Friday, July 25, 2014

My Art Journaling Hang Up

Being an artist who has spent years making artwork to be critiqued at school or, more recently, by clients, the concept of just playing around and making art with no purpose but feeling can be intimidating. As an avid journal keeper and artist, I thought that keeping an art journal would be a great way for me to record my experiences. I've only finished a few page spreads, because I initially found art journaling frustrating. The dreaded internal critic in my brain set in and I set it aside for a long time.

My goal has been to get past this critic because I have witnessed how healing making art for art sake can be. I've had a strong interest in art therapy since I worked at a residential mental health facility as an art teacher. I saw several patients, especially the kids, act calmer and seem more at ease after our art sessions. For some of these individuals it was one of the few times they were able to get off their ward other than meals. Making art became a basic instinct for patients to express what can't be said with words. As I've been dealing with some personal issues lately, I'm finding that written words just aren't cutting it right now.

Over the past few weeks I finally started seriously working in my abandoned art journal. I really love the actual book itself. I got it because the pages are extremely thick, so I can do mixed media work in it. The pages don't have much of a tooth for charcoal or conte. For this problem, I simply gesso or prime the pages to add roughness for the medium to stick to. However, they are perfect for pen and ink.

To make myself loosen up I've been working with cheap, non-precious materials like Crayola markers and colored pencils and old random pencils I found in the bottom of the art drawer. Using materials that I would typically associate with my first art making experiences as a child makes the process not as pressured as it would be working on pieces to make money off of or for a client.

While I've been making art for years, I  am a novice keeping an art journal. The following links are to some amazing bloggers and veteran art journalers. Samie-Kira HardingRoben Marie Smith, and Pam Garrison. If you are interested in starting an art journal yourself, these sites will be a big help. Many of them have some great tutorials for material use and even bookbinding.

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