In late June, when I completed my last big journal project, a monster of a book called "Unexpected Convergences," I felt drained. I wondered, in the haze of my fatigue, if perhaps I'd finally had enough of journaling. After 13 years of intense involvement in art journaling, I found that I was actually glad that I didn't have a journal project in progress. I have plenty of unfinished journals but none of those interested me and I couldn't seem to think up any new ideas. At a loss, I simply wandered the studio, picking at piles of paper and fondling supplies, hoping some grand inspiration would strike so I could be off and running again. However, the days stretched into weeks and still nothing came to mind.
Finally, I sat down and started making lists. I made a list of everything I didn't want to do in a journal. I listed where I dreamed my art life would go. I listed my favorite and least favorite supplies. I listed all the things I wanted to try but had neglected out of fear. And as I looked at those lists, a few things became clear. My art, over the last year, had been taking a detour deep into illustration and while I indulged my fancy here and there, I hadn't really stopped to get out and explore. What I was experiencing wasn't fatigue but the disillusionment that occurs when you ignore the whispers of your soul in favor of "the way things have always been."
I've always created mixed media journals. I've drenched every square inch in color. I've layered and layered until my pages buckled under the weight of all the paint. And quite simply, I have had enough. I want simplicity. I want to practice my illustration skills. I want limited supplies and unlimited possibilities.
So, on July 15, I started a new journal, something unlike anything I had done before. I opened a new Moleskine and I began to draw. And over the last couple of weeks, I've continued to simply draw. Collage material is here and there but in general, I use not much more than pencil and pen. There is nary a drop of paint to be found. My art train has pulled into Fiddlestick Hollow Station and will be staying there for a bit. Those long-neglected characters are spilling out onto the page, eager to finally see the light of day.
Lost Coast Post will remain but my focus is changing. Rest assured there'll always be new paintings to show and I'm sure I'll still do some mixed media journaling. The time has come, though, to stretch my wings and try a new flight plan. I would be delighted if you came along for the ride but I completely understand if you choose to depart. As so many sweet readers commented, I just need to follow my heart.