(acrylics, found images, watercolor, marker)
In all the years that I have been involved in making art & my extensive training as an art teacher, I never heard of art journaling until about a year ago! I have been art journaling for just a little bit over a year now & I have learned a lot: about the process, about myself, about my creative practice. Lots of thoughts have been swirling around in my brain lately, thinking about my greatest takeaways from the practice of art journaling, so far.
The Blank Page: Is no big deal. I used to stare at it, scared to “ruin” a perfectly good page. Then I would plan & think & kick around ideas in my head & guess what? I did NOTHING on that page. Now? Oh my gosh, I relish the thought of a new page that I can slap some paint down or use some stamps or stencils or markers or whatever is on hand. This also goes for pretty blank journals – I had so many that were untouched & pristine, again, I didn’t want to ruin them. No longer – I feel that whatever I create in them only makes them “mine”.
(16 minute sketch; watercolor wash background; pencil; notice the adjacent page smudged onto the scissors…& it doesn’t matter! [Daisy Yellow prompt] )
Mistakes: as in errant drips, drops, splotches, used to make me so upset, thinking I “ruined” the work. No longer…they are what they are & it just.doesn’t.matter. As far as the work on a page, I NEVER view anything as a “mistake” as it really is all part of my learning process & creative process. I may not “like” something, but I no longer cover it up…it is what it is. In the very first photo above, when I was working on that particular page, I felt that nothing was turning out the way I envisioned it (that was my first mistake: having an expectation). I worked that page over & over, pulled off already glued down bits, scrubbed it with a baby wipe (awesome art tool!), painted, repainted until I felt it expressed what I was feeling. Had I just trashed that page, I would have lost the feeling, the message, all of it. Part of my expression was working the page…the PROCESS, yes, that’s what matters!
Journals: At first I started working chronologically, so careful to go from one page to the next filling up one journal before starting a new one. Now I am currently working in at least 4 bound journals & I have some loose pages that I will eventually bind in some way. Speaking of journals, I started out with a hard bound journal (Stilman & Birn Beta series – LOVE for mixed media) & could never find another one so I settled for a spiral bound one & really didn’t like the way the spirals “interrupted” the flow of a 2 page spread. Since then, I found another hard bound one again & realized now how much easier it is to work in the spiral one! Ah well, live & learn!
(pen & Neo Color II’s; done in a 3.5 x 5″ Moleskine journal that I take everywhere I go; this was done on vacation a few months ago)
Art on the Go: I never leave home without a few gelly roll pens, my mini moleskine sketch book & some index cards. There is always an opportunity to draw something, somewhere…at the playground, waiting in a dr.’s office, on the subway or bus, waiting for anything! I can always make up a pattern, design, draw from observation or even make a list of books I want to read & decorate the list. I learned so much on this subject from Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow.
Creative Process: There is nothing I love more than to leave an unfinished page on my table & then add a few things here & there while I walk past it. Sometimes my best ideas come to me when I am not 100% focused on the page. There is so much more to say about creative process that it deserves its own dedicated post, so I will leave it until the next time.
And last but not least in any way: The more you do, the better you get, the more ideas you have, the more you want to try new things, which leads to your own unique style. It’s the process of creating that opens me up & leads my mind on all different paths.
In the past I have spent so much time on teaching art, that I totally neglected my own work. Now? I cannot go one day without drawing, painting, cutting, pasting, creating SOMETHING ! It is essential to my emotional well being! Art is my happy place.
What is your biggest takeaway from art journaling?