Antidote to Holiday Stress and the Traveling Muse

Sharpee pen, watercolor in Arches Travel Book

The perfect antidote to holiday stress. . .pick up a pen and start sketching.  Ahhhhh!  So relaxing.

Referring to her art journal pieces I believe, Muse Marilyn was telling me she just couldn’t figure out how to finish her pieces (or something like that) and so hadn’t tried lately.  So I told her what I have learned for myself.  We can’t figure it out in our heads, or look to the sky and expect to see shapes in the clouds which tell us what to do (like Einstein), or have visions in meditation of finished images that we then copy when we go to our table.

No!  We sit or stand at our table and start to play around with what’s there (hopefully we’ve left out all kinds of tantalizing colors and pictures and stuff to play with).  Then while we’re playing, some piece of something comes to rest near something else and peaks our interest.  We’re off and running and now we don’t need “ideas” because there’s something else just coming into awareness that we simply must try. . .and soon we are hoping that no one interrupts us because now we’ve got the train moving.  “Leave me alone world!”  we want to shout.  It’s coming.  It’s coming.

My studio is one big mess right now.  No workshops coming up again til January.  The book is done and I’m waiting for my copies to arrive.  I’m making covers for my six years of art journals with lots of cutting and pasting.  Lots of fun.  So while I’m up to this book making stuff I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the Saturday Muse group’s entries in the Traveling Muse Journals from  last month – great illustrations for this creative process of art journaling!

by Muse Arianna

by Muse Bettina

by Muse Christina

by Muse Isabelle

by Muse Linda

by Muse Marilyn

by Muse Patricia

by Muse Paula

Each of these pieces is a response to a different theme which was set by the book’s originator.  The book is taken home by a new member each month.



  1. Love your sketch, Susan! Is that ‘our” mug I see there? 🙂
    I’m also intrigued by the snippet of verse on one of your muse’s pieces. Do you call the dance “The Hokie Pokie”? In the UK it’s called “The Hokey Cokey” – it interests me how these things ‘morph’ over time, and I guess that possibility becomes less and less likely now we have such perfect ways of recording things, rather than passing them down from generation to generation.


      1. Well, I had a little dig around, and according to wikipedia:

        “..In 1940, during the Blitz in London, a Canadian officer suggested to Al Tabor, a British bandleader of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s that he write a party song with actions similar to “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree”. The inspiration for the song’s title, “The Hokey Pokey”, that resulted, came from an ice cream vendor whom Al had heard as a boy, calling out “Hokey pokey penny a lump. Have a lick make you jump”. He changed the name to “The Hokey Cokey” at the suggestion of the officer who said that ‘hokey cokey’, in Canada, meant ‘crazy’ and would sound better. A well known lyricist/songwriter/music publisher of the time, Jimmy Kennedy, reneged on a financial agreement to promote and publish it, and finally Al settled out of court, giving up all rights to the number…”

        Basically it has evolved into several different titles around the world, including cokey cokey, and in Denmark, the Buggy Wuggy!


  2. The pages are beautiful and from the looks of my worktable this week, I’m taking your advice and thinking there must be lots of imaginative lying there just waiting to be discovered! Thanks for giving me a little shove to get on with it!


  3. I wanted to share this wonderful comment I got from Steve M. today. . .

    Thank you. I am so glad that I have subscribed to your blog. Today’s message made me smile, take a deep breath, and be grateful that i can see, that I can read, and that I am not color-blind. Your sketches, and those of your friends deserve to be seen by more people. Keep the good vibes coming. Be blessed, because you are already a blessing.
    Steve M.
    Houston, TX

    Thank you Steve!!


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