Art 101 Week Four

1 Jul Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.  -Brene Brown

Week four was a very busy week for me, I celebrate my 24th wedding anniversary and my hubby’s birthday so getting stuff done was a challenge. As a result I am now one piece of art behind. Remember I said I wanted to do something different. Well I posted this in the middle of last week and told how I made my first piece of art which took four days with what seemed like multiple moving parts. If you want to know how to make one for yourself, you can read about it here. This is the picture of the finished product.


I also made a couple more mantra girls to add to my collection and I also put up a gallery for them on the side bar to the right.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.  -Brene Brown

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. -Brene Brown


You get what you tolerate. -Henry Cloud

You get what you tolerate. -Henry Cloud

I plan to keep doing this and catch up my one day but right now I will be on a break for a week so that will put me behind even more, however I love doing this and I will be back in week! I hope everyone else in Art 101 is enjoying the process and going at their own pace as well. Have a good week!

Art: Mission Statement Wall Hanging

27 Jun In-this-house-1000-WM

For over ten years, my husband and I have been discussing various mission statements for our home. This past week we celebrated 24 years of marriage. I decided if we haven’t figure it out what this marriage thing is about by now, we might as well give up, so my anniversary gift to him was this wall hanging. And he loves it. We both do, but it was a lot of work and the worst of it was that I lost the wooden panel canvas I wanted to use.

I woke up one day thinking I could do this project while he was at work and surprise him. But the only surprise was that I turned our entire house up-side-down. (I’m sure he was thrilled to come home to chaos.) The next day I reorganized and cleaned my studio because after doing art everyday for a month things were getting out of hand. Even after a thorough cleaning, I still found no canvas. We are not the kind of people who have a cluttered home–we like to see the walls. My hubby searched for it while he was home, but neither of us could figure out how such a big canvass could get lost in such a clean house. It was extremely frustrating and I even questioned if I dreamed it all up and never actually ordered it, but he remembered it too.

One thing we have learned in all our years together is that life is unpredictable, so neither of us got bent out of shape about it, but it was really weird. The next morning I temporarily lost my drive to do art so I got lazy and decided to sleep in. When I got up and came out into the family room, the canvas was sitting there waiting for me. After pinching myself, I texted hubby and sure enough he had found it in the garage in a box marked for guess what? Good Will–yikes!

Day One

So I cheerfully began the process of turning the canvas into a home mission statement. It took a whole day to write out the statement and stamp it on the board to make sure the letters would fit. After all these years, I basically knew what we wanted it to say, but to make it fit succinctly was key.

I found letter stamping rather tedious because I knew I was going to cover it all over with paper anyway, but it was a necessary step to make sure what I wanted to say would fit on the canvas and it’s a good thing I did, because I had too many words. I pared down my original statement several times to make it fit.

Another issue was finding letters that were actually the right size. I have lots of stamps (thanks to my hubby who faithfully supports the arts through buying my supplies.) Even with seven or eight different types I still struggled to find the right fit. And no, sorry local friends, I cannot share my stamps because they are organized in a way that only I can figure out.

Looking at the finished product for day one, you might notice I misspelled one word because looking at letters backwards while breathing in ink fumes causes a headache. After this, I called it a day.

End of Day One


Day Two

For the second day, I used watercolor paper and gouache to make some little flowers and bigger flower shapes to add to the finish product. It might not seem like much, but these little details reflect the history of our lives. We have owned seven cats and treasured every one, so cats were naturally on the top of my list. We love the ocean and had our first kiss in New Zealand on a gorgeous beach and we honeymooned at and have lived on the Oregon Coast, so I added a couple starfish (and yes there really are purple ones.) We both love to read so a book is a must. The bluebird of happiness is always welcome in my art. And two hearts beating individually, but in time with each other is symbolic of our union.

By the time I was finished dreaming up stuff to paint and cutting them out, I was done for the day.

End of Day Two


Day Three

I did what Kelly Rae Roberts calls “unleashing our joy.” I thought of what sort of things I wanted to build into the first layer. (For those unfamiliar with this type of art, mixed media art is not just about the looks of the finished project but a journey filled with meaning and while not all layers are visible on the finished project, they have meaning to the artist.

Life is too short to spend time gluing ugly paper on a board, so I chose papers that delighted me and began gluing them down with gel gloss medium. I love gel gloss medium because it seals the surface so you can wipe off the paint if you don’t like it for future applications. Here is the first layer glued on with a top layer of gel gloss applied.

Next I wanted to add meaningful layers for our marriage. My hubby is a musician so I added a G clef. We both love the writings of George MacDonald so I ripped a page out of an antique book (bought specifically for this sort of thing) “At the Back of the North Wind,” and glued them onto the next layer.

Here is the page I glued and as you can see for people whose families were not always happy, we have often felt much like Diamond, but we also have discovered we have a choice and we do not need to make the same choices as our parents. We especially like the last part, “When heart and head go together, nothing can stand before them.” Thanks George MacDonald!


For the paint layers, I first painted the whole thing including sides with the color I must wanted to use. Then I took some bubble wrap and brushed paint on it and then placed it on the canvas for some contrast. At this point you can no longer read the George MacDonald quote and you can barely see the G clef, but hubby and I know it’s in there and that’s what matters. This is where art really is a process.

Next I added some green paint and used some stencils to add more contrasting layers and more gel gloss before masking off the edges with painter’s masking tape (which is a lot like real masking tape except it’s blue and doesn’t stick as hard or ruin the surface.) I left this picture a little bigger so you can see the details. I think it looks like a pretty painting in its own right at this point.



I learned masking with white years ago from my mentor and friend Estle Johnson who not only taught me to paint with oils, but she paid for and took me to get my GED. At the time, I was young and had no idea how she was such a gift to my life–one of those human angels God sends when we are in need.

I thought of Estle as I painted this and wished she was still alive today so I could thank her for the many things she taught me. She definitely influenced my life for the better. This love I felt for her was also poured onto the canvass with each stroke. I felt straight white would be too stark and I wanted a warmer tone so I added some medium cad yellow to the white. I’ll show you what it looked like in case you want to make one for yourself. I will also add a list of supplies at the end of the page for those interested in making their own mission statement.*


So here is what the first layer looked like.
You can still see through it easily but I wanted to make sure my letters stood out so I went for a second layer. I then added some strips on the bottom and on the top I added washi tape that looks like a measuring tape that measures hope, joy, love, laughter and says I love U on it. It felt it was appropriate because these are the fruits of a good marriage.

Next I applied my larger fonts with paint. I put the paint on the stamps with a small paint brush and pressed down. This was looking good, but it was time for a rest so I stopped here.

End of Day Three

Day Four

I got out the black dizzy ink pad and started applying letters. I found a way to keep the ink from stinking up the room in the shortest amount of time, I set out each line and prepared to stamp then opened the ink pad and as soon as that line was done, I shut it immediately. Then I prepared the next line of stamps. It was fun, but challenging to decide where to put the larger letters. All the words in larger letters stand out so I wanted them to be words that represented our core values like respect, love, freedom, etc. I also used that handy painter’s masking tape to measure and mark off each line to keep it straight.

After I had all the letters on, I added another coat of gel gloss to seal it off and started gluing on pieces of the water color art I had made. I didn’t use all of the pieces. The main idea was to have options but not overdo it. As I glued each piece on, I glued over it and then went around each with black marker for continuity. I also traced the turquoise letters with black. To finish, I put two more coats of gel gloss over the entire piece including the sides.

End of Day Four

Even though it ended up being a little late for our anniversary, I was thrilled to set it out last night and start supper. My hubby came home and made his yummy stir fry sauce and we sat and ate while we stared at it. That’s how it goes in a fun marriage. Here is one last look at the finished product hanging on the wall.



Supplies you might need if you want to make one of your own–

wood panel or canvas

paper–the stiffer the better

gel gloss medium

acrylic paints and brushes of your choice

zinc white acrylic for veiling

watercolor paper  

gouache to make small art pieces

book page or items of interest to you to incorporate into your art

bubble wrap or other texture tools help

painter’s masking tape

stencils and letter stamps of various sizes
(if you live in a small town look on Amazon)

*NOTE: Make sure you use zinc white for veiling because it’s transparent

You also might want to keep your selections to transparent colors which mix easily without looking like mud.

Here is a video I found that helps explain the advantages of transparent colors.

Good to Go

26 Jun Good-to-Go-phone-1000-WM

The other day someone said they wished they knew the statistics so they could move to the area with the least amount of narcissists. Obviously she felt like she was a magnet for narcs.

Even though it would be nice to know the area where the least narcissists live, the statistics are probably changing all the time. A better solution might be to recognize narcissists for who he is—which is a desperate person living with a survivor of the fittest mentality.

We all act selfish at times, but we are not all toxic enough to be defined as narcissists. Narcissism is on a scale. If you think of it like a measuring stick, the first few millimeters are about healthy self-care. Healthy people realize it is not selfish to take care of our own needs first. Only by taking care of ourselves first can we have anything to give to others.


As we cross to the other side if the measuring stick we find toxic and malignant narcissism. Toxic parents are parents who do not care for their children—young or grown—but merely use them to push their own needs and agenda onto them.

The term adult child—people who were once children dealing with adult problems came about because these parents failed in some way to provide, protect or nurture their children in some way. While many parents have regrets, the toxic narcissistic parent has no empathy for their child regardless of any pain they caused them.

The book the Empathy Trap explains how narcissists target empathetic people and how some family members enable the narc because they are apathetic to the abuse of others. An empathetic child raised by narcissistic parents can become a target for marrying a narcissist because the parent has used the child’s natural empathy and groomed them to provide them with narcissistic feed. As they grow out of the family home they automatically look for someone to save or fix—and usually such marriages end badly.

To be safe from narcissists, it takes two important steps—the first step to is to recognize a narcissist and the second is to keep good boundaries to keep one from sucking you into a situation that might drain you.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you meet someone new—

Do they talk only about what they are interested in?
Are they arrogant and full of self?
Do they have a victim mentality?
Do they feel they can break the law?
Do they refuse to take ownership of their choices?
Are they willing to lie to save their own reputation?
Are they willing to throw someone else under the bus to protect self?
Do they want revenge whenever someone crosses them?
Do they use their children or spouse?
These traits do not guarantee this person is a narcissist, but they are red flags.

The second step is to protect your boundaries. Here are a few tips—

Can you be responsible for your own choices?
Can you can say no?
Can you stop apologizing?
Can you stop trying win love by working for it?
Can you stop giving up who you are for others?
Can you finally value yourself as much as you value others?
Can you do self-care without others reminding you?
Can you stop co-dependently giving away all you time, money and energy?

If you can answer yes to most of these, you can live anywhere because the boundaries are finally set in your head and you are good to go.

Art 101 Week Three

23 Jun

So this is my post for week three of the Art 101 challenge. I am reminded of my Art History teacher who told us that not even the masters had a bell ringer every time they painted and painting is process and you never know what will transpire so we are on a hunt when we paint.

I told some of you I was going to try something new this week, but I consulted with some friends and discovered my project will end up being twice as long. So I want to do that project properly so I will have to surprised you before the 101 days are over. Can you believe we are already a quarter of the way through?

I love memes and I tried my hand at making a couple with mixed results. I found if you are going to use letters it’s very important to measure out the length of the word before you start otherwise you might find yourself scrambling to find letters that fit. I have several sizes and none seemed perfect, but oh well here are the memes.

Day 15–Healthy-WM

Day 16–


Day 17– I guess I got out of control with the sunflowers, but I was not really thrilled with this one. Ha! Glad I got that one out of my system–just one less ugly painting for the future!


For day 18– I revisited a favorite theme of survivor girl art



Despite all the crazy things I’ve tried, I’m glad I am doing this challenge because I might never have done my series of seven Little Red Survivor Wisdom Art. So here are the final three. Although I am not saying I’ll never revisit this idea in the future.






That was week three! Thanks for stopping by! For those in this Art 101 Challenge remember you don’t have to do them all each day if this week is rough, give yourself a break and catch up when you are inspired even if it is later.

One thing I am trying to keep in mind is what one of my favorite artists, Kelly Rae Roberts tells us in her online class–“Pick colors and paper and topics–whatever delights you.” That’s why she calls it unleashing your joy. Whenever we do art, let’s unleash our joy!


21 Jun Shine-1000-WM

To be yourself
in a world that is constantly trying
to make you something else
is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the hardest things to do if you grew up in an enmeshed family is be yourself. Sometimes it seems like everybody is working against you – the parents, the relatives, the teachers, the Christians and everyone who feels a need to tell you how to live your life. Opinions are abundant, but true God-given advice is in short supply. The truth is unless you learn to follow your own true North and listen to the voice of God’s Spirit inside of you, you will never be able to shine.

Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish. -John Jakes

Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish. -John Jakes

Here are five tips on how to shine—

1. Be Yourself
Ask God to show you who you are and ask Him to reveal what you can do to. Keep in mind God doesn’t make our choices —He gives us many opportunities and we get to choose.

2. Practice Good Boundaries
Boundaries reveal the lines drawn between you and other people. This is important because the only way we can truly shine is to separate ourselves from other people. This does not require being divided from other people, but knowing where we begin and others end. Sometimes we grow up in a family where others try to foist their ideas on us. Boundaries help us define who we are.

3. Explore What Makes You Come Alive
Is it music, art, dancing, writing or maybe even care-taking. Whatever makes you feel alive and gives you satisfaction.  Whatever puts a spring in your step and a song in your heart—that’s a clue it might be your calling.

4. Ignore the Critics
There will always be people who think you should do something different than you’re already doing. Some people want us to fit into their dreams and their schemes, but God has called us to be ourselves not extensions of our parents or teachers. Once you know what motivates you, it is time to let go of what the critics say.

5. Live Wholeheartedly
God has not asked us to live mediocre lives. God has not asked us to live out our parents’ dreams. God has not asked us to do servile work that doesn’t bring joy to our hearts. God has called us to serve in love and to do what we love—but only once we put these two together are we able to truly shine.

The place God calls you to is the place
where your deep gladness
and the world’s deep hunger meet.
-Frederick Buechner

What Happens in Childhood, Never Stays in Childhood

18 Jun Little-Red-Brave-WM

Becoming brave is a lifelong process. When a child is beaten until they have bruises, it’s hard to be brave. When you’re a teenager and your parents ignore your social and emotional needs, it leaves bruises on your heart. Even as adults, we often suffer from the pain of our past because unless we have processed what happened, the past continues to affect our future. The other day I heard someone say we don’t need to remember our childhood, but the truth is what happens in childhood, never stays in childhood.

My friend Darcy was beaten and belittled as a child. By the time Darcy grew up, she had very little self-esteem. Her first boyfriend turned out to be a womanizer and a drunk. One night he grabbed her hair and beat her face into the floorboard until both of her eyes were so swollen she could barely see out of them.

Even after this happened, Darcy saw no reason to report him or to leave him. Like the frog that had adjusted to cool water until it began to boil, she had begun to accept physical and verbal abuse at an early age and she was unable to recognize her situation for what it was.


In Christian circles we often hear a saying “forgive and forget.” People who use this term are quick to point out how Jesus told us to forgive seventy times seven. This is true, but Jesus never told us to go back and ask for more abuse. What these people also forget is Jesus never told us to forget. If we really want to know what God’s word is on forgetting, then we need to go all the way back to creation.

The Bible says by the Word of the Lord were the heavens made and this includes in all creation—even the human body. A major part of the human body is the brain. When God’s Word spoke at creation, He gave us a brain to remember the past. This shows us that remembering is absolutely God ordained.

Forgiving brings healing, but so does remembering. As a matter of fact, we actually we need to remember before we can forgive in the first place. This doesn’t mean we should hold grudges, keep petty lists or sulk over the past, but remembering the past is a key to finding redemption for our suffering.

Consider someone who has amnesia and wakes up every day to burn their hand on the stove again because they can’t remember they burned their hand yesterday. This would not be a very healthy situation. This is why God gave us a brain–it is not His plan for us to allow ourselves to be abused over and over again.

Darcy accepted abuse she didn’t deserve. The abuse we experience in childhood can affect what we put up with in our relationships in adulthood, so it’s very important for us to learn from these lessons. To be brave as an adult might include remembering our childhood so we can build a healthier future. You might think it doesn’t matter, but what happens in childhood, never stays in childhood.

Forgive Your Self This Father’s Day

14 Jun

Note: If you have a great relationship with your father, you can skip over this post. I am writing this for the people who wish they had a father who cares.

A lot of people on the survivor forums are struggling this week because they feel guilty for not sending a Father’s Day card, but I don’t believe such a formality can fix a relationship that resembles a black hole. Most ACoNs* are empathetic and a narcissist by the very definition is not other-centered enough to care what their hurting children think.

Every relationship is a two way street and if your father abandoned you physically as a child or emotionally as an adult, you should not feel guilty when he puts nothing into the relationship. Loving fathers take an interest in their adult children’s lives.

When Zoe discovered her father had nothing to say to her unless she continued the narcissistic feed to do his bidding and to give him money, she was heartbroken. She loved her father and she had often imagined he loved her, but the truth was in his actions. He lied about her, manipulated her and talked about her to the rest of the family. If he was not her father, she would have run the other way years ago.

photo (20)

God never intended for us to grovel for love from our parents. God’s plan was for parents to represent God’s other centered love to their children instead of ruling over them with a belt or mind control. God designed parents to provide and nurture children until they grow up. Then the plan was for them to have an adult relationship of mutual respect. Most narcissistic parents cannot make this transition and continue to see their children (and their children’s resources) as things to control.

So if your father isn’t speaking to you because you told the truth, if your father lies about you to the rest of the family, if your father still manipulates you into his schemes or shuns you completely, please do yourself and your father a favor by NOT sending a card.

To refuse to send a card doesn’t mean you don’t forgive him. To not send a card doesn’t mean you don’t care. To not send a card doesn’t mean you have given up on the relationship. It simply means you are no longer playing a game of charades with your father. To send a card is to play a game of pretend and it’s time to stop pretending like the relationship is okay when it’s not. It is only by addressing the truth that you and your father can be set free to have a healthy relationship–if that is even possible.

Chances are, he will go on doing what he has always done and you will learn to let go of needing what he can’t give. When you realize this relationship should be going both ways, you can relax and stop feeling guilty for not trying to meet his needs for once.

PS We can still forgive them even when they won’t say sorry.

*ACoN-Adult Children of Narcissists

I’ve posted this song the other day, but in case you missed it and you find yourself wishing for a father who cares, there is always hope in God.


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