Journaling through grief

Journaling is a common activity therapists, doctors, family and friends suggest when going through loss or grief, not because it makes the pain go away, but because it releases the pressure that builds beneath the surface.

The words you write won’t take away the pain, but they will offer you acknowledgement in a time when anything else is inadequate.

The words won’t be perfect. They may even be ugly and a bit scary, but they hold the power to comfort in a time where nothing can make it right.

Your words are your story, and they deserve to be heard, even if only by you.

I wrote all about each of these steps in this post.

Wade through uncertainty

Being creative comes with an enormous amount of uncertainty.

We get ideas as we create about adding a new color or exploring a new technique but it’s the fear of messing the piece up that holds us back.

What if we gave it a shot and it was the very thing that took our piece from good too great?

What if we gave it a shot and it ruined the piece or we have to do extra work to fix it?

Both of those what if’s bring us to a better place. Those moments of uncertainty are pushing us to be better, even when the thing we tried doesn’t work. We would never know how it looked if we didn’t try.

Wading through uncertainty, and pushing ourselves through the uncomfortable, is all a part of being a creative!

Art After Loss Workshop

The Art After Loss Workshop was created out of my own journey through loss after we lost our baby boy when I was 25 weeks pregnant.

Our Noah’s little feet prints

Art After Loss is modeled after the steps I took to work through my loss, so you’ll take similar steps, but your journey will be a personal one.

Each lesson is offering you a way to express yourself with art. It’s not about creating something that looks just like mine. It’s not about perfection or doing it right.

I’m not a therapist, just an artist who used creative expression as a way to explore emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with grief, and give myself permission to do and say whatever came out.

The lessons are structured in how I implemented them in my own journey, but please feel free to jump around. Start where you feel the most drawn to.

Lesson 1 will focus on journaling

Lesson 2 we’ll explore collage journaling

Lesson 3 brings in acrylic paints as a way of expressing your grief

Lesson 4 we’ll get messy with chalk pastels as we venture outside

Lesson 5 we’ll create field notebooks with watercolor and ink. Here I’ll take you exploring the Oregon Coast and then hiking in the coastal mountains as we work through old fears.

Art After Loss Class

I offer this class on Skillshare, but I’m now offering this class through my website. You will be given a password and life-time access to the class page where you’ll have text to read along side the video lessons and downloads.

The benefit of purchasing the class through my website is any changes I make to the class page, or updated video lessons will be made live here only.

It is my goal to make all my classes & workshops affordable to anyone and easy to watch and incorporate into your day.

Feeling Burnt Out? How to Reignite Your Creativity

What is Creative Burnout?

Burnout at it’s core is exhaustion. Whether that’s an emotional, mental or physical exhaustion it all plays into the burnt out feeling. But what causes the burnout? For me, it typically follows prolonged stress, intense self-doubt, feeling stick in a rut or struggling to manage an unmanageable workload.

It’s rarely just one thing, it’s usually a combination of many things feeling way to intense and no real answers or solutions showing themselves.

Exhaustion = Burnout

When experiencing Creative Burnout there are three ways I use to reignite my Creative

1 – REST

Coming out of a burnout isn’t always easy but it can be done. Burnout does require a time of rest…whether physical rest or mental rest.

The number one thing to do when experiencing burnout is to give yourself permission to REST.

That means to slow down, take long walks in the sunshine, veg out with your family and watching trash TV, or take long naps.

Rest, however, does not mean you hide away. On the contrary, rest means to stop the craziness but not to stop and hibernate away from the world.

2 – Feed Your Creativity

Doing something creative actually provides a spark that can bring you out of burnout. It seems counterintuitive since your burnout stemmed from your creative practice in the first place. My suggestion isn’t to pick up where you were when the burnout happened, what I encourage you to do is try something brand new.

Take a class

Search out classes on topics or mediums you have never tried. Take a class on the business side of things or find something way off from your normal, like Album Cover Design or Embroidery. Trying something new can create new ideas in your own work.

Share your craft with your kids, niece/nephew, or grandmother

If you haven’t tried teaching a child to watercolor, draw or even collage…you’re missing out. Kids are so free and fearless. They try new things and can be so bold with their choices it never ceases to amaze me how excited I am to get back to my own work after creating with kids.

3 – Try adding a new medium

Adding a new medium to your current style forces you to relearn your process and try new things to incorporate the new medium.

Try adding ink, pastels to your watercolors. Add watercolor and gouache together.

What if you added pastels or charcoal to acrylic paint?

Make marks with your current medium of choice…scan in the marks and play with them digitally.

If you’re a digital artist and feeling uninspired, print out your work and tear them into pieces and try collaging or art journaling.

Be Inspired by others

I suggest thing with a warning label. Looking to other creatives for inspiration or even distraction should be done when you are in the right head space. If you do this to early, you may do more harm then good. If you are at the place where other creatives work inspires you, gives you new ideas and insight into your process then go for it, but only when you are no longer feeling the overwhelming self-doubt that brought on the burnout in the first place.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on

I’d love to hear how you deal with burnout and what suggestions you’d add to the list.

Creative Palette-Find My Hear Background

This weeks Creative Palette is from my “Find My Heart” Digital Mixed Media Graphic Art Illustration.

“Find My Heart” Mixed Media Graphic Art

If you’re interested in learning how to create backgrounds like this yourself or how to use them in graphic art illustrations, check out my latest Skillshare Class.

Creative Palette-Alone Background

This weeks Creative Palette is from my “Alone” Digital Mixed Media Graphic Art Illustration.

“Alone” Mixed Media Graphic Art

If you’re interested in learning how to create backgrounds like this yourself or how to use them in graphic art illustrations, check out my latest Skillshare Class.

Graphic Art Background Tutorial – Adobe Fresco

Creating a graphic art background in Adobe Fresco is the first step to creating my mixed media graphic art illustrations, but they also become art pieces in themselves.

Layer One ~

With the Live Oil Brushes paint in the background. This is a intuitive process…so there is no right or wrong way to lay down the color. I select a color palette I want to use and then apply the color across the page.

For this first layer I used the OilPaint Chunky brush size 512 with paint mix set to 30.

Layer Two ~

This is the fun part…play around with the pixel brushes that come with Adobe Fresco. Kyle T. Webster has created amazing brushes that are accessible through Adobe’s site.

Here I used the Chipper 1 brushes from Kyle’s Concept brushes. Blending Mode set to Overlay with 40% Opacity.

Color HSB 104/12/91

Layer Three ~

Brush: Tighty Line-y / Blending mode: Hard Light / Opacity: 71%

Color HSB 303/20/67

Layer Four ~

Brush: Drip / Blending mode: Overlay / Opacity: 21%

Color HSB (blue) 241/63/36 (yellow) 34/47/96

Layer Five ~

Brush: Downpour 1 (Kyle’s Concept Brushes) / Blending Mode: Pin Light / Opacity: 100%

Color HSB 34/47/96

Layer Six ~

Brush: Kyle’s Stonecutter / Blending Mode: Overlay / Opacity: 100%

Color HSB 240/57/29

Layer Seven ~

Brush: Daisy Chain Square / Blending Mode: Soft Light / Opacity: 100%

Color: White

Layer Eight ~

Brush: Splish Splash Variant / Blending Mode: Multiple / Opacity: 100%

Color HSB 304/79/35

Layer Nine ~

Brush: Pollock CD / Blending Mode: Color Dodge / Opacity: 83%

Color HSB 86/24/64

Want to learn more about Adobe Fresco or about adding the silhouette to complete these illustrations, jump over to Skillshare to take my latest class “Digital Mixed Media Graphic Art – Adobe Fresco”

Creative Palette – She Found Herself Background

For my Digital Mixed Media Graphic Art Skillshare class I created a ton of backgrounds so I could use them in my lessons. I thought it would be fun to share the color palette’s with you in what I’m calling “Creative Palette”.

This background became the jumping off point for my illustration “She Found Herself”.

“She Found Herself” Mixed Media Graphic Art

If you’re interested in learning how to create backgrounds like this yourself or how to use them in graphic art illustrations, check out my latest Skillshare Class.

Which song will you sing? Finding the passion that drives you

Each creative must actively wade through the uncertainty that comes with the very act of creating. Whether creating art, music, or the written word…each must explore, question, play and experiment with their subjects and voice in order to find where they sit comfortably and authentically as a creative person.

Creatives can’t sit by and wait for inspiration or even motivation to bite them in the rear-end and compel them to sit into action. Passion is the driving force.

Creatives must find mentors…people who encourage, guide and inspire them to push outside their comfort zone. These people will be doing things that inspire and motivate. These people may be living the life you want. They may be fiercely fighting for a cause they are passionate about. They may be driven to get up each day and forge ahead when the odds are stacked against them. These may be people who refuse to accept less than what they desire.

Thoreau wrote “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” 

I don’t want to that person. I don’t want to go to my grave with my “song”…my voice…still silent inside of me.

What about you? Are you going to be a person who lives a life of quiet desperation? Or sing your song at the top of your lungs?