Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Art Journaling through Lent {water and the Spirit}

"You must believe in the yes that comes back when you ask, 'Do you love me?'  You must choose this yes even when you do not experience it."
~Henri Nouwen

All God's promises are Yes in Christ. ~2 Cor. 1:20

This practice has been so good for me.  So very good.  My art journal practice had been suffering the fate of all of non-urgent things in the life of a mom.  This intentional Lenten practice of reading, opening myself up to image and color, and then translating that on a page has been life to me.  In His grace, Christ has given me this "resounding 'Yes!'"

And the reminder in John chapter 3, perhaps the most well-known verse of the New Testament, has been in the air I breathe and the blood that runs through my veins this week.  

So loved.  So loved.  So loved.  So loved.

These words were spoken to Nicodemus.  A dichotomy of fear and boldness, Nicodemus snuck away from the rigid institution of faith to step into the presence of the "Yes" that both fulfilled all that he knew, and broke apart those ways of knowing.  I love feeling the tension in his words as I read, seeing the puzzlement on his face, and sensing the frustration in his lack of understanding.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit...The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where is comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
John 3:5-8

I rarely begin a page knowing what it will look like.  For this Lenten practice, I have been allowing the Spirit to reveal words and images and color as I read {multiple times} and then organically letting them fit in as I create.  This is pure process journaling.

For this page I wanted an under layer of the text from John and the quote from Nouwen.  The sharpie was bold and would show underneath the gesso that I painted over the top, leaving texture and meaning.

I decided to use blue {for water} and red {for Spirit}, allowing the midpoint to join the two right where the John 3:16 words flowed across the page.  Watercolor crayons, a bit of fine mist water spray and my fingers made the texture and color I wanted.  There's nothing like spreading color by hand.

The verse, "You must become like a little child" was in my mind and I found this girl in a vintage book, her hand raised to accept the dove that I knew I wanted to sketch.  

I created more water texture by adhering strips of tissue paper in blues and white, and placed the girl in the water.  Baptism.  By water and the Spirit.

When I sketch, I usually sketch from life, or a photo.  I am not yet skilled in sketching from memory, though I am continuing to improve.  I love the process of learning, and practicing, techniques.  Art is process, and not one that comes to us ready-made. 

I love this page.  The empty space, the words that are visible, the sepia toned girl amidst the bold red and blue.  This will serve as a visual reminder to embrace Jesus' "Yes" in each moment.  


Using a pen or marker, write the verses that most resonate with you.  Write one short one over and over if you need to in order to fill the whole page.  Underline or circle words, mark it all up.  This is your way of internalizing the truth in this passage.  Choose your preferred method of covering the words, but leave some visible.  Let the page speak.  What images stand out?  Find them in magazines or books, sketch them, transfer them from a printed page.  Highlight one focal image and then finish as you feel led.  Don't think too much, as our mind likes to overpower the small voice of the Holy Spirit.  Let Him whisper to you.

Jesus, breathe Your Yes into my soul, and speak Your love into my heart.  I want to pour You out on those around me, and remind them, "you are loved, you are loved, you are loved."  Amen

{If you are just joining us, visit the beginning of this series.  
I'd love to have you create alongside me.}


  1. Amazing! I bought an actual journal for mine this week, so they won't have to stay on random scraps of paper found at midnight.

    1. I'm so glad you got the journal Emily! The midnight creating is fun though, LOL. :)

  2. Loving the spray ink and watercolor crayons...they are so vibrant. Definitely inspiring. These are beautiful. Now I want a new journal ;)