Something is happening. Something is breaking open. Something is being born. Art journaling is the new therapy… and much like meeting with a licensed professional, it’s all a process. Sometimes scary, sometimes frustrating, but always worthwhile.
What is art journaling? It’s an intuitive creative exercise that allows spontaneous self expression with no end in mind. By starting from a place with no specific plan, the process is unlike most other forms of artistic expression. In fact, one is encouraged to never start two pages the same way. You need to arrive at your pages with no intention, idea or specific scraps or images in mind.
How does one art journal? Firstly, it’s private. It’s not for sale. It’s a place to experiment, try new things, be curious, go wild!!! Approaching each page differently allows for discovery. For instance, you might just… cover the spread in paint, glue down a scrap, draw an object without looking at the page, start from a glob of gel medium, or use pastels or pencils. Try creating with the scraps that have been cut off the edges of previous pages… I always repeat to myself: “never the same, not from habit, not from the tried and true… but from my edge.” If it comes from habit or a familiar place, then start again or cover it over with Gesso, quickly! It’s hard at first, but it gets easier with time and practice.
What is the benefit of art journaling? If you can get quiet while art journaling you’ll actually catch your fears or disturbances bubbling up! It’s similar to meditation. The thoughts surface, and often what comes up are doubts or questions you have about yourself. Questions like, is this good, why am I doing this, will this sell, who am I kidding etc… or this is the best, I’m so talented, this is the most interesting thing out there. You might have all those feelings about the same piece… and if you allow those thoughts to surface, and notice them, and keep working, something magical will start to happen. You’ll move beyond all the chatter and begin to create from your “real self”—a place of pure expression—and discover things about yourself. The artwork will take on a new life.
The Rules of Art Journaling: This art journaling approach differs from how I’ve journaled previously. I live by the following rules. Rule 1: Never tear out a page. Rule 2: Always work on a spread (not one page)… and Rule 3: Try to start from a different place or with a different material each time.
Art Journaling in Practice: When unhappiness seeps in or frustration or a foggy brain… Journal. Feeling good, elated or even down-right giddy… Journal. Stuck, open, or everything in between… you got it, journal. Whether you’re experiencing a time of joy or personal challenges, journaling can help. In good times, it can help you more fully realize how abundant your life is, while at more difficult times it can encourage growth and resolution. Try it for yourself! I know it has really helped me artistically, mentally and even spiritually.
Now every chance I get in the studio, I’m journaling… fearlessly. A great advantage is that I get to use all the bits and bobs that have been collecting, such as my Gelli prints, paint pens, paints, pastels, collage materials… it’s fantastic. I feel liberated!!! I also feel that I can finally call myself a true artist, because I’m not “consciously” doing this; it’s coming from a place deep inside and I’m not in control. I’m playing! And it’s joyful!
To whom I am grateful: Until I discovered Pnina Gold’s journals, I was convinced that “journaling” just wasn’t for me. But when I leafed through her books, I was floored. So pure and raw and expressive. So I took a few classes with her and now I love the process. Pnina, changed my approach to expressing myself on the page and for that I am truly grateful.