Tag Archives: art journals

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.

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Art Journal Page: The Guardian

girl in door
The Guardian by Kartika (gouache medium)

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.
George Santayana

This is a page from one of my art journal pages, done in gauche and colored pencil. Somehow working in an art journal feels less risky than working on a canvas or a single piece of paper. I’m more able to let go of expectations – after all, it’s just a little journal – and allow myself to simply play and enjoy the process. An art journal is where I’m free to have a personal dialogue with myself – no one has to see it or read my words unless I decide to share. It allows me to experiment with ideas and different media – so what if I make bad art or no art at all, that is not my purpose. Most of all, spending time with my art journal is like being with a friend who helps me heal and work through my demons and sometimes come out the other side. It’s possible I may feel that serotonin rush when a color or a line feels right or the words make sense out of senselessness. I may even feel in synchronicity with my muse, the creative spirit that gives my life meaning.

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Art Journal Pages…

Sometimes I ask myself why I feel so enlivened and connected when I sit down with one of my my art journals – my inner critic starts to harp and nag, telling me I’m just being a bit silly, dabbling around with glue and paper, paint and scissors. Real artists are busy perfecting their craft, my critic chimes in – they are honing the skills that allow them to create real art. But, deep inside I know that is not my truth because my journals connect me to my journey, to that spark inside that can become a bit dim doing real life. “To thine own self be true,” is an adage I try to live by. And of all of the millions of other people who are telling their stories in their art journals, who sit down to enter bits and pieces of themselves in their personal diaries of images, words, and colors, not one of them will ever create a page exactly like one of my pages. So just as each snowflake is a unique expression, every art journal page is a one-of-a-kind expression, like a thumbprint or the structure of a budding flower.

Kartika

My art journal – Dream

My Art Journal – Ananda Mayi Ma
My art journal – Questions

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From My Art Journal Pages…Painting in Gouache

Art Journals With Water Color Paper Are Perfect for Mixed Media Art Pages

I like to have lots of different kinds of art journals for different purposes.  I like to paint, be free to use heavy markers and all kinds of mixed media materials, so I use journals with good quality water color paper. I also love using  gouache paint, as well as water colors and acrylic paints. Gouache is similar to water color paints but is more opaque than water color, so it’s very versatile. It can also become light and transparent when diluted with water, and you can get that delicate wash you get with water color. Gouache colors are very vibrant. I would love to hear more art tips from fellow art journalists! Please share your blogs and your inspiration with me.

“Earth” from My Art Journal

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Art Journals: Unblocking Your Inner Artist

Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite – getting something down.
Julia Cameron

Let go of linear time.

We tend to live our lives in such structured and disciplined ways, where the clock rules our every moment, we lose touch with the freedom of being in the moment. Art journals and art making in general enlivens the part of our brains where we let go of time and experience the innately creative selves that we are.

Many of us find our daily activities a grind without as much time to focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.

The time we spend making art journals is our time and our opportunity to be free from the constraint of our obligations to perform, be perfect, and to please others.

Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness.

Pablo Picasso

Keep a journal in your purse or on your person.

One of my favorite places to work on my art journal is a local cafe. Over a latte, I simply allow myself to get in touch with what is on my mind and start writing, drawing, or doodling. I begin to get clear on how I feel and what my place is in the world. Sometimes I save spaces to later add in collage, paint or photos. Often, I have a glue stick and some scissors in my bag along with a magazine and actually add collage elements then and there. Sometimes, people will become intrigued and ask me what I’m up to. When they take a look at my art journal process, they often go out and by a journal of their own.

Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.
Julia Cameron

The Tao of Women

Surprising ourselves is part of the fun of making art. We don’t need to know the outcome, we just need to start and the outcome will take care of itself.

If you need some inspiration to get unblocked, I recommend, Julia Cameron’s, “The Artists Way.”

She offers tips on getting in touch with our creative energy, moving beyond our creative blocks, and living an authentic and creative life.

 

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Creating Collage Art Journals: Discover Your Personal Mythology

“The function of mythological symbols is to give you a sense of ‘Aha! Yes. I know what it is, it’s myself.’”

Joseph Cambell

What draws us to the images we choose for our art work?

Symbols help us to interpret our personal reality, explain the mystery of the cosmos, and help us gain insight into ourselves. All religions and cultures abound with symbols that speak to our beliefs and cosmology.

When making a collage, I notice  I keep finding and choosing to use certain symbols over and over again. Even though I’m not always conscious of why I choose these images, I trust they are meaningful on a deeper level. For example, I frequently draw or use circles, spirals, birds, hands, feet, angels, portals, archetypal wise women, vessels, and a variety of animals. And, I’ve come to see how they relate to my personal mythology. They have become part of my artistic vocabulary. Then I start to investigate what these symbols mean universally as well as how they relate to me personally.

Symbols allow the soul to speak to us directly.

The creation of an art collage from the soul is an inner journey that allows your soul to speak to you. Your soul’s voice can be heard through the images, feelings and insights that surface… (Kathleen Carrillo)

The more aware I become of the symbols I find myself consistently drawn to, and the more I incorporate these images into my art journals and other art works, the more I discover interesting things about my psyche, and the more interesting my art becomes. And, that is what I’m going for.

 

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One of My Art Journal Pages: Women Who Heal the Planet

Art Journaling From Your Heart…

The power of doodling, collaging, free writing, water coloring, and experimenting with all kinds of media, including found objects, is that it allows you to express and record what is in your mind and heart at a given point in time! You don’t need to be trained to play with the media. Just pick up a paint brush, watercolor crayon, or a simple pen and go for it. Anything goes—it is your journal, your playground, and place to experiment. Anyone can create interesting and beautiful art journals.

I Refuse to be a Blocked Creative!

Everyone needs a form of creative expression, and even those of us who have been what Julia Cameron calls, “blocked creatives,” can come out of the closet in a non-threatening way and create art. That is why so many people have discovered the joys of making personal art journals.

 I used my computer to generate images of some of the women I consider my mentors. These women inspire me because they have influenced and changed the lives of millions of people and helped heal the planet.

I love art journals with water color paper – they are perfect for mixed media and allow you to paint and use markers.

Gouache paint is fantastic! The beauty of  gouache is that you mix it with water, like watercolors, but the medium is non-transparent so the effect is more opaque, with great reflective qualities. You can, however, dilute the pigment with water to give it more transparency and lighter tones.

One of My Art Journal Pages

“Most of us are not raised to actively encounter our destiny. We may not know that we have one. As children, we are seldom told we have a place in life that is uniquely ours alone. Instead, we are encouraged to believe that our life should somehow fulfill the expectations of others, that we will (or should) find our satisfactions as they have found theirs. Rather than being taugh to ask ourselves who we are, we are schooled to ask others. We are, in effect, trained to listen to others’ versions of ourselves. We are brought up in our life as told to us by someone else! When we survey our lives, seeking to fulfill our creativity, we often see we had a dream that went glimmering because we believed, and those around us believed, that the dream was beyond our reach. Many of us would have been, or at least might have been, done, tried something, if…
If we had known who we really were.”
Julia Cameron

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