Hello my lovelies. We are finally experiencing the weather I love: the grey, damp windy days of fall, after the leaves have turned and the air smells like a combination of rain, pretty leaves, and those tree berries that the birds love so much.  Cheerful decay, I call it.

When I turned 40, I had a bit of a freakout.  Forty!  Good lord, I never thought I’d hit 40. When I was a kid, 40 seems so old – it might as well have been 900.  Anyway, one day at work, I was freaking out about it with a coworker and she said, “Oh, honey, 40 is nothing.  Wait until you hit 50, then your body starts to fall apart.” That was soothing for 10 years. I hit 50 this year. Perhaps it was the seed she planted or the fact I’ve had a desk job for the past 23 year years, but physically, 50 has, well, sucked. Bilateral carpal tunnel surgery, 6 months of physical therapy for ridic feet problems, random chronic pain, perimenopausal symptoms including migraines on top of the already too many headaches. But we just have to plow through, don’t we?  I am very grateful for art journaling and all these art classes.  It takes me to a happier place, where I forget the physical pain for a while.

It has been pointed out to me a few times, that the dolls I own look slightly sad, although I have a few smiling dolls, but they’re more Mona Lisa than Barbie.  I’ve recently noticed that applies to my art. Many of my girl faces lean toward the world-weary, yet hopeful.

Paging Dr. Freud…white courtesy phone, please.

I’m experiencing some class crossover lately. In a neat bit of synchronicity, Jane’s lesson for Radiant Faces and Week 4 of Mermaid Circus feature a chin-up face.  I got to the Radiant Face lesson first. Not only was that face up slightly turned up but also 3/4 face.  This lesson was about how Jane creates work inspired by her favorite paintings.  It was a lot of work and a bit intimidating, both with technique and painting-focused work. It took me many sketches and 3/4 chin up drawings.  Here’s my girl.  She’s grown on me but there are parts that didn’t work as planned.  However, that’s what art journaling is all about: experimentation.

Radiant Face girl was done in my Canson sketch journal, which is not so suited to this type of work. The pages tend to ripple in an unattractive manner near the binding.  The work was done with acrylic paints of various formats, Prismacolor pencils, alcohol markers, distress stain, and color copies of my own art journal pages.

Payne’s Grey is my new favorite color.


Within a week of finishing my Radiant Face above, I got to Week 4 of Mermaid circus. While I have been checking out everyone’s work on the class Facebook page. I noticed a lot of chin up girls, but hadn’t put it together with week 4.  Anyway, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I’d been working for the past 2 or possibly 3 weeks on these 3/4 chin up faces, so a front-facing chin up girl would be a snap!

This mermie was also done in my Canson Sketch book.  I love how these pages turned out.  It’s got the ethereal defiant sadness and I feel her face is a bit more successfully executed than Radiant Face Girl.

Many of my journal pages are started then set aside for a while I figure out where the rest of the page is going.  When I got her face to done, an idea came to me to put her tail on the other page and not worry about getting the rest of her torso in the way, making it look like she’s changing direction and heading up to the surface.

Her face was done with acrylic paint, with colored pencils. The rest was done with distress stain, colored pencils, acrylic markers, gel pens, and Pitt pens.


The takeaway message for me: thank goodness for art classes and art journaling.  I started this art journey because I needed a creative outlet when I was doctor-ordered to set aside my crafts.  I expected to improve, technically, through practice.  The unexpected benefit has been how the art is helping through the absurdities of middle age. That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days, I have plenty. I’m so grateful to have a creative outlet to help me through.

I’d love to hear what your outlet is.

Thanks for stopping by.