Daily Art and Black Gesso

Today’s daily art has been all over the place.  I made some art journal signatures, cleaned the work room a bit more, painted a firefighter coming through the fire carrying a child (as a gift for my firefighter brother-in-law), and began my gratitude art journal.

And I had my bottle of black gesso open next to the art journal and it tipped over, spilling the entire bottle all over the journal.  I lost one two page layout, but the rest were only slightly damaged by the spill.  Every page has some black gesso on it, with four completely primed with black gesso.  I mean it was all over my table-might as well use it up.  So I smeared pages with the baby wipes I used to mop up the spill.  Fortunately the gesso only got on my craft mat.  It didn’t spill over the rest of the work space or onto another project I began today:  an altered pringles can.

It is certainly a unique way to begin a new art journal.  Maybe it will be the best journal ever!  If it turns out great I’ll have to spill gesso all over all my art journals when I start.

The Pringles can is going to be a small jewelry or trinket box.  I have the base all cut up and drying with clamps.  The next step is to cover the exterior and ends of the can.  Then finish the door.  Then decorate it and add door clasp.  So, I’m pretty early in the process.  I saw a finished one somewhere-Pinterest maybe?-and decided to make one myself.  We shall see how it turns out.

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Bible Journaling 101

First, what is bible journaling?  Well, it’s a way to get into God’s word and connect with Him in an artistic and creative way.  It’s art journaling in a bible.  Here are my two Journaling Bibles:

Let’s begin with the basics of bible journaling.  First you need a bible and something to write with.  That’s the bare-bones basics for supplies.  Any bible will do, it doesn’t have to be a “journaling bible”.  Often beginners start their bible journaling experience in a journal rather than in the bible itself.  For some the thought of writing or painting in a bible is anxiety inducing.  That is not what this is about.  This is an art form that should relax you and open you up to hear the Lord’s messages as you work.  You meditate on the passage of scripture you’re journaling, focus on the meaning, the message, the lesson, the warning- whatever your passage offers.  You delve deeply into the meaning behind the words, letting the Holy Spirit fill you with insights from the Word.

Once you have those two things (the bible and something to write with), pray the Holy Spirit opens the Word to you and that you will learn and grow from what you find there, then open your bible and choose the passage you want to journal.  I usually read over the passage of scripture I am going to journal several times before I actually pick up anything to start.  This gives me time to process and absorb the passage and gives me a clear picture of what the passage is saying.  That gives me the direction I want to go in while journaling.

Sometimes I get the whole picture of what I want to do, sometimes only pieces and parts.  And both of those are alright.  If you get nothing from the passage at all, you don’t feel led to journal that passage, whatever-find another one.  If you’re not in tune with the scripture your journaling, you will never be happy with what you did.  It will be a struggle and you will become frustrated.  It’s okay to search for a passage that speaks to you today.  Who knows, maybe the very passage which gave you problems today is the perfect passage for next week Wednesday.  Follow where the Lord is leading you.

As with most art journaling projects, I begin with gesso.  I gesso the page and dry it.  Now you can use white gesso, but I prefer clear gesso for bible journaling.  It’s gesso without the color.  Goes on clear, but has some “tooth” which will hold your media on the page.  I do this the way I do any other journal page, I place a dollar tree cutting mat (they come in two) beneath the page I’m working on and I add a layer or two of clear gesso.  This also gives the very thin bible pages some extra strength.

Next I decide what I want to do with the page.  Sometimes I sketch my ideas out onto my sketch pad first, then when I’m satisfied I create them in my bible.  It’s fairly hard to erase in a bible, I’ve found, so sometimes working out the challenges on a scrap piece of paper helps a lot.  The covers are also available for art.  I used the inside covers for “What This Bible Is and What This Bible Isn’t”.

Remember, you’ll have spelling mistakes, you’ll make pages you don’t like, you’ll have a great time but it won’t ever be perfect.  And that’s okay.  Learn to embrace and love those imperfections.  It’s who we are.

Here is a list of of my most used supplies in bible journaling:

 

  1. Clear Gesso If I were to say anything is absolutely essential to bible journaling (other than the bible and something to write with) this is it.  I cannot do a page without this on it.  It helps your very thin pages stand up to all sorts of techniques and materials.  I normally apply just one coat, but have used two or  three coats, depending on how wet my media is going to be.  You can also use it to seal your page after your finished so the media doesn’t transfer to the opposite page when you close the book.
  2. Pigma Micron Pens or Pitt Pens.  The ink does not bleed through to the page beneath, and it’s archival.  They come in several very fine tipped points, which makes writing small legible. This is the type of pen or marker that I use most often in bible journaling.  I love, love, love my Pitt pens.
  3. You can use colored pens too.  I have a set of colored ink pens (Pitt) which I use for my Kay Arthur bible studies, as well as bible journaling.  Also, gelly roll pens are fantastic.
  4. Highlighters.  I have the kids school highlighters which I pick up when they go on sale at the beginning of the school year.  They do show through the paper, but the clear gesso does prevent it from saturating the paper.  One recommended brand of highlighter is Zebra Eco Zebrite Double-Ended Highlighters, Fine Point   They are supposed to be really great at limiting the ghosting you’ll get on the back side of a page.  Another option is to highlight with colored pencils.
  5. I find I use colored pencils a lot when bible journaling.  You can use any colored pencils you have.  I can draw a picture easily with them and I can seal the page, if I wish, with cheap hair spray.
  6. Parchment paper.  I use this a lot for my images or writing, then insert into the bible where I want it with double sided tape. I’ve written small books about details of the time period the passage is talking about, family life at that time, any relevant details, a particular word in the original language and it’s meaning and inserted them into the bible that way.  You can also make pockets which allow you to still see the text beneath, but will hold notes you want to keep.  Or make the page a tucks page with a belly band and that will hold any emphemera or notes you want to keep.  Use the back of both covers for a very strong place to add pockets.
  7. Spray inks.  One of my favorite ways to get color all over the page without it being to much color.  Also use a stencil with the sprays and you can make some really interesting backgrounds.  Cut out shapes to highlight the passage you’re focusing on, use the paper to block where you don’t want the spray to go.  Once sprayed, remove paper shapes and you have highlighted areas easily.
  8. Stamps and ink pads.  Another very useful supply.
  9. Stickers. There are thousands and thousands of stickers available.  If you don’t feel confident in your drawing skills yet-use a sticker as your image.  Easy to find in most areas, easy to use, and quick.  I use them on tabs so I can easily spot a particular passage I want to refer to often.

Here are some nice-to-have’s:  Watercolor pencils and media.  You can create beautiful effects with watercolors.  Inktense pencils are particularly vibrant and once dry will not budge.  A gift card scraper.  I use this to smear my clear gesso onto the page, to add collage to the pages.  Washi tape, either permanently applied with double sided tape or to repair damage done to a page.  Craft or acrylic paints.  I use these quite often too. DIY shimmering H2O’s, has become another favorite of mine for bible journaling.  Mod Podge or gloopy glue.  I use either one to collage in my bible. You could also use your clear gesso for this.

 

You can use markers in your bible journaling but I have found they show through the backside of the page like crazy.  Maybe if you used white gesso on the page first it would make a difference, but I haven’t tried that.  It’s just a guess.  I have used the fine tipped markers several times and didn’t really care that they bled through.  I prefer the colored ink pens over markers.

I didn’t mention texture paste.  I find it dries hard and unyielding which makes pages heavier to turn and more likely to rip.  I avoid it in my bible journaling.  Below are a couple examples of techniques and pages from my art journaling bible.

There are several great things about bible journaling.  You can express through art exactly what the passage says to you.  You can build a page with examples from your life that were impacted by this particular passage.  You can use magazine images, paper dolls, scrapbook papers, paper clips, brads and grommets, anything you want you can put into your bible. It’s what is meaningful to your that’s important.  How you connect with Gods Word is up to you.  You can share your love for art and your love for the Lord at the same time, thus not needing to schedule time for both activities separately.  While the bible is giving to you, your also giving back to God by making things within His Word.  He is called the Creator, you know.  Because he was the first to create stuff.  And we share His love for creating too.  It’s a bonding thing between you and the Lord.

I have pretty much filled my bible given to me for Christmas by my two middle daughters and purchased one for half price at the Outlet store.  I prefer the single column bibles for journaling in.  Sometimes you can find large print bibles for a couple of bucks.  Again-go to second hand stores first.  You can pick up a bible there for a buck or less.  And it doesn’t even matter if it has writing in it because you’ll be arting over it anyway.

 

 

Lessons I Keep Learning

Personal Post.  Don’t read if you don’t want to know.

I am scheduled for a biopsy tomorrow to let me know if I have cancer or not.  The radiologist who read the tests was very concerned.  In fact, she had tears in her eyes as she spoke to me.  She was unwilling to say it was definitely cancer, but she made it clear it was very serious in her opinion.

Since the hospital only does these types of biopsys on Wednesdays, I have been waiting for 6 days.  Your mind can do a lot in six days.  I’ve gone through the stages of grief several times, been overwhelmed with guilt because I didn’t pay attention to what seemed a very minor thing compared to the rest of my health problems. I’ve been overwhelmed with anger because this is just one more pile of crap on my already huge crap pile.  I’ve had screaming matches with the Lord, telling Him exactly how sucky my life has been and how dare he add this on top of all the other crap I have to cope with…

I wrote out my wishes for my memorial service.  I am filling out the necessary forms for any financial or medical decisions which need to be made should I become incapable of doing it.  I’m updating my will.  I wrote out a list of things I’d like to take care of before I go, to make things easier for my family.  I have made decisions for care and treatments based on every possible scenario.  I have told no one what is going on with me right now, other than my husband and one daughter.  I won’t share this with my family until there is something concrete to share.  Especially with my parents, as they have lost their only son, my dear brother Jeff, to cancer less than two years ago.  To have to tell them their remaining child has it too is my greatest concern.

Some might say my life is tough.  There are health problems, problems with kids, autism, financial problems, in every part of my life there is some sort of issue.  Nothing is easy.  It’s all a struggle.  And has been our entire marriage.  There hasn’t been one time when we weren’t facing some crisis or another.  For us, it has been a battle every step of the way.

Of course I know there are others out there facing battles of their own.  Some are worse than ours.  This is not a post to complain about my life and my struggles.  This is a post about faith, hope and gratitude.  I cannot tell you about that without giving you some background as to where it’s coming from and why.

You may have heard of Job.  He’s a man of great faith in the bible.  Job’s wife is one of the women in my Women of Strength journal.  She’s the most misunderstood person in the bible, in my opinion.  Anyway, the story goes like this:  Satan came to God and God asked him to consider Job.  He was a upright man who respected God.  Satan said “Of course he is.  Look how you’ve blessed him.  He has many wonderful children, he’s incredibly wealthy, he has a hedge around him.  Take that away and he’ll curse your name.”  The LORD said “Alright, do your worst to him, but you may not harm him physically.”  So Satan did.

On one day these things happened to Job:  his flocks of oxen and donkeys were attacked and taken by an enemy army and all his servants killed, except the one who came to tell him of the attack.  As that one was speaking, a second servant arrived to tell Job fire from heaven fell upon the flocks of sheep and burned them all including his servants, leaving only the one there to tell him.  While he still was speaking a third servant came in to announce another army came down and stole all his camels and killed all his servants leaving only the one to come and tell Job what happened.  While the third servant was still speaking, a forth servant arrived to tell Job that while his children were celebrating at his oldest sons home a mighty wind came upon the house and collapsed it upon the family.  All were killed except the one servant who rode to share the news…

In a matter of minutes, Job lost everything he had.  His family, his wealth, his servants (who were really like family members if you understand the customs of the day)-everything gone.  Just like that.

What did Job do?  He tore his clothes, shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship the LORD.  This is a man of incredible faith.  Because when bad things happen to me, I am not in the worshiping mood.  I’m in the bitterness, anger and hopelessness mood, I’m not gonna lie.  It’s not that I don’t have faith, of course I do, but my go-to is to become angry and frustrated by whatever it is that just adds one more load of poop to my already huge pile.  I want a break, I don’t want more poop.

Now the reason Job’s wife is the most misunderstood person in the bible is this:  She just lost everything too.  Her children are dead, her lifestyle is gone.  Everything that was their life together has been destroyed.  She, too is devastated.  But Satan isn’t finished yet.  No, no, no.

Satan again went to the LORD.  And the LORD said, “Observe Job.  He’s lost everything and still he praises ME.  He is an upright man who has not sinned against ME in spite of what you’ve done to him.”  Satan replies:  “Of course he hasn’t cursed you yet.  He is still physically healthy.  Take away his health and he will surely curse your name.”  So the LORD said, “alright you may do what you will to him, but you cannot kill him.”  And Satan did.

He covered Job from head to toe with painful boils.  Job went out and sat in ashes and scraped the boils with a broken piece of pottery.  And he did not curse GOD.

At this point Job’s wife has had enough.  She’s lost her family, her home, her wealth, her status in the community, and now the man she loves is covered with painful boils and sits in ashes.  She has endured all she can.  To see the man she loves in such a state has sent her over the edge.  She says to Job:  “Enough!  Just curse GOD and die!”  for it would be easier for her to lose him than to watch him suffer in incredible pain and anguish.

Job responds with great gentleness and kindness to his beloved wife, who has been utterly broken by these events, and says “You are speaking as foolish women speak…Should we not praise GOD in both good and bad times?”

Of course we should.  But do we?  I didn’t when I got the news there was something very suspicious and I needed a biopsy.  I became all that Job wasn’t.  I was filled with anxiety, fear, grief and anger that this was happening to me. I screamed at God and told him exactly what I thought of this latest piece of crap and how he could stick it up his ass.  I told him if this is what serving you looks like, I’m done with it.  You can keep your promises of love and care and all that other stuff because I was finished…

Much like Job’s wife did.  She had reached the end of her endurance and just said “screw it!”

The truth is God and I have these “discussions” often.  I always tell Him exactly what I think and why I think it.  I never sugar coat anything. I just pour it all out all over Him and afterward I feel much better.  Then He says, “Feeling better?  Now, let’s really talk.”  And we do.  Sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh, but I always know He understands me and why I respond the way I respond and it’s okay with Him.  He’s got big shoulders, He can take it.  And He loves me.  He’s patient and kind and filled with compassion for me and my situations.  He wants me to trust that He has a plan and it’s all part of it.  He wants me to know that even though I don’t understand the plan, or see the big picture, He does and it’s good.  Because all things will work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

And I love the Lord.  He’s my best friend.  I couldn’t get out of bed each morning if I didn’t know the Lord was there for me.  How could I ever face all the crap in my life without Him?  I’d go mad.  Or worse, give up completely.  And that is never gonna happen.  I do not give up.  I keep going in spite of it all.  And I try to make the best life I can for my family with what I have to work with.  No one could ever accuse me of being a quitter.

So the lesson I’ve had to learn again, and again, and again, is to be grateful and praise the Lord in every circumstance.  Oh, I always get there in the end, but why shouldn’t that be my go-to instead of worry, fear, anger, etc.  Why do I always have to go though all that angst before I can get to the peace that knows no understanding?

You would think I’d be pretty good at it after all the years of craptastic stuff, but I’m not.  I still have to go through all that misery to get to peace.

And I am at peace.  No matter the results of the biopsy, no matter what happens after that, I’m at peace that I’m loved and cared for by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And He’s got this.  No matter what, He will not leave me or abandon me to my struggles.  My strength has always come from Him, and the strength I need to face this (possible) new challenge will be there too.

But before that happens, I will praise the Lord.  I will be grateful for the things I do have in life.  I will not let the work of the evil one ruin my relationships with my family or my closeness with my Lord.  The evil one will not win, my Lord will win.

And I’m really just along for the ride.

 

 

When You Need To Get It Out

This is a technique I have used in my art journaling.  When I am having feelings about something-good, bad or otherwise-I will write them on an art journal page.  Then I will write more over top of that, and more and more until all the feelings and emotions are out there.  On paper and not bouncing around in my head anymore.  Often there is so much writing scribbled all over the page it is utterly unreadable.  This is the purpose of this technique.

Once you have all those thoughts and feelings down on your page you can gesso over it to either mute down the wording or to cover it completely.  If you just want to give it a wash with gesso so you can still make out some of the words, that’s fine too.  I gesso my word page then make my art journal page right over top of what I wrote.

This is incredibly cathartic.  Once you get in the habit of writing down everything you’re feeling-especially during difficult times-it will help you sort through these feelings and emotions in a non-destructive way.  I think so often when we are struggling we don’t handle the stress and emotional garbage in the best way.  We might lash out at our kids, for example, just because they asked for a cookie when dinner is in 15 minutes.  Sometimes anger is a huge struggle and we want to hit something.  Rather than slamming your hand into your bedroom wall, write down what’s going on with you in your art journal.

You can leave the page with the writing alone for awhile too.  In case you need to go back and write some more.  I’ve heard writing letters to the people you’re upset with or who have hurt you is healthy.  Once you write the letters you burn them to get rid of all that hurt, anger, and bitterness.  This technique is similar to that.  You write it all down and then hide it beneath art work.

If you’re struggling with anger, bitterness, hurt feelings, loneliness, loss, health problems, marriage problems, kid problems, financial problems-it doesn’t matter what the problem is.  Get those feelings out of you and onto a page.  Then art the crap out of it.

Inexpensive and Easy Gift Ideas, 9

So far I’ve offered 50 inexpensive and easy ideas for your holiday gift giving.  Why stop there?  Here’s some more:

  1. Mason jar pin cushion and travel sewing kit.  Use the flat metal part of the twist on top and hot glue foam to the top in a rounded shape.  Cover foam with cute fabric and hot glue to the bottom of the lid.  Cut pretty paper into circle, attach to the hot glued fabric to hide the messiness.  Could put your name there or return to label.  Fill with a small sewing kit, small scissors, fray check, straight pins, safety pins, etc.
  2. Cut thin slices 3/4″  from a tree branch which is about 3 inches in diameter. Stamp a rustic image in brown in center.  Use as coasters
  3. Buy wood cutting boards and wood utensils and use a wood burner on them.  You can transfer the simple images to the wood with tracing paper.  Do this at the outer edge of the cutting board, as people would still like to use it.  On the handles for utensils.
  4. Marbled Clay Ring Dish.  I just love Elise and Emma!
  5. Gold tipped jewelry tray.  I saw this and thought is was a great idea.  And so simple!  Get a tray from a second hand store for even less cost.  Get a tray.  Wash and dry well.  Use painters tape to cover the area you don’t want painted.  Then go over your piece lightly with gold spray paint.  It is better to do several light coats rather than a heavy one.  The heavier the coat the more likely runs will happen.  Cover area you want painted completely and let dry.  Gold Mugs and Cups.  Same process as above, just use a clear sealer to finish it.  These are not dishwasher safe.  Keep the paint away from the rim or inside of mug or cup.  You don’t want the chance you could ingest the paint.
  6. DIY Plant Pockets.
  7. DIY Watercolor Mug:  You need a tub of luke warm water large enough to dip the whole mug or cup in.  Two colors of fingernail polish.  A white mug or cup.  In the bowl of luke warm water, pour in several drops of fingernail polish.  Let it float around a bit.  Add second color of fingernail polish.  With a tooth pick, swirl colors around a bit.  Not to much in case your colors will turn to mud.  Dip the mug into the water and fingernail polish.  Hold it in the water for 30 seconds or so.  That way the fingernail polish will stick to the mug.  Remove and let dry for at least three hours.  Pat dry with paper towel-gently.  You don’t want to scrub or all you work will come off.  These are really quite breathtaking.
  8. Frosted Mason Jar Luminaries:
    1. Smooth sided mason jars (Hobby Lobby is where we got ours)
    2. Frosted glass spray paint
    3. Clear matte sealer, or glitter spray paint
    4. Stick on letters to spell your word
    5. Spray paint for the lids (optional)
    6. LED votive candles (Craft stores, or at Home Depot in the Xmas Section)
    7. Ribbon and picks for the lid
      1. Place letter sticker on jar, as centered as possible.  It helps to measure up from the bottom or down from the top and place a piece of painters tape at the right spot on each jar.  You want your letters to to be in a line.  Remove jar lid.
      2. Rub your sticker onto the jar really well.  You don’t want paint getting beneath the letter.
      3. Spray the jars with frosted glass paint.  Let dry 15 minutes between coats and you need three coats.  Let last coat dry at least an hour before you spry with spray sealer.  Let dry overnight.
      4. You can spray the lids at this point if you want.  Or leave them gold.
      5. Once your paint has dried completely, warm up your stickers on your jars with a blow dryer, briefly, to soften and loosen them up.  Should come off fairly easily.  If you see the paint starting to pull or rip, just cut around the letter with an exacto knife to cut paint from letter.  Remove sticker letter.
      6. Add raffia, twine, ribbon, mini-ornaments, mini bows around the neck of the jar.  Adorable!!
    8. DIY Ornament Chandelier.  This is an adorable idea for decorating your home for the holidays.  Using the base of your dining room light, thread ribbon though.  Attach multi-sized ornaments in either all the same color (matching your ribbons) or in multi-colors.
    9. DIY Burlap and Fabric ornaments:  I have been doing this for years and never gave it a thought.  Here’s how:  Wrap old or worn ornaments with burlap or similar fabric.  I would use hot glue and sort of fluff the fabric a bit for fullness.  Add another color burlap ribbon or regular ribbon around the center, add button or gem for added interest, or even words.
    10. Antiqued Mason Jars:
      Jars (cleaned & dry)
      Paint (any acrylic or chalk paint works)
      Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
      Sand paper or block, emory board
      White Glitter (I used Diamond Dust)
      Clear Glitter (I used Tim Holtz Distress Glitter)
      Modge Podge or other thick glue
      Chipboard Letters
      Snowflake punches, thick white cardstock, or pre-made snowflakes
      Paper Dimensionals
      Twine
      1. You can use any jars you have for this technique.  Apply a coat of paint to the jar.  This could be chalk paint, acrylic paint or even gesso.  Go from the top to the bottom with each stroke.  Let first coat dry and add second coat.  Let dry overnight.
      2. Once they’re dry you can sand them as much as you wish.  I would start out lightly, removing little until you’re used to it.  You can use sand paper, a sanding block, or an emery board for this.
      3. You can add heavy mod podge or gel medium to the lids and dip in chunky white or clear glitter.  Pat it down a bit so it adheres well to the glue.
      4. Punch out stars or snowflakes and add mod podge or gel medium to them as well.  Dip in the white/clear chunky glitter.  Again press down a bit to make sure they’re covered and the glitter is good and stuck.
      5. Using chipboard letters are also painted white and covered in the same way with the glitter.
      6. Once everything is dry, attach to jar with twine.  To make the letters pop off the jar, use foam tape or pop dots.  Adhere with hot glue to the jar.
      7. pop in a battery operated candle and your good to go.

Stash Busters: While Cleaning I Came Across

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6 ft of collaged paper.

a cardboard box of scrap papers, flowers cut from junk mail, dried paper towels and baby wipes used to clean up my messes, tissue paper, book pages, and several border punched strips of pink card stock.  All scraps, bits and pieces and taking up a considerable amount of space in my work area.

I set up my large folding table, covered it with plastic, laid out a large sheet of kraft paper and began today’s project:  Unique papers for your art practice.

I think I have probably shared this favorite project of mine with you before, but just in case, here goes:

  1. Once you have laid your base paper on your covered surface, dribble gloopy glue all over it.  I smear it around with an old paint brush or gift card.
  2. I layer whatever paper scraps I have on top of the layer of glue.  I use a gift card scraper to adhere the papers to the base kraft paper.
  3. Then another layer of gloopy glue and more papers and scraps.  I normally stick pretty close to this order of layers
    1. paper towels and baby wipes
    2. junk mail and catalog pages
    3. either more paper towels and baby wipes (depending upon the amount I have) or tissue papers and napkins
    4. Doilies, book pages, kids school papers, receipts,
    5. paper flowers cut from junk mail, decorative elements like punches, borders, watercolor paintings cut up for this purpose, paper tape and ribbon, paper lace, small scraps from pretty papers and embellishments
  4. You begin with a layer of glue on the kraft paper, then add another layer of something.  After each layer you must put more glue on the top of it.  The sandwich is base paper, glue, paper towels, glue, junk mail, glue, tissue papers and napkins, glue, doilies and book pages, glue, paper flowers and pretty scraps, glue.
  5. This sounds like a lot of glue but it is really just to make sure everything sticks together well.
  6. Once the glued paper has dried completely you can add things like stamps, stencils, modeling paste, spray inks, metallics and paints.  This is not necessary at this stage because you will be cutting up the paper you just made into the most convenient for you sizes and using them in your art practice.  You can always add more to the paper while you’re working on it.

A couple observations:  I like thick paper.  If you don’t, use less layers.  I like the thickness of junk mail along with the thinness of tissue paper.  If having lumpy, textural paper will bother you, use only one paper weight for this project rather than several.

The end results are really stunning.  You can use them as papers for a loose leaf art journal, as an art journal cover, as signatures, as tags and embellishments, for envelopes, pocket pages and tuck spots.  I like to use mine for tabs on pages, tags, belly bands and tuck spots, mini-books which I tuck into the journal, flowers and leaves for a fall layout.  Honestly, I use this paper so much, I can’t keep it around for more than a couple days.  And the tiny scraps are used for inchies, twinchies, and rinchies.  Art tiles, inspiration tiles, ATC’s and embellishments.

I find this to be one of the most satisfying ways to use up my scrap papers.  It’s fun to make a mess and the end results are just spectacular.

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Same paper, with a light coat of gesso to tone it down a bit

Since I know what I want to do with this paper already, I don’t have to be concerned I put gesso over it.  I wanted the colors more subdued for this particular project.  You can see the colors and patterns through the gesso quite well, they just aren’t quite as vibrant.

 

Art and Your Health

The benefits of creating art cannot be overstated.  There have been studies done which prove this positive impact upon health.  Here’s an excerpt from an article written by James Clear.

  • “Art filled occupational voids, distracted thoughts of illness”
  • “Improved well-being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones”
  • “Improved medical outcomes, trends toward reduced depression”
  • “Reductions in stress and anxiety; increases in positive emotions”
  • “Reductions in distress and negative emotions”
  • “Improvements in flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks”

Here’s another one.  And another.

The benefits to your health and life are truly astounding.  The results are not what’s important.  It’s the act of creating which is beneficial.  That could be playing music, singing, dancing, writing, wood working, cooking, sewing, making miniatures, or rebuilding vintage cars.  There are literally thousands of ways to express creativity and create art.

If you don’t think what you’re working on is of value-let me assure you it is!  By making art, in whatever form, we are actually making ourselves better people.  Better able to cope with life.  More empathetic.  Less depressed.  Less angry.  More joyful.  With greater appreciation for beauty in all forms.

And couldn’t our world use more joyful, happy people in it?  Let’s share the benefits we receive from creating with our corner of the world, shall we?

Do me a favor, just smile tomorrow.  No matter what happens, smile.  The girl at the coffee counter spills it all over you.  Smile.  The police officer pulls you over to give you a ticket for speeding.  Smile.  Your boss has made more unreasonable demands you can never accomplish.  Smile.  Your spouse has jumped on your last nerve and you want to shriek in frustration and anger.  Smile instead.

Who knows how these smiles could change the world?

Maybe the girl at the coffee counter just found out her loan didn’t come through and she can’t go to college after all.  And your smile let her know she’s going to be alright anyway.

Maybe the police officer was up all night working at an accident which claimed the lives of three people. Maybe your smile reminded him of exactly why he became a police officer, to help people.

Maybe your boss just found out his wife has cancer.  Maybe your smile made him realize that no matter the outcome, they love each other and are strong enough to face whatever the future holds.

Maybe your spouse just needs to vent because the project for work fell apart and it’s all on him.  And maybe your smile reminded him of the love you share and the fun you have together.  In short what is really important in his life.

And if each of us smiles at those we meet, what happens if they smile in return?  Will they continue to smile at others through their day?  We could build a huge ball of smilin’ love out there, people!  It could travel the world.

And it could make a difference.