Close up of mixed media journal page

A new version of strong mixed media portrait 12-12-21

December 12, 2021 | 4 comments

My journal time lately has been so enriching… so soulful…. so reflective, and today’s page was no exception.

I laid down my background super fast with scraps laying on my table and they couldn’t have been more perfect. They were so perfect that I didn’t cover them up.

The stencils that I grabbed…. were again perfect!

I got lost in the process of this lovely lady’s face…. it felt like I’d lost track of time… my mind was going over so many things… one thing in particular. The word strong.

Strong can look so different to each of us.

Strong can be taking care of an aging parent when no one knows how much time you are there.

Strong can be being vulnerable and sharing how you’re feeling.

Strong can be taking time to take care of yourself.

Strong can be seeing a therapist.

Strong can be working 16 hours a day to hold a dream and business together.

Strong can be taking time to create.

All of these requir us to show up…. messy, raw, in our pajamas, grumpy… real.  We show up and that’s the strongest thing we can do. Show up for us, for our lives.  Strong looks sooo very different to everyone… but we show up.

I share more about it in the video and I hope that you find strength in this project.

You are loved!



  1. Vintage Bellflower
  2. Faces 3 Straight Ahead
  3. Be Strong

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Shawn's ending signature


  1. Shari Kalb

    When you use the soft pastels, how do you fix the paper? I know pastels just come right off because I used to be a pastel artist and I had to mount them under glass with spacers or apply fixative of some kind, but it doesn’t look like you do that. I would love to use them in my art journals but do not like to spray fixative.

    • Shawn

      I do apply a fixative, several times sometimes throughout my process. But most often I will brayer on a layer of matte medium. One stroke with the brayer don’t go back and forth. I wipe my brayer on a towel and reload for another swipe. Hope this helps. Thanks for being here.

  2. Debbie F

    Amen, sister!! There have been times in my life when people told me how strong I was, but the last thing I felt was strong because all I could see was me falling apart (shedding ego, as I now call it!). Over time I came to realize that my definition of “strong” needed to change. I could see it in other people — their strength when things around them seemed to be falling apart — and that’s when I began to see the strength in me differently. Going through a painful divorce years ago taught me where the Source of my strength comes from and that it’s always available for the asking. Anyway, this is a beautiful page. Watching this woman come to life as you were creating was such a pleasure!! I really do love when you do women and angels. They’re beautiful. Thank you, Shawn.

  3. Holly

    This is probably my favorite piece you’ve done. It’s JUST BEAUTIFUL! At first I was disappointed you put the butterfly over her face because you did such an amazing job painting her face; it really showed your artistic talent. This would be gorgeous even without the word, Strong. Thank you for this. I loved watching you create it.


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