Mixed Media Play! Stitched Coiled Basket

 Beginning the walls of the bowl...
This was an experiment that was a success!
I was notcertain this could be done
with my simple Brother machine. It was tricky at first
to get the stitching right. It went all over the place!
 And I thought I would need
to be careful about what color thread I used.
But if the piece is to be dyed, it really doesn't matter.
 You can scarcely make out the thread color!

I finished it off with a polymer clay medallion rubbed with
copper dust. :)

The rest of the session was experimenting with fabric beads. They are made
in the same way as paper beads. I don't care for the paper ones at all. I just
don't like the appearance of them. ( Light colored one on the left) I do like
very much the variance and texture of the fabric beads.

 I tested three waysof sealing/varnishing them.
 I left the one on the top left unsealed. 
I think that is the way to go for me. The gel medium keeps the bead
firm and holds the fibers; so I don't think they need to be varnished 
like paper beads can be. 
Special thanks to my "cuzzie" for volunteering to be
a drying stand! LOL!

I will be making more fabric beads next week with my Mom.
I am taking my art bag up to Indiana!!! :D
I will post photos and a brief tutorial of  our bead making session
 in my next post here.

Steps in the Journaling Bible Journey: My Mixed Media Art Bag!

When I received my Journaling Bible as a Birthday present last Fall, I was really excited.
I had been Faith journaling in Art Journals for several years during services. I wanted to try it with this Bible. When I saw this little bag at a local Art supply store, I KNEW it was for my Journaling Bible and tools.
 I used it for several months. It was a tight fit, but a small bag to carry with me to weekly gatherings. :)  But it just didn't hold all that I would want if I were traveling. I like to use a lapboard and work while in the car. Then I was inspired by another member of a Journaling Bible group to purchase a "rigger's bag"  from Harbor Freight.


I was really surprised that they were so inexpensive!  I had lots of canvas, and thought about making my own, but at this price, WHY?!!!!   So I took the plunge and got one. And there it sat for a long while. I wanted to personalize it in a way that I would like for a long time. NOT trendy. But still meaningful.
   I thought of SO MANY scriptures that I might put on it. But, no. All text-script? No. I wanted some illustration, but not one limiting one -  too specific or an image of a particular event. And I wanted the actual WORD of God on it. Yet I wanted to represent a bit of playful artistic style. God has a great sense of humor, if you don't already know! And He laughs. So, it took awhile to strike the balance.

 I began by covering nearly the entire outside with Gesso. I wanted to be able to use any medium I liked.
I have learned how to paint watercolors on Gesso. My favorite medium is watercolor. But I did use other mediums as well: 
Gelatos, acrylic paint, craft paint ( metallic gold),  Twinkling H2O'sBombay India Inks , 
Inktense blocks (didn't have my Inktense pencils yet) 
and of course, my pens.
                                          After the Gesso, I painted the inside- yes, the inside of the bag. Stripes! They represent Joseph's coat of many colors -(at least to me they do). I wanted to get a feel for how the color flowed on that particular fabric. It is a much more rough canvas than I am accustomed to using.  I then laid down some background color. I have to admit that I thought of the inner pockets on the outside almost too late! I did stripes on one side to repeat the inside, and solid green on the other. I was originally going to write script on those pockets, but, umm, no, I realized
  1. ) too difficult to get my hand in there, and 
  2. ) too busy.
  Trying to keep it simple and balanced. haha.

This was a bit tricky. I wanted the one side to remain mostly neutral. I have a tendency to really blast things with color, and  I was trying to restrain myself from doing that with this project. LOL! 
The blue background had to be blended carefully as I didn't want a heavy application of
paint with the poppies. So I had to make sure that it was more cloud-like than a solid background.
Then I began with the flowers.

Next the side pockets!
This was the space I decided could take my bit of unexpected style.

I had some Art Journal papers that I had painted- pages actually that were left loose.  After rummaging
through a drawer of those I chose these two papers. One had a page from Ephesians on it. Ephesians is
a very special N.T. book for me. So it was integrated into the bag!
If you lightly mist the paper with water it is more pliable for adhesion. Just don't soak it or
it will tear to pieces!
I used Gel Medium to adhere the paper. Carefully smoothing out any air bubbles, and then
a coat of the gel was applied to seal the surface.

 I repeated that process with the small pockets, using a palette knife to help it along, and to
secure the paper into the edges and creases of the bag.

 The  pockets from the other end had papers, and some freestyle painting.
I don't know why I like circles so much, but I do!

I thought the punchinella would be a great stencil for an accent of tiny circles. Didn't work as well as I'd hoped. But it added some texture. ;)
Last step once all had dried overnight was spraying the bag with several coats of clear sealer. Letting it dry thoroughly in between. That should pretty much make it resistant to moisture.

This side has a passage that is well known, and I had a vision of this-
the Earth being "filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord." 
There was a great outpouring over the earth and there was an awakening;
like a morning. Thus the Morning Glories.
This chapter (3) of Lamentations is so beautiful. I have always loved
to sing of the faithfulness of my Father.  I couldn't fit the entire passage
on the bag, so I pulled some portions from it. 
"This I recall and therefore I HAVE HOPE;
...His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. "
Do you have to have a bag similar to this to do FaithJournaling?  
NO, you do not at all. But I travel often even day trips, and like to use the time in this way. 
That means ALL my stuff needs to come with me! :) I can fit everything in one place!
So this bag was productive for me.
I am happy with it and enjoyed the process.
 Has me humming the song: The Steadfast Love of the Lord! 

Steps in the Journaling Bible Journey: Image Transfer- Sacred and the Simple

The purpose of Art is

And the really cool thing about creating with the Master Artist is that it is multi-dimensional!  
   I don't know if you ever thought of it like that, but the true creative process is a  live demonstration of the virtue and essence of the Lord. It is sacred.  Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Creating a piece that touches the soul is most definitely a reflection of Him.  Only when we become consciously aware of this do we see great changes in our artistic expressions.
   See, for years, I painted with a heart to honor God. But I didn't realize how very much He desired to be a part of that process.   If you did, then how wonderful.   But many in the "Christian" world are only awakening to this.
   It dawned upon me when I first accepted the call to illustrate and reflect Scripture with my art.  I knew the gift was given for a reason. But it was a slow process for me to even feel comfortable calling myself  "an artist".
     One day, in my quiet time and in a season of deep discouragement and struggle  the Lord made this clear to me;  He is the source of all pure creativity. By pure, I mean untainted by the world and perversion.  I read a definition of "artist". It said "one who is sensitive to beauty".  I thought, well, I AM that!  Then a friend gave me the passage
Ephesians 2:10  "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. "  New Living Translation (NLT) 
     OH! So, if HE is the Master Creator, and I am  the masterpiece, sensitive to beauty, then that takes a great weight off of me! 
      What we need to realize is that our creative lives are to be subject to Him as much as any other facet of living!   When they are, amazing things can happen!!  He can teach us to create in such a way that His characteristics, His thoughts, His ways are reflected in our work! He creates through us!  We are artistic together!!!!  We don't have the burden of trying to create a masterpiece; we just allow Him access to us to create through us!!!
    He purposed it that way from the very beginning!  Look:
Genesis 1:26-27 
Here in the Bible's first chapter, God states His goal: He is making man in His own image! By using both "image" and "likeness," God explained that He would create man to be just like Him! Man would not only look like God, but humanity would also have a spiritual ability to understand His nature and learn to conform to it. Through the experiences of life and the process of building godly character, humankind can put on the image of God and be resurrected into His Family (I Corinthians 15:49-53).
     If you are teachable, He will instruct you as you create.
 He will minister to your heART, and in turn, minister to others through your heART!

 His image will be illustrated and reflected in what you do.  There is an "image transfer" waiting to take place, and you will grow in skill both in the Sacred (spiritual ability) and the Simple ( natural understanding of the creative process) and His image is increasingly transferred both to you and through you!
How wonderful! How sacred, and just like God, how simple!!!
   Hope you will ponder this for a good while and let it "steep" in your soul like a good healing herbal tea!
Now, for the simple- a basic tutorial of a Gel Medium Image Transfer:

The basic materials - what you'll need:

- acrylic gel medium
- brush
- dish or tray
- water
- scissors (in case trimming is necessary)
- an image to transfer
- small bit of fine grade sandpaper ( if you want to smooth edges)

Notes on the gel:
the beauty of this technique lies in the nature of the acrylic - you can adjust and modify the gel to suit your needs... whether using retarder to increase smoothness, mixing in acrylic pigment, or even mixing in other materials (I've seen everything from gold flake to sand mixed into the acrylic gel). I use Liquitex's  Gel Mediums , but any clear acrylic medium works.  The beauty of this is that while you could just print on a sticker paper, with the gel medium you could easily blend the image into a prepared background and still paint over it with more washes of color or embellishments, where a sticker is slick and less likely to accept further work. :) 

Notes on the image:
Any image can be used for transfering, although some work significantly better than others. Uncoated magazines/newspapers work beautifully, but more coated photos/postcards/etc. may or may not transfer well - a color photo copy would be recommended to increase the probability of a successful transfer. Laser printed images work, but ink-jet prints generally need a spray of clear sealer before coating with the gel to stabilize the ink.

Notes on the brush:
you can use any brush you'd like, whether bristle or foam. The different textures of the brushes will lay the gel medium down differently and will yield varied final products. Coarse brush = coarse strokes. Softer brush= smooth  surface. Be sure to wash your brush IMMEDIATELY after using it!
 I typically use my fingers because I can feel how much pressure I am using. :) 
     Now that you have all this info, know that you can adhere an image to nearly anything you can think of with this, including your Journaling Bible cover or pages. And may  you thoroughly enjoy the process of growing in His image!


  Today is a tongue in cheek kind of post!  Last night I decided to do a page in my Journaling Bible. I had made an image transfer of the word "expectancy" from my recent collection

   The image came out clearly. I chose Hebrews 11. I do a lot of sketching, painting in my Journaling Bible. But this time I felt more like an art journal style. 

 Was I in for a surprise!

    I applied some color, yellow- and then the gel medium to adhere the transfer. It went on well. At first.
    Then a HUGE Palmetto bug ( its like a roach on steroids- they creep into your home in the warm months and you fight them all season here in the Carolinas) climbed up my leg and startled me!

 It caused me to bump the adhering image, and spill paint!  ARRRRGH  &  AAAAACK!  I thought, ok, let's see what can be done. I tried to smooth it out, but the image edges were already ruined.  Image result for sad smiley face  NOT what I expected! ;)
   Then I added some blue and green with my Gelatos. Easy.
 I wanted just a "touch" - a spatter of red. I grabbed my Liquitex Spray paint- it's a cute little sample of red. I have used it many times with great effect and been pleased. But not this time! This time it just sprayed in EVERY direction, covering my table and a good deal of the page!  Aaaaack! Sigh.
I didn't even want to finish it. Then I didn't want to put my name on it!
       Is this what I want in my portfolio, let alone my Bible?!!!
                         (yeah, I know, but I am being transparent here! ;)

    Then I had to laugh!

 Life is like this page. The whole intent of the passage is living by faith, being joyful in hope- not by what you see! 

    It became like an object lesson!  A vivid ( MUCH more vivid than I expected!) example of how no matter what it looks like, and no matter what you thought it would be, God still is large and in charge and will bring beauty out of any mess if we in humility  turn to Him! Not only that, but He puts His name on us!!! We are part of His grand portfolio!!!!

AmAzInG truth!  Great reminder of His great love!
        What are YOU expecting today? !  You might just be surprised, pleasantly!

High Hopes of Future Published Art!

  Hey all!  It has been a long time since I submitted art for publishing. Life has been extremely unpredictable ( more so than normal!) the past two years. I am finally getting back to doing what I enjoy. I have returned to sketching, watercolor and still working in mixed media.  My little studio area is more organized than any I have ever had, so, time to
begin submitting!  I love Cloth Paper Scissors and Stampington's magazines. 
  I hope to submit a dozen pieces this year.  I began with one last month- Cloth Paper Scissors' Reader's Challenge: Zentangle Jewelry. Just so happens that I had done several large Zentangle pieces just before discovering this challenge:

How perfect- the timing was impeccable! I was already warmed up! This process usually makes me nervous, but this time I wasn't!
  So, with great excitement, and better confidence than usual due to hours of practice,
I played around and made the "Life Seasons" Zentangle Mini Book Necklace:

I sent it off with a hope and a prayer and then checked the blog for the announcement. 
   I was really happy to see my name on the list!   Yippee!

  Now to see if it actually makes the publishing!  :)  

Steps in the Journaling Bible Journey : An Ear to Hear His Inspiration

  An Ear to Hear : His Inspiration

So, you are going to begin your Journey of Bible Journaling.  Hooray for you!!!
  It is exciting!
But then, it can be a nervous time.

 Where do you begin?

How do you know just what to start with?

Not supplies, I mean, how do you actually begin to journal, to create in/with your Bible? 

Though I had creatively journaled for some time in notebooks, journals and even a few Bibles, I only began with a dedicated Bible last Fall. I was surprised to find myself asking the same questions above. Where, how do I begin?
  Once I decided that this is still a Bible and the Bible's purpose is to be a conduit for communication between God and myself, I relaxed. Then I took it to my prayer time, and allowed the Holy Spirit to gently lead me to a passage. Now, if you are following a specific study, that is different, in that you already have a passage to concentrate upon. But, the way to begin is the same. It comes by having an ear to hear.
  For decades, the Lord has been faithful to  give "Holy Spirit Highlights" as I read!  What I  mean by this is that a portion of a long passage- maybe several verses, maybe one verse or even a few words will seem to stand out- to be touched by His highlighter-  to me.  Like a passage seems to almost  lift up off the page in block letters:

I know that is the Lord letting me know to focus,  study and meditate upon those.
    My husband and I have a custom of starting the day getting our "Op Orders"
( Operation Orders).   As an Army veteran, he spent years doing this- the troops would get a briefing at the start of the day, and then are given their day's assignment for the overall mission. These highlights  are like that-they are  my "op orders".

  The same is true for you. You can know what is on the Father's heart if you ask. :)  He speaks to your heart, and through His word, and the two will agree.   You need not fear hearing His voice ( usually a whisper or a nudge like a thought- a word or phrase that keeps coming back to you through the hour or day...) if it aligns with His written word.

Allow me to share my journey:

My very first page was on my Birthday. I was in prayer and I heard the Lord whisper "Psalm 87."   I turned to it and read. I have always had a heart for Jerusalem and Israel. Since age 11 I have wanted to visit the Holy Land.  So this psalm stirred things in me immediately. But they were not HIS inspiration.  I read on. Finally, near the end of the passage, Verse 4 states:

"Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon, behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush---'this one was born there', they say. And of Zion it shall be said,  'This one and that one were born in her '; for the Most High Himself will establish her. The Lord records as He registers the peoples, 'this one was born there'. Singers and dancers alike say 'All my springs are in you.' "   
   A declaration and a  promise are in this passage.  "This one was born IN her." >> As Believers we are born into the Kingdom.  That is a declaration.  "The Most High Himself will establish her" is the promise. I've been in a season of waiting. Now, on my birthday, the Lord led me to a passage about being born into a place, with a promise of His establishing  me to come.  Only He could do that!
  The more you read, the more you absorb and as you absorb you will begin to know His voice and His direction. What great comfort there is in His direction. Regardless of all that is around us, we can rest upon His Word, both the Logos (written) and the Rhema;( whispered)    :) 

Steps in the Journaling Bible Journey

  This is the first in a series of posts about Bible Journaling! 

Steps in the Journaling Bible Journey: Supplies- The Basics

    Yeah, I grew up in "church". Which is to say that since I was about a week old, I was in services with my family whenever they were held.   The "gatherings together" are the only things that predate art in my life!  I have always had a vivid imagination. I tell people that I have "mental cartoons" that play in my head, especially in a  lively conversation. I see what is said.  As far back as I can remember I was drawing. When I grew older it was called sketching, and then came watercolor.

I STILL love Prang watercolors!
They are what I cut my teeth on as a budding artist. I used them all the way 
up to High School. Then I was introduced to the Artist grade tube colors.  
I doodled, sketched sermon notes all those years.
Mom and Dad always brought paper and pencils to services for me. :) 
Lots of pages from my notebooks, then journals
became full blown pieces of meaningful art, if only to me. :)

But this post is about Journaling in a Bible. So...


Let's talk about 

What you see in the photo above is what I typically use when I
creatively journal in my Journaling Bible.
I am not going into depth with the How-to's in this post,
but rather letting you see what the basic supplies are that I use,
and what I recommend to others.
  FIRST you need a pencil of some sort. Yes, the everyday "#2" pencil will
work, but you may have difficulty with erasures. The lead in that pencil is
much harder and therefore digs into the fragile paper of the Journaling Bible.
{I really hope that manufacturers find a way to produce a J.B. with a different kind
of paper. Even if it results in bigger dimensions, because it would be so great
to work on a less fragile surface.}
I use Derwent pencils.  They come in varying grades of softness.
"H" = hard;  "B" = soft, or blackness.  {I know, why not "S", huh?! }

My go to's are HB, and 5B and an "F" for fine lines.
This chart shows the grades with the values:
I have many of the above grades, but use most only when doing piece that
is an actual sketch, not just laying down a guide in Bible Journaling.

NEXT: of course an Kneaded eraser for those rare occasions when you need an eraser
( pardon my puns)!

These are better than the pencil tip erasers or the traditional pink erasers
that most of us used in school.  The reason being that they are much softer,
they are pliable and can be shaped into a point if needed. It functions by adsorbing and "picking up" graphite and charcoal particles. It does not wear away and leave behind eraser residue, thus it lasts much longer than other erasers.
 Once my basic sketch is done, whether an image or lettering,
I move on the what is for me the fun part; adding color!!
I do work in many different mediums, but these are the easiest for a beginner.
Some use colored pencils, and I have the twistable set. But I went back to my
trusted watercolor pencils because they give me more options. I can have soft, pastel
hues, or dark and bold hues. I can leave them dry for a colored pencil look,
or go for the watercolor effect.  The more color you lay down with the dry pencil, the darker it will be when wet.  A tip which I will be demonstrating in a video is to wet your pencil and apply color.  {video soon to come!}
I have Derwent Watercolor pencils. These are easy to find and reasonable. If you just want to try a few pencils, then look for them sold individually- about $1.99 each. Go for the primary colors as you can layer & blend them to make secondary hues.
 You do need a sharpener, I am not particular about those. You probably have one around the house right now!

WATER BRUSH  for Application  of color: 

I LOVE this little guy!!!!!  It can do a wash ( a broad area of color) or a fine line!
And the reason that is it great for Bible Journaling is because we need to control the
moisture level on our pages.  A water brush lets you do that with very little mess.
When I paint a watercolor piece, I have lots of paper towels, two water containers, etc...
For Journaling Bible work,  the water brush can be used with just one paper towel and NO water containers that can tip over or tempt you to sip, lol!

Just a swipe or two over the towel will clean color away. If you have especially heavy load of color, then a gentle squeeze of the brush will help release that color and viola! - 
you have a clean brush again!


 I use Faber Castell Pitt artist pens. NOT expensive. GREAT to work with,
they are permanent and waterproof, which means that once dry, you
may paint over them.  Depending upon the tip, you get a different line. I have the brush and the   SX  , Black 199**. It lets me add detail in our small space!

If you've saved up a sum you may want to look for this set by Faber Castell,
 it has all but the drawing pencil and eraser!

I buy 90%  of my supplies at Hobby Lobby because I want to support
a business that was willing to take a stand for Christian values.
It is amazing to me that they have a 40% off one item coupon EVERY week!
Start with what you have, and build upon it, one item at a time, if needed.
And don't forget Hobby Lobby's coupon, if you are in the U.S.!

When I cannot find the item in the store, I shop online. THEN, if I still need something
I will go to the "other" stores.Image result for artist smiley faces

Here are just a few pages to show some different ways that
I have journaled in the Bible; simple and detailed.

"Messiah" is a sticker!  Image result for artist smiley faces
This one is looser and more free-styled.

Some people (sometimes  including myself) prep the Bible pages with Gesso before working on them . Gesso ( pronounced "jess- oh") can be found in white or clear form. I find clear to be a bit more grainy in its finish, but many opt for it because it doesn't cover the text. 
It is a matter of preference. 
  I have done pages with and without Gesso with watercolor pencils, and don't see any advantage to prepping the page.  If  I go into mixed media mode, then yes, I almost always prep the page. But that is another post- NEXT WEEK!

 A demonstration video is in the works and the next post about J.B. will
explore the rest of the materials that can be used.  I hope you enjoy your journey!! 

Artfully and Sincerely,