Layers of Reflection

Reflection happens often for me, I define it as giving serious thought to something. That something usually involves a good measure of self-reflection too. For example, while reflecting on my family, I am also reflecting on myself in relation to my family. Wrapped up in all this are the filters (my values and beliefs) I have and use, consciously or unconsciously to reflect on me and my world. Reflecting on being present is my biggest challenge, not living in the past nor thinking about the future. My art reflects all of this and more.


Shannon is a Canadian prairie / mountain woman. She is a recovering adult education professional of 40 years who eased into partial retirement 5 years ago. Her international work, co-business owner, 2 children, 2 step-children, 7 grandchildren, extensive travel provides her with ample experiences to spark creativity expressed through paint, paper and words.

Greetings Friends! I am Shannon, a returnee Get Messian. Back about 6 years ago, before the full development of Get Messy I found Caylee through an internet search on paper crafting. Travel and poor internet impaired communication thus I drifted away from Get Messy until… I received an email a few months ago from Caylee asking if I wanted to stay on the mailing list and basically get active. My acceptance of their invitation led me back to this delicious community now very much bigger in numbers and artistic output – a mindblower!!

Even more recent, another invite came my way inviting me to participate in the season of reflection. Vanessa and Caylee must have intuited that I had plenty to say. They were right! For me, there is no better season. It is time dedicated to remember where I started with art journaling and where I landed today. I am not new to making a mess in my studio often covering every square inch with paper, photos, embellishments, glue, and alphas with the outcome – a scrapbook album of which I have over 25. One day while clocking up nearly 3 hours on Pinterest, I stumbled across scrapbook pages with dripping paint, stencil work, and more. As we know clicking on mixed media takes one into acres and acres of beauty. It was there I saw thousands of art journals. Fast forward 5 hours, I made a quick trip to my local craft store and returned home with an art journal and an armful of paints and brushes. Feeling an uncontrollable urge to get messy albeit in a slightly different way, I dug in and haven’t looked back.

When I started this journey, I was intrigued with the properties of acrylic paint and watercolors and their application with a plethora of brushes on different types of papers. I wasn’t much interested in anything else, until one morning it hit me how calm I felt and how the time vanished when I was playing with paint. I intentionally tuned into these feelings and reflected more on how they influenced moving from technique to creation of something specific.

Frequently, a memory from something I saw, read, created or talked about a few hours, months or years ago stirs my feelings. A page is born when my feelings overlaid with other influential things such as: nature, connected to where I have lived – prairies, mountains, desert, jungle, seaside; culture, specifically Canadian, Arabic, and Mexican: time of the day and year and time of my life.

These overlays are reflected in my emerging ‘style’ of layers and layers in my art. Layers representing my life, layers of experience and meaning, and stories building upon stories depicted through paint and/or paper and/or texture and/or words and/or pictures make up a page. 

Action Steps


reflect back on your journals and how far you have come