Finding Joy Through Art

The Joy Factor Podcast

I’m excited to share that I was interviewed by Julie Hanson for her podcast The Joy Factor – “a podcast for anyone with a desire to create more joy in their lives”. She contacted me after seeing my work as an art therapist and my Daily Visual Journal project.

Please listen to the episode, share it, and write a review if you have the time. With all the bad news we hear I think it’s pretty great that this podcast is focusing on ways to find joy in the midst of it all.

This was a great conversation. We talk about what brings joy, what steals joy, parenting, and making art everyday. Please listen and share your thoughts.


Daily Visual Journal online workshop

Daily Visual Journal

The daily act of creating art is meditative, stress reducing, and fun! Daily Visual Journal is a self-care journal that incorporates images, color, texture, and words to uniquely capture your personal expressions. Using various materials such as papers, magazine images, markers, paint, and words – we will create a visual expression of today. On the flip side of your card, you are encouraged to write a response reflecting on the days visual journal image and / or the process. Daily Visual Journal

Self-care consists of intentionally doing something that improves your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This is different for everyone. Personally, I like making art. Making art helps reduce my anxiety and connects me to myself in a way I can’t completely explain. My Daily Visual Journal online workshop is a way for me to share this experience and encourage others to begin their own self-care routine. Sometimes a routine is better kept with the support of our friends.

The Daily Visual Journal online workshop is more than just technique lessons. It is a safe place to share work and discuss our struggles and successes of the day – it is a way to connect with others that also want to mindfully create art each day for their own self-care.

What you receive with the Daily Visual Journal online workshops:
•    Weekly technique to use in your DVJ
•    A private discussion board to share and discuss personal struggles and triumphs. This is a safe place and will be monitored. Consider this a support group – what is said in the discussion forum, stays in the discussion forum. Use at your discretion. I will have a list of further resources (or help find them) for anyone who is looking for in person individual therapy, group therapy, or support groups.
•    Discount to order supplies through my website
•    Monthly live chats
•    Occasional video demonstrations
•    Bonuses: variations on techniques; giveaways
•    Access to me through the discussion forum for support and guidance

Expectations for using the discussion board:
•    This is not my private server, so share personal information at your discretion
•    Be kind to others or you will lose discussion board privileges
•    This is a place to support and encourage each other and I have a zero tolerance policy towards any hateful comments. Any one posting hateful or deliberately hurtful words will be removed from the workshop and reported.


Daily Visual Journal
My Daily Visual Journal Story

I started a daily visual journal in 2005 to record my feelings about events happening in my life. I was in graduate school for education, working towards my masters in art therapy as well as a K-12 art teaching certificate. It was a busy schedule. My visual journal was often sporadic, with weeks and months between entries. So, on June 5th, 2009 I decided to start creating a visual journal on individual pieces of paper. This gave me a little more freedom with techniques since the “pages” were not bound together. I now have hundreds of these journal pages and I love to look through them and read my self reflection on the back of each card. It is a beautiful way to look back in time.

I’ve never been good at keeping a journal or diary – it always felt like a boring list of the day: “…today was rainy and I read a book and ate cereal for breakfast…” so the idea of a visual journal gave me hope. I always liked the idea of documenting my life, but never thought it was interesting enough to share. Although, now I am convinced everyone has an interesting life worth sharing  – everyones story is unique and can only be told in their own unique voice. With images the story is visceral – not all of it can be explained – nor does it need to be explained. You may want to create an art journal and this book gives you techniques to experiment with – your journal is your place of discovery – discovery of yourself and your visual voice.

Each technique is followed by a self reflection prompt for you to think about and write about on the backside of your visual journal. Sometimes while creating a visual journal I have a thought in mind and it informs the artwork, other times I’m just playing with technique and process. This written portion does not need to be completed immediately, sometimes the idea occurs to you much later and a self reflection is obvious. Other times, you may feel no need to respond at all.

Remember, this process is for you and you may have your own routine and ideas to make it work. Great! Use these Daily Visual Journal techniques and ideas as an inspiration for your own work. I would love to see what you create your Daily Visual Journal! Please, share your work and ideas – share your self-care routine and keep creating!


Daily Visual Journal






Mindful Mandala drawing / painting

Mandala on canvas with watercolor

This is an experiment and see how the watercolor paint would work on canvas and since this canvas already had a mark of blue paint on it I decided to record myself creating a mandala.

I used a Sharpie marker so that the paint wouldn’t smear the lines. Each section of the mandala added has a specific meaning to me – it’s part of my mindfulness practice using mandalas 🙂

This took an hour to complete, so this video is obviously a time-lapse of the entire thing… I really enjoy watching myself creating art in a video – it’s such a different perspective and I notice things I didn’t realize I was doing. I can see how I move my hands when creating a line, or how I move the marker back and forth while thinking about what line to add next.

Daily Visual Journal Technique – Found Poetry

Daily Visual Journal

This video is part of a series I am creating for my Daily Visual Journal project, which includes a book, videos, and workshops both online and in my studio. This week I am creating found poems.

There are many ways to create found poetry…  the way I use it in this video is a very intuitive process to help you develop self-awareness. I use a page randomly ripped from an old book (that I have for projects like this) and I intuitively choose a few words. I don’t examine the text or choose the words to specifically create a poem, but I choose words that somehow stand out or resonate with me in some way. While choosing the words I cover them with the sticker part of a post it note (or something that will stick and still be removable without ripping the paper. Then I paint over the page with acrylic paint and then uncover the words when the paint is dry. The words revealed in this example:

moment together
seriously investigating wonder
enough collected

After revealing the words I take a few moments to reflect on their meaning for me at this time. Lately, I have been following my intuition more and tuning in to synchronicities that are showing up in my life – I have been focusing on mindfulness and trying to be “in the moment”. I have also been talking to a lot of people about the joy that art brings to my life.