Winter Beach Contemplation

Pounding surf

Spending time in contemplation at the beach in January, the beginning of winter in New England, is usually a solitary pursuit. There is the pounding of the surf and an occasional shore bird, but you are not likely to see another person on the beach. It is windy, and often cold and grey. When the sunlight gives way to blue skies, the seascape can be magnificent. The air is crisp and clear, and the colors are deep and saturated.

Beach path

Following the path down to the beach, I wonder what treasures await me. Will there be a shell or stone that captures my interest? I like to comb the beach looking for small pieces of the shore to bring back home with me. Maybe several rocks and a shell or two will find their way into my pocket. Reaching into my pocket and turning my finds over in my hand brings me reassurance and roots  me in this place.

Trees long shadows

The grounds of Mercy by the Sea (located here) offer ever changing views of the ocean and the beach. At this time of year, the sun is low in the sky and the shadows are long. The landscape has a somewhat ethereal quality, as if the  trees could almost talk and share their knowing with me. I immerse myself in the silence and walk softly upon the sacred ground, letting myself feel the peacefulness of my surroundings.

Seated lady art journaling

I have once again joined a year long art journaling experience called Book of Days 2020 with Effy Wild, info is here. I have been taking online art journaling classes with Effy for many years and she is the best. I have been blocked and unmotivated the past few years, so I am making a concerted effort to participate in the class lessons. Watching all of the videos and showing up and meeting myself on the page is getting easier each week. Art journaling is becoming a practice again, something I used to have that got lost when life got overwhelming.

Feathers art journaling

People generally use acrylic paint for art journaling, but the feathers lesson was taught with watercolors and I am experimenting with using watercolors in my other lessons.  I used to paint in watercolors years ago, before I discovered art journaling, and they have a lightness and transparency that is unique to this medium. Acrylics are fun to use but they are heavy, mostly opaque, and not as fluid as watercolors.

Wooded path

Where do these steps lead? Could this be another path to new self discoveries? Last year I was contemplating change and renewal, see blog post here.  Today, once again, I am thinking about where I have been, where I am now, and where I am going. Life is a continual process of change and growth.

Finding Beauty in Simple Things

Think about holding a simple stone from the beach in the palm of your hand. Or some other ordinary object that holds meaning for you. What thoughts and feelings arise from contemplating such a simple object in this way? Can a stone or some other ordinary object become a touchstone for you? These are some ideas that are uncovered and come to light in Gunilla Norris’  simple yet profound book, Simple Ways.

Books February 2019

I love books and the worlds that they open up and transport you to. I love seeing words flowing down a page… in my journals, in print, and online. Although there is nothing like holding a book in your hand.  From an early age I was always a voracious reader and as a child I treasured family trips to the library with my parents. To this day I am fascinated by wandering through the rows of books on the bookshelves at the library, and  I have my own small library on IKEA bookshelves in my art studio,

I have been reading an interesting art book that my children gave me for Christmas. It is called Wabi-Sabi Art Workshop by  Serena Barton. She presents mixed media techniques for embracing imperfection and celebrating happy accidents. In the sidebars in the book she has various haiku quotes, and this inspired me to gather haiku quotes online and make another altered card deck.

Haiku cherries blossom

I love making themed card decks and have made about 6 now. I start with an ordinary deck of playing cards from the dollar store or pharmacy. I gather quotes, words, phrases, or affirmations. Then I add paper, paint, glue, and whatever resonates with me at the moment. These haiku cards were made from previously painted gelli  plate papers, glue stick, some 70lb paper (I bought a ream from a paper supply store), a pigma pen, and a brayer. To paint directly on the cards, you need to coat them with gesso first so that the paint will stick to the cards.

Haiku cards set 3x4

I am taking Book of Days 2019, a year long art journaling class hosted by Effy Wild. I enjoy taking classes with Effy and she provides great jumping off points of inspiration for me. This is my January spread and it features my one word for 2019, hope. I blogged about my one word in January. Hope represents renewal and growth for me in the coming year.

Book of Days January 2019