You know, being new at all of this, I had to think a little bit about this matter of participating in blog challenges before I could decide whether or not I was okay with doing so. Was this in keeping with my purposes for my art journal and blog? Would creating pages here and there around themes for public challenges somehow take away from the journal-y-ness and spontaneity of my little project? Would I become more stressed and self conscious about creating? I decided that really, there was no reason this should be so. No reason I couldn't just take a theme as a jumping off point for inspiration and just do whatever I felt like with it. Indeed, maybe that is part of the point of these things. There is also something nice about participating in things in general. Human beings like doing that. I figured that by staying realistic about my expectations for myself, I could manage to link up without losing my soul.
That orienting attitude worked out for this, my third art journal page, which turns out to be the most personal and journal-y one I've done so far-- I think partly because I used some of my own words instead of sticking with literary excerpts, and also because this page was very much a spontaneous evolution. I didn't plan out any of the steps ahead of time, I just went with the flow.
I was in a different sort of headspace when I worked on this page than I usually am when I work on art journaling or do anything hands on and creative. For one thing, I was feeling really sick and was very discouraged about that. This was yesterday evening. I had had a fabulous Thanksgiving day and had been feeling very well, but somehow that evening my pregnancy nausea came back and hit me nearly full force. I thought I had eaten carefully and in moderation, but who knows. It almost felt like hyperemesis starting all over again.This discouraged me more than usual, because I have so enjoyed feeling better the last week or so and had ardently hoped the debilitaing ill feelings were entirely a thing of the past. I started to feel depressed about this, and I suppose fatigue, post holiday let down, and good ol' fashioned pregnancy hormones may have been contributing to that feeling.
So, after the kids were settled, I propped myself up in bed on some pillows and parked my box of art supplies next to me, hoping to distract myself from the nausea and pull myself out of my low mood by working on my gratitude page. It took a little while, but proved effective on both counts.
I forgot to take photos of this page in progress, but will describe what I did here. Using gel pens, I loosely traced some quilting templates of flowers, from Elise M. Campbell's book, Winning Stitches. I colored their centers and added some doodled accents with the gel pens as well. Then I came in with my texts. I chose a quote from Alexander Schemman that has been kicking around in the back of my head for the last few months, "Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation and eternal joy." I was happy to have such a timely opportunity for using it. I also wrote, "Humility and gratitude form the gateway to spiritual peace and all blessings," which is a Leah original, I believe. I had jotted it down in my journal (my other, non-art, pen and paper journal) awhile back.
Then I thought I'd personalize the page a bit more by moving from the general to the particular, so I wrote: "I am grateful that hyperemesis ended in time for me to enjoy cooking and eating Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends." I also dated the page. A prosaically phrased little sentiment, but really that is the one thing I felt the most grateful for this Thanksgiving. Then I remembered my kids and that I was also thankful for them, so added their nicknames, scribbled in spaces here and there.
I colored over the whole thing with a sky blue pastel, then painted over the page with water. The ink on the flowers I had most recently drawn and on the wording began to smudge, but I decided that was okay-- smudgy was okay for this one. I even liked the way it made the words look. When the page had dried a little, I colored in the flowers and then painted the page with water again, letting the colors smear and run together. After it dried I did this a second time, coloring some in the spaces between the flowers as well.
By this time a couple hours had passed and I was sleepy, feeling better, and both more content and more relaxed. Yay for art journaling! Therapeutic, yes? I did not think I was done with the page. I wanted to color some more in the flowers with orange or pink, or both, but I was then nearly asleep, so decided to put if off until the morning. I happened to wake up early today, feeling pretty refreshed, and with my art journal page the first thing in my thoughts. H and the kids were all still sleeping, so I got up and went and sat in the guest room with my art journal, intending to complete my handiwork before they woke up. But when I saw the page again, I felt oddly hesitant to alter it. I just wanted to let it be what is was. That feeling won out and so I spent the morning lull surfing the internet instead of tweaking the page. It's very smudgy, watery, and random, but I think it is one I will take pleasure in remembering creating. It will remind me of Thanksgiving 2012, my third pregnancy, and hyperemesis recovery.