Thursday, 26 November 2015

Created in God's Image - by Martin Brocklebank

Today's blog post is written for us by Martin Brocklebank.
Martin is a writer, creative artist and an encourager, as you might have noticed from his posts in the group! 
Oh, and he also happens to be Deborah's Dad and next door neighbour! Here, he shares with us all some of his thoughts about Bible Art Journaling.

       “God is the creator. He made the whole universe,
the sun and planets, moon and stars. He made the
earth and He made you and me.”
        “Yeah, yeah I know all that.”
        “He made you and me in His image. So if God is
the Creator and we are made in the image of God,
that means we should be creative.”
        “But I’m not creative.”
        “Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy.”
        “But I can’t draw and I can’t paint. If I try they
come out like matchstick men.”
        “Oh, like L S Lowry?”
        “I never thought of that.”
        “You probably never thought that Lowry or Van
Gough started out knowing nothing about painting.
But they practiced and practiced and practiced. In fact
Van Gough painted over 300 paintings of sunflowers.
        So when you nervously take pen to paper in your
new Journaling Bible remember it’s in your GGDNA
(God Given DNA) to be creative. All we have to do is try,
try and try again.
        So let’s hear no more ”It’s not very good.” Instead
let’s hear “I’m enjoying being creative, as God intended,
and I’m getting better!”

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

What if I make a mistake? - by Michaela Turpin

What if I make a mistake?
Hi, I am Michaela, I am a joyful wife and mum of 7 children, 5 of whom are at home and I also home educate and I am also a recovering perfectionist (you will learn the significance of this statement shortly). Today I am delighted to be a guest blogger for the Bible Art Journaling UK blog and I am going to be answering the question which often gets asked, usually a bit like this – “I would love to do Bible Journaling, but I’m really worried about drawing and writing in my Bible – what if I make a mistake?”

I love to keep things real, so I’d like to begin this blog post by rephrasing that question in the way we should ask it – what happens ‘when’ I make a mistake?! I would so love to be perfect, but we live in a world that is marred by sin and perfection is currently unattainable. So, first of all we all need to let go of that unreal expectation that we are ever going to create something that is perfect– maybe you find that easy, but I still don’t. However, I take great comfort from Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident in this that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. “ In the meantime, we can aim for excellence – excellence is achievable, with practice and perseverance.

Once we choose this starting point, it already makes things easier. We can be relaxed, free and have more fun because we know that we are going to make mistakes and that we can use those mistakes to learn and take us further on that path to excellence. Also, there are some techniques and tips that can help us in making changes or adaptations, so we can still create something in the present moment that we find pleasing and brings us joy. The best bit is that in time we will get to look back on some of our past efforts and see how far we have come in our creativity and in our walk with God.

My Top tips for Dealing with Mistakes:
  1. Silence the inner critic: Yup, we all have one and we have to learn to silence and ignore it. This is a time when we need to take those thoughts captive to Christ. Try and look at what you are creating as if you were going to help a friend improve their journaling. You would point out what you loved and liked best, and maybe if they pressed you, you might suggest a little something they could do differently next time… in a kind way! So remember to pick something you love and something you can learn from for next time. It is rare to have a total disaster with nothing you like, but if that happens, don’t worry, read on and we can fix even that…

  1. Try starting off by Barntangling on pages: I love the concept of Barntangling (zentangling or doodling, but using a Bible verse to meditate) because there can be no mistakes. Even if you do something unintended it is an element of the process of meditating on the scripture and it forms part of the piece. What is not to love about that?!

  1. Pencil and paper rock: The pencil is a most important piece of equipment, as it can be used to make sweeping strokes and sketch out our ideas, before we commit with pen and we can also use an eraser to rub it out too*. Press lightly and don’t be in too much of a hurry to rub out. It can be helpful to leave a crooked line in, to show where the proper line should be. Also, be careful with rubbing out on Bible pages, as it can be easy to crease the page (but creases smooth out, anyway, so no worries).

If something goes terribly wrong and you really hate it, or you have done a painting or pen design which has bled through, then you can cut a piece of paper to size and simply cover it up! This is also another way of journaling. Prepare your artwork and then stick it in. Obviously, you need to be careful not to stick your pages together and careful not to get glue on your journaling ￿

  1. Embrace the mistake and make it part of the piece or do a mini cover up: You can just leave the mistake, if you want to and it works ok (see Sarah’s blog post on how she used a bleed-through as the beginning of her next piece). And, remember that you don’t have to point it out to anyone or apologise for it either. Alternatively, I have covered up bloops with little flowers or hearts, added words in creative ways – put a sticker over something unwanted, changed a letter into another letter etc. Remember, we are not aiming for perfect we are aiming for pleasing – for us. We don’t have to show it to anyone if we don’t want to. It’s great if you share your work to encourage others, but you don’t have to. Sometimes if I feel less than happy with a piece I’ve done, I just close up the Bible and leave it be. Most often, when I come back to look at it later, I can appreciate it much more and even start to like it. After all, for me, Bible Journaling is about the verse I’ve illustrated or written out and my ultimate goal is to deepen my walk with God, although it is pleasing to create a little bit of beauty to behold.

  1. Practice builds confidence: I really would encourage you just to have a go in your Bible and use your actual journaling as your practice for improving. However, I came across a really neat idea recently whilst learning knitting and I thought it would translate well for Bible journaling. I have been doing a DVD knitting tutorial by Lucy Neatby and as part of that we actually DELIBERATELY make mistakes and practice correcting them. One of my big fears in knitting was dropping stitches. Well, when I started deliberately dropping them and practising picking them back up again, I realised that dropped stitches were no big deal. Most Bibles have a few spare pages, well why not make some deliberate mistakes and practice correcting them? Hopefully that will give you the confidence, that it really is no big deal to make a mistake.

I hope that I have given you confidence to have a go at Bible journaling and to find joy in creating and even in making mistakes! Just like in life, sometimes we can get our best learning from our errors and embracing our brokenness. Papa God has endless grace for us, which enables us to live guilt-free and ultimately joy-filled lives. My hope is that you can apply that concept of grace and mercy to your own creative process and enjoy having fun with your Bible.

Be encouraged

*NB: if you are going to do a design with coloured pencils you have 2 choices –1) go over the graphite pencil with pen and then rub out the pencil outline before you use colouring pencils or alternatively, 2) use a light coloured colour pencil to sketch in the first place. If you use a light colour with light pressure, you can usually rub out the line. Unfortunately, graphite and coloured pencils don’t mix well together, I think it’s something to do with the different leads.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Greetings all, this week I'm coming to you in my role of roving reporter!

Saturday November 7th saw our second Bible Journaling get together at Winsford salvation Army. You always hope that your numbers will go up and I'm delighted to report that our numbers did indeed increase! We were delighted to welcome Jean, Sarah, Yvonne, Cynthia and Jacky to our ranks.

We are blessed by the diversity of our group; our youngest member Hannah is just eleven, we have ben and Claire who have Downs Syndrome and the rest of us range in age, artistic background, experience and talent!

Our time together began with Ben opening in prayer, followed by a thought for the day from Jo Boardman. Her challenge for us all was to find the courage to step outside our comfort zones.

Her challenge was soon put to the test! Sarah Anderson generously shared her time, talents, inspiration and encouragement and led those who wished to in an excursion into "play". We let go of our feelings of inadequacy, perfectionism and lack of imagination and had fun using gelli plates, brayers (a roller by any other name!) acrylic paints, stencils and leaves.

Our tentative first foray into releasing our creativity led to all achieving a final piece of art which we were satisfied with.

What I find most exciting about these opportunities to journal together is hearing the chatter and laughter as people who may have only met face to face that morning share their lives; hopes, worries, words of encouragement and support.

Though the lives we return to may be very different we come together as friends, united by our shared faith, our love of the Lord, our love for His Word and our hearts to know Him more.
What is just as exciting to know is that these groups are now meeting together all around the world. Whether in a large group, a small group, couples or even alone I suspect that someone somewhere is worshipping God through Bible Journaling every second of every twenty four hours.

Ben spoke of revival in his prayer and in many ways I believe that Bible Journaling has indeed brought revival in the hearts and lives of all those who have found this way to pressing in closer to God. Bible Journaling is the epitome of inclusivity; young children, teenagers; boys, girls; men, women; artist, writers; people with special needs, all languages, all denominations. All are welcome, all have something precious to share.

For anyone contemplating setting up a group, to quote Nike, "just do it!" Don't get caught up in over planning and worrying; take that step out of your comfort zone. You don't have to be an expert, you don't have to be the greatest artist; you just have to trust and take that step of faith.
                          Where two or three are gathered...
And finally, our journaling for the day, and of course food for the body!


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Joseph Bible Journaling - by Ben Butcher

Hi, it’s me, Ben again, this time I am looking at my favourite Bible story, Joseph. I love this story and I really love the musical!
Joseph went on a journey from a very young age, he was tortured, beaten up, abandoned and led through temptation, but, God pulled him through all of that and brought him safely to Egypt where he was reunited with his family.

What Joseph and his coat means to us
We are chosen to be children of God, adopted in His family. He has a purpose for all of us and He stays close to us as we walk with Him through our daily lives.

What Joseph’s time in prison means to us
God is always with us, He never lets of His children. He has bigger plans for us than the world does and He will make a way for them to happen. The biggest plan of all is for us to be with Him in heaven for eternity.

What Joseph’s time in Egypt means to us

Joseph rejoiced when he was finally reunited with his family, we can rejoice too because God will bring us through safely, He has promised that He will never let go of His children, he never lets us move out of His care and one day we will be reunited in heaven, one big family.