Iona: Dream Realized in a Thin Place

I’ve dreamt about going to Iona. It’s known as a thin place, where heaven and earth meet, where people focus on unity and peace. Also, the birthplace of the Book of Kells which has fascinated me for years. It is a pilgrimage to get there from where we live: two long plane rides, bus shuttle, train, ferry, bus, and ferry. “Iona” Photograph Valerie Sjodin© Fuschia bushes were in abundance on Iona, even outside our hotel “Iona” Photograph Valerie Sjodin© Here is the view outside our room: “Iona” Photograph Valerie Sjodin© We walked during the day and evening to the Abbey:… Read More

My Doodle-Photo-Painted Papers Travel Journal

I’ve come home from Spain with a bunch of photos and an art journal I started in Granada, but didn’t get very far on. The journal base, which I made before the trip is a modified accordion book style. Thinking it through, I decided to combine a photo book and art journal of the adventure.  Here is the cover, standing, with some of the pages and the back cover showing: The cut shapes on the top of the journal were inspired by the layers of civilization and buildings of Granada.  I cut and strips of painted tissue paper to put… Read More

Art and Friendship in the Granada Garden

Life’s important moments is still all about relationships. My fondest memories of my time in Granada are the interaction with people, especially in the garden of the place we stayed. Isabela and Don live in the big house and we rented the little casita. The garden was a place to relax, eat, read, pray, and meet, talking about the stuff of life. What an amazing thing it is to meet a kindred spirit across the world. It didn’t take long to find out that Isabela and I had much in common – our art and cosmic themes, personalities, interests, even… Read More

Out and About in Spain – Plein Air Painting

One evening we went with Meredith’s art group to paint in the park. What a lovely group! In Granada, I painted a little whimsical view of Fredrico Garcia Lorca’s home from La Parque on location as we chatted and laughed and painted.  Below is a photo I took while sitting there painting: It was good to get out of the city a bit. We headed down to a lovely shore, Nerja. Stayed one night Nerja, in Hostal Miguel, a lovely little place with a good breakfast in the middle of the town run by hospitable and helpful English hosts, Ian… Read More

Vista Views and Doodles inspired by the Alhambra

After visiting the Alhambra, I am walking away with many photos of visual reference of patterns, archways and vistas. I realize my choices of photographs reflect where I am at in life. The doorways represent transitions, the patterns focus on connections that work together, and the vistas are about seeing the big picture, life in context. Here is my interpretation of a small part of the vista seen from the Alhambra. Following is a photo reference I used to paint from: Here is a panoramic view of the city: Here we are enjoying the view! I could probably fill up… Read More

Artistically Armed for Adventure…

With smart phone, watercolor journal, paints, pencil, eraser, water container, paper towel,waterproof pens, InkTense pencils, and a brush I am ready to begin my artistic adventure in Granada Spain! Here is the result of the breathtaking view from San Nicholas viewpoint in the Albayzin before we went on a tour of the Alhambra. In addition to my usual traveling supplies, there is an added blessing I used a lot: a mini iPad! I found that sometimes I would draw/paint on location, and other times take a photo and work on the artwork later. The iPad is a wonderful tool for… Read More

Key to Keeping Travel Art Journaling Fun

THE KEY:Keeping it simple and no “shoulds” allowed. KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE SWEETHEART!I was determined that it would not feel like “work” or an obligation during or after the trip. One goal of mine was  not to spend more than a day or two working on it once I got home. Another thing that was important to me on this trip since it was a time to rest and reflect is that the journal would include some of the inner journey as well as the visible journey. On these pages  directly below, I listed the things we did that day, copying them… Read More

Art Travel Journaling – the Inner Journey

RECORDING THE INNER JOURNEY Before we left on our trip, my friend Verlene sent me a poem. When I read it to Keith, he said it should be the theme of our trip. We read it every day and I meditated on different stanzas each day, including them in the travel art journal. Because water was the element all around us, I also read and reread the “Water” chapter of Christine Valters Paintner’s book Water, Wind, Earth & Fire, The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements. Here is the poem by Frances J. RobertsA Quiet Pool  “Wait upon Me… Read More

Moleskine Travel Journal Experiment

Getting back to what I consider “normal” blogging, I thought I’d share a bit about the travel journal experiment we did for our trip to Hawaii. I got one of those new Japan accordion book style Moleskine journals, the smaller size. I brought a little map of the island and collected bits of text and images as we traveled. I also brought a date stamp, ink pad and a few rolls of printed tape just for fun. So glad I put the ink pad in a ziploc bag since it leaked. For this trip, I wanted to try and make a journal… Read More

Parable of the Red Rain Boots

In first grade I had a pair of red rubber boots. They made a rainy day beautiful for me. I loved being able to step in puddles without getting my feet wet. And they were the happy bold color of red. I hadn’t thought of those boots for years, until I was stumping around Fred Meyer, my favorite local department store, after foot surgery. There was a rack of fun, printed rubber boots, with a sale sign beckoning me. The multicolored dotted pair stuck out to me because it matched my favorite umbrella. I picked them up, looked at my… Read More