Expressive Art Journal III

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As ARTogether’s monthly art journaling series continues, a group of high school girls gathered on Tuesday night, January 16th in the art room of the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI) in Oakland, to continue working on the journals they had made out of recycled paper bags, session 3 of the series with artist and art educator Alice Pennes.

The table was filled with stencils, paint, and various application tools. Alice encouraged the girls to begin by continuing working on backgrounds and later move on to taking some time to write. The once brown paper bags filled with colors and designs as the girls shared stories about high school, lessons they are learning, and growing up. They talked about the importance of journaling as a way to express themselves through creating images as well as using writing to get words out of their heads.

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As the workshop was coming to an end, the group took a few minutes for each person to share their creations and hold space for feedback from the others as well. A common theme was the use of color as a reflection of mood, observing how a piece that started off as dark and blue ended up with splashes of colors and patterns that reflected the uplifted mood and positive energy that came from coming together to create. When sharing her piece, a first timer shared, “I don’t know, I just poured my heart out onto this page.” Another girl sharing her mixed media piece decorated with paint and magazine clippings spoke on her use of positive words to let go of negativity in her life. Sharing the day’s work at the end and getting feedback was a positive experience for everyone in the circle because it allowed each artist to see their work through another’s eyes.