Opening page in one of my art journals.

Go Away

Go Away

Art Journal

I don't remember exactly how I got into the whole process of working in my art journal but I am so glad I found my way there! I have not missed a day since the 1st of November, doing something, if only to write about the day. I have written in a journal for years but they did not include any type of art.
I deal with depression, was diagnosed with bi-polar back in my early thirties and have been on meds ever since. This process that I enjoy so very much is the best kind of meds for me, I know it works. I can be down, not in a good space in my head and when I get to my desk and just do something to get the color flowing, I get so lost and involved in that page, I totally forget how I was feeling when I first sat down. Think the word is flow, to get so into the process you loose track of time. Some days I feel like I'm in a rut but I keep trying one thing or another until it just starts to happen. When things just flow out of your soul and it ends up on that pages.
This past weekend we had company and I was ask to share some of my work with them. I was surprised and shocked by my first reaction, I did not anticipate this feeling of being exposed. I have to say it was not an easy thing to do, I felt like they could almost see into me. As they sat and looked making comments about each page, I lost some of the fear, but I realized that they were getting to see some of the inside of me and I guess I was not sure how they would react to it. I have done some pages where if I am hurting I get it on paper, if I feel lost or feeling invisible to loved ones, I get it out. At the same time, they may have seen me with new eyes, seeing a side that they had never truly come to terms with or wanted to deal with at all. They saw how vulnerable I can get in my every day life. It is part of who I am, some people just don't want to accept that or have this fear of the unknown. My sweet, sweet daughter is one of the happiest people I know, she has the nic-name "Sunshine" from that beautiful smile on her face all the time. She does not want to discuss what it's like to be depressed, it's not that she has not had things in her life to deal with that were sad or depressing, she has, but she just does not deal with depression herself, thank goodness. She has a hard time dealing with me and my lows, it's like she gets impatient with me. Same with my husband, Johnny, he does not know how to help me, there fore he just wants to pretend it does not exists. I get it, they don't know how to fix it, nor do I, but that does not make it go away, it is my constant companion.
The day that I accepted there are no mistakes in art, was one of the best days!!!! I felt free, the fear of the white page was gone, it is a process. One where you keep at it, work thru the uglies, keep challenging yourself, keep learning new ways of adding color to a page.
I am currently taking about 6 or 7 classes, each one different from the other, I am learning so much about art and myself it is mind blowing! Who knows what tomorrow will bring, as long as I can work with color I will keep trying.

Nap Time

Nap Time

The Black Sheep

The Black Sheep


This was done with a napkin



Am I Invisible

Am I Invisible


This was done with a napkin

For The Birds

For The Birds

Royal Pain

Royal Pain

Monday, December 5, 2011

Daily in my Art Journal

I am loving this daily ritual of working in my art journal, I get up thinking about what I will do that day. I started this on the 1st of November while taking a class instructed by Julie Balzer who is an amazing artist and teacher. I want to continue doing this, it is such a joy for me. Not only did I learn how to create these colorful backgrounds for the two page spread, but Julie also teaches you to just let it flow, there are no right or wrong ways to do any part of it, it is uniquely you, this has been as important to me as any other part of the class. It is so freeing to be able to do this knowing that there is no line you can't cross, if it pleases you then you have done what you needed to do. This is so important to me due to having heard most of my life that what I did was not right, I did it wrong, you hear that over and over and you begin to believe it. I know I did. But with this you get only positive reinforcement and I am loving it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Long and the Short of it

Tomorrow is the last day of November, seems hard to believe that time has gone so fast and Christmas is upon us.  I do believe what they say about the older you get the faster time flies.  Seems it was just July and we were all at my sister's place on the lake having out Christmas in July.  The one time of the year when we are all (or most of us) together.  We have grown into a large group, coming from two girls!   Momma and Dad would be so damn proud, wish they could have lived to meet these new family members.
Tomorrow marks the last day of the on line class I have been taking in art journal.  I have so enjoyed the class, love the girl who is teaching, she has such a big personality and watching her videos you feel as if you can do anything!  She has been such a god send to me, I am truly loving what I am doing now with color, can't believe that I am getting to use a paint brush, the small kind!  I do believe that with age I have discovered a new kind of freedom, I don't seem so fearful of failure.  Where just a few years before I would never have tried to do some of the things that we were shown in the class.  Much less post pictures of what I have done!  I want to continue doing the daily art journal, this has meant to much to me to just stop now.
Next I want to be able to create my own journal, build the thing up from just paper and thread and see what kind of job I can do.
Thinking about the new year, what is one thing that I really want to do?  Loose weight!  I want to feel better, look better, dress nicer, Stella needs to get her groove back.  I know that my weight has been one reason I have felt so bad the last few days, in fact I know that if I don't do something my heart is not going to take it much longer, it's having to work to hard now.  I want to be here to watch my daughter become an "Ironman", I want to yell and scream when she runs across that finish line, I want her to know how proud I am of her, of what she has accomplished in her short life.  I want to travel to Austin to visit with Jason, I want him to be proud that I am his Mom and I want Johnny to be happy to be married to me.  It will be a lot of work, and it is going to take some time but I know I can do it.  It's time to put up or shut up!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Have you found your nitch?

Through out my life, I have read about finding yourself, finding that thing that brings you joy.  In the 58 years that I have been here, alot of that time was spent raising my children, would not take anything for the time I had with them, but while they were at school and after all my work was done I wanted / needed some thing to fill up this void I had, I wanted to create something.  At first I took up embroidery, and loved every minute of it, learned every stitch and was good at it.  I moved on to crewel embroidery on linen, did several big projects, most of the things on my walls were things that I had made.  Just about everyone in my family got one or more of my pieces of work.  I moved on to creating things out of old jeans, would get comments from people wanting to know where I got what I had on.  When macrame first came out, I did as I have always done, got a book of directions and learned how to do just about every knot there was to do, and created so many things.  Even had a job making these purses for a shop in the town where I lived.  Then I started making quilts, my favorite part was making the top, I got to work with color that way, my most favorite kind of quilt to make was the amish.  I loved to work with the solid colors with the black as the main color.  I took a tole painting class at one point when it was so big and oh how I wanted to be able to do this type of work.  To be honest I was so afraid of failure that I did not really try.  I completed the class but felt that the instructor did more of the work than I did.  So I kinda said I was going to have to give up that dream of ever being able to express myself with any type of paint and paper.  Along came cross stitch and I loved it! I loved to create samplers, the older looking the better, the smaller the linen the better as well.  I have them in my home today and I'm still proud of that work. I learned to stencil, did floor cloths, and stenciled just about every room in my home at one point.  Even did rooms for my friends on their birthdays as a way of letting them know how much them meant to me. Taught myself how to knit and crochet, smocked dresses for my daughter that she hated. Needle point, easy to do esp while riding in the car.  If it is done with a needle, I have done it. 
In 2006 my daughter (my baby) got married, and few months later, my Momma passed.  I found myself with this huge empty place.  Two of my most favorite people in the world did not need me as before and I did not know what to do with myself.  I deal with depression and at this point in my life I felt as if each day was a battle. 
Then my Dad passed, my aunt passed, my grandmother passed, my Dad's brother passed!  It was unreal, I was also a bit estranged from my oldest son.  How can you be a bit estranged? Well, he might call once a year, or twice if I was lucky.  This in and of itself was heartbreaking for me,
Around the end of 2006 I started scrapping and loved it but did not feel that I was very good at it.  I loved to work on a layout with pics of my children, mostly of my daughter.  I found that I only wanted to work on picture that was current, the ones of the children when they were younger seemed to really get me down, also if I worked on a layout with a pic of my Momma, I would be depressed for a couple of days.  I have scrapped for over 5 years and I would not take anything for the layouts I have.
Then one day I came upon a blog about art journals, I have kept a journal since I was in my 30's with only the writing never any type of art work, I can't do art!  I found that I kept going back to this blog (Julie Balzer) just about every day and then I would look for more, until I could spend my day just reading all these blogs about art journals. I'm not sure what possessed me to order a watercolor journal but I did, and when it got here and I took a look at it, all these white pages, I was scared to death!  What was I thinking? But I took the next step and put color to the paper and omg it was so much fun!  I would watch videos and I would hear Julie say there is no wrong way to do this, and I started to believe her!  I told myself I had to try new techniques, to think out of the box, not to be afraid of the way things turned out.  As long as I was pleased I was doing it right.  That was about 10 weeks ago and I go to bed thinking/creating this and I get up and can't wait to get into my room to do more and more.  I'm taking 3 classes right now and I'm so excited about the things I am learning about this type of art and about myself.
I have learned that for most of my life I have be afraid of failure, of not doing the right thing at the right time. That I would disappoint someone.  That I would not try to do things for that fear, it has held me back in so many ways.  I have always feared that others would find out how afraid I was and think even less of me.  I have always had abandonment issues, I'm sure this fear fed this even more.  This art journal thing has made me feel joy, a joy that I have created, it did not come for any one else, I did it for me.  Whether what I create is good, that really is not the point of what I'm doing, this is freeing me from some of that fear that I have had since I was a child and it feels good.  It feels good to express myself on paper doing something other than writing.  No I can't draw, I'm not creating masterpieces, but I'm having a ball, using water colors, brushes, I'm getting my fingers stained and colored which I love!!!! 
My daughter is a runner by choice, she has done a 1/2 Iron Man and is training now for a full Iron Man next November.  She has this passion for doing this, it is not a chore, it is a way of life for her.  It is her nitch, it's what makes her....her.  It is always on her mind, the next run, the next workout, the next bike ride.  Some people don't get it, but I do, I totally get it, I have wanted to create for most of my life, I have done a lot of things with my hands, now I'm doing it with my heart.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

She Art Workshop 2

I just signed up for the She Art Workshop 2 and I can't wait to get started, however I do need to finish She Art Workshop 1!  I was a bit late getting into the first class and when I saw that the  #2 class was starting and would not be available again until next year I went ahead and signed up for it.  I need to concentrate on these two classes right now and put the other journals aside for a while.
I am learning so much about this mixed media, this has really been almost a life changing experience for me, I find myself thinking about it, seeing things in a new light, I feel now that I have a good reason to get out of bed in the morning and at night I have trouble walking away from it. LOL!  Trust me this is a good thing for me.  I have been so involved with it that I don't have time to feel whether I am depressed or not, I just want to work in these journals.  Also I have discovered so many new artist out there, they each have their own style and technique, it's learning from the masters right here in the comfort of your own home.  What is better than that.
I'm not one who has enjoyed the crop or the getting together with others to do any of this type of work, I have always preferred to work alone, hell I prefer to be alone................. period, who am I trying to kid?  But for the past 6 weeks I have so enjoyed getting together with my sister and my niece to work for a few hours together, it's like our show and tell!!!!  We have been meeting every other week, due to the distance between us, it is like an hour and half to get to where they live, I am the one who gets to travel the most, but that is fine, I'm one who loves to get in my little car and turn up the music and drive.  Any way, I'm already looking forward to next week when I get to go up and see them, see their work, have a cup of joe and play some more.
Until next time, keep on keeping on!

Friday, November 11, 2011


This class rocks! I am loving every minute I spend working in my art journal!  Seems I learn some new every day and the fear is not at the level it once was.  We are up to day 11 and so far so good.

Monday, November 7, 2011

1st week in 30 in my journal

2nd week in 30 in my journal

2nd week of 30 in my journal

Second Week working in my art journal

To say that I am loving this experience does not begin to describe how much I am enjoying this class.  First of all I love to watch Julie Balzer's videos, I love to hear her talk while she is doing her art, the way she will express different things, her Ta-Da moments.  To me she is one of the most laid back people I have ever seen, I would love to meet her one day.  She gets the point across that there are no wrong ways to do this, if you get paint on or off, it does not matter, it will just flow.
The first two page spread I did not have any problems, enjoyed each entry, even found myself wishing we were spending more time "together".  Then when we started the next two page spread that is when I hit the wall.  OMG, I did not create mud I created something that I called brain matter, all ugly gray.  I wanted to cry, I was using a water proof ink pad but for some reason it was bleeding into my spray.  I would dry the page and add more spray but that did not help at all.  So I gesso the page all over again and started again, the black still would come thru, so my two page spread is like murky water.  I had to get up and walk out of the room I was so upset.  Talking to myself, I kept saying there is no right or wrong, make it work.  So after taking a break and talking, I went back to the journal and took a hard look at what I had to work with and decided to make it an underwater page!  Works for me.  You be the judge.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days In Your Journal

So today is day two and so far so good, I can and will do this.  I have kept a journal for years now I am just going to add color.

Monday, October 10, 2011

30 Days in Your Art Journal

I have signed up for an on line class "30 Days in Your Art Journal" taught by Julie Balzer and I am so excited about the whole thing!  I have been playing around in a journal now for about a month and I love everything about this type of art/journaling.
It is no secret that I have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember.  But it just never worked out for me, I don't have that God given talent that so many people have.  I love to work with color so my outlet has always been making quilt tops, then I started scrap-booking several years ago and I love to play with the paper, I get into the flow and the day melts away.
I now have an assortment of different types of paint for water-coloring, water color crayons, oil crayons, acrylic paints, pan pastels, the list goes on and on.  I have watched videos and then I run to my room and try the same technique, just to see if I can get some what close to what I have seen.  I keep telling myself that you can not fail at this type of art, there are NO mistakes!  I do tend to over think the whole process so I am having to learn more than how to apply paint to a piece of paper.
With art journaling, you add layer on top of layer to get the effect that you find right, I start out and the first layer, I'm like I like this, I don't want to cover it up, so I have to make myself add more.  That is why I am so excited about this class, I am in hopes to learn more, and worry less, to have fun and I hope to gain some confidence in the whole process.  I love Julie Balzer's videos and her whole attitude about this type of art.  She is just the coolest!
I am going to try and keep a record of my attempts in this class, wish me luck!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Have you ever gotten so involved into something that you loose track of time and space?  You are so into what you are doing that nothing seems to be more important than what is in front of you?  That is what is called "flow" and that is how I am with scrap booking, I loose track of time, the day just seems to melt away.  When I read a book or work on a quilt top the day just seems to have fewer hours.  I love to get into what ever I'm doing that way.  I know that when I look up and the clock has moved forward hours when it seems like it should only be minutes that I have been in this zone where I am doing some thing that I love.

Growing up I dreamed of being an artist, then when I took art in school I realized that I did not have the talent necessary to be able to draw or paint, and I feel that you either have it or you don't, I don't feel that you can "learn" how to draw a face or paint a landscape. My son is an artist, not your typical artist, he has this knack of creating layers on top of layers of color and shapes that are just magic to me.  In some of his work you can see something new in them just about every time you look at one.  Most of the time he will have fish and birds in them, but they may not be so clear to see at first.

Then there is my niece Amy who is so talented in every medium, the year that she gave me two pieces of her art work of my children, well they are two of the most treasured gifts I have ever received.  She had use photos of Summer and Jason and did one in water colors and the other in pastels.  A few years later she gave me one of my son Joseph, it is called "Blue Bubba" and it is done with either oil or acrylic and it is amazing! 

Johnny's niece Page is also an artist, I am lucky enough to have one of her originals of a street in Spain that she did while living there.  She teaches different methods of art in N. C. and has her work in several galleries.

While not able to do my art work with a paint brush, pen or pencil, I wanted to work with color and I  found that making quilt tops gave me that outlet.  I do quilt but my first love is the design and colors of the top.  I prefer the Amish quilts, like to use black as a main color which make the other colors pop.  I attended a quilt show of Amish quilts and they work is amazing!

Then I found scrap booking and I love to spend my time creating a layout, writing about a memory, thinking that one day when I'm no longer here, my children and grand children will look at them and enjoy my take on life.

Everyone needs an outlet to find their flow, my daughter's is in running, she lives to get out there and run.  I'm sure it makes her feel just like I do when I'm scrappin.  If you don't have that special thing I hope that you find it.  It will take you away from everything but that one thing and it's a break from all of the worldly things that we have to deal with on a day to day basis.  Find your flow..........................


Jason by Kat Layton
Jason, a photo by Kat Layton on Flickr.

Jason @ 10 during one of our trips to Kingsport over the 4th of July. You were such a wonderful young man and a great big brother. Full of wonder and all of the possibilities that life had to offer.

Got To Start At Some Point

There comes a point in ones life where they have to make themselves do what is necessary to make some changes, drastic changes, life long changes, small changes, life altering changes.  People do not like to make changes to their lives, goes against the grain, means work, means that you are going to have to do something that you don't want to do but know in your heart that it is what is best for you and sometimes for those around you.

I have been here before, I know how hard it will be, I understand that I have to be dedicated to this change completely and I feel that I am.  My change is to loose weight, I want to feel better, I'm tired of feeling the way I do, I hate to look at myself, I do not like the person I have become and I know that the only person who can make this happen is me.  I did this to myself therefore I am the only one who can do what is necessary to feel better, look better, etc.

I admit to using food as a way to comfort myself, when I feel down, when I feel lonely, when I feel depressed, I turn to food.  Food does not judge, it does not tell you that you look like a blimp, it just comforts.  I admit that my food of choice is a bag of chips, it makes me feel secure when I know that I have several bags in the cabinet.  I admit that I only eat chips while alone because I am ashamed to let someone see me eating them.  I have had panic attacks when I have been eating some of my trusty bag of chips and someone ring the door bell, how sad is that?

In the past I have done every diet that is out there plus more.  I have done the laxatives, the diuretics, the not eating for as long as three weeks.  All types of diet pills that would make my heart race, knowing full well that I was not treating my body right.  But feeling like if i was thin my life would be so much better.  I was anorexia before it had a name, could drop 25-30 lbs in two weeks from not eating.  AND feel good about myself.

I went thru a divorce and I have to say that I have said that it was the best diet I have ever had, but in reality I took charge of my body and my diet and lost over 100 lbs.  I swore that I would never be fat again.  Kinda like Scarlett O'Hara saying "I will never go hungry again"Then I went threw more stress, I got remarried, move to another state, had a blended family, and had to go to work out side the home.  Plus both of my parents were not in good health and with work and children in school I could not travel to see them very often.  So the weight started creeping on again and I just let it go.I had enough to deal with my weight was not at the top of the list.

My Momma passed, then five months later my Dad passed, one uncle, one aunt and my grand mother passed all within a 6 months period.  I was working a job that I detested, the weight just started to get totally out of hand and the thought of what I would need to do to get it off was just overwhelming.  I quit the job and was home with my chips!  Here I am 6 years later and now I have even more weight to get off. No one fault but my own and I own that.  I have not cared about how I looked, how I felt, what I was doing to my body.  It just did not seem very important to me.

Then I started making myself look in the mirror, I made myself be honest about how I hated the way I looked, the way I felt, the way I just let myself go.  I was living as if I might die tomorrow so who cares what I look like.  I would order clothes and be excited about them when they came, go try them on and want to die, because they did look like I wanted them to look, they just looked big.

So I'm taking the bull by the horns, I know that I am at the very bottom of that hill, but I have to start somewhere and I have to start some time.  Today I started, I walked for 30 minutes or 1 mile.  I want to get that old feeling again, release those little buddies that will make me feel better.  I want to get clothes that make me feel good about being in my own skin.  I want to make my daughter and my husband proud of taking charge of my body.  I want to be able to look in the mirror and not be ashamed of what I see.  I want to feel better, not be out of breath from walking to the mail box or up a flight of stairs.

I have done this before, I can and will do it again!!!

LOAD2-I love quilts

LOAD2-I love quilts by Kat Layton
LOAD2-I love quilts, a photo by Kat Layton on Flickr.