Refresh Daily Interview: Life Coach and Journal Keeper, Jill Winski, of The Artist's NestRead Now
I am so excited to share with you an interview, or what I like to call, a Creative Conversation, with one of my favorite people, Jill Winski, dear friend and fellow journal keeper, previous Special Guest of #JournalChat Live a few times over, and active member of our #JournalChat Live Facebook Group. She is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and Creativity Coach and founder of The Artist's Nest; and I had such a fabulous time talking with Jill about journal keeping, creativity, and positive change that leads to personal empowerment. Jill shares an insightful and profound journal keeping journey. I trust you will enjoy what follows with the juiciness of what it means to be At Home in our Journals and Aligned with Who We Are.
Without further ado...the creative conversation with Jill Winski:
Dawn: I just re-read your post from our #JournalChat Live OPEN HOUSE in June, 2015, Hearing My Voice In a Noisy World, and it still touches my heart about how your journal is Home and a Safe Place for you. When was the very first time you wrote in a journal? How old were you? And how was that different from the time you were 12 at school? What kind of a foundation did it help you create in your childhood?
Jill: I think the very first time I wrote in a journal was when I was about five! It was a "diary" with a lock and a key. I believe I was just learning to write and I wrote things like "what I did today" or "my favorite foods." A little later, when I was maybe 8 or 9, my mom bought me some blank books and I used those to write stories that were based on my own life. So you could say they started out as journal entries but as I wrote they became fiction! Looking back, I do think these blank books created a foundation of writing things down as a way of expressing myself very early in my life.
I don't think the "true" journaling took hold until I was 12 and began to write in depth about what I was feeling and started to use the journal to process and understand my inner world, as I described in that blog post.
Dawn: LOVED your journaling start, Jill. The details of the beginnings of a diary/journaling practice can be so inspiring, especially when you can see clearly what benefited you in that very early time...which led to more writing for you, even fiction.
From the time you were 12 and began a deeper, more introspective journaling, were there other activities that you engaged in that really inspired you and refreshed you as a young person? And was the journaling a part of those activities, such as describing those experiences in your journal, or were they entirely separate?
Jill: One thing I did a lot as a child was organize my classmates and neighborhood kids into putting on plays and other sorts of productions. I remember a lot of running around barefoot in the summer telling people what roles they were going to play. (I think I was considered rather bossy!) I also loved reading -- particularly Judy Blume and Madeleine L'Engle at that age -- and being with animals (still do!). And rollerskating and collecting Breyer model horses. :)
Now, here's the interesting thing -- at around 12, I began to become pretty critical of myself. I think I became very aware of and concerned about what other kids thought of me, and, interestingly, this is when the journaling began to overlap with those other activities. So, the journaling came to my aid at that time -- it was a way of sorting out this self-consciousness and judgment I'd begun to feel toward myself. As I remember it, the journaling was very much integrated with other activities and I'd reflect on how things went. Actually, when I was packing to move just a couple weeks ago, I found a comic book I'd written at age 12 about a superhero rabbit. That was the kind of thing I'd do at that time, and it's likely I brainstormed that idea in my journal and then probably journaled about whether I was happy with the result or not!
Dawn: What delight to learn of your "directing" role with your friends in the neighborhood, putting drama as center stage! Love it.
So, when you became more conscious of other's opinions of you, that's when journaling took on a more vital role, helping you gain clarity on what was working and how you felt about each life experience. Brainstorming ideas was a great way to see what you wanted to experiment with.
Do you think that your journaling played a role in determining your identity as a person? Did it help you discover on a deeper level Who You Were and Who You Were Becoming? Did you stay motivated to keep a journal as you entered your youth?
Jill: Oh, most definitely journaling played a big role in my identity -- and the journal has been a sort of "witness" as my identity has changed over the years. I think the deep processing I've done in my journal over the years has been key to my understanding myself, and integrating what I'm going through and discovering about myself into the whole of who I am and my life.
As I got into young adulthood, that's when journaling began to take on an even bigger role for me. Around my early 20s was when I started to do a deeper kind of journaling, where I was really using it to understand myself. I think it became a form of meditation for me -- like other practices that can help you connect with the self, but then also something greater than the self.
So yes, I stayed with journaling quite naturally as I got into my teens and on into my 20s. It's always been something I feel compelled to do -- there's no "motivation" involved. I do it compulsively! :)
Dawn: What you said about being compelled to journal feels so resonating to me, since I'm the same way with my journaling practice. I don't need motivation either; it's just part of Who I Am.
Speaking of that, for you, Jill, seeing that journaling is such a powerful and essential tool in your life in developing your identity, have you been able to recognize, through your journaling practice, when you have not been aligned with Who You Are and how has journaling promoted positive change to help you Stay Aligned?
Jill: Yes, one of fundamental values of journaling for me is that I am able to see more clearly what I'm thinking and feeling, on the page. And that has the effect of quickly allowing me to see where I'm not aligned with my essential self. It can point me to where I'm in pain and not addressing that pain. Sometimes I'm like, "Hmm, I notice I've been writing that I'm feeling bothered about such-and-such for a week now ... what's going on with that?" In fact, there are certain things I've let go of in my life much more quickly than I would have if I hadn't been addressing them in my journal. And, things I've moved toward more quickly because journaling helped me tune in to what I was really wanting.
There are also times where I'm simply not ready to make the changes I know I eventually need to make that come through on the pages of the journal. And in those cases, the journal gives me a safe space to be totally honest about my fears. Just the act of being able to express what I'm feeling in completely open way, without ramifications, keeps me congruent and in touch with myself. Which, for me, is always the overriding goal.
Dawn: I love what you said about being in touch with your essential self and how that is your ultimate goal with your journaling practice.
Can you share how Journaling has enabled you to appreciate yourself for who you are, especially when you deal with those fears that sometimes can hold you back from positive change? Does journaling help you be more gentle with yourself when that happens? Also, are you able to validate your emotions and feelings to help prevent being too hard on yourself through those challenging changes?
Jill: I think "hearing" my own voice on the page when I journal has allowed me to get to know myself really well, and that has caused me to understand over the years that I have a very particular process that I can trust. So even when it seems like I'm "stuck", there's something going on beneath it all that makes a lot of sense. And that knowing has helped me be kinder and gentler with myself, because so much of what the critical part of me thinks is stuckness is actually just me taking my time to get to where I need to be!
I do struggle at times with not being hard on myself -- it tends to be a "default" reaction for me because I learned it so well when I was young -- but there's something about putting my feelings down on the page that allows me to detach from the harshness and see it for what it is. So, the journaling creates awareness, and from awareness, I can shift quickly into kindness. That's a practice for me -- shifting into kindness whenever I can. :)
Dawn: Wow. Knowing ourselves on a deeper level can be challenging and yet rewarding at the same time; I love what you said about understanding your inner process and recognizing that it can look like the illusion of being stuck when it isn't that at all; it's simply the way you deal with change and inner change is already being initiated. That is truly powerful. I love how journaling creates that awareness so that kindness can become your prominent focus as you work through that change.
With all this powerful, life-enhancing change going on, do you have specific ways of nurturing yourself, either in conjunction with your journaling or an activity or engagement all on its own? How, as an adult, do you find ways to nurture and nourish your self in any life dimension and how does that nurture affect how you leave your meaningful mark in the world?
Jill: For me, much of nurturing myself involves slowing down (which you did a wonderful video on recently). We live in a very hard-driving culture which moves very quickly, and I have a fast-moving mind which jumps quickly from one thing to another. So a lot of nurturing myself involves remembering to come back to my breath, to the present moment, and reminding myself that it really is okay to slow down and savor things and tune into myself. This can mean taking walks where I really notice my surroundings (I love combining getting my morning coffee with taking a walk). Time with my cat is very nourishing as well. I've always found the presence of animals so healing, somehow, but cats especially, maybe because of the purr (which is said to have healing qualities).
And then, connecting with people I love who truly support me is key to nourishing myself. I'm noticing that seeing people in person is important, especially when so many of us spend so much time in the online world. There's a particular way I feel nourished when I've been with a friend in person, or even had a great phone conversation, where I feel their presence in a way that is important to me. So reminding myself not to substitute online connection for physical world connection feels relevant to nurturing myself right now (though I do love connecting with wonderful people online!).
And that said, one of my favorite ways of nurturing myself IS by going online and reading blogs and articles and essays that connect me to who I am and what matters to me. I adore having books and artwork around me, too, that help me stay connected to what I care about. The more connected I am to what matters to me, the better I feel, and the easier it is for me to tune into others and connect with them.
Dawn: Slowing down, savoring the moment and creating connection with people and nature and things that have great meaning for you...delightfully authentic and nourishing for the soul. I agree it is important to have a balance between what good we derive from the online world and having important connecting time in person. I also enjoy finding folks and resources in the online world that resonate with me and what matters to me...
Connection seems to be key in creating a life that is full, rich, meaningful and authentic. When we are personally empowered, we are fully Who We Are, in the zone, creating our best work and forging those most meaningful connections with people and other things we value.
Can you share with us how all the elements of your life dimensions you have shared that help you create positive change in your life lead to personal empowerment? How do you know when you are personally empowered and when you're not? What does personal empowerment feel like to you? What is your most direct path toward staying there?
Jill: What a great question. I love this question because the way we FEEL is really what creates our lives. So, how do I know when I'm personally empowered? Because I feel connected to myself -- I feel good! When I say good, that doesn't necessarily mean "happy" (though it could). It means I am in integrity -- the way I'm living is in sync with who I am and what I value. Of course, the journey of life, for me, is about questioning what it means to live "congruently" and continually closing the gap between feeling "incongruent" and "in sync with who I am." So it's always ongoing. I'll never be "done"!
For me, the most direct path toward "closing that gap" is to keep checking in with myself, through practices like journaling. And walking. And simply being. You might have heard of the idea of "do-be-do-be-do." I think that's what it's about -- taking actions (doing) and then moving back into being, connecting with myself, checking in about how that action went, where it pointed me, what sits right and what doesn't. And then taking the next action that occurs to me. And then checking in again. Always remembering to check back in with myself. This is so much of what I work on with my coaching clients -- how do we take inspired action, as opposed to just taking actions out of fear or frustration? Inspired action is when we're acting based on personal wisdom, or simply a sense of curiosity. It feels much lighter and freer than fear-based action. So when I feel light and free, I know I'm on the right track.
Dawn: I could feel the good vibes coming from your answer to personal empowerment and the do-be-do connection you explained! I love it--checking in with yourself each time you take an action to be sure it's aligned or congruent with your values, and not responding out of fear or frustration. Indeed. There is such an innate difference between the two, isn't there? Light and free is what we want to be!
Starting from a place of lightness and freedom is a great place to live from in our creativity. Jill, as a Life and Creativity Coach, can you share with us why creativity is so important and how you handle creative blocks? How do you stay consistently creative without feeling overwhelmed? How do you know when you are satisfied with the amount of creative expression you are putting out?
Jill: Well, I always define creativity in a broad way -- the definition I like is that creativity is the life force moving through us. So if our creativity is feeling a little bit sluggish or blocked in some way, that points to some area where we are feeling sluggish or blocked in our lives. These "life issues" tend to show up in our creative work. So it's great to keep our creative energy (life energy) flowing. Of course, it's not possible for it to flow all the time -- in fact, when it stops flowing, there's often something really important for us to learn there. (This is what we might call a "dark night of the soul", in some ways.) I also feel strongly that we are all the creators of our own lives -- it's not only writers, artists, musicians, etc. who are creative! We all are, no matter what we do. That's what I love about journaling -- we can all do it, it's about the expression of who we are. That's really why creativity is important, to answer your question -- because we crave that expression of who we are, and we want it to reach others who appreciate it. In that sense, it's about community, but it's also about remaining connected to ourselves.
As for how I stay consistently creative without feeling overwhelmed -- well, I don't! I do get overwhelmed at times and I am not always consistent. Having moved recently, I realized how much of that creative life energy sometimes needs to go to making big changes in my life, and then I don't necessarily have as much of it going toward "tangible" creative output. But in moving, I've been creating a new living space for myself, so that's creating, too!
But I would say the biggest thing that helps me stay consistent and keeps overwhelm at bay is to begin with kindness toward myself. In other words, self-acceptance is always the underlying factor. And that means noticing when perfectionism comes in and sort of cracks a whip over me and demands that I do more. If I feel like I'm forcing or pushing it, I know it's time to stop for the day. I like to stop writing before I get to that point! There's kind of a "sweet spot" where I can feel that I've challenged myself and I've reached a certain edge, but if I get into pushing beyond that too much, I can bring on burnout. And this is something that simply takes time and practice to understand in oneself. Everyone has a unique point at which, if they pay attention, they know they're satisfied with what they've done, or they're not! We just need to pay attention. And using our journals to record what we notice about this can be incredibly helpful.
Dawn: I love your definition of creativity...and I so agree! Everyone can express themselves creatively since we ALL have creative energy...to do what each of us do well. And It's Awesome. And when the energy is not flowing, there is always something important to be learned. I think that's one of the reasons I love art journaling so much, because it gives me that space to listen when things aren't flowing. And it's important to give ourselves space during change. And yes, Journaling is the PERFECT PLACE for that creative expression of Who We Are. I couldn't agree more!
I love how that brings us back to kindness, Jill. This is such a powerful place to be. It can truly make all the difference when we feel overwhelmed and need to get ourselves back to center. And noticing is so key to understanding ourselves on the deepest of levels, which is so vital to our creativity, our personal empowerment and to Knowing Who We Are.
How Sweet It IS when we are loving ourselves from the inside out by paying attention, recording our understandings in our journals and giving ourselves space to express ourselves creatively while being kind and gentle throughout the process of bringing about positive change.
Jill, can you give us a final word for those who want to start a journal practice and for those still looking for that sweet spot of creative expression? What is your recommendation in a nutshell?
Jill: The main thing I would say for getting started with journaling is to simply trust that whatever comes up onto the page is perfect. There is no way to "do it right". Trust that you have a unique path with your journaling and stay open to discovering it. One of the most exciting things about journaling is that, if you stay with it, you will be led to that "sweet spot" of creative expression. You'll know you're there because you'll feel it. But, like with any practice, you need to MAKE it a practice by staying with it. The benefits only come from doing it repeatedly. So if you're interested in journaling, try it for at least three weeks, or a month -- that gives you a chance to do it enough to start experiencing where it can take you. You can start very simply, by writing down what you see in the room around you, or out the window, what that makes you think of, how that makes you feel. Try it for even five minutes a day. And see where you go!
Dawn: Thanks so much for that fabulous final word, Jill, as we conclude this delightful conversation about journaling, creativity and learning to listen and be Who We Are in all of this wonderfulness! We appreciate all you have shared about your journaling practice and your learning process when dealing with change and creativity.
Do check out Jill's Bio and her social media so you can connect with her; I also highly recommend Jill's The Artist's Nest where she shares about her creative and journal keeping process; it's simply fab and insightful!
Jill Winski's BIO:
Jill Winski is a writer, a creativity coach, and a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. Her own fears inspired her to create The Artist's Nest, a safe place to talk about creativity, self and getting unstuck.
You can CONNECT with Jill on Social Media:
Art Journal: The Dividing LineRead Now
Welcome, Art Journal Enthusiasts! I have a new Art Journal Spread to share with you; I've titled it, The Dividing Line. This particular spread features Modeling Paste, home-made by me. I used a mix of gesso and baking soda, which can be really crumbly and messy if you don't use enough gesso to make it look like cement. This takes practice, messy practice. *wink*
My goal with this spread was to test out this home made-modeling paste to see how well it would work with a stencil, and this time I made a stencil of my own with long dividing lines. I knew pretty quickly I was going to use them across the top of the page, but I also decided ahead of time that I wanted to put some color down first since when I used modeling paste before without color on the background, I didn't like it as much. I used a brayer to lay down watercolor paint; this is the FIRST time I've used a brayer to lay down color. I have used brushes, sponges and even my fingers, but not a brayer.
First tip with a brayer: always make sure it's clean before you use it! I had to put down many layers of watercolor before I was satisfied with the coverage. Plus the color was very washy, not thick and dry. (This is not acrylic paint, so there's a bit more effort put in since watercolor isn't opaque and takes more applications for good coverage.) But once I used the brayer, I found that I LOVED the textured look I got from using it, versus laying down color with a brush. Once I had the color down, then I applied the modeling paste with my hand-made stencil. Very messy procedure but I loved the result. That's when the name of this spread came to me, since the lines were creating divided space. So I decided to tear some good 'ole colored construction paper into pieces and stamped out the letters individually, then adhered them with matte medium. I later edged them with more watercolor; love that look.
As I filled in more of the space, It almost felt like a cliff with a dam of water both visually and viscerally, so I decided to emphasize a separation between the top of the page and the bottom. I tore some gold colored magazine pages into pieces and used those to create a division. I also used a small round sponge on a wooden stick to add more watercolor after I used the brayer and created lines of "water" coming down in a circular motion; as I did this, the idea of a turning came to mind. Then I realized the connection: The Dividing Line Becomes a Turning Point! Wow.
I absolutely love it when this happens; do you know why? Because when I play in my art journal, I gain understanding of myself and my life experiences, bringing the subconscious to the fore. The realization with this spread is a perfect example of what I mean. Once I had this idea solidly in mind, the rest of the spread just fell into place. From the application of the words "Becomes a" to the words, "Turning Point." For "becomes a", I used a white Uniball pen on stamps for the letters, reinforcing the letters with pen directly on the page for solid coverage. I LOVE the contrast of white on the darker bluish hue. It really POPS.
For the "turning" word, I wanted it to express itself with its meaning, so I stamped it out in a turning manner. And for "Point," I wanted it to have a directness to it, so I included an arrow pointing at the end and highlighted the letters with my white Uniball pen. I also painted the dividing lines with a gold color. I love the contrast of the gold with the bluish hue.
I really enjoyed the process of creating this spread, the realization of learning more about myself, about making decisions and how those decisions can become turning points toward authenticity. We all want to be authentic, don't we? Each decision we make can help us be more authentic than ever.
Sometimes when we face a life challenge, it can feel like a dividing line, especially when we determine to say NO to something we were once saying Yes to. But once we make that decision, knowing it brings us into our authentic path when we do, it becomes a turning point of truth in our lives. When we know the truth and live it, we are free, aren't we?
Have you recently experienced something that felt like a division or a change of direction for you? If so, detail it in your journal, including how you felt and responded to the realization that you needed to make a change of direction toward authenticity. Affirm your choice to Stay Aligned with Who You Are.
Art Journal Prompt:
Dedicate a page or spread to a recent decision you made, changing from YES to NO or from NO to YES; you may want to use the NO or YES as your starting point and stamp out the meaning behind the decision.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Art Journal Images by Dawn Herring
This Refresh Daily Rewind video focuses on dealing with False Starts and what we can learn about our creative process with the decision on where to go from a place of uncertainty and finding the value in every courageous step we take in our creative lives.
As a watercolor artist, I am always thrilled to find books with watercolor as the focal point, ready to learn, find insightful tips and travels in the wonderful world of this vibrant and fun medium. So when I ran across Watercolor From the Heart by Barbara Nechis, I thought it would be a great read...and it was!
The title drew me in with a focus on the Heart since I know from personal experience how valuable expressing yourself from the heart can be. (You can view my Refresh Daily Rewind Video on this subject.)
In Watercolor from the Heart, Barbara shares her thoughts on her watercolor journey, including her past teachers, the rules she learned and finding her authentic watercolor path. I really enjoyed diving into her past experiences and into what she thought was valuable experience for her as an artist.
She also shares about the watercolor techniques she found fascinating that enabled her to find her signature style of sorts: using water to create shapes and edges that are the foundation of her fabulous layered paintings, which often feature soft edges of flowers, landscapes and still lifes.
Many images she takes for reference are also highlighted as she talks about the importance of observing and taking photos of places and things that fascinate and fill the creative well.
She touches a bit on using other media with watercolor, such as gouache, crayon and pencil and offers some fascinating design elements as well.
There are step by step examples of her watercolor techniques and also ways to take advantage of watercolor issues that arise and make the best of challenges.
I really enjoyed the journey with Barbara and I admire her authentic path as a watercolor artist.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Header by Dawn Herring
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Refresh Daily: Back to SchoolRead Now
Ah, it's back to school time...whether it's next week where we live in Texas or in the days ahead (after Labor Day) in other places.
Time to shop for school supplies, clothing and shoes, and getting back to a "school schedule."
It's all about getting ready to learn and grow and discover the world around you, whether you're a young student, in college, or maybe you just want to learn something new as a Pupil of...Life!
To me, going Back to School is really about immersion in the things I want to learn about that help keep me Aligned with Who I Am.
Whether it was my avid interest in drawing as a child which eventually morphed into doing portraits for many years, or my seeking out writing-related resources, including books and magazines from the library and some purchased for my personal in-house space as I delved deep into fiction and then non-fiction/memoir.
Then I moved into learning all I could (and can) about my favorite art medium, Watercolor, as well as mixed media in the fun world of art journaling and collage. I'm always eager to discover new techniques and find inspiration from other artist's and their authentic artistic paths.
Back to school can really be about listening carefully to those intuitive nudges that can push us into uncharted territory to discover more of Who We Are...perhaps in a place we didn't know existed.
My discovery of watercolor came to me late in life...just 4+ years ago even though I've been a lifelong artist. You can never know when you're going to delve into something that brings you to life and activates your creative center like nothing else has. It's important to be open to such possibilities...it could even change your life!
What does Back to School mean to you right now? Make a list of all the possibilities of learning for further exploration that are drawing you right now and pick one to investigate with all of your delicious curiosity, as if you're a small child discovering something delightful for the first time. Revel in this new something and record all of your delight on the page.
Art Journal Prompt:
Honor the School Person in you by creating a page of all of your favorite school supplies, whether in image or doodle/illustration with your favorite pens. You may even use some crayons to color in areas on your spread, focusing on the primaries to take you back to your younger days.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Graphic Header by Dawn Herring
Here is my next Refresh Daily Rewind installation with my new video series for Getting Back to the Basics of Activating Your Creative Center with the topic, Life Practices, where I talk about how they can make a difference in our daily lives.
I had the pure pleasure of reading Gretchen Rubin's latest book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. I found this book to be informative, thought provoking and humorous.
I love Gretchen's voice, her style and her sharing of her thoughts and examples from her own life as well as from other family members, friends and fans of her blog and other books. Her whole process of determining to write about habits and how they are connected to happiness as well as the questions she had and the conclusions she came to are simply fascinating. It showed her brilliance as a researcher, writer, and expert in the areas of happiness and how what we do daily affects our lives for the better--or for the worse.
She gives a structured framework starting with our Tendencies, which include Upholders, Obligers, Questioners and Rebels and then proceeds to talk strategy and how each one would work for those tendencies, giving lots of informative and relevant examples, and many of them humorous, especially from her own life.
I had so much FUN reading this book; you might expect a book about habits to be a bit dry or just full of boring statistics, but I already knew how much I loved Gretchen's previous books, Happier at Home and The Happiness Project, so I wasn't disappointed with this read at all.
She takes the understanding of habits and how they are formed and how we can take better control of making or breaking habits based on our Tendencies and following the strategies that really work with our temperaments and preferences. This approach makes the whole process easier and even fun, which you wouldn't think possible, especially when it comes to those tougher habits we find hard to break or those Life Practices we really want to Instill but don't know how to.
One of the many benefits of reading Better Than Before was not only for my own habit formations and recognizing the strategies I've used that she offers, but it also helped me recognize the habits and tendencies of others, especially in my own family, which actually helped me appreciate them more for Who They Are and understand what works and doesn't work for them. This prompted me to make some changes in my interactions with them, which promoted positive change on my end!
I'm always looking for great reads that enhance my well being, that are meaningful to me on many levels, and that help me stay Aligned with Who I Am, and Gretchen's book, Better Than Before, does this in such a way that I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for some fresh strategies to get those bad habits undone and instill some new, enhancing life practices that can actually change your life for the better.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Header by Dawn Herring
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I find art journaling to be a process..a good process, of course! I'm always interested in what I learn as I create and listen. This particular spread was one of those where I had something in mind; and you know what's funny? Every time I approach my art journal with something in mind, I often find that I struggle with it. I mean, art journals are a GREAT place to Experiment and I love experimenting! But experimenting always comes with challenges, since experiments often mean, you've never done this before, right?
So for this experiment, I had Boxes in mind. Over the 4 1/2 years that I've kept an art journal, I have run across many examples of boxes in an art journal spread. Some of them have featured boxes across the entire page, each with something original to fill it. And this is sort of what I had in mind. But what came out is not quite what I envisioned, but isn't that typical, right? What we see in our mind's eye is not often what we actually get. And That's OKAY.
But one thing I learned through this box making business is..you can work with what you've got. So I started out with 4 boxes on the left side of the spread and the other side I considered one big box with borders on the time and bottom. I used stencils to create the borders, in blue, green, orange and red. As soon as I put down the stencils and had the borders, I didn't like it. Oh, it's colorful, but it simply felt TOO Boxy for me, like I should've made the boxes around whatever I put on the page instead of creating boxes first. I think that's what threw me. I knew right away I'd have to go "outside the box" for me to feel satisfied with this spread, and that's exactly what I did!
I decided to cut out circles of all kinds (using some magazine collage pieces) and added some textured circles made from home-made Modeling paste (baking soda mixed with gesso) which represented Moments of Time for me. What was really fun for me what cutting out Tall long letters from colored construction paper for spell out the words The, Time and Truth. I didn't use a stencil for these letters. I just cut them free hand from scraps I had stored. I also enjoyed embellishing the letters with white Uniball gel pen. I used alpha stamps for the other words using watercolor paint.
I used a watch stamp several times and a eye exam letter stamp for visual interest, and I added a dotted line between all the circles to tie them together as one big time connection. I realized that as time passes, we often discover what the truth is about our life experience. Illusions fall away when you really look at what IS rather than what might have been or what we thought we would have. So the message for me with this was that the passage of time reveals truth, and what we DO with that truth can make all the difference in creating the most authentic path possible to Honor Who We Are and Our Purpose.
When you look back in time, even if it's just a few months back, what truth comes to your understanding? Do you recognize any illusions that you realize are not true about what you have experienced? See this as a positive a-ha moment and determine any positive change that might result from this realization. *Remember to be gentle with yourself when dealing with truth vs. illusion. It does take courage to create positive change.*
Art Journal Prompt:
Whatever Moment of Truth you've experienced, use that truth to create the most honoring art journal post you can. Your process should include at least one of your favorite art journal techniques, if not more. Sometimes when we do what we love, it makes recognizing that truth a bit easier. And Empowering!
Copyright 2015 By Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Art Journal Images by Dawn Herring
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.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! WELCOME TO 2015!
I wanted to share with you my art journal spread for the New Year. I had been thinking about what to do with it for several days. I considered cutting out whole numbers from a green background, but that simply didn't suit me. I also considered painting numbers but that didn't feel right either. So I let it sit for a couple of days. Then the idea of creating numbers from torn paper in collage style came to mind. Ah, eureka!
So I went into my stash of collage materials (mostly pulled from magazines) and found a recently pulled full page of a green-faced watch. Hmmm. I've been loving the color green lately, drawn to it for a myriad of reasons, so green certainly seemed the way to go. Plus, a watch represents time, and with a New Year as the theme, well, it just kind of went hand in hand, right?
So I tore away, putting bits of green and silver color together and formed 2015 across the spread. Plus various bit of paper in the rest of the space.
Once I had that down, I added some green paint that I randomly dabbled on directly from the tube, then scraped with an old credit card.
In another sitting, I added more paint with a small circle sponge, highlighting with black and then more green. Then I added some green oil pastel to highlight various spots.
As the final layer, I stamped HAPPY NEW YEAR with upper case alpha stamps, adding two layers of New Year so you get a double view randomly placed.
I stamped it with Jan 1 15 this morning to show it completed and then signed my Dawn Herring signature in the top left area with a green pen.
That was my actual artistic process with this spread.
Art journaling, to me, is a multi-dimensional approach to using my creativity, giving me opportunity to listen to my intuition by going with what feels right, and just having fun with color, texture, mixed media, and expressing myself in Who I Am.
I highly recommend art journaling as a creative process for folks with this New Year or at least some kind of creative expression that helps you Honor Who You Are very directly and even indirectly. Sometimes those subtle impressions speak volumes.
Oh, and of course, I journaled my way through the process as well, talking about what I felt about my decisions and how happy I was once I figured out what I wanted to do with it to start.
Sometimes the starting is the hardest.
But it pays off when you listen carefully.
And the more you practice listening, the better you'll get at hearing the inner wisdom we essentially need for every day of the year.
I'll leave you with a journal prompt:
How can I best listen to my Intuition in this New Year, and what creative way can I express myself to Honor Who I Am?
(If you're already keeping an art journal, use this prompt for your next spread.)
Enjoy your first day of 2015 and beyond...Honoring Your Personality, Your Preferences and Your Purpose in Life.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
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.