Sunflowers have always been my favorite flower. I can't help but smile when I look at one. I'm not even a big fan of the color yellow, unless it's on a sunflower! I’ve been working digitally on my art for quite a while trying to hone my skills for picture book illustration. Besides that, my iPad and Apple Pencil are portable! But here in the last few weeks, digital art and paint brushes just haven't excited me.
It was time to break out the wet media! Sometimes you just have to get messy. Do you ever get ideas stuck in your head? Well, I had a sunflower stuck in mine. I decided to watch some great painting tutorials on Skillshare to get my mind wrapped around this idea floating around in my skull. Bonnie Lecat had a great quick acrylic painting class, so I pulled out some old canvases from the cabinet and went to work.
Not only do I love sunflowers, I love quirky animals! Animals with attitudes… animals in glasses… there was this Polish chicken with crazy hair just screaming to get out of my brain… I'm not the only one with crazy ideas rolling around in her head, right?
Anyway, as I was painting, I lost all concern and focus on the outside world. I enjoyed painting the sunflower so much I decided I needed more of them. In fact, I set a little 100 Sunflower Challenge for myself and the fun continued. We will see where this takes me!
Oh, how I love how God connects the dots! I do a kids message at church each Sunday, and my mind kept coming back to the sunflowers as I was talking to God about what my next message should be. I found a great article by name here on sunflowers. Each morning sunflowers face the east awaiting the sunrise. Throughout the day they will turn and follow the sun; however, they never fully turn and face the west. Instead, they turn themselves back to the east to position themselves for the rising of the sun the next morning. In Matthew there is a scripture that talks about the return of Jesus and how like the lightning He will come from the east. Wouldn't it be great if we were more like sunflowers...if we would position ourselves each morning to follow the sun that is, the S-O-N? Follow Him throughout the day, and position ourselves again each night two await Him and follow Him? I don't know about you, but of all the flowers in the world, I want to be a sunflower!
Faith, mystery, and art commingle here at the Cabin. I love a good mystery where the good guys and gals always win! I just finished reading a cozy set in a tea shop where the owner serves lemon tea cakes. I was contemplating how my own characters might take on the project of art journaling the story in one of their B&B (Book and Brush) Mystery Club meetings, so I asked them! Sarah Stone, owner of the Brush and Plume and lead artist of the group, said she'd be delighted to share their project with us.
One of the hardest things for emerging artists is facing the blank page! When we meet for B&B meetings, it's always a struggle to get Trudy to break loose and start adding some background. Elizabeth, on the other hand, paints like she dresses--bold colors that dare you to tell them don't go together!
There is no right way to start a journal page. Maddie always likes to begin a new journal page with a wash of light watercolor as the first layer. We've been reading a Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery--Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes--so I thought I'd demo a few techniques we used to get started. The Tea Garden definitely suggested a vintage, light and airy feel, but, of course, with any scene of a murder, there will be ominous shades mixed into the color scheme! With Lemon Tea Cakes center stage, yellow was Maddie's color of choice for the background, but you can choose anything that calls your name.
I, on the other hand, always like to start with a sketch. I like to paint with bright, mismatched colors, but I also wanted to capture the cozy feel of the Tea Garden, and I definitely wanted a teapot on the page. Wondering what you should add to your page? Think about parts of the book that affected your senses. In the book, Daisy smelled the mustiness of fall. Fall leaves immediately came to mind when I read this. Anytime there are recipes in the book, Trudy adds them to her page. One of these days she will have the most beautiful recipe book ever done!
You can see I started with by adding a light pink watercolor to my teapot sketch.
Once a layer dries, add another. Don't worry if this doesn't come naturally. Adding layers takes a certain relinquish of control because it's likely to get ugly before it gets better. Daisy, her mom, aunt, and daughters are all named after flowers. Can you guess their names from the journal page? Oh, and a mysterious unicorn. Hmmm...
I always love to add text to my journal pages, too, but I just couldn't settle on anything. I'll call it done for now.
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Have you ever wanted to attend an art or a writer's retreat? What stood in your way? Time? Money? Well, you don't need to leave your own home to enjoy a retreat especially tailored to you.
God doesn't want us to sit around self-absorbed all the time, but He does want us to rest, recuperate, and enjoy the life Jesus died to give us. God definitely does not need one more sour-faced Christian, so treat yourself once in awhile to a retreat!
During the Retreat
After the Retreat
How are you surviving the stay-at-home orders? I have to say complying with the safety regulations doesn't bother my little, introverted self at all. While my work-from-home job providing teacher support is in overdrive, the fact that I actually get to be at home affords me a little cozy mystery art journaling time at lunch and in the evenings when I leave the office and walk six steps to the craft table.
I broke out the paints, and I'm art journaling with the Cedar Wells Book&Brush Club gang again. Those of you whispering over there in the corner....yes, I know Sarah and her friends are fictional characters. However, they’re always having conversations in my head, anyway, so why not join them!
FOMMF? Fear of Missing Mystery Fun? Do you have it?Of course, the stress is real, but not to worry! Grab that cozy mystery you’re reading (you are reading one, aren’t you?) and some art supplies—watercolor or mixed media paper, markers, paints, colored pencils—whatever you have on hand and create an art journal page about the book.
Sarah’s friend Trudy always creates journal pages that include recipes from the books they’re reading. Taking a lesson from Trudy, I created some art for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke. Maybe I’m done with this one...maybe not. :) I think it needs a few more references to the book, although part of me wants to stop with the dairy cow and the recipe for Hannah's Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies. By the way, did I say I love cows?
How many clues and references to the book can you hide in your journal page without giving away the mystery? Think all five senses when you read, and jot down some notes to help you remember until you’re ready to get creative!
I created a Backgrounds 101 video to help you get started with your cozy mystery art journaling page. In the video, I talk about some inexpensive supplies I use and two ways I paint quick backgrounds.
Do you have any favorite journaling techniques? Be sure to share your ideas and mystery art journal pages with us!
And, as always,
May God's Word be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.
What’s on the sunny side of your life these days? Have you stopped long enough to soak in and appreciate God’s blessings? I know we are in the midst of a pandemic. Families have lost loved ones, people have lost jobs, and small businesses have had to close up shop. Can there possibly be a sunny side?
Yes, indeed, my friend. God is still God, and He is still in control. Grocery stores and medical centers are still open. Social media is being used to broadcast His Word world-wide in place of the traditional church services, and Jesus is still saving souls!
The wildflowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and everyday masked heroes have replaced the sports celebrities who thumb their noses at our country. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings! May we take nothing for granted.
Check your smile today! Try it out on someone and see if you get one in return.
Let your light shine, my friends.
There's so much going on in our world right now with COVID-19, that my focus hasn't been on making art. In fact, drawing seems almost trivial when I think about the gravity of the coronavirus. God and I were talking this morning, and I asked about being creative. My total desire is to glorify Him in everything I create, and in who I am. I think it's not so much whether I create art or not. I believe the important thing is in being a child of God. He's made me who I am, and that happens to be a creative who can't get enough paints, pencils, papers...you get the idea.
So I decided to go back to work on my 2020 goal today. I had set a goal to practice illustrating children's illustrations by taking the same characters and drawing them in different scenes, turning them in different directions, and such. I started the year off with a MiniMe and her mule Ned. They've been on several adventures.
Today's illustration - Teatime at Granny's
Would you like to brighten your décor with a Sue and Ned adventure of your own? Click below to purchase prints!
The Christmas season is upon us, and I am super excited!! I wanted to take just a bit of your time to remind you to lay down your badge of honor. You know the one I’m talking about...Busyness.
Our days are so crammed with work and chores and needs of others that we run here and there all in the name of being busy. With the fast pace of the world we live in, comes stress. Many say it’s the new normal, but it doesn’t have to be your normal.
We have one life to live here on Earth, and Jesus didn’t die, so I could be busy. He came and paid my debts in full, so that I might have and enjoy life-not just in eternity, but here while I’m working for Him. And that’s just what I intend to do. What about you? Are you going to choose busy or blessed?
Take some time to enjoy Christmas this year. Lay down the tech and pick up the cookie cutters. Make some decorations. Sing along way too loudly with the Christmas music playing in the stores! In searching for some new Christmas recipes and enjoying a little Christmas fun myself, I ran across the #theydrawandcook hashtag. While I'm not a foodie or a food illustrator, I found myself drawn to some of the more cozy food illustrations that were being shared. That led to me creating a few of my own #theydrawandcook illustrations, so I thought I'd share one of them with you!
By the way, did you decide to choose blessed over busy but don’t know where to start? First, spend time with God. You make time for what’s important to you. Make Him the priority, and everything else will eventually fall in place.
Find a quiet place to meet with Him. Put your Bible there, some paper and pens, maybe a journal, and schedule a daily meeting time. If someone needs you during that time, say, “No. Sorry, I have an appointment.” That’s what you’d do if you had a meeting with your boss, right? I like to start the morning with God, but do what works for you. Now write down Psalm 46:10. Be still and know that I am God. Then do just that. Be still. Soak in the great I AM.
Share something you’ll be doing to slow down and enjoy the Christmas season, won’t you?
How is your 2019 rolling along? What successes have you had in the new year? Did you reflect on 2018? If you did, I hope you found it was a year well-lived.
Life is good here at the Cabin, and I am excited to give you some much-needed updates. We were blessed to spend time with family during Christmas, and we even broke out the paints for a walk down memory lane. While my grandkids and I all know we celebrate Christmas to honor the birth of our Savior, we painted Santa Clauses when they were little. My heart sang when I got a text from my oldest granddaughter, now in college, asking if we could paint Santas. Yes!
As always, I’m dabbling in art journaling and have been playing along with a #useitupfillitup2 Challenge to fill up an old journal with old or left-over supplies. Honestly, I ought to give myself this challenge every month, so that I fill up some of my journals before starting another one! None of you have that problem, right?
So what is on my writing desk, you ask? Well, maybe you didn’t but I will fill you in, anyway. Book one of the Cedar Wells Mysteries series is done, and Book two is underway. I've got lots of thoughts on what it takes to really become an author, but I will save that for another post. I will suffice it to say 2019 is the year to make a shift in my writing habits. I am making small changes in the way I do other things, so that I can carve out writing time each week.
Be sure to get your copy!
It has been a great month, and I am excited to be moving into September! What does the new month bring? First, the end of summer crazy, good madness at work. I've been enjoying helping amazing educators get the most from their summer professional development hours, and I'm so blessed to be able to work with so many great teachers. As their school year gears up, mine gears down (a little). I've gotten to spend time doing some Bible journaling this afternoon with one of my favorite verses.
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
This Bible journal entry brings with it some exciting news! Starting in September, I will be teaching on Skillshare--an online, subscription based how-to channel. This entry will be the first Bible Journaling for Beginners project.
For those of you keeping up with the Cedar Wells Mystery Series, I'm hoping to hear back from the final beta readers this week. After some final adjustments, off to the proofreader it goes! Book two has been stewing...just waiting for the end of summer, so I can dedicate some serious time to my writing. I've got to hurry up and get it written because book three is stirring around in my little noggin!
What's on your worktable today? We'd love to know!
Share with us in the comments below.
Share with us in the comments below.
One of the toughest challenges for me when I journal in my Bible is making a mistake. It's not like I can just rip that page out and start over. By the way, this is why I journal on loose pages and bind them later! But what do you do when you mess up in your Bible? Break out the markers, add another layer or two, and go with it!
We've been studying the book of Joshua at church for the last several weeks. Our pastor used Proverbs 21:31 as a tie-in to the study, and the scripture stuck with me. I knew I needed to journal it. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. I imagined an armored horse at the ready and realized, although we prepare for the journey ahead, each and every victory we receive comes from God. Pretty powerful stuff!
I Googled armored horses and found hundreds of types of equine armor--amazing! I sketched out my horse combining a few things I'd found and broke out the watercolor pencils and crayons. I decided to try to use a light wash of black to try to get a grayish-silver for the armor. It was pretty flat, but I kept going.
What to do with the horse? I grabbed a brown but stopped. This horse was going into battle with God...what color should he be? Brown just didn't seem to fit. White isn't an option with watercolor on cream-colored Bible pages...Black. I'd already used the black to create the armor, and I wasn't going to get a rich black for two reasons. First, I use matte fluid medium to seal the Bible page. The paint dries on top of the medium; therefore, trying to layer on color reactivates the dried paint and doesn't build on itself. Second, I use inexpensive watercolor crayons which aren't the most vibrant without being able to layer them on. I decided to mix the black and white crayons and hope for a light gray horse. It somewhat worked, but there was no contrast. In other words, I had a large gray blob on the page. Markers to the rescue! I picked up a black marker and started adding some details. Better. I went back in with a gray marker to add some depth...not realizing the black marker was not permanent. I now had a gray blob with black smears. Yay...
I grabbed the waterbrush and started pushing black ink around, and something began to happen. I liked what I saw! The monochromatic shades and the hazy lines began to work for me.
I said all this to say two things.
#1 Don't worry about making a mistake in your Bible. It's about the time you're spending focused on God's word without the distractions of the world.
#2 Don't quit if you make a mistake! Keep layering, add some marker detail, break out the white acrylic paint and clean the slate. Above all, enjoy time being thoughtful, prayerful, conversational, and reflective with God!
It's never a dull moment around Sherry's Cabin! Grab a glass of tea, pull up a chair, and let's share a story.