WEEK ONE: Animal Medicine Work

Finding Your Animal Spirit Guides, Finding Your Power Pack




To find your Power Animals, your Power Pack, is a bit like sleuthing. Some answers may come immediately. Some answers may take awhile to show up. You will be “remembering” and asking your brain to sift through its experiences, and in a few days, you may have an Ah-Ha (like the one about Heron I will share in a moment).


This can be one, or two favorite animals. Think of what you loved as a child, but may have “given up.” Think of animals you have been attracted to for life.

I was convinced I wanted to be a Marine Biologist for years, for one reason: so I could swim with dolphins for a living. Now granted, I may have given up this idea, and spent years not really actively adoring them, but, if we were going on a vacation near an ocean, my instant-instant-instant thought was “What if I saw a dolphin?!” Dolphins still held a secret spot in my heart. I still secretly want to own a stuffed animal Dolphin to sleep with. Later this week I will share more about my experiences with dolphin, the magical connections and Not-Coincidences that occurred with dolphin in the last few years – the goosebump giving kind!!

I was also horse crazy. So Dolphin and Horse are two of my Power Pack animals. My childhood best friend loved Gorillas and collected hundreds of little statues, stuffed animals and the like. Her sister had it for turtles (in fact, she just commissioned a turtle painting from me a month ago!). Neither are taking this class, but these would be go-to power Animal Guides for them resepctively. So think along these lines.

2. What one or two animals have shown up your entire life?

This is the response that may take a few days, while your brain sifts through its memories. Is there an animal that other people gave you as a nickname? Were you gifted a certain animal all the time – in figurines or otherwise, even though you didn’t naturally have an affinity for it?  Is there an animal that continues to show up on your property?

Mine is Heron. It took me a LONG time to realize this one, and ironically, it is probably the strongest of my Power Animals. From as far back as I can recall, up through college, my childhood home had a small man-made pond behind it. And we had one heron that visited. Do you know, that Heron still comes back every year? The same bird. Without fail, my mom will write or call to “report” to me when it has returned (now that I no longer live in that state). I never asked her to do so, that’s just her way. But, as I did this work myself, I began to see the pattern. I have had a Heron live near me everywhere I move. Then, when I was having really important experiences in my life, days that stood out, there would be a Heron sighting. And finally, now living in Tulsa, I see dozens of them daily. They fly alongside my car as I drive up the riverside parkway. Their numbers here are meaningful to me. After 12 moves in 10 years (two over an ocean), they tell me: I am in the right place now. I already feel this, know this, but they confirm it.


3. An animal that you frequently dream of. This one’s rather self explanatory. Now, if an Animal Guide shows up multiple times but it’s just in the context of a very specific timeframe (like over the course of a month but never before)..that’s a situational messenger. But if you have always, for years (even if it was only two dreams a year) dreamt about the same animal, or had it show up in weird ways…that’s a Power Animal.

4. An animal that represents your character and personality traits.

To find this Animal Guide, you may want to do some googling, or flipping through a book on animals. What animal(s) represents your strongest character traits? Now remember : GOOD AND BAD TRAITS. Animals have a lot to teach us about our path, but also about our character. We all have some traits to work on, and our Animal counterparts can help us do that!

Tip: open up a google search tab and put a few adjectives that describe yourself, perhaps one at a time, combined with the word “animal” and hit “search”)


WEEK TWO: Supplies


Click here for a Printable Supply List

This week you can use any combination of the following: Acrylic Paints, Spray Ink Paints and Liquid Acrylic Paints

Choose colors you love and are drawn to. You can start with two or three bottles and use the colors that you buy…or experiment with mixing! I like to buy colors I like, already made for me. Color mixing can be an exciting, or frustrating process, depending on your experience with color theory.


Go with your budget for pricing. More expensive brands (such as Golden) are better quality, but cheaper brands work for art journaling. Experiment and find what works for you. I use a collection of acrylic paints that range from .50 cents a bottle to $25 a bottle!


Spray Inks and Liquid Acrylics have a different effect. They are great for dripping, spraying over lace, doilies or stencils. They are fun to “splatter” paint easily across your spread, if you like the splatter effects. They can also be used as a “glaze” over the whole page.

Mark-Making and Texture-Making Tools

– stamps

– sponges

– stencils

– lace or doilies combined with spray inks

– gesso or regular acrylic combined with texture tools

I advocate first looking around your house for things that you have that can create unique and interesting textures when you use them with acrylic paint.

You can also look to your local home goods or hardware store.

Craft Stores also sell mark making tools.


I have also created a Pinterest Board full of Background Making tutorials and ideas for you here! 

WEEK TWO: Art Methods


Task:  Making Base Layers of Color and preparing “Backgrounds” on your Spreads

Before we delve into the videos, there are a few key points that I want to make sure we keep in mind while we create. These are all elements that I think of instinctively now, as I have been creating for some years now, and have learned these through doing. You will too, but for those of us who need a reminder, or who could use this support for the first time, these are important facets to a Creative Practice, and to Mixed Media, in my opinion!


Use colors that you LOVE. Use colors that you are drawn to. Don’t worry about what is trendy, or second-guess your own natural inclinations. If you have a very favorite color, buy multiples. Also, you could buy different versions, from different brands and price points, to see the differences.


Start with less. It’s like hair cutting. You can always add more! Of course you can remove Acrylic, while it’s still wet, but it’s easier to add. Plus, we will be adding details in the last two weeks, and these are meant to show up! If you do go crazy, and have too much, just wipe it off with a paper towel and some water. If it’s dried and you think it’s too much color, you can always add Gesso over the top!


Think about experimenting with a different method, or technique, or play, on each spread. Think about making a diversity of different marks. This is what makes Art Journals so compelling to look at – it’s the variety! Plus, when you do this, you stumble upon some techniques, usually by accident, that become “favorites” or “go to” techniques for future creating and art journaling.


I know plenty of people who really struggle with art making, because they loathe making “mistakes.” Mistakes are a part of life, but only in art do our mistakes have the potential to be our best moves. I can’t stop you from making things you don’t like, or even hate. I can’t give you enough instructions to make sure there are no surprises on your end. I must fore-warn you, I can’t, and I don’t want to. This creative process is ABOUT play and stumbling, and figuring out what you do and don’t like to look at.
(*FYI, I made a “mistake” or accident that you will see in Week Three’s Art Methods videos, and it turned out to be beautiful so I kept rolling and video’d that process)


Different people have different approaches. Since we know beforehand that you are going to want to put images of your animals in, you might want to think about leaving flat space for this (i.e. where the image will lay down flat). Or, you can go with a wild abandon approach. If you do that, and your page has crazy amounts of texture, DON’T WORRY! I’ll show you a work-around to include images anyway. Personally, I do a mixture. On some spreads I like to know where I’m going to put the image, and I see it as I create the base. On others, I have no idea until I’ve got the image and glue in my hand.


Be open. As much as you are able to at this point in your creative practice, TRUST THE PROCESS. This cliche phrase is actually very helpful and meaningful, as a reminder, but it does take some time spent to fully realize what it means. When you’re just getting started, you won’t have gone through the process enough times to feel it, but you can begin to, almost immediately. Let the scary happen. Don’t control every move, every mark. Let “stuff” happen. Let it be potentially awful or ugly (you can fix this, I sure do!). Let it happen, and let it surprise you.

Now, time for the Videos! In the following videos I will show you a few simple methods for making backgrounds that have texture. I have also prepared a Pinterest Board full of Background Technique ideas!

METHOD ONE: Using one paint color over your Gesso, or on your non-gessoed page. 

If you used Gesso to create texture, applying paint will show how interesting the marks are.

If you did not make texture using the Gesso – or did not use Gesso at all – you can use the mark-making tools with the PAINT instead, to make that texture on the page. You’ll need to use the regular acrylic paint for this, not fluid or liquid paints!

If you don’t want texture, you can simply paint the page.

METHOD TWO: Using two colors together.

You can opt to mix your colors to create a new color.

I like to choose two colors and use some sort of blending tool (my fingers, usually, or a paper towel or a brush) to bring them together on the page.

METHOD THREE: Using Spray Ink and Liquid Acrylics

METHOD FOUR: Playing with your Mark-Making Tools