It took me a long time to really get art journaling. I knew a lot of artists I admired were into it, but it never really clicked for me. I’d do a page, and it felt awkward to me. How do you “journal” with paint and pictures, I’d ask myself over and over again. I mostly used my art journals for practice. I practiced a lot of mixed media techniques, especially when I was just starting out. It’s a lot cheaper to practice in a book than it is to buy canvas. If you mess up a page, it’s easy to rip it out and toss it (I don’t usually waste paper tho, and I just paint over or collage over it if it really bugs me). I practiced painting faces, and abstracts, buildings, and still life. I have books full on my shelves. Practicing seemed kinda of empty to me tho. There must be more to this art journaling than just practicing, I kept thinking.
It wasn’t until this past January that I started the almost daily practice of art journaling, and now I not only get it, but it’s been my go-to activity as soon as I arrive in my studio. It’s “me” time, and I don’t have to worry about anyone liking what I create because much of what I do in my journals never see the light of day. I don’t post it here on my blog, not because I’m ashamed of the pages I’ve created, but because I believe there is something sacred in art journaling. It’s okay to keep some things private. I think we’ve all lost a great deal of ourselves because of social media, and the amount of over sharing we do. Sometimes, the things I see on FB make me cringe. I feel like telling some people to get a grip. Seriously. Are we all that lonely and desperate for attention? I have to wonder, but that’s a topic for another day.
Because I’m not posting my pages or making art specifically to sell, I am free to create whatever I want. I just have to show up, and push paint, pastels, crayons around until..until I get whatever’s on my mind out..until I feel lighter..until I feel there’s nothing left inside me that needs to come out on the page. Ahhh. What a magical feeling that is. I get it! I totally get it now.
I suggest you try art journaling for 10 or 20 minutes a day. Set a timer, if you’re concerned about time, and begin. Let yourself be free. If all you feel like doing is making marks on the page, then make marks on the page. You can figure it out tomorrow or later. You don’t have to start a page and finish it right now. Try art journaling like this for a week, and see what happens. If you like it, do it for another week. Before you know it, 6 months will have passed, and you’ll still be working in your art journal every day, just like me. 🙂 It’s addicting.