52-Week Art Journal

Week 17: Taking a Closer Look from a Step Back

It’s Week 17 of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey. Here in Central New York it’s the slow-time transition from post-winter ugly bare with tiny glimpses of lively beauty, to the verdant outburst.

Many trees wear a lovely haze of tender green. But not the one I see winter-stark against the sky when I wake up in the morning.

It snapped me from half-awake to I-want-to-draw-that.

This week we’re back to drawing, to focusing on the lines, the edges, the shape, the contours of something. Similar to our blind contour drawing, but without the blind part. And it’s up to you whether or not you draw in one continuous line or not.

If you want to skip to this week’s video first, scroll on down…

Simple supplies

You’ll need to find something with interesting edges. Not as simple as for our blind contour drawings, because you’ll be done too quickly, and another part of this one is also the relaxing pleasure of just getting lost in lines, not unlike Week 13.

I used my poor bare treetop and a brave double daffodil.

To make drawing them more convenient for filming, I worked from photos I took on my phone. But drawing outdoors is great if you get the chance.

Use pen if you don’t want to be tempted to erase lines that you wish you’d placed differently. Don’t judge; just draw.

If you’re new here, and want to start by making your journal and this journey your own, check out the Week 1 prompt. It will give you a better idea of what we’re doing here.

The drawing

I will say that in not using one continual line but moving around I did lose track of some of my branches. If you decide to work just around the outline of your object, that part might be easier. But, really, if you’re dealing with a tangle of branches, losing track is probably going to happen. And that’s okay.

I also had to fill in my branches. I found the white spaces in my representation of the dark tree too distracting. That wasn’t an issue with my cheery yellow daffodil. It was much easier to focus on the edges of its bunched petals.

Whatever object you decide to explore and draw the lines of, just relax and enjoy with a non-critical eye.

If I focused on the drawing of my tree itself instead of the actual shape of the tree, I found myself trying to make it look like it “should.” Real bare tree branches are not so “perfect.” Not balanced. Not necessarily… logical as they’ve grown to reach toward sunlight. Not artistic in a classic sense. They can look confused. And confusing.

But just think how they’ve weathered every storm that has sent us indoors.

Trying to replicate what’s actually there can look less realistic than taking liberties… at least to my symmetry-seeking brain.

But it’s not supposed to be about seeing what I want to see or making it look how I think it should, but about seeing what is.

The writing

Maybe there’s a situation in your life in which you need to take a step back from the finer details that have you overwhelmed and confused, to look at them in a larger context, to find the boundaries instead of feeling like aspects and related emotions are spilling all over.

Or maybe there’s something you’ve been refusing to look at directly. Something you know you should take on, but you haven’t felt ready. Is it time to turn and face it, size it up, and take it on?

If there’s something in your life that came to mind when you read either of those paragraphs, use your journaling time to write yourself some perspective.

Maybe there’s not something like those going on for you at the moment. But you’ve probably experienced something that when you slowed down, or braved up, to really look at, it turned out to be not quire what you expected.

It takes courage to look directly, to look clearly, at something you’re struggling to find the boundaries of. But you can do it. You can take on whatever you need to this week. Even if it’s the difficult task of defining and establishing some necessary boundaries.

We’ve visited boundaries a couple of times so far on this journey.

They’re so important. But can be hard.

It can be a messy process to establish healthy boundaries. But you were not created to be exploited. To give, yes. Even to serve. But not to feed another person’s brokenness, or selfishness, or meanness, or narcissism.

If you need some encouragement in the area of boundary-setting, or a reminder that hearts heal and boundaries are part of that, check these out:
Week 7: Mending Hearts
Week 8: Boundaries

You’re braver than you think you are.

Have a good creative week

Thanks for joining me for another small-art and journaling prompt. I’ll be back next week with another. If you’d like to follow more of my arty journey, join me on Facebook or Instagram. You can also sign up for an extra bit of weekly creative self-care encouragement in your inbox by clicking here. If you’d like some new wrapping paper for spring gift-giving, I have new designs on Society6.

How do you express your creativity?

I’d love to hear in what ways beside physical art you express your creativity. We all need time for creative self-care. And when we’re not taking time to exercise our creativity in ways we find meaningful, we can’t be as mentally and emotionally healthy as we could be. Please comment below.

I appreciate the opportunity to encourage you to reclaim your creativity, and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care through art journaling.

Scroll beyond the video for links to what art supplies I’m using this week, and what I’m reading.


Mixed media spiral-bound sketchbook, 140lb/300gsm smooth hot-pressed paper from Amazon

Sakura Pigma Micron Pens


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