Many years ago I kept both a written journal and what I called an art journal.
Entries were made in the written journal in the evenings until
I read Julie Cameron's book "The Artist's Way."
At that time I took up her recommended practice of keeping morning pages.
This meant writing in the morning - before doing anything else except
maybe brushing your teeth and starting the coffee brewing.
The practice ended when the demands of motherhood started my days in the wee hours of the morning.
But during the years I wrote my morning pages my life was transformed.
Why was this?
Because when you write at the end of the day you tend to write about the day.
It makes sense.
But if you write first thing, before you do ANYTHING else your mind is clear, an open book as the saying goes.
The idea is to simply write three pages long hand every morning.
It doesn't even matter really what you write.
If all you can think of is your to do list for the day,
you simply write that, as long as you fill up three pages.
It took me about half an hour.
But the impact it had on my day was monumental.
I felt that it grounded me some how.
It gave me the power to move forward and tackle anything.
It made me start my day as a thinking person instead of simply a feeling/doing person.
And as it turned out,
I soon discovered that many of my dilemmas were worked out with ease and relative calm.
The art journal was a sketchpad.
I started keeping one in my high school years, carrying it with me wherever I went.
It was a place to draw in during the day,
write some poetry or jot done some notes about an art piece I had rambling around in my head.
Now a days I have several notebooks that I keep.
For now the morning papers will have to wait until I suffer from empty nest syndrome.
But the other note books have been solid for quite sometime.
I also have a brand new one that I am quite excited about.
One notebook/sketchbook is mostly an idea journal.
It has notes and drawings of art pieces I want to create.
It also has images I have cut from magazines and printed out from the internet.
Sometimes those images represent color palettes I am intrigued with.
Sometimes I have the work of other artists who have inspired me.
This book is your standard hard backed, black spiral sketchbook.
Another book I keep is in a spiral bound "Stonehenge" sketchbook.
I like this book because it has 90lb paper in it.
I use this book to draw and paint elements I might use in another piece.
Elements I might print out on fabric and incorporate into an art quilt or
perhaps make into pillows for my Etsy site.
Because it is spiral bound I can easily take out the pages and scan them into my computer,
then reinsert them
You might wonder why not just use piece of 90lb paper.
This would be a point well taken except that I have found that working in a spiral notebook
is less formal then a single sheet of beautiful white paper and thus
I am not apposed to working on a single sheet of white paper for a piece of finished work.
But this note book is for elements - visual inventory if you will,
to use on or incorporate into other finished pieces.
(Once a collage artist, always a collage artist I guess.)
I have another blank sketchbook that is suppose to house patterns.
I have been really interested in how fabric collections and patterns come to be
and thought this sketchbook would be a place to put my patterns.
It is still empty, but I am hopeful!
The journal I am most excited about right now is a direct result of all the art journaling
that has become such a craze!
I am calling this my art journal. But it is predominately only visual.
Not too long ago I was thinking about all those notebooks I have
with many years worth of morning papers in them.
I didn't want to throw them out.
But really didn't see a need to keep them.
I definitely didn't want to leave them to my children one day.
I got to thinking about all those words that needed to be written,
that sometimes even begged to be written,
but really don't need to be read - at all.
Last December, while out Christmas shopping I bought myself a large (8.25" x 11")
This is my art journal.
I am taking pages from the notebooks of my morning papers,
tearing and cutting them up,
then using them as elements on a page that may be painted and drawn on.
I love painting right across the stitched spine.
I love that the pages can't come out!
I love that this is just about this sketchbook.
It isn't meant for, or to be anything else.
I am letting myself use elements and bits and pieces of things that I did not create.
Such as old papers and stamps, a snippet of someone else's hand writing.
I am also letting myself use imagery that may not really be all that sophisticated after all.
Trained as a painter at one of the most highly acclaimed fine art schools in the country
I have dragged around with me throughout my life
an attitude about what is and is not fine art worthy.
The point of all these words in this blog format
is that I am going to share the contents of this notebook with whoever is interested.
(I may even share the contents of some of the others as well.)
None of the pages are completed in one sitting.
Many are done over several 10 minute to half hour intervals.
Some of the pages are started simply by using up bits of paint on brushes and palettes
from another project before washing everything out.
NONE of them started with a plan.
The idea is that I do a little bit in this journal every day.
But the reality is that some days I do a little bit,
some days I do a lot,
some days I do too much,
and some days I don't enter anything.
Everything is dated the day it was completed.
So here we go.
If you are still reading this THANK YOU!
I have a little catching up to do.
This is dated Dec. 20, 2013.
It has fabric with my image printed on it,
old postage stamps, bits of old envelopes, stamping, drawing,
gold leaf, an ink jet print of an older piece of mine and acrylic paint.
Click on the images for a larger view.