Dance of Freedom

There are multiple layers in this jounal entry which expresses my prayer for women & children who are incarcerated in a nearby family detention center. I started the art journal after spending a day inside Karnes City Detention Center where 500 immigrant women & children are being held. The first layers are unrecognizable in the final piece, but the first layers provided important reflection time to help me to process the experience.
I used a stencil of the USA and spritzed with watercolors. It symbolizes the diverse locations across the USA where the women have family and hope to go. 
The mixed media includes several layers. 
I had been stuck on how to finalize the reflection until I saw this page in one of my stacks of art books. The imagery of women dancing captured the essence of my prayer for the women at Karnes. I chose a piece of art paper from my stash and cut free-hand the shapes of the women dancing. I may add something more. But for now it is mostly done. 

Layering a Journal Page with Paper Collage

I added strips of cut papers in a quilting pattern that I've always liked but never made.
Ignore any fear of covering up something "better." 
I think art journaling is about the bits and pieces of joy during the bits and pieces of time spending time playing with art supplies while reflecting on...LIFE. It you wait for the big/ideal/perfect moment to "do art" or to "do journaling" then it is likely that art/journaling will never occur. Rather, it is in the bits and pieces of time that the joy of artful reflection is possible. The moral to the story is to create a space where you can leave your art supplies handy for short bits of art along the hectic journey of life. If all you do is one tiny little addition at any given moment/day/pause then that is one tiny addition that builds into something unexpected (and unknown) TBD (To Be Determined) in the future. I like to keep a working art journal out and open to a page-whatever page I have most recently work on or a page entirely different. Glancing at the open page as I walk by is a reminder that art journaling calls. Art journaling invites. Art journaling is waiting. Open invitation: COME. In that regard, art journaling is like writing: if you wait for the so-called muse to come before you begin it is very likely that you will never actually begin. And then oh how much you miss.
Pick a point with an existing page and add new bits and pieces.

Building on a Previous Journal Page

I had encouraged (guest) artist Kim to create a gratitude list of names of the people who had been present to/for/with her family during the murder trial for their (deceased) teenage son. In the middle of the horrific experience many people had come to sit in the courtroom and be an encouragement. In the middle of the tragedy, it is helpful (and healing) to identify and name grace present. Using letters to individually stamp the names is slow and tedious, but it also is in the tedium that it is possible to identify and experience the blessing that is present. On another day of waiting in the victim's room at the courthouse, she expressed a prayer for her (only surviving) son as he sat in the courtroom and listened to all the testimony. She drew around her hand in white crayon as an extension of her hand holding this son's hand. She used her deceased son's two favorite colors (red and purple) to express her feelings during the long day of waiting. After the verdict was rendered, she collaged the pieces onto an existing journal page for follow up reflection at a future time.

So Many Children Locked Up: A Reflection from Inside a Detention Center

It is important to slow down and art-it-out following an experience of any spiritual or emotional or physical intensity. I often zoom on with the next project, event, activity without slowing down. Art is my reminder of the necessity to slow down. I don't think it matters what the art is; or even what the end product looks like. It is the journey of doing the art itself which is the point of healing and wholeness. I often don't do art when my spirit needs me to do art. And yet, every time I do bracket out the time and dump my heart onto a journal page I am so glad I invested the time in doing art. Each mark on the journal page brings healing. Here: too many children (and moms) are being held behind locked walls in so-called detention centers (jail) for immigrants seeking asylum from violence in their homelands. It is very much jail for families, and it is appalling to see so many children (250-300) behind locked walls.

Simple mark-making with a mini stamp pad.
The background is a "reject" practice page done by a friend's mother.

A quick journaling; dumping out my experience of ministry inside a detention center.
Ver-Actuar-Azucar (see, discern, act) is an easy process for reflection.
Symbols: Peace sign & cross represent the two styles of earrings the women made.

Screened in. Behind bars. Women & children in a detention center.
Six tables with four chairs each for the women making jewelry.

Random Acts of Art

It is incredibly delightful to do "random acts of art" with whatever art materials strike your fancy. I love the idea of sitting down & doing art from A to Z; from start to finish. But the reality is that I live an intensely fast-paced life maxed to overload. What joy to do wee bits of art whenever possible without worrying about A to Z.
Random stamping with anew set of (half price) mini ink pads from HobbyL. 
I come out to my art room & put one CD on. Whatever I get done during the one CD is it for the evening. Sometimes I experiment with new materials. Other times I add a wee bit to something I've already begun. Or, like now, I sit in my wing-backed chair and ad to my art blog about previous random acts of art. All good. All joy!

No Time for Art

I've been missing art. My life is maxed beyond all max. I know art takes time. I regret I flat don't have time. So I came out to my art room and spent 30 minutes diddling. Nothing profound. But my spirit needs to do some art something. Anything. Something. Everything.

I used a scrapbook punch tool to add layers on one page and I collaged a friend's piece of leftover practice art on another. Not scintillating, but something. 

Stenciling Layers

Art journaling one page from start to finish requires more spare time than I've had lately. Instead, I've been doing one type of art/one medium on a page at a sitting. Then I'll flip through the journal looking for another place when I can use the same media and technique. It is a fun, mindless, low commitment way to do art journaling when I really don't have time.
I love my Jane Girl stencils. I'm probably over using them. But then I'll just look back on this year and maybe call it "the year of the Jane Girl stencils".
The generic stenciling adds a nebulous layer which ultimately enhances a feeling of depth. 

Stamping a Gratitude List

Art is a wonderful ministry of presence and also a great distraction during stress. While waiting for hours with the victim's family during a long trial and jury deliberation we switched from anxiety to gratitude by stamping the names of the many people who have been present for the family during this painful process. The stamped list can later be collaged into an art journey. Travel ABC letters and a travel stamp pad on a white napkin.