Monday, 31 December 2012

Standing on the threshold

Standing on the threshold to the adventure of a brand new year.

So much promise.

So many possibilities...

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Out with the old...

This time of the year is a good one for reviewing your life and deciding what changes need to be made. I like to make resolutions that are a bit more fluid than 'I will... every day.' Those sorts of things make you feel guilty if you don't stick to them. I like to make resolutions to change that I might actually be able to stick with :)

So this year I am aiming to take more photos, wrestle and win with Photoshop, learn how to use my Bamboo to full effect, stretch my comfort zone, tackle uncomfortable things head-on rather than retreating into myself, and dreaming big rather than dialling down my dreams.

What about you?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Open the box

For all of you who celebrate Christmas, I'm sure there has been a lot of giving and unwrapping of gifts going on in the last few days. My husband's sermon on Christmas Day was all about gifts. There are certain things that need to happen to get the most out of a gift.

First, you have to receive it. It is possible to be given a gift that we don't actually take.

Second, you have to unwrap it. A gift that is received but not unwrapped is just a pretty box.

Lastly, you have to use it for its purpose. A gift that is never used just gathers dust and is as useful as a block of concrete.

So my question is: have you truly received your gifts, torn off the wrappings, and plunged right in to make use of them?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Why can't I read all day, every day?

My husband found this question on pinterest which just sums up our household so I made this for our daughter. I had great fun making the pile of books for it which are made out of craft foam and covered them with patterned papers. The frame is an old chocolate box.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Reverb12 - day 20

Yes, yes, I'm a little behind on this. I have to admit that doing the A to Z challenge was easier because I knew what was coming and could prepare beforehand :) This has been harder. Sometimes I have to sit with a prompt for a little while and then I get behind...

So, today, What was lost and what was found?

Well, I like to think that the timidity I have always had about standing in front of others has now been lost - or at least is in the process of being lost - and that a new boldness will be found as time goes on.

As for some art work to go with it, I'm going to leave you with this, which I have blogged before, but fits the question.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Happy Birthday Sojourner!

I can't believe a year has passed since I set out on my journey into Blogland!

I would like to say a big 'Thank you' to all of you who have visited, commented, and encouraged me through this last year. I've had so much fun visiting your blogs and seeing the wonderful work that is going on in creative spaces all over the world. Keep up the good work!

As the year comes towards an end I am inevitably looking forward to the next one. What will it bring? Where will it take me? One of the things I want to do is learn how to dream big. To dream without limits. I am the sort of person who finds it easy to spot the flaws in a plan. Unfortunately that means I am not very good at dreaming because I can see the possible pitfalls and shy away from things that don't look as if they will succeed.

So I want to make 2013 the year of dreaming without limits. Of taking the chance to believe that the impossible can happen.

What new path are you going to take?

Linking up with Art Journal Every Day (see button in the bar) and finally getting around to putting something on Paint Party Friday!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 14

I've been finding it difficult to keep up with a page a day for the Reverb12 challenge as it gets closer to Christmas. Some of the questions haven't resonated with me and a day isn't enough to ponder them and do a whole page. Today's page was done using minimal additions on a background I prepared a while ago and didn't know what to do with. I'm not really happy with it but wanted to get something done today.

So, today's question: What is the most important thing you learned in 2012? How does this learning shape the path going forward?

This really fits with 'what was the greatest risk you took' for me. In taking the risk to say yes to an invitation to speak in front of 50 people, I had to stand up to my fear of... well... standing up and speaking in front of people. In doing that I learned that fear is a bully. When we stand up to our fears they don't go away, but they stop having so much power over us. They're not quite so frightening any more.

Fear may stand in a narrow part of the path. We can either turn around and go another way, or stand up to it and move on through. It is a choice. As to how it will shape the path forward, I will be more courageous, taking on fear and facing it down.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Fall Fearless and Fly #6

Headline Prompt:  Divided by God:  What does "God" mean to you?  How do you access"God" or the divine or the sacred in your life?
Color Prompt: Metallics - gold, silver, copper, bronze, or all of them!
Quote Prompt: "This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart, is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."  The Dalai Lama 

For me the answer is simple - God is my light and life and breath, the very beating of my heart. Without Him I cannot live.

How do I access Him? By prayer. By listening with my heart. By looking for all that is good and pure and right and just.

Some of the details don't show well in the photo. I wanted to keep the colours gentle rather than bold to show the gentle way that God deals with me - His patience is boundless for which I am hugely grateful :) The green is for life, the yellow for light. The gold heart in the woman is a smaller, not-yet-perfect reflection of the larger heart standing in for God's heart. Lines radiate from the large heart to show God's influence on my heart, my mouth, my eyes. 

Hop on over to Artists in Blogland (use the Fall Fearless and Fly button in the sidebar) and check out everyone else's take on this prompt.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Reverb 12 - days 10 & 11

Whoops! Missed yesterday's prompt. Here is my short answer to 'What risk did you take?' I said yes to an invitation to speak to fifty people for five minutes. The outcome was favourable in that I didn't throw up, fall over, or otherwise embarrass myself :)

Today's question was, "What was music to your ears?"

As you can see from the page above, "Thank you" is music to my ears for two reasons. Firstly because manners don't cost anything and rudeness is unnecessary,  and secondly because if I'm hearing it, I must have done something helpful.

Click on the #Reverb12 button in the sidebar to see what everyone else hears as music.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 9

First up, apologies that there is no art for this prompt but Sunday is a busy day in the life of a clergy family so I haven't had time to do a page.

What was the best book you read in 2012, and why? (And by "Why?" I mean: Why did you read it? And why was it your favourite? Although these answers could be one and the same...!)

As an avid reader I read many books on a variety of topics for many different reasons. Just thinking about what I've read this year gives me a headache! I suppose the answer would really depend on what I was reading for. I read the Bible every day and obviously it is my best book in that if I was left on a desert island it is the one I would want. It is my life manual.

If you talk about reading for pure pleasure, I re-read all the Vorkosigan novels by Lois McMaster Bujold every year. I'm reading the latest one at the moment. One chapter to go and I don't want it to end. It makes me want to read all the others again. The writing is wonderful, drawing you straight in to a totally believable world with wonderful characters that you can't help rooting for. 

In terms of growth, I read Flourish by Catherine Hart Weber which was very useful and practical in looking at how we can lead lives that are flourishing - looking after yourself spiritually. It was so good I have started to read it again.

In biography, Delerious: my journey with the band, a growing family, and an army of historymakers by Martin Smith and Craig Borlase was a wonderful read because I lived through that era, having seen Delerious in concert when they were playing town halls and buying the Cutting Edge tapes that they made themselves and sold from a cardboard box at the gigs. Just a real nostalgia trip.

And to grow in artistic endeavours, I have enjoyed Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists by Carla Sonheim and The Journal Junkies Workshop: Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict by Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler. I borrowed both from the library, bought the first and would consider putting it the latter on my wish-list, too.

I guess that's enough to give you a flavour :)  

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 8

What was the most important relationship that you fostered in 2012? How will you continue to nurture it in 2013?

This is the question for today in the #Reverb12 challenge

For me this is easy - my relationship with God. It's the one that all the others spring from. Being rooted in God allows me to show love to others and grow in my relationships with them. It was the nurturing of this relationship that led to me starting to art journal in the first place.

One of the things about a relationship with God is that you learn about blessings. I find myself in a position to bless someone today. You may know that I won the one of the giveaways in the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge a couple of weeks ago. Having looked at the online shop I can use it in, I find that actually the postage to have anything sent to Australia is the entire value of the voucher :( 

Being a thrifty sort, I thought that rather than spend money just because I have a voucher, I could pass it on to someone who can make better use of it (and be blessed with some freebie art materials). If you want it, be the first to email me at tracywoodsford(at)gmail(dot)com telling me that you'd like it. (It's a $35 voucher for Dreaming in Color)

Hope you're enjoying your day!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Reverb12 - day 7

A week in to the Reverb12 challenge (click the button in the sidebar to see who's taking part and how they're answering these questions about 2012). Today's question:

What's the one thing you want to take with you into 2013? 

One of the things about having a question a day is that you have to think and work fast. I tried to think about what this last year has given that I didn't have before and that I value enough to carry on into the future.

Then it hit me - I know more now than I did a year ago.

Now that I am in my mid-forties I am more comfortable in my own skin. I have a lot more wisdom and knowledge than I did in my twenties or thirties. I want to carry that through into the future. If I don't learn from my mistakes, if I don't build up my skills, then what use are they? If I don't understand the value of joy, peace, love, grace, and contentment then my life will be empty.

So, I'm going to take my accumulated wisdom and knowledge with me, and hope to live better in 2013 than I did in 2012.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 6

Any of you who have been following my blog or have looked at a few posts over the last six weeks will have noticed that I have been taking a drawing class. So when today's prompt came up it was obvious to me what the answer was.

What did you learn? Compare the 'you' from the beginning of 2012 to the 'you' that you are now. What new skills have you learned or discovered this year?

I learned how to draw accurately what is in front of me. I learned how to see light and shade and put them down on paper in several different ways with different media. The class gave me confidence. I'm still not sure I can draw things out of my head, but if I have something in front of me I know I can get down a good rendition of it. A drawing that I am pleased with.

And that's a big step forward.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 5

The prompt for day 5 is: What was your dream destination in 2012 and why?

As a family in church ministry, getting away from home is important and difficult. This year we have been blessed with two trips to Kangaroo Island. As the name suggests this is an island just off the coast of South Australia. It is like a nature reserve - mainly wild, low population even by Australian standards, and four main roads with no traffic lights on the entire island. There are a lot of dirt tracks with that red earth that is so definitive of Australia. 

We had such a great time seeing all the native animals in their natural habitats - koalas, echidnas, snakes, roos, wallabies, cockatoos etc. We haven't yet seen a platypus or a wombat other than in a zoo, but there's time yet :) We were able to relax, and that was so precious.

Here is a close-up of the tree. That isn't blossom in it but cockatoos! Imagine rounding a corner and seeing that wonderful sight.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 4

Prompt for day 4 - How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?

This was a difficult one. If you refer back to this post, or this one, you will find how a northern hemisphere girl finds a southern hemisphere Christmas difficult.

After thinking about what I am going to do in the next month I realised that I celebrate myself by being who I am. I am a nurturer and helper. I will help my husband by preparing the Christmas package that we give away at our Christmas Day service - I will celebrate my creative self in this way.

I will cook a nutritious meal for my family that does not indulge in the excess that is often seen at this time of year but will be well-balanced and the right size, even though it will still be festive. I have made my own Christmas pudding so I know exactly what is in it - I will celebrate my nurturing self.

To see how everyone else will be celebrating, click in the Reverb12 button in the sidebar.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 3

The prompt for day three is:

Imagine a scenario where you had one year to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven't had the chance to accomplish yet?

After some thought I decided that having a studio large enough to hold classes and host retreats is the thing I would love to do. At the moment I have an art room that will just about hold three people. I have held classes elsewhere, but it would be great to have a studio attached to the house.

I love to share skills and see people released into creativity. I'll never forget the evening I taught one particular woman how to make a book. She told me that everything she ever brought home from school that she had made her mother threw straight into the bin. She was convinced that she wasn't able to be creative but for some reason felt that she wanted to come to the informal class I held in my home once a month. That woman made a book that evening and her face shone when she left.

I would love to see that more.

To join this challenge or see what others are up to, click on the Reverb12 button in the sidebar.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 2

Today's question is: What was your most significant expenditure of 2012 - the one with the most impact? What difference has it made to your life?

I had to think about this for a while. Then I remembered that this year was the year that we bought a new laptop. Not such a special thing, you might think, but there are three of us who all do everything from home and we had one laptop and one desktop between us. I was sharing the desktop with my husband whenever I wanted to access the internet and the laptop with our daughter when she wanted to write (which was quite often!)

Now I have a laptop with internet access and our daughter has a laptop of her own and I am not reduced to everyone else's leftover time! Plus our daughter can now write whenever she likes and is up to over two hundred story ideas. The extra laptop has allowed me to expand my blogging, start to get to grips with Photoshop, and continue with my writing.

The expenditure has allowed us all to expand our imagination.

Now that's priceless!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Reverb 12 - day 1

December 1st. The start of advent, the lead in to Christmas. And the first day of the #Reverb12 challenge.

The first prompt was: How are you starting?

For me that can be summarised in one word: discombobulated!

My insides and outsides do not match up on this. My head is in the north and my body in the south. On the outside I am at the beginning of summer, the sun is shining, and plants are flourishing. On the inside I am at the beginning of winter, things are dying down and I'm heading for a time of hibernation. Outside it's all floral, inside the days are drawing in and getting darker (not in a depressed sort of way, but just like the short days and long nights of winter).

So there you have it. That's how I'm starting.

How about you?