I am an avid journal keeper. I also host #JournalChat Live on Social Media. I love sharing all the benefits journal writing has to offer. I am refreshed when what someone else has shared has resonated with me and then I get to share it with our #JournalChat Live Community.
One of the Greatest Benefits I have ever experienced with keeping a journal has been to recognize truth versus illusion. What do I mean by that? I'll explain.
On any given day I may experience a frustration, a challenge, a resistance, a conflict. And I want to know why I responded the way I did. It takes a bit of digging to get to the answer, but it's always worth the time invested since it helps me create positive change that is very action oriented.
One of the biggest discoveries I've made through my journal entries is recognizing when I've been thrown off my center, have lost my personal power and feel disoriented, angry or resentful. I get right down to the nitty-gritty in my journal and describe in detail what's going on.
I ask a lot of questions. I sometimes do mind maps on words that come up repeatedly. Sometimes I dialogue and use alternating hands to get answers. And most of the time, I'm surprised by what comes out.
But I always end up in a place of understanding concerning any illusions I might be dealing with whether it's based in fear of the unknown, being uncertain or unsure, or recognizing when I need to shrink something down to size that feels really big and intimidating.
Journaling, with all of its approaches, techniques and tools, really helps me unpeel all those layers to get down to the root of the problem. Once I know what that is, I can determine what decisive action is necessary to stop the pattern of the illusion before it even starts!
You see, when I recognize the illusion for what it is, I can then recognize the TRUTH of the matter and begin living by that truth as much as possible. Journaling truly helps me SEE differently, giving me a fresh perspective!
And when I combine my journaling with other nurturing activity such as prayer/meditation/study/painting, it becomes a power house of energy that gets me going in the right direction.
When you live by the truth that you discover in your journal, you can create positive change in your life that truly aligns you with Who You Are.
Then you'll begin to notice that discovering Who You Are becomes a more natural process, demystifying the answer to that all encompassing question: What Am I Here For?
Yes, with a consistent journal writing practice, you can experience Truth in a nutshell when you take the time to dissect, discern and disable illusion in order to initiate personal empowerment, which enables you to leave your meaningful mark in the world.
Journal Prompt: Note a recent conflict or challenge you have faced and detail it in your journal, including who, what, when, where and why. Be sure to include any emotions or feeling that rose up in that conflict. Then use your favorite journaling technique, such as dialogue or a mind map, and do some dissecting to reveal any illusions you may be reckoning with. Then take the new understanding, which is YOUR TRUTH, and determine what action you can take to live in that truth as much as possible. And always be GENTLE with yourself in this process.
Art Journal Prompt: Create a visual, whether text or image based, choosing colors that resonate and honor how you are feeling about the conflict you detailed. Use this art journal spread as an affirmation of your TRUTH that you have discovered and celebrate this positive change in your life!
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Image Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring Collection
This post, Finding My Truth, is my contribution to our 5 Year Anniversary Celebration of #JournalChat Live for all thing Journaling! You can also contribute with details here and join our #JournalChat Live Facebook Group for journaling camradarie and insight with blog posts, articles and prompts for your journal writing practice. You can also sign up for Refresh Journal which includes the best of what I find and share online in our #JournalChat Live Community.
I think Experiment is one of my favorite Art-Related words. Experimentation implies trying something new, or perhaps adding a fresh approach to something you've already done.
My art lends to experimentation, whether I'm Playing in my Art Journal, starting a new watercolor painting or trying my hand at mixed media on canvas, all of which I am doing now! Yikes.
You might wonder why I say Yikes in regards to my venues.
Let me explain.
Back in 2014, when I was in the midst of a residential move, I decided that once I settled into my new home, I was going to make space for another venue in addition to my art journal and my watercolor painting.
I know. Like I'm not busy creating enough already, right? Well, I've kept an art journal for 4 1/2 years now, and am still loving it. Wouldn't change a thing on that end. But I was still intrigued with the idea of applying the same principles I've learned in my play time with my art journal to a canvas.
I had already worked with canvas with watercolor, so I wanted to see what it would be like to add more than one medium to that substrate. And I had several ideas to work with already. (I always have more ideas than I know what to do with.)
So I determined that I would make extra space in my new art studio space for mixed media work. I was going to have FUN with this!
First I had to determine what kind of desk or table I would use and eventually settled on my previously used computer cart (which I was no longer using for my computer since I now had a separate desk for that), which has wheels on it, so I could move it if necessary...I like the idea of portability when you need it.
So once I settled on that, I knew I would need to make the additional space for it. And there was another piece of furniture that needed to be moved. So for a while, once I put it in there, I felt very cramped.
And cramped is not a good feeling. (Once that piece of furniture was removed, it felt better.)
Then I decided to get myself an additional french easel for my studio space so I could paint either in the bedroom (where my other one resides) or I could paint in my larger studio. (Hubby actually suggested that!) So I got another one.
Now I have three separate spaces in my studio to create with: one for my art journal, one for my mixed media work and one for fine art watercolor painting.
So you'd think I would just jump right in with them all and get to playing, right?
Um. Well, not right away.
I was currently working on "Forge," which is now posted on my art gallery, I had an art journal spread started and waiting for my return. I started that mixed media canvas and kept running into blocks with it since I wanted to be sure to use only high quality products for my work and some stuff I wanted I had yet to acquire, yadda, yadda, yadda.
With all that said, I let my art journal languish for about three weeks. Yes. Three Weeks. Oh, I would piddle with it once in a while but found I didn't have the energy to pursue it since I was so focused on "Forge."
So here I was, I had met my goal of having all three projects going at once. You know, so I could work on whatever I felt like working on when I wanted to.
But, honestly, I felt blocked. Even burdened. Burdened??
Yes. Like I was carrying too much. And I was losing the playful, intuitive energy that I so loved and wanted as a creative person.
You see, I really wanted to know what it felt like to be so productive as an artist; not that I didn't really want to try all these things, because I did and still do.
But I needed to pace myself more so than ever; there are only so many hours and minutes in my day.
So I must learn to be more gentle with myself and truly only do as much as I want to and not try to set expectations for myself that aren't necessary. (And we all have that tendency at one point or another, don't we?)
I don't want my art to start to feel too much like WORK in all caps. Oh, I know creating takes energy and time and sometimes it is work, especially when you want it to look just right and you make a perceived error or something doesn't work out the way you want it to, etc.
But I want my ART to always be a place where I can feel free to listen, to play, to intuit and to Honor Myself as artist as much as possible. And Not Allow Resistance to Have Sway over my Creative Life.
And So It IS. And I AM Blessed.
Art Journal/Journaling Prompt:
Do you ever feel blocked as an artist once you have a met a goal you've kept for yourself in order to grow creatively? Detail this experience in your journal, describing where you were at the time you determined this goal and where you were when you met that goal. Did it meet your expectations? Were you surprised by how you felt? How did it affect your creative process? Did it stay the same, feel amazing or burdensome? If it felt heavy to you, what did you do to get yourself to a better place of balance?
Affirm your place of creativity visually in your art journal. Draw a picture of your space or cut out pics that remind you of your place of creatvity. Write affirmations and use images to show what you love about your creative space and any goals you're met and are happy about.
Also, dream about what your next step will be; detail in your written journal and create a visual to honor your goal.
Remember to Honor Your Preferences, Your Personality and Purpose in your Creative Expression and give yourself breathing room when necessary. And also remember, it's all in the experiment!
Copyright 2015 Dawn Herring
I am especially excited to share this Art Journal Spread with you since it has special meaning to me. I went out on a limb, so to speak, several weeks ago on Facebook and asked my Friends what kind of impression I left with them. I asked for one word (or more if inclined).
I was not disappointed. Instead, I was humbled and pleasantly surprised with what my Friends shared. After receiving such a lovely response, which just thrilled my heart, I decided I would need to create an Art Journal Spread to Commemorate the Occasion! Life is worth celebrating and this particular experience was no exception!
So I made a list of all the Friends who responded along with the words they used to describe me. I was smiling and feeling loved and appreciated during this process!
After I made my list, I primed my 2 page spread with gesso. Then later I decided to use a cosmetic sponge and lay down some watercolor paint in varying green hues and yellow. As I applied it, I felt the impression of creating a garland of sorts, the kind you see hanging around doorways during the holidays, with Gift Tags attached. At least, that was my goal. I used a rectangle stencil to create boxes drawn in marker in varying spots throughout the spread. I filled in each box (using a stencil) with the descriptive word, then I wrote the definition of the word outside the box on top and underneath. Then I wrote the name of each person who offered each descriptive word. (This entire process felt so validating...I'm so used to talking about validating yourself from the inside out...now it was from the outside to me!) .
Once I had the boxes filled in, I added more watercolor in dots to give it a bit more texture. I also later added some oil pastel. I used my large and medium sized alpha stamps to create the words "refreshing friends" as well as the word FRIENDS in all caps on the side and lower case across the top of the spread. Obviously Friends was my theme, and my Friends Refreshed me! So that made perfect sense to put it all together that way. I added a new stencil in the back ground to give it some contrast, which I liked. I also added some outlining to the letters with white gel pen and green marker. At one point, I added a bit of water to some of the paint, creating a washy effect which I also liked. I was pleased with the final product and dated and signed it finished.
Art Journal/Journal prompt:
We all have refreshing friends, don't we? Or maybe you don't know how rich you are with refreshing friends and need to reach out to find out! It takes courage to ask friends to share how they feel about you and what impression you are making in the world. It felt risky to me, that's for sure. But was a lovely surprise it was!
So, take the time to ask your friends what impression you leave on them.
You may want to write a journal entry about what impression you want to make and see how those responses from your friends either validate what you wrote or maybe opened things up in ways you didn't expect!
You may also want to create an art journal spread, in whatever fashion that pleases you, honoring your preferences, to commemorate the friend occasion.
You can also do a mind map on the word friends as well as the words they use to describe you and see what associations come up. I find this particular journaling technique very telling, with repetition of words, patterns, etc., that arise.
I do want to give a special shout out to my friends who are featured in this spread who were kind enough to share their time and their kind words of appreciation toward me just because I asked! Here are those friends by name: Mary McCarthy, Donna Crim, Jodi Whisenhunt, Mari McCarthy, Andrea Lewis, Lynda Monk, Sarah Joyce Bryant, Phyllis Garlock Lardieri, Carolyn Ratliff, Amy Ahrens Dench, Bill Weeks, Madeline Sharples, Nathan Ohren, Donna Carrick, and Cate Russell-Cole. Also thanks to Christina Katz, for her encouragement for my risk-taking. :) Here's the status box from Facebook.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post; that also means a lot to me, that you take the time to see what I have to say. YOU are a friend too!
That reminds me of the theme song to the Golden Girls, Thank you for being a Friend. :)
Copyright 2015 Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Images by Dawn Herring Collection
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.