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The Healing Power of Art through Sketchbooking

 Last Month, Renee Phillips, contacted me about writing an article about the Healing Effects of Art Journaling and Sketchbooking. She writes a blog called The Healing Power of  The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS website publicizes art, artists and art organizations that enhance the well-being of individuals and society through art. Renee had read about my Sketchbooking classes at the NY Open Center in February and March 2015 and was intrigued.  So many people have discovered this activity and habit of recording their life on paper in a book with words and images. They literally sketch and watch their ideas, thoughts, observations and “life” take shape and form on paper!…. She interviewed me and here are a few excerpts from the May 21, 2015 article on her blog:

"Healing Power of Art" article by Renee Phillips about Lois Bender and Sketchbooking

RP: I’ve heard both terms used —  Art Journaling and Sketchbooking. Are they the same kind of activity?

LB: Both terms describe writing and image-making in a journal, sketchbook or notebook. The terms are interchangeable. Although Art Journaling emphasizes the image aspect, words and images are usually combined in both Art Journaling and Sketchbooking. They both convey the notion of the personal and subjective recording of your experiences. This activity keeps you “in practice,” just as perhaps “Piano scales” do for a pianist.



RP: Lois, what are the benefits you derive from Art Journaling?

LB: Creativity, self-reflection and emotional expression come together in Art Journaling. It’s an act of “personal integration,” connecting your thoughts, emotions and subjects you enjoy. I always incorporate color in my sketchbooks. My medium of choice is watercolor because the flow of water is so healing.  Art Journaling  serves as an “alternative selfie” record of one’s experiences.  Anyone can make Art Journaling a fun activity and life practice to promote self-awareness and personal development.



RP: Lois, when did you start doing Art Journaling?

LB: As an art student I was encouraged by my art teachers to keep an Art Journal and developed the habit. Art Journaling improves one’s art style and voice because you make frequent drawings and see a sequential development. I have kept one going especially while drawing and painting onsite from nature. When traveling, especially in Paris, I always keep one!  To read the interview in full, please go to

Manhattan Arts Intl Media founded by Renee Phillips


 Renee Phillips,  founder of Manhattan Arts International, has benefited so many artists with her personal in-depth focus and blogging on all the exciting and diverse work being created today. She advocates for the healing role art plays in our lives. Additionally, her Manhattan Arts International programming promotes artistic excellence through curated online art programs, theme exhibitions, and social media communities. As the Director, arts advocate and author, Renee launched this website after publishing Manhattan Arts International magazine for 17 years. She also offers a wealth of experience and expertise through her consulting services for artists which can be found on her website

About Renee Phillips
Renée Phillips is an author, arts writer, and curator who lives in New York, NY. She is founder and director of Manhattan Arts International,, and executive editor of The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS. She has curated more than 60 art exhibitions including the annual “The Healing Power of Art” exhibitions. As an arts’ advocate she has served on the advisory boards of several non-profit arts organizations. She is a member of the International Association of Art Critics. She runs an artists’ career consultant website at Renée operated Manhattan Arts International magazine 1983 – 2000.


Watercolor and Sketchbooking classes with Lois Bender


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