Eye spy… May’s theme

To see clearly… to look within… eyes as the windows of the soul… fest your eyes, apple of your eye, cry your eyes out. Birds eye view, eyes in the back of your head, give someone the eye, catch someone’s eye… Public eye, Bull’s eye, Private eye…

The list goes on ad finitum. And that doesn’t evens tart with the famous quotes! ( Although I have added a few at the end of the post.) The topic this month is so versatile,and has such a rich history – I barely knew where to start. So Art history and myth it is!

First – a rabbit hole of research: Who actually said: “The eyes are window of the soul.”? The Internet will tell you everything from Shakespeare to the Bible. But I did find this at Idiomorigins.org :

Let’s dive in with the Surrealists first, shall we? There are so many famous eyes that come to… my Mind’s eye! Here are a few!

Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash
  • The Nazar is the amulet/charm we often refer to as the Evil Eye – but it his meant to ward off that very thing! A nazar (from Arabic ‏نَظَر‎ [ˈnaðˤar], meaning ‘sight’, ‘surveillance’, ‘attention’, and other related concepts) is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye.
  • A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge. “The bead is made of a mixture of molten glassironcopperwater, and salt, ingredients that are thought to shield people from evil.”
  • “According to Turkish belief, blue acts as a shield against evil and even absorbs negativity.”[2] In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, “blue eyes are relatively rare, so the ancients believed that people with light eyes, particularly blue eyes, could curse you [one] with just one look. This belief is so ancient, even the Assyrians had turquoise and blue-eye amulets.”
  • Nazar battu (Hindustani: नज़र बट्टू or نظر بٹو) is an icon, charm bracelettattoo or other object or pattern used in North India and Pakistan to ward-off the evil eye (or nazar).[1] In Persian and Afghan folklore, it is called a cheshm nazar (Persian: چشم نظر) or nazar qurbāni (Persian: نظرقربانی).[2] In India and Pakistan, the Hindi-Urdu slogan of Persian origin Chashm-e-Baddoor(Persian: چشم بد دور) is used to ward off the evil eye. (Sources from Wiki)
  • The Eye of Horuswedjat eye or udjat eye is a concept and symbol in ancient Egyptian religion that represents well-being, healing, and protection. It derives from the mythical conflict between the god Horus with his rival Set, in which Set tore out or destroyed one or both of Horus’s eyes and the eye was subsequently healed or returned to Horus with the assistance of another deity, such as Thoth. The stylized eye symbol was used interchangeably to represent the Eye of Ra. Egyptologists often simply refer to this symbol as the wedjat eye.
  • The Eye of Horus was equated with funerary offerings, as well as with all the offerings given to deities in temple ritual. It could also represent other concepts, such as the moon, whose waxing and waning was likened to the injury and restoration of the eye.
  • Horus was represented as a falcon, such as a lanner or peregrine falcon, or as a human with a falcon head. The Eye of Horus is a stylized human or falcon eye. The symbol often includes an eyebrow, a dark line extending behind the rear corner of the eye, a cheek marking below the center or forward corner of the eye, and a line extending below and toward the rear of the eye that ends in a curl or spiral. The cheek marking resembles that found on many falcons.

Eye miniatures, also known as lover’s eyes, cropped up across Britain around 1785 and were en vogue for shorter than half a century. As with the royal couple, most were commissioned as gifts expressing devotion between loved ones. Some, too, were painted in memory of the deceased. All were intimate and exceedingly precious: eyes painted on bits of ivory no bigger than a pinky nail, then set inside ruby-garlanded brooches, pearl-encrusted rings, or ornate golden charms meant to be tucked into pockets, or pinned close to the heart.

As objects, lover’s eyes are mesmerizing—and bizarre. Part-portrait, part-jewel, they resist easy categorization. They’re also steeped in mystery: In most cases, both the subject whose eye was depicted and the artist who painted it are unknown. What sparked their popularity? Why had they faded so quickly from use? And why portray a single eye, as opposed to a whole portrait? Whether they were meant to be secret, if the relationship was illicit; or just a steamy smoldering “for your eyes only” glance… they are exquisite miniatures! ( source: Artsy.com)

Further reading:

Quotes (from Brainy Quote)

  • “Eyes speak all languages…” R. W. Emerson
  • “When I know your soul, I will paint your eyes.” A. Modigliani
  • “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” T. Roosevelt
  • “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” M. Proust
  • “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” A. Einstein

You hold the key – April’s theme

Unlock, reveal. Secrecy, privacy, gateways, portals, knowledge. Trust/Hide. Answers, freedom, escape, safety, closure. Initiation. Curiosity. Mystery. Goals, dreaming, yearning.

Keys to me are tangible potential. The magic and mystery of what could be unlocked; the revelations or mysteries contained from unworthy eyes.

In my intro art journaling class ” Sparking Creativity” we used Keys as one of our motifs: unlocking and opening up to the new process of art journaling. Using the art journal as a safe container to work through emotions and challenges.

I wanted to share some of my mythical key inspiration with you this month – as I again use this image to inspire my pages this month.

 Janus: Roman god of doors and gateways. Janus wore two faces – looking in 2 directions and looking backwards and forwards in time. He was a gatekeeper, and a god of beginnings. (January is named after Janus.) He is depicted with keys and a staff. He was said to represent wisdom, could grant success and new opportunities. 

 Lord Ganesh in the Hindu spiritual path is the great elephant god, the mover of obstacles and for this reason very often associated with keys.  Commonly locks or keys can be found with a Ganesh design on it to symbolically representing the unlocking of a path or knowledge.  Ganesh is associated with wisdom and spiritual knowledge, making him not only a prime example of key symbolism but also a deity, like so many others, associated with journeying.

 Hecate is a Greek goddess associated with was the goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, crossroads. She is often called The Queen of the Witches, and The Keeper of Keys. She holds the keys that allow passage into the spiritual realm.  She is a great protector and is associated with keys, and dogs among other things. Trivia is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Hecate, goddess of the three-way crossroads.

But some of the most fascinating and even gruesome keys are linked with folk tales and modern retelling, constantly morphing and yet connected at heart. The Grimm’s told the tale of the Fitcher’s Bird ( also read the tale here) Charles Perrault used Bluebeard as his nefarious character in his version. To Angela Carter it is the Bloody Chamber. They all have in common: a secret room, off limits. Keys and curiosity! Leading to trouble… sometimes with eggs, often with blood stains. Take a read for yourself – they are amazing tales!

“The wife holds the key” illustration by Walter Crane.

Are you a subscriber on You Tube? I would love to have you… and this theme will unfold during the month of April. My monthly theme inspired my filmed art journal pages. And anyone is welcome to use the theme and journal along !

Please stay tuned on my You Tube channel for these art journal pages as they unfold during the month of April!

Leaf love… March’s theme

Life. Growth. Fertility. Hope. Renewal. Revival. Beginnings.

What could herald Spring better than the first green shoots of leaves? The snowdrops and daffodils vibrant Kelly green emerging from the woodland floor of grays and browns… The apple green slivers visible as trees send forth buds, premonitions of the unfurling to come…

Green leaves resonate to me as Hope, Growth, Life, Fertility. The arrival of Spring. The newness and freshness, and rejuvenation of the land. Infinite beginnings.

Houseplants are relatively new to me – a new undertaking since the Covid lockdowns that I have maintained, keeping my little ones green and healthy. I love the depth and freshness they bring to a space. And I love leaves. The myriad shapes, colors, textures. The serrates edges, the satin waxy glow, the fuzzy furriness… So this month my theme is leaves. I am not well versed in plants at all – and dont know the correct names for leaf structures, growth patterns… I look at the leaves with an artist’s eye and see shape, form, pattern, color, texture. SO that will be my approach this month. Not even really diving into folklore, can you believe it?

An assortment of leaf shapes

Is tropical more to your liking?

I think of William Morris designs when I think of leaves and foliage. The British artist and designer was at the fore of the Arts and Crafts Movement. A member of the Pre-Rapaelite Brotherhood, he began his career as a painter. In later years he abandoned that in favor of decorative arts. He worked in textiles, wallpapers, and the like; designing exquisite floral and foliage patterns. Shown here are Acanthus Leaves and Willow. He is truly one of my style icons!

On a different note, in a different style, but equally influential to me – Henri Matisse. I have always been drawn to his paintings; where realistic space is given up in favor of color and pattern. But his cut outs! In context: he was elderly, unwell and bed ridden. His assistants painted paper to his color specifications, and he commenced “drawing with scissors”. These cut outs are bold, lyrical, and so expressive!

There are SO MANY ideas swirling around in my head now – I look forward to these leaves budding in the outdoors as the ideas are sparking in my creative mind! Please stay tuned on my You Tube channel for these art journal pages as they unfold during the month of March!

Spiral in, spiral out… February’s theme

Growth. Creation. Evolution. Change. Pathways. Cycles. Fertility. Intuition. Change. Nature. Balance. Centering. Expansion.

  • From the Latin: “Spirare” to breathe
  • From the Greek: “speira” – coil. “Helix” – spiral shaped.

The spiral is one of my favorite motifs and symbols. It is what I doodle in the margins. It is what I add an an element when a piece needs “something”. To me its the path, the journey, the flow. Whether you are spiraling outward, always seeking and evolving, growing and becoming… Or spiraling inwards – to your core, your center, your truest self. Finding deep knowledge within…

The spiral is a structure that occurs in myriad ways in nature. From our double stranded DNA helix, to galaxies and storm patterns, shells, ferns, flowers…

In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers, commonly denoted Fn , form a sequence, the Fibonacci sequence, in which each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. The sequence commonly starts from 0 and 1, although some authors start the sequence from 1 and 1 or sometimes (as did Fibonacci) from 1 and 2. Starting from 0 and 1, the first few values in the sequence are:[1]0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144.

The Fibonacci numbers were first described in Indian mathematics, as early as 200 BC in work by Pingala on enumerating possible patterns of Sanskrit poetry formed from syllables of two lengths. They are named after the Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, later known as Fibonacci, who introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics in his 1202 book Liber Abaci. ( Thank you Wiki)

Kundalini – Kundalinī is the feminine form of the Sanskrit adjective meaning “circular” or “coiled.” In yoga, the word applies to the life force that lies like a coiled serpent at the base of the spine and that can be sent along the spine to the head through prescribed postures and exercises. On the way, the kundalini passes through six chakras, or points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body. At the seventh chakra, the yogi is said to experience enlightenment.

Glastonbury Tor – a very special place to me… has a 7 circuit spiral path from the base to the top. As did the earthworks at Sillbury Hill.  The historian Ronald Hutton  mentions the possibility that the terraces are the remains of a medieval “spiral walkway” created for pilgrims to reach the church on the summit.

The spiral can also be seen as a symbol of interconnectedness, Its steady flow in and out creating a sense of balance.

This is truly a motif that could inspire me to eternity. ( And dont get me started on triple spiral, we will save them for later!) I hope that this has started some ideas swirling in your creative mind and that you will take it to the page this month!

Its all in your hands…

Photo by Supriya S on Unsplash

As a creator, a working artist – it IS all in my hands. They are the tools of my sculpting, painting, crafting and creating. I am grateful to be able to work with my hands – in creative fields. From teaching art – and seeing the satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment that ripple over a student’s face… to creating art and feeling the pride in my work, the ability to express myself in clay, paper, metal, beads.

Its something that is deeply rooted in me. I have a hard time sitting with still hands. When I relax, I doodle. When I am on vacation – I have a travel sketchbook. There is an increased awareness and appreciation that I feel when I am making as I travel…

Hands are our primary tools. They create, work, construct, build. They control, rend, dismantle, destroy. They heal and comfort and console. They speak and emote, they pray and communicate.  According to Aristotle, the hand is the “tool of tools.” In general it is strength, power and protection. However, it can just as easily mean generosity, hospitality and stability; “lend a hand”. It is used in gestures of greeting and friendship (shake hands).

Let me present a few illustrative hands, may they inspire you to take it to the page!

The Hamsa hand:

The hamsa (Arabic: خمسة, romanizedkhamsa) is a palm-shaped amulet popular throughout North Africa and in the Middle East and commonly used in jewellery and wall hangings. Depicting the open right hand, an image recognized and used as a sign of protection in many times throughout history, the hamsa has been traditionally believed to provide defense against the evil eye.

Khamsah is an Arabic word that means “five”, but also refers to images of “the five fingers of the hand”. In Jewish culture, the hamsa is associated with the number five because of the five fingers depicted on the hand, and because the word khamsa is cognate to the Hebrew ḥamishah (חֲמִישָׁה), which also means “five.” ( Wiki)

The Palmistry hand:

Palmistry – practice of fortune-telling through the study of the palm. Also known as palm readingchiromancychirology or cheirology, the practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations. Those who practice palmistry are generally called palmistshand readershand analysts, or chirologists. It is ancient and archetypal; with roots that tie it to Hindu astrology and Roma fortune telling.

Traditional Mehndi designs:

Mehndi is a form of body art and temporary skin decoration from the Indian subcontinent usually drawn on hands or legs. They are decorative designs that are created on a person’s body, using a paste, created from the powdered dry leaves of the henna plant (Lawsonia inermis). Traditional usage would see elaborate designs on a woman’s hands and feet n preparation for her wedding. Pop culture assimilation has Henna designs available at the beach every summer….

Image credit: https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/body-art/henna-tattoo.htm

Famous hands in art:

Further inspiration: Pinterest

Further reading:

So this month – on my Weekly Spark videos – let me work with my hands – and create work of hands! Tune in here.

And stay tuned – more posts coming. I’d love to hear what you think – here or on You Tube!

Art journaling into the new year, and beyond

Happy New Year to you all!

As the year opens, I find myself feeling pretty energized, and wanting to dive in to myriad projects. One of these is a new series for my You Tube channel! ( Did you know I had a channel? Check it out here! ) I have been sharing my art journals and my process for the last year. But I will confess, as I became gradually accustomed to this new medium – I was very teacher-y. My default setting, my comfort place after years in the classroom was to interact and explain. I am proud of my Weekly Spark videos – and my commitment to successfully post one each week all year! But this year I wanted a change…

This year I have decided to teach less and return to MY personal practice in my art journal. But I want to share – and hope the videos are still inspirational and informative. So more music and less voice overs! I will be working with a theme each month – a motif to guide my pages… and I invite you all to art journal along with me!

Here is the schedule of themes – some of my very favorite symbols and motifs:

  • January – the hand
  • February – spiral
  • March – leaf
  • April – key
  • May – eyes
  • June – the moon
  • July – labyrinth
  • August – triquetra
  • September – florals
  • October – vessels
  • November – butterflies
  • December – goddess

Each month there will be an introductory blog post for inspiration, and discussion. The myth, the meanings, the symbolism is a major component of my work – and I want to share that with you. Look for the first post this week – on the symbolism of the hand! Each of these themes – I could work with each one for a year – it will be hard to streamline these posts. Oh! And I will have a Pinterest page as well. Stay tuned! Its all in the works!

Image: https://unsplash.com/@thejungalista

One step at a time….

Hello! tap tap tap… is this thing on?

Journal page – early 2020.

September 1st. I just never know what year it is anymore. Time is meaningless – yet it slips through my fingers. I just wanted to stop by – and say that I do have plans to rejuvenate this blog. With Social media becoming more and more advertised and polarized – I want to post on a place that is mine, and free from issues. I hope you will join me here.

I recently advertised my art journal classes on a friends podcast – Dawn Hunt/Cucina Aurora ” Conversational Witchcraft. If you are here because you followed her link thread – thank you and Welcome ! There will be a new limited edition art journaling video for you! Coming soon – it will be emailed to any new newsletter subscribers from now til Samhain!

I work in many materials and mediums – from clay to beads to gems to paper, and I invite you to stroll through my galleries of images. I exhibit at arts festivals and faerie festivals in the Mid Atlantic region. But its my art journaling classes that have really taken flight since 2020.

The special free sample lesson will be a video demonstration/tutorial and a resource packet – all themed with the goddess of the lesson. Stay tuned – and I thank you in advance for your patience!

Kwan Yin – from “Goddess Guides – a yearlong journey” art journaling class.
Oak themed spread from my intro class – “Sparking Creativity”

For the people of Ukraine…

Sunflowers are the national flower of Ukraine.

Ukraine has a rich and inspiring artistic history. Pyshanky eggs, petrykivka folk art painting, vyshyvanka embroidery… While my heritage is not Slavic, I have friends who settled here from Ukraine. And I am inspired but this rich artistic heritage.

I wanted to help – and as a full time artist – art was how I felt I could help. I have artwork, and a creative voice to use. I am organizing a small raffle this weekend at the Spring Innovative Beads Expo I have a group of friends helping me, both generously donating artwork, and helping host the show at out “block” of booths. Thanks to Marsha Neal Studio, Diane Hawkey, Staci Louise Smith, and Nikki of Thornburg Bead Studio for their support and donations! Please come see us this weekend and support this grassroots fundraiser.

Here are a few of the pieces we are creating for this event!


  1. Ticket can be purchased during the bead show from me! I am at #207!
  2. You can “vote” for the entry/artwork you would like to win by placing your ticket in that item’s box.
  3. Tickets are $1 each – and you are encouraged to buy multiples! More chances to win!
  4. There are two rounds of the raffle: Friday – Saturday noon and Saturday – Sunday.
  5. You do not have to be present to win. ( Items can be shipped to winners. We will donate all shipping costs.)
  6. All proceeds will go to World Central Kitchen to be used for humanitarian aid.

World Central Kitchen was founded in 2010 by chef Jose Andres. Their mission is to provide food for those in need during extreme circumstances. They have “created a new model for disaster relief helping devastated communities recover and establish resilient food systems.”

Because food is not a luxury reserved for the lucky few. It’s a universal human right to live free from hunger. At times like these, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the challenges we face, and the speed of each new crisis. But many complex problems have simple solutions. Sometimes you just need to decide to do something. Sometimes you just have to show up with a sandwich or some warm rice and beans. You’d be amazed at the power of a plate of food. It can change the world, and so can you.”

Goddess guides – a year long journey

My newest online art journal class is starting soon!

I am so excited to introduce my new online Art Journaling class! This is a theme near and dear to my heart, and a journey of exploration and inspiration that I have wanted to take for years.

My classes are open to all levels of experience. We will collage, and make marks…. and utilize image transfer techniques. I want to foster a practice of exploration and expression, or play and process! I have included a video with my approach to the theme – take a look below… 

Here are the details! 

  • 12 months – 24 lessons. Lessons are emailed on Mondays, twice a month – and include private video tutorials, and PDF’s of information, images, and inspiration. Your access to these videos does not expire! 
  • There will be 2 Facebook live demos per month – for  a chance to connect, have a Q& A session, see new techniques in progress. 
  • 1 ZOOM call/month. Optional – but a chance to connect, to chat, to build community. These will be on a floating schedule. Planning a year out is near impossible! 
  • Schedule – START DATE March 6th. First lesson Monday March 7th. 
    SPRING: March – May
    SUMMER: June – August
    FALL: Sept – November
    WINTER: Dec – February. 
  • Pricing: $65 per quarter/season – that is 6 lessons a season! Each quarter is priced individually. You are welcome to customize the year to your schedule, and pay as you go. (Invoices will be emailed via PayPal, and can be paid via credit card. )
  • If you prefer to sign up for the entire year, you have 2 payment options: 
    • Option A- a single payment of $240 and a free gift
    • Option B – 2 payments of $120 and a free gift.  
  • Sign ups: Email me at Jen.davies.reazor@gmail.com and I will invoice you. Please select a payment option…. (Or PM me if we are connected on social media) 

As to materials and class supplies – stay tuned! More info to come!

Thank you for your interest! Please don’t hesitate to email or message me with any questions! 

Are you new to my Art Journaling classes? Are you interested in “Sparking Creativity” my intro class? No worries! I am preparing it for an online teaching platform – and it should be ready in the Spring. The goddess class is open to all levels – so if it sounds interesting to you, please don’t hesitate! ( If you are receiving this newsletter – you will get notified when SPARK is ready! 

Art Journaling with Jenny: sparking creativity.

It started out as just me and the page in my art journal. It was an escape – a place to go play, express myself, collage, splash paint around… and be both distracted and soothed in the midst of a global pandemic. My art journal became a place where I could vent, but also a place I could go to elevate my mood, or take simple joy in art materials, color, image, text…

And then I decided to share it…

Well, my friend Patti (who became my co-facilitator for class) encouraged me to create an online class. We would meet via Zoom. I could film video tutorials – but we wanted an element of camaraderie too – a social interaction we were missing during “Safer at home” times. And thus “Art journaling with Jenny: sparking creativity” was born.

The first session was a learning process – for me – and also hugely satisfying. It surpassed my wildest dreams. Here are some student testimonials:

Jenny’s Art Journal class was amazing!  The presentation of techniques and pace of the class gave me time to absorb, learn, play and ultimately complete gorgeous journal pages – something I wasn’t sure I could do.  The safe space created by Jenny, as well as the camaraderie and community with my classmates grew as we journeyed together allowed me to open up, experiment and go places I hadn’t even imagined.  And finally, as a frontline healthcare worker, “taking it to the page” gave me a healthy release that kept, and continues to keep, me balanced, focused and feeling hopeful.  No kidding.  Ten thousand thumbs up!  Amy T

Jenny Davies-Reazor took me on an adventure into art play and art journaling in her “Art Journaling: Sparking Creativity” online workshop!  It was eye opening for me as I had never done anything like this in my own artistic journey. It was also very cathartic. She is very organized and willing to share everything she knows and truly gives a lot of herself and her time.  Not only did I enjoy learning new ways to play with art materials, I would get so engrossed in the process of creating that time would slip away unnoticed. Jenny is fun, knowledgeable, and is also willing to experiment in front of her students.  It lead to some happy accidents, which was encouraging for me.I am looking forward to her next class! Patti P. 

Are you looking for community, camaraderie, inspiration and fun? Look no further, you’ve found all that and more. Jenny’s class is informative: you learn different techniques, she walks you through her creative process and you’re introduced to new materials to play with and create. You become part of a very supportive group of people: you can choose to share what you’re working on or just soak in the process that your fellow participants are working through. This class was amazing.  I can’t say enough about it. I would give it all the “stars”.  Nikki T

Here’s a firsthand look at MY pages – and the “Hows” and “Whys” behind the class:

As I mentioned – the lessons are NOT drawing heavy, but instead utilize collage, and image transfer techniques. The materials list is provided after enrollment and includes links for online ordering… Each lesson is themed around a symbol or motif and its relevant meaning/folklore/mythology. My style of teaching encourages you to explore. I teach you the technique and show you possible applications. This isn’t the type of class where everyone ends up with a copy of the teacher’s piece… Its you, in your journal… with your preferences and experiences, and choices!

Interested? Here are the details…

Cost: $70 includes a packet of images ready to use in image transfers. ( send via USPS)

Duration: 6 weeks of class. Access to videos – no expiration.

Access to private class Facebook group: intended for sharing images of pages, discussion of techniques, etc.

Each lesson includes:

Monday – weekly email with inspirational PDF, links to private video tutorials.

Wednesday – FB live demo (recorded for any who miss it live)

And the “Spark” Zoom calls – introduction, mid point check in, finale call. 3 calls spaced over the 6 weeks. (Optional and recorded!)

Sparking Creativity will be available late Spring 2022 as an on demand class! Sign up for my newsletter to stay in touch!

To enroll:

  1. Send an email to me at Jen.davies.reazor@gmail.com with the subject line “Spark sign ups”. Let me know you are interested.
  2. I will invoice you via PayPal. Then you will receive your supply list – via email – and can order anything you might need.
  3. Join the FB group!

You can also email me to ask any questions! Feel free to check out some other art journal videos on my You Tube channel~ Until then, stay safe, and thanks for reading to the end. 😉