Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Journal Project Day 31

May Journal Project               Day 31

As I create these photo collages on the last day of my journal recycling project I am amazed by the amount of art I shared.   Some of these journal entries are complete and some are still works in progress. Yet all of them show my love of creating art.   I love to use pens, paints, pencils, stamping and collage to bring together words, images and colors.  I love to doodle and dream.  And I love to inspire others.

While my May Journal Project is complete, I'm not done.  I plan on continuing to rework more and more pages and will share them often on my blog.  With summer break beginning at the end next week my schedule becomes very different. I'll be on the road a lot heading to and from Virginia with many stops along the way.  I'll carry my journals and supplies with me so I can continue to create everyday.

Thanks for following my blog this month.  I hope you'll consider starting your own art journal.  If you happen to be in Fredericksburg, VA this summer let me know.  I'm going to have art journal workshops as often as I can!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Five Days to Freedom

May Journal Project                               Day 30

Teachers look forward to the end of the school year as much as the students.  We count down the days until summer, sometimes from the first day of school.  If you ask some teachers why they chose this profession they'd tell you, "June, July & August."  Last night at dinner I was telling my husband about my stressful day.  He patiently listened and then said, "you're like this every May.  Don't worry, it'll all be better at the end of next week."  And of course he's right.

I'm looking forward to getting out of my "grown up" shoes and putting on my flip flops.  I'll spend my days working on my house, making art, writing my book, teaching workshops, in addition to enjoying my family and friends.  

Time will fly by and I'll be starting my new school year counting down before I know it.  But this will be the last time.  My husband and I will hopefully be retiring from our careers in Houston and moving back east.  We'll start new jobs and a new business.  Or maybe I'll miss teaching so much I'll apply for another job.

"Five Days to Freedom"                                      MJP #30
179 days, 178 days, 177 days ........... 5 days, 4 days, 3 days, 2 days, 1 day ----FREEDOM!

Thursday, May 29, 2014


May Journal Project                            Day 29

Commitment - |kəˈmitmənt| - noun
the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.: the company's commitment to quality.
• a pledge or undertaking: I cannot make such a commitment at the moment.
(usu. commitments) an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action: business commitments | young people delay major commitments including marriage and children.

I'm commited to many things.  My husband, children, family and friends.  I run/walk a minimum of 3 miles a day, part of my commitment to my health.  I'm also commited to art, developing a business and writing a book.  Commitment requires discipline.  But some days it's tough!

"Commitment"                             MJP 29

Being committed to this journal project has required me to present some work that's not quite resolved. But I don't want a day to go by this month when I don't post.  So here's a work in progress.  

These pages are about how my husband and I met, and how our lives have been transformed.  One of our favorite things to do is sit quietly and enjoy a peaceful sunset. 

We're connected and commited - the key to our happiness.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Colorful Wordless Wednesday

May Journal Project                  Day 28

No deep meaning.  Just a recyled page with a watercolor scrap collage.

"Red Dots"                                                MJP #28

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


May Journal Project                Day 27

"Headed East"                   MJP Day 27
 I read the words in my 2007 journal and the majority of them are about going home.   Homesickness is a painful malady.  I'm sure everyone's felt it at sometime in their lives. It's not always a longing for a childhood home.  Sometimes it's just the desire to be around the familiar sights, sounds, smells and tastes.  I've moved many, many times and remember bits and pieces about each place.  My life started in Washington, DC and during my childhood we lived in Shaker Heights, Ohio before we settled in Virginia.  We lived in Roanoke during my junior high years and moved to Richmond when I was in high school.  My parents still live in the same house and when I go home I stay in my old room.  It's had several occupants over the years and is now a guest room.  Yet whenever I sleep there I still feel like a kid coming home.

As an adult I moved around a bit too.  I lived several places in Richmond then moved to Maryland in my mid twenties.  Both of my children were born there and we had a beautiful little house in Columbia. Then we were transferred and ended up back in Virginia, this time in Fredericksburg.  I'd already spent 4 years there when I was in college, never thinking I'd ever want to live there. Yet it's the place I now call my home.  When I was going through my divorce in 2003 I decided to buy a little cape cod house on a quiet street in the city.  From the moment I moved in I felt I was home. When my children left for college it was time for me to move again, although it's a temporary arrangement.  I got married again and agreed to live in Houston part time as long as I didn't have to sell my precious house.  I've always been lucky to find caretakers to stay there and whenever I get a chance I go home.  Because that's where I want to be.

One more year and we'll be going home, this time for good.

"Our house is a very, very fine house. . . ."                             ~C,S, N & Y

Monday, May 26, 2014

River Dreams

May Journal Project                       Day 26

"River Dreams"                     MJP #26
These little images started as test stamps for a block printing project.  When I added part of a map these pages called for more color.   Sunsets splashing brilliant colors in the sky.

Two more weeks left in the school year and I'm ready to be on the water.   I'm dreaming about sunset sailing and floating on the river. Red sky at night, sailor's delight. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014


May Journal Project                                     Day 25

How many times have I doubted myself?  Probably more than the stars in the sky.  I've doubted my abilities, my talents, my relationships, my strength and sometimes my faith.  These doubts come from personal failures, negative self talk, and criticism from others.  I never felt I measured up to the standards of others.  But enough IS enough.

All it takes is remembering to center my thoughts and actions on the things I have the ability to control.  I have to let go of doubts and keep moving forward.  I'll never be the perfect daughter, sister, mother, Christian, friend, teacher, or artist. But that's ok.  I now believe perfectionism is highly overrated.  If everything in my life was perfect what would I have to look forward to or dream about?

The pages from my old journals are filled with my self doubts, fears and frustrations.  But I can cover those words, transforming them into positive images and mantras.  I have the power!

I am loving daughter, a devoted sister, an adoring mother, a faithful Christian, a loyal friend, an inspiring teacher and a creative artist.  I am good enough and enough IS enough

And you're enough too!

"Enough"                                                        MJP #25                                                   

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A blank page

May Journal Project                            Day 24

"Mountain Sunset"                        MJP #24
I found a blank page so I doodled a landscape.  It all started with a black pen and a simple continuous line.  When I started I wasn't sure where I was headed but clouds, mountains and trees began to appear. After I finished the drawing it begged me for some color so I added touches with watercolor paint.

I just love it when a pen in my hand takes me to another place.  I can almost feel the cool mountain breeze and hear the wind in the trees as I watch a beautiful sunset.  

Art journaling can be magical because you never know where it will take you.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Quick sketches

May Journal Project                          Day 23
Sketch for "My Sister's Shoes- 2001"                            MJP #23

Looking through my journal from 2001 I found a quick planning sketch I'd done for a painting.  It's the one in the middle.  Today I added a couple more sketches and a little color. I'm going to leave these pages alone now so I don't loose the essence of my orginal drawing.  Sometimes less is more.

Last summer I wrote a blog post about my sister  including an image of a painting titled "My Sister's Shoes." When I painted her portrait I was working on my master's degree. During that time I created many pieces inspired by old family photos.  I was particularly drawn to ones where  body language expressed the subject's mood or thoughts.  In this photo my sister, Janis, is about four years old.   I just loved her posture and attitude.  

I also loved those shoes.  I remember as a little girl how excited I was when I was old enought to pick out my own patent leather "mary jane's."  They were so shiny and made wonderful sounds as I walked on the wooden floors in our house. They were a little to slick for running though.  If the portrait had been of me there would have been bandages on both knees!

"My Sister's Shoes"                2001  &    planning sketch - I changed the position of the left arm to give her a little more defiant look.  The dress is brown in the painting because I remember my granny had made us itchy ones in that color.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Everything has a story

May Journal Project               Day 22

"Birds vs. Leaves"                MJP #22
This entry shows the inside cover and first page of a journal I started in the fall of 2007.  I'd just moved from Virginia to Houston, TX and wrote about the beginning of the school year, doodling the fall leaf at the bottom right.  I'd written about driving to work,  missing the fall colors and feeling quite homesick.

I've now been in Houston on and off for 7 years. While I still miss the bright colors of spring and fall back east, I've noticed small bits of beauty here.  Texas may not have a lot fall leaves and spring flowers (although the blue bonnets are gorgeous!),  but there's no shortage of birds. Many days when I'm driving to work I see hundreds of these tiny creatures.  They're everywhere, flying around,  landing on trees, wires, buildings and signs.  Each time I stop at a light I see them jumping and flitting about excited by their fellow birds and the cars all around.   Sometimes they're still and other times they swirl in a melee of chirping and fluttering.  They entertain me every morning and make me feel less homesick.

I do have one question:  Where are all these birds going?  What is their story?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - The image says it all.

May Journal Project         Day 21
"Virginia"                                    MJP #21

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reinvent yourself

May Journal Project       Day 20
When I began this journal in 2003  I was unhappy, over weight, out of shape and worried about my future.   I used my entries as a way to get my feelings out so I could move on.  Now I'm repurposing each page to reflect where I am today.

So much has changed for me.  I got married again, moved to Texas, got a job and started a new life.  It wasn't an easy adjustment.  I'm an east coast girl and I missed my family, friends and home.  But I got lucky.  My friend Hobby introduced me to a life coaching program in 2010 where I began to focus on improving all areas of my life.

The most success I've found was in my health goals. I lost 60 pounds and feel better then I did in my twenties.  I changed the way I ate and started training for distance events.  In the beginning I could only walk the miles, but now I can run.

In reinventing myself I've had to be patient, kind and forgiving.  Change can be slow - one step at a time. My son's mother-in-law asked me to join her in the Army Ten Miler in October and I signed up this morning.  So today I'll begin training for my next big event..  My goal is to finish in less than two hours.  Thankfully during my reinvention I've also developed a lot more confidence.  I'm going to crush it!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inner Peace

May Journal Project                  Day 19

"Inner Peace"                     MJP Day 19
Heading back to Houston after a wonderful weekend in Virginia.  I almost titled this "Going Home" but I'm actually leaving home. Under this art is an old journal post I wrote while sitting in this same airport in Washington, DC.  I was reflecting on what a great time I had and how hard it was to leave.

On another page in this journal I'd written quotes from various sources.  This is another one from a fortune cookie.  Probably Confucious.

Traveling back and forth can be tough but I need to be patient and know I'm on a continuous journey. And I'm used to taking a lot of steps.  After all I just finished a half marathon!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Personal best

May Journal Project                  Day 18

Some days are just too full of activities to sit down and make art.  Those are the days when I gather images and ideas for future entries.

Today I ran a half marathon.  It was my ninth since 2011 and I achieved my personal best - 2 hours & 55 mintues.  My goal was 3 hours or less.  I am physically tired but I feel fabulous.

This painting is not in my journal.  It's too large.  But it's important because it represents where I trained for the event. The beautiful canal path in Fredericksburg.

Tomorrow I'll create an entry, maybe two as I fly back to Houston.  But tonight I think I'll go to bed early!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Porch Sitting

Today is a rest day prepping for the half marathon tomorrow.  Just a little dooding, relaxing and porch sitting.  It's a beautiful day full of music, friends, food and a little art.

May Journal Project                        Day 17

"Loving VA"                  MJP 17

My view.  Time to sign off and plant those herbs.

Friday, May 16, 2014

One Hundred Posts

"I'm Grateful"                           MJP Day 16
This is 100th post on my Dare to Create blog.  My first post was on July 1st, 2013 and titled "When in doubt, begin again."  It was about starting fresh and enjoying the process of creating art.  Right now I happen to be sitting on my back porch reflecting on the journey my blog has documented.  At times I was a consistent poster, and other times, not so much.  I've written about  family, memories, techniques and events.  I've tried to remain consistent with my blog's primary objectives:  To make art and inspire others to be more creative.

This weekend I flew back to Fredericksburg, Virginia to participate in the Historic Half Marathon taking place this Sunday.  I brought a friend with me and am having a wonderful time showing her my beautiful hometown.  I am so lucky to be from such an amazing place full of wonderful sites and people.

The journal pages for today are old ones.  I admit I did most of the work on them a while ago.  But today I added a few more touches and am reminded to feel gratitude for all the blessings I have been given:

- a healthy body allowing me to run, walk and dance
- a loving husband who cherishes me
- amazing friends who lift me up
- perfect children who make me proud every day
- artistic talent and training
- a teacher's heart
- and all I need to live the life I choose.

And I'm grateful for my reading audience.  Thank you for taking precious time out of your day to read my musings.  I'll keep creating - I hope you'll keep reading and will be inspired to dabble in something new!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Be Still and Quietly Listen.

I'm a public school art teacher.  My students range from 6th to 12th grade and they are an active bunch.  I work in a school where students are sent for disciplinary reasons.  Our goal is to help them modify their behaviors while we work on improving or maintaining their grades.  This time of year is a challenge.  We're all tired and antsy, ready for summer vacation.  But we still have work to do.  Time for soft music and some calm drawing lessons.
"Be Still and Quietly Listen"      MJP Day 15

So shhhhhhhhhhh.....................Be Still.....................and Quietly Listen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Compassion Brings Peace

May Journal Project - - Day 14

"Compassion Brings Peace"          MJP - Day14
Underneath this art is a list of people who have made a difference in my life.  It's a random list of relatives, teachers, friends, bosses and others.  Some are good relationships, some, not so good. But I'm a product of my past.  Everything and everyone has had an influence on my present state of being.

I collect fortune cookie sayings.  I just love the randomness of what you get.  I then save them for inspiration.  The one on this page says:

"Compassion will cure more than condemnation"

Compassion is a powerful emotion,  tough to give and to receive. But when I let it drive my thoughts and feelings I find peace.  Just like I get when I walk by the river.  Peace and calm.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Karen Richards - Dares to Create: I am many colors.

Karen Richards - Dares to Create: I am many colors.: May Journal Project - Day 13 Like a cameleon I change colors often.  I transform myself to either adapt to a new environment or hide in t...

I am many colors.

May Journal Project - Day 13

Like a cameleon I change colors often.  I transform myself to either adapt to a new environment or hide in there.  I've been know to bury myself in possessions but am now trying to free myself of clutter.  In the past I've clothed myself to cover up but I'm now revealing my true self.

My colors change with the seasons, with my geography and with my moods.

Today I am many colors.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Karen Richards - Dares to Create: Wishing on a star

Karen Richards - Dares to Create: Wishing on a star: "Stars"                               MJP - Day 12 Bedtime rituals were an important part of my childhood and I carried these ...

Wishing on a star

"Stars"                               MJP - Day 12
Bedtime rituals were an important part of my childhood and I carried these traditions over when my boys were little.  We'd have dinner, bath time, books, prayers and lots of singing  Many of our favorite songs were about stars like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,"  and "When You Wish Upon a Star," and the one my mother used to sing to us, "Would You Like to Swing On a Star."  Bing Crosby recorded it back in 1944 - I just loved the song.

"Would you like to swing on a star
carry moonbeams home in a jar
and be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a mule?

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
he kicks up at anything he hears.
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
he's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak.
And by the way if you hate to go to school
you may grow up to be a mule.

Oh would you like to swing on a star
carry moonbeams home in a jar
and be better off than you are.
Or would you rather be a pig.

A pig is an animal with dirt on his face
his shoes are a terrible disgrace
He has no manners when he eats his food.
He's fat and lazy and extremely rude.
But if you don't care a feather or a fig,
you might grow up to be a pig.

Oh would you like to swing on a star,
carry moonbeams home in a jar
and be better off than you are.
Or would you rather be a fish.

A fish won't do anything but swim in a brook
he can't write his name or read a book.
To fool the people is his only thought
and though he's slippery he still gets caught.
But if that sort of life is what you wish.
You might grow up to be a fish

And all the monkeys aren't in the zoo
everyday you see quite a few.
So you see it's all up to you,
you could be swinging on a star!"
                            ~Jimmy Van Heusen

I wish there was a verse about a horse because when I was a little girl I wanted to grow up and be one!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

May Journal Project - Day 11

I'm enjoying a beautiful Mother's Day on my porch doodling and painting in my journal.  Underneath this art is a list of names of special women who've had an impact on my life.  The list includes my mom, grandmother, sister, other family members and lots of friends.

Thank you to everyone who has nurtured me in some way.
Happy Mother's Day       MJP-Day 11

Enjoy this bouquet!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Karen Richards - Dares to Create: "I say a little prayer for you."

Karen Richards - Dares to Create: "I say a little prayer for you.": May Journal Project - Day 10 A couple of days ago my friend (and sister-in-law from my first marriage), Nancy,  sent me a message...

"I say a little prayer for you."

May Journal Project - Day 10

A couple of days ago my friend (and sister-in-law from my first marriage), Nancy,  sent me a message saying she'd heard a song that reminded her of me.  Of course I immediately called her and we caught up on all the happenings in our lives.

Talking to her reminded me about how much fun movie nights were in our house. In 1997 I'd rented the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding" and it became an instant classic with my family. Of course I bought both the video and CD. Nancy visited us often and experienced many of our movie nights full of popcorn, singing and dancing.  Such great memories!

Here's the best version of our favorite song from the film, "I Say A Little Prayer," performed by the cast - written by Burt Bacarach and Hal David (originially performed by Dionne Warwick).

In one of my old journals I found a page where I'd written about praying and hoping for a brighter future.  It reminded me about the power of both sending out and receiving prayers.  Like most people I pray for a variety of reasons:  hope, health, love, forgiveness, power, strength and happiness to name a few.  Most importantly I pray a great big "Thank You God" every day for all the blessings in my life.

And I might even "say a little prayer for you!"

"I say a little prayer"                 MJP - Day 10

Friday, May 9, 2014


May Journal Project - Day 9

"Truth"                    MJP Day 9
Underneath this art is a journal post about how someone deceived me.  It was a sad entry,  full of pain and heartache.  So I decided to cover it with a list of things I know to be true.

What would be on your list?

I think my next journal entry should be on improving my handwriting.  Here's what my list says:

10 Things I know to be true

  1. God exists
  2. Love hurts
  3. Love heals
  4. Day comes after night
  5. Guilt is a useless emotion
  6. Chocolate is good
  7. Tomorrow is another day
  8. You have to forgive to forget
  9. You can only trust the trustworthy
  10. Good things are worth waiting for

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Creating a page

May Journal Project -  Day 8

Today I'll go through my process for recycling a page in a journal.

1. This page is dated 5/01 and has notes from a class I was taking.  I added a piece of watercolor paper with some washi tape I'd found on the sale shelf at Michael's.  Before I covered this up I copied the notes- they're very useful and at the bottom of this post.

2.  I gathered basic supplies:  watercolors, brushes, permanent markers, scissors, glue stick and magazine cut outs.  Before I recycle any magazine I go through it and clip words or images I find inspiring or interesting.

3. With a large brush I covered the pages with random colors.  This gives me an interesting background to work on.  Let dry.

4. I decided to keep some of the words and definitions so I went over them with a permanent marker.

5.  After reflecting about the words I'd written I collected magazine images and phrases.  I chose the eyeballs because one of the definitions included the phrase ". . . in the viewer's eye."  The other images and words reflected the creative theme of my journal.
5.  Using a black (almost dried up) permanent marker I started doodling a half circle turning it into a sun (Bright Ideas).
6.  I then reinforce the positive and negative spaces with blues and yellows.  I removed the bottom border - it just wasn't working for me.

"The Art Tips"                   MJP Day 8
7.  I added a strip of translucent key tape because it reminded me of the importance of the Principles of Design.  I doodled some more with the black marker and an orange highlighter.  Then I added some accents with gold and silver gel pens.  I tried to use a paint maker but it broke, randomly splattering drops of silver on and around the painting girl. I love serendipity!  To add a little more unity I drew a few more peace signs.

Notes under the art:
Eight Universal Principles of Design
Unity - every element is connected to the whole

  1. Conflict - creates excitement
  2. Repetition - recurring theme
  3. Alternation - repetition with variety
  4. Dominance - create a focus
  5. Balance - even distribution of the elements
  6. Gradation - gradual changes in successive stages
  7. Harmony - congruent arrangement of parts-tranquility of the elements.
Elements or "tools" of design:
Line, Color, Value, Texture, Size, Space, Shape and Rhythm 

Composition - Arrangement, organization or gathering of diverse elements into a unified whole.  The viewer's eye goes to wherever the area of greatest contrast.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Last minute doodle

May Journal Project - Day 7

"I got my eye on you"     - MJP Day 7
The day took off without me and here it is nearly 9:00 pm.  Better late then never!

This is a page I began sometime in 2012 and finished today.  I just love to doodle, so relaxing and fun.  All you need is a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.  Let your hand travel all over the page and fill in the shapes with patterns. Even if you don't finish you'll feel the calm as you enjoy the process.

Doodle away!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Spring Dreams

May Journal Project - Day 6

What a crazy winter.  I spent most of it in Houston watching the news as the east coast got hammered with snow for months.  Around here it was colder and wetter than usual.  Everyone complained about it, wishing for the spring to come.
Spring Dreams - MJP #6

The beautiful season is here with cool evenings and warm days.  Time to get outside and enjoy the weather before the inevitable.

Hopefully this summer will not be one filled with record breaking heat and storms.  Just days full of sun and fun!

Monday, May 5, 2014

"There are places I remember. . . '

May Journal Project - Day 5

The orginial journal entry was about a trip I took to my childhood home in Shaker Heights, Ohio. I went to visit my oldest and wisest friend looking for advice on how to solve some problems.  While I didn't find any magical solutions, I was able to enjoy stepping back into the past and my friendship with Kathy was rekindled.

The artwork was inspired by the Beatles song and the idea about playing the hand I was dealt.  Looks like a pretty good one, doesn't it?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

All things are difficult before they are easy.

May Journal Project - Day 4

"Circa 2002"   MJP Entry #3
Under this collage is a journal entry from January 2002.  It was a sad, scary entry as I was reflecting about the tragedy of 2001, a family medical crisis, and other problems.  This was a pivital time in my life.  I had no idea what was going to happen or where I was headed.  Over the next 3 years I felt like I was climbing up a steep, dangerous, never ending staircase.  Eventually I reached the top where I found a new set of stairs to climb.  But this time the climb was easier because I wasn't alone.  Now I run up each staircase knowing more good things are waiting for me at the top!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May Journal Project - Day 3

My Flock- started 2008, finished 2014
My Flock aka The Hollywood Bridge Society meets every September for a bridge tournament.  I can't remember if we've been doing this for 15 or 20 years.  It's an eclectic group of women who have a common passion, playing cards.  I've been the queen only once, second runner up too, but I don't go for the crown (well I do kind of).  I go to hang out with an amazing group of women. Under this collage is a journal entry I wrote as I was heading home after a great weekend in 2008.  Pink, crowns, glitter and cards.

Let's deal!

Friday, May 2, 2014

New Beginnings

May Journal Project - Day 2

Spring is a time for new beginnings.  Underneath this artwork is a journal entry about birth, growing up, life changes and loss. The page was started in 2001, revisited last month and completed today.

New Beginnings - Mixed Media

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Journal Project

2014 Journal - Title Page

I was recently cleaning out a cabinet full of art supplies and came across a stack of journals.  I started these at various times, the oldest one in this stack was begun May 1st, 2001.  As I looked through this one, memories of the year washed over me. Who could have predicted how the world and all of our lives would change!  So I decided to take these journals and revisit them.  I'm adding pages, images and thoughts from my current state of mind.  Simultaneously I'm working on a new journal to document my creative life.

2001 Journal - Revisited inside cover
This month I'll be sharing pages from these journals.  I hope you enjoy the images and are inspired to create your own!