Circle of Focus Mixed Media Portrait Collage

Art magazines and books are great ways to get creative input for artsy theology. I liked the concept in the article shown here to include a picture of a face torn from a magazine and make in "you" by painting over/collaging into the art. I added theological reflection to the mix by integrating symbols & shapes. The large circle symbolizes focus on what God is doing in my world which is why I named this art reflection "Circle of Focus: Mixed Media Portrait Collage." During the reflection ask yourself: Who am I? Where am I on my journey? What is God calling me to notice/do?
Flowers symbolize beauty and new growth and are a reminder that God is wats doing something new.
The double squares represent a project I'm working on and justice (justicia) is the theme. I added the heart (of God) and added text strips to tell my story.
I didn't like the thin circle so I used watercolor gel crayon to add a bold line to emphasize the "Circle of Focus."

Mono Printing in Mexico

Teaching Art Journaling as Sacred Space was a lovely way to share my passion for Artsy Theolgy with the folks at Cabo Church. The one complaint: NOT ENOUGH TIME! There's only so much you can accomplish in two hours. But what fun we had!
We used 14x18 sheets of plexiglass to create mojo prints using tempura paint. The impressions aren't as strong with tempura paint as with acrylic but tempura doesn't make pages stick together in the (Mexico & south TX) heat the way acrylic does.
It's always fun to begin a new altered book journal. There's something exhilarating about ripping out pages to recycle a book.

Rainy Afternoon Vaca Art Day

Art with a view: rainy vaca day means break out the art supplies and play. No agenda. It was fun to add bits & pieces here & there on previously "done" pages. I also played with mono printing wo a roller. 
I didn't pack a brayer so I used a toothbrush instead.
It was easiest to press the 6" Gelli Art plate directly onto my journal page.
I collaged papers I'd torn from magazines during the flight en route. An afternoon of rainy day art netted lots of miscellaneous backgrounds for future journaling.

Art When You Don't Have Time For Art

I'm not a Zentangle guru but I am a big fan of an art outlet when you just don't have time for art. That's Zentangle.
Gelly Roll fluid pen on black gesso in my mini journal. 

Monochromatic Zentangle

Instead of black on white, this monochromatic Zentangle is yellow (Gelly Roll) on black gesso. The "string" that created the overall shape was made by drawing around the squarish shape of a container for a game. I traced around the can/container and filled in the patterns in bits & pieces over several evenings. 

The Reluctant Artist Presses On

It's always exciting to me when a reluctant (non)artist doesn't give up on the concept of artsy theology and art journaling as sacred space but presses on. Such is the case with the examples here of a recently retired therapist who never pursued "art therapy" because she isn't an artist and can't "do" art. She joined a group "how to" session six months ago and recently showed me how she's been incorporating art in her prayer journal. With her permission, here are some images from her journal. 

Chiropractor (artsy) Notes to Myself

I've noticed that my art journal entries influence my actions. It is encouraging to know that as I flip back-and-forth through  my journal during the year that the entries DO factor in to my decisions. In light of that realization I want to include artsy reflections on what I want to provide a positive influence. I took the straight-up list of exercises for improving my posture that my chiropractor jotted down and created an art journal entry. The goal: to look at the journal entry through the year and be reminded to work on my (bad) posture. 

Background Prep for Future Zentangles

I like using geometric shapes as the "string" to establish the doodle pattern boundaries. By drawing around simple shapes-often items sitting on my kitchen counter-I easily prep a pocket journal page for a future Zen-Doodle. These examples are done on pages prepped with black gesso with Gelly Roll pens.

Foam Stamps Make Great Impressions for Mono Printing

The inexpensive foam stamps found in the t-shirt section of Hobby Lobby make great imprints for mono printing. Spread the (Gelli Art or acrylic) plate with paint (tempura used here). Then press the plate with one or more stamps. It works best to dump the paint onto a clean page after each press on the plate. In other words, use the plate as a stamp pad. After each press of the plate "stamp" the paint off the foam stamp. That frees it to accept more paint with each stamp on the plate (otherwise it can't absorb more and it slips around and doesn't leave a crisp impression on the printing plate).

The benefit is a "two for one." As you make one mono print page you also make the bonus page from cleaning the stamps (and roller). 

Tempura Paint for Mono Printing

Tempura is a great alternative media for mono printing instead of the more traditionally recommended acrylic. It is inexpensive and dries to a flat matt finish that makes is a preferable surface for art journals since the matt is easier to write on.
Squirt small dots of three colors on the printing plate and spread with a brayer. Be careful not to over-blend the colors. Make impressions as desired. Here I used oversized foam stamps. The paint on the stamp can be pressed on another sheet of paper or journal page. This has clean the stamp while also decorating another page. The brayer also can be cleaned by rolling it on a fresh journal page.

Christmas VBS Mono Printing

Mono printing with small kids is messy but joyous. We covered a ping pong table with paper and created six small stations to rotate children in for mono printing on a Gelli Art plate. The stations were set up with three choices of acrylic paint, a roller, and a selection of items for stamping texture and Christmas shapes. There was one adult per station to assist the children and to help with cleanup between kids. One of the helper teens demonstrated the process and then we cut the kids loose at six stations which were set up around a covered ping pong table.

 The stations included one Gelli Art plate, one roller, an assortment of paints and items to use to make stencils, stamps, and designs.

Each child created two mono prints on card stock which could then be folded and used as a card or cut into small rectangles and punched with a paper punch in one corner to be used as gift tags. Ages 3 to 14 participated and everyone was super excited about the art they created.

Prepping a NEW Mini Travel Journal for 2015

I carry a mini travel journey with me wherever I go; it is always handy for note taking or zen-doodling. One of the (ongoing) confusing points is going back and finding whatever I had jotted down as an important note AND/OR looking for a art design that I had doodled while killing time between appointments. I finally figured out that it might be helpful to create a designated way to separate the significant notes and reminders from the not-so-significant artsy doodling. In preparing my pocket journal for 2015 I have designated the front half for zen-doodling and the back half for recording profound "notes to myself." I labeled the "front" of each section on the outside cover of the journal-with the intention to flip the book to "right side up" whether it is the front or the (back) of the same journal. Wherever the two themes meet in the middle...they meet! I'm taking advantage of the slow time between Christmas and New Year's to diddle-daddle with background prep so that there are multiple pages primed and ready for art or note-taking once the New Year revs up.

Happy New Year 2015

I am loving the vibrancy of the Gellyroll pens on black (gesso) in my mini pocket jounal. This could become very addicting for evening zen-doodling. Very. Happy New Year 2015!
I drew circles around normal objects sitting on the kitchen counter & filled in patterns & doodles. It's a modified version from "Zen Doodles."
I started with the largest circle & gradually added others around it.