Service Journal

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Yesterday was Friendship Day (shouldn’t every day be friendship day?), so I called my friend Annie, the friend I recently visited in Maine.  Annie and I met in 1971, so we have history.  She knows me as well as anyone.  We reminisced about our wonderful visit and then the conversation turned to my summer art journal.  Since I’ve been posting my progress for a couple months, I’ve received many comments and likes from both local and digital friends.  Annie gave me a whole new way to think about my art, specifically my travel journals.

I was telling her how much I enjoy documenting my travels, combining photos, text, and artifacts I find along the way.  I like cutting out letters and pictures from local brochures.  Maps of areas we visited are always a fun addition to a mixed media page.  It gives me something to do (busy hands are happy hands, in my case) when we have a bit of quiet time.  My favorite “art studio” time was early mornings on Annie’s back porch that looks out into the Maine woods.  Glimpses of the New Meadows River between trees provided extra inspiration.  I also enjoyed the late afternoon light of my D. C. “studio,” a small table with an image of George Washington looking over my shoulder.

As I described how much joy it brings me to be able to carry my art along when traveling, Annie said, “Your art journal is like when someone has a service animal.  It  keeps you grounded, happy, feeling safe.”  I’d never thought of it that way.  Her words certainly rang true, for my travel art, as well as what I do at home.  Art was what helped me heal from cancer, twice, and it’s given me a creative outlet that enables me to continue moving through life with grace.  Art keeps me grounded and gives me a way to work through feelings in a healthy way.  When my energy is scattered, I generally turn to art.

The idea of a “service journal” lingers in my mind.  As my life work transitions in the coming years, it’s an idea I intend to develop.  Certainly there are the art techniques to learn and share.  And there is a deeper intention about the process that I believe could be shared with others.  This opens my heart just thinking about it.