Thursday, December 24, 2015

Week 4 - Learn to Journal in 4 Weeks

You've done it!  You've arrived at the final week of this 4-week journey.  Congratulations. I'm super proud of you for now developing this awesome new habit, that will hopefully continue to provide you with an avenue of discovery, insight, and overall well-being!  You now have the keys to happiness and well-being for your future.  Only you can unlock the secrets inside.

"Becoming unbridled from an emotionally painful past is key to having a healthy, happy present. When life delivers a less-than-perfect start to our existence, we can become trapped in a mire of self-pity and snagged by negative patterns of thought over things that were largely or entirely out of our control.  But what we do today, and how we proceed tomorrow is entirely in our control."  ~~Sharon Soneff, in "Art Journals Creative Healing, Restoring the Spirit Through Self Expression"

To paraphrase Sharon Soneff, when you journal, this is a method to help you grab hold of the reins of life, a way to find your moral and emotional compass, your path and direction, your spiritual healing.  By self-monitoring through your journal writing, you are making a conscious effort and decision to keep from perpetuating the past or repeating something that you can, at last and finally, put to rest in your heart, mind and soul.  Blazing a trail of self-evolution, from a point that began in a deep, dark valley through your ascension to the mountain top of self-fulfillment is one of the most self-empowering things you will ever do in your life. You are taking control of your life, your emotions, your spiritual well being.  By dedicating the time to writing in your journal and being consistent, you are not going to miss any moments of realization or epiphanies important to moving forward in a positive, healthy way.  Every step you make, every realization you have is an ascension, an accomplishment and success in healing. Each step forward is progress and you become increasingly more enlightened along the way, holding yourself and perhaps others accountable so that you can reach the summit of that emotional mountaintop.

Great freedom emerges when we face our most troubling realities.  Recovery and self-help groups have long espoused the adage that "You're only as sick as your secrets."  Yes, sometimes that trouble represents a very dark part of our past history that needs to come to light.  Your journal is your safe place where you can express the truth of what is going on right now in your life.  A safe harbor. No judgments, no derision, no repercussions.  Just you and your new best friend ... you.  The whole point of writing in this personal way is to let what is churning inside you come out into the light, so you can see it, and deal with it.  It could be that your journaling brings issues to light for which you may truly want and need some professional guidance from a healthcare professional or spiritual advisor.  But for now, the first step toward healing your spirit involves facing your truths and hard realities, no matter how difficult that truth may be.  You are strong or you would not have started this journey. You seek the truth inside you, no matter the outcome.  As has been said many times in the past by many people, the truth shall set you free.  

As you step forward and continue your writing journey, be confident in knowing that you are strong enough to handle it.  You are worthy of the truth. You are empowering your own self-awareness and self-confidence, and leaving the past behind so that you can grow toward the future, toward your dreams, hopes and aspirations.  Every single day is a learning experience. Find something positive about each day and include it in your writing.  Your outlook will change, and negative self-talk will slowly but purposefully take over your conscious being.  You will be enriched and find fulfillment within yourself.  Keep up your commitment to writing every day, and reinforcing all the positives and blessings in your life.

To access this week's final prompts, go HERE 

As you wind up this week's journaling, come visit us at ARTFUL WRITING where we will continue to encourage and support you and provide you with daily writing prompts to spark your creativity and thoughtfulness. Jump in anywhere or on any prompt that intrigues you.  Give us your feedback, chime in to the conversations.  There is no special "place to start" except of course, with the "starting."  Just keep writing.  And thank you for taking this very special journey with us!



Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week 51 - Oh Christmas Tree (or YOUR symbol for your holiday season)

Hey y'all...Melody here this week to bring you our prompt and the girls' interpretations on it!

We all have a certain something that symbolizes our holidays...Christmas trees, menorahs, stars, whatever...and they all mean something different to all of us.  This week's prompt is about that symbol for YOU.  So let's get started, shall we?

 First up this week we have Lynn's beautiful page!  I absolutely love love love it!  Here's what she said about her page:  Painted the page medium pink with a sponge then went over it with a paper towel. It dries faster when I do that. Cut out a tree from a piece of scrapbook paper I had and added stars and a few stickers to it.
Finally I used a snowflake stencil and used Snow White Apple barrel paint and stenciled them on the tree and the page.
I really enjoyed this prompt. Thanks for checking it out girls. Make sure you see what the others came up with.

Next up is my prompt...I have to tell you, I got this idea from another group somewhere and just fell in love with it, and since I'd never done it like this before decided it would be for me!  I used quite a few different colors of washi, and went to town in my journal, leaving a little space between each of the strips, then came back over the strips with some thinner gold foil washi in different patterns for my "tinsel".  I couldn't get a pic that really showed off the shimmer of the gold foil, but it's there.

Next up is Shana, who stepped away from the Christmas tree to do something a little different....and like I said earlier, it's all about what it means to YOU.  Shana's take just blew me away, and I am sure y'all will like it too!

She said:   "I know this isn't a tree, but to me a symbol of Christmas was watching "Its a wonderful life" growing up we didn't always get a tree but we always watched its a wonderful life as a family, and family is to me what the holidays are all about, cherishing simple traditions and time and cherishing them.
I used Derwent light wash pencil, water color paints, prismacolor pencils, acrylic paint, milotow and sharpie paint pens and liquitex gesso in my dylusions journal"

And there you have it!  Miss Betty couldn't play this week due to prior holiday plans, but she'll be back soon!

Thanks for joining us for this week's prompt, and I hope you have/had a wonderful holiday so far!

Betty, Melody, Lynn and Shana

Friday, December 18, 2015

Week 3 - Learn to Journal in 4 Weeks

Here we are at the start of week #3 of our course, Learn to Journal in 4 Weeks.  You've met and exceeded the halfway point, so pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

"It's important for people to know what you stand for. It's equally important that they know what you won't stand for." -- Mary Waldrip

Standing up for what you believe in is an important quality to have in your life. Likewise, standing up for or standing up TO yourself with your innermost thoughts and emotions is a primary key to living an emotionally healthy life and lifestyle.  If you can't be honest with yourself, you're never going to be wholly honest with others or with your life or find your "true north," the compass of your world, your life.  This is one reason why I journal.  We all have secrets, concerns or issues we keep buried deep within ourselves, either to shield us from remembering pain or because we choose not to recall them.  But those issues are there.  Some of those issues comprise who you are today because we become the result of our life experiences.  Do you like who you've become as a result of your life experiences?  Yes? No?  If not, only you can make those changes. Addressing these concerns in your journal is a huge step in making those changes you want to see.

I recently discovered an amazing book by Rebecca Campbell called "Light is the New Black" A Guide Answering Your Soul's Callings and Answering Your Light, published by Hay House, and currently available at most major booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and also available for Kindle readers. If you follow the permalink, you can read some excerpts from the book.   In Light is the New Black, Ms. Campbell talks about and helps guide you to that place in your life that is your TRUE NORTH, finding your compass, your true way in life.  If you are all about being a better you, and finding yourself, truly finding yourself, I recommend you get and read this book!   You may  have some serious life changing epiphanies while reading it or after reading it.   So far, as a result of reading this book, I have been journaling like crazy about the topics and revelations I am experiencing as a result of her discourse and musings.  I read the book all the way through the first time quite quickly and was really impacted by it. But now, I am re-reading, absorbing, thinking about and writing about all of it. 

Your journal writing should always reflect the real you. Not the face you put out there for the public to see. Real. Honest. Forthright. Compelling. Interesting.  All the descriptors, good or bad, that comprise the real you.  Always 'keep it real' with yourself. No kidding. No side-stepping, no excuses. This is how you turn just plain "writing" into positive journaling.  Whether you realize it or not, you are taking care of yourself.  You are filling up your vessel -- your soul, your spirit, your mind. You are caring about yourself!

As always, you don't have to respond to all of our prompts, or even take them in order, but we recommend you try and respond to each prompt if you can.  Or write about your day, what you are feeling or dealing with. It's your journal.  We are only providing sparks and ideas to keep you thinking and proactively engaged in your emotional and spiritual growth and development. And if you have a bunch of raw journaling you don't ever want anyone to see but you, remember you can always cover it up afterward with art, collaged images, and words.  But don't forget to leave a little hint or reminder on the page, whether a specific word, a hashtag on the corner of your page, or arted on top of your journaling.  You know it's there, and that's all that is necessary.

This week we are going to revisit your list from Day 11, do a little self-exploration, venture out to enhance your writing experience, and of course, a little creative writing.

To access this week's prompts, go HERE

Have a great week, and happy writing!



Saturday, December 12, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #50 Art Prompt

Here we are, week #50 of a year-long art challenge.  Can you believe it?  This whole year has just seemed to fly by and now the sudden realization that there are only two, yes TWO very short weeks left of 2016.  I'm not finished with all the things I wanted to accomplish this year, in my art and in my daily life.  Are  you? 

A special request:  While we are all thinking about the impending Christmas holiday, food, shopping lists, gift buying, wrapping, parties and social events, excited children, frustrated shoppers, let's also remember to stop every single day, even if just for a moment to consider and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives.  Think of something you can do for someone who might not have enough food to eat, warm clothing to wear, no family to share the holiday with, or anything to give to their children for Christmas. Can you involve your children or grandchildren to help teach them the value of giving and volunteering?  Consider buying a gift for a deserving child on an angel tree, helping a homeless person get a hot meal, volunteering in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, spending some time with someone who has no family, sharing some joy with someone, to help make their day a little brighter.  I have so many blessings and things to be thankful for in my life, and I LOVE paying forward my blessings and helping those in dire situations that need the help...and not just during the holidays... I do it throughout the year, and as a matter of course. Giving is a big part of my life.  Consider sharing your blessings the whole year through. You, and your life will be enriched by the experience. 

This week at Artful Journeys, we're thinking about winter. I particularly am jealous of those of you who live in climates where you see and get snow regularly.  Snow brings out a special kind of happiness for me, and fond, fond memories of my childhood and the rare snow events of my life, all of which I can almost clearly identify they have been so few.  What memories does snow evoke for you?  Do you hate it, love, it, go play in it?  So show us!


My spread this week reflects the fun memories from my childhood regarding snow and snow days. Here's a sneak peek, but to see the whole thing, hop on over to my blog, HERE

MELODY made this very pretty page, in her favorite "signature" color and left plenty of room for journaling about her winter days. I know she is hoping for snow too, but she still wants the schools to remain "open" for a quiet day at home!  One thing about Melody's journals, she likes "writing" on a painted page, and most of her backgrounds for writing are always so smooth and luscious.  I can't wait to see her writing around those snowflakes!

SHANA submits this vision of loveliness for your inspiration this week.  She says, " This was one of my 1st journal entries mixing acrylic paint and my Prismacolor pencils.  I used a stencil for the blue and white background and most of her hair is pattern paper showing through. For the snowflakes I used my white Faber Castel pitt pen on some stamps, along with the Pitt pens for the smudgy shadows."  Shana told me that she actually painted this journal page on her first winter without snow, when she first moved to the desert.  Being a Wisconsin cheese-head, (a title she proudly professes), Shana knows snow.  But alas, living in the low desert, she has to find a mountain or go home now to get any!  LOL 


Be inspired this week by winter.  Let the magic of "snow" get all in your head, and in your heart...even if you are living in a warm climate!  Maybe you can fancy up some palm trees covered in snow?  You'll never know until you try!  And don't forget to share at ARTFUL JOURNEYS!

Have a great week, and as always, keep it artful!
~~Betty, Melody, Shana & Lynn


Friday, December 11, 2015


We've arrived at week #2 of our beginning course on learning to journal in four weeks. How are you doing so far with getting in the habit of writing everyday, about something?  I see in Artful Writing that some of you may have already experienced some emotional turmoil about some of our first seven prompts.

                                              "Live in peace in a time of stress"

Quite frankly, I didn't expect that the first seven prompts would elicit such a response.  When I created them, they seemed benign enough.  I certainly realize that many people, including myself, did not have the happiest of childhoods, and I am not always willing or able to discuss some of these situations with myself on a given day.  Regardless of the specificity of any prompt, if the day's prompt is too painful for you to address this early on in your writing, perhaps let it spark something that isn't.  Look for a positive thought or memory within the prompt. Think about the prompt in a different way, or write about something entirely different on that day.  The prompts are just sparks and ideas intended to get you to think, and to write about your emotions, feelings and experiences.  Being real and honest with yourself, in a way that perhaps you have never done before, truly can be one of the most cathartic and healing experiences of your life. Today might not be that day for you, or even tomorrow.

If a prompt brings up painful or hurtful emotions in you, just write about how you feel at the moment.  You don't have to respond to the prompt directly.  Too often we allow conditioned responses from our past to control our present.  We can't help it.  It is human nature, I think, to want to avoid hurt and pain.  But realistically, without addressing hurt, pain, anger and all the black emotions we hold within us, we can't ever find the light, or the peace that dwells in all of us, or go to the sunny place where we are wholly content with ourselves, our lives and our futures.  At least talking openly and honestly with yourself in your journal, you're coming to grips with this turmoil on an adult level, with adult responses.  Sure, you may cry a river of tears when it all comes pouring out the end of your pen.  I love a good, healing cry myself. It helps me.  But if now is not the time, make a mental note to address how you feel right at that moment on another day.  There have been many nights when I have journaled about an emotional situation in my life, that I cried the entire time I was writing. But afterwards, my heart seemed healed somehow.  Maybe not fully or completely, but at least part of me came to grips with some of it.  And hopefully that day will arrive for you as well.

My best advice to you:  Just keep writing. Keep thinking. Keep exploring the real know, the one you know is inside you that you are secretly hiding and you're not letting her fully out in the open.  How can I improve my life?  How can this cleansing or purging of thoughts and emotions benefit me in the long run?  You will ultimately benefit emotionally and spiritually by addressing these deep and personal issues.  Everyday is not a big emotional day. We want you to just write, the good with the bad, along with lighthearted, creative writing that frees your spirit from the societal constraints that are placed upon us in our daily lives.  Hang in there if you're already having trouble. It gets easier, I promise.  Something just resonated within your soul. You poked a smoldering fire that has been simmering in there, likely for a long time.  It's not going to go away, but you can plan to address it later, when you're more prepared to handle it.  I and we, are always here to provide you with emotional support and encouragement when you need it. Never be afraid to ask for help. So far, the members of Artful Writing are showing their willingness to be supportive and offer encouraging words and some sage advice to those of you who are facing some difficulties.  Lean in. Listen. I believe encouragement and support from others is a viable and important tool in a healing arsenal.

I'm excited to present your prompts for this coming week.  This week, we're going to address how to explore a little more deeply within yourself, how to cut this into manageable chunks of thought process time through the aid of lists and brainstorming, and have a couple of more inane writing prompts, just to get you in the habit of writing.  You don't have to start at the first prompt, or even follow the prompts exactly, or at all. Just write.  But consider really responding to some of these prompts this week. 

As always, if you have some raw journaling from this week you don't ever want anyone to read or see, consider collage options or arting over the words, leaving something to peek out or remind you of the writing.  Keep clipping & putting powerful or emotional images into your "envelope" just for this purpose. Put a hashtag on the lower corner of your journal perhaps with a keyword. Consider magazine images that represent the emotions or feelings you had, or how the writing made you feel.  You could even art over this particular day's writing entirely, and feel safe that your private thoughts are secure.

Find this week's new prompts HERE.  Enjoy the journey.

Happy writing!


Saturday, December 5, 2015


Hi y'all!  Betty here again this week to bring you our prompt!  With the approaching holidays, we know most of you are busy shopping, decorating  your trees, your homes, your yards.  So of course you need a little holiday decoration in your art journals as well!

This week's prompt:  "AND THE STOCKINGS WERE HUNG..."

MELODY made this cute spread in her journal, with plenty of room to write about a favorite Christmas memory and says "This week's spread was pretty basic. It's been a tough week and no art has gotten done. I started in my small Dylusions journal with burnt umber and titanium white creating a wall and mantle to hang the stockings from. My stockings are by Jolee's Boutique and found them when I was hunting up some stickers to use in my journal for Christmas. Hope you like it."

SHANA sends along this sneak peek and a link to her video!  Follow through on the link to see the process and the finished spread HERE

That's it from our end of the world.  Lynn and I were unable to participate this week due to outside commitments.  Let this prompt challenge you to create a special memory, or recreate one.  Maybe add a special Christmas story as a tip in!

As always, keep it artful!

~~Betty, Melody, Lynn and Shana

Friday, December 4, 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT! Artful Writing!

We are pleased to announce the formation of a new sister group, ARTFUL WRITING where we will be providing you 365 days of writing prompts and ideas, hints, tips and tricks for successful journaling.

The group is now open for membership, so tell your friends.  The first official prompt will appear on December 31st and will be published daily for your writing inspiration.

For those of you who like to have a week's worth of prompts at one time, you may return here to the blog and locate the 2016 Artful Writing page to get all your weeks' prompts at one time, or visit the group page as part of your daily ritual.  We will also be including bonus prompts and ideas on the group page for writing as we go along.

If you are new to journaling, we are offering a free, 4-week course on beginning journaling that will start tomorrow evening, December 5th.  To get started, first visit and review the Introduction so that you are prepared and ready to begin.  Come back here to the blog, and look for the page tab on the left side of the blog: LEARN TO JOURNAL IN 4 WEEKS. You can start the free course HERE

You never have to follow along with the prompts and are always free to write about whatever your heart desires. Our daily prompts are designed to spark an idea or to make you dig deep and really be honest with yourself so that you can begin to renew your mind, body and spirit in this coming year.  If you can't be honest with and about yourself in your journal, where can you?

We will never ask you to share your personal journaling with us. That's definitely private.  But you are encouraged to ask questions about your journaling, writing in general, offer up your ideas and suggestions; talk about your favorite journals and writing instruments and any subject relating to writing in Artful Writing!  We might ask you to show us a photograph of your writing journal, or create a visual art journal page about your week's journaling that you can share in Artful Writing or in Artful Journeys, or both!  Writing is just another creative outlet, one that can and will be healing, helpful to you and renew your outlook and spirit as you explore your emotions, feelings, relationships, past history and everything in between.

Come join us on this artful, writing adventure. 

~Betty Richardson

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Artful Journeys - POP UP #27

Betty here, bringing you our Pop-Up this week. Guess what day it is?????  Last day of the month (already?) and time for another POP-UP art challenge for your journal. 

Yes, it is time for you to make a gorgeous, beautiful and delightful DECEMBER CALENDAR using holiday colors (if you so choose--or not).  This will be your last calendar, and I promise we won't do them next year.  Seems like I am the only one on the admin team who really likes having them in my journal, but they are a great "marker" to know when you did something if you don't date your journal work like I do.  I will do them next year, as I have done every year since I started journaling, but we won't have them as a prompt!

LYNN made this beauty... Isn't it pretty?  Here's what she had to say: "I got lucky today and got this piece of deli paper that Betty made with the gelli plate and I loved it so much I wanted to use it for the background for the calendar. Just punched out a bunch of circles and added birthdays that I have this month."  

MELODY made this super cute calendar in her usual cheerful style!  "For my calendar I started with tube acrylics in red and white to create the background, then punched circles out of scrapbook papers from my Christmas collection and glued them all down. I added some stickers for the month and a little somethin' extra. Thanks for looking!"

BETTY - My page this month is full of wintry and holiday cheer.  Background was prepared with acrylics in red and white, applied with a brayer, then some circles stamped with leftover paint.  I punched out the date squares out of holiday scrapbooking paper, added the dates and snowflakes with Posca markers, then the embellishments. Sadly, I got the "December" that was stamped with Stampin' Up's Alphabet Attitude stamps a little bit high, but oh well!  

SHANA says: As you know I do not enjoy doing Calender's! there is too much planning do do, spacing for the days of the weeks and making sure you have the right amount of days in the month... so since I was just going with it I decided to use what I had to go with the red and green theme, I had a background that I had just made using red and green with a brayer some time ago and started with that. I had a piece of watercolor paper that got ripped so I trimmed it down and laid down some green gelatos for a border then wet the whole piece down, I then sprayed with Dylusions in red. for the days I had some copy paper that I just did random sprays of the dylusions. I glued them all down and uses my sharpie paint pens to number them and add the month at the top. I actually like how it turned out with the mash of red and greens with no real shape, and I got to get my hands full of color! big hugs!

Did we motivate or inspire you?  Can't wait to see your calendars!  Be sure and share them with us at ARTFUL JOURNEYS!


~~Betty, Melody, Lynn and Shana