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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Meaningful Journaling

A peaceful day in the backyard, spring green and our baby dragon smiling at us.

Recording a celebration--family birthdays and Easter, all rolled into one!

My presence necklace, a slow, contemplative sketch to help center me...

A sketch from my husband's hospital room, after his cancer surgery...my journal helped keep me calm.  (And he is fine, now, thank you! This was from a few years ago.)

Keeping an artist's journal can be life-changing...at any age.  Far beyond making art, creating a pretty page, trying a new technique or exploring a medium like watercolor or pen and ink, it can help us to cope, learn, experience, and honor our lives.  It can help us rejoice, process, calm.

We can discover the myriad of small things that we are grateful for--just those gratitude lists alone can be life-changing.  Yes, I repeat a lot, as I return again and again to these lists--I AM grateful for the things large and small that make up my days.  Fresh coffee.  Cats.  Memories.  Books, art supplies, watercolors, a pen with a butter-smooth nib.  Music.  Mindfulness.  Meditation.  Flowers.  Laughter.  Friends.  Options.  Nature.  My walker, when I need it.  Leftovers!

My husband's love and support.

Journaling itself. 

How do you use YOUR journal?  What are you grateful for today?


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Keeping a journal has helped me sort though hard things, celebrate good things, appreciate the little things, and remember how much I have to be thankful for!

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journal pages. I'm just starting my own artist journal habit and I appreciate your reminders and ideas.

  3. I make a distinction between my sketchbooks and journal. My sketchbook I take with me for sketch crawls and to work out ideas for projects I'm working on. My journal I use daily and also while traveling to help me "savor the moments" of the day in words as well as sketches.

  4. Your journals and the lessons you share have been such an inspiration to so many. I'm so grateful you started the facebook page where I can see so many beautiful thoughts on a daily basis. I use my own journal to write a lot and draw and illustrate. It's like a friend, really, that helps me remember everyday life and dreams. The act of recording through words or drawings is an act of gratitude. How wonderful to have all these fleeting moments captured for us forever.

  5. I think more than anything, it's a way to remind myself that while the days are long, but the years are short. By capturing those moments that don't really mean anything in that they don't mark a milestone of any kind, I remember more about the days that make up my life. I notice the passing of time.

    It's also a friend, a place to play, to vent, to fail, to try out new ideas, work out problems/project steps and in general, be a companion.

  6. Wow! Kate! These are great! I'm amazed you could sketch while your husband was in cancer surgery! I thought I could, and brought a sketchbook, but there was no way! I guess I need some of that centering! I KNOW I need some of that! Love your sketches as always! ♥

  7. This is the number one reason that I keep a sketch journal. Which makes it extremely odd that through Bill's heart attack and bypass surgery, I simply could not face my journal. Somehow it seemed too trivial . . . or perhaps it was fear that if I drew Bill, it might be for the last time? I still don't understand --- But Bill has recovered and I am happily back to recording daily memories in my journal. I hope I don't let bad stuuf in the future affect me that way again.

  8. I'm grateful you share this with us!!!! I have enormous barriers to overcome when I see a blank page in my sketchbook.... How do you start? with an idea to write about and then sketching? Or the other way round? What size would you recommend to start with> I've now an A-5 sized sketchbook, only sketches, but maybe it would be an idea to choose a bigger one? I love journalling, and it's a long time ago I did. Maybe right now a good moment to start again with both... What would you recommend me?

  9. I see journaling and sketch book keeping as a form of autobiography we leave for our families. There is a bookshelf full of them and I would love to be here to see how they agree to divide them up among themselves! Ha!

  10. Perhaps I have become more like Barbara Weeks. I just started a daily journal of observations of nature: the first hummingbird, a spider devouring a wasp, etc. which differs from my current sketchbook.


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