So here I am at the end of my personal January challenge. Art journaling daily turned out to be a transformative process for me. I feel powerful and fearless. Because of that, I don't think I should stop.
I decided art journaling every day meant that I would engage with my art journal in some way daily. For me that involves making marks, or gluing something down, painting, or anything like that to affect my journal visually. Most days this lasted an hour or more, but some days it really was just ten minutes before bed. Sometimes I would just mindlessly scribble or put one layer of paint down.
There is a concept in The Artist's Way of quantity over quality. The idea is to just make make make and assume that the universe will take care of the quality of the work. Because we are part of the universe. I believed it before, but I feel it now.
Here are my takeaways from the challenge:
- I was an art journal-er before this challenge--for the past decade. And, I felt like I art journaled a whole lot. But it really has been the "every day" part of this challenge that has changed me.
- I've noticed in the past that when I can't do my art for a whole day or two (or maybe a whole work week), I have felt disconnected from myself. I get this negative feeling--a self-judgment that I "never" make art. I feel resentful of whatever I am doing (work, socializing, errands) that I perceive is keeping me from my art. By prioritizing art journaling over painting onto surfaces, I was able to squeeze in at least ten minutes or so each day.
- I've had an all-or-nothing approach to art making in the past. If I didn't have a significant block of time to work on a painting then I just wouldn't work on it at all. But, enough days like that and the habit of not painting gets stronger. That's where the sense of disconnection starts. Right now, art journaling feels like the cure to that sense of disconnection.
- Daily art journaling has given me a concrete sense of creative abundance. Countless times I approached my journaling practice uninspired, but as I worked I would always make progress and arrive somewhere, to a new idea. This is much more productive for me than just thinking and thinking until I feel inspired enough to begin. I can spend days doing that.
- The daily practice felt surprisingly spiritual to me. Sometimes I felt like a witch conjuring up ideas. As I practice following my creative instincts each day, I actually get better at it. Art journaling has offered me a deep self-trust.
- I did not feel restricted to moving toward finished compositions. I hadn't realized that the pressure of painting on a canvas or panel was affecting me, but I am able to work more freely in my art journal. That freedom feels powerful, and it motivates me to get riskier with my larger paintings.
- And, exploring freely in my art journal gives me so many ideas!