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Happy Monday everyone.  Welcome to another Art Journal Express – a free weekly video tutorial series posted each Monday where I show you how I created one of my art journal pages from start to finish. Each and every Art Journal Express video tutorial is in “fast forward” mode and then narrated so that you can see each and every step and hear my thoughts behind my process without having to sit through a loooong video.


Today’s art journal page evolved out of a theme that’s been running through my head recently – well, specifically ever since I started Karate – and that theme is fear.  I’ve never really thought about myself as a fearful person – or not more so than the average person. I have my worries of course – who doesn’t – but fear?  Rarely crossed my mind.  And then two weeks ago I joined the Legacy Shorin Ru Karate Dojo.  My boys have been members of that dojo for three years now – and each year that I have attended their belt gradings I’ve felt a pull to join.

Now let me preface this by saying that I have always been drawn to martial arts.  When I was in grade 4 my family moved across town from the East end of Ottawa to the West end, and I began attending a school that was pretty much 100% Caucasian – there was one African-American boy and then me – my background is 1/2 Mexican (which is evenly split between Mayan Indian and Spaniard) and 1/2 Hungarian.  I take after my mother in my looks – having a brown skin tone.  Well that didn’t sit so well with many of the kids in my new school.  Over the next few years I got bullied and picked on a lot.  While some of it involved name-calling, ostracism and ridicule, some kids (boys and girls) got physical.  So I fought back.

In Grade 6 I got sent to the office for giving a boy a black eye.  Frankly he deserved it – he started the fight, punching at me – I made sure I finished it.

While things got a bit better over the years, I eventually changed high school to one that was more multi-cultural, and the kids were more inclusive.  But the effects of the bullying never left me.  For years I have had recurring dreams of being faced with attackers – yet no matter how hard I try I cannot fight and I cannot run.  My punches are ineffective, and when I try and run my feet are weighted as though with lead.


Around the time the dreams started I began thinking about getting involved in martial arts.  I wanted the skills and the ability to defend myself if I needed to.  I tried Judo but that didn’t work out so well for me.  Judo is a martial art that seems to involve a lot wrestling.  I’m 5’1″ and at the time I was about 110 lbs  – so not a lot of height or body mass behind me. I routinely seemed to end up with my head stuck in the smelly armpits of an opponent that had at least  10″ and 40 lbs on me.  So I gave that up.   In University I tried Tae Kwon Do as well taking a self-defence course, but my academic schedule  was so hectic (and at that time I was thinking about becoming a Doctor) that I just couldn’t find/make the time.

Fast forward 20 years to December 7th, 2013.  I was sitting at my second son Josh’s grading for his green belt – watching all the students go up one by one in front of the panel of 20 black belts – doing their kata’s – and a woman who had to be close to 60 got up.  She was a student – a brown belt – testing for her second or third stripe (the order of the belts in Shorin Ru Karate is white, yellow, green, purple, brown (3 levels) and then black (10 levels)).  She performed her kata’s flawlessly and then absolutely kicked butt during the sparring against opponents who were probably 30-40 younger than her.  All of a sudden I felt it – I knew the time had come for me to join.

I told my boys – they were thrilled that I would be joining their dojo.  I was excited…..until my first class.  And then the fear crept up on me.  Sparring is an essential component of this style of Karate and in order to move up in the ranks so to speak, you have to spar.  And the fights can get intense (as I saw during the grading) and while injuries are not common, they happen.  I was afraid of failing, of not measuring up, of being ineffective, but mostly of getting hurt.  These fears really caught me by surprise – most particularly the last fear – that of getting hurt.

In an earlier Art Journal Express I created a page about age and aging. I told you that I have been struggling with the whole concept of aging and the changes it can bring – specifically the physical changes.  I suddenly realized how insidiously deep I had allowed my thinking to infect me because I found myself thinking thoughts like “at my age you are not as resilient…at my age you don’t heal as quickly….at my age it takes longer to recover from an injury…at my age”.

For crying out loud, I’m only 42!  I suddenly realized that my thoughts practically had me one step away from the grave.  That’s when I made the commitment to myself – no matter how afraid I was, or especially because I was afraid, I was following through with my commitment to become a member of the Legacy Shorin Ru Karate Dojo.  Tomorrow night I go to my 5th class.

So that is the story behind today’s page.


I’m still working in is my Dylusions journal which you can see pictured below – and it’s the large Dylusions journal. This is the journal I’ve used in every one of my Art Journal Express Video tutorials – and this is my current go-to journal or what I call my “working” journal.


Below is a photo of the supplies I used for this page. This was a VERY technique intensive page including resist and a salted water-colour background.


Here are the exact supplies I used for this page: Gesso, Absorbent Ground White (Golden); Gloss Super Heavy Gel (Liquitex); Pure Sunshine, squeezed Orange, Bubblegum Pink, Cherry Pie Dylusions Ink Spray (Ranger); Jenni Bowlin Fountain Pen Arylic Paint Dabber; Emboss It Dabber (Ranger); Bombay Black India Ink (Dr. Ph Martin); black chevron washi tape (Glitz Designs); Clear Braille Ultra High Embossing Powder, heat tool (Wow! Embossing Powder); Turkish Grunge stencil (Donna Downey/Prima);  eye droppers, water bottle, paint brushes.

Here’s the video tutorial on how I made this page:

Here’s a close up of the page.

And here’s what the two page “spread” looks like in my art journal. My preference has become to use the right page for my art journaling because I know that the pages are flat underneath as they are still untouched so anything I stamp will stamp pretty clear. The other side of the 2 page “spread” – typically the left page – I use to list the supplies I used and for any directions/notes I want to remember about my page or the creative process or the supplies.


I hope you enjoyed today’s video tutorial. If you haven’t already, please be sure to subscribe to the new You Tube Channel I’ve created specifically for the Art of Simple blog. While I am going to continue to post videos to my existing channel – for Paper Crafter’s Library, this new channel is where I’m going to be posting the Art Journal Express videos as well as any other video tutorials I create as part of this blog. So please take a minute to subscribe to my new channel HERE.

P.S. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section then in 1-2 days come back to the comments section to see my answer 🙂


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