One of the gifts of art journalling (and there are many) is how it offers up ample opportunity to explore your creative nature without judgement interfering with your discovery.
Ok. Let me reframe that. It offers up ample opportunity to see where judgement interferes with your discovery. In the process, you get to choose to explore your discovery of its limitations, or not.
This two-page spread began differently. It was going to be a simple, uncluttered background of flowers. I was working it. I mean workin’ it hard. I had a vision. An outcome. A goal. I was going to make it so.
And then, it became a reflection of what I wanted it to become, not the flow of what it was becoming. That’s when judgement stepped in and decided I wasn’t working hard enough.
So I dug in. Worked it some more until eventually, all my ‘hard’ work became a really big messy, cluttered ‘ YUCK!’
I painted over the whole thing with a thin layer of white paint thinking I’d just ‘start again’.
And then, I went for a walk and found the yellow flowers that appear on the page growing wild amidst a grove of poplars by the river.
I picked a few and kept smelling and admiring them as I walked home with Beaumont, the Sheepadoodle.
Their smell was redolent of children playing in fields of wildflowers dancing in the sun. Their colour felt like I was bathing in liquid forest.
They were calling for me to preserve them so, I hauled out my flower press and la voilá! They became the focal point of my page.
They also became the path through which I found harmony and flow within my creative exploration.
See, it would have been easy to give into my internal critics yammering about how bad the page was and just give up by painting over it entirely.
The critter would have been happier. It likes ‘the win’.
But the still quiet voice of knowing and grace would have been saddened by my ‘giving up’. It would not have criticized me, the still quiet voice of knowing and grace doesn’t criticize. It only presents me with opportunities to grow through myself. To discover new and more gentle ways of being me.
The words for this page were always floating on the periphery. They were always about a garden of prayers, but it wasn’t until I took the photo and decided not to write them on the page and instead worked in Photoshop that they gained clarity.
The lesson being… Creative expression is one part the doing, one part alchemy and one part faith.
Doing. Alchemy. Faith.
Just like my mother’s prayers.