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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Get Messy Art Journal: Season of Dreams

The Season of Dreams at Get Messy Art Journal was so inspiring! Even though I only completed a few spreads, the ones I created hold so much meaning for me. We were encouraged to keep a dream journal to record our dreams during the night, but I mainly focused on dreams in terms of my hopes and aspirations. 

The first week I created this mandala dream catcher. Drawing the mandala portion was so relaxing, and I became completely lost in thought pondering my dreams and aspirations.  I used some of my own handmade washi tape feathers to add a three-dimensional aspect to the page. I think interactive pages add so much interest to an art journal, and I love the tactile quality of these feathers on the string. I remember making a dream catcher years ago when I was a young Girl Scout, and I hung it on my door every night. It was adorned in beads, sequins, and feathers and I truly believed in its magical powers. I love the idea that the nightmares pass through, but the dreams are kept.

In this spread I illustrated what I believe is happening in my brain as I sleep. I tend to have strange, sometimes insane dreams, but I try to focus on the positive parts. I relate it to creating found poetry. When I look at text in a book, I try to pick out words that speak to me so I can create a beautiful, inspiring poem. Here the poem reads, "Like a rare butterfly / She would survive it / To be free again". To me, these words are so powerful and so uplifting. I also love the brilliant gold against the stark black background to represent me finding the light in darkness.

Finally, I come to this spread in my journal which came together very spontaneously. I was looking through my magazine scraps and found the image of the clock, and then I came across the "I'll do it later" text in a pile of words I had cut out. I instantly thought about my new endeavors and finding the courage to follow my dreams. This serves as a little "note to self" that I must go after my dreams with great passion and vigor. There is no point in waiting or putting it off. The time is now!

I am excited to announce that I will be a Creative Team Member for Get Messy Art Journal in 2017! This year I have come to realize that the smallest steps sometimes have the biggest impact. I made the decision to follow my heart's desire despite the fear and the doubt, and now I am so honored to be able to share my love of art journaling with such an incredible community of artists and creatives. 

What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations? What steps have you taken to follow your dreams and create a life you love?
Get Messy Art Journal is an art journaling program/community. We are a group of like minded art journalers who have come together under this art form to learn, share, practice our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. Our community values consistent creating, encouragement and support, and trying new things. We would love to have you join us as a member of Get Messy Art Journal. Join Get Messy now!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Get Messy Art Journal: Season of Introspection

I recently signed up for the Get Messy Season of Introspection, and it has been such a whirlwind of ideas, inspiration, and insight. I was hesitant to join Get Messy at first because I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm so glad that I decided to become a member. The weekly prompts have allowed me to tap into so many feelings I've dismissed and kept hidden, and I'm so grateful for the support and encouragement I've received from the Get Messy community. I've been posting most pages on my Instagram (@sweetashleyann), but I wanted to share my thoughts on this season here as well.

I decided to use a little pocket notebook (4.25" x 5.5") for my art journaling, because I love working on a smaller scale. Something about it feels more intimate which I figured was perfect for the theme of this season. For my first spread in Week 1, I created an introductory page, and didn't adhere strictly to the prompt. I found this gorgeous girl in a magazine and immediately felt like she belonged here. The way she gazes out into the distance gives me a feeling of hope, and hope is what I hold on to every day. The sentiment in the top corner is a lovely reminder that I am a work in progress. I am a canvas with layers upon layers, some good some bad, but all necessary in the creation of something beautiful. 

The next spread I tried the inkblot technique using some acrylic paint I had on hand. I did it a couple of times because I didn't like how it turned out, and then I covered parts of it using a flower stencil. I was stuck on this page for a long time until I finally decided to look through my magazine stash for an image to put in the center. 

I settled on the image of this horse, and pondered the symbolism behind it for quite a while. Then, I thought of the movie Black Beauty which lead to the journaling on the right. I must admit I find it a bit difficult to add journaling to my pages. I never quite know what to say, and I always feel like it needs to be poetic. This turned out to be a success, but I hope to be able to add more journaling to future pages. One of the things I love about Get Messy is that they provide journal prompts in addition to art prompts. There are no strict guidelines to follow the prompts exactly, but I feel like the journal prompts allow for deeper reflection which is something I struggle with and would like to explore more.

Right before the Week 2 prompts were posted, I came across this amazing quote by Audre Lorde. It immediately spoke to me, and once I read the prompts for the week I knew I had to include it in my art journal. As I mentioned, I don't normally do a lot of journaling, so I decided to do some scribble journaling. It's totally illegible, but it expresses all my innermost thoughts and feelings. I mainly wrote about the paralyzing effect of fear, and as I painted a wash of white over my own handwriting and stamped each letter in black, I felt a bit of that fear slip away.

Week 3 I had an interesting idea in my head that didn't translate exactly how I wanted it to on the page. I was listening to "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong United, and I felt moved to create a spread dedicated to the message I received. I found the image of the boat in a magazine, and I wanted to create something otherworldly. As the week went on, the deep, dark seascape and the galaxy of stars I imagined became much more simplified. Even though it's not what I originally had in mind, the message is much more important and quite dear to me.

Finally, I come to this page in my art journal. It's not based on any of the prompts, but I still wanted to share. It's kind of messy and not my favorite spread, but it sums up what the Season of Introspection means to me. It has given me the power to dig a little deeper, and the more I dig the more I uncover parts of myself that I buried long ago. On this journey of self-discovery I'm realizing to know myself, my true self, is to be more alive.

Are you a Get Messian? Have you started the Season of Introspection? What does introspection mean to you, and in what ways do you practice it?

Get Messy Art Journal is an art journaling program that is a school, art playground and family. We are a group of like-minded art journalers who have come together under this art form to learn, share, practice our skills, and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. Our community values consistent creating, encouragement and support, and trying new things. We would love to have you join us as a member of Get Messy Art Journal.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year! New Art Challenge!

"The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strongly enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe." -Bob Ross

Hello folks, welcome to a new year! It's 2016, and there's a million art challenges to choose from so you can start the year off right creating, making, and doing.  For the month of January, I've decided to join self-proclaimed patternthusiast Anika Starmer (@aisforanika) for a daily pattern making challenge on Instagram where you can follow the hashtag #patternjanuary.  She has graciously provided daily prompts for the entire month of January, and you can check out her blog post "Preparing for a Successful Creative Daily Challenge" for more information about the challenge including helpful tips to make any art challenge successful.

So guess what?! It's only been three days, but I feel like I'm on a roll!  After reading Anika's post, I felt inspired to expand on her tips as well as share my own process for making patterns and how I plan to tackle each prompt day by day through the end of January.

                                   Day 1: Happy                                                           Day 2: Forest

TIP 1: Use Your Favorite Medium. Everyone has a favorite art medium they like to use. It's your go-to, your best pal, your happy place that draws you in and sparks a bright light inside you. Whether it be paint, pencil/pens, markers, and/or digital, I say choose one and stick to it. You're already familiar with the product and you enjoy working with it, so it may make it easier to slide into that creative mode and get started making patterns. Of course, if you'd like to experiment with other mediums throughout the month, that's your prerogative. Remember, there are no rules here! As a matter of fact, this brings me to my next point.

TIP 2: Don't Be Afraid to Mix It Up.
I love to draw and doodle, but mixed media speaks to me on a whole other level. Sometimes blank pages freak me out, and other times I just don't feel like sitting down to draw at my leisure. Needless to say, mixed media has become my go-to. Take a stroll through your craft room or rifle through your craft bin as I did, and you'll realize patterns are everywhere!! Scrapbook paper, fabric, stamps, etc. How much fun would it be to mash all these pre-made materials together?!

If you decide to go this route like me, I would suggest you select a limited amount of materials to work with at a time. I've found having too many options can be overwhelming, and then I get frustrated trying to decide what to do next. For myself, I like to divide the materials I plan to use into two categories: 1) background and 2) embellishments. Background materials may include paint, scrap paper, scrap fabric, even washi tape!! (raise your hand if you need to de-stash!).  Embellisments can be anything ranging from stickers to stamps and ribbon to sequins. After you gather a few materials, you'll be done before you know it!

                                                               Materials prepared for Prompt 3

TIP 3: Brainstorm Ideas Ahead of Time.
As I mentioned before, Anika has already provided a list of prompts for the entire month. I decided to copy her list in a separate journal I use strictly for brainstorming; this way I can jot down ideas beside each prompt way ahead of time. It is easy to get "stuck" on a prompt and you can quickly find yourself discouraged from doing anything.  If you keep the list of prompts handy to look at as a whole, I think you'll find yourself more prepared when you come to a new prompt each day.

In addition, try using sticky notes to write down different ideas and layout possibilities. I like to slap a quick note right on the page I'll be working on so I can refer back to it just in case I lose my whole train of thought (You know how all of our best ideas like to seep into the deep, dark crevices of our brain, never to be found again?! Yeah, let's avoid that.).

                     Brainstorm on a sticky note!                                                                      Day 3: Olive

TIP 4: No Fuss/No Pressure.
The great thing about this art challenge is that there's no real pressure to complete it. You might skip a day or two, and you might not make it to the end of the month, but that's A-ok! To make it easier for me, I'm using a mini composition notebook (measures 3.25" x 4.5", smaller than an index card!). Also, I've decided to dedicate 15-30 minutes out of my day to work on each prompt.  I may even finish several in one day just to stay on the ball (Mm..that may be the caffeine talking, but stay with me here)!  The point is it doesn't matter if you're a busy beaver or a sitting goose, it's all just for fun!!

So are you ready to make patterns together?! These are just a few tips and tricks to get your creative juices flowing, and I hope they will be helpful to you in some way. Hope you like!

Many people participate in weekly, monthly, even 365-day art challenges. What helps you stay centered in creativity and how do you keep the momentum going?