Sunday, 24 June 2012

Using Symbols to Invoke in your Art Journal

I have observed over the years that qualities and events I have painted have often come into being. This is not just my experience.
I remember one art journaler saying that 90% of what she put into her art journal came true. I am not a big believer in magical thinking, but I do think that clarifying values and bringing desires into your conscious mind makes a difference as to whether they manifest into your life.
As well as that, there is something mysterious about working with symbols that bypasses our limited conscious mind and goes straight into our subconscious where real change can happen. It is said that symbols are the language of the unconscious.

Last week in class I had my students do a writing prompt on which quality they would like to have, if it would just be theirs without any effort. Then we chose an animal that we felt embodied that quality.

It has been a while since I have done an art journal page around a conscious idea. I usually work very spontaneously, making lots of backgrounds, collecting collage images that appeal to me and sticking them in where it looks good. Then adding writing where I feel to. A lot of synchronicity can happen that way.

In class the quality I chose was gumption. The animal was the bear. The other night as I was working on these pages, I found an old background that I had hated. When I placed the images on it, it was perfect. My two bears fit like it was made for them.
It is a very simple spread and still unfinished, but I feel empowered every time I look at it.


14 comments:

Michelle LaPoint Rydell said...

Oh wow I LOVE this! Wayyyy cool! I love animal imagery, especially when it comes to symbolism. My totem is the raven and I use her alot in my journals. Beautiful pages Zom!

Kel said...

it feels like a very empowering page Zom! Wonderful imagery, including the orange circle in the background

susan christensen said...

I agree very strongly about the power of symbols and also the work of the subconscious in bringing about change. Great post, and strong pages. -sus

Zom said...

Thanks Michelle.

Kel, it is funny-strange because the circle was just part of the old background.

Sus, and that really makes me think of your daily drawings. You are the queen of the subconscious.

Bren said...

Great post, really appreciate what you had to say and the journal idea.

Antoinette said...

I'm with you on both sides -- there's something fudgy about "think about it and it will become" -- and there is power in thought. My key word for the year has been "grace" and it hadn't occurred to me to put an animal as a symbol to it, but I can see how that will be very helpful.

Zom said...

Thanks Bren :).

Antoinette, I am curious which animal comes to your mind for 'grace'.

Lynda Wood said...

Wonderful post. I've been reading quite a few books about the mind, they've really opened my eyes to how we think, as opposed to how we think we think! Our subconscious is a very powerful thing and yet most of us pay very little attention to it.

Mary said...

Gumption, what a marvelous word. My mother used to use that a lot when we were kids, but I don't hear it much any more. Yet it brings such clear images to mind of getting going, getting to work, getting it done. Wonderful bear images to go with a wonderful word. Thanks, Zom!

Zom said...

True Lynda, though it is tricky to pay attention to the subconscious. It is like trying to watch something out of the corner of your eye.

Mary, I like the way 'gumption' sounds.

Alison Mackay said...

It's perfect! I love it when an old unused and maybe disliked background suddenly becomes perfect! Did you actually cut out around all those fiddly dangling bits under the bear card??
I haven't had a moment yet to work on my aquatic underwater page (slutwalk, choir concert etc!) Maybe tomorrow!

Caterina Giglio said...

the medicine cards was one of the first decks i got when I began to look at animal totems... i am enamored of your spread and how it worked out so perfectly...

Daisy Yellow said...

I love the idea of connecting a quality you'd like to have with an animal. It's so wonderful when an old unfinished background comes to life as a page that you love!

Anonymous said...

That's quite a powerful painting. I want to imagine that there's a pool there, or even a pond, for her to land into and swim out to the real world.

I'm with you, I don't like malls. I also can't deal with traffic, expressways, skyscrapers, or cruise ships. They all feel like no-man's-land. I don't know how people do it.

Carolyn