Freedom To Create

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in blog | 0 comments

Art Journal 10

As a followers of Christ, I believe all of us have the ability to be creative.  Why?  It’s in our DNA.  First, our Father is the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Second, when He sent Jesus to earth He came with the creative abilities to work as a carpenter, to tell a story, to lead a group, to solve problems.  Creativity flowed out of Jesus.  He didn’t take up brush and paint that we know of, but everything he did was full of ingenuity and creative genius.

Do we, as artists, feel God’s freedom when we create?  Or, do we approach our work resting on our abilities and training alone?

I grew tight with my art. My shoulders became tense. I worried about it being perfect.  Then one day, as I was praying about other matters when the Lord said, “I want you to learn how to play again.”

Life in Christ is not supposed to make your shoulders hurt.

It’s not difficult for little children to pick up a brush and swirl paint across a blank paper – they’re free.  They’re not performance minded, they just enjoy what they’re doing. Then they graduate to creating funny little creatures with seven legs protruding from the chin, green faces with gigantic eyes, scenes with an inch of sky at the top of the page, and trees shaped like rulers with stick fringe on top.  The only tension was when you made them help clean-up!!!

My walls were full of artwork.  I celebrated every drawing, every painting my grandkids produced. I’ll never forget a drawing a little girl in the audience drew while I reading my Teedle’s Treasure book.  After the meeting she presented it to me.  A giant head with uneven eyes, and a very big mouth.  It had a hat on and yellow hair coming from the brim.  “Wow, this is lovely,” I said, “who is this?”  Without hesitation she said, “That’s Teedle’s best friend.”  There was no best friend in the book–just Teedle and her father. This little creator observed that Teedle needed a friend–so she made one.  Precious.

Art Journal - grandma 9We were all creators when we were kids, then something changed.  We became compared our work to others. We judged our own creations and somewhere we decided we couldn’t do it.  We stopped trying and stopped just having fun.

“I want you to learn to play again,” I hear Him say.

So, I put away the tedious art and started ripping paper and gluing it randomly on a canvas.  I didn’t care what anyone else thought–I just played.  It was glorious, and a whole new style was born.

Whenever my shoulders tense up  remind myself, I’M SUPPOSED TO BE PLAYING.  The shoulders relax and I end up with my best work.

Why not get your comfy clothes on, and be a kid again.


Here is an article you might enjoy reading: Why Christian Need to Create

Alcohol Inks – Wonderful Color

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

ink-tangleI love alcohol ink!  Have you ever tried them? They’re a little tricky because they behave differently than any other medium. It stains just about anything so you have to protect your surfaces.  However, the Adirondack blending solution also cleans brushes and non-wood surfaces.  (I have those white folding tables in my studio)

The colors are fabulous.  I like to use Adirondack inks, but you have to buy them in a set of three and then you end of with extra colors you don’t need.  I use a lot of blue, so I discovered I could buy inks individually when I choose Jacquard Pinata inks.

They have a wide assortment and they last a long time.  The Jacquard inks react very differently than the Adirondack inks, but it doesn’t take long to figure it out.

It’s fun to try a variety of  surfaces.  I like the hard canvas boards because the texture shows through, but I’ve also used clay-boards, plexiglass and mixed-media paper.

Adirondack also has a blending solution that is wonderful.  I like to drop color, then drop the blending solution on top, and watch it spread.

I’m sure there’s volumes I don’t know about alcohol ink, but it’s fun to try new things. I’d love to hear what you do with ink.



It’s A Happy Thing . . .

Posted by on Sep 9, 2016 in Projects | 0 comments

aafrica-pic-5It’s challenging to make a special memory picture for someone when given a meager selection of memorabilia . . . but it is possible.

A friend wanted me to take candy wrappers left over from a trip to Africa and make a gift for a friend. I didn’t know the friend, her colors, her style, but I trusted a quick prayer would open me to the Lord’s leading and His creativity. Sound bold? I was desperate.

I started the same way I always do with a selection of colors taken
from what I was given. The next step was simple . . . just play.


Africa collage 4
I was liking the results. That’s when I noticed this happy ‘accident’ . . . “I know my Redeemer Liveth . . . HONEST” It’s a happy thing.

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Uk. Art class 1There is a universal language that connects us soul to soul. Like music, art speaks to the heart beyond words. I discovered this during a mission trip to Ukraine.

I had the privilege of teaching art at a children’s camp in the Carpathian mountains. Thirty-five out of fifty children signed up for my masterclass, but we had to narrow it down to a more manageable number. They all wanted to have fun with art. Many of the kids were refugees from eastern Ukraine where there is fighting. Many more came from the projects and possibly had no access to paper and paint.

I had an interpreter, but it was still challenging to communicate ideas so I just showed them. Our language was color and paper and paint.

Uk art class 2The first day was watercolor fun. The children attempted to make the designs I showed them with watercolor and scrunching plastic wrap, but the wind blew the plastic away and paints dried too quickly.The kids had never seen plastic wrap. It never occurred to me that they would have no way of continuing with what I taught. A few had success, some were disappointed, but everyone had fun.

The second day I simplified everything, gave them each a pre-made blank book and colored pencils. They were to draw their adventures at camp. They were so quiet you could hear every bird chirping in the trees. The time flew.

Uk.art class 3The third day we finished our books. I must say I had some grand illusions of my master art class. But honestly, the biggest hit were the sticker books I brought! I taught them how to draw a tree (and they were amazing) then they elected to cover the branches with little sticker owls and blooms. Funny.

One lovely young woman had some real talent. She observed me drawing a tree and created her own flawlessly, adding the balloons that were hanging in the trees by their tents. I loved hers the best.

Uk. Sasha 1A woman at the camp asked me if I had some time for her. She had brought her entire portfolio of art to show me. What a delight. I did have several hours and her English was superior. I’m so glad I met her. I’ll be sharing more of her pictures later, but here’s a sample of the work she does. Her name is Sasha.

Soon and Very Soon

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in News | 0 comments

studio 2

We’re getting closer.

studio 1

So, What’s the News?

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in News | 0 comments

There are new things happening at Creative Hands Community. We are in the process of moving our location 50ft east! We are building a whole new studio in my garage.

This garage has been a pottery studio, a little country gift shop, a homeschool art room, a recording studio, and a practice place for my son’s band. Now we are changing it permanently into my art studio, where I hope to have classes and even a women’s Bible Study.

garage 1garage 3

garage 5The problem remaining is my driveway. We are considering what to do.

garage 2

Arched ceiling, insulated floor for our feet, lots of great lighting . . . What a blessing. I’m hoping that our regular gatherings will be able to start again by the end of March. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s an exciting time. Keep creating, my peeps. Love Marji

A New Project for 2016

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Projects | 0 comments

Years ago I published a little booklet called, Teedle’s Treasure.  Following that was A Gift For Teedle.  Now I’m in the process of illustrating the third book, Teedle’s Good-bye.  Remarkably, Teedle’s Good-bye is about loss and grief.  This was long before I lost my husband, Bill.  So, I wasn’t personally acquainted with grief at the time.  Now that I understand, surprisingly I won’t change a thing.

My project for this year is to combine these three booklets into one book and include some colored pictures along with the black and white ink drawings throughout the book. They will be done in mixed media: torn antique papers, ink and acrylic.  There’s a ways to go yet, but I thought I’d share my progress.



I used antique song books, tinted with acrylics or watercolor for the stripped background.  Then I used a heavier paper for the tree and branches giving it a slight raised look.


This one is done for A Gift For Teedle.

This is only one of the farmhouse pictures I did and actually chose a different one for the book. This will be in Teedle’s Treasure section.

Teedle's farm

Fun projects in 2016. What are you up to?

teedle w treasusres





Getting Out of the Doldrums

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in general | 0 comments

happychc5Part of being an artist is learning to handle the “down” times when you feel no inspiration. That’s the time to put aside some of the challenging work and have a breather.

Here are some things I do to get out of the creative doldrums: (more…)


Posted by on Apr 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

believe 4A friend sent this article to me as an encouragement – so I pass it on to you.  God For Artists and Artists For God

Don’t let discouragement render you of none effect.  It’s easy to get discouraged in the creative flow.  It seems, at times, that all your juices are flowing and you are producing like crazy.  Then, like a dimmer switch slowly turning things dark, your creativity dries up and you stop producing.

I’ve discovered a few things that might encourage you. (more…)

Perhaps A Touch of Magic?

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in general | 0 comments


DSC04039“If it ain’t broke . . . don’t fix it,” I always say.

There are certain things that just ‘work’ in my studio.  Sure more sophisticated supplies exist on the market, but some things just can’t be replaced.  Perhaps it’s sentiment, or superstition,  who knows?

My green cup. (more…)