Category Archives: Art journaling

Crafting for my sanity

Tonight was so hard, I was having serious neuropathy problems in my legs (nerves that shoot random messages causing pain and spasms) on top of being so tired I thought I was going to fall asleep during the game but I didn’t want to ruin it for everyone so we played extra long and I tried to distract myself by working on a very simple quote art journal page (working on lettering) 6×6″ black card stock mounted in a small scrapbook cover (no sleeves) Prismacolor pencils and gel pen markers.

I think it came out good for how out of it I was.

After that hell night and with the depression and rage fits I have been going through I did some thinking about why it is so important I get my art room organized.

[b]Here is something about why I NEED art to stay ahead of pain and stay sane[/b]

I live with chronic pain, sometimes it is a mild nagging in the background, that little itch or ache that mildly distracts you from everything just enough to qualify as annoying, other times it is front and center, taking away my enjoyment of life, washing out the colors, drowning out the sound of joy, flooding my senses with currents of agony.
Thankfully my issues are no where near as bad as many chronic pain sufferers who ate in the second state of pain where it takes central focus 24/7.
And more to the point is the fact that I have a few outs that save me from drowning in the pain, from losing sight of what is good in life and what is still worth fighting for.
It is strange because while I suffer from chemically based bi-polar depression I am blessed with a nature that is overall happy. I know people with no health issues, no mental or physical issues that simply go through life perpetually irritated and mildly unhappy or seriously angry everyday. And here I am, physically and mentally broken by most anyone’s standards, and yet I make an effort to see something beautiful in just about everything. I don’t claim it makes me a better person, I believe it is as much a combination of genetics that allows me to feel joy and be happy as it is a matter of genetics that causes my bouts of depression. It is also upbringing, I was taught to see humor in even annoying things and to find 1 beautiful thing a day.
I also have a drive to do art. I think I would be dead 100 times over by now if I did not have art to lose myself into.
The thing is art and crafting, and especially art journaling where I can easily do a little bit or a lot, where I can work 1 page when i have a single focus or prep 10 when I am so distracted I can’t focus on one thing, gives me a way to stay separate from my pain, to stay out ahead of it a bit. One of the reasons I tend to work on multiple projects at a time is a mix of AdultADD and pain management, being able to change my focus, not having to break off and stop working while something dries, allows me to keep a bit more focus which distracts me from my pain.
I don’t know how chronic pain sufferers who don’t or cant craft, or even read, survive. Without a distraction, without an outlet for both my pain and my joy I would break into a thousand pieces.
I often write about pain on line, but you will not find a lot of pages about it in my art journals. There have been times when all I wrote about, all I created was ruled by my mental and physical problems,. I glorified the pain by putting the problems down then found that i could not stand to look at them later because while it freed something in me at the time it kept bringing it back into my life over and over again afterwards, this was especially true of the things I did to express my mental issues of depression, anxiety and self loathing.
And so a lot of art was destroyed and some of the paintings gessoed over and the canvases reused, it wasn’t until I ran out of gesso and decided to incorporate a bit of the original images in the new more positive piece of art that I hit on a way to vent artistically and not allow my art to be eaten alive by pain.
Obviously I am not afraid to discuss my illnesses but I do not want it consuming my art work, I learned to use it as part of my art but not the final focus.
A good example of this is art journalling, I will pour out the pain, the thoughts that are eating at me, the moments of agony and then I will rework the page it was written on to make it something new, something not about the suffering underneath.
Sometimes I will write in pencil on dark paper then draw over it, I will print out blog posts or fb statuses about my pain, run all the sentences together so that it is line after line of solid text then draw or collage at random over it and then when I have “Broken it’s back” (its continuity) I pick words out and make found word poetry that has nothing to do with pain.
I can’t always control the pain, I have issues meds do nothing for except give me a badly disjointed sleep, but I can control how I express it. This is not to say there is no value in work about pain, work where suffering is the focus, but for me, well I have been there and I am moving on.

Art Journaling with Ink Blots

Interpret yourself ala Frida Art Journal Challenge

Here is my version of the Challenge at

My Gothic Side meets my Bohemian side

Some Art journal pages I did this week

Dancing like lightning

Storm Challenge


A print of one of my paintings altered for my 8x8in journal

ART CHALLENGE: Calendar Challenge (and a sure-fire way to fail)

I really want to join the Kathryn Wheel 2011 Calendar challenge but my first instinct was … It is half way through Feb, I should of started the first of the year, my second thought upon looking at the calendars some people have done was I could never do that good so why try?  I had similar thoughts when I was going through the over 800 blogs in OWOH and I almost wanted to quit cause there were so many amazing blogs I felt mine was not very good.

This is the way to fail at anything… compare yourself to others, make excuses about why you should not even try and then give up.

I did not give up blogging and I wont give up this challenge… so my calendar starts in the middle of Feb… sooooo what, your life starts THIS MINUTE, over and over again, every single time I slip a little I have a chance to start again fresh.  Any successful dieter or anyone recovering from addiction can tell you that you dont live life Day by day but minute by minute.

I need to learn not to be intimidated by other people’s skills, other people’s successes whether they be in art, work or weight loss, I need to learn to be INSPIRED


Art Journal Prompts: Lots of questions to answer about myself

I checked out a lot of lists of questions on line and got 100s of questions bu many of them did not pertain to me in any way or were duplicates so after reading through them I came up with this list of questions to use as prompts when I feel stalled or need motivation to art journal



How old do you feel inside your mind?

Which is worse, failing or never trying?

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

What are you most grateful for?

Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?

Am I nice?

Am I doing what I really want to do?

What am I grateful for?

Am I honest?

Do I listen to others?

Do I help others?

What is my biggest fear?

Do I thank people enough?

Am I more positive or negative ?
Do I care what others think about me?

What are my talents?

What makes me happy?

What makes me sad?

What makes me angry?

Who has had the greatest impact on my life?

Do I stand up for myself?

Do I smile more than I frown?

Do I surround myself with good people?

Do I ask enough questions?

75. What other questions do I have?

How would you describe yourself?

Do you love yourself? Why or Why not?

What is your ideal self? What does it mean to be the best you?

What are the biggest things you’ve learned in life to date?

What advice would you give to yourself 5 years ago?

What are your biggest goals and dreams?

What would you do if you cannot fail; if there are no limitations in money, resources, time or networks?

What do you want to achieve in 5 years? … 10 years?

What’s the top priority in your life right now?

If you have 1 million dollars, what would you do with it?

What is your ideal home like?

What is your ideal physical look?

What is your ideal life?

What bad habits do you want to break?

What good habits do you want to cultivate?

What’s the biggest step you can take now that will create the biggest result?

Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with?  Are they good for you?