a different rhythm and routine to our home. This summer was no exception. There was much coming and going of children throughout June and July, with all of us finally together again on July 19.
Today I engaged my youngest daughters in painting. We sat at the dining table choosing colors for our palettes and brushing paint on paper. We found pictures to add. I tried to spark imagination, theirs and mine.
Afterwards, I gathered our palettes for a picture to capture the moment. Our colors tell a story of their own. Our works in progress are uniquely us.
To answer the questions, both spoken and not, I am caring intently for those in my home. I am having talks at bedtime and during breakfasts at favorite haunts. I am walking with and hearing hearts. I am meeting my own for coffee.
I sit in a new physical space while writing this. It is one I created this summer. It is a place I have imagined for years that has finally become a reality. Of course there are the unimagined parts, as well, such as the warbling of birds and the jumping of a dog. It reminds me that imagination comes to fruition with its own dose of reality.
I am living in reality, embracing the daily, walking by faith. Living in the shadow of the question. Always.