Lessons from "Scraps"

My "Scraps" journal is nearing its end...just about ten pages left to complete.  This book has been an adventure, a place where I've explored techniques I hadn't tackled before: no dates, extremely few words, gouache & colored pencil flowers, virtually no collaged imagery (from sources other than my own work) as focal points.  I've learned quite a few things from this journal:
  1. I miss having a place to record my daily thoughts, observations, and events.  I've kept a "daily diary" of sorts on & off for many years and I stopped once again in July 2013.  I often get tired of writing a little blurb every morning but every time I decide to give up on the practice, I discover that I miss it.  It is a valuable, grounding morning ritual.  I need to restart my diary-style journal for 2014.
  2. I love slow journaling!  I have thrown out the notion that when I sit down to journal, I have to complete a page or spread from beginning to end in a fevered marathon session.  First of all, I simply don't have the time or energy to work like that anymore but more importantly, journaling accomplished at a leisurely pace feels more holistic and genuine.  The pages develop of their own accord rather than being so deliberately crafted.  The downside to this way of working is that I have less material to illustrate blog posts.
  3. I am head over heels in love with gouache!  Seriously smitten!  I also adore bright colors (duh!), simple layouts, and heavily-worked backgrounds.  In the latest pages, I've also discovered a passion for working with Dura-Lar, a material I'll discuss in a future post.
  4. Finally, I realized that I can indeed generate enough of my own personal imagery to fill an entire journal.  Between my own paintings, drawings and photos, hand-lettering, carved stamps, color copies of prior journal pages, and copyright-free or "generic" images, I think I can eliminate *predetermined* imagery almost completely.  I've been working towards this for several years and I finally feel like I've arrived...
I am so excited to see how my journaling continues to evolve and grow over the next year!

*Predetermined* Imagery:  Commercial rubber stamps (such as specialized "art" stamps), purchased collage fodder/scrapbooking notions, and magazine clippings that come to your journal with someone else's recognizable style attached.  Copyright questions aside, I feel that heavily predetermined imagery, used with little to no alteration, detracts from my unique voice by screaming out the name of another popular designer or artist.  I seek to keep those sorts of intrusions to a minimum in the majority of my journal work.  Exceptions to this rule include inspiration "gluebooks" (analog pin boards) and my daily diary which I love to fill up with all manner of scrapbook supplies and found clippings.