The Dream at 53

 I pasted "The Dream at 53" headline in my art journal four months ago and thought it would be interesting to see what I collected that represents my dreams of who & what I still want to be and do. The cartoon of the old lady at the bookshelf was the first thing I added: I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would always be READING. The rest took more time and thought to accumulate and add. Some dreams are beyond my control (grandkids) and others
 required me to step aside from my doubts and fears and NAME that which I truly want to do. I added the eclectic collection of collage items over a four-month period, occasionally revisiting the page to reflect on my dreams. The ephemera includes photos, bits of my recycled art, stamping, washi tape, stencil, photographs, message from a fortune cookie, acrylic, and china marker. Perhaps the next step is to do an artsy theology entry on each dream on what will transform the dream to reality...

All Brings Joy

This messy collage is a compilation of memorabilia, block printing, washi tape, stamped lettering, photographs, and hand coloring with pencils and pastels. It captures the essence of a momentous event in the life of my congregation...and me.  
 The process of art journaling is an opportunity to "stop and smell the roses" instead of letting life bolt by. The celebration of charting the church (essentially an ordination service for a new church) occurred in the midst of one of the most intense pastoral care experiences of my ministry. I literally "sandwiched" the chartering service between a wake and funeral for a teenage boy who died after an altercation at school. The joy of the chartering celebration was a joy...but it got a bit lost in the intensity of the funeral.
Instead of closing the book on the JOY of November 17th, I re-opened the journal page and added a menagerie of art bits & pieces while reflecting and CELEBRATING all that God has done in the life of this little church that has now been recognized and blessed as a FULL MEAL DEAL BIG GIRL CHURCH. Art journaling is often not about the art...but about the process. Thanks be to God.

A Year in Review 2013

 I went back through twelve months of photographs and compiled this overview which represents the key ministry, mission, fellowship, and worship at Community Fellowship Presbyterian Church. For as simple as the collage appears to be, it was a tedious process to systematically work my way through all the main file folders of assorted activities and click on literally thousands of digital files. I collected the images in a Word document, resizing them to about 1"x1-1/2" then cutting the pieces apart and gluing in a collage in approximate order. The reflective point of the process was to identify highlights of the faithfulness of God in this little church. I used a china marker to write the year and the subheads of various ministries represented in the photos. Intentional collection and reflection is helpful for appreciating what God has been doing and also planning and preparing for the New Year.

Encaustic Christmas

Our family Christmas tree brought me much joy this year. We hadn't put one up the past two years because we traveled on Christmas Day and it seemed too much production to put it up only to take it down early. We always put up a "real" tree, and I didn't realize how much I had missed the tree and the joy that radiates forth from it being the centerpiece of our living room during the month of December. Most evenings I've been intentional about sitting for a few moments in silence and simply gazing at the tree and appreciating its beauty and the love and memories included in the decorations on the tree. Encaustic Christmas is an artsy reflection on this joy and appreciation which I've experienced through this seasonal decoration.
The mixed media piece is the last two/unused pages on an altered book that I started March 2013. The pages had been prepped with white gesso and yellow & blue watercolor which I covered with green art paper and then created a collage of six "Christmas trees" cut from different art papers. They represent
 the six different trees decorated throughout my house. I cut apart my last remaining Christmas card and scattered it about the pages. I coated both pages with two thing layers of clear encaustic wax and used a heat cut to smooth and seal the layers. I had decorated the tree with purple and turquoise with small silvers balls, and I wanted to re-create the experience of gazing at the tree with this art journal entry. I dipped the end of a wine cork in hot wax and pressed onto the collage-first with purple and then then turquoise. I filled in missing spaces on the imprint using a paint brush dipped in the hot wax. I used the end of a dowel rod (smaller) for the silver balls.  Technique Tip: To clean the brush, "brush" it on a paper towel which is resting on the heat source for the encaustics (I use a pancake griddle set on 200 degrees). I keep a "cleaning cup" of wax on the griddle; when I've cleaned off as much wax from the paintbrush as I can using the paper towel, I dip it in the cleaning cup (which gradually gets more and more muddy) and then wipe the brush clean with a paper towel. It doesn't get it 100% clean, but very close. Once the "clean cup" of wax gets too muddy, discard and start over with fresh wax.
 I'm not quite sure what it is about it, but I am fascinated with encaustics. Artsy theology mixed media art and reflection-is a great receptacle for experimenting with encaustics because the purpose of journal art is the process and not the product. In other words, there is no pressure to "produce" something worthy of hanging on a museum wall; rather the goal is the process itself of thinking, listening, and reflecting while doing art. It isn't the end result but the process.

Messiah: The Global Christ

Messiah Global Christ is a mixed media journal entry reflection on the connection between the diversity of children in the world created by our Global God and the diversity of people in the church particular and the Church universal. The art project originated from Christmas VBS 2012 where the theme was "Family Tree Christmas." The children created a mixed media panel that combined the genealogy of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew with pictures of their family and elements of "Christmas." I wanted to continue this theme to reflect on the connection between local congregation and global mission. The pictures on the far left are "ornaments" cut from close-up pictures of children from our summer VBS 2013, and the represent a wide range of socio-ethic backgrounds. The pictures on the right page are images I took on mission trips to Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Zambia. I see a connection between being intentional about diversity in the church given the diversity in God's world. The "packages" under the tree also represent the greater gifts the church can offer to the world through ministry with widows, aliens, and orphans (left side) through helping with food, shelter, and water (right side). The exercise in a conversation piece for children and adults to consider the role of the Church, the message of the Gospel, and Jesus as Messiah and the Global Christ. Merry Christmas 2013!