Words and Images: Art Journaling

I love Art Journals. I get excited when I see them and feel that pull/push from inside that says, “I want to do that! Let’s do that!” I promise myself that we will, we will. But every morning my journaling consists of words, words, words, with only the occasional image pasted in or little bit of color added.

You’ve heard my confession before: I’m a shy artist. I don’t even dare to use that word about myself, but I am pulled to book art, art journals, cool mixed media art that uses found items and text. What I’ve learned from so many creative teachers is that if you’re drawn to something, go ahead, play, explore, see what wants to be expressed.

I’ve dabbled some in art journaling in the past. When I lived in Barcelona, we availed ourselves of all the culture we could stand, partaking of all the good food, local sights, and community events; we went, we saw, we participated and I saved. Everything. Here are a couple of pages from the journals I created from those days. I didn’t call them art journals, I just cut and glued and added color and wrote a few words. Mostly I wanted to keep the ephemera as mementos, memory-building. I’ve barely dabbled since I returned to San Diego a decade ago.

art journal 1But this winter many serendipitous occurrences have constellated that tell me: Now is the time. Go make some art journals, wild woman.

First: At our Vision Board workshop in January, several of us were so impressed by V.C. Groves’s art journals, we asked if she’d consider leading an art journal group. She said “Yes.” We said “Yes.” We began to plan our first meeting for sometime in February.

Then: Sadly, my friend and another beautiful art journalor, Erin Perry, died. How I used to love to go to Erin’s home/studio in Morro Bay and marvel at her bins and boxes and stuffed away and stacked up ephemera and embellishments. She’d let me open a few of her many art journals and altered books and I couldn’t help but sigh as I paged through them. That old longing would return.

Recently I had breakfast with Erin’s partner, Margot Silk Forest, another beautiful artist whose company is Sassy Feet (she creates art from shoes and teaches others how to do it). In talking about my love of Erin and her work, Margot asked if I’d like to have some of Erin’s books on art journaling. Would I? I thrilled to receive this one in the mail the other day, Erin’s tags and sticky notes still attached. I like to imagine some of her energy and inspiration is held within these pages.

IMG_3792Finally: my sister Jackie (you may know her as Jackson Gray, creator of Jackpots Pottery), and my brother-in-law, Craig, and I got together for dinner and to exchange Christmas presents. (I know, right) This is what Jackie and Craig gave me. Have you ever seen such riches!

IMG_3778Now I just need to go shopping for the supplies on the list V.C. sent us as we begin our art journaling adventure. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Are you a journal keeper? Do you use words/language only, or do you play around with art journaling, too?

8 thoughts on “Words and Images: Art Journaling

  1. Erin would be DELIGHTED that you are falling in love with art journals and ephemera! If you ever need ANY, I inherited an embarrassing amount of STUFF when she passed. The thing that got her started with art (she began with altered books) was when she read that you CAN’T do it wrong because there are no rules. So let loose, wild woman. Love, Margot (Erin’s wife — I refuse to call myself a widow!)

    • Thanks for commenting, Margot (and yes! Erin’s wife–widow is a hard word; I have only used it to describe myself on very official forms. So hard to think of myself that way). Oh, yes, altered books. I love them, too. I wonder, the more I get into this, if my apartment will begin to look like your lovely Morro Bay place, with all those boxes and bins and shelves and drawers of STUFF. You just never know when you might need “that.” I used to like to read Erin’s blogs when she’d post a particularly fascinating find. much love, Judy

  2. I love this!!! A few years ago i started sketching and watercoloring as my “travel journals”… and embellishing with Haiku. Words and picture meditations. I’m all for sharing and learning more about using words and art together!

    • I love “Words and picture meditations,” Cary. My friend Penny Wilkes sends an email every morning with her pictures and words. I asked her how she did it every day and she said it was a meditation. I’d love to see some of your words and picture meditations some time.Thanks for sharing this with me.

  3. Well timed. Yesterday I finally found some gel pens and considered coloured pencils. The light in the house wasn’t conducive to see true colours so I will discern those later this morning when it finally gets light out there. See what that new blistering red lipstick looks like too. I hate it when they insist orange is red.

    I was always afraid to go back to my silly drawings (they are cartoon type as a drawing implement doesn’t know what to do in my hands). Spell check keeps wanting to say implement instead of the Canadian impliment for the noun version of that word. Anyway I thought someone for sure would think I was headed for the Special Care ward.

    But then I used to think writing was for little kids until one day an invisible notebook hit me in the head and said how do you think all those books out there got written.

    Yes. Art is great. And so is the art in your photos.

    Thanks Judy as always.

    • Hi Linda,
      To me, art journaling or collaging or vision boarding or just messing around cutting and pasting is another way of expression when words seem to, what, heavy? uncontrollable? inadequate? Sometimes just making colors on a page will do it for me. It’s play in a way that writing sometimes isn’t, especially when writing against deadline, or when the story is stuck. I’m looking forward to playing at our art journaling group next week. I hope I don’t take myself too seriously.

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