Early last year, when I embarked on a brand new project with my new friend, I felt like one long, lost soul.  Life was chaotic and crazy for me, a mom of three young, hysterical, energetic, strong-willed ladies (read: stubborn, hard-headed, doggedly determined). I was trying with all my might to home school them, run my house, and a fledgling small business all at the same time. Oh, and also treat myself like a human being (as opposed to my self-martyring mom role I sometimes can play when I’m overwhelmed).  Oh, and be a good wife!  And friend!  The time for me seemed nowhere to be found, and I was slowly folding inward with my introverted self wishing for more ways to express myself, my darkness.  I was feeling trapped, claustrophobic, like I was keeping a part of myself locked up.  “How can I get out of here?!?”  I thought.  The restlessness of my brain was just too much, and I just had no idea how to calm the beast.  Do you ever feel that?

Anyhow, as most lost souls are found, I just kept walking the path of life, doing my best to navigate with the life skills that I had, and adding more in as I learned them.  Thanks to said friend, I stumbled across some books by Brene Brown (if you haven’t read them, DO), and wow did she add to my skill set! I learned so much about vulnerability and courage and bravery and honesty, and I also learned painfully honest truths about my worthiness and self-esteem. After a great deal of reading and discussing with my esteemed friend, and several vulnerable interviews into our project, I was finally inspired to try a different form of creativity from my photography.  I knew it had been brewing inside me.  I knew I wasn’t doing enough, creating enough.  I heart photography, believe me I do, but I also love to create in other ways; physical, hands covered in paint and glue and glitter that you can’t get off kind of creating, and I was missing out on that.  Like my soul was craving it.  My darkness wanted to be unleashed! Explored! It wanted me! We interviewed this watercolor and illustration artist, Jenna, from Mon Voir, and my mind was blown. (That’s her messy watercolor pallet up at the top.)  I so much appreciated her vulnerability and courage to be so honest with us about the process of art and what it means to her.  That the process of art, and what you learn about yourself during the process is what matters, not the outcome.  She was incredible and inspiring.  Thank you, Jenna!  From there I dove in, and haven’t looked back.

After some research and getting involved in the creative community more, I found this really great community online called Get Messy Art Journal, and it’s been just incredible.  The support of the creativity, and the process, and everything that goes on in between beginning a project to the final product, being an artist can feel like a lonely road sometimes, and they make it so much more fun.  They also encourage you to art journal every day, or as often as you can manage.  Which sounds impossible, and has been for me so far.  It’s been really hard to fit it into my schedule, and I’ve really learned a lot about carving out art time for myself.  Especially in this latest season of prompts they came out with, the Season of Lists!  If you know me, you know that I am a lover of lists.  I will spend my downtime making lists.  It’s relaxing and fun for me.  It helps me to feel prepared and organized and in the know.  So when I found out that they were doing a season of lists, 30 Days of Lists over 6 weeks, I was so stoked!  I was in for the challenge. And it was super difficult for me to keep up. I didn’t get to art journal every day, I would do a bunch of a week’s worth of work in one or two days after spending the week writing out the lists. But I gave myself grace, and tried my best to keep up, and get the most out of the process as possible.  And it was wonderful, and I’m so proud of myself for finishing. And really, only a few days after the season has ended, so I wasn’t so behind after all! The process of making my beautiful, messy, tiny art journal was as freeing and cathartic as I thought it could be, and my darkness is pleased to be expressed in the process, not the outcome.

In the spirit of lists, and because I just got off of 6 weeks of writing the best lists ever, I thought I’d share my pearls of wisdom that I learned during the Season of Lists…in a list!  Here it is:

  • I can create art purely for myself, without care of external input.
  • Creating something every day helps me to feel more human.
  • If I don’t create every day, I feel like I am missing a part of myself.
  • The world needs me to create my art.  No one can create my art but ME.
  • I am unique.
  • My voice matters.
  • I will never be perfect, I will just be me.
  • I enjoy spending time exploring my darkness while creating.
  • Grace is very important to have for yourself so that you can give it to others.
  • Healthy self talk leads to better results than negative self talk.
  • Being a part of a community of people who also feel the need to create every day is inspiring and life altering.
  • When I create, I am a better person.

Without further ado, here is a Flip-a-gram of my little, mini-messy art journal for the Season of Lists…