Begin it Now

I am enjoying my time on this snowy morning playing more with digital art journaling.  I have learned so much in the last few weeks.  I prefer pages that looks more like journal pages in a real journal – with paint and photos and collaged elements. Therefore, I was so glad to learn more tricks to blend elements that add texture and bits of color in order to bring out the complexities of a design.

When I found this Suffragette image, it seemed to fit the quote below perfectly.  Note: You can always click on any image to make it larger.

I played with Hamlet’s “To Be or Not to Be” speech on the journal page below.  Also, I am enamored of owls at the moment, so used one as my central image.
This page is a reminder to myself that happiness is always a choice.

I also had some more fun using my doodles and vintage photos to tell a story.


I used one of my favorite quotes as the basis for the journal page below.  As I looked through my archive of photos, this one of my father in his early 20’s caught my attention.  I then started adding cartographic elements as my theme took shape.  Through this process I began to realize how my father is my “north arrow” in terms of integrity.  He lived his life according to his values.  He accomplished many things during his lifetime including serving during WWII teaching meteorology to pilots; earning his Ph.D in Education from Harvard, working as the first Registrar of the Air Force Academy, and, after his retirement from the Air Force in 1965, working for Education Testing Service for 8 years.    But, I really believe that it was his strong character and moral judgement that people remember of him.  He was a man one could count on and trust.

This art journal page is for my dad, Col. Virgil John O’Connor, Ph.D, born June 30, 1915, died, December 15, 1993.  I miss him very much.


Clandestine Games in the Cave of the Goldfish

This is the first week of the Art Journal Caravan 2012 at  Below is the journal page that I made using two different prompts. I used a doodle that I had drawn and converted into a Photoshop brush, which I “stamped” on my page. I am so excited that I have finally learned how to make my own brushes!

Clandestine Scavenger Hunt

I then made another page using another “stamp”. I am going to continue to play with making my own backgrounds and brushes and elements to add into my pages. I like journal pages that have a bit of whimsy to them. I am also focusing on how I tell a story with my pages. I love using vintage photos, because they help to create the story in my own mind, and they add so much character to the pages.

The Race Begins

Mind Map

This is the first Art Journal page in my Art Journal Caravan 2012 at  I created a mind map depicting my view of my thought processes.  It occurred to me as I worked, that the more I meditate, those areas that are positive (creativity, compassion) expand, while the other negative areas (worry, anger) contract.

The orange background I painted on canvas, and the green/blue I made as a gel print.  I scanned each and layered them, erasing some of the orange so that the green could show through (changing the color from light green to blue green).  Then I scanned the head template from a fantastic book called Personal Geographies by Jill K. Berry, and made a stamp (Photoshop brush) from it.  I also included a photo of myself as a child with collaged wings from a card I made last year.  The font is Tangie’s from Scrapbookgraphics “Mad Hatter”.  I am enjoying this exploration into digital art journaling.


Happy New Year

There is something about a clean slate, new beginnings, starting over, that appeals to human beings.  We like to think that we can begin fresh, erasing past mistakes, and starting as if we come out of a void, with nothing hanging on to us dragging us back into our personal histories.  But, of course, we cannot begin anew.  We inevitably carry our past with us.  Memories of the joys come with the sorrows, our successes arrive tied to our failures, and old habits are hard to let go.

We can only begin where we are – an amalgamation of all we have done before this moment.  We can change our reactions incrementally, noticing when we react to old triggers, but, usually, we fall into the same patterns as before, repeating old histories.  We diet for several weeks, eating healthy, exercising and slowly losing weight, until some stress sends us back to the potato chips or chocolate.  We start new projects only to leave them half finished as the busyness of life takes over once again.  We try job hunting, or searching for a romantic partnership, until the rejections pile up and discourage further action.  After awhile we stop trying, too demoralized from failure, too tired to go on.

I do not make New Year’s resolutions.  There is no point as they are all broken before January comes to an end.

This year though, I do make a promise to myself to continue to try to keep my dreams alive, to not give up.  I have an intense need to create with my hands, to knit, spin yarn, create mixed media art, and to experiment with digital art.  I am letting go of the false opinion that I should stick with one medium, but, instead vow to let myself follow my impulses to create whatever I desire at the moment.

One of my favorite words, gallimaufry, means hodgepodge.  I will let my art be a gallimaufry of media, themes, styles, and projects.  I will not try to coerce myself into standardizing my work.  Instead, I make the following promises to myself:

  • I promise to follow my need to explore and discover
  • I promise to let go of the product and instead enjoy the process
  • I promise to release the internal voice that says that I must produce commercially viable art work
  • I promise to follow my own creative path and continually look for the joy in making art
  • I vow to spend this year exploring my own creative journey, following my own artistic desires in every moment

To begin this process, here is an image I created to play with digital art journaling: