Meet Mou Saha

Mou Saha

Mou Saha is a mixed media artist, educator, coloring book author and an avid art journaler. Mou’s goal is to empower women to connect with their creativity to heal, explore and grow. She has been featured over 700 times in print media, appeared on TV shows and taught workshops around the U.S. and Europe as well as online for Creativebug, Big Picture Classes, Donna Downey Studios, Lifebook, Wanderlust and more. Mou currently lives in Chester, New Jersey, USA.

Transcript

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Hi there. My name is Mou Saha. I am a mixed media artist, coloring book author and an avid art journaler. My goal is to empower women to connect with their creativity, to heal, explore, and grow.

I did not start out to be an artist, though. I am a clinical psychologist by academic training, but I always loved making things with my hands. And then a marriage, an international move, a baby, and a close brush with cancer later, I found myself heart deep in scrapbooking. Some of you may remember the freestyle style of scrapbooking. That was my favorite and that led me to creating my own art journals and eventually to mixed media art. And interestingly enough, I see myself finding my way back again to painting. I really love art journaling because it’s a safe playground for me to create without judgment and expectations. I am a no rules are journaler.

I don’t believe one can make a mistake in our journaling. I see it as a place for creative exploration and emotional release.

The theme for my lesson that Caylee gave me is belonging and I could not have picked better myself. I really thought about it and I realized that I could approach this theme from so many different angles because belonging and what it meant to me has changed so much over the years. As a child, my earliest understanding of belonging was that it involved boundaries of family, community, school swim team, parent approved, friends circle. It is, it was very tribal and somewhat exclusive as a team. This exclusivity became even less permeable. Now there are labels, nerds, jocks clowns, you know, the usual, and of course, this is also the stage of life when identity is so much based on external influences. And because we are still not quite ready to express who we really are. And it is very much possible that we don’t even really know who we really are just yet by my mid-teens, I had begun to feel that I didn’t really fit neatly in any one of the categories. I was a little bit of country and a little bit of rock and roll. And most of the people that I enjoyed connecting with were also quite multifaceted and multi-passionate. They were bright, played sports, were read books, had a good sense of humor, were creative in one way or another and they were all a bit of a all personalities who often saw married on both sides in a debate. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that such people have a category of their own and it’s called liminals. I began to question if I really belonged to the groups that I was part of.

I no longer wanted to just go with the flow if the flow did not resonate with me. I voiced my opinions and in some ways that interrupted the state of scope. I couldn’t avoid acknowledging that I had outgrown my groups and I was officially a divergent and subsequently an outcast. I was a poster child for what Rob Selten would call the crazy ones. The the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. Though, those who think differently, see things differently. Some of my peers definitely saw me as a little crazy at times. I felt like a misfit. My parents might agree that I was a bit of a rebel  and I swear my ninth grade geography teacher would say I was a troublemaker because I, after I finished my class assignment, I use the remaining class time to socialize a little bit.

Well, I grew up in India and I lived almost all my adult life in the States. Living in almost two different ends of the cultural spectrum practically or wide apart has shifted my tribal sense of belonging and made me a lot more porous to my environment. I have found people who get me are my type. They are not connected to me by blood, by country of origin, by native language, by color of skin, by country or background. But I don’t have to translate my soul for them to understand me. They vibrate my wavelength and these people started coming into my life after I became unapologetically me.

I had to own myself, accept and belong to myself first. I had to be myself before I knew who and where I be longed to.

I share my journey with you because I really want you to think about the prompts are, has been an incredible process of self discovery for me. It has been a way of expressing my truest thoughts and deepest feelings without judgment or comparison or focus on the outcome.

It truly is about the process. In the end, it matters very little.

If my page turned out to be attractive or includes the greatest products or the latest techniques, or if it is on trend or whatever, as long as I get to be fully honest and play, I am happy with my page. It is a way of self care for me rather than a platform of performance and achievement. Well enough talk, let’s get to making an our journal page about belonging.

Action Steps

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welcome Mou on Instagram – @mou.saha.studio

share your pages in the Gallery and your thoughts in the Forum. Connect with and be kind to others.

share on Instagram with the hashtags: #getmessyartjournal, #getmessyart, and #gmseasonofbelonging. Tag @mou.saha.studio and @getmessyartjournal if you’d like too (especially in stories so that we can reshare). Go through these hashtags to cheer others on.