Friday, November 07, 2014

"What? You Are Drawing and Painting In Your Bible?!?!?!"

This question was followed by the whispered question, "Don't you think that makes God mad? It's HIS WORD!"

 Yes...let me introduce myself. Hi, I'm Jann and I am a Bible Journal-er!

Since you have seen me draw on just about anything...you are probably not as surprised as my friend with whom I had this conversation. And just to be clear, I'm not poking fun at her - I think that I have had that exact same conversation with myself over the years of my personal study...because even though I have recently started painting in my Bible - I have written my heart out in the margins of many Bibles as I have dug into God's Word to learn everything that He has wanted to teach me. And I have often drawn small images to remind myself of a principle -- like the one I drew here at the end of the book of Genesis!

Rabbit Trail: I felt that it ends rather abruptly - after we have studied all the things that happened to Joseph over the course of his life the final sentence of Genesis is - "So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. After they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt." That's it!?!?!?! No - and now, here's the rest of the story?!?!? Seriously - when Joseph died he had been in a place of honor, helping Pharaoh rule Egypt...and when we next see the Israelites they are slaves! How did that happen?!?!? I don't like unfinished stories! I always am asking..."and then what happened?" *sigh* And here is what happened to me as I pondered and talked to the Lord about the fact that it was particularly unsatisfying to not know what happened with Joseph's family after his death....it stopped being about the years between Joseph's death and the huge changes that took place - and the conversation turned to my "need to know" stuff  - my desire for God to tie everything up in a bow for me...not just the story of Joseph but most things in my life. And over the course of several days of meditating on this thought - I began to see that God is much more likely to not tie things UP in a BOW - but to continue to tie things INTO the on-going story....more like a braid. That imagery was key to my new understanding - so I drew those two images side by side.

So back to our regular path...me painting in my Bible. I think it has a little bit to do with the difference between a braid and a bow...and the new insights I gain when I apply all aspects of my heart, mind and soul to my relationship with God. If I just approach my study to the things that are easily "tied up with a bow," I may miss some really big things...and I don't want to miss anything...not one little thing. And that is how I got from a couple of little drawings at the end of a chapter to painting, drawing and writing in the margins and sometimes all over a page in my Bible.

 

I have kept several art journals going all the time...some are just about recording thoughts, ideas and dreams. Some are about working through life's difficulties...and many of them have been journals that were created as visual expressions of my prayers, songs of praise and worship of God during my Bible study and personal devotions.

I honestly don't know why I didn't make the leap to journaling IN my Bible before now...it seems like a natural progression....just makes sense.  But it may have had something to do with the question that my friend asked me, "Don't you think that makes God mad? It's HIS WORD!" Because, as I said - I think I have had that same conversation with myself several times - and, in the past, I have answered that question without asking God what He thought...and perhaps the answer would have been different if I had.

A few weeks ago, I met Shanna Noel - a talented artist, scrapbooker and Bible Journaler (and just a beautiful person all around!). After reading through her blog, watching a few of her videos, and participating in the Journaling Bible Facebook Group (this is a closed group, but just ask and I will get you an invitation to become a member), I was ready to step into Bible Journaling for myself.

Let me be clear. I LOVE the Word of God! I approach it with reverence and awe! I do not want to treat it lightly nor with ANY disrespect. What I feel is ok for me, may not be right for you and I do not think that I am holding the "enlightened" position here. I have come to a few basic "rules" for my Bible Journaling...and again - these are just what I feel are good for me to follow as I begin adding art into my Bible - but I have had several of you ask if I have any guiding principles that I would be willing to share. So here they are:

1. I have chosen a specific Bible to do all of my art journaling in - in fact, it is called a Journaling Bible. I am pretty sure that when Crossway published it, they were thinking more about giving people a larger margin to write in...but I say, I'll take all the space they will give me!

I use this Bible as part of my daily quiet time and devotions...but it is IN ADDITION to my main study Bible. This helps me keep things a little clearer. Just like I have Bibles and study aids that I use to help me gain understanding to scripture - this Bible is a designated aid in my devotional process.

2. I don't draw/paint in it every day - but if I did, that would be ok too! I have found that I rarely have two days that are the same when it comes to my quiet time and personal Bible study. Some days, I am so overcome with the need to listen, that I don't do much talking, drawing or writing at all. Other days, I am on a deep word study - with three Bibles, a concordance, a dictionary and a commentary or two laid out over my desk and I am scribbling notes as fast as I can write. But there are definitely days where I gain a bit of insight - or my feelings are stronger than my words can express - and it just feels right to use art to try and capture what I have learned - or want to remember - or want to make as a visual offering back to God...it is on those days that my Journaling Bible comes out and I begin to work in it.

3. I've adjusted a few of my techniques to minimize the "destruction" of the words on the page. One of my "boundaries" when choosing color mediums is that they allow me to still read through the color to the words...at least for the most part...some opacity is just going to happen and I'm ok with that. I think everyone will have to determine what they are comfortable with. For me, I'm coming down on the side that says, "I'm not trying to keep this Bible pristine." My primary focus is what I have learned about Him and His love, plans, desires, commands and promises for me and for His church. Those things are never neat, tidy or pristine when I am working them out when no art is involved...so I'm expecting there to be a bit of a mess when I add ink, paint, chalk and pencil into the mix.

4. I do not add art into my Journaling Bible just for the sake of "art." I have other journals for that. If I add it to my Bible it has had to pass the "is this where it belongs" test for me. I'm not saying that every thing I add has to be earth shattering or eternally profound...but I only want to put things in there that further my understanding and relationship with God. Simple question to ask - and so far, the choices have been pretty clear. I am glad that I have other journals where I can put things that are not right for my Journaling Bible. The fact that it doesn't need to live on the pages of my Bible doesn't mean that it doesn't have value...and I am just trying to find my way along the path.

So - that is the short list of "boundaries/rules/principles" that I am working with right now. Hope they make sense to you - but if they don't...please send me an email or leave me a comment - I would love to continuing talking with you about it!

I have to say that it has added a new richness to my personal walk with the Lord. I'm sure I will have more to share...but that is for another day. Here are a few of my recent entries. I will repost them with a bit more explanation as to the techniques I used - or what my inspiration was, in another post.

 

If you are interested in trying this for yourself, here is the Bible I am using. I have to say that it has added a new richness to my personal walk with the Lord. I'm sure I will have more to share...but that is for another day. Here are a few of my recent entries. I will repost them with a bit more explanation as to the techniques I used - or what my inspiration was, in another post.

Joshua 4:6,7
Proverbs 16:31
Psalm 91
Charles Spurgeon


Psalm 90:2



Close up: John 1:36

John 1:36

Hope you have a great week! And be sure and take some time for "creative play!"

21 comments:

  1. Love your artwork so inspired!

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    1. Thanks Tania! Appreciate you stopping by!

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  2. Love the way you describe your journey! It really gives me inspiration to be able to express my feelings about journaling in my Bible to my family and friends. Thank you so much for sharing!!

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  3. Thanks Jann. I requested to join the journaling group. I am a Christian, since 1977, and thanks to the Lord, I am a 4 time survivor of three cancers. I enjoy and learn from your tutorials more than all others, and watch them again and again.

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  4. I just love the work you are doing in your bible!!!

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  5. Hi my friend, you know that for years I've wanted the privilege to sit and craft with you, well add "study the Word together" to that privilege as well. I am in awe of journal Bible, such beautiful work so rich in faith and growth in the Lord. Thank you~

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  6. My husband has FITS seeing me write in my bible!!! I need to show him this :) If I could draw, I would do this! I wish there was a bible edition with enough space for all of my notes and thoughts. Even using an ultra ultra fine tip I have more words than space.

    You said you were a missionary. My heart is called to that but I have been bedridden for two years. One thing I CAN do in bed is make cards and scrapbook...I even use my cricut on bed it isn't easy though...anyway, one thing that held me back was not being able to memorize scripture. I survived 3 heart attacks before 40 so I MUST have some purpose....then I thought "Jail Ministry". Why not pre cut a ton of card elements, and take them up there and let the girls assemble them and that way they feel productive and proud (as I do making something while bedridden) AND it would bless the kids at home on their birthdays...their prettiest card came from Mom and she MADE it. And nursing homes. Would make them feel good to make something. I was healthy enough to go to church first time in two years and someone approached me "Julie I havent seen you in ages! I was thinking the other day you would be perfect for a Jail Ministry" Boy was I shocked!!!! And no I am not a criminal (although I was an evil pit boss/dealer for 20 years, and the players would say I was a thief hehe).

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  7. Just noticed something, your bible has HUGE margins! What is it?

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    1. I use the ESV Double Column Journaling Bible....there is a link to it on Amazon at the end of this post!

      I love your idea for the jail ministry! Sounds like God is touching your heart and calling you for a special purpose! I'll be praying for you!

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  8. The Lamb made me smile. Thanks. Always a special place in my heart for The Lamb, and the Lion.

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  9. Beautiful pages and I am sure you have made God happy with the art on His Word. I started doing collage and painting on my journal in 2006 because I wanted to embed God's word in my heart, and to help me remember what I prayed about. Then I saw all the painted Bibles and I thought, "What a wonderful idea!" I now have a Bible with a lot of paintings. Many have asked where I bought my Bible, because they thought I bought it with the paintings on it! I really try not to cover the Words, although I don't think it's wrong to cover the words. I just prefer to be able to still read it. God bless you! patsy

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  10. I would like to join this Facebook group. I've been writing in my study Bible for years and making some small drawings, but nothing like what you are showing here. I'd like to express myself more on the pages of His Word, what the Holy Spirit teaches me.
    Thanks.

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  11. Your artwork is beautiful! I know I'd enjoy doing this as well! I often have ideas/pictures in my head to go along with the scriptures that really speak to me! Would you please tell me what types/brands of pens, paints, etc. that you use? Thanks! :)

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    1. Thanks Jill! You would really love it - and sounds like you already have plenty of inspiration!

      Here is a link: www.IlluminatedJournaling.com

      If you scroll down on the home page, you will see a list of links to all of my very favorite products that I use most often when I'm working in my Bible. Let me know if you have any questions! Blessings!

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  12. This is so encouraging! I have been drawing in my Bible for years, just using pencil in the tiny spaces that are there. As an artist I think in pictures all the time. I would love to get another Bible that gives me room to do what I love to do anyway! Thanks for sharing and for your faithfulness to the Word!

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. I am toying with doing more art in my Bible (I've always made notes) but I had the same question as your friend. I thought you answered it most clearly when you said "to make as a visual offering back to God". That phrase right there hit me between the eyes! God gives us the creative ability why not offer it back to Him? Anyway just wanted to thank you for that simple example. Your work is beautiful!

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  14. I would like to be part of the Facebook group as well (Tony Kristi Mariezcurrena). We are to hide the Word in our heart. Some of us are very visual. I like the visual offering comment. Isn't it like a song offering, as well? It's just a different medium. I actually use highlighters and twistable crayons in my thin-leafed study bible. I love the boldness in your work and wonder what watercolor or marker does to the readability of the back side. Anyway, thank you for sharing!

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  15. I would like to be part of the Facebook group as well (Tony Kristi Mariezcurrena). We are to hide the Word in our heart. Some of us are very visual. I like the visual offering comment. Isn't it like a song offering, as well? It's just a different medium. I actually use highlighters and twistable crayons in my thin-leafed study bible. I love the boldness in your work and wonder what watercolor or marker does to the readability of the back side. Anyway, thank you for sharing!

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  16. Would you like to know where this concept originated. Visit my Pinterest page "Bible Art by Vicky Murphy"

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  17. Share your artwork like paintings, drawings and other of such sort on myfolio. Get upto 1gig space and 50gig by going for paid membership

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  18. Thank you Jann Gray for your insight and drawings. My wife is the one who turned me onto illustrations and I feel its a wonderful way to take a deep dive into scripture. I've always been fascinated with people who have studied and applied lessons learned from the spiritual revelations graciously given to them by the Almighty! These people, IMO, are easily spotted as they are recognized by the bible they carry, I mean charish. How do I to about requesting an invitation to the Journaling Bible Facebook Group?

    In utmost respect and adoration,

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Thank you for taking the time to stop by for a visit and commenting! Your input means a lot to me. Have a great day! ~Jann