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....