Westward Ho! Day 7

Our last day of classes.

I skipped breakfast this morning to write about yesterday and ease into the day.  The Fort has a little coffee shop, so I stopped there for a latte and scone before heading to Jesse’s class; a quiet walk through the morning mist to the other side of campus with only my bag’s wheels grumbling on the asphalt and the gulls calling overhead.  Lots of crows here, too.  And owls.  The Flying Ones offer lots of singing practice.

I think Jess’s class was my favorite.  We worked in black and white acrylic paint using a fan brush and our hands.  Primitive mark-making.  And like Michael deMeng’s class, we started looking for areas of interest and larger images.  I loved the energy and immediacy of it.  Black and white felt so much easier than color.  And Jesse was a hoot.  He told stories in different accents, so of course I loved him.


Details from the pages; lots of little Mr. Bills getting out of the thorny, pregnant monster’s way.


After lunch, it was finally time for Tracy Moore’s class.  This was the watershed moment. Could he teach/inspire/goad me into art journaling?  Was there a way to incorporate art into my daily journal practice?  Or were these two modes of expression forever separate for me?

Tracy’s very low-key, but passionate about art journaling.  He just wanted us to keep our hand moving over the page, doodling, trying different simple shapes while he told stories about his own process.  He talked about how journaling for him is a social experience, hanging out in coffee shops and bars with his journal and pens, inviting people he meets to draw something in them.  Some of his pages have lots of text, some don’t.  He admits that he gets bored easily and switches things up.

He also gave us a list of his favorite stuff; pens, techno doo-dads, stamp-making tools, online stores.  I made a list.


Later I talked to him about being a writer who also does art and whether I could combine the two.  “Keep it simple,” he suggested.  “Try it and see what happens.”

So at the Last Night Party,  I sat with everyone else and wrote in my newly minted art journal and pondered this question.  The Seattle band, Surrealized, provided mood music and the door between my words and my art cracked open.  Is the separation illusion?  If both are allowed to play together, what else might join them?  What else might have been sacrificed to my bipolar scramble for survival?  What else waits for room?

I’m willing to push the door open a little wider and invite everyone to come play.


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beeseeker
    Apr 03, 2016 @ 02:25:32

    “what else waits for room?”
    That final paragraph has some stunning questions.
    They close a fascinating piece; thanks for posting.


  2. Leslie
    Apr 03, 2016 @ 11:51:37

    It sounds amazing Sandy. I’m so not artistic, but I’m really glad that you got inspired to try to combine the written word and the artistic flair.


    • Sandy Sue
      Apr 03, 2016 @ 21:38:15

      You know, it’s REALLY interesting how many people say that. My last teacher at ArtFest said it, too. He didn’t think he could “do art.” We all just have to find the thing that makes us happy. Maybe yours is color and all that time you put in your coloring books. Maybe it’s something about your little greenhouse. I truly believe we’re all artistic in our own way.


  3. Robert@65
    Apr 03, 2016 @ 22:50:21

    You: What else might have been sacrificed to my bipolar scramble for survival? What else waits for room? Me: I have no clue cept what arose from within upon reading your invitation to “come play.”

    You’re in a very good place Sandy – yep very good indeed! Good moments shared. Life time memories created….and new friends and playmates both of flesh n blood and those we carry inside jamming inside your car and your heart as you cruise down the highway.

    Good advice to keep it simple.

    “Keep it Simple” is also the name of a Van Morrison album and song of same name, and come to think of it the last time I went out where you are – to Anacortes, that album got me through a large part of Utah and might come in handy for you too if Sting starts to fade on ya!


  4. BipolarOnFire
    Apr 04, 2016 @ 10:05:46

    Have I told you that I LOVE your writing style? LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!


  5. Littlesundog
    Apr 04, 2016 @ 21:56:34

    The final paragraph spoke mountains… and the words, “Keep it Simple” have crossed my path many times in life. I love little pearls of wisdom like that. 🙂


    • Sandy Sue
      Apr 04, 2016 @ 22:33:18

      I’ve thought about that, too, on the long drive today. I saw that I wanted those ArtFest teachers to give me answers to questions only I could answer for myself. And I can only discover those answers by experimenting and being brave. I hate when that happens!


  6. Alice
    Apr 27, 2016 @ 12:22:39

    I too have long felt more drawn to the IDEA of art journaling than to the actual practice of it, once I am sitting down, notebook open. Still, I have found it a provocative tool from time to time, when I am feeling especially “stuck,” in one way or another. I’ll be interested to hear how these experiences — and the questions they are prompting you to ask — continue to play out over time. 🙂


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