What journaling has brought to my life.
As I sat down to write this, I thought it would be fairly short. Yet as I started to peel back my journaling layers, there was more than I imagined. As I run creative art journaling workshops, I felt it would be useful to give some insight into what they have brought into my life on a personal level. What I did really notice through this is how creative journaling has been a part of my life for a long time and really has been a tool to carry me from one place to another.
Initially, journaling was a place to sketch and collect. Throughout art school days, I carried journals, both large and small. Taking note of things that caught my attention. My eyes were ever active and noticing. My journal also became something of a scrap book with images that I felt I couldn't live without, cutted and pasted until my heart was content.
For some time after these books were places that I planned projects. Step one, step two, and sketches appropriate to each. Times, places and materials were noted. Evaluations made at the end of sessions or projects. My eyes were focused on the job at hand. Artworks were made and classes were taught. And my journal was a planning place only.
In the early years of having children my journals disappeared. Despite the efforts of my brother who bought me a blank journal and pencils, and brought them into the hospital bed where I sat for weeks next to my child, I did not want to pick it up. I looked the other way. That blank journal sat next to my bed for nearly a year. One day, I couldn't hold it in any longer and I picked up that journal and wrote. I wrote about ten pages of an A3 journal. I wrote of my pain, my anger, my daily torment of having a disabled child with no idea what that meant to her, or my life. I wrote of the grief and loss, of our previously lost babies, and the child I thought I was going to have. It spilled out and poured over until finally I actually wanted to draw her. And I did. I drew how I saw her, and how I thought others saw her. And I then continued to write and draw when I could, but mainly journaled through the lens of a camera, capturing beauty where ever I could as I questioned what is 'beauty'.
As time went on I undertook a Master of Education in Visual Arts (not completed as I took a leave of absence due to my child being in hospital and never returned to finish). Yet my thesis and research was again on the use of a visual journals in senior secondary art students and its influence on their cognitive capacities.
As I was working part time, playing African drums and dancing, and raising my kids, my journal took a back seat in its place in my home. Occasionally it was opened but my energy was directed to working on paper, canvas or work related.
Once again I decided to study. This time I was required to keep a journal as a part of my Master of Arts in Creative Arts Therapy. And I felt like I was home, sitting with a long lost friend having a chat as if we had seen each other yesterday.
And now, as a mother of three with multiple jobs and roles, I am back to carrying my journal everywhere again. And once again, its role has shifted. Now it is a place I can declutter my mind. (And what a relief not to be worried about losing 'that' idea.) A place I can put my thoughts, questions (and sometimes answers), my doubts, my dreams. Sometimes it contains something someone said, a photograph, a whinge to no one in particular about my children, or a sketch for the next exhibition I am involved in. This time my journal is more like my diary, my companion who always listens, a witness to my life as I document how I spend my time. With my eyes open and alert, I draw, write, cut and paste, scribble, and scribble out. It has become an accumulation of all the ways I have used a journal on my journey.
For more info on teenage art journaling sessions click here
Adult art journaling sessions click here