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.

5 thoughts on “Chin Up, Buttercup

  1. oh pencil girl and my girl are my own projects 🙂 i do the pencil girl series in a 5×7 leather journal a very dear friend gave me for my birthday and the my girl series started when i did my first girl from tam’s art, heart and healing classes, i push myself to do the my girl series on a 9×12 watercolor paper since i practice drawing and coloring at the same time.

    i have big plans for radiant, that’s one reason why i can start anything yet. i know i have to start somewhere :-). thank you so much for your encouragement!

    i don’t know if i am spreading myself thin with every project i self impose- practicing drawing a face and coloring at the same time. im happy and that’s what’s important. 🙂

  2. Hi Carrie! I think your mom was feeling her own age a bit with that comment;-). I’m loving Radiant! I encourage you to start. Jane’s lesson is quite involved so you might want to start with another lesson to get your feet wet, so to speak I’m working on Christy Tomlinson’s Girly Girl. She works her faces a little differently from the other teachers so this might be the lesson to start with! Tam’s Inner Child is also a lot of fun.

    I haven’t heard of pencil girl and my girl. Who teaches those classes?

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your stress-relieving tips.

    Get started in Radiant I know you’ll enjoy it once you jump in 🙂

  3. hi anne, you know what?, when i turned 40 four years ago, my mother told me i was old (considering im the eldest among 4 siblings and of course the first one who got into the 4-0 bracket), i told my mom, no i don’t feel old, i feel great, fabulous, beautiful and alive. yup, i think turning 40 made me more accepting of who i am and what i have become. more vocal to say what i want to say and more brave to try new things. life as they say begins at 40 right?! i will again affirm that when i reach 50 in the next 6 years. oh i think 50 is something i will look forward to 🙂

    i have rediscovered art when i was 37, recuperating from a major operation and waiting to undergo radiation. i was an on/off scrapbooker before. beading costume jewelries and subsequently wire work really got the ball rolling for me. this year i discovered mixed media and had jumped into its beautiful community. we are classmates at radiant faces though i have not started anything yet. i’m still mustering the courage to start. after hubby gifted me with radiant, i started two series that would greatly help me with drawing faces (pencil girl and my girl). i’ve never drew anything other than stick figures until i learned about tamara laporte’s art, heart and healing free class. that class changed my entire drawing life! so, yeah im addicted to drawing faces now, lol. and it is now how i combat stress and other illnesses. oh, walking 1hr a day helps a lot too! 🙂

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