I have read murmurings lately from more than one blog about conflicts people have with art journalling. About the stuff that we buy for it, about what it means to art journal, people’s perceptions about what it is. Visual diaries, art journals, journals, diaries, people give it different names in order not to fit into any perception of what art journalling is, but my secret is that I don’t care about any of that.
My art journal is a place for me to play, experiment, paint, work things out. I write in mine, I have pages that are deeply personal and will never be shown, I have other pages I am happy for people to see. It isn’t a judgment on what art journal pages should look like before they can be shown, but rather I have stuff that I don’t care to share with everyone. Like real life. I write a lot in my journal, and then I tend to cover it up with paint and stuff. I love paint so paint is my go-to that I choose over anything else. But I experiment. I try other techniques and play. But I tend to default back to paint.
But that is me. And my secret is that there are no rules about art journalling. I am saddened that people get caught up in what a page should look like. Don’t worry about it. I think it is tied up in concerns about discovering your style. And my feelings about that are again not to get caught up in that. Just create, and the more you create the more your style will develop. It happens naturally. Just happens. One day you take a look through your work and discover you have your own style after all. You have been going along just creating, and all by itself your style comes through. And then once you think you have your style pegged…boom! Changes. You start to favour new techniques, new colours. Your pages still look like you (after all…who else would they look like when you do them, even if you follow someone step by step, you still come through in there), but they are changing and developing, just like you aren’t the same person you were five years ago, your pages will change as well. Don’t angst about creating in your journal. Just create. No matter what you call it, no matter what you use (and yes I am an art supply hoarder, but I have my own go to supplies and most of my pages are mainly paint and sumi ink, which at the moment has become a favourite resource), no matter what your intention or inspiration is…create. Create a lot of pages, good, pretty, messy, ugly, each page you create will teach you something.
The page will be what it is. Don’t go into it knowing what your page will look like. Just experiment. Listen to your own intuition if you get stuck. And your pages will scream you, no matter what they look like, and they will mean something to you, and that is the most important thing. Not pasting photos online, or impressing people (though that is nice as well :)) but just creating. Stopping that monkey mind from chattering and putting yourself on the pages. Working things out like a cheap therapist or just playing on the page and experimenting and making a mess.
Can’t recommend that enough.