Visual Journaling Workshop

One week ago Saturday, I hosted a group of six women who participated in my visual journal workshop. Here are some pictures from the fruitful and inspiring event:

What is so powerful about visual journaling is how this art form is all about freedom. The answer to every question is yes. There are no rules. There are no restrictions. There is no right way to create.

Using words and images together in visual journaling, we connect that very old part of our brain (our lizard brain) of image-making (think cave paintings) with our conscious mind (the frontal part of our brain) using words. How dynamic it is to bring these two aspects of our consciousness together to express how we are feeling right now in the present moment — without our inner critic interfering.

We started off the workshop by doing a fast page. I gave the women only 10 minutes to create their first page. This way, they sped past their inner critic, leaving him/her/it in the dust. When you work fast, the inner critic has a difficult time interjecting. So we sprinted for our first art-making activity and everyone reported that their pesky inner critic either did not appear or was as least stumbling to catch up.

One of the participants, Wendy Lee Lynds, posted her pieces — and her experience in my workshop — on her blog Off the Cuff Collage. Click on her blog link to read about her personal insights as well as to view her gorgeous, critic-free pieces.

If you are at all interested in visual journaling for yourself, it’s easy. Take a journal, notebook, old datebook, or any bound book and start smearing paint, pasting collage images, gluing words, and writing thoughts. Take 5-10 minutes. It’s like freewriting: just go! When you’re first starting you may not even wish to look back until you’ve created a few pages so you keep your forward momentum. This process is about your personal expression, not about creating great art (although I guarantee you will love much of what you create anyway).

There is a fantastically funny and insightful woman with a You Tube channel who talks all about visual journaling. Someday I hope to be as spontaneous and carefree as she seems in her videos. Check out her show called SuziBlu here. I particular like this video about creating layers in your journal.


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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4 Responses to Visual Journaling Workshop

  1. karen floyd says:

    This was a wonderful workshop. Thank you Courtney!

  2. i came away with good stuff. things to ponder and think on.
    appreciated your gentle guidance.

  3. Karen and Wendy,

    Thank you both for your creative energy and deep insights!


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