Art Journal Page 2

At the first of the summer the kids and I watched Justin Bieber Never Say Never DVD, 
it was really good. I even enjoyed it! 
From that moment on my youngest fell head over hills for Justin,
I spent most of my summer listening to his music and looking
for t-shirts he appeared on.

So when it came time for page 2 in our art journal guess what the theme was !?
Justin Bieber
The first page of our art journal went so well
that we couldn't wait to do page two. I let them pick the theme.
Justin it was.
We looked through magazines to find pictures of him
and then for the most part I just doodled! One good thing about an art journal
is there is no wrong or right way...

Art Journal page 2

I used a clipping of Justin from a magazine my daughter had
white and purple paint
my favorite black pilot pen
words from one of his songs, One Time

If you missed page one click here !

My first sketch since junior high

This Kiss...xo by Ashley Murphy 2011

This sketch was inspired by author, photographer,
artist friend of mine, Cathy Bueti.

Along my writing trail, I met several different
authors, Cathy being one. She actually published her book
Breastless in the City a few years prior to me.
Since then, she has moved forward
in the mix media art world.

I have enjoyed watching her grow as an artist this past
year. So now as I grow deeper in my art
she has inspired me to try new things while finding
just who I am as an artist!

My first week on this art journey, I sketched a face
for the first time since junior high. It was
inspired after seeing Be a Star by Cathy.

Be on the look out for other sketches,
I sketched one each night that week! Fun stuff...

Donate ART

I donated this art piece for a fundraiser-Mississippi Murder Mysteries
held at Fairview Inn Saturday June 4, 2011.

The funds raised will be used to help relocate Community Place.

Donate ART

I donated this art piece for the silent auction at the
Mississippi Dancing with the Stars held at the Jackson
Country Club on August 13, 2011.

I love the rich espresso bean chocolate with swirls and texture!
This painting was inspired by a peacock feather...

ArT journaling

A friend recently said to me,
"i can't find enough stuff to do
with my time to keep me from getting
bored." My response, "i can't find enough time
to get everything done I want to do."

The difference in people!
Is she right or wrong!?
Am I right or wrong!?
My answer to both is NO!!!

I truly believe everyone looks for that
balance every hour, day, week, month
and year. Managing our time, managing our life!
speed up, slow down

Just like the time I set aside this school year
to focus on my ART. The first week went good.
I worked on a few things from finishing a painting I started
last year, starting and finishing a new painting, working on
some mail art, and sketching a face for the first time since
junior high. I wanted to write one big blog post showing
you everything at one time, but
that would be a disservice to you and I both! Look
for those to come in the days and weeks ahead...

For now let's start here...


art journaling is a collection of creative techniques
shared to express yourself.

This summer, I wanted to challenge my
kids to make more art. Each summer and
really all year long it plays a big part of our life,
but I wanted to take a different approach to it.
Something I would enjoy too!

I feel everyone is a creative beginning!

Creativity comes in many shapes and sizes. From with-in
a kitchen, a garden, a written page, a walk, a room-decorating,
and even a art studio. Check this video out below...
You just might be more creative than you realize!

I got the idea to do the art journal from a magazine called Art Journaling.

I bought the girls and I a 5.5x8 watercolor journal
from Hobby Lobby(see picture below). The thickness of the pages
caught my eye, not that they were watercolor. We used what paint,
tissue paper, scrap paper, markers, pens etc. we had on hand. I stressed
the fact of working on a budget and working with stuff you
might already have.

my first Art Journal page

The first page theme was "my first art journal"

I encouraged them to
*use 5 to 9 colors
*write summer 2011
*write their name
*plan out their page before jumping in-just be creative!
*to write around the outer edge what summer means to them.

I used tissue paper-the white and pink at the top of page,
green and pink paint, black pen, scrapbook paper cut in circles-bottom of page,

This Art Journal project was a way for
the kids and I to share our
creativity on a new level, trying new things. I enjoyed
watching them work along the way and they did me as well.
Each piece kept together in the journal was a big plus, so that we don't
have tons of canvas laying around, that more than likely would
end up in storage somewhere.

They had so much fun!

Look for page two in my art journal next week!

and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom,
with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—
to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,
Exodus 35:31-32 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Do you have a hard time managing your time?
Do you art journal?
Would you like more tips on art journaling?

Comments are welcomed, feel free to jump in...

Martina McBride's new song

My mom shared this with me!

It was on Good Morning America...
she watched her tv as I watched mine,
phones pressed tight to our ears!

Diving IN

It's a bitter sweet kinda thing
with my kids going back to school. We've
had the best time this summer and find
it so hard to believe
it's really over!

For me that means, I am diving IN...
deep into my art, something I've wanted
to do for a long, long time. Now that my first book
is finished and I put my camera on the shelf,
I feel so FREE and I am ready to move forward.

I hope you will join me!

Here is a picture of my newly updated ART studio...

This is a spare room of ours, we got an estimate
for closing a section of our attic in for a really cool
art studio, that I designed, but I just can't turn
loose of that kinda money! Most people think the
hubby is tight, but I am just as tight with money. I
find it kinda cozy to just make do with what I already have...
just like in the pictures below the shelves I am using are all things I've had.

One day while out shopping for shelves to help update
the ART studio, I started thinking. Thinking about the pieces
I already had, some were even in the attic, I pictured
the whole thing right there in my mind! So I left the
stores empty handed, except the containers!

Starting from left to right:
*the chair stack on top of the table was my grandmothers
*the table the chair is on is a old end table of ours
*the dresser is from hubby's childhood
*the actually shelf on the right is one I bought a few years ago that I just couldn't really find a home for until I moved it here, I realized I really did like it where it was.

I thought it all turned out really cool!

So moving forward, be on the look out for more artwork...

On the SHELF

In 2001, the same year my sister married,
I picked up a camera starting a 10 year
journey as a wedding photographer.

I have met so many people along the way,
met lots of other photographers,
seen some of the neatest weddings,
learned a heck of a lot about photography software
and most of all learned so much about MYSELF!

Four or five camera's later I am putting the last one
on the shelf for good, for now! Something that I have been
praying about for awhile now. I've reach a place in
my life where I am ready to move forward fully
in another direction of ART.

I see paint, paint brushes, canvas etc. in my future! YaY!!!


Stacks and Stacks of BOOKs...
below are stacks of books I poured over
the course of five years while preparing
and writing Daddy's Briefcase, they were my inspiration
and knowledge tools!

 books I fully read/bought about others life, memoir's...

books I bought, but didn't get to fully finish reading about other's life, memoirs

               these are books I read early on that helped me pull my story out...
                                        Writing Your Life by Lou W. Stanek
On Writing Well:The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
         The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life
                                                 by Julia Cameron    
How I Write by Janet Evanovich-my favorite. The title explains it all,
it was really neat to read her input, although her writing is usually fiction.
                                      Your Life as Story by Tristin Rainer

these are books I read about how to get published
Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write by Elizabeth Lyon
How To Write A Book Proposal-I bought this off a sale wrack at library
Guide to Book Publishers, Editiors and Literary Agents by Jeff Herman
The Everything Get Published Book by Meg Schneider and Barbara Doyen

 Look at what book is on the bottom of all
these stacks, the Bible-my Bible!!! A book I have always
gone to no matter what road life might have me on.

advance HIS kingdom

It’s no secret that in order to get a book published,
most self-publish. Unless you have a major
platform of some kinda traditional publishing
house will hardly look at you!
Early on in my publishing process, I contacted
several publishing houses/agents, via
email or snail mail. Their response was
always quick and encouraging,
but was always a “no-go”.
After several months of attempts, I decided
to move on. Self-publishing had definitely
been an option but something I saw as kinda
I thought in order to make my book
become a reality, I needed an agent to find me that
perfect publishing house.
The more I researched self-publishing, the more I
learned the in’s and out’s. I realized just how many
authors self-published. And were successful at it!
Even if you go with a traditional
publishing house, you yourself
have so much legwork to do in order
to make the sales, just like self-publishing.
For over a year each self-published author
I came across gave me a new piece of insight. These
pieces helped me complete my knowledge on self-publishing.
One late night, while waiting for my editor to do her awesome
job, I surfed the net. I was looking for answers to one of my
many questions regarding self-publishing! I felt
the need for reassure just one more time to complete
my puzzle to self-publishing successfully.
It was to my complete surprise when I stumbled
across a blog, Journey to Self-Publishing by Natalie Wickham.
I literally stayed up until 3am reading her
entire blog. Pouring over each blog entry, I
gained such peace about self-publishing. Her blog
confirmed so much I already knew, but what I really gained,
that I hadn’t anywhere else, was to keep God first in my story!
This completely washed over my body. There it was right
in front of me. I knew it all along! But couldn’t get it until that
very moment. It was in the days ahead, I fully gained the
peaceful knowledge knowing my book was all
about God and not me.
Five years prior, I knew this,
when I felt lead to share my story. But I
had drifted into a deep dark place in my life. A
place I had never been-a place that holds
another story in it's self-a place I had to go
in order to get Daddy’s Briefcase out.
I emailed Natalie immediately, thanking her for sharing
her knowledge, talent with the world. She is such a kind
generous person, just an all-round cool girl you would meet
in town somewhere. A friendship bonded between the two of us at that
moment. She has been so supportive along the way.
Today, I have Natalie here as a guest. She has agreed to
answer a few questions for us. Please welcome, Natalie Wickham
author of Pajama School -stories from the life of
a homeschool graduate.

Natalie, what is the one thing you enjoyed most about actually making Pajama School become a reality-a book?
The doors it has opened for me to communicate with more audiences. The fact that you have written and published a book immediately gains you credibility with some audiences. They somehow assume that you know what you’re talking about even if it has nothing to do with the book and they’ve never even read it in the first place! “Enjoy” isn’t exactly the word I’d use for some of the opportunities I’ve had, but I am so grateful for how God has used even the most difficult ones to humble me and teach me to find strength and sufficiency in Him.
Did you have those days of thinking it wouldn’t happen?
Oh, yes! I love to journal and write as I feel inspired, but there’s something about deciding to write a book that zaps you of all your inspiration! I think it must be God’s way of teaching us perseverance. The turning point for me was when a friend casually remarked, “just write a page a day and in 200 days, you’ll have 200 pages.” There was something about having it broken down into such a small, achievable goal that convinced me I could push through and finish the book.
Have you been amazed at the people you have met along the way?
Absolutely! That has been the most rewarding part, by far. Whether through blogging, speaking at conferences, corresponding with readers by e-mail, or talking about the book and publishing process in person with various ones I meet, I have developed some wonderful friendships and met some beautiful and encouraging people.
Do you see God continually working through Pajama School?
It always brightens my day to get an e-mail from a mom who was encouraged by Pajama School , or a dad who found it insightful, or a young person who was challenged to think more deeply about certain life issues. I love having meaningful conversations with people, so I see my book as a way to reach a little beyond my immediate sphere of friends to share with more people. God continually uses the whole experience of writing, speaking, and marketing to work in my heart – that’s for sure!
Tell us a little about what it was like for you to self-publish Pajama School?
Hard! From the initial idea to final publication, it was a two-year process that involved hundreds of hours of writing, research, planning, and working to see it to the end. Since I had no prior experience in the publishing industry, there was a huge learning curve, but the entire experience was very educational and enlightening. It’s always cool to learn about a new industry, and I’ve really enjoyed walking others through the process to help them successfully publish their books as well.
Will you write another book?
Surprisingly, yes. For the first year and a half after publication of Pajama School , I was convinced I would never write and publish another book. But lo and behold, at the beginning of this year, I started to get an itch to write another book. I started praying about some ideas that the Lord had put on my heart – not just for one book, actually, but for a series. It’s kind of a long story, but the Lord orchestrated a connection with a wonderful lady who had a similar vision and we’ve been working together on a book. Both of us have other full-time responsibilities, so it’s been crazy trying to squeeze in the time to write, but we’re hoping to release the book by the end of the year. We’ll see!

Tell us about any of your latest happenings?
Perhaps the most unusual happening for me lately is the lack of happenings. Someone once said that the biggest enemy of the best things in life is the good things in life. Because of my goal to finish the afore-mentioned book by the end of the year, I’ve intentionally blocked off every hour I’m not teaching this month to devote to that project. This has been incredibly difficult (because I want to meet with that friend who just e-mailed about getting together, or I wish I could help that person with the project they’re working on, or people are depending on me to get that information posted on-line, etc.), but it’s also been pretty revealing. I need to look to God for wisdom on what to include, or not include, in my schedule of “happenings” so that I am accomplishing His purposes for my time!

Several months after Pajama School was released,
while Christmas shopping, I tossed a copy in my cart.
And I’ll be honest, I wasn’t buying it to read. I was buying it
to feel, touch, hold Natalie’s finished product as a
self-published author. I saw homeschool as kinda “silly”!
After several weeks, I couldn’t stand it,
it felt so good, I started reading Pajama School.
As I turned those pages, I was very touched.
Natalie’s story of homeschool opened my eyes fully
to a whole new world. My outlook on homeschool is
completely different now. Homeschoolers are just like you and I,
or anyone else who has been to school. They just do it at home.
Her story goes beyond schooling, it’s about her life, her family.
Just where all of our learning begins at home, something I
stress to others all the time when they ask me
where my kids go to school, which is a small
private Christian school!
Reading her story reiterated
me realizing the things I do for my kids
is really teaching them a viable lesson.
Now does this mean I am going start homeschooling
my kids? Chances are absolutely not, but I know if it’s
brought to me fully by God, then yes. And I will be so
thankful for the insight Natalie has provided me.
Natalie is a girl who is fully after God’s heart and I
thank Him for her. She is very much into
“advancing His kingdom” as she says.
You may also visit Natalie at Pajama School Blog !