Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Old Art Journals Rediscovered: The Art and Poetry Journal

I started my first art journal in December of 2008 - nearly four years ago now.  I forget exactly how I first heard about art journaling, although I think it may have been through a blog on mandalas (something I have long been interested in).  One link led to another, and the more I found out, the more I wanted to try it for myself.  I had no fancy supplies, just a bunch of stickers and scraps of wrapping paper and a set of craft acrylics, but I grabbed the first spare notebook I could find off my shelf and started out.


Flipping through this journal now is almost like looking through the journal of a stranger.  This journal marked the beginning of the most artistic work I had done since elementary school, and my work today seems very different from this.  I stuck stickers on nearly every page, and used a lot of acrylic paint backgrounds.  My drawings are small and awkward, my paint strokes are bold, and my colours are bright and, occasionally, clashing.  The book I used was a hard-covered journal that I had used for taking notes in before.  I painted the cover, but because it was such a smooth surface, much of the paint simply flaked off again.  I had to tear out over half the pages so that the book wouldn't splay out too much.  It had a glued rather than a sewn binding and I'm amazed that this book actually survived in one piece - it must be all the acrylic paint holding it together.  I also used this journal for some of my early attempts at writing poetry using exercises in the book The Practice of Poetry, edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell - hence the title I gave it, the "Art and Poetry Journal."

The page spread I chose to share with you today is one of the earliest ones in the book.  Both of these pages were created separately, but the page spread as a whole really expresses the dichotomy I was experiencing in my life at the time: the happiness at exploring my creativity, and the depression that I was also going through then.  It is a page spread that I feel both happy and sad to look at today: sadness for how trapped I felt then, and happiness for how, even at one of the darkest times of my life, I was able to find some joy in art.

What do your old journal pages say about you?  What do you think when you re-read your old journals today?

Other pages from this journal: Old Art Journal Pages, Art Journal Prompts.

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Old Art Journals Rediscovered is a series of posts dedicated to rediscovering the art journals that I have created over the past four years.  In each post, I will introduce you to one of my old art journals, and share with you one page spread from that journal - not the page spread that is the prettiest or the fanciest, but the one that speaks most clearly to me today.  I hope that by sharing with you the evolution of my own art journals, you will feel inspired to start your own explorations with art.

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