I want to tell the truth.
Art Journaling is not about making a pretty page for me.
It is not about making something pleasing to the eye or worthy of a photo.
Art journaling is about turning up like Inana, stripping layer after layer off until i get to the dead centre of my inner landscape. Sometimes like Inanna to hang on the meat hook of my shadow.
Sometimes to lay down my heart on something downy soft and breathe and remember the beauty there.
Sometimes to turn up like a toddler looking for home, looking to remember, to be comforted, to find the way, and never have i been disappointed.
OK so that's not true. I have been disappointed but only when i turn up expecting things to turn out a certain way.
Like Thoreau, if i turn up willing to get lost then and only then to i glimpse the vastness of my relations. The interconnectedness, the gifts and the immensity of the truth that i am held and originate in love.
If i turn up wanted something meager like a pretty page or something pleasing to the eye then i keep myself to the path that Thoreau warned us against.
Art journalling for me is like going off road. Following glimmers in the forest, not equipped with sensible shoes or compass my art journal allows me to inhabit wild for a time. My art journal tells me that my reality is neither static or stale as it can seem when the day to day mundanity of groceries and clean toilets and being a polite member of society fills my day.
i believe any kind of creativity is a portal to the wild, the Divine, the unconscious, the ancestors, the depths of our souls and more and for me art journaling is the most private, safe and easily kept secret way of accessing this realm. It is harder to hide your soul's path on a massive canvas and when the pathway is often messy and raw i feel it is important to allow space for that level of vulnerabilty to be present and respected. Everyone i work with knows that their book is theirs. They don't have to share or they can tell their whole story. Raw pages can be glued shut or spread all over social media. You get to choose.
When i open my art journal with my big three (the rules i have about art journaling that are paramount in my group work - Self kindness, turn up bravely and trust what arises) i am lead where i wasn't expecting into the heart of what i most need to know.
I am writing about this because i saw this quote this morning and i know Thoreau was a lot more literal than i am about paths and wildness etc but as i have been preparing for 21 Secrets and dancing with self doubt (your offering isn't art journaling, what you are talking about isn't a skill based thing, who are you to... etc etc) i wanted to articulate the real reason i treasure my art journal and the work i do to encourage others to explore their inner landscape this way.
My offering for 21 Secrets is "Restore" and the pages above are based on the ideas behind restore. This offering (not a technique class, not a skill based class but a deep and nourishing way of tending to your inner life, noticing and tending loving to the wounds of your heart. I have used it to tend to things from my childhood, my working life and my daily life - it is a way to turn up lovingly to the things that are painful acknowledge them and apply the balm of noticing, not the flimsy band-aid of denial. If you are interested in Restore or Art journaling then 21 Secrets is a great way to meet a range of practitioners, play and learn. Here
is my affiliate link (which means i get paid so thank you kind person) to the information page about 21 Secrets and the link to buy access to the class. There is a special offer on at the moment with interviews with some amazing artists as a bonus.
But i really want to encourage you to use the