I must remember...

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I need to try and remember that this is the BEGINNING of my art journey. I JUST started doing this. I can't be perfect. No one is. It will take me time to learn and come in my own. Caterpillars don't become butterflies overnight, right?

I also need to try and go a little easier on myself. I get frustrated when I get stuck. I get into that same old negative thinking. "I suck. I am NOT creative. No one would want to look at these. Why can't I just find something to do with my life?" etc...etc... I felt this way right before I made the journal entry above. I spent a week holed up in bed during my free time. I was dog/house-sitting and couldn't go to the gym after work, and decided doing nothing was preferable.

One evening while out walking the dogs, I noticed the most beautiful butterfly. The colors only approximate what the butterfly looked like. It gave me inspiration to paint again, and what came out of it I really like.

If only I could remember this when I get so easily frustrated.


Quick Update

I'm in Upstate NY for a friend's wedding this weekend, and in a moment of down time, I thought I'd post some art journal entries from the past few months. I forgot how windy and crisp the air is in the fall up in NY. Though, I still don't miss NY, especially in the dead of winter. Virginia is so much more temperate, and worth the hotter summers. 

It has been nice going on a road trip with friends, and just having a good time. I needed a break away. Anyway, here are some journal entries.

This is how I started one entry....

This is the final product. I wish my scanner was better, because it looks much better in person. I labeled this journal entry "Synchronicity". Earlier that day, I was driving to work and had the radio on the background. Suddenly, I heard the lyrics "Even if your hands are shaking and your faith is broken, do it with your heart wide open and say what you need to say." John Mayer. Weird, because I was trying to get up the nerve to say something that I knew I needed to say to someone. This painting is for one of Julie's Layer Love classes, and the assignment was to add in multiple colors. I knew I had this piece of paper cut out from a magazine that had many colors in it that I would use for inspiration. I went home, got the paper out, and there was a word on it! I didn't remember that, and how interesting that it was the word "Vent"


Before I got started on the painting, I was perusing the internet and came across an article all about "Synchronicity." I had heard the word before, but never really thought about it. The definition is "the experience of two or more events that are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful way."


I have never experienced anything like that before, and thought it was pretty cool.



It sucks the life out of you. It makes you want to do absolutely nothing. It turns that inner critic's volume level up to 11. You can't possibly imagine anything good coming of your life. I think I've lived with a low level of depression for so long that this is normal. I never understood/was envious of people who knew what they wanted to do with their lives. I can't remember ever knowing what I wanted. I have followed the path that you are supposed to; I have gone off to college, graduated, found a job, moved away from home....and am paying the bills. That is life, right? I even have a kitty, even after the loss of my first kitten, my first pet as an adult.

Hugo was such a precious little kitten. Absolutely gorgeous. I had him for 5 months, and the last few were spent at the vet trying to figure out why he had chronic diarrhea. On January 7th, 2008, I took him in the vet's for exploratory surgery since the vet found a mass on his belly. He was 8 months old. She said she thought it was probably scar tissue from the worms he had (SO GROSS), or less likely, he ate something that is stuck in his digestive tract. Either way, that would cause the diarrhea. I did ask "Can it be cancer?", because when you hear "mass", you think of cancer. She said she couldn't rule it out, but it is highly unlikely in a kitten. I agreed.

That morning, I shipped him off to the vet, waved goodbye, and waited anxiously to the end of the work day so I could pick up my little angel and take him home. AND BE BETTER. I couldn't WAIT until he felt like playing again. Until he was a kitten again.

Three hours later. A phone call from the Vet. Her assistant called me and goes "Dr. Raab would like to talk to you." UH OH. I knew this wasn't good. Who calls directly from a surgery room? Immediately, I could tell in her voice, something was wrong.

"Dawn. I'm so sorry. Hugo's mass turned out to be a tumor. There were so many surrounding that one, that we could not do anything. We had to put him down."




I didn't understand. A kitten? Cancer? Dead? What? I mumbled "uhh ok...what do i need to do?" Or something to that effect. She mentioned I could come in to see him if I wanted.

"No thank you."

I hung up. Told my boss that I had to go home as I was shaking and trying not to bawl in front of him. Called my roommate. Went home and cried on the couch. Could this be real? I called the vet back after a tortuous 20 minutes. I would go see him. I mean, I didn't say goodbye, or even an "I love you" when I saw him last. I figured I'd see him later that day. This is the closest to death I have ever been. I have been very lucky, all my family members are healthy.

The next hour is a blur. I forced myself to leave the surgery room because my eyes were so swollen and my head was bursting in pain. I did not want to leave Hugo. Maybe he'd wake up!! He looked so peaceful, like he was sleeping. Except the tiniest drop of the blood dried on his pristine white chin. The technicians must have missed that. I just didn't look there.

I stumbled out of the room to find my vet waiting for me. She had all of her stuff with her, like she was ready to go home, but was waiting for me. She dropped everything and gave me a big hug. She told me "I wish I could have given you more time with him."

Even now, that puts a lump in my throat.

I still miss him.

But now, I have Jack. He is also sweet, but in a different way. He is mischevious, and afraid of every damn thing. I love him, and I didn't think I would. At least not to the extent I loved Hugo. Hugo was my first pet as an adult, and someone I could pour all my love into. Jack, though, has been fun. He is healthy. He loves to cuddle. He's not gorgeous like Hugo was, but he is pretty. And funny.


Under the Sea

I can't stop singing The Beatles--Octupus's Garden, and made a journal entry inspired by the lyrics. I am jumping around, as I am posting a journal entry from tonight. I used my fluid acrylics, Sumi-e ink to write the lyrics, and a sharpie poster paint pen (say THAT fast 3 times!) to accent the lyrics. I was going for an underwater theme. Obviously. I need a better scanner, but it looks much more awesome in person.


Photography is another hobby of mine. I have slowed down in my photography since the winter, but whenever I see an opportunity, I dust it off the shelf and go at it. I have a Nikon D50 with the my favorite lens on it about 99.9% of the time. It is cheap, but is such an awesome lens. Here are a few of my favorite pictures...

Going to beautiful places makes taking beautiful pictures easy. This is from April of 2007 when I luckily had the chance to travel with 9 (!!!) friends to Ireland and Paris. The chance of a lifetime, and I'm so glad I went.

This is at Trinity College in Dublin

A harp player at the bottom leading up to the Cliffs of Moher

Ahh, Paris (said in a really awesome French accent) There is NO describing the Eiffel Tower until you see it in person. Massive is too small a word. A camera lens does it no justice.

This is just a tiny portion of the sculpture work on the outside of the Notre Dame. Astounding that people hand-carved all of this.

A beautiful garden view with the Louvre in the background. The grounds around the Louvre are just splendid.

Lastly, the view of Paris from the Arc Du Triomphe.

This was the only big trip I've ever been on, and it was worth all the credit card bills!


Layer Love

Julie Prichard's Layer Love class taught me so much about how to create interesting paintings and full of depth and texture. Here are a few where I put those techniques to use!



This last one is the last I did in the spiral journal before I moved onto 9x12 Watercolor paper. Much more freeing and space!


More Art Journalling

This is another pre-Julie class. I had just bought some Golden Fluid Acrylics, and was testing them out in my journal.

This was the opposite spread of that page. I wrote things that I was inspired by to help me get going!

This spread I was less than enthused with. It has about 17 layers of paint trying to cover up my mistakes. I haven't written in it, and actually have moved on from this spiral journal I was working in. Spiral wasn't really working for me

This was a spread from Julie's class. I REALLY like how it turned out. I woke up one day with the lyrics "Free your mind and the rest will follow." How appropriate! That lyric would NOT leave my brain for days, nor had I even heard that song. I knew it was some sort of sign that it needed to go in my journal. Now, if I could only follow that advice.


Welcome to Cathartic Creativity!
       I have created this blog to hopefully inspire other people who aspire to create. I have spent many years telling myself I am not creative, and therefore being frustrated by my enthusiasm for the arts. I have tried my hand at scrapbooking, photography, and art journaling. Photography and art journaling are two endeavors that have stuck with me, and is something I truly love doing. Julie Prichard's blog has inspired me, as well as her online classes. I started off taking her Layer Love class, and now am currently in her Super Nova classes. I hope to use this blog to show the art that I am creating, and use the art to showcase my journey through my life.

This is my first attempt at journaling combined with paints and ink. This is pre-Julie's class.
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   I hope you all enjoy!