Welcome to Journey on Canvas
“The only journey is the one within.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke
Sharing Your Spiritual Autobiography
Creative expression has power—power to help us find hope as we wait in life’s most challenging places and spaces. It can give us peace and hope no matter how hard our present place in time and space may seem. By sharing the challenges of your own journey, you can encourage others. Everyone’s story is different and has the unique ability to be a source hope for others. This site is all about releasing that hope. At Journey on Canvas, you will find suggestions to join me on a hope sharing journey. I will share through words and images. I will share things I have painted, written, tried, or considered. Regardless of how I share my story, you will find hope to help you on your journey. Join me in finding ways to share and release the power of your story.
Spiritual autobiography can be an amazing way to discover the hope inside your story. It can also help you find ways to share that hope with others. Dancing in the Doghouse is my spiritual autobiography. Sharing my spiritual memoir is about my desire to tell my spiritual story as a source of encouragement to others. It’s about other things too, especially the ways God was with me- even in the really hard places. It’s also about inspiring others to tell their spiritual stories to reduce isolation, heal, recover, and give others hope. Spiritual autobiography can be about all of these things and so much more.
What is spiritual autobiography? Simply put, it’s the story of your spiritual journey. It’s an invitation to share your story. Spiritual autobiography is also an invitation to receive the spiritual stories of others. The act of giving and receiving each other’s stories is hope, and it is a powerful gift of spiritual autobiography.
Begin the journey of sharing your story by interacting with this site in several ways: read the entries here, enjoy the art and the descriptions that go with them, test drive some of the journaling exercises, contact us with questions and suggestions, learn more about Dancing in the Doghouse (and its author) by reading and clicking on the links, check out our Resources, and share using the Journey On Canvas Blog. Sharing your story is an incredible opportunity to give and receive hope. Don’t miss out on this chance to learn more about how your life can give and let you receive. Then, choose a way that you can begin to share.
I have created this website to include questions and suggestions that worked for me as I organized, documented, and shared my journey. It is my hope that what I have shared here will become encouragement for others. I also hope you will find inspiration to begin telling your own story. It’s why I welcome you to Journey on Canvas.
Start Your Spiritual Memoir with Spiritual Journaling
Memories are a mixed bag for me. I write about my mixed bag memories inside my spiritual journal: the good and the bad. Things I have dreamed and prayed for have come true in my life. Some of these things have made permanent changes in my life. They are permanent and wonderful changes that answer desires that have been a long time in coming. Others end up not being quite the miracle I thought they would be. They are temporary answers and respites on a long road to greater maturity and healing. Sometimes these answers make for memories that are hard to embrace. Whatever the case, my journal helps me make sense of it all.
My life isn’t perfect. In fact, it’s very broken. At the same time, I am surrounded by abundant blessings. I live my daily life in the tension of these two realities: beauty and brokenness. When I wrote Dancing in the Doghouse, I did my best to explore this tension because it’s such a part of all our lives. I wanted Dancing in the Doghouse to be a story that others could relate to and find themselves in. I want my spiritual autobiography to be a celebration of the tension of these “two realities” so that people will see (through my life) that life is good despite its difficulties.
Finding Themes Within Your Story
When I wrote my spiritual autobiography, I tried to find themes. My themes might not make sense for you. You might choose to group the time periods of your life quite differently. It’s likely that the themes I chose, which held great meaning for me, won’t fit with your journey. Journey On Canvas will share some of my themes with the hopes they will help you discover themes that are woven throughout your story.
There’s no static set of rules for writing a spiritual autobiography. That’s why I figured it was best to stick to my own experience and trust God to guide yours. What I share here is the best I’ve got to offer you: what worked for me. It is my hope that you will be able to find ways to make it work for you.
Ways to reflect on your spiritual journey can take a variety of forms. One way the expression of one’s spiritual journey can begin is with a simple commitment to journaling. Within the pages of a journal a journey finds a quiet, private place to be explored. Some journal using words, diagrams, photographs, sketches, quotations, scripture, or memorabilia as a springboard for writing. In my case, I used my own artwork to guide me as I shared. Some journeys are documented in chronological order with the writer exploring the mountains and valleys of their spiritual journey using family photographs and letters. These are just a few of the many ways to organize one’s spiritual autobiography. Regardless of your approach, journaling can help you begin telling your own story, so you and others can experience life change and hope.
If you choose to journal you will likely discover themes that weave through your journey. These themes can be used to help organize the journey and help the spiritual autobiography take form. A great tool for uncovering the major themes of a journey are really good questions. Questions that help the journey be seen from beginning to the end, questions that make us consider what we value, and questions that give us a good look at what we believe can help a storyteller decide how to best tell their story. You can use this website to assist you as you seek an expression for your spiritual autobiography. It’s full of questions, examples, and suggestions for sharing your story. All you need to begin sharing your journey is a journal, a pen, a prayerful heart, and a willingness to honestly explore what you will find on these pages. May your journal become a place to make sense of your story and then share what you discover with others.
Sharing My Journey
I like to think that angels are everywhere. Maybe they’re God’s emissaries? Maybe they’re the glue that holds me together? I paint them to remind me that things aren’t random. I paint them to remind me that God has a plan. They are my hope.
I don’t know what angels really look like but that makes painting them more interesting. I like to imagine that they really do have wings. Today, I decide they will have huge wings and halos like the angels in storybooks. Maybe angels don’t have halos? Maybe they’re much different than I imagine them. Still, when I paint them I feel like they’re everywhere. I feel like God has sent them just for my family and me: especially when we most desperately need them.
Sharing Your Journey
Commit to reflecting on your journey. All you need is a journal, a pen, and a willingness to honestly explore the questions and suggestions you will find at Journey On Canvas. May you discover ways to reflect on your own spiritual journey and find unexpected hope.
Journaling can help you find an expression for your own spiritual autobiography. As you explore within your journal, and look back on your entries, you will likely see your own journey take shape, discover countless ways you’ve grown, and find tools that bring you peace. A journal provides a safe place to get started on the story sharing journey. Use it as a irreplaceable tool for releasing the power of your story.
Alisa's New Journey Towards Peace and Hope
Recent and Upcoming Exhibitions:
2021 Genesis Exhibition in Partnership with the Jewish Art Salon and CARAVAN, NYC, NY
This piece explores creation: the very beginning of time. What was it like at the dawn of the strange, swirling birth of planets and life from a void of nothingness? Was it quiet? Were there colors? Was the light bright? Was God there? These are questions I explored as I painted “Out of Nothing.”
Out of Nothing, 2021
Show Opens May 1st, 2023 in NYC, NY
University of North Carolina’s CAB Gallery Exhibition, 2022
It’s not what I thought it was. As the events of the past year have unfolded, I have had to refine what I believe. Now, I find myself where I don’t belong, and it’s a place that I once thought was home. I am leaving disillusioned.
The last year has changed me. Everything I was taught, everything I believed to be true, and everything I once put my hope in no longer adds up. It’s all one giant contradiction.
Protest Signs Exhibition
Exhibit Opening: February 24th through April 1st, 2022
ECVA Stories from the Road, 2022
I painted this vision from 2014 to sear its resulting epiphany into my heart with my paintbrush, so I will never forget. This, I attained to some degree. That is very good because this is what I have left at my spiritual bottom. This Christmas, and every Christmas to come, this will be the place from which I glean my faith.
From Where I Glean My Faith, 2021
I fell to my knees before Him and said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
I’m Sorry, 2021
Rockland Visual Arts Festival, New York, 2022
130 Talented Artists and Performers
Look beyond the red door and see what you can find. There are little, hidden surprises here: buried in time and memory but, like magic, can be rediscovered on my canvas. I paint to dig it all back up and remember.
Beyond the Red Door, 2021
The live festival runs from January 22nd through February 7th, 2022
International Society of Experimental Artists’ Juried Exhibition:
ISEA Utterly Unfathomable and Powerfully Profound, 2021
My choices are about expressing my inner experience. I could care less about being conventional. I need a color for all my uncertainty and a texture for all my grief. What can I find for my canvas that points me towards a new understanding? I have this jacket that was Mom’s. I slip pieces of it onto my canvas. I draw the front door from my childhood home, and I tuck it away in the shadows of my work. I draw these funny little birds that squawk, tumble, spin, and teeter on the surface of my creation. I see that each bird is me as I tumultuously try to find solid ground. I do this all for hours: choosing colors, shapes, objects, and significance. Words wrap the canvas, but they are garbled and seemingly senseless. I wonder if others will think I have lost my mind? These are odd choices, but I didn’t mean to do something out of the ordinary. I was just lost in the process. I guess you could say this works was one big experiment, but that wasn’t the plan. This is simply what came out of me.
Funny Little Birds, 2019
The Quarantine Artwork of the Artists of ECVA, 2021
Alisa looks back on a lifetime of art making, and she sees creativity’s gift of “flow” during the countless times of sitting and waiting for time to do its work within her. She sees that her creative process was with her whether the hands of time moved too fast or too slow. She also notices that in the most challenging times- the moments when time seemed to not move at all- her creative process was her great companion. When engaged in this process, Alisa has her most profound spiritual experiences. Art is a gift that provides her much connectedness, meaning, and joy.
Exhibit opens on September 13th, 2021
St. Vincent College Verostko Arts Center, 2021
I am enraptured by the idea that Mary carried God incarnate inside her womb. I like to think that this supplied enough holy power to ignite a spiritual fire inside her. I painted “Madonna on Fire” with the same wonderment I had as a child. She’s not God but she birthed Him. How could she not glow from the inside out? I believe Mary was ablaze and that’s why, and how, I painted her.
Madonna on Fire, 2019
September 6th through October 29th, 2021
Learn about “Madonna On Fire” in David Brinker’s Lecture Here:
View All the Entries to the 8th Annual Catholic Biennial Here:
Learn More About the Vertosko Art Center Here:
Edward A. Dixon Gallery Juried Exhibition, 2021
I paint what fascinates me. I explore memories. I find joy in the present moment. I paint it all as I see it. It all makes my “Right Now” a good place to be.
I Find Joy, 2021
International Society of Experimental Artists 2021 Exhibition, Mission Point Resort, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Exhibition Opens September 3rd, 2021
I just can’t do it anymore. Impulse is telling me that it’s time to investigate, explore, and break the rules. I let loose when I made this painting. It will likely lead to little approval, but at least I am satisfied.
Go Back, Move Forward, 2020
Alisa's Art Takes a Journey: Small Works National Juried Exhibition!
December 2019 through February 2020
323 Buena Vista, NY is about a door and the people who have entered it. Painting it helps me in my process of accepting—accepting that I won’t be able to use this door for very much longer. I paint to continue turning the knob of this door, and the knobs of the doors beyond this door, so I can see what was once on the other side. I am stuck here, so I paint it over and over and over again, so I can find my way back.
323 Buena Vista, NY, 2019
Stuff Long Forgotten, 2021
Space Between, 2020
A show of works from across the country that are no greater than 10 inches in any direction.
I Know My Song, 2020
Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI
Hello, Hope, 2020
Yale School of Divinity Shares “Joined Together”
Alex Ferrone Gallery, Cutchogue, NY
323 Buena Vista, NY, 2019
Episcopal Church of the Visual Arts
Road Home, Acrylic on Canvas Exhibiting Artist: Alisa E. Clark