Art journaling, visual journaling or simply personal, creative diary- many names but also many people who can confirm that that form of art has a massive healing capability. Books are and have been the personal thoughts collectors for centuries. From written forms to more expressive ones- journal is always the trusted companion. Gradually my art journaling practice took me on this journey as discovered more and more that it can heal, reveal, tell me so much that is beyond possibility of expressing with words. Inspired by work with others and guiding them on this self-discovery journey I decided to release new series on You Tube channel. After the initial “Subconscious collage” followed by “Behind the journals” series this time I am taking a plunge into a strongly therapeutic aspect of visual journaling. Join me!
I looked at my artwork gallery recently through the lenses of collection I gathered and published on Instagram. All small square pictures pop out once you scroll down your profile- probably the only visual social platform's feature that I enjoy. I looked at all those boosting journals, crazy patches of colours, my inner landscapes emerging from book pages, sketches with uncontrolled lines, contrasting visual ideas, colours that would rather not meet on a colour wheel, the images I created from invisible consciousness and visible expression. And I came to one conclusion about the art I devoted my time to. I try to tame the chaos- chaos of my mind that can only be partly expressed through the colours, shapes, lines, forms and layers. My art often starts with chaos and free expression to the limits of how much visual can I put on the page/canvas. Then I start navigating through those shapes to find my way and new path to peace...
I did lots of work with expressive way of art journaling, abstracts and pure colours combinations. Work that mainly depends on intuitive way of working without preparations referring to subject matter either without final picture in mind. All that led me to further understanding and discovering how powerful tool art may become in our hands and minds at the same time. Purely expressive and therapeutic aspect is just a beautiful stream of exploration what we may find more challenging to discover in direct way. However recently thanks to return to the traditional form and medium which is pencil drawing I have found unexpectedly a new avenue of expression: using representational type of art for deeper exploration of human connection with the object and actually going beyond the object itself...
There are times in our lives when we simply, without wanting either willing, have to abandon creativity. Life gets tough, life takes over. The problem arises when this period becomes prolonged and we start struggling to actually come back to where we were. Our routines and creative habits are gone and we find it easier to find excuses to stay away from creating rather than going back. Then it takes longer again and we start feeling like nothing is worth creating unless it is good enough and that “good enough” is another obstacle resulting in fear of creating.
What is an act of creating? How would you define it? Beyond the concept of art, on general perspective, act of creation is making things happen, making something from something else, making choice what and how to create. There is not a single act of creativity without freedom. Freedom is streaming through creativity like its constant companion and condition for things to happen. We need to feel free to choose what and how to create to have the sense of creativity being worth an effort. We need freedom to create and be free to create truly-that strong however simple realisation came to my mind recently after delivering expressive arts therapeutic session to dementia patients.
I have never had the feel for planning, setting goals, over planning, hitting targets. Despite the fact that I can throw myself into creating like a mad person without limits and forgetting about eating I still could never been a "planner". Recently I came across an article that used visual and art metaphor for a different approach to how our mind function with future planning, when we employ rather "now" approach that has nothing to do with hitting targets. And that was a realisation for me that actually approaching life like I approach a painting at many occasions can work quite wonders! So again art is teaching me life...because as Socrates said "I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance!"
Why do we must create? I do not know but what I know is that I mentally die if I ban myself from creating. It is like breathing for some- the necessary force of lifehood. Creativity is here for me and more I am involved in it more I become aware that it defines my life. It is not like interesting hobby, or maybe joyful evenings activity. It is not "oh nice you paint in your spare time" scenario. I have no spare time actually. I have no time to loose, waste, or spend on meaningless activities of life that are pulling me away from the core of life- ART.
Our daily life, what is here on the surface is only a mere part of the whole …The big chunk of our thoughts and mind functions is hidden in subconscious part.
Subconscious part-the one we rarely dig in, deep container of desires, fears and psychological patterns as well as beliefs is the hardest part to access when we are tangled in tasks of mundane life, pulled towards pointless conversations or trying to be the helper of the world.
Create with me….Create from your own creative source...
- I run local courses for therapeutic use of expressive arts in Northamptonshire through Learn2b programme (Northamptonshire County Council Adult Learning programme)-those courses are free of charge and require self-referral- please visit Learn2b website for more details- Click HERE.
- Workshops in person-the latest “Soulful Expression” is now fully booked- please email me if you interested in future adventures.
- Online programmes: visit my You Tube channel “Artlysing” for free videos and inspirational clips.
- I also volunteer at local Mind-the mental health charity where we transform art studio into creative and healing space.
Examples of courses and sessions:
- Positive Me-Art- emphasis on emotional wellbeing through creation of recycled cards, sensory exploration of colour, texture and pattern, work with words and images combinations.
- Jigsaw of life- visual journal work built around subject of life changes and transitions- images, collage, mandalas and mandorlas.
- Future Me- vision boards as exploration of self. Introduction to visual mind mapping concept too.
- The book of Me-6 weeks mental health programme with altering a children's book. Variety of techniques and creative adventures including mandorlas, collage, working from subconscious, painting, blind drawing.
- Intuitive Abstracts for healing-3weeks course with introduction to intuitive approach in paintings with layers.
- Soulful Expression- expressive exploration of creative voice, re-discovery of natural creativity- special one for those who say are not creative!
- Art Medicine- collection of therapeutic, creative techniques designed to use visual creative arts as healing practice. Includes watercolour expressive abstracts, mandalas, collage, doodling as meditation practice.
- Before and After- 6 weeks programme of working in a personal diary built around processing and reflection of personal grief.
Episode 3 of "Therapeutic visual journaling" takes on the journey of unfolding- once we open up to creativity and make first marks we are faced with...well let's say "reality of our own creativity". We start seeing first attempts of images, first layers, things are emerging and we do not always like what we see. This is the moment that many can decide to give up and do not continue, others will be faced with disappointment or just frustration. In visual journaling this is the initial stage, the first layer that despite how much it seems be difficult, in the end is rarely visible - still though very crucial to the process. It is the catalisator, an initiator, the kick that we need to accept and move on...