"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.


showing up

Hi friends! Yes, here I am posting two days in a row.

I really did not have anything specific to journal about this morning. I guess most times when I do journal that is the case, but or some reason I got out of practice...and I do think it's a practice...of daily or weekly journaling. Or even being in my studio. I have a bracelet that has a saying on it, "show up and live your art".  I haven't been showing up and I'm not sure what has kept me from doing so. So I showed up this morning. It felt good and strange at the same time. I wasn't exactly sure where to begin or what to do so I just put color on the page...small mark making...a little at a time. 

I have noticed that I am not necessarily finishing my journal pages, at least the last several I have done. I say that, but since there is no rule about when a spread is done (it's more a feeling) they in fact may be. I'm just stopping at a point where I don't have any more ideas or desire to add more. I would rather leave it a bit unfinished than overwork it like I have done in the past. I like giving it time to evolve without me rushing the finished product. Allowing myself to be okay with the tension of maybe not being completed. I think that is partly why I stopped painting big. I expected to create this great work of art in a day or two or three of painting, when really it can take weeks and months. 

I'm going to move more slowly and be with the process more than I think about the finished product. 

So, this spread may or may not be complete...


It's been so long...

Well hello there! Has it really been almost a year since I last posted...I even had to change my sign in password since I couldn't remember it. I suppose I could attribute that to my advancing age as well. I turned 60 since my last post...heading to 61. I have thought about closing this old dusty thing out, (the blog not me, lol) but something keeps me from actually doing that. I have been posting on Instagram regularly and it's been a great place to post photos and to find inspiration without a lot of words. But I think I miss those words, and feelings, and a place to connect with others on a little deeper level. 

I haven't been doing much journaling or painting. Something in me seems stalled. Below are a few that I have done. I'm not sure if the first one is finished, I may go back and add more...or not. I used a couple of Roxanne Coble's stencils in this piece.  

Oh, you can follow me on instagram @maryefreeman if you like. 


Sometimes, you don't need a lot of words. Sometimes, a photo is all you need. 


composition notebooks

I really like composition notebooks. I like the size of them and how they feel in my hand. I like to write, keep notes, even visual journal in them (yes, the paper works just fine). But I don't like the cover, it bores me a bit. You can easily paint over them, and I have many times, but I also like to cover the notebooks with copies of my favorite journal spreads.

I use a liquid matte medium to adhere the images to the notebook. When dry I cover with a satin varnish. You can use mod-podge, but I find the matte medium works better for me and the varnish is not sticky like mod-podge sometimes is.

 It's an easy and cheap way to create some fun notebooks.

Also don't forget to print some of your favorite journal pages to make cards to give. Even crops of your journal pages make interesting cards.

Oh, just a reminder that when you are using copies make sure they are printed on a laser printer not ink jet. Ink jet images will smear when you and a medium or varnish on them.


working through a spread

As always I had no preconceived ideas of where I was going with this spread. They are a mystery to me as I begin. And there was something I loved about each stage of this spread. Part of me wanted to just stop at each point because I like how it looked and was afraid I would lose it. 

(I take photos at each stage because of that) 

But even though a page may be visually appealing to me, I kind of know in my gut that I need to keep working. By the time I came to the last version of my spread I felt I had really screwed it up. I felt that I had really over-worked it. It was really dark so I glued down some pieces of old ledger paper I have. I wrote on it and as I sat back to look at it I realized I was telling myself something that I needed to hear right in that moment, something I had not planned on writing and probably would not have written if I had stopped at any other stage of this spread.  

I realized I had spelled envision wrong (my spelling is crap) but someone on a Facebook visual journaling group I'm a member of said this, "I like how you wrote in-vision, like you were following your inner vision".  I like that too.  

I want to encourage all you visual journalers to not be afraid to go with your gut when creating. No matter what stage you are at, if you feel you need to keep working or keep pushing, even if you like what you see on the page, keep going. Remember, it's not about creating something of beauty, though often it will turn out to be beautiful. But rather, it's about working out what's on the inside. It's about revealing feelings and thoughts that need to be surfaced. It's about digging, excavating the old to make room for the new. 

I'm not saying every spread will be like that.  Many will be lighter, simpler, and can express joy and happiness. They're not all these deep, dark, internal spewing expressions...it's just in my case visual journaling is a way to me to release deep emotions and feelings. It's a way for me to work through confusing and unsettling feelings. Not everyone will work in their journals in this way. You will choose you own way of working in them.