Saturday, March 19, 2016

Grace Notes Blog Hop

Bella Grace has invited readers to participate in their Grace Notes Blog Hop (link here) and this has inspired me to come up with something that honors this unique and lovely magazine which celebrates life's ordinary magic.

I have always found pleasure in simple things. An avid reader, I remember many trips to the Westport Library when I was growing up. When I visited the local bookstore as an adult, I would spend hours reading different magazines and looking through random books, totally absorbed in other worlds. It is there that I discovered Somerset magazines. After I bought my first Art Journaling magazine I became immersed in this expressive art of inner exploration and self expression. I experienced tremendous personal growth as my work evolved. When I found Bella Grace magazine at Jo-Ann Fabrics (my happy place) last year, it took my breath away and I had to bring it home with me.

Finding the sacred in the ordinary has become a way of life for me, an anchor, and a touchstone. After my divorce I didn't have much, and I drifted from job to job, never quite making ends meet. I didn't know who I was, where I was going, or what I was doing. I was lost and floundering, on a boat with no rudder set adrift in often stormy seas.

When I discovered art journaling in that Somerset magazine 6 years ago, I remember how hard it was to get started. It is never easy starting something new. I spent a lot of time gathering supplies and reading about it. I didn't know anyone who was doing art journaling - my circle of creative friends was mostly quilters. I decided to take online art journaling classes, which turned out to be a life changing experience and opened up a whole new world for me, with communities of like minded, caring women (and on rare occcasion men) who shared freely. It was and is so amazing!

 You have to understand that I was a child who colored inside the lines. I was interested in becoming an artist but there was no one to show my how to get started. We did not have art in my primary school and when I switched to the public junior high school they forced  us to make an enamel ash tray in art class. Ugh! I learned to knit and crochet in college, I taught myself to quilt soon after that, and I enjoyed photography from a young age. I took a lot of painting classes locally over the years but I had no desire to paint a landscape the way it was "supposed" to look and I found still life painting incredibly boring. I wanted to do my own thing. So when I started art journaling, everything came together.

Art journaling has given me a creative voice. I am now firmly rooted in the now with a sense of who I am and where I am going. I art journaled about my job search and that gave me the confidence to land the job of my dreams. I am learning to trust again - not just others but also myself. Art journaling brings out what is hidden inside of you. It shines a light on your inner world and makes you more aware of all the little things that exist in your surroundings but might otherwise go unnoticed. It is the little things in life that are important, not the big things.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Quilting and Discovery

I am finding forgotten things as I clean out my house. Family photos that have become a small quilt memorabilia piece. The mariners compass table runner I made for my son for his first apartment. The 1,000 paper cranes my daughter and her friends folded for my Aunt Ethel when she had ovarian cancer, and she survived that. I found a shadow box frame so that I could display some of them. And I am finding that I can do what seems like impossible things like paint the stair risers. Impossible because I am allergic to latex paint which makes me light-headed and dizzy. I almost fell a few times but I managed to keep my balance. Life is a balancing act after all.

Beach Art

I went to Hammonasset Beach State Park 2 weeks ago and had an incredible day. Walked a stone labyrinth, created an art journal page, got a sunburn. Amazing for the first week of March in New England! When I got home I did even more art journaling. It felt so good to express myself visually with only a few words.