Monday, 29 August 2016

What sort of growth?

When these two plants appeared on my page, I wondered what it was all about. Just a few pages ago in my journal a plant appeared growing up the middle of the page. Where was my head at?

Once I put a flower on one of them, it started to make more sense. There are different types of growth - vegetative and fruitful. Both are necessary. You don't get fruit without the vegetative growth which produces food for the plant. But if you only produce leaves, there will never be any fruit. You can be fantastic at something, but if you never finish any of those projects, how good are you really? You only have the potential to produce fruit if you grow flowers.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Breaking free

I wasn't sure where this page was going, but once the circles were on there, it seemed obvious to me. The top 'bubble' is breaking free from the others. I don't know where it's going, but it has achieved a degree of freedom and is rising up into the light.

I don't know if you ever get this feeling, but there are times when you know that something has changed, even when everything still looks the same from the outside. There is an inkling of an internal growth that you can't quite nail down yet. Often you don't recognise what it is until you're in a situation and react differently from how you would before.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the growth is when it is finally revealed.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

New Business Cards

A couple of weeks ago I got a new phone and a new number, so I needed new business cards. What better type of business card for an artist than atcs? Having jumped in to the challenge of working small for a recent atc swap, these were fun to do and a bit less daunting.

I find the best way for me to start with these smaller pieces of art is to pattern a large piece of watercolour paper first. Then I cut it into 3.5 x 2.5in squares and add the details.

Here are a couple of close-ups of cards using hand-cut rubber stamps:

Also, I received the atcs from Shel over at Paper Ocotillo Studios  in the post today. A little bit of summer for the tail end of winter :) Thanks, Shel.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016


Sometimes you just have to surrender.

When you're in a time of waiting, there is no point in fighting against it. The whole point is that you are supposed to wait.

There is no point trying to fill your time with busy-ness to make yourself feel useful. You're supposed to be busy waiting.

One of the problems with waiting is that you often feel that you should be doing something. Our lives are so scheduled and full these days that we don't always know how to wait well.

A lot of our self-worth can be derived from what we do. If I'm not 'doing' how can I be serving? Milton had it right: They also serve who only stand and wait.

Obedience and service are about being available. When you're supposed to be waiting, you're not expected to be doing anything else. The waiting is your obedience and service.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Branches and spokes

This is one of the pages in my journal that I really like. I'm not sure exactly what it is about it - I'll have to contemplate a bit longer - but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

The journalling reads: You need lots of branches if you're going to produce lots of fruit.

It is necessary to branch out in different directions to see which things end up being fruitful. It's just as important to try things and find they don't work for you. There is more potential in plants that bush out in all directions than in one that just produces a single stem. Yes, there will need to be pruning, but the pruning is done to increase fruitfulness, not reduce it.

So be productive in all directions!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Loosening up

It's Friday, so there must be a paint party!

This was my second go at this page. It's not often that I rip a page out of my journal. Generally I'm a 'turn over the page and start again' type, but this time I really felt I couldn't save the page. So out it came.

In order to 'get out of my own head' I switched the brush to my other hand. With black paint so I had to commit to the brush strokes, I tried again. And this time I am so much happier with the results. I've used this trick many times. Somehow, using my non-dominant hand frees me up to draw wonky faces. And quite often the faces have more character because of their flaws.

This girl called for a wreath of leaves made from a hand-cut rubber stamp. And if there were leaves, there needed to be flowers - another stamp. I'm in a period of waiting at the moment, so the journalling reads: Learn from the plants - spend time in stillness.

Have a great weekend and go check out all the wonderful creations at Paint Party Friday.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Kindness and gentleness

I'm still enjoying working on pale pages again, and find myself working on double page spreads more than I have in the last few months. It's amazing how moving to a new journal can change the way you work. I find I'm using more spray paints simply because they show up on these pages but didn't in my last journal. I even pulled out a stamp I had made from a drawing of a feather.

Again, the soft colours made me think of gentleness, and with that, kindness. It's not a surprise that the gifts of the Spirit - those aspects of character that we are called to grow in - include both gentleness and kindness. And the Bible also says that love is kind. We only need to look at the news to see that the world needs more kindness, more gentleness.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Try something different

Sometimes you just have to loosen up and try something different.

I watched a preview of one of Dina Wakley's videos last week. It was only a few minutes long, but inspiring. She was encouraging artists to use different implements for painting, and in the snippet of video she used a chopstick.

I didn't have a chopstick to hand, so used the 'wrong' end of a paintbrush instead.  It didn't absorb a lot of paint, so I ended up making a lot of short strokes and then going back through the previous ones trying to join them up. That's why there are lines within the paint lines. However, it made me not worry so much about whether it looked good or not because there was less control than with the 'right' end of the brush. Sometimes using a different tool allows you to loosen up because you lower your expectations when you are doing something you're not used to.

I filled in the irises and lips with a brush and put more colour in the hair with a colour shaper

Thursday, 11 August 2016


After working in an old cookery book for months, I've moved into a new journal. I'm enjoying the pale pages which are account sheets. The cookery book had lots of bright and dark blocks of colour which affected the backgrounds I made in it. Now I get to use white space a bit more without having to introduce the paleness, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I sketched a mushroom on this page, inspired by the ones that have popped up in the bed just outside our front door. One day they weren't there, and then they were. Three of them, looking unreal. It made me think about fungi and how most of what happens with them is underground - all the hyphae grow there. It is only when the fruiting body - the mushroom - comes up that you know there is fungus around. This is comforting to me as I am in a 'waiting' and 'continue' stage of my life. Things are moving along as usual, but I'm aware that there are things happening 'underground'. I just don't know exactly what they are yet. Hopefully I'll know when the fruit pops up.

In other news: I've finally joined instagram. You can find me at sojournertracy.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016


I often produce pages I'm not that fond of. It may be something to do with the colours, or the composition, or the fact that I made a great big ooops and it didn't turn out better (in my opinion!)

This is one of those pages.

However, the elements on it made me think of growth - it's on my mind a lot lately. The leaf and the flower spoke to me of order. There is a progression or order of things. You don't get the flower before the seed has put up a stem and then a leaf or two.

I often find that I will unconsciously do several pages that seem to have the same theme. The post from Friday says the same thing in a different way. Perhaps there's something I need to learn...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Strength with gentleness

I got part way with this background and was loving the pastel shades. The softness of the colours made me think about kindness and gentleness.

I have encountered several women who are strong women. And there's nothing wrong with that. We need strong women. But that strength wasn't tempered with gentleness. There was a stridency to their voices, a pushiness to their manner, a lack of empathy in their words and actions.

Gentleness and strength are not polar opposites. The two can - and should - go together. Strength can damage if it isn't wielded with gentleness. It can overwhelm those whom it should be used to protect and comfort.

Be strong.

But also be gentle.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Building upwards

One thing builds on another. It sounds simple. Obvious, even. But there are times when we forget and want to start at the top. How often have you looked at the journal pages of people who have been journalling for years, while still a beginner yourself, and wanted to make pages like that? Admit it. We've all been there. And there's nothing wrong with a desire to improve, to grow.

But you have to put time into your foundations.

Everything else rests on your foundations, and if they are too thin, too narrow, too flimsy, then whatever you build on them will eventually fall down.

And we can't build from the top, diving straight in with the complicated stuff. No. You have to put in your hours playing, learning, building up your skills, seeing what works, and working out your own style. None of this time is wasted. It all makes for solid foundations.