Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Sketchbook/Journal ~ when you forget to leave a trail of breadcrumbs...

In my last post: Mucking up a sketchbook so you’re not afraid to ‘muck it up’ I wrote about the transition that has occurred over the last few months with regards to my sketching and journalling.

In July of this year I was facing some health issues and felt a huge need to reconnect with myself on a very deep level. It wasn’t only a reconnection I craved, but the bringing together of different parts of myself that felt as if they had wandered of without leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way back home again.


One morning the need became so intense that I picked up a hardbound sketchbook and began gluing in sketches that I had done over the last little while, sketches that reminded me of the good things in life, places I felt safe, days that were special… and the sense of utter relief that I felt once this was done was overwhelming.


From that day on, my sketchbook/journal (as it became known) has never left my side. I poured my heart into it, my concerns about my health, about my ability to teach again, or continue working, my fears about the future. I also sketched daily, sometimes more than once a day. Sketched, painted, collaged.


It calmed me. When things got scary I was able to look back and in an instant be transported back to the garden, the beach, the lovely vase of flowers, my lover’s smile…


In it I pasted artwork that spoke to me, poems, quotes… I'd go back long afterwards and add paint to my sketches... it didn't matter how good they were, or weren't, just that I did them. And through it all I wrote, and wrote, balm for the soul, courage for the heart.
I’m on my second sketchbook journal now and have finally achieved what I have always wanted, to have an immediate and seamless record of my days, using two of my great loves, writing and art, to do so.

My health is improving gradually. Many challenges still lie ahead. I feel a lot safer now, and I feel more together (most of the time…) and certainly more complete… and the writing and the art are beginning to spill over into the studio seeking form in essays, blog posts, children stories, a new series of work…

Have courage.
Forge ahead into a blank sketchbook/journal.
Bear witness to your own life.

And know that, when you forget the bag of breadcrumbs, somewhere between your sketchbook/journal’s pages, you’ll always be able to find your way back home again...to your self.

15 comments:

Hannah said...

This is wonderful, it describes how I feel about art and keeping a journal/sketchbook so much more eloquently than I can manage

Teressa Thompson said...

Shena these are beautiful -- the pages and the story behind your journey. Love and healing energy

Tee

Ruca said...

You've articulated so well what many feel about the whole experience of keeping a sketch journal. Thanks for sharing it.

Carol aka Traveller said...

it's so important to realise that art really does heal the body and the soul and good for you to keep a record which has already become and will continue to be meaningful to you.
Carol (Milliande art journal group)

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Shena, what a moving and beautiful post...EXACTLY what a journal can do for us. Bless you, and my best wishes for your continued improvement in health...

Teri C said...

A wonderful post on the value of a journal and how it helped you. So happy to hear things are better.
I had a health issue this summer and my journal helped me also.

tammy said...

love it all shena....i love my sketchbook/journal in the same way...i just don't use it enough in daily life....thanks for sharing

Shena Meadowcroft said...

You're welcome Tammy, I hope that this and future posts on this blog will help you get back to using it more often when you can ~

Shena Meadowcroft said...

Thank you Teri - wishing you the best of health as well in the coming months!

Shena Meadowcroft said...

Cathy, thank you so much for your comment. You will probably never know what incredible support you have been to me through this time with the Artists Journal Workshop facebook page, your videos and your blog. You are one of my blessings!

Shena Meadowcroft said...

Hannah - thank you!!! I'm so glad it touched you ~

Shena Meadowcroft said...

Tee ~ Thank you. It's a long journey but with a pen and a brush and a piece of paper,and a lot of help from our friends, we'll all get there...

Shena Meadowcroft said...

Ruca ~ thank you! It was my pleasure, hope to be posting a lot more in the future...

Shena Meadowcroft said...

Carol - you are so right. Which is why we must trive to protect all of the art programs, in whatever capacity they take, as much as we can ~

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Shena, I'm delighted...we all support one another. SO glad you found us.