complete joy

Art and article published in the current issue of Stampington’s Art Journal magazine

Complete joy sounds unattainable in today’s world; after all, who really has it?  People do.  I’ve learned that joy doesn’t simply happen to us, but that we have to choose it, and keep choosing it every day.  “You will show me the path of life.  In your presence is the fullness of joy.” – Psalm 16:11

When it comes to art I think, joy rises to the surface in the present moment, when we let go and paint intuitively.  Once we stop adding rules of composition and such, we destroy our preconceived notions and begin to create solely for self-expression.

Normally I will approach my studio with somewhat of a plan, pulling up to my table with a clean open journal, a palette choice, a few chosen supplies and somewhat of a purpose for a thought-out page.

But this time, I had no plan, not even an idea of what might transpire.  Realizing this, I decided to take a fun approach to my creative session.  I threw a plastic tablecloth onto my studio floor, grabbed my largest storage box of paints and inks, my envelope of stencils and a large stack of watercolor paper and went to work (play!).

My back and forth method was about the extent of my plan, since I didn’t want my beautiful colors to turn into mud.  I laid down as many papers as would fit in front of me within reach and I started adding colors with my traditional and foam brushes.  While yellows were drying on one page, reds would go down on the next; blues on the next and so on until the first layers were dry and I’d start over again.  Stencils became a part of the next layer process and I was thrilled that I was using many of the supplies we as artists tend to stock up on but seldom use.  I pulled out my mark making tools and used them all.  What transpired on my pages were beautiful splats, areas of color and abstract shapes that cheered me on to make more.  Layers and layers ensued and within a couple of hours I was filled with the joy such an intuitive process had claimed to bring.

Technique:

The journal that’s the subject of this article is one that came about during that expressive art session; one that looked quite different than any I’d experienced in the past. By the time I’d finished with my newfound process, I’d collected a nice stack of vibrant papers.  Wanting to bring all of that color together, I gathered them into a book, matching up pages that mingled well, joined them with masking tape, retaining their large, 9” x 12” size. 

Keeping momentum, I took a handful of writing tools; pens and pencils that had been sitting unused in pretty coffee mugs and clay pots.  Page by page, I began writing erratically, journaling to my heart’s content, not knowing or caring what might appear on my impromptu painted pages.  Jet black and stark white scribbles against such lively colors made my heart sing, and I realized that joy is what happens to us when we stop looking back, but actually remain in our moments.

“In introspection we try to look “inside ourselves” and see what is going on.  But nearly everything that was going on a moment before is stopped by the very act of our turning to look at it.” – C. S. Lewis

Tips:

Put on your favorite music while you create and discover the difference it makes in your art experience.

Embrace layers, letting each session fully dry before going on to the next to avoid making “mud.”

Dip a large foam brush into three or more colors of paint for a fun, multicolor effect.

As a final layer, make dramatic marks using household items such as toothbrushes or hairbrushes dipped in waterproof, black India ink.   Use the dropper to your ink bottle to write out words and phrases.  Use different sized jar lids dipped in paint to create colorful circles across a page.

Use a water soluble, black Stabilo All pencil to scrawl out several lines of journaling and then spritz down the center of it with a spray bottle filled with water.

Use the opposite end of your paint brush, or a skewer to scrape off wet mediums you’ve already laid down.

Fourth of July Sale! Two days only, 30% Off my first art journaling class, UNFRAMED…hurry!

UNFRAMED Introduction

In my first art journaling course Unframed, I disassemble and transform an old, broken, framed print into a hand-bound art journal, using as many of its beautifully aged components as I can creatively bring forth.

While dismantling the frame, I found it was stuffed with newspaper and some interesting looking cardboard as padding to hold the piece in place.  As I uncovered each layer, I considered how I could use the intensely aged elements in an art journal and I wanted to share the process with you.  

I created Unframed mainly to encourage you to be on the lookout for unconventional materials at antique and thrift shops that you might use to build and adorn your art journals.

In this course, I disassemble the frame, construct an art journal from its parts, prepare the pages and embellish a few of those pages with vintage elements and mediums such as acrylic paints, inks and pastels. 

I’m so grateful you’re here to share my first Teachable art course with me and I look forward to creating many more!

xo,

Elizabeth

Register here!

she loves her flowers, but not in vases

Acrylics and Inks on Stretched Canvas

There’s no doubt my love of flowers and of painting them were great gifts from my beautiful Mom.  In the Summer, you could look out any one of our Michigan farmhouse windows and see rows and mounds of color reaching up toward the sun.  If you were lucky enough to have chosen the right window, you might see her bent down amidst the glorious color, weeding or transplanting her precious gifts.  She couldn’t get enough of the miracle of their growth and would spend hours in the sunshine along with the butterflies, tending to each variety of daisy, cosmos, poppy and zinnia, not to mention her enormous sunflower and herb gardens.  Hummingbirds regarded her as one of the flowers and would often perch on her shoulder and rest awhile.  

Despite my Mom’s love for flowers, we never had them in the house.  She kept them intact in the garden to breathe the heavenly air in their dwelling as long as God deemed fit.  Conversely, I’ve always loved a cutting garden and adore having fresh flowers in my home regularly.

I remember one of my last visits to the farm in late Autumn when my Mom still had her sight and could enjoy the late blooming orange marigolds that had persisted through Fall to keep her garden looking bright.  It was my birthday and as always when I pulled up into the yard, she was in the house at the kitchen table painting flowers.  She came out to greet me with open arms.  As I followed her through the back door and up the two steps to the kitchen, I spied a flower arrangement on the kitchen table amongst her paints and brushes.  She had picked them early and put them in a simple jar with curled ribbon.

“These miracles are for you,” she said.  I thought she had said “Miracles.”  “Marigolds, she smiled.”  She handed me the jar and I was overjoyed by the thought of her cutting her garden flowers especially for me.

She loves her flowers, but not in vases; trusts they’ll thrive from our Lord’s gazes.

I love my flowers in simple vases, with curled ribbon for special places.

She knows I do.

* * *

Mother’s Day love to you in Heaven, Mom. I miss you more with each new day. Thank you for your love and the gift of my life. Thank you for friendship, eternal and true.

unframed, a vintage art journaling course

UNFRAMED Introduction

In my first art journaling course Unframed, I disassemble and transform an old, broken, framed print into a hand-bound art journal, using as many of its beautifully aged components as I can creatively bring forth.

While dismantling the frame, I found it was stuffed with newspaper and some interesting looking cardboard as padding to hold the piece in place.  As I uncovered each layer, I considered how I could use the intensely aged elements in an art journal and I wanted to share the process with you.  

I created Unframed mainly to encourage you to be on the lookout for unconventional materials at antique and thrift shops that you might use to build and adorn your art journals.

In this course, I disassemble the frame, construct an art journal from its parts, prepare the pages and embellish a few of those pages with vintage elements and mediums such as acrylic paints, inks and pastels. 

I’m so grateful you’re here to share my first Teachable art course with me and I look forward to creating many more!

xo,

Elizabeth

Register here!

painting al fresco

As I write this in late March, I ‘m savoring the early signs of Spring, taking in the abundance of visual material for my current project.  Trees are in full bloom, flowers are breaking through their buds, butterflies are soaring and fiddlehead ferns are unfurling en masse in our Florida backyard.  The anticipated season of warmth is delivering a flourishing scene of palpable shapes and colors to inspire me to get out of the house and create something as unprocessed and fresh as the Spring air.

There’s much more inspiration in nature than within the walls of a studio.  Uplifting images are everywhere you look and you can paint what you see instead of relying on your imagination or a concept in a book.  At our disposal are hues of quinacrodone red, pyrrole orange and chromium oxide green just the way God made them.  Authentic patterns and contours of plants and flowers become our models, their postures so genuine and true.

My intention was to paint a background of botanicals over a collage I’d created, incorporating the stark, cool tones of the Ixoras that had been flowering in our yard.  But what I ended up with was a girl donned with a crown of pink roses, inspired by the Madonna statue that kept diverting me, posing among the tall blooms.  The morning ultimately became sort of an unofficial, early May crowning; the only guests in attendance were the procession of insects, twittering birds and me with my easel near.

I pledged that day that notwithstanding Spring showers, I would leave conventional indoor painting for the cool season and continue to take advantage of our extravagant natural resources, where studio light runs solely on sunshine. E.

from my heart to yours

Love and hearts…I’m all about them!  When I create with my heart in prayer, love always follows, presenting a beautiful way of recording forever my conversations with God.  Leaving my heart on canvas allows me to return to my work years later and recall exactly how I felt.

Developing our creative talents challenge us to be who God intended us to be, but at times can be difficult, especially when our vision is unclear because our graces have run short.  But God is always near.  We’re the ones who turn away from His favors and inspiration.  By deepening our relationship with Him through the creative process, we receive the blessings of His gifts in the finished product of our work, every single time.

Marc Chagall thrived in nearly every artistic style and medium, yet he played against the same obstacles we do.  He said it neatly when faced with a blank easel, “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”

From my heart to yours…

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