Red Geraniums

July Theme
July 18
Art Challenge: Photographs & Memories
Journal Prompt:  “All that I have to remember you”-Jim Croce

This week could be a hard one for many of you depending on how you interpret the challenge. I know it was for me.  This challenge is all about remembering . . . hopefully we all have many happy memories and fewer sad ones. Just know that as you dig through your photographs, that I am thinking of you and I believe our loved ones before us are thinking of us!

It took me all week to bring myself to do this.  I’ve spoken many times on my blog about my grandmother.  She was – – well, she was everything.  This week, I chose to memorialize her and something she loved – red geraniums.  Not just any red, they had to be a certain shade – but for as long as I can remember, she had pots of red geraniums on her porch.  To this day, I have one beside my kitchen sink and think of her every day when I see it.

So for this challenge – I took some photos of her and her flowers and copied them on regular photocopy paper on my inkjet printer.

I used a chip brush and some Titan Buff paint and roughly plastered some on the page – you will understand why I did this as you read further.

Not only did I want to use my own photographs, I also wanted to incorporate some ephemera – after all, that is the theme for July! Thumbing through some catalogs, I found some images that really fit with my page. In reality, these are pictures of stone sculptures for gardens, but to me, they looked like statues you would see in a cemetery. I knew I wanted to use them but I wanted them to have a worn, almost ghostly look . . .

Years ago, I learned a very cool technique to transfer photos using clear packing tape.  This idea has been around forever and I can’t remember exactly where I found it – but you can simply google “packing tape photo transfer” and you will get dozens of videos and blog posts about it.

I laid a strip of tape over several pictures in the catalog and burnished them with a bone folder.  Then I cut them out of the magazine. DON’T cover both sides of the picture – only the front!

I dropped the photographs in a tin of water and let them sit about 5 minutes. The water soaks through the paper on the back of the pictures and the tape protects the image on the front.

Take the picture out of the water and turn it over and begin to rub the paper with your finger, it will come right off – if not, soak it a little longer.

When you’re finished, you will have a transparent image of the original picture – pretty cool, huh?

What I like even more is that you can use the FRONT of the picture for a clear image, OR you can turn it over for a more worn, aged look . . . yummy.

Back to my photocopied pictures, I sprayed them lightly with fixative and then I arranged all of the elements on the page and adhered them with matte medium.  Now you will find out why I painted the base Titan Buff . . . I used my finger to rub the edges of the pictures with the Titan Buff paint so they blended on the page – this removes sharp edges.  Genius.

With my dark-leaded Blackwing pencil, I scribbled around the edges of the composition, drew some lines, and did my journaling.

My grandmother and I shared a favorite poem about Red Geraniums, so I chose to put that poem here.  In the picture, you see her, and her porch that now has empty chairs.  And there I am in the bottom right . . . wishing she were still here because I have so much I want to tell her . . .


Life did not bring me silken gowns,
Nor jewels for my hair,
Nor signs of gabled foreign towns
In distant countries fair,

But I can glimpse, beyond my pane, a green and friendly hill,
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.

The brambled cares of everyday,
The tiny humdrum things,
May bind my feet when they would stray,
But still my heart has wings

While red geraniums are bloomed against my window glass,
And low above my green-sweet hill the gypsy wind-clouds pass.

And if my dreamings ne’er come true,
The brightest and the best,
But leave me lone my journey through,
I’ll set my heart at rest,

And thank God for home-sweet things, a green and friendly hill,
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.

by Martha Haskell Clark

I’m hoping this journal page will bring you peace and healing and the memories will be sweet. Looking forward to sharing your memories with you!  Our featured artist this week is the talented Lynn Whipple!  You can read all about her HERE.  xoxo

For more information on this week’s challenge you can find us here:
Instagram: #documentedlife #documentedlifeproject

Looking for previous challenges? click HERE

Visit our blogs: Sandi KeeneRoben-Marie SmithRae Missigman

Join us on The Art to the 5th™ Academy™ – a thriving “community” and classroom for “The Original” Documented Life Project™!  Find us on Instagram: #documentedlife

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  1. Sandi Keene

    What a beautiful memorial to your beloved grandmother! So touching and poignant.

  2. Avatar

    Wow Lorraine… this is really something else. Your grandmother must be looking down on you smiling, very proud.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      I hope she is, and thanks so much for saying that – and for taking the time to leave a note of sunshine for me today!

  3. Avatar

    Your spread and the poem are so beautiful! I love how you have interpreted the challenge with the sweet memories of your beloved grandmother.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Thank you Amy – you are so kind to take a moment to comment. xoxo

  4. Mary W

    So often I find myself wanting to copy your ideas – but with my own twist, of course. This page is so full of love and care for details, it really would make Ms. Margaret happy! My sister-in-law lost her mother then her father within 3 days of each other just weeks after loosing her brother and a good friend – all from different things. We all miss them but her mother was one-of-a-kind and she also had red geraniums on her front porch ALWAYS. I want to copy your poem and ideas to make a picture for my sweet sister-in-law to hang. She would be so happy as her home is filled to the rafters with old pictures of ancestors. This would fit so nicely in with her displays. That poem is precious and will now be loved my two more women. Thank you for this tender, beautiful page.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Mary you touched me so much with your comment this morning. Please, please – copy away! I want you to share the love to everyone. We all have some red geraniums in our lives . . . a bit of bright red happiness to light up the dark! xoxo

  5. Sabrina K.

    Wow, Lorraine, this is so beautiful – thank your for sharing your heart with us.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      I’m glad you liked it Sabrina. Thanks for taking the time to leave some love on my blog!

  6. cindy arrington

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful memory of your most special grandmother. Your technique is lovely and the final result is so heartfelt.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Thank you Cindy – and thanks for taking the time to comment – it means so much to me!

  7. Avatar

    What a wonderful tribute and a heartfelt love letter to your grandmother. Thank you for sharing. I can literally feel just how much you miss her and how much she meant to you.
    Packing tape transfers are getting popular again. And to see it used here made me smile. You make everything so beautiful and so special.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Thank you so much Gina – I feel the same about you . . . beautiful and special <3

  8. Avatar

    Wow….that was so touching and so beautiful. It made my heart ache for my grandmother and has inspired me to do a tribute to her. Thank you so much.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      I’m so happy you were touched, Heidi. There is nothing like a grandmother, is there? xoxo

  9. Rae Missigman

    Wow. I loved reading this. To finally put a face to that amazing woman made me so happy. She is, oddly enough, just as I imagined. Beautiful and wonderful in so many ways. Thank you for sharing this cool technique. It has been years since I have tried this and hope to again now! Love you. xo

    1. Lorraine Bell

      You are so sweet to say that Rae – she was amazing and I was blessed. xoxo

  10. Anina Dunn

    Lovely post! Makes me think of the lovely people and gardens in my life.

    1. Lorraine Bell

      So happy it brought back wonderful memories for you, Anina!

  11. Avatar

    I immediately thought of my Grammie….and then my Mom when she was a young mother. Both incredibly sweet memories for me….thank you.

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