Welcome to your first leg of the journey. This course relies on guided imagery to direct your art journaling experience. Please find yourself a place where you have the time, space, and privacy that makes you feel safe to close your eyes and dive deep into your own imagination. I encourage you to do the work of the artistic exercises without interruptions, but if you need to come back to the notes and reflection exercises you may.
Art Journal Exercise 1: Impressionist Landscape
Find a fresh blank page. Close your eyes and take a calming breath. Release any expectations and enter this space as a child, with fresh eyes, and a fearless heart. Imagine a field before you, a place no one has ever embarked. A place that is all your own, untouched by other people, society, governments, laws, expectations. This field is warm and inviting. You are at peace here, where no one can find you. Your own private oasis.
Begin to draw the landscape you see. Bathed in sunlight, rich in greenery, lush, and abundant natural flora. What textures catch your eye? Is it the prairie grass blowing in the gentle wind? The bark on a
stand of birch trees? The soft clouds dotting the sky above? Is it the outline of a mountain in the distance, or gentle rolling hills? Do you see any wildlife? Is there a river, lake, or sea? Spend some time here before opening your eyes.
Find a marker or paint pen in a color you wouldn’t normally choose, something bright and energetic. Create patterns on your page with line only. They don’t have to appear in any logical placement. You decide what lands next to what. Maybe the ripples of water on a river appear at the top of your page and the clouds lie beneath it. Make marks for everything you see. Zig zags of birds flying overhead. The lazy curves on the path a bumble bee takes, stumbling from flower to flower. The sharp blades of grass spiking up in the air. Fill the entire page with these marks. As we know, nature abhors a vacuum, every space you look is full of life. Find the textures that most delight you. Perhaps those that surprise you. Keep making marks until you feel you have captured everything you possibly can and the page is full.
Next, we will add a layer of color. Get your biggest paintbrush and some paint. A transparent medium will work best, like watercolor or some thin, light acrylics layers. You can use your fingers if you feel called to do so. Spray some inks if you like. Sponges, and other large applicators are also suggested. As loosely as possible, load some color on your tool. This could be a color you see prominently in your imaginary field or a color that you feel drawn to just because. Splash it down over some of your textures. Do some of your lines invite you to add to them? Are they begging for more description? Maybe a pile of rocks calls for an
outrageous pink palette. Maybe your sharp lines ask to be softened by a pastel blue or smokey grey. Maybe the scene is bathed in a sunset gradient from top to bottom. Use at least 3 colors, whether they complement each other or not. Make sure your page is completely covered in color. Let dry.
- TIP! If you want to avoid muddy colors, let each color fully dry after it has been laid down before you layer another next to or on top of it.
Reflection and Notes:
Finally we will add some field notes to your impressionist landscape page. All good explorers keep records of their journeys. Be the cartographer of your new land. Find some paper you like, something that will take your pen or pencil marks easily. (As an alternative, you can write directly onto your image if you make a space for it. Add some white or lightly colored areas with paint. You could use a paint pen to write if your other writing supplies disappear in the image.) Add the date. Note the weather.
Now you’ll dive a little deeper. What struck you most about this place? Did you allow yourself to feel invited, and welcome in this place? Was your mind at ease as you created? Maybe the image eluded you, and you struggled to see it clearly. That’s okay too. New places can feel dangerous sometimes. Did you feel any fear here? Was your inner critic along for the trip? What did it say to you? Remember, you are simply an observer here. A scientist collecting data. Record what you saw. This place expects nothing of you. Any expectations are self imposed, and therefore OPTIONAL. And finally, would you like to come back here again? Maybe you can leave your critic here to take a vacation for a while. You won’t be needing it further on.