{an attempt is simply an unfinished canvas -- my final 2 canvases for Out of the Journal August!}


An attempt is simply an unfinished canvas. 

But it is a started one. 

I’ve never worked on the thicker canvases before, but they’re on sale this month at my local art shop, so I grabbed two smaller ones on Saturday, intent on working and finishing them on Sunday. 

Except I ended up creating text and rendering video from 9am to 8pm yesterday, with little time for art (I did, however, take a much-needed nap, choosing sleep over art — rather, my back chose sleep over painting); I worked on one of the canvases while filming a bit, using the extra paint (I hate leaving paint un-used on a palette!), but that was pretty much it. I didn’t have time, then, until this afternoon to work on the other, and according to Dina, starting a canvas counts in our little challenge, here. 

So here’s some retrospecting: I really like where August took me, art-wise. 

In my journal, I’ve gone from full-on art journal to part-art-journal, part-inspiration-book, inspired by the journals of Dave of the Journal Fodder Junkies (I met him, and Eric, quickly at Art Unraveled, and was able to page through his journal during the book signing event; out of all the artists there, he was the only one doodling in his journal — something I tend to do a lot!). There are sketches, paint, papers collected from all over, journaling, magazine images, etc. 

My paintings, prompted by our little challenge, grew more and more abstract until, with these last two, I was paying attention to direction and movement within the brushstrokes. 

And then, there was last week’s, with the big, bold imagery and colors popping off the canvas. 

I’ve been having so much fun being looser with my work, adding soft pastels and oil paintsticks, and oil pastels. Drawing and bending and moving. It has just been so much fun! I really will be finishing these canvases soon, and hope to have them, as well as a few of the other completed pieces, in my Etsy shop by next weekend. 

Until then, I’ll be in the editing bay, finishing up the media for True to You 2. By the end of all this, that workshop will have nearly 5 hours of video content, not to mention 18 worksheets and a 70-odd page PDF. Phew! My longest and most detailed workshop to date!

Consider this an amnisty post -- if you've participated in the Out of the Journal Callenge and haven't commented, or if you haven't for the final week, please do so on this post. I'll be drawing a winner tomorrow!

{what to say when you don't know you have something to say}


Okay, I rushed this. 

I’ve been On the Ball this week. All my videos and the PDF for True to You 2 were finished and posted by noon, today, without me having to sacrifice sleep or sanity. I got my to-do list down, more or less (less, mostly, because I’d much rather play in my journal than work on it!). I cleaned out my inbox so I can get to all those messages I said I’d answer later and then never did (though one got lost, and was re-written today). I’m trying to get more organized so as to show the Universe I am ready for all these opportunities coming at me, and that I’d like some more, please!

Thursday was to be spent painting with Becca, but we ended up wandering Hobby Lobby and then the closing Borders nearby, hunting for magazines to cut apart. Have you ever gone wandering with a friend? The excitement is catching, and you just have such fun pointing things out. And then dinner. 

I know the image of an artist is one who spends days alone in the studio, painting and dancing and listening to music. Or working all the time (I have a few artistic friends who work much longer hours than me, dedicated to their businesses). Which is a lot of it. Art takes introspection, time to reflect and go inside yourself to tap into your soul to figure out what it is you need to say. 

Note need, not want. There are words inside us we’re screaming in our heads — or images or concepts — that must come out. And art or writing is how we do it. 


But here’s the problem. When I sat down to work on my paintings this week, I didn’t have anything to say. I still have things that are processing, are being mulled over (my journal is getting a lot of attention as of late, and has changed, once again, in style and intent). So what to do? 

First, I worked on a canvas I started months ago and never finished. And found a message in it through the symbols and bits I was drawing. I figured out what I said above — that I’m not scared of all that’s happening, not feeling unworthy, but am ready for more. Ready to go beyond this little apartment in the desert and expand further than I can see. Can imagine. And I think you’ll get there, too.  

The second is just a doodle. A small scene. 

When I asked my brother, “Is this done?” He grasped the first painting in his hands and said:

“I love it! I want to have it. Can I have it? Can I hang it in my room?” 

I can’t think of a better compliment. 

Here are this week's canvases:

Nolwenn's done a bunch!

And Cuchy has gone crazy with awesome textures!


{when everything clicks into place}


(unfinished. I don't know how I feel about her, yet!)

This week nearly killed me.

I’m not exaggerating, though there are no near-misses, major accidents, or life-altering events. Instead, it was the slow burn of a 400m dash with hurdles along the way.

Lots and lots of hurdles.

When I thought I’d surmounted one, another was ready to hit me in the face. I tripped over a few and ended up tangled in the metal bars on the ground, knees skinned, head reverberating from my teeth slamming together as I fell. Halfway down the track, I was bruised and bloodied with tears falling from moist cheeks.

And while I was getting back up and trying again and again, I wondered:

When do the hurdles go from creating a stronger you to a sign from the universe that you’re on the wrong path? 

For the last three days, I’ve been asking myself this question. At what point do you give up and throw in the towel? Walk off the track with mangled hurdles in your wake?

I think a lot of us go through periods in our lives when we ask ourselves this very question. When you’re wondering if giving in is the easy way out or the right way to go. I’ve learned I work best when in the flow, when working in-line with the Divine. But I think I’ve also taken this to mean that when I’m not in that flow, I’m not in-line with my destiny. And we hear this all the time, from self-help and creativity books. That inspiration pulls you where you need to go. 

This is not always the truth. Sometimes, you’re going to get beat up and bloody and right when you’re strength is waining, everything clicks into place. 

My plight was centered around technology. Technology I know how to use. Stuff I love doing and have for the past seven years (which means I graduated from college five years ago and wow). Stuff I want to take to the next level. And I pushed myself so hard, so very, very hard, that I’ve been sobbing, on and off, for the past week. I’ve shattered like glass. My stomach has been in knots so tight, I’ve had to force myself to eat because it was painful. I’ve not been sleeping. My pain has been at record high levels.

Stress is horrible, my darlings.

But I got it to magically work today, my deadline. I sang to the heavens and began to loosen up. I worked for seven hours and am sitting here finished. It is done. On time. Quality work.

I’ve gotten down the track and come out to clear space. It is time to take care of myself, tend to my wounds, and realize that, from here on out, it’s a piece of cake when compared to the stress-colored hell of the past month.

And damn if that isn’t a wonderful feeling. 

(And here is my first canvas from this week!)

I’ve only gotten two links this week for the Out of the Journal Challenge, so give them extra love. My second canvas is ¾ of the way done -- but remember, it’s about progress, not a finished product, so I am excited to say I’m still on track!

More Fairytale work from Sandra!

Marcia's done great work, but I'm linking to her whole blog because it's so inspiring!

{louder than a paintbrush - out of the journal week #2}


'Split Soul' 10"x8" mixed-media on gessoboard

I’ve become enamoured by abstract expressionism.

It began, as many of my artistic pursuits have, with experimentation. I don’t think I fully understood what I was doing or really saying when I started, but now, I feel that a new world of expression has opened up for me.

I like to share my art as I’m creating it (both online and in person) and with past work, have gotten compliments and smiles and the like. But as I did my paintings for this week, I got something new, something different -- people had their own interpretations of what I was painting.

I felt like I was finally telling a story that could reach people. With every layer I added, I was excited to share what I was working on to see what would be seen. Instead of painting literally, I was speaking in metaphor (which, as you can tell, I love, as I am, primarily, a writer).

I became giddy with excitement as people picked out what I was trying to say as it applied to their lives.

Suddenly, I’m a painter who’s been given a microphone, a tool to amplify my story, my own self-exploration and expression, instead of a simple brush.

Check out these others who have worked on canvases for week two!

Ruth’s Inspired Paintings: Me *blushes* and Dina
Sandra’s Fairytale Divas
Katie shares her process and creates a mermaid from a sketch
Nolwenn shares her first two weeks of canvases
I just love Marcia’s colorful and expressive paintings!
Cuchy is inspired and plays with texture
Ashlyn paints a gorgeous Fleur de Lis

If I’ve forgotten anyone, let me know! 

{weekly wrap up -- out of the journal, week 1}


About time for a wrap-up, don't you think? 

With all my energy going into True to You 2 (it isn't easy producing 4 videos a week!), I dear say this blog's being a little neglected. In fact, most of my online pursuits are ignored behind the grey-black screen of iMovie, Pages, and other miscellaneous things (music, chat, etc). A problem that's been plaguing production for two weeks has been solved -- hurray! -- which means things shouldn't take quite as long to do. 

Which means I can share more on here.

I feel like I have a back-log of stuff, stories to tell, stories I want to tell. I think I'll be writing them out over the next few days, and scheduling some posts, because there are nugget of wisdom, inspiration, and fun in there! But it comes down to this: would I like to be on the computer doing internet-y things, or would I like to be painting and creating? And I think that's why there are some artists who don't interact via the net all that often, or only post on blogs with photos -- because there's a world of awesome outside this grey box I call my computer. 

(It actually has a face, I've discovered, since I wanted to punch in the face after the fifth time of losing a few hours of work; there are two monitors -- eyes, and the speakers -- mouth.)

So allow me, then, to wrap up this week, the first one, of the Out of the Journal challenge. Above is my first canvas of the week, done on gessoed loose canvas with pastels, pencil, oil, and acrylics. 

And here's my second, done on a small canvas board, with pastels, acrylics, and pencil. It's a lot of experimenting and playing around, which is usually reserved for my journal, but canvas and paper are two different mediums to work on, and sometimes, something works better on canvas than paper (see first painting above). 

I had a neat little epiphany last week, and that's lead me to a lot of self-exploration, so don't be surprised if things around here change a little bit over the next week. Now that I have a little time to write, I think I can get things out in words (isn't it always a mess, in your head, that you can't fully express until you figure it out yourself?) and let you all see it. But for now, why don't you check out a few other canvases painted this week?

(Also, as a side-note, I was considering putting this month's canvases on Etsy, but wonder if anyone would be interested?)

Remember -- it's the effort that counts. I admitted to Dina on Thursday that I was insane for taking this on in addition to working through my online class, and she said as long as you make an effort, that's good! And that there isn't anything set in stone, so progress over product. I am paraphrasing -- half was shouted across the asile in a parking lot (though how we managed to park across from each other without knowing was a bit odd!).

Ruth's marvelous textures!

I love Sandra's collages. She did two this week!

And I just adore Katie's!

Tomorrow means a new week. Remember to leave a comment for each canvas to be entered to win a slot in one of my classes! :D