Under journaling is the first technique I ever used to engage my recovery. It is the process of journaling under art in a way that creates a meaningful, purposeful, piece of art that fully embraces the heart of the artist. It is a process that I have repeated hundreds of times and I find that it helps me to move through and past things that would otherwise stump me or hold me in anger, hurt or resentment. It helps me process loss, forgiveness,guilt, sadness, joy, love, anger, and any other thing I need to process.
For this project, you will need a piece of water color paper or mixed media paper, in a size that will fit in your journal, your favorite writing instrument, white acrylic paint or gesso, a pencil, mod podge or your favorite glue, your favorite art supplies and old book pages and/or decorative napkins or any paper you like.
- Fold your paper in half . We fold this in half so that we can later bind it into a journal. If you will be attaching it to a page or slipping it into an envelope, it will be small enough that you don’t have to fold it. It’s your preference.
- Begin to write on the paper as if in a journal. If you have trouble getting started you can write on a certain topic, like denial or anger… or use a prompt like “today I am feeling….”, or “I want to throat punch….”. Don’t let a blank canvas or paper intimidate you. You make that paper your’ a…, friend. Write until you feel you have said what you need to say, as long as it takes.
- Read it, pray about it, and let it go.
- Using the Gesso or white paint, cover the surface over the paper or canvas. It may take more than one coat. You can let words show through by painting around them or not. It’s up to you.
- Next collage your background. Using book pages or papers you like tear or cut paper and attach it to your background with an adhesive like mod podge, matte or gel medium etc.
- Next collage on your Napkin if you are using one. Allow to dry completely.
- Now your work surface is ready for your creative touch!
Sometimes, I just pile my favorite art supplies in a big beautiful pile on my art table and work or play depending on how you see it. I just need to cleanse my soul of all the weeks junk, you know stress. Sometimes just putting my hands in the paint or the pastels or the ink is enough to to fill my heart with joy and it purges out all the emotional and mental noise and replaces it with something worth hearing. The following was one of those sessions.
I had no idea what was going on the paper when I sat down, but it was houses that made the cut. I thought I would share that with you.
I usually just talk about whatever project I am working on and throw a video up and call it good. But today, I want to talk about something a little different.
I had big plans for Desert Angel Mixed Media Arts. I had a business plan. I took courses and got certified to teach. I got financing. I bought paint and easels and canvases and paper. I developed my own style. I wanted to teach meaningful art that would change the world. Best laid plans.
Enter Lupus. An auto immune disease that causes your immune system to attack your organs and joints. The symptoms are a long list, but the ones that affect me most are extreme fatigue, joint pain, muscle weakness and muscle pain. Some times its my hands, another day it is my knees or my lungs are inflamed or I can only stay up for 3 hours and have to go back to bed or its an infection somewhere in my body that knocks me flat. AND then… It will just go away for a while. It’s those times when I think I can conquer the world with my paint brush and found things and scrapbook paper and ink. Its then that I forget that Lupus makes me unreliable because I never know when it will attack. I forget that I may not have the energy to make an appointment or carry paint bottles or drive. I forget that I might not make that show that I paid 100 bucks to get into. But Lupus always reminds me. And when it does, sometimes I become depressed, introverted, and sad.
That’s no way to live. It is time for a dose of reality. I’ve spent almost a year now grieving the loss of a dream. Pouting. Wondering why the magic diet didn’t work or the new pill isn’t kicking in. Feeling worthless, washed up, old and rickety and nearing the jumping off place. Poppy cock.
I am a survivor. There are others who have much worse things to deal with than this and I am blessed enough to have an amazing husband who supports me and loves me no matter what. I have amazing children and family. I have a long history of recovery and I have a bad ass art room with everything that I could need to create. I don’t have to worry about anything but my own junk and I have sat in my self pity long enough. I have no right to feel sorry for my self when my real purpose has been with me all along and God has provided everything I need to accomplish my deepest hidden desire which is to help others recover from trauma, substance abuse, sexual abuse, eating disorders, loss… the list goes on, through art. I am not a therapist, I have just developed some techniques that have helped me heal and I want to share those things. I have a master’s degree in experience when it comes to surviving trauma. God set me up to do this thing. I tried to get out of it. It has been my secret healing place with all my secrets and ideas and joys and victories. I just didnt want to share. But when you have a purpose deep inside you, and it has been there for a long time and you know it is what you were born to do, eventually you have to do it.
So there it is. I am going to be 50 this year. 50. I feel like I better get a move on here. I will be doing this from my art room through you tube, blogging, and social media. I am just going to share. No promises, no schedule. Just Life. Just Art. Just Healing. Just community. Just Recovery. Its time to do the work. It doesn’t matter who watches or follows me. It only matters that I do it. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump and trust that God will catch you.