Art Journaling as a Practice

Journal sample

The first question people ask when I tell them that I teach art journaling is, “what is art journaling”? I wish I had a simple definition but there are a myriad number of techniques, styles and approaches. Here I am giving you a bit of insight into my practice.

It starts with a purchased journal or a repurposed book. You gather art supplies, collage scraps, photos and your favorite pen or pencil. Think of it is a personal, visual “nest” where you can release your ideas, thoughts and emotions using writing, painting, collage and any number of mixed media supplies. Some people simply doodle and sketch. Others will play with paint and marks intuitively. And, some will use all and every tool available to them. What is great about an art journal practice is that the pressure is off. You do not need to show it to anyone and it will likely never be in a show or sold, so you are free to explore in any way you wish. There really is no right or wrong way to art journal! And, that is the beauty of the practice.

Where to start?

I usually start with writing an entire page of “free writing” where I am letting the words and phrases just naturally land on the page. I am not concerned about grammar, spelling or whether it is entirely legible. How freeing! The next step is to either work on top of the writing by adding paint, collage, photos, lines and more.

writing sample

You can also start with one small idea, perhaps a paint color, a doodle, or a photograph. Then see where that takes you and do one thing at at time. When you are not sure what to do next, leave it alone and come back to it after some time.

pink flowers

No Pressure

Not only is it relaxing, it gives you a place to record things that you like, from a place of intuition. Knowing that it doesn’t ever have to be “done” or be sold, you are free to do whatever you want. We all have enough stress in our lives! I often come up with new ideas for paintings when I journal. Sometimes, it is just a way to stay creative when I am not painting.

Flowers

Exploring Your History

An important aspect of my art journaling practice is journaling my life experiences and my ancestors lives. Through pictures, images, writing and mixed media techniques, I can honor my life and those who came before me. This one includes images of my great grandmother, my grandmother and me. It puts a whole new meaning to scrapbooking! It is a wonderful way of representing your life.

Ancestor journal page

Teaching is an Honor

Art Journaling is a joy teach. I love to give a prompt, add poetry and other unconventional materials around a theme and see what students create. The same prompt and materials can be so different student to student and it really shows each person’s unique style and approach. I love to see what people come up with! So much fun and also a great way to build community. It reminds me of generations earlier where women would gather and stitch or knit together. It is a bonding experience and a beautiful way to get to know other people.

Journaling workshop

If you are looking for a class or workshop, check out my current class schedule here.

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