When Kiala asked me why I art journal, I could not come up with words immediately. There is a feeling I am familiar with that draws me frequently to my “thick with paint and stuff” art journals…a feeling deep inside that calms my spirit, heals my mind and body, and accesses inner wisdom.
An Amazing Fat Book of Wonder
I first learned about art journaling before the name, when I was a little girl and my Nanny showed me this amazing fat crinkly paged notebook with collaged magazine images and colored papers glued on the pages with scribbled words, poems, and quotes around the page. I remember enjoying copying her idea in my own way in my young years with collaging images and glue. That went on to making creative scrapbooks in the 90s of family events using photos, papers, stickers and journaled stories of life as it happened back then. So it was a natural process of art journaling to move toward using painted images, glued items, stickers, stamping, collage and more in a different, yet familiar way. Art journaling has been a sure way for me to access the amazing gift of Creativity!
Since those years I now use Creative Art Journaling in my work with art immersion workshops and retreats, as well as my coaching and counseling groups to connect people to their creative self and help them listen to their soul’s message of play, hope and freedom. Art Journaling is a fun way to chronicle everyday life, explore deep emotions and thoughts, and express the authentic self through written word and art-making. I believe that we are like ancient man who made cave drawings that expressed the very essence of human experience, involving creative expression of daily life, fears and beliefs.
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. -- Pablo Picasso
Play Like a Child
Do you remember how good it felt to color with crayons or finger paint on a blank piece of paper as a child? Bright colors of paint, vibrant markers and pens, glitter, construction and lined paper, glue, and scissors were tools of making art back then. Before your inner critic existed, you were only concerned about playing in the moment and expressing what you were feeling. No one was there to compare with, no one who you had to please. Simple words, images, colorful lines and squiggles were enough.
They’re only crayons. You didn’t fear them in Kindergarten, why fear them now? -- Hugh MacLeod
I love the healing benefits within my soul and spirit when I make art in a journal of pages that comes more alive after each page is birthed! Expressing my immediate feelings, quickly accessing my intuition and growing connection with my inner spirit are rewards.
Releasing uncomfortable feelings, getting them out in words and images through right brain activity brings clarity. Art-making and journaling together reduces stress, increases energy, guides my spiritual exploration, allows me to work through difficult experiences, and helps me solve problems. It is not about what my journal page looks like, but instead what is going on inside as I create it!
Making art is about finding the true self- not who everyone has told you that you are, but the person you are truly. -- Brigit O'Conner
We have a Wise Mind, or intuition that can lead us in safe and healthy paths. Because we live busy lives, we suffer from Monkey Mind (static) which makes it hard to access this wisdom quickly. Intense emotions can create walls to our Wise Mind. We need to slow down, sort out our Rational Mind (facts and thoughts) from our Emotion Mind (feelings), and become aware of our Body Mind (body reaction). We can then connect to our Wise Mind, which is the combination of all three parts. This is the essence of Mindfulness, being aware and in the moment. Being a creative process, art journaling helps us become aware of our intuition, uses the right brain to problem solve, resulting in better decision making. In an art journal we can express our dreams and goals, thus allowing for more self-confidence, peace, and clarity in life vision.
I hope you will join in Art Journaling joy! Simple techniques and familiar supplies can help you express yourself creatively. Markers, crayons, colored pencils, pens, oil pastels, stamps and ink pads, a small box of watercolors and brush, scissors, glue stick, glitter, magazines images, old photos, and a mixed media journal are just some of a variety of supplies that can be used. You really do not need much space. Just a tote to carry your cool stuff, a lap and you are on the way to create and listen to your Wise Mind!
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. -- Vincent van Gogh
Susan Miller, PhD, LPCS offers Creativity Immersions along with Life and Creativity Coaching, Entrepreneurial Coaching, Creativity Therapy and Psychotherapy. She is an Artist, Certified Creativity Coach, and Licensed Professional Counselor. Next Intuitive Soul Art & Yoga Immersion Retreat is June 2015! Visit Susan online at Lighted Path Coaching.