My First Ever heART Video!

I am celebrating a new milestone today! I released my first ever art journaling video in a free online class called, A Thing Called Love. My friend and group organizer, Brandi , asked me to be a guest teacher which led to me finally dabbling in recording, lighting, editing, etc. I learned so much through the process and am exciting about where this is heading!

My dream is to have an art journaling channel stocked with devotional art videos, set to music and Scripture. I LOVE the idea of doing something fun with a group AND encouraging others in faith at the same time! I also love the freedom and flexibility recording and editing gives me. It’s so much more doable for a busy homeschooling mom like me. I can record in the evenings and then edit as long as it takes. My house is too crazy to record live audio. My husband and kids were yelling, asking me questions, and all kinds of stuff while attempting to record this first video. But I learned about this magic little feature where you can make the audio portion silent and record voice-over commentary to go with the your video. I also learned how to speed up and time the video to go with the music. Fun, fun stuff! I am just a little excited about it (can you tell??)!!

Here are a couple pictures of my studio set up with my brand new gigantic lighting and my slightly genius camera mount. I took a microphone stand and weighted it with sandbags at the bottom. I bought this AWESOME gadget for ten bucks called a super clamp. It screws in the camera and then attaches to the pole of the mic stand. It worked beautifully! And the best part is I already had the mic stand and sand bags. Win-win. :)

17796142_1276464369056875_9092153117317782847_n17800258_1275556065814372_8563957831472380144_n My lesson is sunflowers – one of my favorite subjects to paint! The word “sunflower” was on my page which seems like a perfect match for the video. I paired it with the song, “Beautiful Things” which I totally love anyway, but even more with the painting and the message it contains. Here’s a close up of the flower with the word in the center:


And here is the video!! Enjoy!!

Art Journaling to Heart: Building a Page on the Word

“I am the True Vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:1-4).

My life theme lately has been abiding in Christ. I am nearly finished with the devotional I’ve been reading, and decided it was time to create an art page to complete my study. I began by meditating on John 15, and writing it out long-hand over a page prepped with gesso:

20150528_081410My first reaction is, “My handwriting is terrible!”. It is. Really.  But that wasn’t the point. Fortunately, much of this will be covered up when I am done. But I will still know it is there. There is something to be said about journaling the Word of God. I can’t explain, but believe totally, He somehow writes it more deeply into our hearts. The act of writing it out word for word impresses it upon us in ways we miss in reading alone.

I wanted to create a vine. Next, I gathered all kinds of random vine-looking green papers and washi tapes from my stash:


20150528_081926I literally just make a pile on top of my page to sort through. Side note, my desk is a disaster during this step. But I find I like to work from an over-abundance of choices. I keep a scrap box (actually, boxes….I need more than one) next to my desk. I just dump leftovers into it. The scrap boxes are my first go-to when I start a new page.

I selected and glued down my tissue papers, string, washi, etc…. until I was happy with it:



I also added a thin layer of gesso in the gaps. I left the words, “I am the True Vine” on the top left and “I am the Vine” on the mid-right. This directs the start and flow of my vine. I love, love, love the green vine lokta paper. I got it last weekend on clearance at Blick art supply in Columbus. My family was gracious enough to let me stop in there on our way to the zoo. See how the black and white chevron washi tape directs the eye along the vine? This was an important foundational step before adding paint.

My vine went through many iterations in the next steps. I will spare you the fifty pictures, but had trouble deciding what color I wanted the background to be. I first tried dark blue to add shadows. Then I outlined the leaves with golden high-flow chartreuse …love this stuff! I often highlight with it because it is so brilliant that little bits of it still show through after many other layers of paint. But this was “the ugly phase” of my page. I didn’t like the blue. So, I added another thin layer of gesso and then tried brilliant purple. I loved the purple with the green. It did a nice job creating shadows and outlining the leaves and flow of my vine:2015-05-28 14.14.54


It should be noted there are a couple other products in play in the above photo. By this point, I had added an antique white Shiva oil stick to the background, and then yellow ochre. I played around with the oil sticks and the purple until I liked the mix. I decided I liked some white, and only adding the yellow around the curves of the vine. Otherwise, I lost its definition. I also used a white fine liner to outline the vine and each leaf. I like to have multiple thin lines vs. one solid line around. I think it adds more character. Here is a close up of my finished vine:


I used the green lokta paper as the main part of each leaf with heavy outlines. The other two things I used to add line and shadow details were my black stabilo pencil and a dark green acrylic ink. If you look at the leaf above, you can see both of these. I added a line of dark green ink down the center of each leaf and near the top, where it connects to the vine. I also used the green ink along the vine. I just love how the lokta paper and the chevron washi tape look in the finished vine. What do you think? It makes me happy! And I even left some of my own handwriting over top! I went over the words with a black water-based Sharpie paint pen , and added a few swirly edges to some letters.

And on the other side of the page, I used a black fine liner to add, “Abide in Me” and “John 15” around the vine:


20150528_142807Overall, I am very happy with the depth and detail of my vine. But what I love most is that my page reinforces all I have been thinking about lately in what it means to abide in Christ. Right down to the Word embedded in the page…a symbolic picture of abiding, and beautiful reminder for me to take to heart.

This is to me the joy and meaning of art.
Take he(ART),


The Making of a Rooster Portait

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a project from my heART journal. I have been working more in my journal lately than on canvas, but I often forgot to take pictures of the process.

Recently, I tried a collage rooster in my journal. I’ve never painted a rooster before, and wondered how it would look with collage as the first layer. A picture of my rooster beginnings:


I ended up loving it so much that I wished I had done it on canvas! This created a dilemma. The rooster’s tail extended beyond the journal page, so when I removed the page you could see the edges of the perforation. Here is a picture, so you can see what I mean:


I tried to trim it, but it was still very noticeable. I wanted to make the rooster something I could print and sell. But how? I had an idea. What if I cut him out and put him on some kind of canvas? I had never attempted this before, but thought, why not? At worst, I still had my rooster here.

I measured my page and decided an 11×14 canvas would work the best. When I laid my journal page as is on the canvas, I noticed there was a natural frame around it. This gave me another idea. I have some old barn wood-looking scrapbook paper. What if I cut it like a frame to border my rooster? I already loved it, even without paint. I glued the frame using gel medium. I then painted the inside of the frame with a teal acrylic, mixed with a little gesso to vary the shading. I used this same teal on my journal page, so I basically recreated it on the canvas because this is the part I plan to cut away from the journal rooster. Here are some pictures of these steps:


20150424_215221Next I rubbed Vaseline in places on the frame where I wanted the barn wood to show through. I painted over the frame with white gesso, and let it dry completely. Then I took a shop rag to wipe it away. The Vaseline acts as a resist, exposing those areas of the frame when dry. I painted the sides of the canvas grey and then did this same resist technique with the Vaseline and white gesso. That way the frame looked uniform, like a real one!

Here’s a picture of the peeled paint frame:


Last I cut out my rooster and glued him onto the canvas. I used a super heavy gel medium for this. I still had to apply pressure in places to make sure he stuck down evenly on all edges. Did I mention I had collage on the other side of the page? I sacrificed a page for the sake of my rooster portrait. Sad, but worth it! This is one of the risks of journaling back to back, so keep that in mind.

Here are some pictures of my final “rooster portrait”:



I think he is quite charming! The original is hanging on the wall in my kitchen because he makes me happy! I will be putting prints up in my Etsy shop this week, for anyone who wants a rooster of their own.

And that’s my take on a quick and easy way to convert a journal page into a salable product. Easy-peasy, and adorable!

Take heART,


These Three Remain

Good morning, friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a new journal page in progress because I keep forgetting to stop and take pictures! But, I finally remembered, so here we are…a fresh journal page to share today. Watch for links in my text. I link to the products as I go. Click the link to go to more information for that product. If you have any more questions about products or techniques, send me a note. I’d be happy to talk more about this project with you! OK, here we go…

This one started out as a blank white page in my mixed media journal . The white paper can been intimating sometimes, don’t you think? I decided to cover it with collage. It helps me if I have somewhat of an idea on what I am making. But much of my process is figuring it out as I go…and improvising! But, for this, I knew I wanted to make a Cross in the middle, so I thought some music would make a good backdrop. I took some pages from a hymnal I picked up at a used book store, cut the words into various sizes and shapes, and glued them down like this:


Now we’re ready for some color. I have been playing around with acrylic inks ….LOVE them, by the way! They are so fluid – transparent, versatile. I am learning you only need a small amount because the color is so intense. I doused my page with a couple different blues because I was (initially) thinking a sky background. Here was my first look after smearing it around a little….not too interesting at this point:


My cute little acrylic ink bottles posed for the picture too! :)

I added a green and a pearly gold to just the bottom of the page, and then my page started getting interesting….


I also stamped the top half of the page with the flower stamp in Cranberry Ranger Adirondack ink . Next, I added a layer of white acrylic paint stamped on with bubble wrap. Here’s a picture so far, along with all the supplies I’ve used….


I printed the gold Cross to cut out and make my own template, and filled it in with Golden Crackle Paste (the jar to the top of the Cross). Here’s a picture of these steps:


I taped it down in the center of the page with painter’s tape and applied the crackle paste with my finger, being careful to push down the edges so the paste didn’t get underneath the template:


I had a couple smudgy places I cleaned up with a damp paper towel and Q-tip. The paste wipes away easily to fix any spots where it sneaked under the template anyway, despite your best efforts. Or you could leave the smudges too…they do add character! That’s the great part about art…just roll with your “mistakes”….and keep on going.

OK, I admit I was a little ink-happy in these next steps. What can I say I was delirious with delight in playing with these and letting them run all over my Christmas tablecloth (did you notice my “Merry and Bright” table covering?) I paint on my kitchen counter most of the time, so it is very important to keep it covered. These dollar store lined plastic tablecloths are wonderful because you can wad it up and throw it in the closet when you’re done, until next time. They hold up well under lots of drippy abuse!



Looking at these pictures, I remembered a product I forgot to tell you about…. gelatos !! How could I forget to tell you about gelatos??? They are great and can be used in a variety of ways. I ordered this awesome set for only $20! Check out all the vibrant colors…the set comes with 10 colors! I used the lemon yellow and mango colors from this set. See how lovely those colors pop out from the blue. I also decided I didn’t like the bubble wrap white as the top layer on the bottom of my page. So, I added more layers to the bottom in green and gold ink, and also let some of the blues drip down from the top into the bottom….I liked this effect. I also liked outlining the Cross with the inks. The gold ink really added a pop with the blue. I continued to ink my page while I waited for the crackle paste to dry, which was taking forever!!

Some cracks finally started to appear, and I was tired of waiting, so I dived into painting the Cross next. I used Golden fluid acrylics , yellow oxide and pyrrole red right out of the bottle, painting with a smaller flat brush. I wanted to create a stained glass effect. I tried to follow the cracks in the paste, and added a few of mine own as well. You can never have too many cracks! And, sad to say, friends, this is the step when my picture-taking fell through the cracks as well. I got so carried away, I forgot to stop and take a picture of my progress!

Let me show you the final page, and walk you through the products and steps I took to get there:


First, I’ve mentioned before how much I love to use stabilo pencils . I outlined my cracks with black, as well as, the perimeter of the Cross. I also alternated white and black on the bottom, creating a grid-like pattern. This was just random to add another layer. I used a blending stump to smear it a little.

Next, I wanted more of the background hymns to show through. I used a damp paper towel to wipe away paint in some spots. I alternated between this and the lemon yellow and mango gelatos to add back in some color.

I used a honeycomb stencil and some raw umber paint around the border. I applied the paint with my finger through the stencil and then blotted with the damp paper towel to make it lighter and give it an aged effect.

I painted Faith – Hope – Love freehand with a detail brush and black fluid acrylic around the Cross. I also straightened a large paper clip and used it all over, but concentrating around the border, to make lots of scratch marks on the surface.

Last, I noticed some wing-looking shapes emerging in places where the hymns were showing through. I decided to outline them and inadvertently created two angel-looking creatures on each side of the Cross. I literally just scribbled some lines with my stabilo pencil. (You have permission to scribble!)I liked the symbolism of this. It looked like the angels were gathered in worship at the foot of the Cross. I also liked how the orange stabilo pencil looked against the blue inks. So, I used the orange pencil to start marking a grid-like pattern up the right side of the page. This then reminded me of Jacob’s ladder – the account in Genesis 28 of his dream when He saw angels descending up and down stairs to heaven. I decided to take my “ladder” all the way up the page, like stairs for the angels who had descended to praise Jesus at the foot of the Cross.

Finally, I added a border digitally…and there you have it!

“And now these three remain, faith, hope, and love….but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Have a great day, friends, and take heART!


She Discovered Rest

Good morning, friends! It’s another rainy day here. The kids and I have been frustrated by the amount of rain this summer because it is messing up our swim time with friends! Major bummer. We are hoping for clear skies later today but it is not looking good at the moment. In the meantime, I thought I’d share another simple project from my art journal.

For this one, I wanted to talk a little about symbolism in art. Not because I am an expert or anything. But I have noticed my art (and my writing for that matter) tends to be filled with metaphor and symbolic meaning that is not always obvious to others. I am pretty sure this is the poetic part of me. I’ve always loved creative writing, so it makes sense this same style would be part of my painting as well. I looked up symbolism in art this morning on Wikipedia to get a working definition. There is a lot of historical detail there for anyone interested. All that was over my head and interest level. I pulled out this statement from the “Symbolist Manifesto” to give you an idea of what I am talking about: “Symbolists believed that art should represent absolute truths that could only be described indirectly. Thus, they wrote in a very metaphorical and suggestive manner, endowing particular images or objects with symbolic meaning… its goal was to “clothe the Ideal in a perceptible form” whose “goal was not in itself, but whose sole purpose was to express the Ideal”.

I’ve noticed in my paintings that even the smallest details matter in determining how I will convey the thought symbolically. This project began like most of my journal pages, by identifying some key words that stood out to me. I marked the words “discovered” and “rest”. I painted over the rest of the page with gesso and then pressed plastic wrap into it while it was wet to create this texture:

Step 1

The first thing I noticed is the word discovered was at the top of my page with rest underneath. The word placement on the page was itself symbolic in how the discovery of rest seems to descend. For this reason, I decided to paint a subject for the discovery to “land” on:

Step 2

Notice how the word rest is part of her head. This symbolically suggests the rest is in her mind: thoughts, emotions, etc. I love how the placement of one word can dramatically convey such powerful truth. Next I colored her hair with raw umber and painted the shadows, depths of her face. Here’s a picture of that:

Step 3

She looks kind of creepy at this point. I am noticing my preference in painting faces is to freely paint the shades before I sketch details of eyes, nose, mouth. I use the paint shading in places where her facial features will ultimately be, and have noticed the features seem to emerge by approaching a face this way. The shading helps me “see” her facial details, if that makes sense.

The next image shows you her facial details, which include closed eyes to go with our theme of resting. I painted the background and top of her dress with soft colors to illustrate a restful state. All of this was fairly straightforward:

Step 4

I needed to convey what it was that caused her to discover rest. I thought of the verse, “And by Him we cry Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:15, 16). In my book , I describe this truth in Chapter 4, Tunneling Truth. I note this as the “foundation of true rest and the springboard of new life”. Next, I stamped the word “she” and “Abba Father” to represent this truth:

Step 5

Notice how Abba Father follows the curve of her head. This is again symbolic of the idea of this truth taking shape in her mind and bringing her rest. It is the knowledge that she is God’s child that settles her in rest. Simple statement, powerful life-changing truth. I also added some edging to my page to give it a frame. Here is a close up the final page:Final close up

Symbolism in a page is one of the many joys I experience in art journaling. I encourage you to think about even the smallest details like word placement and curvature. A small thing can convey a big truth in a simple, yet profound way. Beautiful.

I hope today “She discovered rest” has encouraged you to take Abba Father deeper into your heart and mind. To allow the knowledge that through Jesus we become God’s children, and to allow that truth to settle you into rest. If you have not yet known God as your Father, I pray today you will draw near to Him in seeking prayer. Ask God to give you a revelation of who He is, who His Son Jesus is, and to take to heart the truth that “to all who receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Take heART!

<3 Robyn