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Art Journaling Inspiration from the Heart of Goa

art journaling with children inspired by birds

Writing my first blog post from Goa! Yes, we’re here and more or less settled. Well, there still are many loose ends; couple of boxes and suitcases that are yet to be unpacked, but even then, we’re feeling quite at home now. So much so that Pari and I were inspired to do some art journaling the other day.

Interestingly, both she and I kept birds at the centre of our theme or rather – at the center of our thoughts. I say “thoughts” because that’s how art journaling is – it goes where your thoughts and feelings lead you. You don’t have to have a ‘theme’ before you start.

art journaling_3

I started with a blank canvas (in my mind). Then – a strip of washi tape. The washi tape presented itself  like a perch for those blissful, active little birdies that I spot every morning in our backyard. (yard? well, yes, we do have one now. Finally. That small piece of earth that I’d longed for, for years!)

children and nature

The inspiration behind my art journal – the oriental mag pie robins – are all over our backyard.

Actually, not only oriental mag pie robins, our yard and the fields around are home to a large variety of birds – of the wet-land (there’re couple of ponds right next to the backyard) as well as grass-land.


(purple heron and the white-breasted water hen)

goa bird watching

White-cheeked barbet

Thanks to Sufiana, who wakes up really early – sometimes before sunrise, I get to witness the birds in action all around. And, their sweetest of sounds. Sometimes, quite noisy too, as they huddle on the mango tree or the cinnamon tree.

birds of goa

These are the noisiest ones feasting on the ripe fruits of the Cinnamon tree.

Well, at the risk of sounding like I’m bragging – I’m sharing these small details about the trees, birds et al for I want to share my joy. To tell you the truth, I can’t believe my good fortune of having some trees in our front yard and backyard.

white throated kingfisher

White-throated kingfisher (clicked by Avie). This guy leaves our hearts gasping for more and more views. His turquoise-blue, chestnut combination is a sight to behold. Preys on crabs, amphibians, reptiles and fish.

This was the dream I’ve been living for nearly a decade now. I’ve visualized every bit of how our home would be. I’ve passed on the positive vibes from every cell of my body. God knows how intensely and feverishly I’ve dreamed.

And, the dream is reality now. I’d never fancied a luxurious house. I’d always yearned for something rustic, in the middle of greens, with a piece of land to myself where I would grow vegetables. Where my children would dig and get dirty. Where I’d dig up a pit and do vermi-composting. The earthworms would be my friends. My pets.

So, hmmm…was I talking about art journaling? You bet. :-)

I drifted off to birds and trees and dreams. But then, those are all connected. Aren’t they? Art doesn’t happen in vacuum. Does it?

art journaling_5

Now, talking about our art journal, we used some washi tapes in there. Gosh, I love washi tape. I could use it everywhere if possible.

Well, actually, I HAVE used these in quite a few ways. To decorate my kitchen shelves, to decorate some glass bottles, to embellish switch boards. I’ll share pics of those in another post.

If you’d like to start with art journaling, you can refer to some of the past posts. Art journaling is healing. I’ve said that before. But, I keep saying for I’ve experienced first-hand how every-time my feel-good hormones (oxytocin) run out, art journaling really helps me connect with my noisy inner self. The noise, I’ve seen, drowns after just a few minutes of immersing myself in art journaling. The chatter subsides. And, I feel calmer.

art journaling_8

I’ve seen the same effect on Pari. I’ve seen her engrossed – heads down, oblivious to distractions.

And, I’m always amazed by how art journaling brings out the poet in her. Not just beautiful words for the sake of sounding good. But, real thoughts turned into poetic verses.

washi tape art journaling

If you haven’t tried art journaling yet, do try. And yes, find a quiet corner in your garden or on your terrace or balcony. How about during sunset or sunrise. There’s something magical about these hours. The sun (at these times) has a knack to evoke nostalgia. Or touch the chords of the heart that are hard to string. Flood yourself in that mystical light. Put it out there on the paper.

art journaling_6

Go wild with the type of media you use – wool, dry leaves, magazine cuttings, stamps, sepia pages from old books, black and white photos, tickets (train, airline, fair, museum…).

Use what’s close to your heart. Do what pleases your heart. :-)

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  • Pink and Green Mama, MaryLea May 26, 2014, 9:05 pm

    Oh Rashmie, Your new yard is SO lovely. You must be exhausted from moving these past many weeks, I know I am! I adore birds and we have been getting to know many new kinds of birds here in our new home as well – many of them are new to us since we’ve lived on the other side of the US for so long. I find art journaling very therapeutic, it blends nicely with my meditation practice and helps me check in with myself and figure out what’s going on in my own head. I am inspired by you to explore our new feathered friends very soon in my own art journal. I feel very much connected to you, Rashmie, through your posts and activities you share with your daughters – you are a kindred soul to me across the Ocean. Thank you for sharing this lovely post today. Warmly, MaryLea

    • Rashmie May 27, 2014, 9:58 pm

      Dear MaryLea – what a beautiful connection we’ve made – you and I – through our shared interests. I felt the positive vibes you sent my way. And, to top it all – both of us are in a mode to set up new house, decorate corners and make friends with those winged creatures. You’re a kindred soul too, MayLea. I’ve always loved your blog and your creative, distinctive approach to learning and being.
      I do wish to keep our connection going. :-)
      Keep in touch, dear one. Much love, Rashmie

  • Manish May 27, 2014, 2:46 am

    Can’t tell you what it feels to read this.. I know you guys have braved it all to land where you are today. What a fascinating true story this is becoming! :) I want to tell you – may your backyard bloom with the two little girls and a thousand kingfishers, herons, barbets, cinnamon trees and more!

    • Rashmie May 27, 2014, 10:03 pm

      Mannu, felt soooooo good to read your comment and to see your photo along side. :-) Yes, you know exactly, how I feel having reached this milestone in life. It does seem like a turning point; almost like another birth; kind of like going back into our childhood days with the coconut trees all around us, the ponds, the cycling on the roads with our friends gang. Only, I didn’t know so much about the different birds then. But, I did admire them even them. And, felt for them when I saw them soaked in rain, wishing I could shelter them…
      I long to see you here soon, Mannuda :-)

  • Kanisarav May 27, 2014, 10:55 am

    Dear Rashmie,
    i just loved those words ‘never fancied a luxurious house….yearned for something rustic, in the middle of greens’. I too dreaming of the same. Really really happy that your dreams come true. This article reminds me the saying of Rabindranath Tagore ‘Children should be surrounded with the things of nature which have their own educational value’

    • Rashmie May 27, 2014, 10:18 pm

      Dear Kanisarav – thank you for sharing that thought by Tagore. This inspired me to read up some more by the Gurudev. His writings are always so motivational, poetic and true to life.
      And, yes, thank you for dreaming with me. I wish your dreams come true, too. Fuel them with all your might. :-)

      PS. Sharing these words by Tagore that I just now read up:
      I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.

  • Bindu May 27, 2014, 2:56 pm

    Hi Rashmie,
    Reading your post almost felt like I was actually there viewing all the beautiful birds!
    I really envy you being able to live so close to nature.It’s a dream for us living in a desert!
    My daughter was intently viewing pictures of your daughter working on her art journal….looks like we will have something new and exciting to work on thru summer ;)

    BTW Congrats on the arrival of Sufiana!

    • Rashmie May 27, 2014, 10:24 pm

      Bindu – I’d love to know how your daughter feels about art journaling. It’ll be nice for her to try her hands on it. You doing along side her will be even better for her. :-) Do send me any pictures if you’d like. I’d love to post it here on my blog. :-)
      Yeah, I know how you feel about being away from the greens. Though, desert has its own beauty. I’m a native of Jodhpur (in the heart of the Thar desert) but I find it beautiful, intense and romantic. It has its own charm. Jaiselmer is another gorgeous desert town. Are you in India or outside?

  • Sunita June 4, 2014, 11:45 pm

    I have been waiting to hear how your move went, and it’s even more wonderful than I would have imagined. What incredible bird neighbors you have! You are living your dream, and when you live that way, the wonder of it all never ends. You have taken the plunge and are reaping the benefits. Rashmie and Kanisarav, thanks for sharing the Tagore quotes!!!!! Perfect inspiration that goes seamlessly with this blog post and the lives we are hoping to achieve. I feel so happy and lucky – like it’s a privilege – to get to read this joy-filled post and comments.

  • Madhu June 14, 2014, 12:43 am

    Rashmie, Congratulations on the big move! I am so glad to see your yard, fields and the lovely birds around. I bet Pari and Sufiana will enjoy your new home a lot.


  • Vitoria June 29, 2014, 6:18 am

    Dear Rashmie, long time I did not hear from you and I let you alone due to the baby Sufiana, having 2 children can keep a Mother busy. So glad to hear from you and to know that you all are fine. Did you moved again? Like the garden of your soul. Pari is growing and becoming more like you as years pass. How sufiana is doing? Nate is very thin and weak but the Lord don’t want him yet. I am still the same with pain and growing older but it is all good. Life is the same here, very hot and humid in GA
    Best wishes dear Rashmie and let me hear from you again soon. Love to all, Vitoria

  • Sandra Dodd January 8, 2016, 11:40 pm

    I went to Google images to look for photos of cinnamon trees. I’ve never seen one. I saw the photo of the spotted bird, and started to click on it to send it to friends, and saw YOUR NAME!!

    How cool! “I kind of know her,” I thought. By e-mail and interview, but still…. I like that photo and I’m excited to have picked it before knowing it was yours.

  • Rashmie Jaaju January 9, 2016, 11:45 pm

    Sandra, interesting that you chose that image even before you knew it was mine. Probably, it was time to reconnect for both of us. :-) Happy to hear from you.
    That cinnamon tree was in our yard three months back. We moved houses recently and boy do I miss that tree (and the other ones). Glad I’m able to go back and visit those old memories due to your comment popping up in my mail box.