Art as Spiritual Practice

{So honored to welcome Christine, author of A Year of Art Journaling, to this space!}

We put boxes around our spiritual life, and then expect God to come, sit and be still. We schedule quiet times, work our way through Bible plans, sing our hymns and worship songs, and do all of the “supposed-to” stuff of faith. And yet with all of these good things, we may be missing something profound – an experience of the Spirit so deep that it doesn’t respond to a script.

Color and image have become that experience for me.

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Art Journal by Christine Hiester


Years ago depression took my joy, and it took my god. I say god with a small “g” because the god of my boxed-in faith was nowhere near as big and recklessly beautiful as the God who has shown Himself to me over and over again since then, in all sorts of creative ways.

In the midst of this darkness, I began to pour out onto a page in my very first art journal, and over the last few years the Lord has spoken kindness and love over me, using paint and torn paper as salve for my wounds.

He healed me. And the vehicle he used was art journaling.

So what does a spiritual art practice look like?

It looks a lot like letting go, and peeling back, and exposing self, and allowing the Holy Spirit to wind His way through thoughts and feelings. It looks like Jesus’ parables in technicolor or a sliver of God’s glory captured as if through a tiny knothole in a wooden fence. I liken this creative practice to the flow of God washing down from Heaven, filling me and then spilling over onto the page.

Sometimes it’s an image that Jesus plants in me during a song or a sermon, or a metaphoric fragment of scripture, or a color that won’t let me go. One thing can become a page, and I just let it come.

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Art Journal by Christine Hiester


There is no formula, there is only grace and Presence and permission. I open my life as prayer, and He enters.

What are the spiritual creative practices that God uses to speak to you?

{You can visit Christine at her blog, Bare Branch Blooming and connect with her on Instagram @FruitNSeason.}img003

Ending + Beginning

The month is almost over, and I don’t know that I’m any closer to understanding soul rest through art as I was at the beginning.  But all month I’ve been approaching mark-making as a learner–engaged, interested, willing to explore.  I’ve happily stumbled into the world of mixed media and art journaling and on to intuitive painting.  I absolutely love making canvases out of found, recycled materials.  Making art with junk has loosed something in me, made me willing to waste paint and experiment.  Here are a few more resources as the month comes to an end.


30 Day Journal Project

Lisa Sonora will be hosting a month of journaling prompts all through July.  Her work in The Creative Entrepreneur is lovely and inspiring.  She believes in art as inquiry and guides the reader in simple processes to explore and learn.  Although I don’t have a great track record with prompts, I am going to be participating, using my journaling habit to explore flow and ease and the sound of life working.  I think I may write on index cards…ICAD on one side, journal on the other.

Hand-lettering for a Latte

I discovered The Postman’s Knock via Brandy at Afterthoughts last week and am totally in love! I love mamas practicing handwork alongside their children.  I’ve been frustrated with hand-lettering in the past because I like my handwriting as is.  Attempts to alter it felt forced.  But now I’m in the market for a few more tools to add interest + variation to my journal pages.  I’d love to learn a few easy tricks to have in my toolbag.  And I love the easy entry price!  Lindsey’s site is lovely and her blog is full of tutorials and examples.  I especially love what she’s doing with watercolors!

A Year of Art Journaling

With this month of experiments came the gift of color, and I’m so excited to explore color more. One guide will be A Year of Art Journaling: A Beginner Course in Artful Discovery by Christine Hiester   This tremendous resource has over 20 different lessons introducing a practice or a process like gluebooking or image transfers.  Then Christine offers prompts to get you moving and links to videos and articles by people who are already practicing!  I love the glimpses of her own work and how she connects learning, gathering inspiration, and then moving your hand.  And I’m so happy that I get to share a piece that Christine wrote about the spiritual aspects of her art here tomorrow.  Stay tuned!