Art Journal/Mixed Media

Building A Brand With Mood Disorders | A Layout About Healing

Hello Lovelies, this is a new series I want to share with you on my personal journey of building a brand from the ground up while coping with chronic mental illness. I am not a medical professional and therefore do not offer medical advice, only stories of my personal journey in hopes that others might be inspired as well. Mental illness lies to us every day, and it is my hope through sharing my stories, my truths, that you might find hope and strength too. If you would like to learn more about my journey I invite you to read the Larkindesign Brand Story. You can read all the posts in this series here. Thank you for being here!

Building A Creative Brand | Learning to Heal

Thank you all so much for your wonderful reception to this new series. Your thoughts and love sent my way were all so positive and I am thankful for each and every one of you! Today I have a mixed media layout to share with you and I want to use the blog post to share a little of the back story with you. It was really difficult last week to acknowledge and act on the realization that creating the digital collections was not serving me well. One of the things they don’t tell you, when you start your own brand, is that it is highly possible that you will try many different things before you succeed. For many business owners, they do actually launch successful the first time, and grow amazing businesses seemingly on their first try. For some it happens that way, and for me it has not happened that way at all!

For some, building a brand comes after many trials and errors, and it can be especially challenging to do this with trauma, PTSD, depression, and any other mood disorders. What that actually looks like in real life is that trying many different things means many different things not working out. That means failure. There is no denying that, for whatever reason, the digital kits I created failed to sell. I am pretty educated and have a pretty good idea of why, and in the end it’s not productive to beat myself up, or feel bad about it, it simply is. The hardest thing, actually, as a survivor, is not taking it too personally, accepting it as part of the learning experience, and being gracious to myself and others as I go through this.

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout

I follow Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess, and have long been so inspired by their creativity and their business successes. I find it most inspiring that they will tell you how many times they, too, have personally experienced these trials and errors in their business. They call it pivoting their business. When something doesn’t work out, simply try something different. And keep trying until you get it worked out. I love their messages in this regard, and it is incredibly uplifting to hear that even incredibly successful business women have struggled to find the right fit, too.

On the outside, the trials and errors of building a brand can make the artist seem disorganized, even untrust-worthy. You’ve heard it all: “oh they just didn’t know what they were doing,” “they didn’t know what they were getting into,” “they couldn’t just stick with it,” and on and on. And maybe all of those things are true. On the other hand, no one really knows what they are doing and no one really knows what they are getting into when they start a creative brand from scratch. Even if someone pivots their business by stopping something that isn’t serving them, they are still not giving up and they are still working towards their goal. I have stopped making journal cards for right now, but I am still showing up and I am still working towards my overall goal of making a profitable business and I am not giving up. Not yet, anyway!

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout

But the challenge with this side of building a brand, and also dealing with mood disorders, are the lies that trauma and abuse and suffering tells us. Through this entire journey I have had a chorus of negative voices that have told me I don’t deserve to be successful, I am not possibly good enough or talented enough for this, I must be crazy to think I could ever make this work, and on and on. Have you seen Girl Boss on Netflix? Sophia Amoruso goes through this to some extent, and at one of the crucial points in the series she tears up everything in her apartment and ends up screaming at herself in the mirror, and the mirror screams back at her, all the negative things she has internalized about herself. It’s such a crucial moment in the movie because she faces those awful voices head on, goes to get her surgery (practices self care) and then comes back more determined than ever.

I promise I did not tear up our house last week, and I didn’t tear up all my hard work, but in some ways deciding to pivot my business right now is an act of self care and a part of this winding road I am traveling on. It was messy and tearful, just as Sophia’s messy turn-about was messy and fraught with the realities of being human and having serious challenges with self esteem. And after a few days of self care, loving private messages from e-friends, and the support of my family in real life, I am back with new hopes and dreams (and it is highly possible I will create more product at a later date, just not right now).

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout

In this process, however, I am learning volumes about myself and my own presence of mind, my own strengths, my own weaknesses, and while building a brand is happening, building ME is also happening. It is frightening, at some stages, and elating, at other stages. I have always heard when you go through re-pivoting your brand, and you are unsure of what to do, to go back to what you love. Go back to the basics. What I love and what my basics are has always been pocket pages, my pocket page classes, focusing on creating layouts, and most importantly, inspiring other creatives. I have long been trying to figure out how to bring my passion for creativity together with my journey of healing, and then this series was born and it has clicked.

And while I am working and healing and processing and struggling and succeeding, I can still create and must still create, and I find the art of creating so incredibly cathartic. That process is also important to share with you, because I know that even if you aren’t trying to build a brand, chances are you arrived here as a fellow creative. Maybe you too are a survivor – I think all humans are survivors in one way or another, and it is messy but beautiful, and we get to reflect these amazing things in our creative work. So here is the take away for today. As I was building my title for this layout, I was going to just write “learning how to love myself,” and I realized there was most definitely more to this.

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout

I had been approaching my journey to healing as a single destination – that one day I would be healed, that one day I would be able to love myself fully and wholly, with scars and all. I am proud to say that I have learned a little more about loving myself through this part of my journey, and I have learned that loving myself is the journey to healing. That may sound so basic to some, but for me it clicked. And I also realized that there isn’t a specific destination, that this is a lifelong journey. I am so thankful you are with me on this journey, messy and beautiful. If you’d like to see my process for creating this layout, you may view it here.

Are there negative voices in your creative life too? How do they manifest themselves for you? I would love to hear from you. Join me next time as we continue this creative journey. Thank you for being here and being part of this community!

~Theresa

Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!

Hi everyone! I am sooooo excited to share this gorgeous mixed media scrapbook layout with you today! I picked up Vicki Boutin’s All The Good Things collection plus her paints, glitter, and mixed media paper and pulled it all together in this layout. I absolutely love the results and I hope you do too! You can watch my full process video here.

I was so excited to receive my package with All The Good Things and couldn’t wait to try all the new paints and products I had bought! I was really anxious to try the mixed media paper, which has been designed especially to accept paint and other mixed media and not buckle or warp. It worked beautifully for this layout!

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!

My first step in creating this layout was to go ahead and gesso the whole page, even though I don’t think you have to do that to the Vicki Boutin papers. I like to do that just to get warmed up and feel like I am not working on a blank page (yes, weird, I know!). Once I had the gesso down, I used modeling paste to build my background. Notice the floral elements I added to the page, starting at the upper left hand corner and traveling across to the bottom right.

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!

Once I had the floral elements down, it was time to add paint. My favorite part of the creative process is laying down wet paint and then turning the paper to allow the paint to flow. Watching the paint flow into all the crevices and tiny places created by the modeling paste is so cathartic to me! For this layout I allowed the purple to flow to the edges and then worked it around the page for the border. The purple and orange paints also flow across to the individual elements on the page so they are all tied together. I added a bit of teal to each flower, and I also splattered a little to add more depth and dimension to the background.

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!

Once all the paint was down, I added a little glitter mixed with glaze onto the page. I used the text stencil from Vicki, not necessarily to have a noticeable text, but just to have a way to put the glitter down in small places near the embellishment clusters. For me, the painted floral elements become home bases for my embellishment clusters, and the gold glitter adds more texture.

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!

Another awesome part of creating this layout was adding the die cut embellishments. The All The Good Things collection ties in beautifully with the paint colors, so I chose elements with purple, orange, and green, plus I added a little pink and yellow. I absolutely LOVE using color, all the colors (!!!) in my layouts! 

Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!Larkindesign Mixed Media Scrapbook Layout | My Happy Heart ft. Vicki Boutin All The Good Things!!!!

The last thing my layout needed was a bit of journaling and a title. The glitter foam words describe my expression in the photo, and the emotion I wanted this layout to convey perfectly! I also stamped my date using a roller stamp, and wrote my journaling with the help of a few stamped lines.

What an awesome layout to create and I hope you enjoyed watching the process! Have you tried the new Vicki Boutin products? I’d love to see! Thanks for following along today, see you soon!

~Theresa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Journal Vol 03 No 03 | Border A Poem by Taslima Nasrin

Hi guys! I have an art journal layout today that I hope will inspire you as we begin a new week and new creative endeavors!

 

I began my layout today inspired by this great poem written by an Bangladeshi woman named Taslima Nasrin. She writes frequently about the experiences of women in her culture and some of the injustices they bear in their life.

Art Journal Vol 03 No 03 | Border by Taslima Nasrin

This is the complete poem:

Border
by Taslima Nasrin

I’m going to move ahead.
Behind me my whole family is calling,
my child is pulling at my sari-end,
my husband stands blocking the door,
but I will go.
There’s nothing ahead but a river
I will cross.
I know how to swim but they
won’t let me swim, won’t let me cross.

There’s nothing on the other side of the river
but a vast expanse of fields
but I’ll touch this emptiness once
and run against the wind, whose whooshing sound
makes me want to dance. I’ll dance someday
and then return.

I’ve not played keep-away for years
as I did in childhood.
I’ll raise a great commotion playing keep-away someday
and then return.

For years I haven’t cried with my head
in the lap of solitude.
I’ll cry to my heart’s content someday
and then return.

There’s nothing ahead but a river
and I know how to swim.
Why shouldn’t I go? I’ll go.

The part of the poem that resonated with me is the idea of crossing a river, or any journey really, only to find emptiness on the other side.

Art Journal Vol 03 No 03 | Border by Taslima Nasrin

The part of the poem that resonated with me is the idea of crossing a river, or any journey really, only to find emptiness on the other side. Recovery can feel an awful lot like crossing a wide river, and finding emptiness on the other side. There is tremendous value in the journey, because you discover things about yourself you never knew.

Art Journal Vol 03 No 03 | Border by Taslima Nasrin

And the whole time you are on your journey, you believe once you get to the destination you will have the answers you were looking for. This is true, you will find the answers you are looking for.

Art Journal Vol 03 No 03 | Border by Taslima Nasrin

But when you reach that destination, and you look at the emptiness, and you weep at how empty it is. You weep at what you had hoped it would be, what you deserved for it to be.

Art Journal Vol 03 No 03 | Border by Taslima Nasrin

And you begin to look inside yourself, since around you is empty. It is there you learn you had the answers inside yourself all along. But you needed the journey to reveal them.

~Theresa

 

 

 

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 02 | Past

Hi there and happy Monday! I have to admit I ran out of week last week and was not able to post on Thursday or Friday! Sad face! But there is never enough time in the day to get everything done I want to get done, so I decided to move forward and see if I could get a full week published this week. Have a look at my Art Journal process today:

I am exploring more with the idea of cracks in the surface, although I did not reflect on this layout in my video today. The poem I was working with is written by Pablo Neruda, and in it he speaks of waves of water.

Art Journal 03 Layout 2 | Past

Lately I have been feeling waves of emotions come over me, sometimes happy and sometimes overwhelming sadness. Nothing that is unexpected, but nonetheless it is there. I wanted to create an ocean on my page, so I reached for this bubble stencil from Studio Calico and my texture cream from Art C.

Art Journal 03 Layout 02 | Past

I laid down some patterned papers that I had torn into strips, and also pieces of a map. The map, our location, collides with the ocean and sand.

Art Journal 03 Layout 02 | Past

The stencil created a lovely cascade of bubbles, sort of like the wild ocean when it meets the sand and it foams. The texture cream swirls around it like sand in between our toes when the tide returns.

Art Journal 03 Layout 02 | Past

For color I used a combination of blues, greens, and black. The colors spread across the page adding depth and dimension. What is left when the tide returns is all this lovely swirling color and texture, the depth and width and breadth of life.

Art Journal 03 Layout 02 | Past

I am in process of closing a chapter in my life. A chapter filled with swirling realities that no longer are, nor need to be.

Art Journal 03 Layout 02 | Past

The present chapter is wrapping up, the ocean has touched the sand and crashed upon its shores. The tide of emotions passing, sometimes returning because that is what oceans do, but what happens to the sand is fresh and new.

Art Journal 03 Layout 02 | Past

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Journal Vol. 03 Layout 01 | I Rise with an Effort

Hi guys and happy Labor Day Monday, if you are in the US. I found a new art journal a couple of days ago and decided this week I would try working in this one for a page or two. Have a look at my process here:

First things first: I am learning how addicting art journaling is, and also how much fun it is to collect art journals themselves. I found this one for about $5 at Wal-Mart, and I wanted to try it because it lays flat and it has kraft paper!

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 01 I Rise

Typically when I begin working on a layout, I start by collecting a few things around my studio that look interesting. This week I found a gold doily that was really big, 10″, a geometric stencil from Faber Castell, and a poem by Philippe Jaccollet.

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 01 I Rise

When working in lay flat journals like this one, it is always a good idea to cover your center seam with washi tape. This reinforces your pages and also provides a bit more stability. I also found that paint and watercolors will collect in that seam and the washi was good to have for that, as well.

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 01 I Rise

Then I added the gold doily directly on to the kraft paper, using my matte medium. I added a light layer of gesso, leaving some of the kraft paper visible underneath the layers.

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 01 I Rise

I also added my poem, which is torn from an old book of poetry I found years ago. The book itself has water damage and is of no value by itself, so no guilt.

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 01 I Rise

I spoke a little about why I chose this poem in my process video, so I hope you had a chance to listen to that. The idea of light in the context of suffering is not unfamiliar to me, and I explore that idea artistically on this layout. Last week I worked with the concept of cracks and how those seeming imperfections become the part of our art that draws us in. Light plays an important role in revealing those tiny crevices too – light catches on those places and highlights those places more than darkness ever can.

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 01 I Rise

The paper stencil I used reminds me of stained glass, and so I laid the pattern down with my modeling paste, and then began adding colors to the page. Bit by bit the colors ran across the page, picking up the textures and crevices on the page, going around the pattern, making these cracks become apparent.

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 01 I Rise

Here is one more look at the layout:

Art Journal Vol 03 Layout 01 I Rise

I wish for you an inner peace today, and a light that shines on your imperfections in the best way. These are the places that allow the light to shine, my friends. See you tomorrow.

~Theresa