Cancer Art Journaling: Colorful words help heal my mind


Reluctantly, Ive decided to share a couple of pages from my sketchbook where I keep my not so very good artwork. I scrawl my emotions out on the pages using colorful pens, pencils, markers, paints, and whatever else handy from my growing art box.

Some days, instead of trying to get my words to fit in an essay, I find it easier to explore more non-traditional forms of journaling. One of my favorite sketches to date was to create a woman’s torso out of the letter “w” beginning the word “why.” It’s a question we probably all ask ourselves occasionally. Not feeling sorry for myself as in “why me?” But more in terms of “why not?” Why aren’t we counted? Why do we still need to die from metastatic cancer?” Why, indeed. Even if you aren’t a great artist like me, just let your colors and your hands do the talking for you. You may find out some things you didn’t even know you were thinking about. It’s visceral and gut level and it’s also a great way to purge negative emotions in a positive way and you just may have some fun.

Go ahead, be a kid and doodle. I’ve taken up trying my hand at mandalas, too. They’re not very good yet, but practicing focuses my mind away from everything and into the art form and coloring in the interesting patterns that emerge. And share them with me here if you decide to create something. I’d love to see what others are using their art journals to express. New ideas to generate ways of thinking about my life and my cancer are such a welcome gift.

5 comments on “Cancer Art Journaling: Colorful words help heal my mind”

  1. I painting small little inspirational quotes on wood pieces with hemp string to hang them by. I leave them at the cancer center for others. It keeps me entertained when I’m alone.

    1. How cool of you. I know people truly appreciate kind gifts of the heart. I brought 30 crochet wraps and scarves to the chemo infusion center and they were all gone by my next visit just five working days later. I guess that’s a good thing but perhaps more sad that so many people must be in chemo at the same time to need so many…

    1. I agree and I’m trying to also learn to have more patience, which any new skill requires. Thank you for reading and for the encouragement!

  2. My art journaling helps me cope as well. Any way you can express your emotions, open your box of frustration, joy, anger etc is always a good thing. Keep it up!!!!

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