There is a lot of information out in the world and the art community about journaling and its benefits. I have a journal…in fact I have quite a few. I usually have one going while I am reading a book. I jot down any phrases or ideas that I like and that may be inspiration for paintings further down the road. I usually have another journal which I will call my idea journal. When I get an idea or see a painting in my head I sketch it in this journal. Then I have my color and movement process paintings. This journal or really collection of paintings is more about the process than the end result.
Don’t get me wrong I LOVE to look at people’s journals. Colorful and bright with tons of words and phrases. Every time I try to journal this way I get stuck. I try to make it pretty or I get stuck in my head and think about things too much. What is healing for me is to get out of the left brain and into my right brain.
When I was a little girl I danced from the age of 3. I can remember dancing everywhere. It was easier for me to dance down the stairs then it was to walk down them! I seemed to trip if I walked but when I danced I moved freely. I think it was the movement that provided the freedom I needed to cope. After college, I still danced and even taught ballet. Eventually it became too much to work and dance and teach so as time went on I stopped dancing.
When I moved out to California and I discovered Laurie Zagon and Art and Creativity for Healing. Her methods combined art, color and movement. Three very healing things for me. It truly is about the process. The process of expressing your emotions with color and paint and to do that you must move the paint across the canvas or paper. It usually takes me a little bit to “get out of my head” but when I do it is so healing. I am able to take the emotions inside of me and put them into color. No words…just color.
When I am in a stressful situation, I imagine myself painting in long slow brushstrokes, then I can relax. When I was first diagnosed and the bad thoughts and the tears were racing through my head during my MRI. The technician told me that I must lay still and relax so that she could get a good picture of exactly what I was facing. How do you lay still as you are heaving from crying? First I said the Rosary and then I painted in my mind. I imagined myself with a huge canvas before me. Beautiful colors of paint to choose from and a huge brush. I dipped my brush into the luscious paint and imagined long, smooth brushstrokes. It worked and the MRI was soon finished.
Today, I had some time to paint. I finished a piece that I had been working on for awhile and then I decided to process journal. I worked a little backwards today… but no rules right? With all of the stuff going on in my life I decided to paint a gratitude piece first. There has been so much negative that I truly wanted to focus on the good things in my life. What I am grateful for.
This piece was small and I felt the need to paint larger. I used the left over colors and just started laying color down with different strokes.
I can actually say that I do not remember what I was thinking about when I painted this. It is not a finished “painting” to be sold, but more of a loose journal page. I will eventually tear it up and it will become part of a torn paper collage. I love to make my own papers and then use them in my collages. Reduce, reuse and re-create!
So much of the time we feel that our work has to “look” like something. This method is the about the movement, color and the process. Try it for yourself and with your kids. It will be interesting to see the results. Go ahead, give yourself permission to play and process!