Open Your Mind: Art Journaling without Kits and Tutorials

Here you go! I love all of the creative ideas that are shared on YouTube and elsewhere, and they can be great for exploring techniques. But when I teach classes or work in my own journals, what is most important to me are acts of self-discovery. That means, letting the materials at hand, along with my inner guidance, direct the flow of the creative process.

Art Journal pages - mixed media collage

Art Journal pages – mixed media collage

Every artist, and that means YOU, who is willing to open a journal to an empty page, enter the abyss. If we are willing to put marks on paper, we are courageous, curious, and equipped to tap into the inexhaustible well of creative intelligence. So, while the prompts of videos and kits may be a great jump start, beware of becoming reliant on them. Instead, drag out your collection of ephemera, humble paints, and papers, and draw from that well.

Yesterday, one my students came up with awesome inner prompts for journaling:

Start Journaling from Your Places of Resistance

One women decided to choose materials that she found kitsch and judged as gaudy. She grabbed some shiny red paper backed with silver, red netting, and flowered tissue paper. She considered these elements “lesser than” other materials, such as handmade papers and expensive looking ephemera. She considers herself an elegant woman. She chose some magazine elements for collage. So, she was surprised to see that her finished pages emerged as beautifully designed and elegant. They were simple and all of the elements of balance were present. We were all inspired to reflect on the importance of being able to go to our places of resistance and work from those places. Instead of excepting our first thoughts about what is good or bad, beautiful or ugly.

Alchemy often occurs as we surrender our judgements and simply face the unknown, working with resistance instead of fighting it. Often the result becomes a thing of beauty.


Filed under Topics I Love

7 responses to “Open Your Mind: Art Journaling without Kits and Tutorials

  1. ‘Alchemy often occurs as we surrender our judgements and simply face the unknown’ – yep, I’ll go with that; I was working around that same theme today, sitting in the library – I write, so my bits of ephemera are swirling all around me all the time; it’s a matter of being humble-enough to open to their true nature …

  2. I so agree with this philosophy. It’s been difficult for me to connect at times with that part of me that says it’s okay to make ugly or boring artwork – even in the sanctity of my own journals! I’m starting to be more open though and accepting of the nasty bits of myself as well the glowing ones. It’s helped a lot to get me to drop the pretense and just create from that place of discomfort at times (resistance is futile right? lol)

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