Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Journaling Crossroads

As I try to rest and recover from surgery, I've been doing a lot of aimless sitting at my studio table.  I suppose this could be blamed on post-surgical fatigue or painkillers (although my intake of that is minimal by now.)  In truth, when it comes to art journaling, I was staring blankly at my journals long before my latest trip under the knife.  My journals, so long my best friends, have become strangers or in the very least, acquaintances I wish I knew better.

I've felt for a while now that I'm at a crossroads with journaling.  Don't get me wrong: I love it but I do feel like my journals aren't working for me.  Instead of collaging and painting, confessing, chronicling and/or affirming, I'm busy having an affair with my sketchbooks...no fancy pages or deep, dark thoughts...just musings in pencil or pen.  I have dozens of sketchbooks and for the past several weeks, I've worked in one or more of them every day.

I see my sketchbook work as separate and unrelated to my art journaling.  My journals feel like a collection of mini art projects while my sketchbooks are the foundation of my art life.  In my journals, I worry about the end product; in contrast, I pour my brain and heart into my sketchbooks without a care in the world.  My journals are work and my sketchbooks are play.  That division is frustrating to me and I am trying to develop some sort of format that combines the best of both worlds.

I don't want to give up my more "arty" journals but my time and energy are limited.  I don't feel like I can do both but I do feel like both ways of recording my life are important.  It is a conundrum and I've been stewing over this problem for a while.  In fact, I actually feel a little anxious now when working in some of my journals.  When I open them to the next blank page, I often hesitate, unsure of how to proceed.  Instead of letting go, I shut down. 

I don't want a bunch of unfinished journals lying around.  And some of my journals still feel relevant; ironically, those are the ones that I've neglected the longest.  I keep thinking the answer will suddenly become clear or that I'll realize it isn't really about journaling versus sketching but rather more about a sneaky and stubborn case of creative block.  I think the best thing to do is to stop worrying about it, stop overanalyzing, stop problem-solving and just get on with the art, no matter what form that takes.  Easier said than done but I'm going to give it a whirl.  Hang on tight...this ride may get a little wild....

1 comment:

  1. Oh my word can I ever relate to this post! I struggle with the same issues, and right now I have about a billion journals I've started and I'm feeling discombobulated about it all. I am taking Mary Ann's FTB class too, and I'm thinking that I might try to just stick everything imaginable into my FTB journal and see what happens! Good luck to you!

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