Catharsis

Catharsis, cathartic – what I’m experiencing as I work on this art journal project. I haven’t worked on much in the creative realm recently and was definitely feeling it. With new responsibilities at work over the last couple of years, not to mention the change in the surrounding world in that same time, day to day stressors have stepped up their game. I’m finding that as I simply work on writing out short phrases or words, thoughts and emotions find their way onto a page in either color or line.

While I’m not sure exactly when I started this journal, the pages were intended to be a place to process my journey in the new role(s) I’ve been given. My current role is one I’ve not had before, so my learning curve has been steep. There are some general human aspects that we learn as we live life with people, and I’ve been drawing on those experiences as much as I can. But there are other dynamics at play that require additional counsel.

This journal affords me a place to jot down a word or phrase, and get the concern or thought onto the page rather than keeping it in my head. As a journal, I don’t need to create a finished work of art to hang on a wall, or to gain someone’s approval. I’m simply creating a safe place for me to capture thoughts, express anxieties, and process next steps.

As an art journal, I can use marks, colors, and images to capture some of these as well. I don’t have to formally verbalize my thoughts, I can use images to represent fears and stressors and it allows the process to happen quickly without more overthinking. (I already do too much of that!)

It also allows me to use what materials I can access easily. If I don’t want to pull out paint, brushes, water, etc., I can use pen and ink or colored pencils. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and every page doesn’t need to be the same. In fact, that’s another beautiful thing about this process – every single page can be a different technique, medium, thought.

While each page can be unique, it does have a theme, or plot. The main character is provided an opportunity, which places them on a journey. What treasures, wisdom, pitfalls, dangers will they find along the way?

The story is just getting started, but I’m excited to find out!

Passing thoughts

I’ve been working a bit on the journaling. Nothing extravagant, but still a good process to work out some thoughts, while making marks on a page.

I think that’s one thing I really enjoy about making art of any kind: one word can spark an image, and that image can spark a paragraph or three. All the words don’t always appear on the page, but they are there, sitting beneath a shape, a mark, a color.

Step by step we move on.

Sunday starting point

What is Art Journaling?
There are so many options, and so much information out there that it feels a little overwhelming to undertake. But that’s just what I’m trying to do. I know about journaling, and I have a general idea of what is considered to be art, so combining the two is something I’m hoping will be a fun experiment and some much needed release of thoughts and emotion.

These past few months have been filled with stress, unknowns, and yes, even some fears! I think most of us have gone through a whole spectrum, cascade, whirlwind, whatever metaphor you want to put in that space – of emotion and thoughts and processing of all of it. I know I’m not unique in this, but I know I need to find the outlet to keep these things from continuing to build inside.

I think this can be a beautiful process, even if the “art” that comes from the process isn’t necessarily to everyone’s liking. I’m determining to start, and to keep moving forward with it for no other reason than that I need it.

I’m hoping to keep writing through this process, to share some pictures (probably sharing more on Instagram than in these posts), so please feel free to follow along there, and ask any questions you may have! This is a learning process for me, but I enjoy a good experiment with creativity and would love to have a conversation about it!

Beginning Again

The calendar has once again turned the page and the next in line has arrived. 2022 is underway, with mysteries and adventures waiting to be discovered.

As days turn to weeks, then months, then years, thoughts and ideas come and go. Plans are made and changed, and perhaps cancelled or rescheduled.

Words are spoken or not, feelings felt or dismissed, and life moves forward, or winds down.

As we step into this year, this moment, may the God of all peace go with you.

Notes for November

Where does time slip away to? We sit two weeks from Thanksgiving, and Christmas is soon after.

There are thoughts aplenty, but words, formed into sentences are few. Intentions scoot by every so often, but we all know where that gets us!

There are creative projects to work on, work related goals to ponder and solidify, and oh, meals and organization that should probably get done as well.

What have you been up to?

The Stories We Tell

Stories that tell of success
Others that examine our failures
Stories with a beginning, a middle, an end

Playful
Sad
Joy filled

Romantic
Angry
Stoic

A spectrum of human emotion
Contained in expression
Spoken, unspoken, seen, unseen

Walked out in words
Situated in sentences
Pasted into paragraphs

Arranged in albums
Between covers
Under headlines

A lifetime of learning
A whisper of beauty
A measure of being

Stories make us think
Stories make us feel
Stories make us human.

Find stories
Live stories
Tell stories.

A short verse

Words
Thoughts
Prayers
Letters and sounds arranged
Images affixed to ideas
Telling stories
Keeping history
Marking time

Write or wrong

Paper or pixel?
Ballpoint or byte?
What is the tool of choice
When you write?

Written word, as in pen or pencil on paper, has a certain pace it requires. While the pace can be quick or slow, is it more thoughtful than using a keyboard? No, just different.

The keyboard forgives an errant word or phrase quickly but is that always best? Words need to be sought out, studied, played with at times to determine the best fit. When trying on shoes, certain styles just fit better. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear a different style from time to time, to dress up or dress down, but there are styles that become your own.

There are still many words to be placed on this screen, in that journal, in that notebook, on that dry erase board or chalkboard. Choose wisely, choose freely, and if they are to be seen or heard or read to another, choose kindly.

But choose.

Write

Learning

There are so many things happening around us at any given time. Most of these can be learning experiences if we have that perspective.

One path I’m taking for learning this year is reading. I’ve never been what you would call an avid reader, but occasionally do find a book that I have to read start to finish in a day or two. This year I’m working to increase the number of books I read, in part because of a new position I have at work. I don’t want to be a know-it-all, but I do want to be wise and knowledgeable.

I’ve been reading books on leadership, and some on people management and group dynamics. These are goals for work-related tasks. I also have a few books that are in the creative realm, and more that have to do with growing my faith, and how work and creativity are grounded in that.

We are just over half-way through this year, and my stack of books continues to grow but I keep reading and applying what I read.

And more importantly, I keep learning.

The Journey of One Thousand Miles

Each of the steps I take move me from confusion, to curiosity, to overthinking.

Is there a wrong path?

I know we ask what the right path is, but what if that’s the wrong question? If there is no wrong path, then moving forward isn’t quite as scary.

Right?