Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Art Journaling Dream Team

I recently spilled the (magic) beans that I have an art journaling dream team ... three powerfully talented artist superheroes from whom I draw inspiration. I am willing to share them here with you. In fact, I can't help but gush. They inspire me to bust out of my creative comfort zone, which -- when it comes to journaling -- isn't particularly creative at all. I need all of the help I can get!

I have kept handwritten journals since my teens. I have joyfully filled an infinite number of blank books and emptied countless Pilot Precise V5 pens over the last (gulp) 30 years. Julia Cameron would surely pat my head and give me a gold star if she knew that morning pages were the first thing (okay, fine, third thing) I've done almost every day for the last dozen years. All of the money I've saved on therapy has been invested in more blank books and V5s. Through this writing process, I have made some insightful discoveries along the way. It's a habit that I hesitate to release.

Yet lately I've found myself yearning to go deeper and do more with my journals than just write in them. I am hungry to add some playfulness to the process. Let's face it, life is messy. Doesn't that fact warrant expression on the page? The older I get, the less inclined I am to simply download deep (to me) thoughts from pen to paper. Honestly, I feel like I've been wrestling with and writing the same things over and over again for years. Now, finally, I find myself beckoned to move the words to a supporting role and capture moments and feelings on the page in unconventional (again, to me) ways.

Each day can be seen as its own separate story. Like a patchwork quilt, an art journal binds these stories together to reveal the magic and masterpiece of day-to-day life. It's hard to be satisfied with only words on the page when I see, through the creativity of others, the vast array of emotions and intricate layers to life's stories that an art journal (and all art, for that matter) can convey.

Although there are so many incredible artists sharing their journeys through their journals on the web, these three women are particularly near and dear to my heart:

Teesha Moore is responsible for jarring me into assessing my journaling process and asking, "What if?" She is generous with sharing her techniques on her blog. She is equally generous with photographs of her work and studio. Drool, drool, drool. Prepare to feast your eyes upon (or shield your eyes from) her art supply porn. Her best posts leave me dazed and cruising the aisles at Michael's for a fix. Her journal pages are whimsical, with a smidge of strange, which I absolutely adore. It's a dreamworld of artful eye-candy. I should be so lucky to take a class from her some day.

Judy Wise is a relatively recent discovery for me out here in blogdom. I may be late to her party, but she has a fan in me. She generously shares personal and professional glimpses into her flourishing daily life as well as her vivid, image-rich journals. More than once, I have clicked on a new post and gasped. If I could keep a journal like the beauties that she creates, dishes would pile up and dogs would go unfed. It's doubtful that I'd ever sleep. How could I ever find the time to do anything other than journal? Well, I'm more than willing to give it a try and see how it goes. As with Teesha, it would be an honor to take a class from Judy some day. Journaling AND art dolls, please. Swoon.

Last but far from least is Amy Bogard. Amy's art journals are less about mixed media and more focused on heartfelt sketches that capture what a photographer aspires to seize with the lens. Bigger, brighter, and bolder isn't necessarily better when it comes to art journaling. Sometimes a small sketch with delicate details and just a few words can say all that needs to be said ... with surprising impact. As I prepare to travel to Taos next year with Amy and friends, I welcome the opportunity to fall in love with this form of journaling and I'm curious to see what I discover about it and myself in the process.

I encourage you to visit the websites of these three phenomenal artists (if you haven't already). Spend some time going through their archives. Be a witness to the care and keeping of their journals. See if their work inspires you as well.

If you are inclined, share with me in the comments your thoughts and discoveries on journaling. What works for you and what doesn't? Who are some of your creative superheroes?

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