There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. …No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
—Martha Graham, from The Life and Work of Martha Graham
What is my visual journalling? Why keep a creative sketchbook? What does it mean to me?
Visual journalling is a practice which I started two years ago taking inspiration from Lisa Sonora’s online course, Dreaming on Paper.
My visual journal is my method, my way of remaining open to the life force, that creative energy that flows through me. When I enter my journal with paint, image and text, I am acknowledging to myself that I am paying attention to me.
Many moons ago I was introduced to Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. Taken from The Artist’s Way , this is three pages of long hand writing as soon as I wake up in the morning. This is me getting whatever is in my head; worries, feeling, thoughts, moans and groans onto the page. Once out of my head, there is space for the good stuff to come through. My writing. My creations. My dreams.
Two years ago, my Morning Pages were not enough. Words had become my enemy, they were tricky and taboo. I was afraid of the blank page. It also become evident, that when I did write, the words themselves on the page where not enough. I wasn’t feeling the joy I once felt from just writing. My soul wasn’t being filled with light or colour. Everything seemed flat and lifeless.
While on holiday in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, relaxing away from it all, I found the space to play. Taking Lisa’s course enabled me to break through barriers and fears. I started listening to my instinct instead of adhering to any external rules and I began to smear paint on the blank page. Red, yellow, orange, blue. Any colour that took my fancy, mixed with others. This movement of colour inspired me. Loosened me up. Gave me permission to start feeling I was enough. I was ready then to add my dreams, plans, wishes, and worries also to the page but it felt safe. I felt safe by getting more and more in touch with my internal voice. With my authentic self.
Mixing paint, colours, images, photography, words, quotes within my journal means I’m listening and observing, paying attention to what is pulling my soul, what is calling me to bring to life. What needs to sing?
I could not think of my life without my visual journalling now. I am completing my Creative Journey Facilitator Training with Lisa Sonora at the moment, so that I can go deeper into this process as well as practice the tools and skills I’ll need to share my love of visual journalling with others. I’m so excited about taking this next step.