Journal Your Art Out: Workshop Reflections

Hello, dear readers! It’s been quiet on the blog lately, because real life has been full of creating, working, thinking and dreaming. I’ve also been processing, and I wanted to share some of my reflections on a workshop series I just finished called Journal Your Art Out.

Art journal by a workshop participant created with watercolour, tissue, collage and pastel.

With this workshop, I hoped to bring my love for colour and texture, along with my art therapy training, to host a group where adults could come and take a playful approach to creative exploration. As is the case with most groups I run, the people who participated exceeded my expectations in filling the workshops with warmth, creativity and wisdom.

Mixed media art journal spread collaged with text from a recipe.

Two workshops took place in this series, and both had exactly the kind of vibe I had hoped for in planning the workshop: a safe space where people could create art, share their stories and begin to build a sense of community. We learned some techniques for working in your art journal, including how to collage with bleeding art tissue paper and how to create your own simple stamps. We had some amazing conversations about art-making – we talked about the transformative power of creating (and covering up) images in your art journal; setting intentions, creating expressions to represent those intentions, and reinforcing them through visual journaling; the art journal as a transitional object (or a way to continue engaging in your process outside of the therapy room); and sharing your inner journey through journaling. Above all, we approached our art journaling process with curiosity and playfulness, because the ultimate way to banish your ‘inner critic’ is to just play.

Mixed media art journal spread using collage, tissue, and monoprinting with acrylic paint.

The women in the workshops found power and connection through witnessing each others’ artwork, and sharing their journeys, both real and imagined. We saw firsthand the magic of group art therapy – we don’t face our problems in isolation, and when we can solve them as a group, the benefits are immeasurable.

An art journal created by a workshop participant about finding joy.

One participant spent the first workshop session exploring the intention she had set out for her art-making practice, which was joy. As you’ll see in the title photo for this post, she painted it on the front of her journal and explored the feeling throughout the pages of her book. She came back for the second workshop in the series, and told me that when she saw her journal at home, and flipped through the pages, she was transported right back to the feeling of joy she had created in her book. Her story stuck with me, and as I look through these photos, I’m transported back to the feeling of leading these workshops and the creative energy they generated. Thank you to everyone who participated, and I hope I’ll see you for more workshops in the future!

Rainbow journal spread by a workshop participant.

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