This final page in my first art journal turned out to be an experience in persisting through disappointment – and simply being with it.

I think that’s why I find painting and creating such an effective way to meditate. As my hands work and the textures flow, I find it easier to watch thoughts cross my mind and sensations in my body, stories and things I say to myself. “You’ve stuffed up” or “you’ve ruined it” and “you just don’t know when to leave a good thing alone”. 

I want to receive those judgements gently. Welcome them even, as attempts by some part of myself to try to warn or teach. And I can choose compassion and persistence and open-mindedness. It’s only paint. It’s only paper. It’s only time. This is my time for relaxation and adventure. I learn by doing.

The picture above unfolded like this …

Driving home after dinner with my kids, we noticed the full moon in the sky. I wanted to get that down as a base, making the most of the black plastic inner cover of the art journal. I used ink pastels for that side. 

The other side had already been primed with gel medium, after I glued on a page from a jotting I made while having an early morning walk & coffee a few weeks ago. I scribbled ink pastels over that too. I was okay with this part being “messy” as I told myself it wasn’t the final part. 


Now for the adventure. What colours in the palette? I’ve been working with just primary colours and then mixing those. Tonight, I wanted to work with derivations of yellow.


Then came the next layer. And I got pretty attached to it, especially the left hand side.


As I worked, I mixed some of the colours together in the palette:


My learning from this experience is that I wish I had gone away and done something else while this layer dried, before I created an image over the top. Yay for regret. Learning. Truth be told, the cat had visited the litter tray and I was hoping to put off that task for a while. Hey it was late at night, I was tired and the tray was smelly okay. Anyway, the price was that the next layer of paint became pretty mixed in together and beige.

It took some more layering, scraping back, and I added some white and pink. I was about to go to bed dissatisfied and yet content to be with that feeling. It’s all part of learning and creating. Then I noticed the box of flowers on our bench. A gift from some wonderful women at work. Thank you. The bouquet had dried out, ready to toss. However the little pink flowers were there, and some vibrant petals. Hey, why not. I scattered the tiny flowers and leaves on, then stuck petals down. Over the top went some fixative.

Finally, in the morning, I added a little bit of crayon.

I like the texture of the inner cover – the buttery pink and white strokes, and the images made by the lines.


I also like having this page as a lesson – walk away! Let the paint dry before you add another layer. Maybe that’s why artists like to have multiple canvases on the go sometimes …

What lessons have you treasured in your art journal?