Friday, September 7, 2012

Round and Round in the Circle Game

And the seasons they go 'round and 'round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came,
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Joni Mitchell

This song is very much in my head and heart today.  Yesterday, we had to put down our wonderful cat Tory.  She was a rescue kitten who came into our family over 17 years ago as a present for my then 3 year old daughter, Mariel.  She was my companion through a contested divorce, getting my feet wet again in the dating world, several relationships, a new marriage, a new baby, moving to a new home, and transitioning from working as a lawyer, to embracing a new life as a yoga teacher and artist.  She was feisty and a diva -- she didn't like new people, new animals, or being transported to new settings.  She had a wail of a meow, and a purr that was so loud that it could be heard from another room.  As the lyrics from Stray Cat Strut go - she was a black and orange cat with class and style, who never bothered chasing mice around.  I will really miss her.  Although I don't often try to paint with any realism, this art journal page captures her and her regal, haughty expression.

It was fitting that this was the very last page in the art journal I started June 1.  I started it for Running With Scissors 30 day challenge, which was loads of fun.   Here are some pics of my finished journal!  I stenciled the front and back with Julie Balzer's Dashed Lines stencil and then added a zentangled mandala I did a while back.

Here are some spreads -- all of which I think I've blogged about in prior posts.  It's interesting to look at it all together -- I see that there are a lot of days I only feel like "arting," and not writing.  Because I tend to blog about the art in the journal, I'm not as drawn to write in it.  I save my journal writing for events and thoughts that are sensitive for me.

Of course, I had to start a new journal immediately!  Here's the first page, inspired by Inspiration Avenue's weekly challenge: wheels.
I created this page by:
  1. stenciling an 8 x 10 piece of cardstock with Julie's dashed lines stencil using adirondack color wash sprays in stream and lettuce.  
  2. I placed a circles template on the page and layered modeling paste on top it.   
  3. Once the modeling past dried, leaving raised circles, I pasted the page into my journal using Elmer's art paste and a disposable brush.  The color washes ran, creating a nice effect on the paper.  
  4. While it was still wet, I used the wooden tip of a paint brush to scribble into the "glue-color wash goop." 
  5. I cut out a clip art of someone doing cartwheels and painted the figures black to make silhouettes and then cut them out and glued them on the large circles.
  6. The orange mandalas are from a large sheet of Nepalese Lokta paper.
  7. I wrote lyrics from "The Circle Game" on copy paper and sprayed them with color mists before cutting them out and gluing them down.
I really like this message to start my new journal.  Hopefully, in each  "go round," we accumulate the wisdom to change how we relate to our experiences.  The Buddha taught that lasting happiness can be attained only through becoming a “lamp unto yourself.”  Both Buddhism and yoga philosophy teach that nirvana or enlightenment is not a different place -- it is a clear perception of oneself and of the entire range of human experience.  This is the key to self-transformation.  Similarly - “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21).  Every great religious, spiritual, and wisdom tradition teaches that life’s ultimate truth, its ultimate treasure, lies within us.

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  1. Sorry to hear about you loss, it is such a hard thing a they become part of the family! You work is a fitting tribute and your art journal pages look wonderful. X

  2. Beautiful work today, Jessica. We become so attached to our 4 legged friends, don't we? You had Tory as long as some parents have their kids in the house! Your tribute is wonderful.

  3. Delicious journal pages!

    I'm so sorry about Tory. A cat that is with us so long is truly a family member, and goes through many stages of our lives with us.

    I love that Joni Mitchell song. A beautiful song about kids (and cats) growing older.

  4. Wonderful tribute to your family member Tory. So sorry for your loss. There is a rich history tied into your sweet cat!!

    Your journal pages and wisdom are amazing. I am especially in love with "The recipe!"

    I can hear Joni's song playing in my head...beautiful!!

    Your post last week about gossip inspire my post this week!!

    Hugs Giggles

  5. So sorry to hear about your Tory. She sounds like an amazing feline friend. Your journal pages are so vibrant and full of rich images!

  6. My sincere condolences for the loss of your cat, Tory. How wonderful that she was a part of your life through so much and many changes and transistions. I am sure she was a true comfort.

    I liked reading about your life as you told this tale.

    Your journal pages are such fun too. I wish they'd enlarge but they are balking at that request.


  7. So sorry for your loss of Tory. . .our pets are truly part of the family. Our 11 year old son has cried before about losing our dog and she is only 4 but he can't imagine life without her.
    Great job on your journal - so satisfying to finish one and get started on another one!

  8. Jessica,
    I am so very sorry for your loss.
    Pets are such wonderful members of our family.

    Your journal pages are very beautiful.
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  9. Love seeing your journal pages, always so interesting and bright!

  10. Beautiful, heartfelt post. I am very sorry about Tory. But Tory is most definitely a wonderful memory and inspiration for your art. It is a lovely portrait.

  11. What a lovely tribute to your Tory. They do become family and its such a loss when they are no longer with us. I had to put down my 14 year old rescue cat last year and it was so hard. You did a wonderful painting of her. A nice way to end your journal too. HPPF

  12. Your journal work is fantastic! Love the portrait of your cat - I know how hard it is to part from a loved pet. Valerie

  13. your painting of Tory is so endearing and sending you lots of healing hugs ~ hard to lose those we love ~ Journal pages are very colorful and creative ~ Lots of goodies! ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  14. I am so sorry to hear about Tory, Jessica. What a marvelous memorial to have her be the finishing page to one of your art journals, just like a golden seal. Blessings!

  15. Thank you for sharing Tory's story. So sorry for your loss. It's always so difficult when it's time to make a choice on their behalf as we all only want to do what's best for them. Thank youfor sharing your wonderful spreads too.

  16. They really look stunning all together. Beautiful journal pages. Happy PPF

  17. Beautiful work. So sorry for loss. You will always have memories of this very beautiful creature. :-)

  18. I'm sorry you had to say goodbye to such a good friend in your cat. :(

    These journal pages are gorgeous! So full of color and life.
    Catherine Denton

  19. Sorry to hear about your cat. :-( I like your journal pages as they are very vibrant and colourful. Thank you for sharing your process of making the journal page. It's been very useful!

  20. So sorry about your pet, how hard it is to face the end of a pet's life. My heart goes out to you.

    Your painting of the cat is lovely. A beautiful memory to cherish.


  21. Your cat painting is so very lovely, all your love shows in this wonderful painting!

  22. Very interesting, I like those your journal entries. Greetings.

  23. I love the painting of your beautiful cat... so sorry she is no longer with you.

    Wonderful journal pages.... thank you for sharing :)


  24. I'm so sorry for your loss. You've made a wonderful memorial painting. The journal looks really great and I like the new one, too!

  25. I am so sorry to hear about your kitty's passing. It's amazing that it happened on the last page of your journal! I had a friend who related his life to being on a merry-go-round - he would ride his horse on the merry-go-round of life, and every now and then, he would say he fell off, but now it was time to climb on his horse again!

  26. Hi Jessica: I would have liked Tory. I had a cat the same color combo. Tory reminds me of my cat. She lived for about 18 years too. You've led an interesting life and are so blessed to do your art and yogo. Most of us wouldn't have accepted the challenge. Thanks for the story and inspiration. Coming to you from S&T Sat as the Neon Green & Pink Avatar this week. Blessings Terri

  27. hi Jessica- first, so sorry bout your little buddy cat..I have dogs but kno how hard that is :( I truly love your creations- Fabulous your writing too..tfs

  28. Loving your journal pages. So colorful and fun, Thanks for the how to...will have to give it a try myself. :-) ~Rhonda

  29. So sorry for the loss of your sweet babe. Love your bright and colorful journal pages! And we're neighbors, kinda (I'm in Ridgewood about 15 mi north -- but we almost moved to Montclair! :))

  30. So sorry to hear about your loss. A wonderful tribute page. And I loved looking at your other journal pages. Take care.

  31. So sorry you had to say farewell to your sweet friend. I am all too familiar with those heartbreaking moments. Your art is a gift and I am glad you are sharing it with us. The journal is spectacular.
    Stopping by via Inspiration Avenue.
    Much love,

  32. Sorry that you lost your much loved cat. What a lovely picture to remember her by. Lovely journal pages.

  33. Absolutely awesome art...your tribute to your loved one shall help you in keeping the memories forever !

  34. I am sorry for your loss. That is a lovely tribute to Tory. She had a long life, considering all the things that happened to you during her lifetime...Your journal pages are fabulous and the journal itself looks like a work of art!

  35. I am sorry to here about loosing Tory. You have painted a beautiful tribute. I love your journal pages they are awesome!!

  36. So very sorry about your cat Tory, what a wonderful tribute to such a good friend for all those years.

  37. (((Hugs)))) for your recent loss. What a long time you had Tory. The journal pages are a great continuation of the future and a remembrance of the past, as the song says, we continue to go round and round in a circle and can only look behind from whence we came. . . true words. Blessings, Janet PPF

  38. Oh Jessica, that's so sad. My son had to put his dog to sleep yesterday and he was pretty torn up about it...which means I am too. What a beautiful painting. You really can see the haughty-ness. :) And the rest of your journal is way cool.

  39. I am so sorry about the loss of your dear Tory. I had to give up my two cats this year because of the townhouse development I moved to. I still think of them every time i come home and every time I wake up in the morning. Trying to adjust...I now have a beta fish named "Franklin" by my 4 year old grandson. I enjoyed looking through your journal pages and really appreciate learning about how you created your new journal cover.

  40. Lovely journal pages! I really like the one with the person doing cartwheels. So sorry to hear about your cat. But the painting is a beautiful tribute!

  41. All you wrote and painted is a great tribute to Tory. I translated (tried to) a little poem from a Dutch poet for you:

    Oeloemba, a cat

    He had his little habits
    like us, but with
    bigger indifference

    He loved stoves
    in winter, birds in

    Ill and indifferent for
    death and us
    He died.

    Rutger Kopland

  42. Your journal is so beautiful and inspiring! What a wonderful tribute to Tony to be the final page in this amazing work of art! I firmly believe that we cannot measure our life in years but instead by the furry friends we have loved (I am 3 cats old). Tony will send you a sign of her love that will bring you peace and comfort. When my husband and I lost our cat of 20 yrs last spring a butterfly came to us one day and every day after that for 3 months. We named him Spot because he had a big white spot on his wing just like our cat. Keep a look out for butterflies!

  43. Great pages.. I really want to go journal now! I'm sorry to hear about your cat...

  44. I absolutely love your art journal pages, Jessica. Thank you for sharing them! And I want to send my sincere sympathy at the loss of your dear fur baby! I know you will miss Tory so much. That Joni Mitchell song is a favorite of mine and I have been playing with an art journal page with these lyrics myself!


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