Int'l Fake Journal Month


My International Fake Journal Month 2015 Project Begins Here! 

International Fake Journal Month is the brainchild of the brilliant, creative and always inspiring  Roz Stendahl of Roz Wound Up.

You can read about what IFJM is HERE at the official IFJM blog.

This will be my first year participating in IFJM and I'm super excited!!! I hope you'll enjoy following along as Mavis Mabb journals her way through an existential crisis and fulfills her yearning for solitude while she figures out the meaning of life.

Meet Mavis Mabb

Mavis Mabb is a rather eccentric retired medieval history professor, and almost octogenarian who on the eve of her 79th birthday has a vision in a dream that causes her to sell most of her possessions (except her tea things, her books and her dogs) and buy a small cottage on the edge of the woods near the sea. There she follows in the mystical tradition of the hermits, monks and saints of old and seeks to discover the great truths of the universe, and when she has discovered one or two, or all of them, she will consider them, and hopefully be at peace with her creator and ready for a grand journey into the next life. 

Methods, Materials and Intentions

I'll be working in a mustard colored, 7x10,  Apica lined notebook using all kinds of media, including, but not limited to, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, Montana and Liquitex acrylic paint markers, stencils & stamps (both purchased and handmade) Gelli plate for mono-printing, washi tape, collage elements, various and sundry markers, dip pen and various inks, Platinum Carbon fountain pen, gouache, watercolor, Golden high flow acrylic paint, and whatever else might strike my fancy.  In the end  I hope the pages are wobbly and wave under the weight of an elaborate mix of media and make a delightful crinkling sound when turned. The 7x10 Apica has just enough pages for making a double spread daily for one month, and that is the plan. 

April 1

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This is the journal I will be using, Japanese brand ruled soft cover notebook. This is an APICA CD15

Happy International Fake Journal Month!  Curious about what that is? Click HERE or go to the tab at the top of the page labeled Int'l Fake Journal Month.

This is my first year participating and I'm very excited.  I've wanted to do this for several years but too many obstacles stood in my way in previous years, but this is my year! Or perhaps I should say this is Mavis' year. Mavis Mabb is the persona I will take on as I create her journal.  

Here is a brief explanation from IFJM creator Roz Stendahl of Roz Wound Up....People all over are taking a few minutes every day during the month of April to journal as someone else. The exercise is one which helps you focus on your own process. Some fake journal keepers find it an excellent time to dedicate themselves to building new skills and habits. 

My Goals

  1. Write more in my journal
  2. Use heavy mixed media: collage, Gelli prints, stamps, stencils, a variety of wet media 
  3. Work intuitively, freely and boldly
  4. Worry less about the outcome
  5. Use paper that will get wavy, wobbly, warp and crinkle
  6. Do the unexpected

My Persona

Meet Mavis Mabb. Mavis Mabb is a rather eccentric retired medieval history professor, and almost octogenarian who on the eve of her 79th birthday has a vision in a dream that causes her to sell most of her possessions (except her tea things, her books and her dogs) and buy a small cottage on the edge of the woods near the sea. There she follows in the mystical tradition of the hermits, monks and saints of old and seeks to discover the great truths of the universe, and when she has discovered one or two, or all of them, she will consider them, and hopefully be at peace with her creator and ready for a grand journey into the next life. 

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One the first page Mavis writes: I've named my little cottage Stargate, for when you exit the front gate and walk a little ways along the road and up the hill a wide view of the sky opens up and at night an amazing number of stars can be seen here away from the lights of the city. It's certainly not named after that awful sci-fi TV show! 

The quote Mavis includes is this: "The first great thing is to find yourself and for that you need solitude and contemplation - at least sometimes. I can tell you deliverance will not come from the rushing noisy centers of civilization. it will come from the lonely places." -Fridtjof Nansen

Materials: The inside front cover and the first page include hand made circular stamps, Golden High Flow acrylics, Pitt Artist Brush Pen and Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen for the writing, and a piece of text that is collaged in. 

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Mavis writes: C. sent me this little "thought for the day" - I think she is worried about me living out here all alone. She believes that I am depressed - little does she understand that this solitude, this spare and simple life is my joy and I relish its freedom and space to be myself, finally, and to be quiet and think among my books, my land and my dogs. I am brewing my life as I brew my tea: strong and clear, and without sugar, so that all the notes and delicate undertones have a chance to sing out. 

Materials: First page spread includes Gelli prints on deli paper and card stock and used dried tea bags collaged in as well as washi tape on the left edge and top.  Gouache for the tea pot sketch and a hand embossed stamp in the lower left. Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for the quote and a 0.5 black Staedler pigment liner for the writing. 

April 2

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Today Mavis writes...."Anders Winroth from the university called yesterday. He and Ardis Butterfield want me to head some committee or other. I said NO. My life has changed and I'm happy here. Though the new acquisition does sound fascinating"   

Mavis is also a very messy worker and has accidentally splashed paint on the front and back covers of her lovely mustard yellow journal. However, being an eccentric, almost octogenarian, she does not care one bit. 

Materials: hand made stamps, pigmented ink pads, high flow acrylics, fountain pen, Faber-Castelle Pitt Artist Brush Tip Pens, sharpie,  

April 3

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Today Mavis writes a few quotes and a series of random thoughts....April 3, 2015, 6:30 AM...Japan is my archetype.....Consider the lilies of the field they neither toil nor spin....Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself - Matsuo Basho....Today's Tea: Tan Yang Jin Ya, one of the finest teas from China, Tan Yang Village in Fujian.....Thinking about Zed and that beautiful kimono I got from him years ago - and the peacefulness he found in his meditation practice....The Japanese know that oftentimes the best way to honor you is to leave you alone....I need a space designed to honor the private experience....Space and time are what people want. 

Materials: Golden high flow acrylic paint, 6x6 Gelli plate, original stencils and stamps, purchased stencil (hand w/ spiral) tea bags, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, UniBall blue gel pen. Faber Castelle Pitt Artist Brush Pen. 

April 4

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Mavis writes in her journal today...."ave fix ex Eva" a bit of medieval theology that's been rattling around in her head lately and another haiku: How I long to see among dawn flowers the face of God ~ Matsuo Basho

7:00 AM  HOLY SATURDAY- a day of disorientation

They had everything, but they wanted more...and that's when the trouble began.

I had a very strange dream last night about a father urging his young son to commit the same horrible acts he had committed- passing on the sins of the father to the son- generation after generation- How can we escape this fate?

I'm pensive this morning - watched the lunar eclipse just before sunrise - a blood moon- too many thoughts from my walk yesterday swirling in my head - where is the path to  peace? 

Materials:  Golden high flow acrylic paint, gouache, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, washi tape, purchased stamps (tree, face) purchased stencil (curly Q circles), hand carved stamps, leaf, spiral, fruit, cross), sharpie (dark blue), date stamp.

April 5

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Mavis is a bit giddy and has let her journal page get out of hand. Perhaps it's the sugar from the chocolate cream Easter egg she indulged in this morning.

Today Mavis writes.... Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015 Glorious weather, watched the moon set and the sunrise. My plans for today include making my way to the little church in town for a service and feeding the birds down by the shore- I put treats for the dogs in those little plastic eggs and scattered them about the property for a riotous egg hunt canine style in the afternoon.

(Easter always makes Mavis nostalgic for her Methodist roots.)

Raise your joys and triumphs high. Where, O death is now thy sting? Christ hath opened paradise. Soar we now where Christ hath led. Hail the Lord of Heaven and Earth, Praise to thee by both be given. ~ Charles Wesley

Borders and edges are the places of transformation. Transformation that makes demands of us. ~ Christine Valters Paintner - Abbess

Osprey egg    American Crow egg    American Kestrel egg

Materials: Golden high flow acrylic paint, Golden Fluid acrylic paint, gouache, hand carved rabbit stamp, purchased stencils, tea bags, deli paper, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens, Sharpie 

April 6

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Easter has had a big impact on Mavis this year, as she lives in solitude and thinks about the BIG questions. Along with that she seems to be in a blue moon phase and a bit hippy-dippy at the moment.

Mavis has been reading the Abbess again and she quotes..." May the waxing of the moon call you to your own fullness. May you clear out all that no longer serves you, shaking loose old expectations and plans, and embrace what is new and emerging just this moment." ~ Christine Valters Paintner, Abbess

Her love of haiku continues....April's air stirs in willow-leaves...a butterfly floats and balances ~ Matsuo Basho

The Question Mark Butterfly - Polygonia interrogationis

To Do: Plant Seeds
Start in Peat pots
1. Peas

Direct Sow as soon as the ground dries
1. Radish

To Contemplate:
Why a seed must fall to the ground and die before it can produce a harvest.

Materials: various acrylic paints, decorative tape (not washi) purchased stencils, stamps, bought and homemade, sharpie, fountain pen, Faber Castell Pitt Artist brush tip pens, white UniBall Signo gel pen

April 7

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Mavis is finally opening up and writing a bit more in her journal. An unexpected early morning phone call from C has Mavis feeling concerned and thinking. She has also included a little self-portrait in the reflection on the tea pot. Today is a day of introspection for Mavis.

Mavis writes:

Wisdom from ancient sources

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love...and then we return home.

May as well be here, we as where we are.

Traveler, there are no paths. Paths are made by walking.

The more you know the less you need. 

Aboriginal Proverbs.

I am finally settling into life here in the cottage. The quiet does me good. I think I am beginning to see the root of my discontent. It's age. When did I become this old?  How is it possible that there are fewer days ahead than there are behind? I feel panic at that thought. I want to know that I have sought what is truly meaningful. I want to swim in the rivers of the "grand plan". Is there God? Goddess? Spirit? I am seeking the old ways and my own way all at the same time. 

C called this morning. She didn't sound herself, and in fact said she wasn't feeling well. unusual for her.

April 7, 2015 8:30AM

Today's Tea: Matcha Genmaicha, green tea with toasted rice

Materials: Round Gelli plate, Golden High Flow acrylic paint, regular acrylic paint, hand made stamp, gouache, Preppy sign pen, fountain pen, sharpie, TomBow marker. 

April 8

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Today we meet Mavis' greyhounds Gemma, Doc and little Lizzy the Italian. Considering how important they are to her it's surprising that we haven't met them until now but Mavis has a lot of things on her mind lately. Death, for one. We also get a glimpse of Mavis from 1955, when she was 19.  Mavis fiddled around with that drawing trying to get the hat exactly right and she wore a whole in the paper, but she had some document tape to fix it. At this age Mavis knows that in life it is often best just to patch things up and move on. 

Mavis writes... April 8, 2015 12:00 noon  I've been walking in the woods lately - hunting for any small sign of spring's green-ness. There is skunk cabbage by the stream and moss on stones and stumps, particularly near vernal pools, is exceedingly green. This natural renewal of life after the icy death sleep of winter encourages me. How many years do I have left? Ten ? Five? At seventy-nine one must think in single digits I fear. Fear? Do I fear? Is death so fearful? Here I will quote Gore Vidal..." The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death. And so perhaps I need a religion since I AM terrified of death. I would like to say with J.M. Barrie "To die will be an awfully big adventure".

Today's Tea: Jasmine Dragon Ball,  Long zhu mo li hua lu cha

Gemma -  Lizzy -  Doc

1955 with my first greyhound, Suzie

One thing I definitely believe in, the goodness of a dog. Their unconditional love and loyalty has saved me many times. Does this reflect their creator? I want to say yes.

Materials: acrylic paint,  purchased stencil, hand made stamp, gouache, Faber Castell Pitt Artists Brush Pens, Tradio Stylo pen, sharpies, document repair tape.

April 9

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Today Mavis has had an epiphany! 

Mavis writes: April 9, 2015, 9:00 AM Today's Tea: Ashikubo Sencha, a special treat

Everything that reveals God conceals God, and everything that conceals God reveals God. 

And ye have sought Me, and have found, for ye seek Me with all your heart. ~ Jer. 29:13
Young's Literal Translation

Have I already found God in the seeking? Do we just need to become better acquainted? 

Spent last evening flipping through old photos. I rarely feel nostalgic but some of those old times with C and the gang were really terrific and life was good. 

As one who walking in a forest sees
A lovely landscape through the parted trees, 
Then sees it not, for boughs that intervene;
Or as we see the moon sometimes revealed
Through drifting clouds, and then again
So I behold the scene. 

*Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Materials: Round 8" Gelli plate, purchased stencils, deli paper, book page, glue, acrylic paint, acrylic ink, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, calligraphy marker, sharpie

April 10

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Mavis has succumbed to nostalgia and continues to look through old photo albums.

Mavis writes: April 10, 2015 7:00 AM 
1964?  C and I in Paris - April 1964 or maybe 1965. Look at C's bouffant hairdo! This is just before she married Edward.

Great acts of kindness will befall you in the coming months.

Materials:  Golden High Flow acrylic paint, hand made stamp, stamp pad, Gelli printed papers cut into fish, gesso, Copis markers, Faber Castell Pitt Artist brush pens, sharpie, Bic Mark-It markers, post-it notes, fortune from a fortune cookie, washi tape. 

April 11

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Mavis writes....April 11, 2015  Noon  I am at the monastery today. I thought a day of reflection would do me good. Easter plants are still decorating the chapel and other rooms. I was surprised to see that there is a collaboration between the brothers here and some local Buddhist monks. I asked Brother mark how that works and he said that while both groups maintain different and unique beliefs they are happy to find and share common truths and practices.In seventy-nine years that is the most hopeful and encouraging thing I have heard.

That which you are seeking is causing you to seek.  A sign at the monastery.

Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find. Matt. 7:7

Three things cannot be hidden long: the sun, the moon and the truth ~ Buddha

Materials: acrylic inks, gouache, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, white UniBall Signo gel pen, deli paper, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pens, acrylic matte medium

April 12

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Mavis has had some stunningly bad news. She needed to add a page to her journal to have enough space to write about what has happened.

Mavis writes...April 12, 2015, 7:00 AM  Evie called in the middle of the night, C has had a massive stroke, or at least that's what they think right now. I'm shaking and in disbelief - How has this happened, C is always in perfect health and younger than me. Evie says that Edward had gone on a fishing trip - the opening of trout season - he left early Friday morning. E was at a seminar for work all that day and into the evening, on Saturday she had to pick up Kate from  a friend's and then she stopped in to see C around three and found her lying on the floor unconscious. no one knows how long she'd been lying there. My God, I am so worried - E says that the doctors are saying she's suffered major neurological damage. Edward is beside himself and blames himself for not being there. I'v hired a car to take me to the hospital today. 

Materials: acrylic ink, acrylic paint, Gelli plate, hand carved stamps, hand made hot glue stencil, deli paper, various collage papers including a page from a vintage bird field guide, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, fountain pen, gouache, document tape.

April 13

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Mavis writes: April 13th I have been awake since 3AM. I am reeling and adrift in a sea of sadness. The doctors say that C will never recover but Evie still holds out hope. I couldn't take in everything they said but saw her lying there paralyzed on one side and the unresponsive, vacant stare in her eyes. My vivacious, energetic little sister, her brain damaged beyond repair. Edward sits by her and holds her hand, stricken and in shock. 6:30 AM. 

Music scrap:
Soar we now where Christ has led
fought the fight the battle won
where,O, death, is now your sting?
following our exalted head

The inner life: that part of us where faith and doubt contest the mastery

Materials:  acrylic ink, acrylic paint, Gelli plate, purchased stencil, sheet music scrap, portion of a chop stick wrapper, Pentel pocket Brush pen, fountain pen, calligraphy markers

April 14

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Mavis writes: April 14, 2015, 7:30 AM One summer when I was 12 and C was 4 we took a family vacation to Maine to a Methodist Summer Camp Meeting. I was basically given charge of C that summer. She loved those camp meetings. On rainy days we'd stay inside and do arts and crafts and C had a particular enthusiasm for weaving these little pot holders out of stretchy loops of fabric. I think that even at her tender young age C absorbed so much. In her high school year book her motto was a quote from John Wesley, "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can." That has pretty much summed up C for her whole life. I remember practically nothing of what was taught that summer, sensing that something wasn't right between our parents, and hadn't been right since father returned from the war, and my twelve year old brain was racing and worried. Whatever it was my parents never spoke of it and after that summer life seemed more normal. I've talked to C about it but she remembers nothing except how much she loved camp and making pot holders!

Materials: Gelli prints, UniBall gel pen 

April 15

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Mavis writes: April 15, 2015 6:30 AM  Today's tea just Chamomile for my nerves. Stayed with C most of the day yesterday to give Edward a rest. He's exhausted. Evie is having a hard time coping well. Having lost Jack in the accident three years ago she is unable to deal with the possibility of losing her mother. Kate has returned to school to keep up with her classwork. C has stabilized a bit and with some difficulty can swallow pureed food. She opens her eyes occasionally but I see only faint glimmers of her. It's like she is buried deep within herself, imprisoned. I miss her smile and her laugh. I found a small snippet of a prayer in a booklet Brother Mark gave me that seems to bring me some comfort. Looking for a spiritual change for me.

I have not seen any of these things with my eyes. I cannot touch God with my hands, nor hear his voice with my ears. So in a way we are all blind.  What is important for us in following Jesus is that we should get back the inward eye, the inner light. So we pray not for a physical miracle, but a spiritual change.

Materials: Gelli print papers, deli paper, hand made stamps, collage elements, red and black Sharpie. 

April 16

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Mavis is exhausted and today she can only ponder a quote....

Mavis writes: "It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings." Wendell Berry

Materials:  Gelli printed paper, string, deli paper, purchased stencil, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush Tip Pens, UniBall Signo white gel pen, Sharpie white paint marker, Pentel pocket Brush Pen, Montana acrylic paint marker, Golden high Flow acrylic paint. 

April 17

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Mavis writes:  April 17, 7:00 AM  The weather has been so perfect, warm and moist and gentle as spring should be. I walked in the woods yesterday and saw so many birds, the warblers have returned. I am hopeless at identifying the many different ones. I am feeling so joyful and happy today yet struggle with taking renewing walks in the woods and finding joy when I know how much C and Edward and Evie are suffering. I will go tomorrow to visit C and see if I can help Edward with anything.

Materials:  Gelli plate, bubble wrap, acrylic paints, Gelli printed papers, stencils, fountain pen, music scrap, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush Tip Pens. 

April 18

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Mavis writes: April 18, 2015 9:00 PM  Letting Go.  I arrived at the hospital at 9 and there was a great deal of commotion. C was having a massive stroke- a wave of anxiety swelled over me. I called Edward to come immediately. He arrived an hour later with Evie. They are both in crisis. Evie does not wish to honor C's advanced health care directives, and Edward is frozen in fear and does not want C to suffer anymore. The end of life team has arrived. To my surprise Kate arrived soon after. She spoke at length with Edward and then taking him by the hand she told Evie that her grandmother was too beautiful a soul and too good to suffer this way and that it was time to let go. I think Evie was relieved. She tried so hard to fix something no one could fix. Her mother was going to die. Very sad and exhausted I left them, so I could get some rest at home.

Materials: Gelli printed paper, deli paper, purchased stencils, acrylic paint, blue sharpie. blue ink. 

April 19

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Mavis writes with great sadness: Carol Anne Mabb-Anderson, 1944-2015, Rest in Peace, O Lord, You have lifted up my soul from the grave restore me to life. April 19, 2015, 6:23 AM

Materials: Stencils, Gelli Plate, Golden High Flow acrylic paint, Liquitex paint Marker, collage element

April 20

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Mavis writes...April 20th, 2015  

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. - Vincent Van Gogh 

I don't like the way this day feels. I will never see C again, here, now, in this life. It is a terrible, aching realization.  Yet, there is such relief at not having to see her suffer, a relief from the exhaustion and the uncertainty and conflict about how to care for her. Evie, the organizer, the powerful force of getting things done, the fixer and gentle Edward and Kate with tender hearts and loyal souls, we all wanted to give C the best care...but in different ways.The conflict of what to do in her last hours was something that shook all of us to the core of our souls. I was not there when C slipped away, none of us were, it happened in the early morning. That makes me feel we abandoned her, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Our hearts were grieving but our minds and bodies exhausted. Grief and relief are odd companions. Evie is finding relief being able to plan the funeral. Kate and Edward talk of which flowers were her favorites. I know. They are tulips. 

Materials: acrylic ink, Dylusions spray ink, hand cut foam shapes , red, orange, yellow Sharpie, green gel pen. 

April 21

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Mavis is unable to write much today, but has taken comfort in creating images.

Mavis writes: Semper te memoria tenebo, (I will always remember you) April 21, 2015, 10:30 AM   Love Never Ends

Materials:   acrylic ink, Dylusions spray ink, walnut ink, gouache, metallic paint, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, alphabet stamps, calligraphy marker, purchased stencil, hand cut heart stencils, Gelli printed card stock and tea bags stitched together with waxed thread, tree swallow charm, photograph. 

April 22

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Mavis is heard quite often say "Oh, whoops. Well, I can fix that. I think". Just today the peacock green spray ink that made the hearts bled through to the other side of the page causing several awful blobs on her beautiful spread from the day before. But Mavis is unperturbed, she has gone back and rescued her previous day's page spread with some clever fixes. In fact, Mavis has had to fix so many unexpected "oopses", that she feels more like a handyman than an artist. 

Mavis writes: April 22, 2015, 7:30 AM Brother Mark and I stayed up late into the night talking after C's funeral. He is helping me see that God is both light and darkness and that uncertainty and even doubt is very often an expression of deep faith, just in a paradoxical way. We cannot always know the particulars but the idea that God is Love, as simple and over used as it may be  as a catch all phrase, is deep and profound when you sit quietly and think on it. Beauty, Truth and Love are the foundation. Beauty I recognize, Love I know and have experienced. Truth is a little more tricky I told Brother Mark. He laughed and said that I was on my way to finding it. 

The Power and Beauty of Dark Moments in our Life.

It is the full descent that is required for resurrection.

Die before you die. - Rumi

Today's Tea: Zhong Guo Cha, Iron Buddha Oolong ( Tie Guan Yin Cha)

Materials: Gelli plate, acrylic paints, hand made stamps and stencils, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, gouache, spray inks. bubble wrap. 

April 23

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Mavis is finding solace by keeping busy in her garden as she ponders all that has happened since she moved to the cottage.

Mavis writes: April 23, 2015 8:30 am The garden has begun

Where will you plant your grief seeds?  Workers need ground to scrape and hoe, Not the sky of unspecified desire. ~ Rumi

Materials:   acrylic ink, hand made stamps, purchased daisy stamp, archival pigmented ink pads, acrylic paint, calligraphy marker

April 24

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Mavis Writes: April 24, 2015, 6:45 AM  My suffering along with her, My grieving her suffering, and my powerlessness to help her , my role as caregiver is over. Winter is past. Her burden is gone, and so is mine. We are now both at peace. 

" Myths encourage us to follow an elusive middle way that leads into a darkness we have shunned and eventually into the Great Death, and the homecoming beyond. There are no myths for the Reality beyond that threshold. We know it only by traversing the passage, attentive, moment by moment."  George Mayers, from Listen to the Desert

Let those who have ears hear.

Song of Songs

Winter is past
A time of pruning
Song of the Dove

Materials: Gelli printed papers, deli paper, acrylic paints, stencils, Faber Castell Pitt Artists Brush Tip markers, fountain pen

April 25

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Mavis writes:  I know more and less about God at the same time. I am certain of fewer things, but more certain of these.

There is holy fire in the darkness - in the way of unknowing.

You survive the hard, dark times by being still, and then you bloom.

I dreamt last night of a white she-wolf. She had a lesson to teach me. April 25, 2015, 6:30 AM

Balance   The Holy Way

The individual with Arctic Wolf as their power totem is one who is capable of withstanding numerous challenges and setbacks only to emerge stronger than before. Paradoxically, they are also gentle souls with a great deal of emotional sensitivity. ..and this is where they are likely to encounter their greatest lessons. Yet by calling on the inner strength of the Arctic Wolf they can triumph and raise their heads with gratitude to the loving rays of the sun.

Materials:  Gelli plate, acrylic paints, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, Faber Castell Pitt Artists Brush Tip Pens, gel pen, hand carved stamp, lettering stencils. 

April 26

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Mavis writes:  The stones thrust upward with great power, They are embedded in the earth. They provide a firm support for the clay and the trees grow out from among them. They are half hidden and don't reveal all of themselves. Stones half hidden in the earth and water remind me that what we may see is not all there is. The big stones have an immovable quality while the smaller ones seem happy to be moved about by forces beyond their control, They are silent and they are themselves where ever they are. They wait in whatever place they are. They listen in quiet repose as all goes on around them. They are still. They are still when the world is still and they are still when the world is not. 

Now Freedom Comes

April 26, 2015, 7:30 AM

Materials: Gelli plate, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, purchased stamps, hand carved stamp, acrylic paint

April 27

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Mavis writes:  April 27, 2105, 7:00 AM  It is still so hard to remember that C is gone. I have to remind myself that I can't pick up the phone and call her. The seasons change and the planets continue in their orbits. The universe goes on and so must I. I'm working in the garden and see the wisdom of plant, grow, harvest, rest, and know that we are the same. Birth, growth, maturity and death. But that is here. I hope, and perhaps even believe with conviction that our second birth ushers us into a new way of being, a way that flowers perpetually. I hope C is a red tulip. 

Materials: Gelli prints, acrylic paint, hand carved stamps, stencils, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, gel pen. 

April 28

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Mavis writes: April 28, 2015 6:30 AM

Adrienne called yesterday - hearing her sweet southern accent always brings a smile to my face. She was just checking to see how I was getting on. I told her that I've weathered the storm. She told me to be on the look out for a package, and not two hours later it arrived. She sent me a gorgeous amethyst geode, with a little explanation is the growth and re-birth bit that caught my eye -- it seems that everywhere I look there is some affirmation of re-birth.

Amethyst : A gemstone of protection and strength, amethyst pairs well with your name because inner strength is your gift. Also, a stone of growth and re-birth, amethyst helps support your own ability to change, develop and become your greatest ambitions.

Therefore, marvel not that I say unto you, ye must be born again.  1 John 3:13

Materials:  Gelli plate, bubble wrap, acrylic paint, fountain pen gouache, gel pen

April 29

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Mavis writes:  These words keep coming to Mavis' mind: Paradox, Renewing, Healing

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. ~ Matsuo Basho

Come, see the flowers of this pained world. ~ Matsuo Basho 

Suffering is not about blame, but about creating meaning. 

Materials: Round Gelli Plate, acrylic ink, acrylic paint, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, gouache, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush Tip Pens, lettering stencil, background stencil

April 30 

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Mavis writes: April 30, 2015 6:30 AM  A Heart at Peace Gives Life to the Body ~ Proverbs 14:30

I asked Brother Mark to help me begin a contemplative practice. He said that my walks in the woods, my garden and my journal were my contemplative practices. I suppose they are, as each one puts my heart at peace and gives life to my body. He did suggest the practice of Divine Reading, Lectio Divina, which I will begin. I am looking forward to turning the calendar page and beginning the month of May - a month of new beginnings, and fresh starts, growth and life, new life, a life without C, but a life that somehow brings us closer. 

Materials: Round Gelli plate, acrylic paints, stencils, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, gouache

My International Fake Journal for 2015 At-a-Glance and Wrap -up

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It is really hard to believe that IFJM has come to a close! As a first time participant I have to say that I'm hooked, and look forward to next April's IFJM project!

Here's a wrap-up of how things went for me.

My Goals

  1. Write more in my journal
  2. Use heavy mixed media: collage, Gelli prints, stamps, stencils, a variety of wet media 
  3. Work intuitively, freely and boldly
  4. Worry less about the outcome
  5. Use paper that will get wavy, wobbly, warp and crinkle
  6. Do the unexpected

How I Did

1. I did write more in my journal. That's been something that I've been trying to do in my regular journal as well.  Creating a character for IFJM meant that I had to write enough to have a least a bare bones story line going. I find that I very often like to simply write quotes, or even single words in my journaling practice. However, if I'm honest, I think that may be an avoidance behavior because I seem to resist creating original written content. I think I write well enough, but some part of my inner critic still seems to hold me back from writing more original content, and feeling good about including it in my journal. I need to get over this since increasing the amount of original writing I do in my journal is a goal I value.

2. Use heavy mixed media. This I totally achieved and really loved.  Now the question is do I keep a separate mixed media journal that's created in the studio or do I try to incorporate more mixed media into my regular journal which is usually created from life when I'm out at a location. Good question, no firm answer yet.

3. Work intuitively, freely and boldly. I also achieved this goal. I think working working first thing in the morning helped. From this goal I really got a shot in the arm, gaining confidence that if I allowed myself to work this way and things went awry, 99% of the time I could rescue the situation and in the end have a page that I at least liked even if I didn't love it and that's OK.

4. Worry less about the outcome. I still worry about the outcome, but I'm willing to risk more now and as stated above my confidence in my ability to reclaim a mess and create something has been strengthened. 

5. Use paper that will get wavy, wobbly, warp and crinkle.  This was a big one for me, I owe my fascination with this and my new found love of warped crinkly paper to Roz (Roz Wound Up) and a description she wrote of sharing just such a journal with a friend whose reverence for the textures and sounds of heavily worked paper captivated me. Normally, I only use archival, very heavy weight mixed media or watercolor paper, that will not buckle, and must not have any bleed through or show through to the other side of the page, not even a faint ghost image, nothing at all. I've been really picky about that in the past. I may still be in the future but, at least for a mixed media journal I love the wobbly, wavy, warped, crinkly paper. So again, will this kind of journal become my "regular" journal, paper and process, or will it be for a separate special one where I want to work with those qualities...I don't know yet. 

6. Do the unexpected. I had several things in my head that I wanted to do in this journal that I've never done before, and by doing them I gained insight about possibilities that previously I had only considered but never put into practice.  In the IFJM journal I did paper weaving, stitching, added in a page, incorporated a charm and heavy collage elements.

I also used this project for an unstated goal and that was to work though a personal issue. I found this to be such a helpful way to deal with the issue, without getting swamped with overwhelming emotions. Using art allowed me to think and express what I was feeling in a positive and controlled way, which was a good way to do things for me.

I wrote several pages of notes at the end of my IFJM journal exploring my process before IFJM and during and tried to see where I might go from here. 

My Usual Process

My usual process is to work in a sketchbook with archival paper that's very heavy weight with no show through and no buckling with any media. I work almost exclusively from life with only the occasional reference photo which is usually of an animal I sketched in the field that I couldn't get enough info down from quickly enough before it moved on. Then I will use a reference photo to add more accurate sketches. I usually work directly in pen, and then add watercolor or gouache. Difficult subjects like architecture may require some pencil guidelines first. Every once in a while I will switch to colored pencils or markers just for fun or use dry media if the situation (like in an art museum) requires it. But the usual is heavy weight paper, pen and water media.

It's in the winter when the weather prohibits much outdoor sketching that I begin to experiment in my sketchbooks with mixed media to keep boredom at bay.  It is those explorations that made me want to try an entire journal of mixed media for IFJM.

My Process during IFJM

I usually tried to get backgrounds done a day or two ahead of time using the Gelli plate or acrylic inks and a big brush, both became favorite ways of creating backgrounds. Often I was thinking ahead to what the next few pages would contain (quotes, story line) so I could make suitable backgrounds. Sometimes I had no idea where things were going and sometimes I had to do the whole thing at once. I would begin adding layers (stamp, stencil, collage) and then try to leave a place where I could do an original sketch and add some writing. I created a lot of hand made stamps, masks, and stencils to use along with purchased ones. When I felt my ideas were flagging I'd take a day and create new imagery to work with. 

Moving Forward and Incorporating New Process Elements

I really love the richness of the backgrounds I created. It took some getting used to just working over the top of stuff and ignoring the background colors and textures,when I was sketching but I'm getting the hang of it. I have only very occasionally pre-prepared backgrounds in my sketchbooks. I'm always worried that they won't fit well with what I end up sketching that day, and then I'll have to skip pages and the chronology (important to me) will be disrupted. I also worry that I'll struggle with getting the media I work with to adhere to the pre-prepared background. Watercolor over acrylic mono-prints and even acrylic inks is difficult, gouache is a little better but still can require building up layers for good adhesion and that requires time I might not have if I'm sketching live. So maybe the backgrounds need to be watercolor or gouache to begin with, or very thin and very light. That's an issue that needs working on.

The other issue I face when trying to incorporate mixed media into my regular journaling is the question of cohesion. Do I want my journal to have a cohesive look as a whole, from cover to cover.  Should the media, materials and style be the same throughout the journal. I already struggle with the very different look I get from fountain pen and Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, my two favorite pens, and the visual weight difference between watercolor and gouache. Do I dedicate one book to only fountain pen and watercolor, then maybe the next journal to PPBP and gouache?  I hate limiting myself that way in a fifty page journal. I like the freedom to choose the tools I think will best capture my subject. I'm trying to avoid having multiple journals going at once. (Though I never avoid this completely). So there are lots of questions about how to go forward, most of which I think will work themselves out as I try to find the solutions by experimenting with different approaches. 

 At the very least I can see myself having a mixed media journal in the studio going all the time that will be a counter part to the pen and gouache/watercolor work I do in the main journal that I take out and about with me. 

To Sum Up

I had a great experience. I really love the IFJM journal I created for its creative experiments and elements and the way it helped me work through a personal emotional situation. I gained confidence working in mixed media, and pushed myself to create more original written content, and more personal visual imagery. I now have a number of new directions I can explore further. I'm so glad I finally took the plunge and joined IFJM this year. 


  1. Jan, I loved your journal. I also did a Fake Journal this year. Your work in your journal has inspired me to try mixed media. I have an interest in Gelli plates. Would you mind sharing with me which acrylic paint you used with your Gelli plates. Thank you!

  2. Hi Carmel, I use a lot of different kinds but mostly Golden Fluid and High Flow acrylics.

  3. Hi Jan,
    I played around this morning and discovered I like acrylic ink. I am guessing they would be a similar consistency to the High Flow acrylics. Thank you for responding.

  4. Loved your journal Jan! Your pages have such depth with all the collage, and printing, etc. Such a treat for my eyes! I also appreciate your video flip-through; it's great to hear your thought process. You've inspired me to add some other aspects to my fake journal next year, if not my own journal. Hope to see you again in 2016!

  5. This is so creative and thought provoking . Thank you for sharing it with us.

  6. Jan, Mavis' journal is a work of art. The creativity amazes me.


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