Friday, June 18, 2010

Write, Play, Create

     Journaling is something I've done to a certain extent my whole life.  When we moved a few months ago, I dusted off a book of old journals and delved into my earlier self via the pages, sometimes charmed by my naivete, sometimes cringing at my own thoughts.  

    Today, I  have a notebook where I write down bits and pieces of poetry, quotes and tidbits of things that inspire me. I refer this notebook when creating art and literally tear out pages to collage into my new works or derive titles and compositions based upon the words I recorded at an earlier time.  I have decided that instead of this sad journal journal being just sort of a dumping ground for abandoned ideas that I slowly destroy, I would make it more of a sketchbook/journal, or as they call it in the biz, an art journal.  Something pretty (or not pretty, depending on the mood I'm in) to record not only words, but sketches, pics, ephemera, and go from there...

     Kay Porterfield wrote an interesting article on how to get started on an art journal, and how this isn't just something for artists, or's a way for grown-ups to play:

Starting an art journal is a powerful way to move beyond words in your daily writing practice. Not only does working with images access a different part of our brains than words, making art is a source of playfulness and creative joy. When we make pictures in our journals, we often come to deeper insights about ourselves and the world around us than we can when we carefully shape our thoughts and write them on paper. By adding color and form to the pages of our journals we illuminate them and in the process we illuminate ourselves.

  • Try working with a symbol for an abstract idea that is a significant part of your life. Some interesting concepts to work with could be creativity, grace, competition, prayer, forgiveness or gratitude. Make a drawing that symbolizes what you’ve chosen to work with. When you finish making your symbol, write about it.

  • Begin collecting interesting images from old magazines and keep them in a large envelope or a flat box. When you’ve gathered a good collection, every once in a while randomly select an image. Paste it in your journal and write about it. Why do you think you drew the image to yourself at this particular time? What message does the image have for you? What other images does this one call to mind? What memories does it evoke?
  • Decorate a blank artist’s sketchbook by making borders on the edges of pages and small pictures in their corners, leaving plenty of room for writing later. Don’t plan how you will embellish the blank pages. Just pick up paints or colored pens or pencils and let yourself go. After you finish decorating the journal, flip through the pages and pick one that fits your mood each day rather than making sequential entries from start to finish.

  • Use your journal entries as triggers to inspire art. Review what you’ve written over the past week or month and find word images you can translate into drawings or paintings.

  • If you stop yourself from keeping a visual journal because you think you’ll make a mess in your journal, try drawing or painting on separate pieces of paper. Cut and paste the work that best expresses what you felt into the pages of your regular journal.
  • Cover inexpensive spiral notebooks with your own drawings, an image from a magazine or a paper or fabric collage. Protect your work by covering it with a self-adhesive sheet of laminating plastic.

    Do you journal/art journal? I want to hear about it...


  1. Really love your work. It is clean, vibrant and happy. Thanks for all the work you do to communicate your joy of art and to help others to show their work.

  2. Thanks very much, Diana! I look forward to your interview.


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