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(un)Covering the Truth with Art Journaling

Can I just tell you something? I love you guys. You know why?

Because you introduce me to these amazing ideas and resources, and I write about them, and then you email me to say how awesome *I* am! Seriously. Talk about a dream job.

Along that vein, our journaling friend Ann emailed me awhile ago, when I wrote one of the privacy posts. She explained how journaling her angst helped her take a load off, but she didn’t want to leave that ugliness out in the world.

The solution? She covers the pages with art. Beneath her images, paintings and photos is the healthy rant she needed to channel. The rest of the world sees only a creative art journaling page. Beautiful!

I loved this idea so much and it stuck with me. While I don’t personally worry about others reading my journals, I know lots of you do. It’s one of the questions I get most often from folks.

So when writing the recent Venting in Your Journal: an Ode to the Rant, I thought about Ann and her technique of ranting and then covering her pages with art. I even mentioned this technique in the comments.

Ann read the Rant post, too, and emailed me to share some of her recent art journal scans. She said I could share them with you, because she’s awesome like that. She collects images from The New Yorker and other magazines, and uses them in her art journaling.

I think this might be a perfect solution for people who need to vent in their journals but don’t feel comfortable leaving the words as is.

You can write your heart out, and then collect images, photos, break out the paints – whatever moves you – and create a work of art on top of the rant. The art could be inspired by the rant, or it could be totally unrelated – it’s up to you.

This solves the concern with keeping a journal private, as well as the problem with leaving journals behind after you die (more on that topic Friday, in honor of Dia de Los Muertos!).

It also gives you a great excuse to get creative and try something new in your journals. If you need an excuse.

In my mind, it’s like freaking out and making a mess, and then making something beautiful with that mess. Like breaking plates to release the tension, and creating a mosaic table with the broken pieces. It’s just fabulous.

Thank you so much to Ann for her generosity in sharing this technique with us, and the pages themselves. What a gal.

Ann would also like you to know that the woman driving the car above is not her; Ann is quite the spring chicken. And I would like you to know that the car above is my next vehicle because I’m obsessed with sky blue vintage convertibles covered in chrome. And I will also wear white gloves while driving it.

I used to have a thing about not trusting blondes, but then I met one that didn’t bite. The redhead in question in Ann’s boss, who did a very bad thing. We don’t like him anymore.

So go on! Vent to your heart’s content and then get your creative on. Or over. You know what I mean.


  1. I love the idea of covering up secret journaling with art. I keep encouraging my cousin to do that (she currently holds all the deep dark family secrets of our ancestors).

  2. I don’t get covering up rants with art. I like the analogy of smashing plates and then creating a mosaic table with the pieces though. I’m against obliterating rants just because of the “negative” emotions that may or may not be connected with them. Anger, or venom, or a pity party is nothing to be ashamed of or scared of so why cover it up? It is just energy that needs to be expressed. Judging it as good or bad is arbitrary and limiting. Don’t be ashamed of emotions or thoughts that everybody has! But…to each his or her own…

  3. Laura, I think some folks get worried about others coming across their rants either now or when they’re gone, and how those feelings might affect people out of context. We’re all in different places with our relationships with others and ourselves. While I wish that we could all be fearless and brazen about our emtotions, I think it’s important for people to feel safe in their self-expression. And if covering up the rant helps them feel safe, I’m all about it. Like you said – to each his or her own! 🙂 I’m glad we can all choose the path that works for us as individuals.

  4. I understand the letting it all hang out ~ but I see a great advantage to using art (in whatever form I choose) to hieghten and highlight the emotions that words just can’t express. For me, colors reveal, better, how I feel that words. Not all of the time, but there are occasions where I see “red” and need to express “red”…Good post ~ thanks Kristin ~ you are an inspiration…

  5. Oh yeah, I use art in my journaling too but it is more of an accent or highlight to my written entries. Sometimes it is a snapshot of what I am doing or thinking at any giving moment. For me my emotions are a part of who I am and whether my rants are taken out of context or not when I am gone I hope at least that whoever comes across my journals will be able to see me as human and relate to me on that level. But I see your point…hurt feelings and all of that. I guess I just imagine my future readers being more open minded. I want to leave a record of who I am, a complete picture, no matter what.

  6. I think this is a wonderful idea and not just for venting or ranting, but also if someone had a trauma they needed to write about, but couldn’t stand to leave “out in the open.” To each their own is the best part about journaling! I think the key is to express what you need & want to express in whatever way works for you.

  7. I have to say I have done this recently and it is a great thing to do. I vented about something to give me a release but then I covered it up with something really positive. So when I see it I remember the thing underneath but I also have something to smile at and remind me the world is great!