Many of you who have followed me since my early days will probably remember how often I used to refer to myself as creatively challenged. Although I’ve engaged in many different creative pursuits over the course of my life – as a child, as a teen, as a young adult and now – for some reason I was convinced that I was not creative. This belief didn’t start to change until I really got heavily involved in card making, designing templates for 3D items and creating some altered art which accidentally evolved into an online business.
As my business started to flourish I started spending time every day just creating – sometimes just for pleasure, but mainly for my blog and for my business. Over time I started to notice a trend – the more time I spent creating, the more easily creativity seemed to flow – regardless of whether I was creating “just for me” or creating for my business. The funny thing is that I never made the connection between the levels of creativity I felt I was experiencing with my paper crafting (which was what I was doing at the time, and which was fantastic) and the levels of creativity I had been experiencing with my mixed media and art journaling (not so great).
It wasn’t until not too long ago, just after I’d finished lamenting to my husband that tapping into my creativity as I was creating art journal pages felt like pulling teeth – that it hit me. Obviously I was struggling with finding my creative flow….I was only art journaling once every few weeks or even months. That’s when I decided to challenge myself to spend time creating daily – specifically spending time in my art journal daily since I already engage in other creative activities almost daily anyways. This art journal page evolved from my little “a-ha” moment.
In the picture above you’ll see the way I’ve recently started approaching my art journaling. First off, I work almost exclusively in the large Dylusions journal. I often start by taping the center seam using masking tape. I then gesso both pages using my Golden Gesso. While there some people that say that they find starting with a blank page or a “white” page intimidating, I personally LOVE it. There is something very restful about painting on my layer of Gesso, and I love the crisp white of the pages when I’m finished that first gesso layer. From there I’ll sometimes simply follow my intuition – what do I feel like using today? OR sometimes I’ll have an inspiration piece or photo that I’m working from.
For this page I had recently been reading Dina Wakely’s book Art Journal Freedom (which I totally recommend), and fell in love with the page you see to the left (I took a photo of it from the book with my iPhone so the quality is not the greatest). Turquoise/Teal is my favourite color, and I loved the bright pop of orange. I also really like the way she grounded her image with the black fabric. You can see similarities in my page – the way I grounded my sentiment with Washi Tape (I opted for a sentiment instead of an image), the use of only two colors – in my case I used Pyrrole red instead of the orange Dina used, and the way I added scribbly journaling in white.
My preference has become to use the right page for my art journaling because I know that the pages are flat underneath as they are still untouched so anything I stamp will stamp pretty clear. The other side of the 2 page “spread” – typically the left page – I use to list the supplies I used and for any directions/notes I want to remember about my page or the creative process or the supplies.
Here you can see a close-up of my page:
And here you can see a close-up of my notes. You can click on either photo to see the image larger.
So why do I journal this way? Art journaling for me serves several purposes: (1) To explore thoughts, feelings, emotions, (2) as a source of personal encouragement, (3) to experiment with supplies, colors, techniques, textures and (4) as a springboard for other artwork. Any one of my pages may become the inspiration for future artwork – sometimes just to help me remember colors or color combinations I particularly loved, maybe as a springboard for a canvas, or something I’m planning on creating prints out of….you never know. Each week I create so much (typically related to my paper crafting), that after several months I may not remember anymore what I used or what I did for a particular project. This way, with my notes, I’m guaranteed to remember.
So here’s my art journaling quick tip for you: If you want to develop your creative skills, if you want to see your creativity bloom and grow beyond your wildest imaginings then challenge yourself to create daily. While any type of creative pursuit is always beneficial – sketching, sewing, cooking, drawing, paper crafts, art journaling, photography etc. – choose creative activities that are relevant to the creative area in which you want to see growth. So if it’s card making – spend time daily making cards, if it’s scrapbooking, spend time daily working on a layout, if it’s art journaling, then spend time daily in your art journal.
Most important note though – you don’t have to create a COMPLETE project every day – for most people that’s an unrealistic expectation. Commit to do doing one little thing – whether it’s gessoing your page, adding a paint layer, adding a little bit of journaling, a few ink splats…..one little thing – EVERY DAY – is all it takes. You’ll start to see your creativity bloom in no time! That’s my secret – it’s worked once for me (with my paper crafting) and I’m seeing it work again with my art journaling.