Art Journals: A Spiritual Practice

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Art Journal Page: The Underworld by Kartika

…through writing we connect our journeys to the experience of a multitude of life travelers before and all around us. We can learn tremendously from these others and their writings, and still–we have to make our own way.
Christina Baldwin

Yesterday morning while grabbing a bagel with egg and cheese at Revelation’s, Fairfield’s used book store, coffee house, and restaurant, I found an inspiring book on art journaling as a spiritual practice – “Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest,” by Christina Baldwin. As usual, when something is on my mind or needs my attention, books on the subject tend to fall from the shelves of Revelations (like a revelation) into my hands. And, although the book was a bit tattered, it was a great deal at two dollars.

There comes a journey…and there also comes the urge to write it down, to bear witness to our experience, to share our questions and the insights that come from questioning. The spiritual journey is the one trip we are all taking together. You may be in a bookstore, a grocery store, at a restaurant, or home in bed. Whatever you think your doing, whatever else you identify as happening, you are also somewhere in the middle of your Spiritual quest.
Christina Baldwin

Christina Baldwin talks about the value of journal keeping in helping us to define and articulate our personal narrative as we take up pilgrimage and engage is the intimate dialog with self.

It took me a while to discover my tools for expressing and recording my journey toward more consciousness, or more self-awareness, on this mysterious and perplexing path of life. And even though I had meditated for many years, and had experiences of the quiet space of awareness within, I didn’t feel I had brought my inner experiences fully into the manifest world. So, I joined a fantastic writing group of wonderful, creative people who were dedicated to self-discover through creative writing. My insecurities were overridden by enthusiasm and the joy that comes from allowing oneself to free write and to keep a journal where I could record my thoughts and feelings.

Later, I took up the painting and collage – I had wonderful mentors who offered inspiration and guidance – and discovered the freedom of that wonderful medium – the art journal. The art journal gives everyone permission to be creative. The art journal invites us to think outside of the box, to be imperfect, to cross out mistakes, to use any medium we like, to experiment with the unknown. They can become our diaries where we express our thoughts, feelings, and stories in our own style, in a place we will not be judged. We never have to show anyone our pages, but we can share if we choose to. We can then find others, all over the world, who are enthusiastically engaged in a similar yet unique process of self-discovery. And, we can meet them on line or in our communities. We can find books on the subject that inspire us to move forward and become increasingly in touch with our creative muse. We can find and join in with art jounalers everywhere.

So, even if we have never thought of ourselves as creative or articulate, the truth is we can easily enter into a conscious journey of self-discovery. We can begin to explore that universal creative potential that resides within. We can pick up a pen or a simple pencil and begin. We can put pen to paper and reflect on our thoughts and feelings along the way. And, as we observe and articulate our human experiences, we get in touch with the what the author calls, The Watcher – the part of us that is separate from it all – the place of pure consciousness, the Observer.


Filed under Art Journals, Artsy Stuff, Book Reviews, Topics I Love

5 responses to “Art Journals: A Spiritual Practice

  1. Hello! What a great post and wonderful journal page. Isn’t it great that you found the book just when you needed it, that’s the work of the Universe πŸ™‚
    Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog. If you haven’t already done so please check out Teesha Moore who is my inspiration. If you like my pages, you will LOVE hers πŸ™‚ Anyway feel free to copy, it’s fine, in fact I encourage you do do so, if you like what you see. πŸ™‚
    When I did the workshop with Teesha she said lots of inspiring things and she was very generous. She said if we got stuck and didn’t know what to do we could look at her work and if we liked it, copy it. She would not have a problem with that because all of our inner voices are different and when we create our inner voices shine through the work. So even if we copy something in fact we put our individual and unique mark on it.
    I am so happy that you have found inspiration from my pages and I would love to see what you create. In turn I am sure you will also inspire me and others.
    Big love
    AJ πŸ™‚

    • Hi AJ, thanks for your thoughtful reply – my art teacher also told us that to copy what we like is a great exercise and helps us evolve our own art as well as discover more tools. She also said, as you have, that it is actually impossible NOT to infuse your own individual style into the work – so it is ultimately impossible to copy anyone. I will share with you my finished products (inspired by you). Also, I looked at Teesha’s site – her work is wonderful so thanks for turning me on to her! I will stay in touch. Best, Kartika

      On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM, kartikasays

  2. Interesting, I have made works of art before but to keep it as a method of journal writing, im sure that would help any individual as well- for those who harness it of course. Youve changed my direction in art and shall see to it that I may one day be able to implement my emotions and feelings more than usual through art. THX!

    • Hi Hazer, thank you for your message and for reading my blog. I feel honored that my blog inspired you to explore working in an art journal. Don’t forget to share you experiences! Best, Kartika

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