The page from my Gratitude Art Journal that features the Frog and cat poems and photographs.

Frogs, Cats n Grats!

Gratitude wells up

like fresh water in a green pool.

Heart, be a frog!

The Frog and Cat poems and photographs on the left page of my Gratitude Art Journal
The Frog and Cat poems and photographs on the left page of my Gratitude Art Journal

Cat curled around stone

announcing “POETRY! in case

we had forgotten.

A view of the Gratitude Art Journal double page layout.
A view of the Gratitude Art Journal double page layout.

 

Gratitude Journal page with my "Gratitude Jar" poem
Gratitude Art Journal page with my “Gratitude Jar” poem. The Tumbling Jars sketch on the right is a Prismacolor pencil drawing I did in 2011 that I suddenly remembered and retrieved from my Flickr account, where for once organizing my photos paid off!

Canning Grats

After canning peaches, I had one

clear jar left. I put my grandmother

in there along with the apples

she was peeling. I added a sharp

handful of mint from my husband’s garden,

a tube of Opera Pink Paint

and the shadow of a summer

fern on a slate rock face.

The sound of a train,

dawn light over the Three Sisters.

I found five memories that would fit

and slipped

a whole head of garlic down the side

along with a feathery branch

of dill and something

like a song. Pressure

cooked by time,

labelled, shelved, ready

to be given away.


NOTE: In a previous post, Creating a Gratitude Art Journal, I posted a short video explaining that I am taking a Meditations on Gratitude Photography class online with Laura Valenti. She asked us to find a repository for our “grats,” or items for which we feel gratitude on a daily basis, and I began with the Gratitude Art Journal, although I’m not sure how I’ll go forward. She suggested a Gratitude Jar, which gave me the idea for the poem “Canning Grats.”

Example of a Gratitude Jar. Image: Cathy Colangelo, Clarity Coach
Example of a Gratitude Jar. Image: Cathy Colangelo, Clarity Coach

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

  • I use a large Moleskine watercolor journal.
  • The pages were first prepared with white gesso
  • then a watercolor wash background laid down
  • then a sheet of yellow tissue paper to cover most of it to add texture.
  • Across the top I carefully stamped “Meditations on Gratitude; Poems N Pixs N Such.”
  • I drafted the poems in my regular journal then wrote them directly on the prepared surface.
  • I printed out my photographs, and they came out looking a bit sketchy, but I thought that added to the “folk art” quality of an art journal.
  • I used Mod Podge (sealer, glue, and finish) to glue the images down,
  • and then I covered the entire page with Mod Podge. BIG MISTAKE! And I knew better! I should have used a spray fixative first but forgot and the ink on the stamping and photos ran. I replaced the photos and started over, but the stamping was a write off. So…
  • I re-did the photos
  • Added strips of tissue paperand sprayed it with Windsor Newton Professional Satin Varnish
  • THEN Mod Podged the whole…letting it dry between stages
  • Sprayed it a few more times and called it good…

 

I was reminded of the value and fun of a List Poem by Natalie Goldberg in her book The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language.


Where do YOU collect gratitudes?

Tell us in the comment box directly below!

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