After boldly declaring I was done with health issues, I began to sketch out a journal spread which included a washing line and blackbird, to match how I was feeling at the beginning of last week.
The spread stayed in its rough, pencil sketch form for a week. And yesterday I rubbed it out. To be replaced by this Healthy Habits spread. Because you know what? I am certainly not done with health issues.
And since I???ve begun to work on my healthy habits, I have restarted my morning yoga and running practice ??? and also my morning pages. There are quite a few more habits on my list and I know that to encourage them back to me as an automatic part of things, I need to work on it. Art journaling is the most gentle way I know how.
I took a couple of photos along the way, to let you see my easy peasy process. It took a couple of hours ??? I was lost in it and all the while thinking of how lucky I am to have the tools I need to turn my desire for health into actuality.
Layers 1 and 2
I journaled directly onto the page with a Sakura Glaze pen. You can???t see what you???re writing as you do it as it goes on invisibly ??? this is a great way not to edit your thoughts!
Then I mixed up a colourwash with watercolours and applied it over the page, and the writing appears, as it forms a resist to the paint.
Layers 3 and 4
Then I used an acrylic wash to spray over a stencil to create some added interest. Over the top of that a weak mix of metallic acrylic ink sprayed all over the pages, followed by stamping over the spread with an elephant ??? to symbolise strength.
I took a couple of copies of vision boards I had recently created around the subject of health and ripped them up, to add to the page using gel medium. I also added in an inspirational card from Heather, to reinforce the messages. The collage pieces were laid down randomly.
I could have left the page alone at this stage. It looked really good. But you see, that really isn???t how I work (most of the time). Art journaling is a healing process for me, and I just wasn???t finished working through it yet, so I continued with more layers.
I was moved to include a couple of quotes in ink at this stage, then to bring turn the elements into a cohesive spread, I brayered on some white acrylic paint ??? all over both pages. This was one of the most fun parts of the process ??? there???s something about brayering over your carefully crafted piece which brings release, feels playful and also just a wee bit subversive.
I wanted to get back some of the colour that was lost with the brayering, so I used the leftover watercolour paint from earlier, and dripped it from the top of the page. This part is really messy, but a huge amount of fun. The results mean the page loses any semblance of appearing ???pretty???. It isn???t for everyone, but I was still playing and this satisfied me absolutely!
You can see in the photo at the top of this post, that I added in a postcard as the final layer. I jotted down all of the healthy habits that are important to me on the back of the card, then taped it on to the page, so I can flip it up any time I need a reminder! The postcard is of a piece by George Bain and includes the Gaelic script and its accompanying translation ??? May your cup overflow with health and happiness???.
(After I had taken the final photo I did go back in and add some distressed ink to the edges of the pages, as I felt they needed a little extra.)
Let me leave you with one of the quotes I used on the page ??? I hope it can inspire you as much as it did me.
Embracing life is a choice.
Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.