life journal workshop

Life Journal Workshop: Mixed Media self-portraits

I host a Meetup in Santa Barbara, California for Women who love to make art and journal. It’s the in person version of the Life Journal Workshop that I share with you on each week. Sometimes we do similar activities and often, the Meetup is a great place for me to try out new ideas and see what people are interested in before I share them with you. Over and over the women keep telling me that they love coming to the workshop and having someone else create the ideas and projects for them. These women also talk about how they are being deeply drawn to the creative process but rarely make time and space in their lives to make art or to journal. I know that I am filling a need for all of us to be more creative. I started this column and the Meetup because I need more creativity in my life and this forces me to make time for creative play.

Kiss the Inner Critic Goodbye


This past Saturday, we made mixed media self-portraits and wrote poems about ourselves. I thought I would share a version of this activity with you that you can do in your journal at home or on a canvas. I was surprised by the reaction of the women in the Meetup and wonder if you feel the same way. “Self-portraits?” they asked. “Do we have to draw ourselves? I am terrible at drawing!” “Write a poem, oh I can’t do that!” they exclaimed. “It’s too hard to write poetry.” I heard these type of statements over and over from the women in the room and it made me so sad! I finally asked them to tell their inner critic to step outside and play for a while and leave them alone to create. I allayed their fears by creating a fun, innovative and unusual way of creating both the poem and the self-portrait so that they didn’t feel stuck or uncomfortable. In fact, what they created was stunning as you can see in the example above. You can see additional examples on my Meetup page.

Life Journal Workshop: Create a Mixed media self-portrait Instructions

Please be sure to ask YOUR inner critic to step outside and have a cup of coffee while you are playing! 1. Take either a canvas or piece of good quality mixed media paper (heavy weight watercolor paper works well.) The size is up to you. We used either 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 hard canvas. Paint the background any color or variety of colors you want. If you are using canvas, I recommend using acrylic craft paints. If painting on paper, you can use watered down acrylics or watercolor paints (go raid your kids’ left over school supplies!) 2. While your background is drying, listen to this guided meditation about finding your authentic self, it will take about 15 minutes. 3. Take out your journal and a pen and write some notes about what you saw, felt, heard or smelled at each stage of the visualization. 4. From your journal page, select 5 to 10 words that capture your feelings about yourself at the different stages of your life. Write those words in a list, so that you can see them all together. 5. If you would like, take those words and turn them into a poem or an “I am…” statement like in the example above. 6. Now go back to your background. This is a great time to add any layers like torn scraps of paper, stamps or stencil designs.


7. Then, using magazines, pens, or bits and pieces of anything you find around your house, create your self portrait. In the second example I have included here, the artist used bottle caps, flowers and leaves from the garden outside our studio, magazine images and other embellishments to create her self-portrait. Have fun with this. The goal is to have your self-portrait be a reflection of all of the different aspects of yourself. 8. Finally, be sure to add your poem or “I am…” statement to your portrait. You can use words found in a magazine or write the words on cardstock or watercolor paper, cut them out and place them on your mixed media collage. 9. Have fun! Please share your self-portraits on our Facebook page here. I’d love to see what you are creating and celebrating! Want more support on your personal journey of self-discovery? Want to be surrounded by supportive women who will help you to grow, flourish and create a vibrant vision for your life? Join Minette’s HeartWise Sister Circle. She is offering a free 30 day pass in March.

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