Sunday, June 9, 2013

360/365: Art Journaling from a Beginner's Mind

Art journeying...I've been playing with these words in my mind today.

For a year, I have been searching for a means of connecting with my own creative spirit, more consistently, more fully, more authentically (and with more paint being spilled). Five days before the anniversary of beginning my journey, I am coming to the conclusion that my art journal is the ideal place for that connection. And it's been under my nose all along.

mixed media journal spread: acrylic, water soluble oil pastels
found images, scrap paper, washi tape
I started playing in my art journals the summer of 2011, and during this year of my 365 project I've returned to them sporadically to record epiphanies, document my days or create "a piece of art." But my view of visual journaling is evolving. I began to give way to the unfolding earlier this spring at my first art journaling workshop taught by Orly Avineri. That is where I allowed myself to experience art journaling with a beginner's mind. Rather than being just a place to deposit my thoughts and feelings and document my experiences, I see that my art journal could very well be the place to have the experiences that I most crave: to be deep in the creative process and to honor that process over the product.

When I opened the pages of my art journal at the workshop today, I dusted off the welcome mat for all the uncomfortable feelings that can come up during the creative process. I willingly rubbed elbows with doubt, fear and frustration. I invited the burning questions. I came face to face with my own blocks. I reminded myself that it is normal to encounter these uncomfortable feelings when creating something new. It's part of the process that I choose to immerse myself in. Well now I am choosing to give those feelings a home.

Now I see my art journal to be a nonjudgmental safe haven for my expressions, where I can acknowledge and work through the rough parts and celebrate the discoveries. Yes! It works on both ends of the spectrum, from the uncomfortable to the delightfully rewarding. Today during my art journaling, I experienced great freedom. I showed up for myself and created without inhibition. I practiced trusting my instincts. I surrendered to pure joyful self-expression born out of the moment.

This is the playground for my inner child that I have been in search of. In the pages of my art journal, I can practice blending color, texture, images and words. It is my safe place to play, to explore and to grow as an artist. Here I am free to make mistakes and to release the limiting beliefs about myself and my art. It is a place where I can practice and learn to speak the visual language, to listen to my own artist's voice as it emerges.

Someday, my art may hang in a gallery. It may be sold to adorn the homes of others. For now, my creative expressions can evolve in my art journal. My journal is an essential piece of my personal journey as an artist. With this realization, I feel as if I've just renewed my license to create!

Today, my beginner's mind helped me to let go of what I thought I knew to make space for greater understanding. We must learn to release that shiny image, that perfect shape. If we are willing to allow our creative expressions to drift off and up, to get lost in the fog and meet with storms, they will find a buoyancy all their own. 

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