Category Archives: Creative Process

ICAD Round-up!

imageWell, here we are on day 60 of 61 in Tammy Garcia’s brilliant Index-Card-A-Day Challenge. I had such awesome intentions of posting my cards weekly, but this summer has been a freight train! So much going on trying to keep my 10 1/2 year old occupied during these dog days.

Anyway, better late than never, right? So, above are 9 cards from the early weeks of the challenge. The lighting was not too good in my apartment this morning, but if I wait for the sun to come out, who knows when I will be able to publish this post!

Takeaway #1:  Take Risks!  In the last 2 years of the challenge I played it relatively safe, this year I tried some new things & vowed to post them anyway, even if they didn’t work. A good example is the purplish card on the lower left (stamped with the end of a celery stalk that was on its way out, with acrylics). I made a promise to myself that I would work on 1 card each day & stick with it, no matter what. Gotta tell ya, 60 cards in & I’m pretty pleased!

Thanks, Tammy, for all of the hard work that goes into this challenge! It’s been such a blast! More photos to come this week with my “Takeaways”.




Springing into a new plan

Not sure if it’s really a “new” plan, but it’s been on my mind for quite some time & with the start of a new season, a season of light & hope, I thought it was time to start putting my plan into action.

So, “What’s the plan?”you ask? Pretty simple: just paint…same time, everyday. That’s it! Just me, the paints, my brushes, some water soluble pastels here & there…! The key? The same time, everyday. Sort of like the visual version of  the morning pages (a la Julia Cameron of “The Artist’s Way”).

And so, I gave myself a challenge to do 1 intuitive painting a day (preferably in the morning as that is when I am “in the zone”) for an entire month. I want to see if there are themes, patterns…or not. I just want to see what happens.

So far, I am on Day 13 & it has been so freeing! No plan, just pure process! Sometimes I do get inspired/influenced by my surroundings. For example, I found a very cool little you tube video, filmed in Hawaii, speaking about the vernal Equinox, the super moon & the eclipse , & while I watched & painted, this happened:


But I find more often than not, it’s about getting out those feelings that seem to bog me down:


And sometimes, I just play & experiment:


Whatever the outcome, as always, it’s the process that is most important. And my head is always clearer as a result.

Creatively Speaking…{just show up}

image(Acrylics  on mixed media paper, 18×24″; 3 exercises from BIG)

I made a commitment to myself last summer to be sure to create something everyday & for the most part, I have stuck to it! Yes, I am sure I missed a day here & there, but they have been few & far between. You see, even if I have a ridiculously crazy, busy day, I will make sure I take 10 or 15 minutes to do something: a quick sketch, adding paint or designs to my planner…something!   Art has become a regular habit for me now,  a creative ritual, part of my lifestyle, part of who I am. It centers & grounds me.


(Excerpt from my “30 Day Journal”; Neo colors, gouache & Gelly roll pen)

I held myself even more accountable at the beginning of this year when I participated in Lisa Sonora Beam’s 30 day journaling project (which is on going again for the month of August).  It was during the month of January, just by writing in conjunction with visually journaling my plans, thoughts & actions, I found myself setting realistic goals which helped me to stick with my creative commitment.

One of my major goals for this year has been to take my once-in-awhile attitude towards making art to making it a daily, creative habit. I took a leap of faith, as I didn’t know if I was ready for something like this, & signed up for Connnie Hozvicka’s Painting the Feminine workshop, where for the entire month of January I painted in response to a daily theme every single day. Bliss! I loved that workshop so much I took it again this past May & got even MORE out of it! Just as that ended, Tammy Garcia’s Daisy Yellow ICAD project began, for the next 61 days, which I just love! And it’s a fabulous way to add art to your daily life.


(Acrylics on a 3×5 index card, deconstructed & reconstructed)

And now, coming off of ICAD, I am in the middle of Connie Hozvicka’s Self -guided BIG workshop. Let me tell you, she doesn’t call it BIG for nothing! This class is proving to be monumental for me, personally. On top of all of that, I continue to journal/process my daily life using Teresa Robinson’s method of Right Brain Planning.

When I started this art journaling adventure a year & a half ago, my interest was in finding my own voice in my work. I spent so much time in the classroom teaching my students how to make art, that I kind of lost myself. Sure, I could copy the masters, draw from observation, but it bored me & I never felt that I was expressing myself. It felt like “copying”… Ugh. I have had years of formal training, at prestigious art schools yet no one ever explained/taught how to find one’s artistic voice. I was lost & pretty much gave up on my own work. Does that even exist? A course on finding your own voice?


(Acrylics on 18×24″ mixed media paper)

All that changed when I discovered art journaling. Little by little, brushstroke by brushstroke, I started to find my way again…ever so slowly! And I mean slowly…but that’s OK! It has been frustrating at times, feeling stuck in the same place, with no creative breakthrough, but I keep at it & commit myself to it daily, even when I don’t  feel like it. Thanks to wonderful, creative, generous souls like Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow, Teresa Robinson, Lisa Sonora Beam & Connie Hozvicka, I jump at the chance to participate in the many creative projects they have to offer.

I show up…daily.

And lately? Oh my goodness, while immersing myself in BIG, I am starting to feel a shift in myself & in my work. It’s not a gigantic shift, it’s subtle, but definitely palpable . I have been feeling hints of it for awhile but now,  I feel like “something” is just within reach, but just as I put out my hand to grab it, it flutters away. But I know, as long as I keep at it daily, I just know I will be grasping it very soon.. And let me tell you,  that feels pretty darn awesome!


A simple prompt

It all started with today’s prompt for the ICAD challenge which was : Turquoise. You see, ever since I was a kid I have had a major love affair with this stone! So, when I saw this prompt, my mind went reeling with possibilities! Then, I looked down at my right hand & I knew. The ring.


So, I found a little scrap of an index card lying right next to me & did a quick sketch of my ring. And that’s when it all came flooding through my memory bank.

This ring was given to me by my husband almost 20 years ago. It is hand made by a Native American artisan from New Mexico, set in sterling silver that is engraved with very intricate patterns. The stone is a beautiful shade of turquoise with a small area of mint green & a very light matrix going through it. But that’s not what filled my mind as I sketched it. These thoughts did:

This is my everyday ring, my “go-to” ring. It goes with everything & is so very comfortable on my hand. It’s my travel ring. We travel a lot & I don’t like taking a lot of jewelry with me on vacation. This ring is easy & versatile, can look dressed up or dressed down – perfect for any vacation. It has been  all over the U.S., Central America, Europe, Mexico &… China.

And that’s when my heart beat just a little faster. You see, we adopted our daughter from China when she was just 10 months old & I was wearing this ring on that 3 week stay in China. That ring is on my hand & in every photo that I am holding our daughter. It is the ring that my daughter used to touch & spin on my finger as a baby. Today, she is 9 & this is the ring that starts conversations  that go something like this : “Momma, you wore this ring in China, can you tell me again about the day you & Daddy saw me for the first time?” Incredibly special & bittersweet moments that will be treasured far more than any piece of jewelry. The ring is just the conduit.

So, one art challenge, one prompt, one ring, brings to my mind beautiful, sweet & treasured memories. Art is powerful.  Of course, I had to draw that ring.


(ICAD #55, prompt: Turquoise; acrylics, micron pen, Neo color II’S )


I decided that I will mount the little sketch onto the index card & put it in my art journal along with a handwritten copy of this post. As for my ring? It will most definitely be passed down to my daughter.

Creatively speaking…

I have met some really wonderful kindred spirits in this art journaling community. One of these lovely spirits is the delightful Natasha White, who’s work (both paintings & writing) I adore! She always manages to inspire & get me thinking & her blog posts always make me smile. So when she asked me to take part in this blog tour of course I said Yes!

There are 4 questions to answer…just 4 little questions? I thought, that will be so easy! Then I read the questions…<gulp> & got a little nervous as they are real artist-like questions! A label I am still trying to settle into. But I will try my best to address these creative issues from my perspective.

1. What are you working on?

Oh my gosh, way too many things right now! Aside from working in my journal everyday, I am enrolled in Connie Hozvicka’s 21 Secrets Painting the Feminine Spring. I also belong to the Documented Life Planner group & work in my Moleskine planner (although that has been the subject of much neglect lately). A few other workshops here & there, but pretty soon I am cutting myself off to go workshop free for at least a month! image This painting above (acrylics) was in response to the Cycles prompt in Painting the Feminine which I painted last week. It might not yet be finished – I have a feeling I will revisit it. I have dedicated my {luscious!} Fabriano Venezia journal to that class, which I also took in the winter & I love seeing how much my work has progressed. My main goal with this particular workshop is to learn how to paint more intuitively which s something, despite all of my art training, I have never explored. I am hoping to find my voice  using this medium. Here are a few more paintings from this workshop. All were done last week. image


I also track my creative thoughts & color combos that resonate with me in my Right Brain Planner (Teresa Robinson’s brilliant system & another beautiful kindred spirit!. I find it brings out subconscious messages & hints about myself & where I’m headed. A glimpse from April:


2.  How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t even know if my work fits into a genre! If I had to put it in a genre, I guess it would be art journaling? I think the things that make it different is  that my work is done from my lens, my perspective, my experiences that influence me. I know that I don’t like to copy current trends that are out there (I.e., the formula scrapbook look, etc.)… my goal is to find my own voice, so right now I am trying a whole bunch of things to see what resonates with me. Lots of it will be not great, but I have to get through that muddy/junky phase before my voice/style can shine through. Lately I can certainly feel a shift happening which feels really good!

3.  Why do I create what I create?

It’s the best way I know how to express myself & get my feelings out. Plus…and this is a big one…it keeps me calm & happy. I cannot go a day without doing some kind of art,even if it is just 15 minutes. It’s part of who I am.  

4. How does your creative process work?

I wish I knew!! Lol! I get inspiration mostly when I am not looking for it! It could be from a certain color combination I may see in my travels, anything from flowers or even a sign on a passing truck! It could be from patterns in nature or architecture. More often than not, ideas always come when I’m not {consciously} looking for them! Once I get an idea, I’ll quickly sketch it out in my idea journal, let it marinate in my mind & then start laying down some paint in my art journal. Or…I just start playing around with paint & see what happens. Sometimes I find pictures & text in magazines that I am completely attracted to but cannot even say why, so I cut them out & paste them in a composition notebook for future reference.  I’m actually not really sure that I can adequately explain my creative process. I know I am currently obsessed with the creative process of others & will read anything I can get my hands on about it. I recently read Stephen King’s “On Writing” as well as Creative Habit (Twyla Tharp) book & was fascinated by both!

And that is about it! I, in turn asked 3 people to participate in this next week, but unfortunately they were all swamped & were unable to do it. Should things change for them I will update here…(why do I feel like the party pooper who was unable to continue this little tour. But, I tried! 🙂