The Joy of Journaling was unknown to me until about 6 months ago. Before then, the only type of art journal I used was a sketchbook full of my latest on location drawings. But these were not for evolving, testing and solving. So what made me start keeping a different type of journal; what changed?
The short answer is several things: First, I took a couple of courses (FYJ and FYV) on line (I’ve blogged about these previously here) which encouraged the process as part of painting development. Secondly, I started to develop series of paintings about a particular subject. Both of these things, nudged me to keep quite a different type of art Journal.
In order to develop my paintings, which, so far, are about place and my feelings of place, I need to talk and write about those feelings. I also need to consider a range of other things associated with creating the work. I need a place for that ‘stuff’; somewhere to go with it. The Journal was that place!
The Joy of Journaling-The contents
I used to keep books and journals for previous creative endeavours, including for my design work (I was previously a landscape designer). The Art Journal I am describing provides me with a focus for my early painting work in series. Whereas previously, I may have been tempted to scribble things on bits of paper (that eventually got lost) or think things but not write them (eventually they got forgotten); this way, they are captured. Moments in time; ideas to discard or develop. But the journal is more than this, its also a place for evolving some of the painting process; some of the workings out. Here are the things I’ve included in the ongoing journal for my current painting series about cotton mills.
- Exploration of Why I wanted to paint this particular subject; digging into the reasons through constant exploration.
- Drawings and small collage pieces that explore aspects of my work
- Evaluation of painting preference, related to aspects of painting including tone, colour, mark making etc.
- Versions of my paintings with analysis
- Exploration of colour palette and notes of colour mixing
- Exploration about the feelings and mood I want to create in the paintings and why
Here is a video I created about the journal.
The Joy of Journaling-A way forward
For now, it seems that this journal approach will serve as the ‘thinking’ part of my more intuitive painting in series approach. A place for the structure and thinking, so that my paintings can be developed more spontaneously and intuitively. I will of course still keep sketchbooks for drawings and collage experimentation. It is also likely that I will start to keep a more general type of creative journal. Getting emotions and feelings related to art practice and daily thoughts out on paper may be a useful antidote for feeling stuck-such is the life of an artist!
Do you keep a journal? If so, how do you use it? Is it a key part of your daily life/creative process? Whatever ‘your way’ is, happy journaling and I welcome your thoughts!