Some Deep Thoughts Prompted by a Page I Hate

True story:  I loathe that hand collage on the right hand side of this spread; I want to rip it out of the journal every time I see it.  I've had a long time goal of eliminating magazine image collage from my work, especially if those images are basically unaltered and just slapped on the page...ick!  I've managed to purge my studio of about 80% of my image collection, either by throwing it away or donating it to a middle school journaling class I teach.  I've kept stuff I can alter (lots of generic vintage or copyright-free material) and images that can serve as accents for my own hand drawn or handpainted focal points.  If I get the urge to fill a page with collage (or prepurchased, scrapbooky-type items,) I have a journal just for that product-dumping style.  In general though, I want to stretch my brain and harness my painting & drawing abilities to create imagery that really reflects a piece of me and not someone else's vision.

Now before I get a bunch of hate mail incorrectly assuming that I am bashing art journalists that lean heavily on images sourced from magazines, please understand that this approach is what I have deemed necessary to expressing my voice.  This is my path prompted by my personal philosophy.  Do I wish more people would venture past cutting & pasting?  Yes.  (And I feel that more & more people are bravely venturing into what they can create themselves.)  I think there is deep value (beyond respect of copyrights) in generating your own imagery, whether you are using your own photos or doodling your own characters.  I think it helps to confront fear and reveal the uniqueness of the individual.  I also know two more things: 1) everyone has to start somewhere and collage is an excellent way to begin defining and expressing your voice and 2) not everyone likes to draw and paint.  Collage work is its own art form and can be very beautiful, expressive, and profound.  For me, it just doesn't "fit."  (And remember I am specifically referencing the use of images swiped wholesale from magazines and used as the primary image on a journal page.)

It is most important to journal in whatever way feels "right" to you.  No matter how much I hate that hand collage now, there was something that felt "right" at the time I created it.  It voiced something I couldn't put into words (or my own images) and for that reason it has value.  So I won't tear it out or cover it up.  I'll let it stand as an honorarium to whatever internal dialogue I needed to express on that day.  And I'll move onwards, following the sometimes undeniable urges and often barely audible whispers of my soul.  My journals will reflect both what I know for sure and what I can only guess.  If you follow your heart when journaling, it doesn't matter what techniques or mediums you use.  The result will be something authentic and worthwhile.      


Unknown said…
Thank you for your sincerity, I like your comments on your work. I'm not always ok whith you. For me collages are so a way to
express something to introduce in my journal a new technique, because at some point I feel like to cut up paper and then to
stick it in this moment. I can't explain that, but it the expression of my moods. I am a new "journaler" I have no techniques to draw, paint, but I'm learning, and I think that always I kept collage. Sorry for my English, I don't speak very well, but I hope that you understand me.
Lori Tan said…
I love your blog. It is so inspirational and gives me so many ideas. Thank you for taking the time to blog and share your artwork. I visit often.
I like your take on leaving pages alone once they're finished. If a page bugs me, I go in and change it..but, I always remember that I changed it, and that kinda bugs me, too. lol I should probably just leave well enough alone, huh?