Working Backwards – thoughts on painting in the negative

{prompts for this week are further down the page. keep reading ;}

Typically as I work on a painting or journal page, I am thinking about how I can turn something negative in my life into something more positive. I begin with a thought, a feeling, a word, and I embellish draw, paint and change that negativity into a positive healing process. 

This is what I teach my intuitive painting students, and this is how I like to process life.

For instance, I will take a word like lonely, paint it in big bold letters in the center of my canvas, turn on some awesome music – then go to town! I work from a place of darkness into the light. Taking a word that has made me feel other than into a place of acceptance, love, healing, gratitude and joy. The changing feelings and impressions that occur in the process of creation can be so healing for me.

Emotionally. Physically. Relationally.

It is how I love to see my work transform.  I watch as it progresses from a place that I don’t like, one I’m unsure about or really struggling with, into what I desire to be, or feel emotionally. It has, I must say, served me well.

But this week we are going to approach this process from a different perspective to learn something more about ourselves. Because hey, we are in discovery mode! Whether you are working small or large, colorful or with a limited palette, discovery is all about immersing ourselves in the process.

When God created the universe, He was right down in it.

“and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” gen 1:2

or as the message version quips:

“God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.”

This particular version gives me the impression that He was really sweating the small stuff.  He wanted something beautiful that He could be proud of – after all, God is perfection. He was there when everything was chaotic. When it was ugly and unrecognizable. And He stayed with the process, He didn’t give up as the changing facets of creation morphed and became something immensely beautiful to Him. (Sounds a lot like me in the beginning stages of a painting!)

Instead of giving up in the ugly stages of creation (cuz you gotta know they totally were there), He stuck with the plan. He worked the clay until it yielded to His touch and His will, creating a beautiful, unparalleled masterpiece.

Those must have been some of the most stressful 7 days – EVER! (Just my humble thoughts for sure)

…and it was beautiful

“It is good” He said

This is our own desire right, to create something beautiful, something good? Sometimes you just have to go through some real ugliness to achieve that goal. Don’t get stressed. Don’t give up. Work that clay until something beautiful emerges.

So this week, here is what I would like you to do:


Paint your page (or whatever you may be working on) with swaths of color. You can block them in or just brush random wide strokes filling the area with as much color as you like. let it dry.


Using contrasting paint or gel pens, in each of the blocks of color create a pattern within that area. For instance if the block is black, use white or some other light color and fill it with dots. Choose whatever contrasting or complimentary color you like but stay within that space.  Vary your colors and marks from block to block.


Now choose a color that you haven’t already used, and a mark that you particularly like (mine is a circle) and create a larger pattern that migrates over a few of the blocks, unifying them with the mark. Put it in a few places around the whole surface to create continutity.


Using your view finder, or fingers shaped like a square, identify areas of pattern or color overlap that you like. Take a mental note. Now….squint your eyes at the picture as a whole. Do you see any emerging patterns? A face, animal, object? Look for possibilities in the brushstrokes. Maybe the colors melded in a particular area, and with the marks made on top you see a kitten looking back at you. This is what your picture wants to be. Look for houses, planes, birds, dogs, teacups.  It’s really up to you how you choose to see things.

Taking a charcoal pencil, lightly sketch some loose lines encapsulating the image you see. Then let it rest. Tomorrow comes the negative painting.


To finish off your painting this week, I want you to paint all of the areas that are outside of the image that you drew yesterday. This is called negative painting. Let your brush be loose as you block it all in with color, not worrying if the lines are straight or if it creates a great likeness. Letting go and letting something new emerge is the goal here.

You can choose a solid color like black or white, or you may choose to use a blending of colors that are similar to block it in.  Whatever you choose, it should be calmer than what is inside.  After you get that done, go in with some black or white and do some line work to further define your image.

Now step back

What did you see?

The emerging patterns that we find in an otherwise chaotic surface can tell us a bit about who we are, what we like.  I tend to see florals in most of what I do. It is just how I roll. I can see blooming beauties where others only see mess. Maybe that is my gift, to see what others can’t see. But this can be your gift too. Sometimes it is just a matter of developing it. 

Flowers can be symbolic of growth, inner beauty, emergence, and God’s provision (for He clothes the flowers of the field)

Finding the symbolism in what you most often see where others don’t, will give you a bit of insight into your inner self. Through this exercise, I see myself as a see-er of inner strength and beauty in the world around me and it increases my faith knowing that my God sees me and clothes me with beautiful color and gifts, true provisions for my life.

What did you SEE this week? Do you need help finding its symbolism?  I would be very happy to assist you in this. Leave a comment and I will help you to unveil a bit of your inner-self.

I would love to see what you created. Post to instagram using #creativefaith  #CP4aCL and #52project

Happy Creating my friends!

I am…. on finding yourself

So, I find myself apologizing a lot lately.  When did life get so busy?

But know, my friends, that I have not forgotten you. You have been on my mind and my heart as I pondered what this week’s prompts would look like. Being a year of discovery for me…discovering wonder… I’d like to encourage you too in discovering something about yourself this week. Maybe it is something that you’ve always known about you, but have not walked in that reality.  Maybe it is something new that the process of creating is making you realize just now.

…or just maybe you are exactly who you have always wanted to be and you wouldn’t change a thing.

If that is you I say – Kudos on your self-actualization!

For the majority of us, that sadly is not the case, but we’d all like to be there, yes?

So do a bit of soul searching.

*Pick a trait that you like about you….then find a new way to say it.

For instance, today I am feeling spirited and cheerful.  There is a Scottish word that describes this feeling (it actually came to my inbox this morning via word of the day J) it is:


What a lovely way to describe that feeling, that cheerful spirit that I would love to maintain throughout all of my days!

Once you have found your word, I want you to build this week’s page around it. (Are you still working small?  Maybe in that really cute playing card journal we created for 2018?) Instead of giving you a new thing to do to your journal page each day – hey, it’s already Wednesday Yo – Do this:

  1. Find a symbol that correlates with the trait you’ve chosen and make that symbol the focus of your project.

Mine will be a heart. Maybe you are feeling introspective- to me that is looking in, finding the center or the spirit within. In that case, you symbol may be a dove for spirit, or a circle in the center with everything else radiating out from that. Whatever you choose as your symbol isn’t as important as the meaning behind it. It should describe how you feel about you. Whether someone else understands it is neither here nor there.

  1. Choose colors that accentuate the mood of your piece (and don’t forget to include some contrast)

I’m going to use pinks and purples and lean into some of the warmer blues. Then as a contrast I think a bit of yellow or orange?

  1. Finally, find a way to incorporate your word.

It doesn’t have to be the whole word. My symbol is a heart, for from the heart comes the cheerful nature. Within my heart I believe I will place the rest of the word – some. For someone looking at it without any additional information, they most likely won’t get it. But that’s ok.  This is about personal discovery and finding your mojo.

Discovering something about yourself can take time.  There are so many labels we put on ourselves based on what the world around us expects us to be. Mother, wife, friend, daughter, son, teacher, husband, caregiver, breadwinner, encourager… and there are so many more. Let go of that for now.  Discover something that you like about you, something that comes with no expectations or limits beyond the ones you want to give yourself.  And then when you discover them…let them go.

Throw up your hands heavenward and release it all.

Yes- I mean ACTUALLY do that.  The act of letting go is the first step in finding the creative spirit within.  If you can’t empty yourself of all those things that clog your thoughts, how will you ever have room for something new?

Let. It. Go.

Then once it is gone….fill it back up

With art

With creativity

With discovery

Till Monday! ~L

What I have been up to this week:

So, this is what has been consuming my brain – technology!  Sorry to say, I’m old.  It takes me a bit of time to figure things out, especially when it comes to stuff related to my computer.

I’ve been working on my etsy shop, (Lisaellen studio art) setting up a studio blow out sale, cuz hey – girl needs more room! I’ve finally loaded most of what I have hanging around in there, and I am offering 40% till the end of January.

Being that I was so lax this week in getting your prompts to you, I would like to offer you – my blog readers, an extra 10% off. There are journals, boxes and tiles with some of my art work to encourage your heart and creative soul. Are you still looking for a journal to work in this year? Perfect place to find one 😉

The 40% off is store wide and the pricing already reflects that, but for the extra 10%, use the coupon code JANEXTRA10 at checkout and the pricing will update.

As always, domestic shipping is free. If you are international, shoot me an email and I will look into what those costs will be for you ( I would be happy to reduce them a bit 🙂

Prayers for a creative 2018! L


Friday's prompt has been added! see the bottom of the page :)This is the last for this week ~ have fun creating!

2018 is getting me – ALREADY!

Despite all of my preparations, organization, inspiration and all of the other ‘tions’ possible….I just can’t seem to get motivated to start.  Maybe it is the weather? -27F can certainly freeze you in your tracks.

But I don’t think that is it.

I feel – at the beginning of this New Year – like I am having an identity crisis.

My word for 2018 is Wonder.

I fully anticipated spending each day discovering something new, something that would make me say wow, or inspire an awe that would rob me of speech altogether.  But here I am….


You see, there are more definitions for the word wonder than what I thought I would experience. According to Webster’s dictionary, wonder inspires words like:

  • Admiration
  • Astonishment
  • Marvel
  • Miracle
  • Amazed….

But it says also: a feeling of doubt or uncertainty.

…and if I’m honest, this fits.  It explains what I am feeling, the emptiness of purpose that I am feeling.

Have you ever been there?  

Maybe you are there now.

So I turned to the one who always sets me back on the right path. The one who knows me, knows the beginning from the end, and loves me too much to let me stay in my wondering. The Master Creator.

My morning prayer felt more like a plea for a lifeline. “Send me something, anything!”

…and He did

He sent me you!

YOU are my purpose

YOU are my inspiration

YOU are my encouragement.

and I feel like I’ve been kicked back into play. No sitting on the bench today, for there are things to do, posts to write, classes to prepare for, and art to create.

If you are feeling at all like I am:

Trying to decide who you are creatively

Searching for the inspiration to unfold your becoming

Stumbling through the creative process and wondering if this is really for you


You’ve come to the right place!  Let’s discover together

This week we will create the first page in our 1word journal made from a deck of cards that we put together last week (did you miss it? Read it here)

This first of many will:

  • explore how you see yourself
  • give purpose to your process
  • and help to answer the question: Who am I creatively?


Create a background using your favorite color and any medium of your choice.

Only one, mind you. White and black are freebies and can be blended with your 1 color to create lighter and darker shades. Or if you prefer, you can make it a collage of paper that has different variations of that 1 color. Create a random patterned background with whichever medium you choose to use. Don’t think too much about it, just choose what you are drawn to.

Discovering this favorite color is a peek into who you are and what you are like, creatively speaking.  If you are unsure about what your favorite color is, take a look at your wardrobe, home decor, or the kind of art that you love from other people. Are there any consistencies? Look for repeat colors, the ones you seem to choose over and over, no matter the context.

Even if you think you like all colors, there is always one that makes a more consistent appearance. Finding it may help you to sort through your creative tendencies and put you on the path of creating a body of work that shines with your personality.

Do some test pages first, if you like.  Sometimes we think we know what is going to make us happy creatively, only to find out later that we were completely off base.  Exploring different options is absolutely fine, even encouraged, and taking risks with color can produce amazing results.  But for today, let’s discover what we really LOVE.


WORD- proclaim it!

My kids went through a young teenage phase where they would say “word!” whenever they thought something was true or relevant to the conversation.  It used to make me laugh. The kid-isms that they would come up with were imaginative and catchy…although I don’t believe they came up with this particular slang.

I especially liked when they would say it because they thought that something I said should be shouted from the rooftop. Like a proclamation.

So that is what I want you to do today –Proclaim your intention from the pages of your journal

I don’t necessarily mean simply writing the word on your page. You could – but maybe try one of these instead:

  • Paste in an image that represents how that word makes you feel. The emotion inside of it. Photos are great for this….magazine pictures too. It doesn’t even need to be evident to anyone but you. After all, this is your journal, your intention. Make it personal.  You never have to show it to another person.  Maybe you desire a becoming. Butterflies are a great symbol of transformation, or possibly a cocoon to show that you are in the process.
  • A list of definitions or other words that are relevant to the way you have chosen to use it this year, would be a great reminder to assist in solidifying your intention. If your word was dwell, you might insert things like: rest in His presence, or covered by his wings. Maybe it is something as simple as Home…for that is the place that we go to rest, our dwelling. Be creative in how you choose your reminders, they should invoke a personal reflection.
  • Come up with a short phrase that would set your word into motion, changing it from a noun into a verb. For instance if your word is love, a deep affection for something, give it movement by making it a verb: Love Deeply. Here you are taking something you feel and making it something you want to do.
  • Another way to explore those depths of the soul is to free write your thoughts and feelings. How does the background color make you feel? Why did you choose the color, or word you did?  What would you like to see happen this year as you stretch those creative wings of yours? Fill up the page. Be authentic. This is your year to move into who you were created to be, and to discover the art you were born to create.

Expanding on the thoughts behind our intentions; our words, will help us to explore deeper what is in our hearts.  This is one more step in figuring out who we are or want to be, and when it comes to creativity, the greatest and most impactful art comes from that deep place of emotion and intention.

Explore the depths of who you are, and take that next step toward your goal.


Make marks that make you happy

Simple random acts– mark making can be a great expression for inexpressible things.  Keeping it simple will help you to work intuitively, not overthinking the process or forcing yourself to be something you aren’t. I remember a time in school when the teacher was droning on. Head resting on palm, I did everything I could to look interested and like I was busily taking notes.

But I wasn’t

Doodles filled the margins of my pages.  Not complete works of art mind you.  I would exactly frame those doodles.  They were random and simple. Circles, scrollwork, lines….whatever came out. Like color, shapes and your affinity for them can give a bit of insight into your personality.

Sit for a bit and do some mindless doodling. What shape did you scribble most often? Use that shape to create a pattern on your page. Use  just one….or 50! Your choice.

What could this mark possibly say about you?

I took a quiz to see what shape best describes my personality, and this is what I discovered about myself:

There is no other shape that represents you as well as the triangle! This mystical, magical shape is present in artwork, spirituality and nature and is a culmination of the divine! You are in touch with yourself and have the ability to find beauty in the mundane! Like the seasons, you are an ever changing being with the potential to create harmony and understanding among those closest to you!

[Want to discover your own personality shape?  Check the quiz out here]

While this is a bit backward from what we ultimately want to do (after all, the intuitive doodle should come first) discovering this about my personality gave me permission to use this shape more in my art…after all, it is a part of me 😉

Doodling scribbles– try holding your pencil between the first finger and your thumb, and ¾ of the way down its shaft. You are looking for less control here.  You want the pencil to wobble a bit. Letting go of this control will help to let the unexpected come to light. Only when we push aside our expectations can we really discover what is in us.  The need to control is directly liked to fear.

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear to see who we really are

Let go!

You will be amazed at the YOU, you never expected to see.

What feels good? – Sometimes our fingers just want to be in motion. And for no other reason than it just feels good. I find that circles are the easiest mindless activity.  In a world that wants you to be constantly mindful of everything (you job, your words, you home, your clothes…you get the idea) sometimes you just need to be mindless.  …in a low impact setting for sure.  And what has less impact in your life than your art journal? In fact it is the perfect place to explore your thoughts, desires and intentions without subjecting them to others….until you are ready to that is J

Have fun exploring this side of who you are. Pay attention to what feels right through the simple act of mark making and move one step closer to your creative self.


Add contrast to your original color

Giving your artwork a pop of color, especially when you have initially limited your palette, will draw the eye and can even give attention to a particular point you want to get across to the viewer. When something stands out against a background of consistent color, the eye is drawn to that place giving the artist an opportunity to make a statement. What do you want them to see? Is it an intention of heart? A proclamation for life? What is your message within the art you create? Using pops of color will grab their attention giving you an opportunity to tell them who you are…or tell yourself even.

Opposites attract:

My husband and I are nothing alike.  O, we agree on many things now after 22 years of marriage, but when we were in a fledgling relationship we had nothing in common. He liked to ride bikes, I was more of a hiker. He enjoyed spicy foods and I did not. He liked headbanger music and I was a punkrocker. How we ever managed to fall in love is beyond me.

But maybe it was contrast in our personalities that brought out things in ourselves we never expected.  Maybe it was just what we needed to balance an otherwise one-sided life.

Color can be like that. 

Contrast adds salt to an otherwise dull story:

lf you fill your canvas/paper with all of the same color family, it may look initially nice primarily because you like that color.  But as the piece moves forward you will find that color that you liked in the beginning has lost some of it zip. For instance, I love robin’s egg blue. But if I fill a page with it, even adding slight variations of that color, I may still love the color, and it might even look very pretty ….but something will be missing. The color will be flat and maybe even a bit mundane.

Now this could totally be my opinion, I have seen fabulous works of art done with a very limited palette. But even a picture created entirely of paynes grey will have some white in it to add contrast. Otherwise it would just be varying hues of grey. Like salting meat before you cook it, the flavors rise to the surface revealing something you would not have otherwise experienced.

Be complimentary, not garish:

Choosing from the opposite side of the color wheel of your primary color choice will almost guarantee that, even though they are completely different, they will complement each other. If your piece is primarily blue and green, for instance, choose a red or magenta in the same general tone. Adding this will excite the viewer, let them know that there is something unexpected there.

But use it sparingly!

If you add too much, you will negate that pop, and make it more of an explosion. Sometimes explosions are good, but they accomplish something very different within a painting. Think about what you want to say, the point you are trying to make on your page. Would a very small amount of a contrast color accomplish your goal?

Play with it. 

That is what creating in an art journal is all about. Give yourself permission to go too far, after all it is only paint – you can always cover it up!


Finding consistencies – look for them through your viewfinder

When my studio gets out-of-hand messy, I have a hard time being creative. I am directly inspired by my surroundings. The colors, the supplies, trinkets I’ve collected along the way, they all play an important role in taking me to that creative place. But if everything is out, splatted hari-kari across the tables, floors and shelving, my brain gets muddy.

Sometimes even when it is all put away I have difficulties.  There is just so much of it, and choosing can be hard. Limiting your palette is one of those things that will help this problem. Another is looking through a viewfinder.

A viewfinder is like a window into the soul of your art.

You can use just about anything to accomplish this.

  • A small frame
  • A small mat board
  • Your hands with finger forming a square

I especially like using two pieces of mat board cut into an L shape. They can be moved independently to increase or decrease the size of your square, allowing you to change the size of the area that you want to observe. This is especially helpful if you are crafting on a particularly large surface….or an unusually small one.

What you like

Move the viewfinder around your canvas, paper, or whatever piece you are working on.  Are there areas that make you say – “oooo, I love that!” Maybe it is the texture or the way two colors have combined.

Look for the patterns that you love and make a mental note. These are the place that you might want to isolate as you wrap up your creative piece.

What you don’t like

As you look for the areas you love, you will also find others that you do not. These are the places that you would cut completely out if you could. We all have those! Don’t fret over them, it is just part of the process, and as you seek for closure in this week’s mixed media project, those places will be expendable.

You need those places

They will be the areas of calming. When there is a lot going on within your creative “space”, a cleaning needs to take place. This is where the spirit of the painting emerges: as you bring the things you love to the forefront, and help the ones you don’t to recede.

What do you “see”

Quite often when I begin to paint, I do it with abandon – meaning I have no plan, just a free flowing process that brings out the joy of color, flow, marks, and just plain creating.

But then I need to rail it all in.

A certain chaos takes place in that creative abandon that can appear just plain busy. And sometimes busy is good. But what would happen if you chose just one area of focus? This is where that “seeing” comes in.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to “see” the spirit of the project:

  1. Is there an emerging pattern?

Squint your eyes and look around your piece. Do you see any flowers, animals, birds, butterflies, houses, people, etc…

  1. What 1 color could bring a calming effect to this chaos?

Choose maybe one that you used already. Using something that is already there will help you avoid more chaos. You will use this color to block out those areas that you didn’t like.

  1. How can I bring focus to this piece?

Some artwork just wants to be chaotic.  If this is the case, you will need some sort of focus so that the viewer (even if it is just you) will know where to look. Be intuitive. If your piece depicts the chaos in your life – maybe you could add in a solid image (either painted or collaged) of something that you believe will bring you peace.

Finishing up…

Here is where you put all of the answers to those questions into practice. If there is an image that you perceived within your colors and markings, use that 1 calming color to refine that suggestion. Paint (or draw) an outline around the image you saw and block out the rest (or at least some around the immediate area) of the painting with that one color.  You can blend in some variations of that color so that it doesn’t look flat, especially if it is a large area.

Implementing the ideas that we talked about this week will help you to discover more about yourself:

  • About the creative you are
  • How you like to work
  • The personality of your art
  • And ultimately the voice that you choose to express through your chosen creative medium.

Practice is vital

No one is going to be able to answer every question they have about themselves and their purpose without putting into practice the things they’ve learned. The techniques, processes and the exploration that comes from walking that path every day. Don’t expect immediate answers. It is a life time of discovery and an ever changing canvas that will shine the brightest light on your purpose.

It is a day by day treading through the difficult, the expressive, the inspired and wonder-filled, and sadly yes, also the mundane. These are all of the things that make up our colorful lives and create the canvas of who we are.

I pray that you choose to walk this creative path and discover something today about your creative-self, about your spirit-life, and about the things that make you who you are.


God bless and have a marvelous weekend! ~l


Next week we resume our daily creative prompts. They will continue to come out on Monday for the whole week. Do them all at once, or just a little bit of the process each day. Post them using #52project, #creativefaith, and #CP4aCL



Creating Wonder: finding your one word


If you have come over from a beautiful life, thank you so much for joining me here.  I hope you will be inspired to take a journey of discovery. If you have found us accidentally or are a creative faith follower and would like to read the ABL post that I wrote, you can find that here: One word, One journey, One life

I am so glad that you have decided to stop by. I treasure your virtual friendship and look forward to inspiring you in 2018! In my ABL post I talked about focus words, phrases or mantras. Here I am going to give you some ideas on how to discover YOUR word and how you can use it to redefine who you are and how you go about life. Now this is all from my perspective, and an important thing to remember is that not everyone is the same or sees things in a similar way.  I will try to keep my suggestions general so that you are able to take them and use them to fit into your 2018. As always, the Lord is your ultimate guide and all that you do points back to His greatness and love.

My posts typically are not this long, I value your time and appreciate your visit. But to start off the year, this topic of focus words is one that entire books can explore.  I will try to keep my commentary as brief as I think necessary to give you great perspective and a wonderful start to the new year and new you!

Finding your one word

How you go about finding your focus word, phrase, or mantra will be as individual as the personalities of the seekers. I can only tell you how I found mine and hope that by doing similar things, you may find yours as well.

Here are my top 3 techniques (for a lack of a better word)

  1. Listen:

There are several ways to listen. The first involves quiet and solitude, giving your spirit an opportunity to speak without all of the noise and confusion of life. This kind of listening seeks an inner voice, communication with the Spirit of God, and knowledge that surpasses anything you might otherwise think. God is often found in the tranquil, quiet moments and speaks with a still small voice. If you are running from one activity to another without so much as a thought of your own, how will you ever hear Him?

Another way to listen is picking out key words when hearing others speak such as during a message on Sunday, a video lesson, a conversation with friends, or even reading a book.  The word, when it is one that you should pay attention to, will leap off the page, out of the context in which it is spoken and become so prominent in your mind that you won’t be able to ignore it. Have you ever experienced a time when you kept hearing the same thing over and over from different sources? This is what I am talking about. Pay attention: It is obviously something you need to hear.  Sometimes it can be difficult when it isn’t something you want to hear, but really since when is life ever easy? If you listen, follow, and learn what you need to, you can maybe move on to something hopefully a bit more pleasant.

In my experience, God is more interested in your character than in your comfort

I once had the impression that I needed to slow down. Everything I tried to do fast, was thwarted. Cars blocked my way, plans fell through, projects turned out badly, accidents happened.  It wasn’t until I finally took a moment to tell myself to slow down, that things started to click into place.  I didn’t always see it heading out, but when I was intentional about going forward slowly, success found its way into my situations and I learned that fast isn’t the best way forward.


  1. Ask:

For guidance. I do this in my Morning Prayer time.  But maybe you aren’t a pray-er. Do you meditate? Take daily walks? Talk to the Creator of the Universe while you are driving down the road? This is a great time to turn off the radio, your phone, and any other distracting element and ask for wisdom in choosing the appropriate word for your situation. He sees the beginning to the end.  He knows what will take you to the best life possible. He loves you and wants only the best for you –

So ask

What should I focus on this year?

How would you like me to spend my time?

Where do you want me to make a change for the better?

If you seek…you will find!


  1. Visualize:

Sometimes I will have several words that I think will be great focus words for me, but one is really better in trying to accomplish change or experience discovery. I will write them all down on individual pieces of paper, then work on some visualization exercises to discover what I think may come from using that particular word.

Make a list of things you would like to see happen pertaining to that word.

Brainstorm all of the possible outcomes, both good and bad

Then choose the one you are most drawn to.

-We are all works in progress.  Sometimes there are many things we would like to do or work on. I call this creative ADD. My mind doesn’t like to choose just one thing because there are so many awesome options. But when I do too many, I often find myself spread thin. Too thin!  Can you relate?

Choose oneyour creative spirit will thank you!

Maybe you still don’t know where to begin or can’t decide on a word?

Maybe these exercises didn’t produce anything definitive?

Here are some possible one words:

  • Worship
  • Journey
  • Center
  • Strength
  • Creative
  • Gifts
  • Vision
  • Follow
  • Healthy
  • Focus
  • Spirit life
  • Prayer
  • Rest
  • Discover
  • Write
  • Travel

This list is by no means exhaustive, it is just some things I have considered in the past. Finding your one word may be as easy as just choosing and knowing instinctively what is missing in life and how you want to rectify it. That is why I included the above list.  Sometimes we just need some suggestions to get us going. The rest follows quickly.

Last year my word was CREATE.  I’ve always been creative, but renewing what I believe I had lost was an important step for me in moving forward in what I believe God has purposed me with. The whole year was trying out various creative avenues for sharing what I know and learning new things to explore what I was capable of.  Through this process I discovered what kind of a creative I was, my strengths, weaknesses, and how I thought I wanted to move forward.  There were times of confusion and doubt as well as aha moments that made me think that I was not so lost after all.

Did I figure it all out?

Absolutely not! This is not meant to be a fix-your-life gig.  It is simply a way to get your brain focused on something meaningful to you.  What you may discover along the way can be pivotal, and sometimes it will lead you to a different word – another step along the path of life.

What my word means to me

Wonder- 2018

Over the last few months I have encountered this word through so many different avenues that it was hard to ignore. Songs, books, movies, classes – then God spoke to my heart:

You are too busy – you’ve lost the wonder you used to have. Rediscover it!

…and he is right – I have

It is the little things in life, the ones that make you look closer to see if there is really something there, that means the most.  It is finding the wonder in the common, mundane, and even ugly of life that will change your perspective and bring you to a place of seeing the world through God colored glasses. But to see that, I first need to slow down – again. But this time it is a slowing of mind, of focus, an intentional exploration of the infinitely smaller parts of this vast and beautiful place we call Earth.

Evidence of God is all around us, but are we choosing to see it? I want to see it. The evidence. The miracles. The beauty that He has created for us to discover.  I want to see the wonder of this world and all that I am meant to have and discover and experience.

And it all starts here: with WONDER

Where do you go from here?

Knowing what to do with your one word once you discover it can be a challenge.  If you make it too complex a process or expect too much from yourself, you won’t stick with it…just like those New Year resolutions that often don’t make it past the first week.

If all you do is look at the word every day and ponder its meaning to you and your life…that is enough. This is your life, your journey, and your word.  Everyone’s process of discovery will be different.


  • Look up the dictionary meanings and jot them down. This will get you to think about the different ways that it can impact your life.
  • Write a new way that you can use your word in your day – each day. Keep a journal with these notes so you can reflect back when you feel like you’ve wandered off the path. This doesn’t have to be fully formed sentences, they can be just a couple of random thoughts….you’ll know what they mean even if no one else does 😉
  • Create a piece of art that incorporates your word or uses it in some other creative way. Keep an art journal with these creations and use the pages to journal other thoughts and experiences on. Make sure to include what works, what doesn’t, and what you would like to try next. This art is for you and no one else, it is a visual diary of your word discovery.
  • Write your word on a notecard (or 50) and place it/them around your house. Tape them on mirrors, magnet them to the fridge, tuck them in books, put one in a drawer at work or at home. These will serve as reminders as you go about life, of the discoveries you wanted to make. Every day is one step closer to an epic discovery.


Me? I will be using Wonder as a jumping off point for the rest of what I do this year. Art, classes, stories… I can see a wide world of possibility unfolding before me, and I can’t wait to explore its depths!

As an added bonus, I have included a short tutorial below of a mini book I am creating from a deck of cards, 52 cards/pages to document my weekly thoughts/experiences on. Whatever your creative outlet is: art, writing, photography, prayer, I hope you enjoy it and are inspired to make one of your own.

So apparently I am long winded….I’ll have to work on that!  Check out the video below for some tips on using a simple deck of cards to create a 52 page booklet to journal your 2018. The video timed out before I could add the cover so I included a couple of pics below to help you to finish it off.  Have fun with it!  You can also use note-cards or index cards in place of the playing cards. The point is to create something small to increase the possibility of successfully finishing the page each week.  At the end you will have a great mixed media book documenting your one word journey!

Video Tutorial: One word-52 pages     

supplies: 1 deck of playing cards, mod podge or tacky glue, ribbon of your choice, book board, gesso, stencils and modeling past (if you would like to add a bit of texture to your pages)

  • Using book board or chip board, cut pieces to just slightly larger than the card book you just made
  • glue a pieces of sturdy ribbon to the edge of the free end of the cover. (it should be twice as wide as the cover plus the width of the stack of cards…then add a pinch for gluing on each side)
  • you will then glue down the free edge of the ribbon you used to create your book. the loose end of it should be pointing toward the side that you just glued the tab on.
  • coat whole piece with a heavy sticky glue (like tacky glue) and place another card on top of the ribbon to cover it.
  • fold the outside ribbon around the cover of the book and glue in place. Clip and let dry.
  • fold the ribbon around the stack of cards and then fix the back cover piece in place…glue ribbon down and tuck into other side. glue down that end and the original ribbon down to create your completed book.
  • decorate your cover with your One Word and the year!

Next Monday we will begin again with our daily prompts to get you going in your one word book.

See you then!!



and back on the wagon we go…..

So….I have to apologize for my lack of interaction lately. 

Life has a way of routing you places you don’t necessarily want to go, but that are necessary to said life.  That is the way of it.  But even in the absence of inspiration for you, the muse lives on in my brain.  Here are a couple of things I have been working on recently while my blog was sleeping (shhhhhh!)

The fact that the creativity continued even in the face of adversity tells me that all of the practice, and the habits that we worked so hard to create in the last few months…worked!

You too?

I would love to see what you have been up to!  Post some pics on instagram with the tag #creativefaith and let us all share in your successes!

Anyway, in the spirit of getting back into the groove, reigniting the creative spark, or waking up the muse….I thought a week of warm-ups would be quite nice.

So here we go-


Do some deep knee bends, jumping jacks, or yoga (whatever gets your body saying “Yes! I’m awake now!) Then go outside (yes, in the cold if that is your situation) and sketch some outdoors.

This could be

  • pine trees in your back yard
  • piles of snow at the end of your driveway
  • a river in the park near your home
  • or even the dog next door

Choose something that speaks to you.  Do a few sketches, quick and wild.  Don’t worry about what they actually look like, no one has to see them but you.  This is just to get that creative part of your brain moving again. You could just simply do washes of color in acrylics, watercolors or even inks.  Abstract totally works here…as long as you can “see” what you are creating.


Find something in your house that seems mundane, boring, or has always been just “part of the scenery”.

Look at it closely. 

Use those microscopic powers of observation that you developed the week we created from the senses. What do you see? A color. Shape. Smell.

How could you describe this to someone who cannot see what you see?  Someone who has never had the gift of sight. Describe it in minute detail using colorful words and an observant heart.

Write out this description in a journal, notebook or on a piece of paper.

This will help you to give words to your emotions, how you feel about things going on around you.  Be as detailed as you can.


Fill an entire piece of mixed media paper, watercolor paper, canvas, or a page in your art journal with swaths of color.  Don’t think about what the color is, choose intuitively. Use a brush, key card, or even your fingers. But fill the whole page.

  • This could include many colors or just one.
  • It could be solid or full of texture and marks
  • Try choosing one color and then varying the shades by mixing in black or white – or both!

Let it dry for a future project.

The idea here is color exploration and being fearless.


  • Assemble 10 to 12 things that have something in common
  • Arrange them in an interesting order (or on an interesting background)
  • Take a picture of your collection.

Repeat this as many times as you can, then print out the pictures.  You can assemble these into a book of collections.  On each of the pages, create some lettering with pen, paint, stencils or markers giving a clue as to what these objects have in common that makes them a collection.

This won’t always be apparent to the random observer.

Try to think outside the box on this one and not choose something obvious.


  • Cut 10 pages out of a magazine, book, or newspaper.
  • Stack the pages together and cut them to any size you like.
  • Fold each of the pieces individually and create a booklet from them using a pamphlet stitch to bind them together.

These pages could be similar in subject, or even only similar in color, theme, or shape. The most interesting booklets have some common thread within them.  These can be used for journaling in, painting on, or you could even glue in pictures of a friend or two and gift them.

Engaging in warm-up exercises can really get you prepped for something bigger.  It is also a great way just to stretch yourself creatively and get your brain primed for work, projects, and even just the day that stretches before you.

I hope that you find that these activities wake the muse within and get you prepared for what comes next. Regular creative practice will help in so many areas of life, even with things that aren’t necessarily artistic. Give it a try!

Next week we will delve into a great project for holiday gifting. 

See you then! Lisa

rediscover wonder!

52 projects: Creative prompts for a creative life – week #11

~ November 6th-10th ~


Welcome to week 11 of the 52 week project

Normally I have already started my project by now, but alas it has been an unusually trying week. I’ve been working through sickness, funerals, projects, encroaching winter weather and to be frank…

I need to see some wonder!

God has been teaching me things this year, both physically and spiritually. But the resounding theme that has become apparent to me is Discovery

Discovering who He is

Finding the beauty in the ordinary

Learning to see what isn’t readily evident.

So here I am at the beginning of a new week, ready to embark on that journey of discovery. And what a better way than to engage our senses.

Now, this will not be an easy thing for a lot of you…including me for sure. But nothing worthwhile is ever easy right? So here is what I want you to do:

  1. Monday: SIGHT

See the unusual.

It might be something that you actually encounter every day, but look at it in a new way. See the beauty that isn’t necessarily evident. Write about it, paint it, maybe gather it into a specific place and make it part of a collection, or take a picture and collage it into your journal. One thing I used to do when I was a cubscout leader was to have the boy see everything they could see within arm’s length of where they were sitting, then write it down. Every. Little. Thing. It helps to develop our skills of observation.

You never know, you might be missing something important

  1. Tuesday: SOUND

Hear all the sounds of morning.

Sit quietly before anyone else wakes up, and notice each and every sound around you taking note of:

  • where it is
  • what it is
  • and whether you have ever heard it before.

The longer you sit without making any noise, the more you will hear.  Jot it down in a notebook, your journal, or even on a napkin.  If the later, collage that into your art journal on a colorful page.

Truly hearing is an art form all its own. Often it is in the stillness and quiet that we hear the most important murmurings of God. Are you listening for them?

  1. Wednesday: TOUCH

Create something textural today.

Open up to a new page in your journal or whatever you have been working on this week.  Use a texture paste, drywall mud, or even modpodge and some sand to create something very tactile. You may actually decide to do this prompt first if you want to create one single project this week.

Or maybe you could print off one of your pictures from Monday if you took any,  and use this as your substrate for the rest of the prompts this week. Sew around the outside of the photo creating an unusual texture or add in some textural elements.

  1. Thursday: SMELL

Here is where things might get a little difficult. When creating art, you don’t often think about your sense of smell.  But using descriptive word within our art is definitely doable. Maybe you could write an ode to your favorite morning drink (mine just happens to be coffee!)

Describe how its scent enlivens your mind and transports you into the day.  Maybe lavender is your gig….or even better, fix some loose buds onto your page with gel medium. Think outside of the box to integrate smells into your project today.

  1. Friday: TASTE

Now, I don’t want to see picture of anyone licking the pages in their book, or putting things in their mouths they shouldn’t. But do describe how something tastes.  Was the picture you took on Monday of a weird kind of fruit? There are a lot of unusual varieties out there.  Cut one open and taste it. Then tell us about it.  But definitely make sure that it is edible first.

You know the drill

  • Be creative
  • Think outside the box
  • Create something new
  • Stretch those muscles.

I look forward to seeing what you have learned from this week’s prompts

Friday I will post my finished project here and on Instagram. Check out #creativefaith, #52projects, #cp4acl (#CP4aCL)

Have a creative week!



Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email HERE, and start creating!

Have questions?  You can email me at

Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #52project, or #creativefaith

Daily Creative Prompts: week #9

Daily Creative Prompts ~ October 23-27

As promised, here we are in week #9 of

52 projects: Creative prompts for a creative life

Here are the 5 prompts for this week to be used daily in an effort to keep yourself working creatively:

  1. WATER
  3. HIDE
  5. SING

These can be interpreted in whatever way you choose. Whether you are a

  • Writer/poet
  • photographer
  • illustrator
  • painter/artist
  • or maker

these prompts can inspire something new. An image, a feeling, or an idea that is unique to you. Think outside the box, create something fresh and inspiring. Your brain will thank you!

I will be using these in order because it makes me think beyond what I often feel capable of and forces me to not fall back into comfortable things. But you can totally do them in whatever order you like. Do one or do them all – then post a pic of your finished project using the hashtags #creativefaith, #52projects, #CP4aCL, #creativelife, #52weeks, #promptme, #mixingitup, #thedailymuse

Here is how I approached today’s prompt:


Watercolors: not so outside the box, but for me using warm colors is definitely not my normal. So I stared this week getting out of my comfort zone and stepping into something that is going to challenge me as the prompts progress.

If you are a writer, maybe you can write a piece of microfiction about swimming, or sitting by the lake

Take a picture of the smallest body of water you can find, and then the largest

Do an ink drawing of a glass of water…then put a fish in it 😉

Make a notebook cover that has waves crashing over its cover, then fill it with ideas of how to create mixed media waves with great texture

Have fun with it and let these prompts challenge you!

This is the only email this week you will receive this week, but on Friday I will post my finished project from this week. Check out #creativefaith, #52projects, #CP4aCL, #creativelife, #52weeks, #creativelife, #52weeks, #promptme, #mixingitup, #thedailymuse

Have a creative week!


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email and start creating!
Have questions?  You can email me at
Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #52project,  #creativefaith,  #creativelife, #52weeks, #promptme, #mixingitup, #thedailymuse

Sacred Grounds -the foundations of art

The elevator stopped with a jolt.

Ground floor…or so I thought. The door opened and the scene before me didn’t register for a moment. I wanted to go the front desk of the hotel that I was staying at in Germany, but that was not what had appeared before me.

Funny how something as simple as an elevator could be so confusing in another language. Apparently the ground floor in Germany isn’t the same as in America. Who knew? I punched another button….choice number two…and reached my desired location.

How often do we start off making the wrong choice?

-in life…

-in art….

We choose what we think will get us to where we want to go, yet more often than we care to admit, it is the second choice that actually gets us there.

Choosing to ground your life…and your art, will set you up for success.

In life, knowing where your center is, the foundation of who you are and how you were created, will put into perspective everything that comes after. Making that connection keeps you rooted in who you are and filters out all else that can derail you from your purpose.

Our spiritual lives and rooting them to truth, grounds us in a way that will help everything else that we seek to accomplish, stick. It will allow us to build upon that foundation, fusing purpose and passion.

Art is no different

Without the proper foundation, things can lift, peel, absorb, and generally create an undesirable effect. The Unexpected! (like our lives sometimes, yes?)

In art, a GROUND is a primer, or the background surface on which you paint, or create other processes. It is what protects the substrate from the process you intend to use, keeping the components from damaging the integrity of the substrate.

When you purchase canvas, it is always coated in gesso (unless of course you buy it unprimed). This will allow the paint, either acrylic or oil, to stick permanently to the substrate.

If you are wanting to use watercolor on a canvas, you would need to use something called an absorbent ground. If you tried to watercolor on top of a regular gesso meant for acrylics, the paint would just roll around, and you would not get the desired watercolor effect you are looking for. Watercolor needs an absorbent surface to create its magic.

This is not to say that you can’t appreciate the effects that can be achieved on an unprimed surface. Plain paper, mixed media paper and water color paper are all virtually naked surfaces. But. If you tried to do a heavy collage on a piece of printer paper, you most likely would not be happy with the result. So keeping your intended purpose consistent with the components is important.

Speaking of heavy collage- with the emergence and popularity of mixed media art, several other “GROUNDS” have come front and center, such as texture grounds.  These are typically rooted in an acrylic medium base. Sand, mica, gel beads, and modeling paste are just a few of the products that mixed media artist use to create texture and interest to their work.

When employed and allowed to dry, the paint or processes used to cover the ground take on an entirely new effect and creates excitement within a project that might otherwise be flat or uninteresting. I’ve even used drywall mud to create peaks and valleys on a canvas and sometimes will press it through a stencil for a much for controlled impression.

However you choose to use grounds in your creating is up to you.


Glue an unexpected item to your page and cover it with gesso to make it a part of the page itself, then see where it takes you. This is how innovation is found, by stepping outside the box and taking a chance.

As in life and art, grounding is an important consideration. It is the undercoat to your future. It is what everything is built upon, and what keeps the undesirable outside forces from harming your surface.

It can



and improve

Consider what is under your surface today. GROUND your efforts in truth and a firm foundation.

And love what comes from it!


~Creative is who God is. It is who we are too – His breath, His being, in us. Would you like to explore that creative side? I am the resident artist on Creative Faith –discovering the art you were born to create. There we explore what it means to be creative in many areas of life. I would love for you to come and find the artist hidden within you.

the poetry of color

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 19: INDIGO

As a color, INDIGO is among one of my favorites.

It has a depth to it that poets write about.

Depending on who you are, INDIGO could summon thoughts of unusual children with supernatural traits. Or maybe it puts you in a certain mindset. In color psychology, INDIGO strengthens the right  brain and Symbology says that it describes honesty, trust and a solid foundation.

This prompt could be used to great effect in your mixed media project by creating contrast, calming a busy page, or even using some of that INDIGO poetry to inspire. However you choose to use it, you can be sure that it will be good!

Here is how I integrated it today:

Yesterday’s dripping needed some extra oomph, so I added in some additional color drips, some gesso splotches, and just a tiny bit of mark making….it needed to happen!

Then I addressed today’s prompt. Choosing to use paper, I cut 3 circles of different sizes and attached them to the canvas with gel medium.  The circles replicate the ones that I created during the mark making process, and  repeating them here helps to unify all of the elements and create a cohesive piece.

One more day! …hmmm, I feel some words coming on!



See you tomorrow for the last installment of this week’s mixed media project


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email each day, and start creating!

Have questions?  You can email me at

Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #52project, or #creativefaith

hump day happy

Daily Creative Prompt ~ October 18: DRIP

  • Drip some paint on your chosen surface
  • Write a letter to someone dripping with sarcasm
  • Let some glitter drip from its jar onto a really gluey area of your project
  • Drip india ink intentionally from a quill, obscuring some words written

There are many ways to use this prompt in your creative practice. Use your favorite. After all, its hump day and we all need a little happy umph to get over that peak. I know I do.

Struggling this week

To stay inspired

To keep creating

To make something I’m happy with

I want you to know that all creative people struggle. I would venture to say that it is part of our creative brain, experiencing highs and lows.  I find that as the cooler weather starts to invade my little corner of the world, I become a bit forlorn and the desire to hibernate increases.

You too?

Force yourself to take a break

connect with the outside world

set aside what you are working on and begin a different project

or take a class and discover a new process

There is nothing like a new perspective to get those creative juices flowing again.

For now, here is a look at how project #8 is going for me:

create something amazing today


Would you like to join in?  We would love to have you join this creative initiative. Sign up to receive these prompts in your email each day, and start creating!

Have questions?  You can email me at

Are you creating with these prompts?  I would love to see them! Post them on Instagram with the tag #CP4aCL, #52project, or #creativefaith