Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A couple of years ago Bible Journaling became popular, looking at my journals I discovered that I was already doing a form of Bible Journaling. I then came across a book by Sybil McBeth an American author called Praying in Colour and this set me on an adventure with my prayer life.

I don’t know about you, but I find it very difficult to sit still, and even more difficult to concentrate for any length of time. When I pray, I need something to focus on, otherwise my mind wanders and I think of all the things I have to do, and not focus on the prayers I should be saying.

Sybil McBeth states the following in her book: One morning I retreated to the back porch of my house, determined to catch up on nine months of a somewhat neglected spiritual life. I lugged a basket of coloured pencils and markers to the centre of the porch’s glass top table. I have never been able to draw, but I love colour and shape and movement. Doodling allows me to combine those loves on paper. So, I opened a pad of paper and began to draw. I doodled a random shape with a black pen, without even realising it, I wrote a name in the centre of the shape, the name belonged to one of the people on my prayer list, I stayed with the same shape and the name, adding detail and colour to the drawing. Each dot, each line and each colour became another moment of time spent with the person in the centre.

When the time seemed right, I moved to a different place on the page and drew another shape with another name in the middle. I embellished the new shape, I drew new shapes and names until friends and family formed a colourful community of designs on the page. To my surprise, I had not just doodled I had prayed. The entire prayer time was silent and wordless. I had thought ‘of’ each person as I drew, and when I had finished there was visual record of my prayers.

As I read this, the idea of praying in colour appealed to me and I began to experiment

On Friday 16 June I had the privilege of leading a Praying in Colour Workshop at a Come Closer Event in Milton Keynes. This was something I had never done before but was encouraged by a friend Deborah Gregg. The session lasted for approximately an hour. During this time I had opportunity to introduce Praying in Colour, I then lead a time of prayer using this method. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was mind blowing, all the ladies participated, and we prayed for people they know who had concerns. At the end of the session many ladies wanted to share their experience of praying in this way, comments included, helpful, able to concentrate, blessed, challenged and many more.

As I drove back from Milton Keynes, I could not thank God enough for the way His Spirit had moved in our midst, and the way He equipped me to lead this workshop. 

If anyone is interested in a workshop, I would be more than happy to organise one at Waltham Abbey, as a taster,or at another Church within a 50 mile radius of Waltham Abbey. Please contact me on for further details.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Walk in Love - by Deborah Gregg

Following on from Sarah Anderson's fantastic blog last week about 'Love' I thought I'd share some photos on how I put together this colourful page in my Journaling Bible - using watercolour smooshing, gelato stamping, and washi tape ripping! :-) 
It's only as I write this, that I've realised that I think I've learned all these techniques from Sarah Anderson - so thanks for your inspiration, Sarah!  

This tiny book of 2 John contains some real gems of encouragement and exhortation. We are to love one another, to walk in obedience to God's commands, and to walk in love. This will help us to stay the course with our faith.
I love the way John ends this letter (and in fact 3 John aswell) so personally, saying, 'I've so much to tell you but don't want to use paper and ink, I hope to visit and tell you face to face!' Part of me wishes he had written a longer letter about all this so we could learn more from him. But equally, that's often how I feel when sending little comments and words of encouragement on Facebook to many of you in the Bible Art Journaling UK Facebook group! It was so good to be able to meet some of you at the DEN Retreat in Winsford last weekend, and I'm so looking forward to meeting up with more of you at New Wine (week 2) this summer! And at other events no doubt. And in the meantime we have the beauty of sharing our faith together via Facebook! :-D

So, back to the page...first I prepped the Bible page with 2 coats of Art Basics Clear Gesso, dried each coat with a heat tool. I've recently found that applying clear gesso with an old store card (working gently from the centre out to the edges) it goes on really smooth! Also the short edge of the old store card fits straight in the pot so actually no need for a brush at all and less waste/mess. 
 Then I chose two colours - orange and lemon (citrus theme here!) and used a waterbrush to paint splodges of colour straight onto the page randomly. I did make it fairly wet for this (which is why I prepped the page first with 2 coats!)
 Next I took a piece of very cheap kids tracing paper (it's a bit like deli paper but not waxy) and laid it on top of the page, smoothing it down with my fingers and moving some of the liquid paint around a little, in the layer underneath.
 Then I very gently lifted the paper up and separated it from the Bible page. (And took a photo with one hand!!!)
 As you can see, it printed a lovely image on both the Bible page and the paper. Then I repeated the process using some red paint splodges.
 Tracing paper over the page, smooshed it around with my finger tips, and lifted it off again!
 Then dried with a heat tool.
This tracing paper is now ready for use elsewhere, to cut up, rip up etc. so will be added to my rummage box for future projects.
Now for some stamping! I used a 'Love' word stamp from Time to Sow, which I had mounted onto some EZfoam. I decided to use a bright red gelato stick, and made a gelato scribble on a craft sheet (you can use an old plastic folder for that, or a laminated A4 sheet, etc)
 Using a waterbrush, I added a little water to the gelato colour, and dipped the stamp into it to coat the word.
 I then totally copied Sarah Anderson's technique and stamped repeatedly all over the page, using up the fading colour as I went along, topping up with more colour now and then.
I quickly dried the page with a heat tool, and then used a Versafine Onyx Black ink pad to stamp the same word 'Love' once in the big space below 2 John. To mix up the lettering a little, I used a Dovecraft mini alphabet stamps with the black ink for the word 'IN' and simple silver stickers for the word 'Walk'. I quite often add my words in reverse order, it sometimes helps to get the positioning right on the page, to start with the key word and then fit the other words around it.
I finished off this page with some ripped sections of washi tape. Another Sarah inspiration (!) tearing off small pieces, you can also rip them lengthwise to create little softly ripped edges and dot them around the page.
I then left this page open to dry fully for at least 24 hours - I have found that stamps on top of Art Basics clear gesso can smudge unless completely dried. (In truth, the Versafine ink did feather a little but I think that's because the page was still slightly damp). So I left it open on my dining room table for a day or so, and actually that was a great reminder of this passage and verse to me.
This verse is a great encouragement to us all to walk in Love.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Loved, with a Love that Endures Forever - a step by step project by Sarah Anderson

"Give thanks to the Lord,
for He is good,
His love endures forever"
Psalm 118:1 NIV

I was given this stamp set as a rep for Creative Bea but it is one I would have purchased anyway. Hannah's sets are beautiful, designed here in the UK, and very useful for stamping bible art journalers like me!

The phrase 'His love endures forever' stood out to me.  It's a phrase that is repeated a numerously in the Psalms.  I frequently pray

"I pray that I (you), being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people,
to grasp how wide, and long, and high, and deep,
is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -
that I (you) may be filled to the measure of
all the fullness of God"
Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV

because to be honest, I don't think I have grasped that yet, because if I had, I wouldn't worry about the many things I worry about ! (amongst other things).  So reminding myself, through verses elsewhere in the bible, about God's love, can only help deepen my understanding of His love.

I adore stickers, and love making my own.  The size of sticker I had in my craft room wasn't quite big enough for the whole phrase 'His love endures for ever' so I decided to go with one or two words on each one.  I know I'll be making more of these to put elsewhere in my bible!!

I used Distress Oxide inks but you could use watercolour paints (just paint them across your stickers with a paintbrush) or Distress inks.  I pressed the inkpads onto an acrylic sheet (or use an acrylic block or lid of a box, or a glass worktop saver) and spritzed with water.

I then 'smooshed' my stickers through the ink ...

.. and dried them off by rolling a kitchen roll over the top.  Some stickers had more white space than I wanted so I just dipped them back in the ink.

Using Distress Oxide Fired Brick I stamped the heart cluster.

I then added splashes of Distress Oxide Wilted Violet by pressing the inkpad on an acrylic block, spritzing it with water, picking up the ink with a wet paintbrush then tapping it against my hand over the stickers.

To add a single word to a sticker, I focused on just inking up one part of the stamp with my Versafine Onyx inkpad, then cleaned off any over-inking with a baby wipe.

The page I wanted to work on had something on the other side so I rummaged in my paper drawer and found some gelli printed deli paper (there's a previous blog post HERE on this) to add to my page

I tore a small strip, folded it in half, added glue stick then stuck it in the centre of the bible pages, using a ruler to make sure it sat right against the pagefold.

The stickers were added ..

..followed by some stamping (which could have been done before the stickers, but I had been considering handwriting 'Give thanks to the Lord, for', but I changed my mind!)  Stamping repeatedly, 'until the ink runs out', gives a variety of texture to the page, and stamping in black makes it stand out over the Deep Lagoon blue ink used in the background.

So there you go!  Praying that you will know His love, that endures forever; there is nothing we can do to stop God loving us, nothing!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Feeling rubbish? by Claire Graham

I realised the other day how often I mentally beat myself my up ... how easy it is to blame myself in situations ... how often I read things into looks and how easily I spiral into an "I'm rubbish" wallowy mentality. 

If we've run out of milk and I've not managed to get to the shops and buy some it's because I've had a busy day not because I'm rubbish...

If I've forgotten to do something I said I would it's because I'm human and have a thousand things whizzing round in my brain ... not because I'm rubbish!

So... the other day I got thinking about my rubbish attitude ... it made me think of Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street! So I found an image of him and drew that into my journal... I coloured it with my beautiful Inktense pencils, slowly building up the colours, using different colours to add tones to his fur, the bin, etc. I was careful not to add too much water as that can make the top layer of my sketch book page lift off. 

Then I found some uplifting, positive verses about how God sees and values me and wrote them to fill the background.

And next time I'm feeling "rubbish" I'm going to look at this page and think of some of those verses instead!
"God paid a very high price to make me His" 1 Corinthians 6:20
"I am God's child" Romans 8:16-17
"I am a chosen person... God's special possession" 1 Peter 2:9

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Simple Hand Lettering Idea - by Deborah Gregg

Hi everyone, just sharing a quick and simple technique with you today, for when you may want to journal a long Bible verse or short passage, rather than just pulling out a key phrase.
Sometimes I find it hard to just focus on a few words from a verse, as there's just so much truth in there - I want to journal it all! :-)

As usual I start with the background and lay down some colour to the page in my Faith Art Journal.

For this background I used watercolour paints, I simply picked one colour and then painted in diagonal stripes, using more paint in places for stronger colour, and using more water elsewhere for a softer look, to create this varied, stripy background.

When dried (with a hairdryer!) I then took a ruler and with a pencil, very lightly drew random diagonal lines across the page, from left to right covering the entire page. Some were large at the left and small at the right, and vice versa,

I then very lightly pencilled in my lettering, making sure I used the whole span of each line. I left a teeny tiny gap where letters may overlap with the row above as I didn't want them to actually join up. I then went over the text with a Micron Pen, and lightly erased some of the pencil that was still showing. You will see the lettering is very simple, just ordinary capital letters, with a single line.

I didn't get the spacing perfect, as you can see I ran out of room and had to split the last couple of lines to squeeze it all in. But it doesn't matter - the words are on the page! And I still had room to add a row of doodles!

I love these verses - to me Titus 3 v 4-7 really sum up the whole gospel. I have tried to memorise these verses so many times and still haven't quite got it! But having recorded these in my journal I now have a special place to turn to read it and dwell on it.

I recently used this technique again to record 2 Corinthians 4v6 - an amazing verse with so much truth packed in to think about! I just couldn't separate out one section of this verse to focus on for journaling, so I decided to letter the whole verse!

For this page I actually did the lettering first with a Micron pen, using the whole depth of each space between lines (even for the lower case letters), I love the mixed-up look this gives. I then added the yellow colour afterwards by smudging with Distress Ink using a sponge applicator. Simple, quick and fun.

The lettering is deliberately simple, I just outlined the basic letter shapes with a Micron pen, then went back over the lettering to thicken most of the 'downstrokes'. It really helps to make the lettering stand out.

I've yet to try this style and technique in my Bible margins, might be more of a challenge but maybe I'll have a go soon and let you all know how that goes! And if you feel inspired, just have a go!

I hope this may have helped give you a simple idea for some easy hand lettering that you can play with, practice and enjoy!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Drawing people by Claire Graham

I've realised recently that many of my journaling entries involve people... and that most of these people look like me or members of my family!

I guess it makes sense really, it's MY Bible that I'm personalising by journaling ... and it's a record of my walk with God, but somehow it still came as a surprise!! I've always struggled drawing people in the past and I've never been a huge fan of how I look but God has been working on me with that over the past few years!! 
But I've come across some amazing tutorials, hints and tips that have really helped and shared some of these at the most recent Bible art journaling group I lead. Some of the photos are of their work (and I do have their permission to share them!) 
I shared about the whimsical girl tutorial  and how Shonna creates beautiful characters with detailed faces but simplifies some of the tricky bits like hands and feet! Belle (11) and Eloise  (13) drew their own whimsical girls. 

I also shared about the faceless girls ... these are definitely my favourite. There's a great 'Drawing Lesson Flower Girl' tutorial on YouTube by Ashley Magnolia  

I love the way that these are simplified too... just keeping distinguishing features of hairstyles and glasses, etc without the trickyness of eyes, nose and mouth! Hayley had a go at one of these too.
We spoke a bit about proportions of faces and bodies, that your eyes are half way down your head, your nose 3/4s and your mouth 7/8ths. And Mel and Chloe drew more realistic self portraits using this info.  

While we doodled we chatted about how God loves us as we are which drew us to a few different verses.

And some of the tips about drawing people... practice may not make perfect but it will help! Develop your own style! Keep it light til you get it right and... enjoy!