Thursday, February 13, 2014

Art Journal Thursday: Exploring Shame

This week’s art journal page is about shame. A prevalent human experience, shame can seep into every aspect of our lives—thoughts, interactions, behaviors—everything. The pain of feeling “less than,” “unworthy” or “unloveable” detracts from one’s ability to enjoy life and love. It is a deeply felt pain that separates us from others and our true selves.

I used pages and images from an old book that luckily had a section on eyes.

“Shame is an experience of the eyes,” says Dr. Dan Allender, author of the book, “The Wounded Heart.” It is a real or perceived defect that others can see. He goes on to explain, “Shame is an interpersonal affect; it requires the presence of another, in fact or in imagination, for its blow to be felt.” In other words, I am so defective and it is so easily seen by everyone that I cannot be loved by someone else.

I journaled on this a slip of paper and put it in the envelope. It's there but can remain private.

It is painful. It is muddy. It is destructive. We don’t have to stay in the pain of shame, but it takes a lot of work and help to leave it behind. There are a lot of resources out there to navigate away from this damaging emotion and one of them is art journaling. It can be so very relieving to express emotions, fears, and even joys within the covers of one’s art journal.

A quote from Dr. Dan Allender's book, "The Wounded Heart."

My process for this journal page was to take bits of various ephemera, ranging in color from ecru to very tea-stained, and weave them together. I glued them to the page using matte medium. I laid down a coat of gesso and removed it with baby wipes, especially in areas that I wanted to draw the eye to. I then combined a very thin mixture of black acrylic paint and water and applied all over the composition.

An old library catalog card, book pages and a sewing pattern size chart applied to the journal page.

I then dry brushed more gesso over the piece to enhance the contrast. I added the words and drew a box around them to pull the eye to them and give context to the piece.

Several applications of the black paint to give the piece an anchor.

Art journaling can be a very therapeutic and introspective process. If you haven't started an art journal yet, I suggest you do. It doesn't have to be this dark or personal when you first get started. Just start and go where your heart tells you to. You'll be surprised at what comes out.

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