Monday, February 2, 2015

THRIVE- a FREE Progressive Art Journal Workshop for Artists, Journalers, Faith seekers and Families

I am excited to start this art journaling journey with all of you, some of you old friends and some new. This year I am going at things a little differently than I did the last time we did this free Progressive Art Journaling workshop (#PAJWLH). 

This time I have to really watch myself and make sure that I give myself as much grace as I can. As I mentioned in the announcement post in November, I will be posting more organically, not scheduled like I did last time. I have found it to be just too difficult for me to do so right now, so what I am hoping for is to post at least once a month, so that we can still have some sort of continuity yet still keep me stress free :). I will post at least once a month to help keep things going. In addition we will be doing art inspiration, written prompts, faith/inspirational prompts and childrens prompts. This will help to extend the opportunity for friends and family to work together on these prompts. My kids started this last year and have loved having prompts to go off of, and its an easy way to encourage family engagement.

A lot has changed since the last time I ran this progressive art journaling workshop, I’ve done a lot of contract work, my husband has switched careers and my kids have grown, almost so much that they are so much more independent than I ever thought they would be at this age.  In addition, during this time I dealt with some health issues that have taken my travel, teaching and blog posting down to a minimum and kept me pretty much home bound for a majority of the year.

This is what has brought me to this point right now.

I guess it’s true that you never know what you have until it’s gone. I fully understand that now that I have had to deal with chronic illness and redefine what my world is now with limited energy. It’s not a reason to feel sorry for me but just to understand that what I CAN do now. I now know my limits whereas before I didn’t realize just how little I had, physically.

That’s where my word for the year THRIVE comes in… and I hope you will join me as we dig in deep… you ready?


For me, this word means more than survive, or succeed. This word (for me) describes being able to flourish in the position you are in. This word really speaks to my heart of being content with where I am right now and moving forward and pressing into what I want out of this life of mine.

When I was at my healthiest, I had so much energy. I was athletic, busy, active, able to eat a meal without having pain… didn’t have to take any sort of medication. I was healthy. Yet with all of that health and vitality… I still kept my dreams at bay. I still wasn’t exactly sure of what I wanted my future to be. I didn’t make any weighty decisions or press forward into some solid career planning. Although I had an idea of what I wanted… I really didn’t feel the need to press into it so quickly. I HAD TIME. I had so many options in life, yet I didn’t set my eyes on one goal, I still felt I could do it all… and by doing it all… it really meant I did a whole lot of things each for portions of time rather than pursuing my purpose 100% of the time.

In my current position, I see now how I took my time and good health for granted, but also how I hesitated from pursuing my passion or my dreams because I just didn’t feel I had to at that time. I was holding my own self back and I didn’t even know it. How many years did I take being healthy as a regular part of life? I truly did not understand the full value of what I had, when I had it. But most of all... I didn't take risks. my time was occupied with keeping busy, but taking steps forward into passion was a risk that never crossed my mind.

And that’s ok.

I could spend days, months, YEARS beating myself up over what I could have done, or what I should have done. I could pick a part all of the things I shouldn’t have done and how I should have studied more, worked harder, ate healthier… but it would have zero effect on my current status, and would not help me one bit… so why do it?

Instead, I’m moving past what I should have done and just going to be grateful for what has gotten me to this point, illness and all. I mean, what good is it for me to worry myself sick? (ha ha, I’m already there… well minus the worry )

So now, I take THRIVE to heart. I have made it my own personal word for the year and hold it close as a reminder of where I am now and STILL all that I can achieve. I am ready to press forward into my purpose, grab hold of those lofty dreams and slowly make my way towards them. My energy may be low, but my ambition will not be swayed. Even little steps forward... are steps forward. And THAT is always a good thing ♥

I hope to share more on this as we grow through this art journaling series. And I hope to hear from all of you on how this and other prompts may speak to you… I love, love, LOVE hearing all of your stories as I know I am not alone (know you are not alone either!). I can’t be a natural support for many, but a kind word to offer... that I can do :)

My promise to myself is to press on. Step into the role that I have been dreaming of and as gracefully as I can, take and appreciate the steps that get me there. It may take me a while (or not), but it will be worth it and it is never too long or too hard to accomplish. I mean that’s what possessing a passion is all about right? It’s meant to be life long, steering you, always a part of your life…. So if the journey takes a bit… It’s should be ok since you are on that path anyways… right? Why hurry?

So I hope that this post finds you in a place that you can press on, step into that passion and peacefully find the steps towards getting you to the place you want to be in this one precious life.

Art Prompt

Take your word and create it into your daily life as to be a reminder to you all year long. 

You can see here, I have it on my daily planner. But look specifically for places to add your art and word for the year. This will act as a wonderful reminder of who you are all year long.. even if you forget (which we all do!).

And here I made it into a tote with some extra duck cloth, structure lining, paint pens and a sewing machine. These paint pens are SOMETHING I LOVE and use all the time. They are water based acrylic paint markers that paint smoothly, dry quickly and allow you to not only layer colors when each layer is dry... but also mix colors when they are wet too. For this I used the Marvy Uchida DecoPaint pens and the Posca Paint pens.

If you are thinking this looks like it would be tough, it’s not. Super easy just take two pieces of fabric (same side, for the front and back panel) and take a long strip and sew the strip between the two panels so the raw edges are facing out. Add a bottom support if you’d like, or not your choice J The key is to not get hung up on it being pretty… just make it, flaws and all.

Written Prompt

If you could be, do or feel any way you wanted… what would that feel like? If you could clear the way to get you there, what would it take? What is one small step towards your goal? Do you fear your goal? How does the thought of accomplishing it make you feel? Is that something you want? I know sometimes physical limitations or strict limitations are a factor, pressing into your dream may not always be as easy… do you feel your dream is worth taking small steps towards?

Faith Prompt (used as written prompt or with art prompt)

Jeremiah 1:5New International Version (NIV)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Though life offers different options than what our expectations are… how does this factor in with the fact that God knew all of this about us yet still set us each apart for a very special purpose. When you read “prophet” to the nations, how does this make you feel? Do you see how even in small things, God has his sights on us and is ok with our little steps towards victory, in fact, He thinks they are pretty awesome. The word “prophet” doesn’t have to be this daunting role with huge shoes to fill… It is simply stepping into our purpose and doing it with all our might. This is God’s vision for us.

Children’s Journal prompt

In your child’s journal, write the words:

Today I ______________________ and it made me feel _______________________________

All the kids to fill in these blanks and add a picture or more text if they’d like. Here is my son's journal. Of course it talks about video games because if he had it his way he would play video games and it would make him feel happy. This is a great way to connect with your kids and have a way of communicating with them too.

My daughter and I use this journal to write back and forth to each other, anything from daily highlights, to frustrations to goals for ourselves and our family. It is a great way to communicate with your kids and not have them feel like they are on the spot. You can use a notebook like this one below to work with your family or kids. It has a place to write and draw and is around $3.

The whole point of this post is in hopes that we can all take a hard look at our expectations in life… and how maybe adding a little reality doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Looking at things with truth might just give us the tools to move forward passed “what might have been”… into “what could be”.  And “what could be” may just be where you are supposed to be :) We are so easy to give grace to those around us, friends loved ones, even strangers… why is it that we are so quick to hold our dreams hostage with doubt? Doubt not only ourselves but also our ability to move forward into our purpose. We should be KIND to ourselves…First and foremost. Not everyone will be so why not be the first? Be gracious… start with YOU.

I am so grateful to be able to start this progressive art journal project again.


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To find more art journal prompts click here: PAJWLH (add the hashtag #pajwlh for others to see your work too!)

Join the fun on Facebook too. Lots of fun inspiration on there from me and my friends. Search Liz Hicks Studios for the fun.

This post is a part of a webring of Designers sharing their crafty passion with the world. For more beautiful craft inspiration, take a  look below. You won't be sorry!

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