Tag Archives: art journal

To Journal or Not To Journal

Something that I’ve noticed as I’ve bopped around the internet is that a lot of artists have these amazing art journals.  Many of them are works of art in their own right.  They range from child-like to masterpiece material. Here\’s some examples…

I’ve resisted doing a journal, mostly because I’m impatient.  I’ve always felt if I’m going to spend great amounts of time making a beautiful journal, I should just get on with it and do the piece I’m journal-ing about.  Here’s the problem with that.  I’m a planner.  I work things out in my head long before I ever put them into physical form.  I can think for days, or even weeks about a piece I want to do before I get to step one.  Unfortunately, that sometimes (even often) means that the piece stays stuck in my head.  There’s an up-side to all that mental designing; I can troubleshoot and tweak to my heart’s content in my mind.  If I botch it when I’m building it can be a disaster.  Really this just keeps me from doing something concrete.  I need to re-define my idea of what a journal should be and stop worrying about it being a work of art and view it more as a tool.

I did my research and found that the most-recommended journal was a brand called Moleskine.  They have a durable cover, an elastic to keep them closed, high-quality paper for whichever medium you choose, and they open flat so each set of pages can become one broad palette.  I bought myself one made for watercolour as I can use it for several mediums.

The best way for me to use a journal as a tool is to use it as a place to store images of things I want to use in my art.  I don’t do well at imagining things and reproducing them when it comes to painting and drawing.  I am better off and much more successful if I have reference points.  I have accumulated thousands of images on my computer of things I would like to paint: flowers, owls, birds, bugs, trees, deserts, landscapes, abstracts….the list goes ever on.  I need to start putting these diverse images together so when I’ve decided I’ve obsessed about something long enough I can actually produce it.  This is all about setting myself up for success.

There’s a painting I want to do called “Catcher”.  These are some of the images I have scavenged that I want to be part of the painting.  The easiest way for me to compile them for the journal was to print them out onto one page.

Now I have everything in one place with a blank page facing for sketching and/or painting….or whatever else I think needs to happen in this piece.  This finally makes sense to me.  Which is really the point of any type of journal, isn’t it?  It has to work for US or there’s no sense doing it at all.

Part of the reason for this journal-excursion that I also have a fair bit of time at work where I can do things artistic.  The problem is that the space is very limited and it’s tough to make sure I have ALL the supplies I need when I try and do something there.  There always seems to be something critical missing, no matter how carefully I pack.  This journal is a way for me to do things there that put me closer to completing larger pieces.  I get stuck…a lot.  This is just one of the ways I’m going to work at getting un-stuck.

I’m obsessed with houses these days.  With what houses mean to us, whether it be home, safety, shelter, prison, cocoon or something else altogether.  Houses. Little Pink Houses.  Sounds like an idea for a series.  Or for a song.  *grin*