August 10, 2012

art journaling- the real deal

This post: Kelly Kilmer: Keeping it Real is a great one, and very timely... since I've been thinking recently about the 'metamorphosis' of my art journaling. Kelly's post talks about putting your 'real' self into your art journal pages, and that not every page has to be fluffy, flowery, and only about happy things. She's posted some pretty 'heavy' journal pages lately, which is understandable- her father recently passed away, and they were very close... 

I wholeheartedly agree with Kelly's point of view: if journaling is about putting yourself onto the page through words and/or art, then you can't ignore the bad stuff. It's part of life, so (I think) it should go into my journal. In my case, it doesn't always go onto the page as words (or at least not readable words)... 

I also do NOT think art journal pages have to be 'pretty' or artistic' when they're finished; that's way too much pressure for me to put on myself! I know some people use their art journals as a place to practice techniques and try out new things (like color combinations) but I don't do that. My journal isn't practice for other artwork, it is the finished product. So, not every page is going to be 'artistic' or 'pretty' when it's done. It took me a long time to be okay with that, but now, it's a place to do what I want-- if that's pretty in the end, so much the better, but that's not my goal. 

Here's a couple of my recent journal pages as an example:

This page was done after a bad day at work-- I needed to get my bad mood out of my head, so I used Sharpie paint pens to do layered writing, so the actual words aren't readable, but the overall 'mood' comes through. It may end up as a background, or it may stay like it is. It's not pretty- not at all- but it shows how I felt, and I felt better after getting it out onto the page.

This page isn't about a bad mood, or being sad, but it does show that I don't always go for the 'artistic, pretty' page. I made this page after going shopping last Saturday and got some cool new stuff, so I wanted to document that on a page. I used scraps of all the papers I bought, and four different pieces of deco tape-- I know the things on this page don't 'match' each other, but that wasn't the point of it.

This page isn't pretty at all! I made it not long after I found out I had an ovarian tumor, and this page was all about getting the fear and negative feelings out onto the page. This page doesn't even have any words, but it doesn't need any-- when I look at it, I remember how I felt. 

Here's an earlier journal page, from 2008. It's another one that's not pretty (in fact, the colors I used are actually kinda ugly), but looking at the topic, I'm pretty sure I wasn't feeling much like using pastel colors and flowers at the time... 

all this is to say, journals are a personal space to do what you want, however you want to do it. Sometimes I do like 'pretty' and 'flowery' but not always-- and that's okay, because the only person I have to please in my journal is me! 

and if you journal, the only person you have to please is you-- so go write some bad words in your journal if you want to, paint with some icky colors if they suit your mood, or scribble over something if you feel like it!  (...seriously, scribbling is such a good way to get out your feelings, and it's fun to do-- lol!!)


Kelly Kilmer said...

I love your honest and real pages. Thank you for sharing.
I totally agree. My pages are the finished product. I remember someone once saying whatever I did was not the way they kept a sketchbook and it was quite odd for them to see how I kept mine. It was just an overall weird reaction. My books are my books and that's all there is to it. ;)

Desert Mermaid said...

the sharpie word page is great -- I do this a lot, also. It makes a great background, and yet you still know the content back there.

Carolyn Dube said...

You are so right that an art journal should be whatever you want it to be for you. My journals let me explore my feelings through creativity, release things that need to be released, and look back at a later date (and often a different point of view) at the events/emotions captured in the art.