52-Week Art Journal

Week 4: Making Ugly Beautiful

I did not expect setting up for this video would be so difficult, nor did I expect the filming to have so many interruptions. I’d been enjoying a productive day. I was feeling relaxed and content in a good way, and also excited about the 52-Week Art Journal Journey. I had the house to myself. But technology. And bad lighting. And cats.

If you want the video instead of the text, or to watch before you read, it’s at the bottom of this post.

As drawing emotions had hit me more deeply than I expected while demonstrating it on camera, being extra keyed up worked for this one. Because being stressed—or feeling overwhelmed, or struggling with intrusive thoughts, or grappling with confusion—is what this small art is ideal for.

It’s a little, but frequently powerful, thing I came up with dealing with words I just needed to bring under control and let go of.

For this week’s small art you’ll need a pen. And colored pencils for an optional second step.

The plan for the video was interrupting the opening take-some-deep-breaths-to-relax-and-get-focused to ask if there was something in particular bothering you, so we could use today’s small art as both art and a way to process and/or release.

If there’s nothing actively distracting you right now, there’s probably something that will come to mind if you pause a moment…

Let’s get started

On a blank page, you just need to start writing about something that is bothering you, some experience that needs processing, a situation that needs clarity. You can begin and end your lines with a square or rectangle in mind, or you can fill your page.

Let yourself vent. Brain dump. Let your words chase themselves out through your pen. When you reach the end of your shape, so to speak, turn your journal a quarter turn, and write across what you wrote.

When you reach the last corner, turn a quarter turn again. Now you’re writing from top to bottom, your original shape upside-down.

Then, yup, quarter turn again.

Again, not sure I’m explaining it as well as I’d like, but you can watch in the video.

What will it look like? Check out my first art-journal words upon words in My 100-Day Art Journal.

Never to be read again

This useful little journaling/art process is ideal for the words given to those spinning thoughts that won’t let us go, the emotions that need to be acknowledged, given space, then released, never to be read again. You can take the suffocating, ugly, painful, overwhelming, and make—and keep securely—something that looks interesting.

I love this process.

Bring more beauty

Sometimes I keep the words transformed into something entirely new and unique just as it is.

Sometimes I add color. Typically a sunset/sunrise sky. Often with a silhouetted tree. I’ve also tried flowers and a bird in flight.

This week I’m keeping one words-upon-words just as it came from my pen, and the second I did in the video, because I still needed some settling, it just feels right to further transform with color… and an evergreen tree that has clearly weathered some seasons.

Journal about the process

So, how did it feel to dump these words, and see them vanish even as you poured them out, leaving something never seen before?

That’s today’s journal prompt.

I hope you’ve enjoyed and found value in using my words upon words process to create your own art.


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