Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Healing with art

I’ve been sharing some pictures of my first art journal, so I thought I’d pause for a second to just write out some thoughts about this project.

I’ve been studying art journals, altered books, etc. online for quite a many years. I’ve even attempted to start altering a book but didn’t get past the first page or two because it was “perfect enough” for me to like it. I became overwhelmed with the technicals, instead of just going with the flow and allowing art to happen.

Art journals were another thing that interested me. I love the idea of creating an artful page that includes some personal thoughts or message. To me, this is so much more meaningful than just writing in a journal (although I’ve done that for MANY years, too). Earlier this year I decided I would start an art journal, but again, as with the altered book, I became so overwhelmed with trying to do everything just right that I couldn’t get more than a couple of pages completed.

Fast forward to now…

I’ve been dealing with a lot of issues lately. In the last six years, I’ve been through two deployments with my husband, multiple moves (500 miles each, one way), dealt wit a lot. I’ve always been a fairly strong person, but in the last six months I’ve felt myself crumbling under the pressure. Things that I could ordinarily shake off and get over fairly quickly have become overwhelming.

I’ve started taking specific steps in the last week towards my healing and recovery from all this madness. I’m stepping out of the prison I and others locked myself into. I don’t care what people think or say. I am going to take care of me and do what I have to, in order to live a healthy and happy life.

This past weekend I started thinking about art journaling again. I watched lots of videos (again) and looked at lots of photos on Flickr (again) and looked up some blogs (again) for pointers. Saturday I had a nice afternoon alone (both my sisters each had a kid of mine), so I took out all my art supplies and sat down at the table and got busy.

I told myself not to try to think it through. Just do. So I started out by just focusing on backgrounds. I knew I wanted to do two-page spreads for each entry, so I started playing with watercolors and acrylics, creating some background spreads. I worked on these between Saturday and Sunday. Just the simple act of spreading paint across a blank page was relaxing.

Since then, I’ve started on the actual journaling. I’ve completed two pages and looking forward to many more. Yesterday was the first day I wrote a “journal entry” on the page. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. I think that’s probably because when  I started this project, I made two rules for myself: #1 Don’t think; release yourself, and #2 Spill yourself onto the page—good, bad, or ugly…let it all out.

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