journal girl loves...

Mixed-media & art journal artist. Author. Spoonie. Christian. The ask box is always open for advice, questions, & to say hello.i usually live on my blog journal girl.

Recent Tweets @samanthakira

Lately, I’ve been redefining what mixed media means to me. Usually, it involves layers of acrylic paint and neocolor crayons and stencils and colored pencils and stamps. Usually, I start with a base layer and follow steps that have lead me true over the past handful of years. 

But lately, I’ve been drawn to different supplies, and they work differently. If you love watercolors, then you’re familiar with preserving the whiteness of the paper — transparent media doesn’t work over layers of acrylics all that well, and most require you to think light to dark. Which is the opposite from how I work with acrylics. Because of how thick and opaque acrylics are, you can paint any color over any, depending on the pigment. So you aren’t restricted all that much, and that makes it a forgiving medium for beginners.



It is an endlessly thrilling time to be an artist. All the time new supplies are being invented for us to play with, and with new media comes the chance for reinvention and freedom. All the techniques we know and love were pioneered by someone, and all artists are called to use their dreams and passion to push out of our comfort zones. 

That’s what this journal is for me. A way for me to re-engage. I’ve worn a rut with my usual toolbox, so I’ve switched things up so I have to think different. New media (or art supplies that have been in a box for years) means new ideas. 




Last month’s daily art journal practice has spilled over into a daily decompression in bed each night, so I have to use things that don’t make a big mess or require a desk/workspace. Give me Netflix and I’m a happy camper (this month I’m re-watching The West Wing). 



Does this mean I don’t struggle with the blank page, or hit that gap between what I CAN do and what I STRIVE to do? Nope. But I have a desire to keep pushing & drawing & coloring, and it’s just dang fun. 

One thing I have noticed is that I look for techniques or ideas online whenever I get stuck. But there aren’t many for what I have in my head. So I’m taking a social media break this week. I may post to IG if I really feel the need, but I’m turning off notifications, putting the phone down, & spending some time making pretty things. I’ll report back on Saturday. 

(If you need or want to get in contact with me during this time, send an email. I’ll be checking once a day.)



It’s finally fall here in the desert. The temperatures have fallen below 100F and rain visits every so often. It’s so nice to be able to open the windows and feel the fresh air, or go outside and be able to stay out there for longer than the time it takes to walk to your car. 



I’m in love with Pony Gold. Her artwork speaks my language of desert-dweller, but much more fluently. She makes me want to go up into the mountains and just draw and draw where no one’s in sight (but I’m too afraid to ever since seeing 137 Hours….take a buddy!). 



Random observations and notes are getting thrown in. Quotes I want to practice lettering with and ideas. And surprises from my own self, like realizing I’m a Sunday School teacher (for adults, but still!).  



I’m getting the hang of markers and layering colors. I feel like I’m preparing for something, or stretching in a new direction. Everything we learn is applicable somewhere else. Promise. 




I love how many outlets I’ve been able to play with over the years, but feel like I’ve finally figured out what my visual language is and what it is I want to paint. 

For example, I love my thick, layered, textured acrylic paintings. They take me out of my very body, and I dance with my feet as well with my hands. These pieces continue to surprise me and fuel my curiosity, introduce me to colors and how they work together. 

But then, there’s markers. They layer beautifully like oil paint, layers and layers of thin applications of color that take a different type of layering knowledge, but I can fuse the two together somehow. 

I also really like to have color with me everywhere, no matter where I go. And I’m feeling less than stellar about my drawing skills lately, so I’m hitting them hard and moving through it all. 

Beloved pen pal through the wires, these are my thoughts tonight, and the spread I couldn’t wait to share. I’ll write more tomorrow, when I’m not knee deep in orders and emails. 

Xoxo, S.


I’m a pretty exhausted girl! Getting this virtual garage sale ready took a lot more work than I thought it would, and I’m STILL finding things I could put on my digital blanket on the yard, but then I would never stop and the lawn would be too cluttered and people wouldn’t be able to see what they like! 

Oh, a song just came on random and is my You Can Do This super inspiration song. Thank you God for such serendipity! 

So, let go, let go
Just get in
Oh, it’s so amazing here
It’s all right

Can I just say that I really love all of you? If you’re reading this, these words on a screen on the floor of my half-packed bedroom, my hair in a no-nonsense ponytail that swishes over my shoulder, anyway, I love you. I appreciate you. All the little likes and comments and virtual hugs. The past few months have been full of so much pain & frustration for me…having to stay in bed for weeks, or my hands too swollen to draw or paint.

I know how amazingly lucky I am to be able to make a little living off my art, that others actually like — no, love -my work enough to commission paintings or buy big ones and little ones. 

Let me tell you a secret — bed rest is boring. But I shared my experience, and continue to do so as I start physical therapy. And all those little clicked red hearts or short messages meant the world to me. You were my connection to what is outside the room, that life still thrives and dreams and dares. I haven’t felt very brave lately, but YOU have helped me build the courage to do all this. 

There’s a whole story about that journal page above that I have yet to type out, but that’ll have to wait. For now, know this — I have truly experienced what it feels like to have a full soul. To be peace and gratitude and just…wow. I don’t know if you’ve had one, but it shifts something in your heart. Mine has been so protected for so long, it had forgotten some stuff. But I know that there’s so much love in the world, and I can give it freely, so I give it to YOU. 

(And as someone who has experienced depression & scary stuff, I must say, if you need to talk, email me right now or whenever you feel brave. I am here. For reals. Promise.)



Now for the main event!!! 

It’s garage sale time! I have packed 10 medium flat rate boxes with TONS of supplies, papers, markers, pens, punches, stencils, spray inks…if you’ve seen me use it, there’s probably some of it in there. These suckers are heavy with juicy good supplies and want to come to your house. 

I have also stuffed 10 baggies with awesome found papers and gelli printed papers and yummy stuff, too!



What else do I have?

How about a big collection of awesome art and crafting books that won’t be able to come with me to my new home? 

Or some older paintings that want to live on your walls?

Just head on over to the virtual garage sale page to look at all the awesome stuff I’ve put together for you! 



Wait! There’s one more thing! 

My beautiful, lovely laptop has finally died, meaning I’m working off a borrowed computer or my iPhone most of the time. While this is okay for now, when I move, I won’t have the luxury of using someone else’s laptop. So I thought I’d offer pay-what-you-can for all my current workshops. You can head on over to the Studio Fireflies page to help me out or sign up for a class. I’m really excited about writing love letters. 

(Any donations captured through that page are one time transactions, FYI.)

Phew! Okay, I’m off to hit the newsletter with this link and go draw for Inktober because I am tired! I was up all night making sure everything was perfect for today, and only slept for 3 hours. Well, I wanted to keep drawing, too. Silly sleep, why do you stand in the way of my creativity? ;)

With deep love & creative warrior-ing,
your sister in this crazy journey, 

xoxo

If you were to page through my journal for this project, I might wave you through this one quickly so I could show the rest of the pretty pages I’ve been able to make. 

And when I did this with a friend recently, they flipped back and said, “I want to see ALL the pages!”



Reluctantly, I turned back and let her look them over. “Why don’t you like these?” 

"Because they aren’t my best. I was experimenting and things didn’t happen right. They’re simple and silly; just look at that odd abstract!"

But something lovely happened as she ran her hands down the pages…her love for them allowed me to see them in a different light. I could see all those little details I had loved, and down to the ideas I was trying to say with each. 

The light in someone’s eyes when they connect…wow. Can I bottle that up for a rainy day? As she looked further, she said, “You’re going to make me cry!”

There’s no better compliment than that! I need to get over myself and SHARE more! So here’s the spread that I didn’t like, you know, for the project.  

Numbers  19 & 20!


Across these great miles, I’m sending you love, darling, as you read these words. The love is flowing to you straight from my heart. 

I think for awhile, I forgot what an art journal is. I got swept up in paint and pictures and lots of covered space.  

I forgot that art journals are for recording how you FEEL. For being inspired by an artist and making a tribute page for them. A place for COLOR and EXPRESSION.  


















I took myself out to my favorite cafe, armed with collage materials, a glue stick, and some markers & pens. Sitting there with a dopy smile on my face, I stopped thinking about if I covered something up or if my pages were complex. They just ARE. And I love how reflective they are of me…quotes I love, songs I’m listening to, lists of thoughts I don’t want to forget. A declaration because I needed one. 

Just get out of your own way, Samie. And enjoy yourself while you’re at it.  



It seems like I have a bit of catching up to do!

When I got home yesterday, I started to feel the itch of a panic attack building between my shoulder blades. What should have been easy conversations and a good dinner and maybe a movie became something much more overwhelming, each attempt to engage like nails on a chalkboard. I didn’t develop an anxiety disorder until after my concussion/brain injury, so this is still new territory for me; whenever I can identify one coming on, I try to get away ASAP. That wasn’t possible last night with what triggered it, so I hid in my room and made a pretty graphic to apologize for no post yesterday. 



BTW, for those curious, I used the new Rhonna Designs Magic app to layer the words over some artwork and put some layers in-between. I wrote this scripture out on paper with Sumi ink and a Sumi-e brush when I did my blog redesign, and imported it right into the magic app from Dropbox!

As I need to get to bed, here are the pages from September 5-6.  I’ll write more tomorrow in the Ning group, or maybe here.

I do know that I ended up writing a little story on my typewriter post-Ambien, which means I don’t remember doing so, but I love the idea of little crumbs on each page. I’ll have to write more - or can you? Give me what happens next, and we’ll write it all together.







How goes your Book? Tell me! I want to hear your stories. I have a few pics and comments I’m going to collect here and post…I love how big this is getting…bigger than just me and my urge to reconnect. Thank you for being part of the magic. 


For some reason, taking a picture of our artwork and then playing with it more, is just so fun!

yesterday saw me cleaning out bookcases and weeding out my collection. I’d already gotten rid of 70% of my blook collection when me moved here from Chicago, so you’d think having to cull down the contents even further would be hard. 

It was easy, but more in that later.

In this collection were a bunch of manga and magazine and travel guides. Travel guides! And nestled back, behind the college-level books on geisha history I love the read, was my little scrapbook. It’s mostly pictures, with locations written down, and most paper things taped in with packing tape or paper clips, but it’s a little book of memories.

I say all this to lead to the pink haired girl that leaped off the page. I feel like she’s giving me some additude, a younger me who wore all the weird clothes and make up trends. I had to not do that on my trip, so take a picture of me and Meg at the Teahouse of Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsuo, Japan, 9 years ago. 



My very first #tbt, even though it’s now Friday. My problem is I come to bed early and play and such! It helps to tire out my pup!

Anyway, who is she? That girl I see and recognize. If I try, I can close my eyes and BE there, my own time machine, memory is. I remember sitting out on the deck running around the Teahouse, eyes closed, just listening to the koi in the water and the way the water was running…the little cup that’s always around stomping an even beat. The mountains were covered in green. Just barely, at the edge of my hearing, were the low murmurs of daily life, ready and waiting for when we got back. 

What I really remember is the sense of peace and love I felt, looking over the water. I was in the middle of living a really big dream, and yet, I felt calm. Centered. Like a new space was made in my soul to help me later on, when it all came crashing down. 

At least I have My Moment to use to reconnect before I lay pen to paper. Goodbye crazy dressing, Japanese fashion magazine reading Kira. I learned so many things.

Now, I’m in charge of my life, and this little group of fellow travelers joining us on the Art Journal Re-Connect on my Ning network. We talked a little about supplies. Also!  You can tag your pics #30pages30days. I love sharing! And I’m purging supplies this month, so I think I can make prizes be involved!

Enough from me! I want to see what YOUR page looks like!   



And yes, there are church notes under her hair that I should probably transfer somewhere safer.

Here’s your closing thought. Maybe it can be a prompt for tomorrow. I love little quotes or ideas, and this one I want to paint on the wall with big red letters:

You were wild once, don’t let them tame you.


For some reason, taking a picture of our artwork and then playing with it more, is just so fun!

yesterday saw me cleaning out bookcases and weeding out my collection. I’d already gotten rid of 70% of my blook collection when me moved here from Chicago, so you’d think having to cull down the contents even further would be hard. 

It was easy, but more in that later.

In this collection were a bunch of manga and magazine and travel guides. Travel guides! And nestled back, behind the college-level books on geisha history I love the read, was my little scrapbook. It’s mostly pictures, with locations written down, and most paper things taped in with packing tape or paper clips, but it’s a little book of memories.

I say all this to lead to the pink haired girl that leaped off the page. I feel like she’s giving me some additude, a younger me who wore all the weird clothes and make up trends. I had to not do that on my trip, so take a picture of me and Meg at the Teahouse of Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsuo, Japan, 9 years ago. 



My very first #tbt, even though it’s now Friday. My problem is I come to bed early and play and such! It helps to tire out my pup!

Anyway, who is she? That girl I see and recognize. If I try, I can close my eyes and BE there, my own time machine, memory is. I remember sitting out on the deck running around the Teahouse, eyes closed, just listening to the koi in the water and the way the water was running…the little cup that’s always around stomping an even beat. The mountains were covered in green. Just barely, at the edge of my hearing, were the low murmurs of daily life, ready and waiting for when we got back. 

What I really remember is the sense of peace and love I felt, looking over the water. I was in the middle of living a really big dream, and yet, I felt calm. Centered. Like a new space was made in my soul to help me later on, when it all came crashing down. 

At least I have My Moment to use to reconnect before I lay pen to paper. Goodbye crazy dressing, Japanese fashion magazine reading Kira. I learned so many things.

Now, I’m in charge of my life, and this little group of fellow travelers joining us on the Art Journal Re-Connect on my Ning network. We talked a little about supplies. Also!  You can tag your pics #30pages30days. I love sharing! And I’m purging supplies this month, so I think I can make prizes be involved, 

Enough from me! I want to see what YOUR page looks like!   



And yes, there are church notes under her hair that I should probably transfer somewhere safer.

Here’s your closing thought. Maybe it can be a prompt for tomorrow. I love little quotes or ideas, and this one I want to paint on the wall with big red letters:

You were wild once, don’t let them tame you.


After I hit publish on yesterday’s post, I hid in my room and texted my best friend. 

I just put my blog to zero and wrote the fuck out of the truth and my heart. I am freaking out. I hope to God I did the right thing.

And in the tradition of best friends everywhere, she said That post took guts, and I commend you for it! You’re gonna be fine. Actually, I smiled the whole time I was reading the post, cause all I’ve been seeing for you is the word renew. I think it’s all gonna be good.

That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. My blog & art is my lifeblood. If I don’t have readers or buyers of art & classes, I don’t pay the rent. And maybe it’s silly to believe such things can sustain a girl into her thirties, but lately, wow, lately I feel like blessings have been falling on my head. Not that it hasn’t been difficult — that visitor badge is part of a collection from the past few months (+ one armband for myself). But I feel more capable of handling it. Like I just burst forth from a tight bud with the arc of water extending out in front of me, my eyes finally open. Finally

And now my digital life reflects my inner one. 

Thank you for all your awesome, kind replies, across FB, Instagram, & comments here. I felt like my day was peppered with people along the sidelines of my own personal race through life, shouting or holding up signs or handing me water. My own cheer squad. And here’s the thing: we are all each other’s cheer squad

Because the thing is, I want to inspire you. I want to see us all jump back into our art journals and really make a mess of it all. 



I loved what I wrote here. Sit here in the thick of it messy + imperfect with the water cup balanced between my thick thighs, my supplies spilled on the bed. No clean studio magic. Just me, + a movie + a sleeping dog. And wow, doesn’t that sound like the perfect night? Being true to how life really is, loving your curves, and the secret joy of a pup trusting & loving you enough to sleep, well, sprawled across the bottom of your bed? 

That’s what I want. And what I want for you. And if that means opening a door to my messy, imperfect, crazy life, then I’m throwing open the door and the windows & saying come in as you are, because you’re always welcome here

So which way is the wind blowin’,
and what does your heart say?
So follow, follow the sun,
and which way the wind blows
when this day is done…
- Follow the Sun, Xavier Rudd (it’s on Spotify & you should take a listen now)

More pictures & words over in the Art Journal Re-Connect group (it’s free!)






Almost a week ago, I wrote about how I missed working in my art journal. 

In a life full of care-taking, spontaneous demands on my time, learning & loving with my new church family, and a month of cruddy health, I’d lost my tether to that which brought me here in the first place — deep and soulful exploration of myself in an art journal.

I adore my journals. I’m Journal Girl, for pete’s sake! My studio is full of books and stretched spines from layers of paper and paint.

But somewhere in this shift from young adult to part-time caretaker, I lost sight of that. The way I checked in with myself each day was gone, and what’s worse, I barely noticed it. It was like I’d been asleep for weeks and suddenly woke up, the knowledge that I’d cut myself off from a source of so much healing a jarring revelation.  

Who am I? 

I feel like the past year has been one of intense blooming. 

I wrote about some of the issues I’ve been dealing with at the beginning of this year. I felt like I took a huge load of dirty laundry and shook it out, attracted attention, and put it out to dry. Writing about those things we see as shameful in such a public way can be nerve-wracking; I’ve become more comfortable with these experiences. They lead to me, now. The me I love, have allowed to be imperfect after a lifetime of failed perfectionism. 

I’ve been a victim of domestic abuse, questioning my very worth as a human being (and exploring the intersection between disability + do we deserve all the things others do to us?) & dealing with the very real reality that women aren’t always there for each other, no matter what pretty words they say online. Friendships died and made room for new ones to blossom. Amazing ones. Deep ones that get through the rocks and come out battered but better. 

I took on the role of caretaker to two amazing, loving, beautiful parents, one of which was in a car accident and bedridden for months. My life became one of service to them, and I continue to do so with joy and love in my heart. They have been so radiantly supportive of my dreams & art; this is the least I can do. I love listening to their stories and holding their hands as we wait for a doctor (I edited all the photos in this post while sitting next to my dad’s bed in the ER — he’s fine, BTW, just dealing with a concussion). 

My health has taken a nosedive in the past month because I wasn’t caring for myself. It became easy to focus on others, and ignore the signals from my body. As someone living with a chronic illness, I’m usually so attentive, but just…pushed forward. Pushed through. Leaned on my new love for the Lord and let Him give me strength. And then I fell right on my face and have spent most of August in bed (this laptop hasn’t been on in weeks). I literally fell on my face last week. Just a total skid face-first into rocks. God has made his message clear — step back, go inside, rediscover yourself. 

The things that happen in our lives are catalysts for change & growth. 

If not for all that came before, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’ve made mistakes. But I’ve also learned a lot about who I am and why I do what I do. Why I create paintings and strive to understand color. Why I push myself to draw each and every day. Why I think spending an night in bed with a good movie, a journal, and some markers is awesome. It’s all lead up to this. To now. To this very deep breath in a still moment, a guide by my side and my heart broken but beating. 

"I got two hands one beating heart, and I’ll be alright…" - Ingrid Michaelson

You might be wondering where all the blog posts have gone. They’re there, under About > Blog (2007 - Aug 2014). It’s just time for a clean slate, digital zero, as Gwen Bell says. 



"That you are here - that life exists and identity, that powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." - Walt Whitman

It may be cheesy, but that iPad commercial got me. What will my verse be? How will it read? Last night, I stayed up, enthralled by ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ (it’s on Netflix). If I could have one ounce of that 85 year old man’s dedication to his craft, I could die a happy woman. We are all radiant souls, with our own talents and dreams and magnificent purposes, if only we dive deep and find that jewel of a soul we have deep inside. 

I miss my art journal. I miss playing every night. Not trying the newest supply or hottest technique, but living out of a book. My Book. The one I live out of. That holds notes and scraps of poems and phone numbers and doodles and dreams. I miss it! 

My goal this September is to do one page a day in my art journal. 

I’m going to take it everywhere, bound with a rubber band holding my new favorite pen



And I’m going to post here every morning with the finished/unfinished imperfect mess of it all. Full of discovery and heart-medicine. 

You’re invited to join me. I’ll be posting a few pictures every morning, and some thoughts, but will add more to the group on the Journal Girl Ning network. This is where you can go to connect, or read more, or just look at more pictures. I’m doing this for myself, mostly. And to prove I’m a new woman. I can post on time,  get projects done, commit, and get back to my roots & what I love. 

Here’s me, standing in front of you, vulnerable to the world, saying: “Hello, I’m Samie. It’s nice to meet you (again).”