Art Journal Prompts and Inspirations

It came up in the comments in my last post – I think I may have ‘An Issue’ …….  I may be addicted to reorganising my organising.  I may be fine tweaking so to speak an inordinate, some may even say an unnecessary, amount.  For instance, this past week I spent several hours trying to decide where best to re-house my sock hanger full of stencils.  Just so I could glance up and see the time without further movement.  You may possibly recall – but I don’t blame you if you don’t – that I lost view of my wall clock when I hung my stencil hanger off the ceiling, bang in front of it ……  It’s all here if you need a reminder,

When I realised I was contemplating relocating an entire wall of cubbies – without there being an alternative entire wall to make use of – I thought it might be time for an intervention.  So Siddy and I headed out to see his second favourite person where I captured this photo of an exhausted puppy enjoying a cuddle and trying to keep his eyes open and failing miserably

Sleeping 14 6 17

And this

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It’s my first completed piece of crochet work this year –  a miracle as I wasn’t going to do any yarn work this year, none at all.  Nothing.  Zilch.  Nada.  But I saw it and couldn’t help myself.  ‘It’ is is a Moogly pattern available on Ravelry for free.  A shawl/scarf made with a medley of gelato coloured bamboo/cotton yarn using five different stitches – I’m not sure that I’ll ever wear it, but it sure is pretty!

Coming back to the organising issue, it occurred to me that I was, once more busy prevaricating getting down to work – you may recall I am the happy owner of some huge sheets of much admired heavy duty art papers, plus a request for a particular inky doodle of gigantic proportions which I haven’t mentioned here at all, not to mention my daily dose of art journalling just to keep improving my range of skills ………  this last one seemed to have stalled quite badly in the face of all the reorganising.  Therefore, I wondered, might  the  reorganising of the organising be seen as an excuse not to get on with the tasks to hand ……..

With this wonderful insight ringing in my ears I set to with another new project that we won’t in any way refer to as further prevarication  ……  I made myself a collection of art journal prompts – an idea adapted from the myriad of ideas floating around on You Tube, but bearing special thanks to Claudia Rossi of Krazy Island Studios for her take on using tongue depressors.  She calls her idea ‘Inspiration Sticks’ and I should too.  Here’s the video that tells you how she made them and more importantly gives you a list of starter prompts, sorry, inspirations, if you are interested   https://youtu.be/NYEXcyMAFXs

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I went to my local $2 Shop – it’s called ‘Happy Coins’ and run by a very nice couple who often give me a further discount on my basket filled with great artsy bargains.  I purchased 150 tongue depressors or extra wide lollipop sticks and several packets of sticky backed fun foam flowers, butterflies and hearts.  I spent a happy afternoon writing out all kinds of instructions both practical and slightly off-the-wall on the wooden sticks, stuck a couple of matching fun foam shapes back to back over the top of the sticks and voila, I ended up with two containers of journal prompts to keep me on my toes and out of stodgy town.

Just so you can see the virtue of this side journey,  here’s a couple of pages that were created prior to the arrival of the prompts

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I made the  female figure mask myself – I’ve been making my own stencils, masks and stamps for a while now with varying success – this is one of the ‘varying’ successes!  (The leafy stems are a stamp I made)  I really didn’t have a purpose for this page other than to try out the mask, play with some new stamps and fulfill the resolve to paint every day. And at some point I got fed up and went off to play fetch with the dog.

This next one saw me playing with the idea of circles overlapping, intersecting and the vague intention of achieving a translucent bubble type effect……

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Nothing pleased me, I didn’t know where I was going nor why I’d had the bright idea of making each leaf of the double page look so different.  It all looked like a big mess so Siddy and I played a rousing game of fetch and then went and had dinner.

Enter the journal prompts!  The idea is you pull a random stick and do what it tells you to do.  You do this at least seven times and it does not preclude you from doing anything else you feel compelled  inspired to do either.  This first one is easy to follow, I wrote the prompts onto the hearts at the end.  I can’t tell you how much my heart sank when I pulled the instruction to add red over my delicate background of blues and yellows and greens ……

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But I was pleased with the result which, it seemed to me went somewhere entirely unexpected and fun.

But it’s this next one I’m really pleased with – the prompts produced a few heart stopping moments, but ended up taking me somewhere I really like.  I didn’t keep a record of the instructions this time and I’ve already forgotten the steps that carried me to the finished page – but for the first time I felt I had a page that was happily completed and which complements the painting I showed in the last post with the quote  ‘Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you feel buried, when you’ve actually been planted.’

On this one I want to write ‘Grow, flourish, bloom where you find you’ve been planted’

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It may even progress onto a canvas.  You never know.

I hope, especially if you are working in a journal, you can see the potential of working with prompts or inspirations.  I certainly can.  What do you think?

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65 thoughts on “Art Journal Prompts and Inspirations

  1. Dazzled by all these beautiful colours! Strangely, I’ve come across this post while in the middle of reorganising my organising – what are the odds? 🙂 I’ve found that sometimes it’s procrastination, and other times it’s about trying to find clarity, so I keep on reorganising until I find a method that suits or have that “aha!” moment.

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    • Ha, ha! A kindred soul! I think you are absolutely correct about the clarity thing! Since I wrote that post and stopped organising the organising I’ve gone and actually painted and had a bit of a personal breakthrough and my thought has been that I was readying myself for that…. Lovely to see you here, thanks for coming by 🙂

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  2. Hi Pauline, so sorry I haven’t popped by for so long. I love your journaling and your crochet scarf – both are so colourful. The journaling is a real work of art! The lollipop stick prompts are a stroke of genius… and so bright and cheerful too 😊

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    • It’s lovely to see you again – I thought you weren’t blogging as I hadn’t seen or heard from you in so long. Luckily for me I decided to check it out before asking and discovered I’m not following you. I have a feeling this happened before? I don’t know, WP seems to drop people off randomly. Any how, back on board! Glad you came by! 🙂

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      • Ooh me too! Yes WP can do some funny things sometimes. Sadly I can’t blame WordPress for my absence just a busy few months! Nothing dramatic – just life! The weeks are whizzing by and I don’t seem to get the time for reading everyone else’s blogs. Never mind, summer holidays beckon with a bit less rushing about hopefully 😊

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  3. The scarf is just gorgeous, as is the art. Re the over-organizing, that is what I do when I don’t want to write. There are always things to organize instead of getting to the task at hand. Now I am doing it with my scrapping materials. I moved them to a different room, in a big closet where I plan to work. This is to follow my newest cat Perry in there. He has to be isolated for maybe a couple of months or longer, and I wanted something to do in his room so he has me in there for company, and I chose my scrapbooking. I am getting all super organized first hahahaha.

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    • You are so right Luanne – when I was teaching I would find myself doing things like oven cleaning, gutter clearing etc in order to delay settling down to lesson planning. Nothing much changes! Is Perry the foster cat who has suddenly become the ‘newest’ cat? 😀

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      • LOL, you picked up
        Oh, I hear you on those necessary chores. I also found them very necessary when I was teaching and had grading to do. Not so much now hahaha.

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  4. What a great idea. The sewer in me is thinking what creative ideas you could come up with and the teacher in me thinks the kids would love this idea! It would be a great way to get creative writing happening. I could have one for plots, one for characters, one for… oh well see, my mind is buzzing with ideas 😀

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    • when I was teaching I used writing prompts for the students from age 12 upwards when they were beginning to come to grips with creative writing – it was a lot of fun for them. I had no idea it would work so well with art! I have no idea how you would transcribe it to sewing – I’d love to hear about how it goes if you do it. 🙂 It’s great that you’re buzzing with ideas 🙂 ❤

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  5. Your own personal intervention, eh? I love it. Pauline, the amount of art you turn out with paper, pens, beads, journals, cards, paint, glass and yarn is extraordinary. I’m in love with the colorful nature of this post. It’s beautiful and bright and cheerful. That scarf looks yummy, so it’s easy to see why you had to pick up the hook once again. My crochet practice has fallen by the wayside as work and life heated up. Perhaps I’ll try your technique using prompts for my crochet. Prompt one: relocate the basket of crochet! 🙂 In all seriousness, I had a creative writing teacher that used prompts to great effect. Once she passed out random postcards and we had to write a short piece in 15 minutes using the art or photo on the card. My writing took a surprising turn. It’s interesting what can show up, like your reluctance to add red to your piece.

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    • I enjoy several blogs who follow writing prompts – both word and pictorial prompts – but always thought using it in art was a bit naff…… I was mistook!! 🙂 If it’s as hot at your place as I’m picking up on my wandering through WP I imagine any work with yarn is out of the question – why add any more weight and heat to what already is weighing hot and heavy on you poor Californians! I do hope you can keep a little cool and take your time with any chores. I just know I couldn’t manage that heat!

      I try to spend at least an hour every afternoon at my work table, working on something – then there is every evening when I am free to create as I please
      – though sometimes I don’t do anything creative or useful at all! As to the art prompts thing, I’m actually really enjoying the challenge of moving into colours and shapes that make me uncomfortable – even while I cringe and glower and mutter imprecations at the poor stick I know something interesting might arise from the new prompt – and if it doesn’t I’ll still learn something. I spent last night sketching and doodling with my left hand (my non-dominant) and was quite pleasantly surprised by the sketch – not so much the doodling.

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      • Gosh, Pauline, sketching with your non-dominant hand. You are really something. I suppose it forces the brain to access different compartments then it is used to. Many years ago I worked briefly from a book called Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain, and some of the exercises had you draw upside down so that you were forced out of your “how it should look” and into a more literal line, curve, draw production.

        Isn’t it interesting how you can wander through WordPress as you say and pick up the vibe of the world. It’s really quite extraordinary, especially since we all follow fewer than 100 of the millions of blogs out there.

        I used to say I was a foul weather knitter and now the same will go for crochet. That said, who can resist a warm kitten that insists on your lap. Sigh.

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  6. I’m going to give you kudos for organizing. That is an area that I’m definitely weak in. You will feel so accomplished when you get it all behind you. I loved the beautiful, colorful crochet scarf. My grandmother used to crochet, I always told myself I would learn, but alas…. The Inspiration Sticks are such a great idea. I thought the red on the blues was nice, unexpected and very nice. I also really liked the layered flowers, and I do think it is the best possible motto to “grow where we are planted.” As always, creatively beautiful, Pauline 😀

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  7. Dear Pauline,
    You are a fantastic organizer but you accomplished a lot with pretty crocheted rainbow and lots of sticks full of ideas! Your daisies with lots of layers won my heart as I love wildflowers! This was a beautiful post, so happy your Siddy had his special person hold him and got sleepy. So sweet! I am sure your spirits are going in a positive direction so: “Don’t worry about whatever you love to do!!” 🎆 🌈 🌻

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  8. That little yarn sheep may have had it right. I was thinking that 1) when you have a small space, you have to reorganize fairly frequently, because things get magnified and 2) that sometimes you procrastinate because you aren’t ready to create. Yes, sometimes you need to get the juices flowing, but sometimes the subconscious is just balking at being pushed. I do like the creation of that last promo though. And your beautiful shawl/scarf and cute little Siddy all passed out and safe.

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    • I agree – I forget that I’m probably baking something when I’m doing everything else but what I intend to do – and it is always so that when I set to work again I create something I’m pleased with. I think also getting the ‘Inspiration Sticks’ together was a good idea for me just to step into the unknown and unpredictable. Hows that kitchen working out? Have you cooked up a storm yet?

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      • Oh my, the kitchen is such a pleasure. I haven’t used the microwave yet, but stovetop and oven have seen use. I’m really happy with it. I’m going to bake a cake this weekend, I think…Keep using those sticks! I need to use them to get things done, I think…

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  9. I’d say you’ve overcome your procrastination issue, CC. I really like the red. It adds so much life to the page. I’ve been doing a lot of crochet recently and completed a beautiful blanket for my daughter in Canada. You can see photos of it on my Instagram page. So I’ll say goodbye, because I’m off to Ravelry to check out that gorgeous pattern.

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  10. I love journals and yours are especially beautiful. ‘Grow, flourish, bloom where you find you’ve been planted,’ is perfect! Aw….Siddy! He’s so sleepy. ❤ ❤ ❤

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  11. I have learned two important things from this post. The meaning of “prevaricating”, a word that I shall throw around with gay abandon from this day forth, and the idea for how I can formulate new film scripts using prompts. Excellent post Ms Pauline as hijacked by my over active brain 🙂

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      • The end results of a random prompt movie would either be genius or complete and utter chaos. I am guessing that the process would be a lot of fun. I hear Mr David Bowie used to do a lot of random prompt stuff using newspapers to pick words for his songs so maybe it’s not such a crazy idea after all. We might even try it just to see how it goes! We are going to post the links to our films. We just have to submit them for assessment first (and pass) then we are AOK to share 🙂

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  12. What a fun visit. I had to come back when my brain worked to leave a note. Love the inspiration sticks. Not sure what one would write on them? The foam flowers are perfect though. I do very much LOVE the lacy buckets. Just my shabby chic style. The red in the bottom art piece gave it some life and warmth. The bubbles remind me of the grape clusters that were given to me as a form of thought expansion on a diagram. The main bubble with extensions all round the thought.

    Your crochet is irresistible. Love the colors in it. I often think I would love to have pretty pages for my journals but just barely manage to get a page written each day. The art work would be the undoing of me. I am such a “give me the facts” kind of person that there would be nothing pretty to see. On occasion, I use a pretty colored pen. 🙂 I need to do something creative today just to cheer the gloom here. I’m enjoying every last minute of it though as the summer heat is on it’s way. 😦 Looking forward to your next lovely piece. Still love those I have here. 🙂 Seeing sweet Siddy does the heart good. Hope you are having a great and creative weekend. Giant hugs, M

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    • The inspiration sticks can be adapted to any handcraft I imagine – it’s really just writing down one thing that you do as part of any project. The video link has a list of about 70 mixed media prompts under the video which gives you an idea of the types of things – the red flowers and gold hearts page above has the prompts written on the hearts to remind me of the steps I had to follow – though you probably can’t read that. Let me know if you want me to transcribe them here for you. I’d be happy to do that.

      As you prepare for the heat of summer we are hunkering down for the real chill of winter to show up. Isn’t it wonderful how we get to enjoy the opposites through blogging – this is the time of the year when I can happily spend hours in the art room. Only the pets call me out of it. I hope you find a nice project to do that keeps you cool and happy while the sun shines Marlene xoxo

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      • Thanks, Pauline. I’ll listen to the video again; all the way through this time. A little scattered this week and trying to settle in again. We have had the most fortunate June weather in years. Very cool for now but the warm will come and I will be ready. I love winter months so I can stay inside and putter on projects and read good books, I’ll finish my cuppa coffee and head out for a walk. I always enjoy it once I’m out there but my chair and laptop have a powerful magnetic pull. 🙂 No need to transcribe. I’m quite lazy and it’s time to get up to speed with things. Trying to get a post written but my mind won’t settle. The walk may help. Enjoy your winter. 🙂 I would be the snow bird that goes towards winter rather than away from it. Hugs.

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  13. What a sweet picture of little Siddy. So much work for one little baby boy. The prompts are wonderfully imaginative. You are very brave to give them a go. Your risk taking says you are comfortable and confident in your artist self. I really liked everything you did. I like the behind the scenes of an artist at work. The crochet scarf colors are beautiful. I don’t crochet often, but I might just have to play with yarn and hook.

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    • Oh, I loved that SS ‘Your risk taking says you are comfortable and confident in your artist self.’ Thank you!! ❤ That crochet project was so easy to do and, as now and again you need a break from your masochistic knitting projects, you would love this and I'm sure you would make it in beautifully wearable shades that anyone would want to wear!

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  14. I like your prompt idea a lot, especially for pushing outside a comfort zone. I should do something similar the next time I weave towels, in order to choose colors that I wouldn’t normally! Now, having said that, I think my favorite piece in the post is the pre-prompt piece with the woman in it–there’s a tension in that one, between the sad or pensive looking gray woman and the bright background, that is not often apparent in your happy, upbeat work!

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    • You make me look at my work with different eyes – if it’s not bright and upbeat than I consider it an unfinished piece……. The prompts will send me off in different directions, they have already and I am excited by the possibilities. It’s odd, they have been around for years and I always thought them somewhat redundant – but I’ve completely changed my mind! Adding in one colour you would never usually consider causes you to rethink pre-conceived notions of where you are going, causes adjustment of all steps following the introduction and leads you to places you have never been before…… which sounds a bit like the preamble to Star Trek doesn’t it 🙂 Gotta love whole new worlds opening up to us!!

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  15. Some excellent work here. I really like the shawl, for example. Have you thought of hanging it in front of the clock? Just think of all the fun you could have moving the ticker and reorganising everything around it. Prompts and inspirations are essential, although I respond better to inspiration – that’s why we go for a wander. Good to read such a lively post, Pauline

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  16. Sounds like a story about toning up your subconscious while you thought you were procrastinating. I love your red over blue and yellow. Did you borrow the prompts from somewhere else or make them up yourself? I haven’t dared start following your links or HRH will never have a walk today. I so want to cuddle Siddy!

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    • It is true that I always find after bout of the ‘p’ word that I come back firing on all cylinders – I should be more philosophical about it shouldn’t I 😀 There is a list of prompts under the video that I linked to above and the other 70+ are ones I added in from looking back and remembering different steps I have taken at different times………. You could o easily adapt them for your needle felting projects too – that would be so much fun!! Siddy is imminently cuddleable!! 😀

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  17. I recognised your post instantly by the lovely pictures that came up. I do love knitting but I cannot crochet. Lovely crochet work and the art pieces you’ve created are so pretty, especially the last one. xx

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  18. Awesome, Pauline. I do enjoy hearing about your process, be it prevarication or not. The organisation sounds a little like procrastination! I love the scarf shawl. It is beautiful – whether you get to wear it or not. I do like your final illustration and agree with your thoughts on it. I love the words you have thought to add. It has a light and happy feel to it and I think it should go on canvas!

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    • Quite so Norah, I’m glad to hear you think that too – my two day intervention seems to have been successful and today the desire to keep tweaking has abruptly disappeared. Going cold turkey off drugs should be so easy!! 🙂 Instead I painted and doodled and prepared tomorrows journal page. Thanks also for sharing your thoughts on that last journal piece, I’m glad to hear that!

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  19. omgosh, that’s the sweetest photo of little Siddy. Your cuddle bumpkin looks flaked right out 😀 I do tend to reorganize the craftroom often because I’m always bringing home more stuff. I enjoy it and so consider it a worthy use of my time, even if it’s a constant. I love ‘The Container Store’. Unfortunately, we don’t have them in Canada but in America, I can spend hours in there. They have every shape, size, colour of storage in wood, acrylic and fabric and more. It’s an organizers dream store.
    I like the idea of prompts, but I usually find I have lots of ideas but less time to do them. I need a time management tool of sorts. Your red, yellow and seafoam canvas with the flowers looks very ethnic to me. It would be my favourite. Keep on Keeping on dearest! If you get the itch to organize, go for it! xo

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    • We have a lovely store here that supplies all kinds of containers and a few other things too – it’s a favourite place to pop into. Maybe we should do it when you’re here 🙂 I really want to spend more time doing rather than organising so I’m giving myself an intervention 🙂 The thing I’m realising about the random prompts with mixed media is it makes me go places I otherwise wouldn’t and that is kind of exciting. It would be so wonderful if we could stretch time where we need a little more for playing and creating………

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      • LOL, I should get a bigger suitcase (if that’s even possible). I might get a fix of it when I visit Alys in October.
        I’m always running out of time. People say, “how can that be? You’re retired!” LOL I seem to cram everything in but maybe stay up too late 😀 Hope your intervention proves fruitful, can’t wait to see what you’re up too next xo

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  20. Reorganizing the reorganization could be a sign of too much time available. 😉 … (I couldn’t resist) … My I suggest placing Siddy in charge or disorganizing. 🙂 … As for your bubbles concept, is it possible you are more unhappy with the palate than the design?

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    • You could well be correct about the too much time thing Frank – but I’ll never admit to it 🙂 And yes, you are absolutely correct about the colour choices on the bubble page – it was doomed from the beginning!! I know from experience that if you don’t give up any mess can be resurrected but with this one I don’t feel even a tad inspired to start that process! Onwards and upwards as Mighty Mouse ought to have said!

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  21. What a wonderful idea! I think it would really embolden one to create pieces they might not otherwise, like adding the red over the pastels! And I think that turned out fun and exciting! I’ve used prompts for writing and now I’ll try them with my mixed-media collages! Thanks:)

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    • Happy to add the new impetus in Cheryl 🙂 I would never be daring and loose enough in my creating process to dab red over pastels – I felt panic-stricken at the mere thought 🙂 It just proves we are never too old to learn!

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