POSTS & PROMPTS 6: Digging Deep with Art Journaling

The art journal is like a key to the door of your heart. Once you use it, you can almost always find your way back in again.

Whenever I give new students the studio tour, I make sure to point out the many boxes of Kleenex in the room. "Tissues are as important as paint in here," I say. And I mean it. It's not unusual at all for a first-timer to shed a tear or two when sharing her first night's work. Art journaling is--sometimes, surprisingly--heart-opening.

There's something extraordinarily powerful about using creativity to tell our stories. Color, imagery, texture, and words. It all comes together in our art journals. Oftentimes, just the act of freely playing with paint on the page, no longer rules-bound, being given the green light to just let go and have fun, brings up tears...tears of relief (and joy)! But there are other tears that need to be shed, and art journaling has a way of helping those up to the surface too, tears full of our exhaustion from the heaviness of our lives, the wounds to our psyches, years of regret and anger. So many tears.

The art journal is like a key to the door of your heart. Once you use it, you can almost always find your way back in again.

It is possible to come to the studio and play just on the surface, fool around with color, use cute little images on rubber stamps or from the collage bins. It is possible to avoid going somewhere painful or raw or deep. But, it's not actually easy. 

It's like not seeing yourself when you look in the mirror.

It's like not listening to what you're thinking.

It's possible, and sometimes we get really good at the not seeing, not listening and living on the surface.

But once you start to paint, draw, scribble, and journal your stories in your art journal, your heart just craves that feeling. Again! it calls out to you, More, please!

Sometimes art journaling helps you go that extra bit deeper...to the really important part of the story.

I like to think of the journaling prompts that I write for you as little shovels that help you dig deep below the surface, to get at the good, rich, dark soil. Those are the stories that beg to be aired. The ones that need expressing. That's why I art journal and why I create prompts to help you get down there.

It's where we find the healing and transformation, the catharsis that is part of this practice.

It can be a harrowing. There's a lot down there, you know? But it's fertile territory and you are honoring and caring for yourself when you allow the deep down stuff to blossom up on the surface.

Just make sure to have a box of tissues nearby.

What might you dig up in your art journaling today?


If you'd like to art journal in response to this topic, I invite you to download my art journaling prompt (button below) for some inspiration. I like to think of art journaling prompts as little shovels, helping you to dig deeper into yourself. 

This is part of my weekly series of blog posts and art journal prompts. I hope you'll use these to enrich your art journaling practice. For more ideas about how to art journal, check out myArt Journaling Nuts & Bolts video tutorial series. Or, sign up for an in-person class or online ecourse with me!