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!