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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Art Journal Journey

A friend of mine asked me recently, "WHY do you journal?"  There are multiple reasons:

1.  It is a quick and easy way to do something creative if you don't have time to get more involved in another art project.

2.  It is portable.  I can take it traveling with minimal supplies and still get in my creative time.

3.  It is a way to express myself.

4.  If I don't do SOMETHING creative every day, I get cranky and this is an easy fix. (Friends and family appreciate this, believe me!)

5.  I can work on my art journals in small pieces.  I don't have to do everything on a page at one time and 
can work on developing elements a little bit at a time.  (If I'm making dinner and waiting on something, I can doodle a border or paint a background page for example.)

6.  I can use it to artfully doodle if I am bored or need to relax.  Never Underestimate the Power of the Doodle.

7.  It's a great creative thing to do when watching TV--my significant other likes me to watch TV with him, but I'm one of those people who has a difficult time just sitting there doing nothing.  We both stay happy.

8.  When a page or a journal book is complete, it can be a true work of art and a body of work.

9.  It helps me to develop skills as an artist.  I have developed my own style through art journaling.

10.  I can play and try new mediums and techniques without fear of "messing up" something more important.

11.  It is a pictorial way of me to connect with certain events or times in my life.

12.  It doesn't take forever to read.  And I want to look back through them more often.  I don't have to capture every moment of every day or even every day.  

13.  I don't feel guilty if I miss a day or month or even a year of journaling.

14.  It tends (for me) to focus on the more positive aspects of life.

15.  It is a great activity to do with a women's group--everyone brings their art journal and via chatter and connection we also each work on our own works of art.

16.  It is fun.  If it isn't fun, why do it?

I have journaled since I was very young--probably right after I learned how to write words.  I didn't have much to say then and I can tell you my handwriting was atrocious.  My biggest worries were what to play after school with my friend Teresa or whether or not I'd have to do dishes that night.  Not earth shattering stuff, but, maybe, from an archaeological or sociological stand point, the stuff of life.

There are four banker's boxes filled with my journals in storage.  They have traveled everywhere I have traveled.  My journals have logged more miles than some people ever do in a lifetime.  I'm slowly going through those journals and shredding the pages.  I only keep the pages that have true significance to me.  I've given up my grandiose idea that someday those journals spilling my secrets from when I was 12 at camp El Deseo are going to be important to posterity.  The pages that I keep, I can incorporate into my current art journals.

In the past 10 years, I've transitioned from the strictly written journal to the more expressive art journal.  My first art journal really sort of looked more like what they call a scrap book or a "treasure map."  I wasn't very practiced at collage and I really didn't know how to go about creating the visions I had in my head.

(c) Szing. Journal 2001

(c) SZing. Journal 2001

I played around with using digital pages and then pasted them into my journal book.  I also discovered white gelly roll pens.   I still found that most of my art journal pages tended to be heavily laden with text.

(c) SZing. Art journal page 2001

So I continued to create art journal pages.  
(c) SZing, Art Journal page 2003

I discovered that making the transition from text to art was more challenging than I had expected.  I relied heavily on my digital artwork, which I was able to create via a plethora of photographs I've taken over the years.  Still...the journal pages were still feeling encumbered and heavy to me.

I went for a minimalist approach next.
(c) SZing.  Art Journal page 2010

Like any art endeavor, it takes time to develop a "voice" and a "style."  

With years of practice, I've gotten to a place where I mostly like my art pages and feel they are expressing from my heart zone without requiring a lot of interpretation or exploration.  When I create the pages, I am in that creative zone where time stops and I am just humming along.  

Now I teach classes.  If you are in Florida anywhere near the Space coast or Orlando, you might want to check out the Art Journal Sampler Class or the Inspirational Art Journaling--the Divine Art of Journaling on the First Saturday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m. or 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. respectively at The Funky Trunk Treasures, 222 Woodland Blvd in Deland, FL during 2014.

(c) SZing. Art Journal Page 2013

(c) SZing. Art Journal Page 2013

(c) SZing. Art Journal page 2013
In 2014, there are big things ahead for my art journals...one of my art journals, The Art of Words, will be on an art show tour from Brooklyn, NY to Los Angeles, CA throughout the year.

(c) SZing, 2013 The Art of Words Art Journal Book
I also am participating in a participatory art journal project where my journals will be included in a digital library and traveling art exhibitions in 2015 through Artify Projects.  I've just registered and am gathering ideas for it.  This project is called InspiritUS.  There is still time to register for this art journal project (through April 30, 2014) if you want your artwork to be included in the digital library and go on tour.  I'm hoping to be selected as one of the artists featured in Art Outside the Box ezine as a result.

My last reason for art journaling?  It just feels great.  Makes me feel like a kid again--in a good way.