I have a notebook where I jot down ideas and outlines for blog posts and at this point, I have a lot of things to write about. As usual, I'm just trying to find the time. It took me a while to recharge after my trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival last week; I think that, in general, it is taking me longer to recuperate from most activities, both mundane and out of the ordinary. Still moving onward though so it's all good.
I've been journaling more of late but as I sling paint and glue paper, I am starting to consider where I might take the practice next. I aim to allow my gut and my subconscious lead my art life so I pulled down several volumes of journals and sketchbooks to discover what patterns I saw and what emotions I felt.
When I browsed through past journals, I found two basic types of pages. Most are deliberately composed within a finite time frame: I had an idea, sat down, executed it, and called it done. I also have pages (almost exclusively in my sketch/illustration books) that have spontaneously evolved over a non-specific amount of time. Both ways of journaling are important and offer me different things but I find myself deeply smitten by my sketchbook pages, the ones with random sketches, color swatches, notes about my day, project ideas, quotes I love.
It is possible that I am most intrigued by my sketchbooks because for the last few years, I've been leaning heavily towards drawing and illustration. My word of the year (and for perhaps for ever after) is "story" and not only do my sketchbooks tell overt stories through the drawings I create, they provide other tales as well: what supplies I was testing, what things I was seeing, experiencing, doing on a particular day. Whereas my deliberately-composed pages are moments/thoughts frozen in time, these sketchbook pages are alive. I can easily return to them for reference and in doing so, I often find that I have new things to add, further complicating and invigorating them. Most importantly, these pages are also subverting the perfectionistic planner in me; the goal is the mere collection of images and ideas, not the competent composition of that collection.
NOTE: The pages shown in this post (from my mini "Unexpected Convergences" journal) are a slight fusion of these two styles of working. The backgrounds are built over time as I clean my paintbrushes off here and there or tack down scraps of paper that are cluttering my table. I start deliberate work on the pages once I feel like I have enough interesting color and marks to work with. Next post, I'll show a few of those "smorgasbord" sketchbook pages I've been talking about...