Thursday, 29 May 2014

Walk: Guest Post

Today we welcome Valerie Sjodin.  Valerie produces amazing journals and you can learn how to do it yourself by going to her website and signing up for her workshops.

Here's Valerie: 
When Bernice asked me to be a guest artist for the Practice of Gratitude, I got excited. Then we got to ask for a specific theme, and I asked for “Walk”. Walking is a precious thing to me. I used to love to walk as my form of exercise and a time to talk with God. Two years ago I developed bone spurs and arthritis in the big toe joints of my feet and walking became painful. Walking even two miles required me to put my feet up, often with ice. About a year and a half ago I had surgery to remove the spurs on my left foot, but it did not take care of the pain. Actually, that foot hurts worse than the other one. I was pretty discouraged, not to mention some weight gain. Sigh.

Just before Bernice sent the list of topics out, we had a special service at our church and we were praising and praying. I started to jump. Something I hadn’t done in two years. A friend in a wheelchair for 39 years, stood up and walked with help around the large room. Progress is slow for both of us, but the pain is lessened and I’m enjoying walking again. Walking by faith.

On the day I planned to work on the journal page for this challenge, I read some horrific news in our local paper. I was grieved beyond words. That is another story in a blog post “Walking in the Valley of Shadows” at
If you want to check it out. It also includes some images of this page.

As far as answering the journaling questions:

How much attention do you pay to the little things in life? Or are they ignored in the bustle of life? How could you become more aware of the everyday?  

To be honest, I’ve always been one of those people who notice little ordinary things and am often filled with wonder. I usually like being that way, although sometimes it’s inconvenient, especially when trying to find my way around. I would likely be able to tell someone the kind of flowers on the side of the road, but have no idea how to get to the destination.

What am I most thankful for in my life?

That is a harder question to answer. I don’t know if I can pick just one thing. The love of God, light, sight, beauty in nature, people to love and share life with, health. Those are the things that first come to mind.

On making the journal page:

After a blustery rain, the sun began to shine and I went for a walk as the prompt suggests, noticing and photographing the beauty at my feet, the kind of beauty that is easily passed by.  Pouring out my heart in prayer as I walked, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of wonder sneak back in as I drank in the beauty of the flowering bulbs. Life after death. Spring following winter. I passed other walkers, greeting, commenting on the beauty of the much appreciated Pacific Northwest sunshine. I was reminded there are still people who love and do good things, who make a difference for the better in the world. Hope began to rise.

The next day I revisited my photos and the theme of "Walk" in my journal page. Grateful for the time to work on it, I jumped in. Along with my feet, and the quotes Bernice provided, I included some painting of the smallest flowers on my walk. You’ll notice I left some room for more text and an image or two for some of the other prompts J

Here are the steps for painting and putting text on my journal page WALK:

1.    Tracing around my feet lightly with pencil on the journal page.

2.    Sketching/writing a quote and a verse in pencil to make sure they’d fit in the feet.

3.    Painting supplies ready: fluid acrylics, water, brushes, paper towel and cling wrap

4.    Cling wrap technique used for this challenge, and allow to dry

5.    Cling wrap lifted off dried paper

6.    Refering to the photos from my walk on my phone. Sketching plants: hens and chicks with a pencil

7.    Drawing over the pencil with a permanent FaberCastell Pitt pen

8.    Painting hens and chicks

9.    Finding next flowers to paint from reference photos on phone. Painting grape hyacinth shapes with gesso first so they will stand out against the background. Allow to dry.

10. Painting grape hyacinths, grass, and add dark to background near base

11. Adding pen outline to flowers and some of the leaves, grasses, and stems

12. Lettering with Pitt Sanguine Pen and using Sepia Pitt pen for the lines between the letters of the quotes in the feet. 

13. Shade with Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold paint.

After I posted the page on my blog, I realized there is a typo in my lettering. So I wrote another post about how I fixed the spelling mistake. That is found in the post.

Throughout these days I am constantly reminded that the key is love. It's the only possible solution to our problems. I ask God for help. For about two days I felt like curling up like a potato bug. Instead, I stepped out in faith with more intention; Bringing a meal to a friend who is ill, writing a comfort card, making a phone call to tell someone I love them. Making space for quietness, for listening to God, and taking time to refill, to love myself.

Thank you so much Valerie for this guest post.  Such an inspiring page.


  1. What a treat to see the step by step photos as this page develops, thanks so much

  2. So inspiring, Valerie. Thanks for showing us your process and also sharing your personal struggle and walk with Christ.