A weekend art journaling retreat.

art journal cover

This past weekend a few of the Deep Divers (a group that has been together for almost 6 months) went on an Art Journaling Retreat weekend. The 'rightness' of emerging from my COVID cocoon with art journaling was experienced by more than just me. I think everyone remarked on it at least once over the weekend.

art journal page

 It didn't start off as a retreat

It started quite 'tongue and cheek' one evening on Zoom while we were waiting for everyone to log in. Someone said 'oh to spend a whole weekend art journaling'. Then someone else offered up a cottage-not their cottage mind you, the cottage of one of the other journalers (who immediately agreed). Then I jumped in with, 'The First Annual' and by the time everyone had logged in we were discussing dates.

art journal page

And while the weekend started out as 'let's go to the cottage and art journal' at some point (I think somewhere just north of Barrie) it became so much more. 

Maybe it's the nature of art journaling-the inherent vulnerability that seems to travel sidecar; or spending 16 months void of the contact of strangers except behind a screen, I stepped out of the car unarmoured and with the first hug (which I received awkwardly) the weekend began.  

 We started off softly

Friday night started softly because it was late, so I just brought our letter stamps and we all stamped our covers and then called it a good night.


Saturday morning we jumped straight in to creating...after swims, and coffee, and breakfast of course. Supplies were spread out and the table was laden with papers, and paints and oh the markers! It was a cornucopia of deliciousness and colour and images. And it didn't take long for people to start creating.

supply table

We journaled until lunch, and then we ate, swam, napped and then came right back to the table. But in the in between time, sitting around after lunch, sitting on the dock drying off... the turn of those conversations expanded into our journaling..

Even between journaling sessions-we were journaling...if that makes any sense

art journal page

 Another really fun thing we did was collaborative pages. We passed the book to the person to our right. Then did the writing; passed the journal to the right, did the painting; passed the journal to the right, did the collage; then got our own journals back to do the lettering. It was so meaningful to have a journal page that everyone had a part in.

art journal collaboration page

 Sunday followed much the same rhythm as Saturday. We stayed until after a late supper, which really made for a relaxed last day. I passed the torch to the group to lead a session Sunday afternoon and they chose a fun technique called pick-a-page, and chose a wonderful book called Braiding Sweetgrass. 

 art journal page

 This page asks, Are you a fire fighter or a fire nurturer?

There were many other pages and conversations, and honestly...a pivotal mindset shift for me. Something that needed the safety and compassion of this group to poke it's shy nose out and for that I'm forever grateful. 

And now I'm home to process.