Waiting for Bill at Lava Lake

“Waiting for Bill at Lava Lake”

delicate trills of bird song
cascading notes too quick for human ears to decipher
the underchirp of ravens
and the curious twitter of stellars
poplar leaves, newly budded, yet fully present
tremble on stems fragile enough yet strong
mist is a veil on the mountains though sun shines
and warms my hair
grace and grass waft in equal amounts
over the lava

in body, tired
neck cricked to the left
stiff from a Sunday’s labour of love
internal landscape quiet
with a hint of sun

capturing the moment, stretching it out
like muscles after a long day
it’s a painful kind of sweet
~ being ~

Art Journaling

Why Journal?

  • to personalize or internalize new information
  • to process ideas and feelings
  • to create stronger connections between new ideas and things we’ve already experienced or learned
  • to retain information for longer periods of time
  • to build understanding through a symbolic process

Is There a Right Way or a Wrong Way to Journal?

  • No — Because an art journal records your personal journey to enlightenment, there is no one way to journal. Check out how these Pinterest Examples use colour, objects, texture, words in different ways.
  • HOWEVER — The more that you put into an art journal, the more you will get out of it.
  • Art journals are layered – with colours, textures, media, and meanings.

The medium is the message, and the thoughts / attitudes / actions of the journalist will affect the outcome of the journal.



Ask yourself, “Why am I creating this journal?”

  • to reflect on an experience
  • to express an idea
  • to balance 2 opposing thoughts
  • to argue a position
  • to tell a story
  • to persuade
  • to explain

Ask yourself, “Who is my audience going to be?”

  • myself
  • friends / family
  • colleagues
  • anyone

The answer to this question will guide you in how personal, experimental, RADICAL you want to be with your journal.


  • Colored pencils
  • Gel pens
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Magazines or other image resources
  • Decorative papers (wrapping paper etc.)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Double-sided tape


  • Water color paint
  • Water color pencils
  • Acrylic paint
  • India ink
  • Acrylic inks of different colors
  • Oil pastels
  • Linseed oil
  • Chalk pastels


  • coffee
  • tea
  • salt
  • leaves, sticks, shells, stones
  • lint
  • candy wrappers


The Elements and Principles of Art when combined can help you to express your ideas and your emotions. Over time, as you experiment, mix, and match line, shape, form, space, texture and value with pattern, rhythm, movement, proportion, scale, balance, unity and emphasis you will find yourself becoming more conscious not only of your choices but the reasons behind your choices.

You may even find yourself becoming …. an artist.


A local artist and ardent art journalist can be found in Terrace, BC at Green Blossom Studio. She is a published poet, and artist. Her work can be found at greenblossomstudio.wordpress, where she also writes extensively about the process of art journaling.

The Mountain Speaks

mountain pass

Through mist and shadowed hope we toil

each foot


a step toward success

eyes certain

chins firm

shoulders straight

no thoughts given to the negative space

to the freefall of uncertainty

to the sure death of anticipation

just inches from our trail.


“Ji six-mukws n̍iin,” rumbles Sgan̍ist

~ listen carefully ~

Over our heads a boulder whistles

followed by the clatter of lesser stones.


The mountain speaks.

“Ji siix-mukws n̓iin”

My clearest memory of school when I was a child is the yearly project on culture. I say, yearly, because it seems like every teacher in the world thinks that they have developed the “BEST IDEA” to get kids to not only explore their personal histories, but to appreciate the cultures that they come from. I wouldn’t say that I was a cynical recipient of the ever-present “culture” project, but I wouldn’t say that I was enthusiastic either. In fact, my general thought was that my culture was pretty boring, and I’d really rather study someone else’s culture. Any culture.

Paper That Makes You Want To Do Something

Dutiful, obedient, compliant – I would trudge to the front of the room to collect the large sheet of white paper that my teacher wanted me to fill with the patterns of my cultural background. Then, there I would sit, wondering just what was my culture? As I had already done this project the year before, and the year before that, and the year before that I already knew what my mother would tell me when I asked her for help. “You are Canadian,” she would say, “just show what it means to be Canadian”. And I would sigh and stare at that big piece of white paper. Are we Scottish? Irish? English? Continue reading

The Medium and The Message

I’m pretty sure that when Marshall McLuhan said that the medium was the message, he was thinking more about social media than about poetry. However …

Marshall McLuhan

I’ve been playing around with my  ode, and observing how this is so true of writing. While experimenting with free verse structure and language, I’m noticing how much more approachable the subject appears to be. The changes really aren’t that drastic, yet they make a significant difference in the way you read the poem. In this case, the formal elements of classical poetry distances both the writer and the reader from the subject. My students also noticed this. Some were stumped by the challenge of writing within a specific framework; some found the task an inspiring challenge; and some chose to ignore the structure completely in favor of simply “getting the poem out”. While I prefer the simplicity of free verse, I enjoy the mental challenge of implementing classical structure. It teaches me more about language; keeps my vocabulary fresh; and surprises me with complex thoughts that may never have surfaced if I had written in a freer medium.

Continue reading

The Challenge

Adiantum Pedatum

We’ve just started working on poetry in my writing class, and (meanie that I am) I decided that we would start with an ode rather than with free verse. Although I love the versatility of a free verse poem, I thought it would make an interesting challenge for my students to start with more, rather than less, structure. Also, considering the sometimes moody nature of teenagers, I wanted my students to really focus on a positive subject. Finally, I figured that I would cure myself of my antipathy for rhyme.

What I remembered while writing my own ode, is that rhyme is not easy and that conforming to an iambic pentameter rhythm sets certain constraints on how you express an idea. In short, writing an ode is no easy task. It is an intellectual puzzle. It requires patience, thoughtfulness, and skill. The emotion is still there, but, is dressed in more sophisticated garb. Also, I have learned to appreciate the subtlety of rhyme.

The Glacial Ishkinish


Adamantine, turbulent Ishkinish

Carving granite troughs through boreal groves

Of shadowed fir, mossy pine.  Relinquish

Your leaping, swirling, foaming fandango,

And pool aloof amidst the opulent

Black-stockinged adiantum pedatum.

There, sing of pragmatic and poignant

Travels … serpentine, green and darksome.

Teal coated transient of veiled origin

Stay. Drink. Partake. Until elsewhere bidden.


Unspoiled, scarlet-tongued, dewy maids of spring

Growing to frilled, black-gartered madams

Of summer.  Linger long in cascading

Syllables of effervescent freedom

Then furl your pinnate fans…

Impudent coquettes.  Wayward tomboys. Dip

Your emerald skirts into depths unfathomed

And from glacial waters let earth acquit -

Oh, you red-shoed girls with faces aglow

Teasing cool Ishkinish to sweet furlough.


Curling round in a lazy promenade

Through sun-sweet shadow and dawn’s breaking mist

The colonial beauties his measure sought ~

All ~ to charm inscrutable Ishkinish.

Fruitful in part. The mighty river pooled

In shallow eddies on their fields of green.

Marshy maidens let down their hair – tenfold -

Then, the brackish beck, his solitary stream

Continued. . . Leaping, lunging, laughing

Into the adamantine spray…