Tools to Stay Zenspired

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hi Everyone,

For the past two and a half years, since I started the Zenspirations® blog, I’ve been signing my posts ‘Stay Zenspired’. To me, staying ‘Zenspired’ means that I am actively focused on being grounded in gratitude, reaching out to others in kindness, staying open to possibility, and trying to make a difference in the world. I become ‘Zenspired’ when I take time to explore and strengthen the connection between creativity and spirituality in myself; signing my correspondence ‘Stay Zenspired’ is my way of inviting others to join me in this quest.

On a core level, Zenspirations is the confluence of our spiritual and creative journeys… it’s a form of self-expression which allows you to be both more reflective and more present. All you need is an open heart, a positive attitude and a creative spirit. Of course having tools you enjoy using can help you express yourself. For example, I get in a meditative state when I pick up a Micron® pen and start drawing or journaling. That’s why I try to begin each day by putting pen to paper in one of my ‘morning journals’.

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While I don’t think I will ever encounter a tool which allows me to express myself  creatively the way a Micron pen does, this past week, as I was working on visuals for the how-to section of the book I’m writing with my friend Regina Yoder, Complete Guide to Bible Journaling: Creative Techniques to Express Your Faith, I discovered that I could ‘paint’ with stamp pads. It is astonishingly easy, and gives a lovely result in only a few minutes. This was the first page I did:


Next I tried incorporating a heart shape into the background:


I was especially happy to discover that you can write (or draw) on top of these stamp-pad paintings, but although it is still possible to read the words, I’m not really comfortable creating art on top of biblical text. I have been lettering scripture for more than three decades, this is the first time I’ve ever done it in a book (much less a bible!). So I was beyond delighted to discover something called an ‘interleaved’ bible, which is a bible where there is a blank page between each page of text. Given that illustrated bibles are part of my calligraphic heritage, I am both philosophically and artistically much more comfortable decorating a blank page to illustrate a particular passage.

This 30 second time-release video shows how to use Colorbox stamp pads and Cat’s Eye applicator to create a mountain scene.

One of the things I like best about this technique is that you can write on top of the stamp pad paintings. I’ve tested most of Sakura’s tools, and have done quite a bit of lettering with both Microns and Pigma Calligrapher pens. If you’d like to see ‘lettering in action’, I have posted a follow-up video where I write on top of this page, along with time-release videos of several of the other pages I’ve been working on, to my Instagram page. If you aren’t on Instagram and would like to see the videos, you can find them on my Zenspirations by Joanne Fink Facebook page. I’d appreciate your ‘liking’ the page if you haven’t had a chance to do so yet. It would be great to hit 10,000 followers next month.

I’ve gotten a number of requests from people wanting to know where to get the Interleaved Bible and the Colorbox supplies I’ve been using, so I set up an Amazon ‘shop’, to make it easy for you to find them if you are interested. There are three different sections: Colorbox Stamp Pads and Applicators, Drawing and Coloring Tools, and Journaling Bibles. I believe that I am supposed to share that the Amazon shop uses ‘affiliate links’, which means that I will get a small percentage of anything you buy on Amazon within 24 hours of clicking the link. It doesn’t cost you anything more, and it helps keep me stocked with art supplies! I’ve also put an Amazon button on the home page of my website, in hopes that you will consider starting at Zenspirations to get to Amazon next time you need to buy something. It’s a small thing that can make a big difference to me… so thank you in advance!

Since Gina was here this week to work on our book, I thought I’d share a couple of pictures so you can see some of what we’ve been up to. This is a photo of Gina and me going over the images we want on each page:


This is one of Gina working on the cool abstract flowers she likes to do:


We ultimately decided to include the flowers in the acrylic section of the book rather than the watercolor section, but they are fun to do in either medium. Lastly, this is a photo of Gina and me with our friend, master crafter and CZT, Dorian Eng. Dorian drove down from Jacksonville for a ‘play day’, and has graciously agreed to create some of the visuals for the rubber-stamp section of  the book.


Before closing tonight, I want to wish Color & Creativity Enthusiast Amrit Kaur a very happy birthday on Wednesday. Since Amrit has been experimenting with acrylics, I wanted to make her a card that featured an acrylic painting. I decided to take a close up photo of a painting I did several years ago, and ‘drop’ Amrit’s name out of the painting digitally. Here’s the painting:


And here’s the Amrit’s card:


I also wanted to wish Color & Creativity Enthusiast Susan Wren, who is recuperating from a three broken vertebrae, a speedy recovery. Since she says she’ll have lots of time to color, I made her a rainbow message.


Lastly, I wanted to wish everyone who will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, a year of peace, health & happiness.

Stay Zenspired,


6 thoughts on “Tools to Stay Zenspired”

  1. I love the videos and appreciate all of the information. Thanks for the tip about Color Box Inks. I’ve had them for a long time and haven’t thought of them for my bible art journaling. I will have to pull them out and play again. I need to make sure that they are nice and juicy. If not, I will be purchasing more including the bible. I am also looking forward to your new book. Thanks again and have a great day…….Linda E.

  2. Beautiful and very inspiring. Love the colors y’all choose – uplifting. Can’t wait to see the finished book – will be an encyclopedia of ideas to use on so many projects. Thank you all.

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