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Welcome to another Art Journal Express – a free video tutorial series 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 is called Define Yourself – and it evolved out of an ongoing dialogue that I have been having within myself about life. I don’t know if it’s a factor of age (I’m turning 43 next weekend), the fact that I’m officially in my “mid-life” – but I’ve been finding myself thinking a lot about how I define who I am and how I am living my life.

Art Journal Express #22- Define Yourself Art Journal Page

When we are pulled in so many different directions and we shoulder so many different responsibilities I think that it’s easy to start letting our days become dictated by the expectations that are placed on us, and that we place on ourselves. Day after day our time gets filled up with the things that we need to do and that we feel like we should be doing.

For example – “everyone knows” that a good Christian should serve at Church, should be involved in Church activities, should be part of a small group….  Good moms should bake cupcakes for the class for their kids birthdays, should be making special treats for special occasions, should be present at every activity, should make sure homework is always done, tests are always signed, should remember each of our kids birth-weights…. The house should always be tidy, bills paid on time, laundry done and folded on time, bed made every day….  An artist and paper crafter should be sending out hand made cards for every occasion, should be documenting or scrapbooking daily life…The list goes on and on.

I find that sometimes it’s hard to figure out which of these are things  that we really want to be doing, vs things that we think that we should be doing because we are expected to – with those expectations being either real or imagined.

Over the years I have been putting so much pressure on myself – trying to live up to my perceptions of what a good wife, a good mother,  a good friend, a good daughter, a good granddaughter, a good business owner, a good employer, a good Christian, a good person – should be.

I honestly don’t know why it took so long, but really it’s only been within the last 6-8 months that I’ve started to really question my beliefs and perceptions – and how much of them have been shaped by my environment – by the world around me (i.e. people and the culture as a whole).  I’ve come to to the conclusion that all too often I have been letting the world define who and what I think I should be.

Art Journal Express #22- Define Yourself Art Journal Page - Single Page View

It’s taken pretty much my entire adult life, but I think I’m finally learning to be “real” about my expectations of myself, learning not to compare myself to others, learning to let go, and giving myself permission to be me.

All those things I wrote about above?  Many of those are things that I honestly do desire for myself too.  I don’t believe it’s just a cultural expectation.  I think where the expectation comes in, is that I have allowed myself to believe that the “best” people, the most admirable people are the ones who do all of those things. There are so many people in the world – both in “real” life and online – who seem as though they have it “all together”.  You see and hear about all the “good stuff”.  It’s very rare that you find people open enough and willing to be vulnerable enough to admit that they really don’t have it all together, and that they do struggle.

Unfortunately for me, it’s the seemingly “all together” people that I seem to compare myself to and derive my expectations of myself from. Honestly it’s no wonder I have been struggling.  It’s only as I have started realizing that most of what I see is an image, not reality, that I have started to be more accepting of myself.

I am learning to be real about my life. Each moment that I start to feel myself begin to get weighed down by the “shoulds”, I remind myself that I have 5 children that I need to look after. I have a 94 year old Grandpa who as each year passes requires more and more of my time.  I have a household to run – taking care of errands, appointments, laundry, bills etc.  I volunteer at my children’s school every week. I run kids back and forth to activities and appointments.  I own a online business that takes up a lot of time. I have a husband with a high stress job that demands a lot of his time – so I try to do my best to make sure everything at home is taken care of and runs smoothly so that that is one less stress on his shoulders.

I am learning to be accepting of the fact that all I can do is be the best I can at this moment, and that some things need to wait.  And that’s when I remind myself that there will come a season in my life when I will be able to do those things that I am not doing, and I can’t do right now.  I am giving myself permission to be okay with who and what I am at this time in my life.

Those are the thoughts behind today’s art journal page.

You can watch how I created this page in my video tutorial below:

Supplies: Gesso, Carbon Black Fluid Acrylic (Golden); Bombay Black India Ink (Dr. Ph Martin); Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue, Cadmium Orange Hue, Medium Magenta, Brilliant Yellow Green, Phthalocyanine Green 7 Blue Shade, Carbon Black, Neutral Gray 5 Professional Spray Paint, Matte Medium (Liquitex); She-Art Print Texture stamp (Christy Tomlinson);  Off the Grid stamp (Stampin’ Up!);  Jet Black Archival Ink (Ranger); Sally & Carly Stencil, Dylusions Letter Jumble stencil (The Crafter’s Workshop); Extra-fine white poster paint pen, fine black poster paint pen (Sharpie);

As with all my other art journal pages I have been working  in my Dylusions journal.  The Dylusions journals are my absolute favourite – they have lots of sturdy pages which hold up really well to all sorts of inks and mediums and embellishments.  I always use the right side for journaling and the left side to list the supplies and make notes on what I did in case I want to use the techniques on other mixed media pieces.

Art Journal Express #22- Define Yourself Art Journal Page -Double Page View

I hope you enjoyed today’s video tutorial. If you haven’t already, please be sure to subscribe to the  You Tube Channel I’ve created specifically for the Art of Simple blog HERE so that you don’t miss a single issue of Art Journal Express.

Also, I will be re-starting  posting to my Andrea Walford Designs Facebook Page. I encourage you to “like” my page, as I’ll be sharing exclusive content that you won’t find here – including pictures of some of my other art work (art journal pages, etc), tips and techniques I find around the web, and the occasional Facebook only video tutorial.  That Facebook Page won’t just be art journaling and mixed media – I will be posting some card creations as well.

Happy creating!

I have linked to the supplies I used below.  Unfortunately not all are available from the same store.  Please note that I am an affiliate with the stores I linked to below (Blick Art Materials, Simon Says Stamp and Scrapbook.com) and I do receive a small commission from the sale of these supplies.