life journal workshop

Life Journal Workshop: Let’s Take a Field Trip

In the life journal workshop, we have been doing a lot of personal growth work, playing in our art journals and looking at writing prompts to help us remember how to be creative and celebrate ourselves.   Last week, we created mixed media self-portraits and poems to honor ourselves. So this week, I thought it would be fun to take a field trip. You could do this with your kids, your best friend or on your own!

Take your life journal to a museum

The Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex is full of amazing museums and art galleries that can inspire us to be more creative. A few of my favorites are the Dallas Museum of Art, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Nasher Sculpture museum and the Kimbell museum in Ft. Worth. Many of these museums offer a free admission day, so be sure to check their online calendars. I just checked and TODAY, March 28 is free admission day at DMA and the Chagall exhibit would make a perfect field trip!! I love Chagall, incredible story telling and use of color in his painting. Plus, how crazy is this, our book group is reading a novel called The World to Come by Dara Horn that is about Chagall. There are no coincidences, right?? life journal prompts The Kimbell has a sculpture exhibit by Bernini that would surely inspire some outstanding creative reflections in your life journal! Just look at the expressions in this face.

Here’s your field trip supply list:

  • Your journal, preferable one with blank, unlined pages.
  • Your favorite pen(s). I like a pen for writing like the ultra fine Sharpie but for doodling/sketching I love the Sakura Micron pens.
  • A pencil.
  • Colored pencils (optional). How fun to see the color, texture and size of this clay sculpture by Ken Price at the Nasher.

life journal prompts

Field trip guide:

  1. Once you get to the museum of your choice, take some time to look around. Find a piece of art (painting, sculpture, it doesn’t matter) that you can’t seem to walk away from.
  2. Here’s the hard part. I want you to really LOOK at the painting or sculpture. Take your time and allow your eyes to roam the entire surface.
  3. One you feel like you have absorbed what the art has to share with you, answer the following questions:
  • What do you see?
  • What colors do you find most engaging?
  • Is the artwork telling a story? If so, describe the story.
  • What draws you into the artwork?
  • What texture do you notice? Think about brush strokes, layers, thickness or thinness, type of medium used.
  • What emotions does the artwork evoke?
  • Imagine you have the chance to meet the artist, what would you want to ask him/her?
  • If you were a famous art critic, what would you want others to know about this piece of art?
As you answer the questions in your journal, feel free to doodle your version of the painting or sculpture. Or simply add colors to your page that evoke the feelings and texture of the art. You are not trying to recreate the masterpiece, just capture information to help you quickly and visually recall it to mind at a later date. Check out the gift shop, if they have a postcard of the piece you admired, buy it and paste it into your journal. You can also take a picture of the artwork if the museum allows. Usually you can snap an image as long as you are not using a flash, but please ask first!

Your life journal is the playground of infinite possibility!

Your life journal is your place to explore the world around you as well as the world within. If you can’t find the time for a field trip, visit a museum online. Lots of museums have great images of the artwork on display in person. You might miss some of the details like texture but you will still be able to capture the essence of the story. Looking at great art is inspirational, or should be! Don’t use this as an opportunity to allow your inner critic to mock you and say, “You can’t create anything that good!” Great art is about telling stories; you can do the same in your own creative way. Notice what you love about the masterpiece you chose in the museum and ask yourself, how can I capture those same feelings in my writing or artwork? Enjoy your life journal field trip and feel free to share your discoveries and journal pages on our Facebook page here. If your inner critic seems to be running your life right now, consider joining the HeartWise Sister Circle: a safe, supportive community of women who will help you get in touch with yourself and remember how to be creative in all areas of your life. In April we will be focusing on rebuilding our connection to self, God and others. Come join us! Get support, live coaching and great tools to support your personal journey for only $19.99 a month.

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  1. Thanks, Amy! Last night I went to the Santa Barbara museum of art with my Meetup group and we found these writing prompts worked so well. Even though I had seen the exhibits before (one on Latin American art and another a collection of photography by Danny Lyon), I saw them through different eyes last night. Like you, I love spending time in a museum and just absorbing all the creativity! I remember being in Spain and seeing Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in person. It’s an enormous painting and the impact is still vivid in my memory. Makes me wonder why I don’t make more time to hang out in museums…

  2. Minette,
    I studied art in college and I loved nothing more than spending an afternoon in an art museum, immersing myself in the creations around me. I love these tips for journaling, and writing down impressions can make the experience so much richer. Just a glimpse of Chagall makes my heart melt, he’s one of my favorites. I was fortunate to see the Chagall museum in Europe. . . (Italy, perhaps?) I can’t remember where it was, but I remember how much I loved it.