I entered a master’s program through Lesley University. The program I entered involved integrating the arts into the curriculum. I was excited about the program, but nervous to start something new. My cohort was heavily laden with art teachers (not the usual case) and other highly creative people. This added to my stress. Whenever we worked on a visual art project during class, I felt I could not measure up to these talented individuals. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I did not believe I was “good enough” to create art. This struggle was all within me. They always accepted and encouraged me. I marveled at their “out of the box” type of creativity. I observed as they used various techniques and materials I was unfamiliar with. I learned from my professors and cohort members. And eventually, I learned from myself. All my learning came together with a project for the second to last class on my Lesley journey, Art and Culture in Community. We were assigned an in depth personal arts exploration project. A project for ourselves.
I chose to work in visual arts. I made myself try new techniques and mediums. I would experiment. I made myself not worry about wasting supplies. I needed to follow the advice I gave to my children and students: that it is alright to make mistakes, and we learn from mistakes. I needed to take risks. I needed to take to heart the common expression, “Art is about the process not the product.”
I started making collages and paintings on pieces of corrugated cardboard. Then I discovered art journaling online. I was instantly hooked. I fell in love with the process of art journaling. Through art journaling, I began to feel more creative. An artistic weight lifted from my shoulders. I found inspiration. I found a way of creating and expressing my ideas that fulfilled me.
P.S. In case you were wondering about the image above, it is a photo of the easel from my Pre-K classroom. I love to look at it and feel it. The easel is layered with paint from years of use. I love to touch it also. It is so bumpy! To me, the easel represents the freedom that young children, who have not learned to be critical of themselves, create with. It truly is about the process of playing with the paint for them. I want to recapture this freedom and sense of play in my life, and art journaling is helping me to do this.