Art Journaling? What for?

That’s how I ended 2019…scratching my head wondering what’s this art journal craziness. The main question I had was why do they do it?

Don’t go looking for answers on youtube, you’ll get bombarded with videos that take 20 minutes to finally get to the point of what they want to say and then forget what they wanted to say. Or those that never get to the point. I wish youtube had a noise meter with each video…

When 2019 was wrapping up, I still kept hearing this buzz and social media was infected with journal this, journal that pics. Some of them were actually quite nice, but then I ran into junk journals…why would someone call their art junk?

I do use a journal now and then to try out color palettes. I thought it would be good to have a sort of recipe book of combinations I tried, liked, didn’t want to forget. I like my journals “dedicated” to one thought, concept, exploration…a way to categorize and find stuff (you know, like with a purpose). Using a square (handbook paper co) journal, I test pigment combinations with an inspiration photo on one side and then draw and paint using those colors on the other side.

inspired by one of my fav artists Charles Dwyer

And that’s fun only it has a “purpose”. I wanted to know what all these “journalers” were having so much fun with when it looked to me like going in circles, no direction, nothing achieved. Of course, that mentality comes from too many years in the corporate world, so I had to fight off that stink…like what’s wrong with just creating something for no reason at all? I was about to find out.

Searching for a course to enlighten me, I was drawn to: Wanderlust 2020 on the Kasia Avery network, a year long, weekly challenge to do something in my journal. That seemed plenty fast enough for me so I joined.

Two months into the course, I am amazed! Not that I’m pumping out great art, but that the nasty critic in my head has finally got bored screaming at me to produce a pretty and perfect piece of art. Now I can really just PLAY!

Ok, it is not that easy and not that simple, although it should be. I’m not there yet and all I’ve collected is a bunch of attempts. But I’m learning that it’s okay to collect failures. I’m challenged by wonderful teachers with all sorts of new ways to make art and be creative. And isn’t that really the bottom line? We just need to create, no matter what it looks like? Don’t we learn something every time, even if the paper goes in the basket? I do. I honestly do. I learn what I like and what I don’t like. And I take a piece of every lesson to my next piece of “pretty” art.

Now here’s the funny thing. When you open one door, yep, another door opens. I hear about a class called The Down Deep with Fonda Clark Haight on the Art is Magic site. Here’s the call line: “Mining your truths on the creative journey”. Is it calling you? It did me.

In this month long class, we get to journal in search of our “true” art calling…digging deep down there…in our internal psyches to find truth. Scary? It was kind of…at first… but Fonda provides such a wonderful, safe place to share it was never scary. We learned to create animals, creatures, people and stories from what she describes as ugly backgrounds. We shared those stories and it was never scary. I don’t want to give away any more lest I get in trouble, but it was a game changer for me! I was now mining something out of a blank page that I’d never even considered before.

here’s my ugly background and finding something…

…here’s my finished piece “The Third Eye Door”

The final project for the month we were challenged to create a piece connecting with our shadow sides. The course really was perfect for me…just the right instruction just when I needed it. This work was my favorite.

“Embrace the Shadow”

What’s Journaling for? For anything! Make a background and just leave it for something you don’t even know you’re going to do yet. Try new things, new artists, new instructions, explore, test and fail with abandon. Remove intentions, rewrite how you create art. Keep it categorized in separate journal books or just mess it all up into 50, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you show up and do it. This is the way art thrives. Go for it!

Lynne Furrer Art
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