Last summer I traveled to London and The Netherlands with students for a Global Leadership Summit on Human Rights. The trip’s theme was Artistic Expression as a Human Right. Kids saw the street art of Robbo and Bansky, they created music on Denmark Street in East London (where David Bowie once lived), and toured The British Library where we saw original manuscripts by Lewis Carroll, Kate Chopin, and Charles Dickens. We viewed Davinci’s sketch notebooks and original scores by Mozart and Beethoven.

Students were encouraged to keep art journals and sketch or write about their experiences. I was an avid “Sketch Note” creator, but on this trip, I decided to begin an actual art diary. When we visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, I realized the art journal was a mindfulness tool. It helped me tune out “white noise” and focus on the details of each work. It was so calming that I kept up with the strategy after I returned home.

Here is a gallery of a few works I’ve produced since then. Some of the works here are inspired by gallery works, some are inspired by photographs I find, and some are inspired from scenes around my city. I cannot begin to know what healing therapies will work for each survivor’s recovery, but I have found quiet peace in art. I worked through painful scenes that clouded my creative energies, and I rediscovered my childhood love for drawing, sketching, and painting (something I gave up in high school). If you’re interested in learning more about art journaling or art therapy, visit my Pinterest board here.