Monday, July 27, 2015

Art Journaling Saved Me

"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order."  -Anne Wilson Schaef

An interesting discussion has been on-going in my Facebook group Mind.Body.Soul. It started out with this quote...

 Our theme for July has been Freedom...freeing ourselves from addictions, negative self-talk, etc. When I posted this the other day I didn't realize how much it would resonate with so many of you.

I am a people doubt about that. I try to please my kids, my husband, my Mom, my friends, complete get the idea. I never want to step on anyone's toes or make them feel bad...even though I can be shriveling up and dying inside. From most of the comments it seems like many of you feel the same way.

One comment in particular broke my heart..."I can never create beautiful art so why try?"
Ugh...this crushes me. I mean this one comment makes me soooooo sad.

AS a child I LOVED to create!! I colored everyday. It made me so happy!! I looked forward to art class in school and even though I wasn't very good at drawing...I loved the paint and getting messy part! All that changed one day in 8th grade though. Our lesson was to draw a self-portrait. This made me so nervous...I knew drawing just wasn't my thing...but I gave it my best shot, even adding details of my heart shaped locket I wore nearly everyday. And happened. My art teacher was walking around the room, assessing our work. Nervously I showed her my drawing. She looked at it, eyes squinting, mouth turned down she spoke five words I that would live with me for the next 35 years...."YOU ARE NOT AN ARTIST!"

Then she walked off.

That one comment convinced me that I was not creative.

It would be over 30 years before I attempted any kind of creating again.

"Inside you there's an artist you don't know about...Say YES quickly, if you know, if you've known it from before the beginning of the universe."  -Jalai Ud-Din Rumi

One of my early pages...I have learned so much since then!

My journey to art journaling and mixed-media art began about 6 years ago. Prior to that I was a scrapbooker and LOVED the creative outlet it gave me. Scrapbooking helped me realize that art took on many forms.

A Brave Art piece from nearly 5 years ago

 The more I collaged images and words and put paint on paper the more I knew I had found something I really loved!

An early piece using a notecard and a butterfly punch

Quickly my journals were filling up and I was selling my canvas's in local craft fairs.

Still a favorite journal page of mine

 I found the BRILLIANT Melody Ross during my scrapbooking days and was OVERJOYED when she began Brave Girls Club. It was her class "Soul Restoration" that really spoke to my heart and made me realize that maybe...just maybe I was an artist.

A page from a Brave Girl's Class I took
 Through her soul-searching classes and amazing mixed-media techniques I began experimenting with texture and paint like never before...

Another BGC inspired page
A WHOLE NEW world had opened up for me!!!

 "Perhaps loving something is the only starting place there is for making your life your own."  -Alice Koller

Art has saved me.

Art journaling has made me realize that I AM an artist.

YOU are an artist.

WE are ALL artists.

The more you create...the more creative you become...there is not a truer statement out there! It's by trial and error my art has ME written all over!

A recent of my faves!

 When I finally just let go and put what speaks to me on my pages...ME shines through every single time.

a page from my faith journal

 I discovered early on that vintage images spoke to me. I use "my girls" on almost every piece of art I create!

I ADORE them!!

A canvas from ArtBeach 2014

I used to compare my art to EVERYONE. Social media can be such a blessing but also such a curse! With everyone posting their's easy for us to compare ourselves to one another.


Comparing does nothing but damage our hearts...our spirits.


Experiment with paint and stencils and glue and images and words.

What speaks to you may not be what inspires me....

and that's ok!

I love using old maps and quotes in my work

Surround yourself with your favorite colors, quotes, magazine clippings, art...whatever inspires YOU. Take 10 minutes a day to create. Even if all you are doing is looking at a favorite art blog or magazine...all those things add up and will help you on your artistic journey.

Houses and hearts show up in my art a lot, too:)

"Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live."  -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

My favorite canvas 

I encourage you to CREATE! Stop making excuses. Stop telling yourself that you can't create beautiful things. Take TODAY, make a list of all the whispers in your Heart.

Listen to them.

Your Heart knows the TRUTH. 

Make something beautiful just for YOU.

Here are some of my favorite places to gather inspiration...

Brave Girls Club
Art Journaling Magazine
Kelly Rae Roberts
Dina Wakely

LOVE these books!!

Art Journal Courage
Art Journal Freedom
Art Saves
Brave Intuitive Painting


  1. Leslie, I am always moved by reading your words. You are so sincere, open and dare to reveal your true vulnarability. You made such an amazing journey. Thank you for your support and inspiration. I think many woman can relate to what you write and went/go through.

    warm wishes,

  2. I just want to add something for the lady who wrote "I can never create beautiful art so why try?". I think when you look on the internet you easily can get the impression that art journaling is all about creating a beautiful mixed-media page in your journal. It has a commercial side as well with all the art supplies being available. But that's not what it's all about, it's about expressing yourself in a creative way that appeals to you. And it's about the process not the end result.

    I'm also a starter and in the beginning I was very overwhelmed, confused and paralyzed by all that I saw. After understanding the essence of art journaling and get back in touch with myself it's so much easier to create. I like keeping it small and simple at the moment. I don't have many art supplies, but I experiment with what I have.

    If you don't know where tot start just take a magazine and look what picture you like or you are drawn to, what picture expresses you, your style, your wishes, your feelings etc. Just glue it in your journal. Mayby before you glue it you can colour a part of the background in a colour you like. Once you're started more ideas will come to mind and you will begin to experiment and will have fun doing this.

    A few days ago I took a very little piece of cardboard from the catfoodpackage and made a mini collage. I used two little pictures from a magazine and cut out a word from the same magazine. I have a lovely stamp with the words 'love you today' and I stamped it on paper, cut it out and coloured it a bit with a coloured pencil. I once got a box with chalk pastel and I used it now on watercolour paper. Just coloured with a few different colours on the paper and with my finger and some water merge the colours, then drew some black waving lines with a black watercolour pencil. I cut a oblong piece out of it and used it as a border on the left side of the collage. The background of the cardboard I also coloured with the pastels. I would love tot have some paint, but I haven't. That's why I try to be creative with what I do have. In the end I glued all the elements on the cardboard and outlined some here and there with a black watercolour pencil and black marker . I really loved the result, it really expresses me. Though it was very simple to create.

    An artist that writes a lot about the topic of today is Lisa Sonora. On her blog there is a free 30 day journal project going on. I get the blogs in the email, but on the blog for some posts you have to go back to january. That's when she first did this particular challenge also. You can also find the links on her facebook or twitter page. Here blogs are very interesting and inspirational to read and can be very helpful to create a breakthrough in (art-)journaling and overcome all that is holding you back now from starting being creative .You can find her on She's really great and had to overcome many big obstacles in her life. I hope her words can help you.

    As I am from the Netherlands my english is not perfect, but hopefully good enough for you to understand.

    With love

  3. Fantastic post, Les!!! I often find myself with those feelings of "I'll never be as good . . . " regarding my art. Did I mention, I have those feelings OFTEN? Thank you for reminding me to enjoy the process and never give up on myself. Adore you, love!!!!

  4. This is so true and so sad! Most of us have feelings like these, but very few manage to free themselves from these bonds!


I appreciate your thoughts and ideas...they inspire me!! I will be visiting you soon. Have a CREATIVE day!!