52-Week Art Journal

Week 25: Finding Peace in the Process

Okay, Friends, I have a new favorite on Instagram… You need to check out @andrea.nelson.art. She really gets the importance of creativity to mental health. And this week’s small art is my take on several of her reels mish-mashed together. Welcome to Week 25 of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, where we again spend some time just relaxing into our small art, letting all the stuff recede, and allowing the flow of making lines and spreading color calm our busy brains.

 This week I used a black Sharpie, some finer black Micron pens, a silver Sharpie my cheap Crayola kids’ set of watercolor paint I got at a local dollar store that does cost more than a dollar, and my artPOP! watercolor pencils for the first time. Once you get a feel for what we’re doing this week, you can know what you can get lost in for art-making relief.

If you’re new to the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, I’m so glad you found your way here. If you’re wondering what this journey is, check out this video introduction on YouTube, or click here to read more. If you’d like to start with making your journal, and this journey, your own, click here for Week 1.

If you want to watch the video before reading this week’s prompt, scroll on down….

Let’s get started!

Grab a black Sharpie if you have one. I started with a Micron pen, because I was somehow out of black Sharpies, and it’s a little too fine. Water soluble is not so great for this small art. But will work if you don’t plan to use watercolor paint but only markers or something dry like colored pencils when it’s time to make more marks and/or add color.

We start with… lines… Curvy, relaxed lines to span our page. You may want to start vaguely in the bottom left corner, and end somewhere in the vicinity of the upper right… Draw some lines across your page, and draw some more. Make sure they cross in various places. We’re not going for crowded… just… breaking up the page I guess you could say. Don’t think too much about it.

I think in one of her reels Andrea suggested around eight lines. In one version of this all of them stayed kind of centered in that upward left to right.

Silver Sharpie was my #2 page.

Next we round things off. All those pointy areas where lines come together, we soften.

As I said, relax into the process… It can help soften the sharp edges of what you’re feeling, too. Just let it flow and you’ll feel those harsh edges smooth and gentle.

As I rounded the crossings in my third go at this, in the image above, after getting new black Sharpies, I also added more lines. It just felt good. And that’s a big part of what this process is about.

Relax some more with watercolor

Andrea Nelson is a watercolor artist. I am not. But if you’ve been following this journey for a while, you know I enjoy playing with art material, and I don’t have to quite know what I’m doing to share a small-art process with you.

Click here to do some fun watercolor experimentation with me.

Watercolor is a great choice to extend the flow of this project and add some color. I enjoyed it. Though because I was trying to “protect” my silver lines from overflow, I tripped up my relaxation a number of times… mea culpa. Don’t get fixated on any particular effect and you’ll have a more peaceful experience.

The lines are great. And are an important part of the process. But they do not need to be protected from overflow. They do not need to protected. They do not. They just don’t.

That being said, if the most ideal way to do this for you includes lovely-ly (yes, I will always make up my own words when I need to or can’t remember the one that I want) defined areas of color (but you’ve GOT to allow some blending, though… Okay, yes, it’s your call… It’s YOUR small art… It’s about what will let you let go the most), you can let blobs dry before you paint their friends that touch. And, gotta say, painting onto water with watercolor is another level of losing one’s self in the process over applying color to dry paper… unless that REALLY stresses you out.

Watercolor pencil

I thought this process would also be a great time to experiment with my artPOP! watercolor pencil. In the video you can a few ways to use them that I understand at least in theory… Coloring with them, then painting over and blending with water. Coloring with them on a wet surface, with and without wetting the tip first. You can also see an old clip of me painting the 2023 title page that’s in my video opening, with my Crayola watercolor pencils.

Like the watercolors, they were fun and relaxing… when I wasn’t getting frustrated that I couldn’t make them work the way I wanted. I didn’t actually finish that one. It became far less than relaxing to be filming it.

Color isn’t the only relaxing option

Other flow-inspiring options are filling in your blobs with soft-edged designs, like tiny circles you can fill in the gaps between like you rounded off your corners, and… what would you call outlining on the inside? I honestly can’t come up with a term for it at the moment… with a finer-tipped marker/pen. I did both of these in the final section of the video, before adding an engrossing no-pressure riotous rainbow of watercolor.

Do what works for you. With my aging eyesight, and, worse, mildly arthritic wrist and fingers, the circles, while I loved them in theory, turned out to be hard for me… but I wanted to finish the pattern I started. Aaaaaannnd, again I say, don’t get caught up in an image in your head of the product, let yourself get caught up in the process. If you’re not working too hard at it, it can do its job of giving your mind a chance to relax. I can’t promise this arty activity will magically inspire your brain with answers to the knotty problems stuck in it, but you may find some clarity when you let yourself step back from the whirling mental spiral. And the sharpness of your anxiety and tension will soften like the pointy crossings of your lines, if you don’t fixate on an arbitrary standard of “good.”

We’re reclaiming our creativity in the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, not trying to create masterpieces. We’re accepting, and reveling in, the freedom of the messy process, not shackling ourselves in another area we may fear not measuring up.

As always I say, have fun. Make marks and lay color with the art supplies you enjoy.

If you decide to share any of your small art on social media to encourage others to reclaim their creativity, be sure to tag me melindavanry, so I can enjoy it, too, and, if you’d like, use the hashtag #artjournalwithmelinda.

Thanks for joining me for another small-art and journaling prompt, and I haven’t forgotten the journaling prompt, it’s just really brief this week. Add one word your page. Or short phrase. What came to mind while you created, or what would you like to remind yourself of about this process when you flip back through your journal? Maybe it’s FREEDOM or PEACE or RELEASE we find in the process. Maybe it’s COLOR. How did this small art speak to you?

I appreciate the opportunity to encourage you to establish a healthy habit of creative self-care through art journaling. I’ll be back next week with another prompt. In the meantime, have some fun and find some peace in this week’s process, indulge in some past prompts if you missed them, and check out Andrea Nelson’s Instagram.

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