A Glimpse Into My Art Journals

I officially go back to work on Wednesday. My ten week vacation is over and I can hardly believe it. At the beginning of my break I stated plans to create an Art Vlog that I would share here on Dirty Footprints. In June I tried, but found out I’m not the most tech savvy of chicas. So today, I gave it another shot. I had this idea that I would share with you my couple art journals. After about fifty million tries I finally got a video that was acceptable. Not great, nothing special, but acceptable. I tried uploading it to YouTube, and faced problems. I tried uploading it to Blogger, same deal. The video thing is just not suppose to happen for me, my friends. Anyways, I felt really silly talking to my little video camera. I can’t really get into it and be natural. I much rather stand behind my written words or post the Art I create in old fashioned still photographs.
I have two Art journals, piles and piles of sketchbooks, and literally boxes of journals. What’s the difference? Well, technically not much. They’re all books of various shapes, sizes, and paper weights–but I use them in different ways. Sketchbooks are always places for me to experiment with new ideas and/or techniques. I put tons of stuff in sketchbooks that inspire me–pictures, articles, poems, paintings and drawings I print out, just about anything. I also use sketchbooks to record pieces I make. Usually I draw a sketch of a finish piece, along with a little description.

The above picture is from my first official Art Journal. I drew it the day after I saw the movie Modigliani. (If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you run out and get it, along with a big box of Kleenex!) I became really intrigued with Modigliani’s work after seeing that movie. I related to it in some fashion. It really spoke to me. So I drew one of his paintings, and turned it into a child version of me by adding the little string necklace with my Connie rainbow pendant hanging that I used to wear as a little girl.

My first Art Journal is a beautiful leather bound journal with heavy watercolor-like paper in it. The bind is sewn beautifully and the edges of the pages are ragged and different sizes. Gorgeous. I fell in love with the book. Before it ever became an Art journal, it was simply my journal.

No exaggeration, I literally have boxes and boxes of journals. Journals are my constant companion is this life. My journal lays on the floor next to me when I go to bed at night, and is the last thing I stash in my purse before leaving the house in the morning. I write like crazy. I write all the time. My journal is a place where I vent, make lists, write down notes, names or numbers when I meet people. My journal is where I record a series of Yoga poses we did in class that I liked. My journal is where I release my thoughts, feelings, dreams, disappointments, etc. etc. My journal is a direct conversation with my subconscious. But a journal is a whole different arena for me, then the Art journal.
Like I said, my first Art journal was originally intended to be my journal. (A bit confusing, huh?!?!) But sometimes I grow out of journals. Something happens and they just don’t feel right anymore. Maybe I make a shift in my perspective, in the way I see my life, and I can’t keep dragging that part around with me. So I add it to the others, and move on.

Instead I started creating Art right over my writing. You can see that in both of these photos.

In my Art Journal, I think I dive deeper then I do in my regular journals. I use images and colors to express those parts of me that words can sometimes not express. The above photo was hard for me to post on Dirty Footprints. It’s so honest, so vulnerable, so revealing of a darker side of my past. Actually, lot of what I wrote in that journal was describing a darker, harder part of my existence at one point. The main reason why I decided to start creating Art over it, was so I could hide those written words. I didn’t want to throw this beautiful, very expensive journal away. Noway. But I didn’t want to live any longer with the darkness written there. I think in my attempt to suffocate my words, I actually liberated them.
That’s how an Art Journal is so much different then a journal for me. And certainly worlds of difference from my sketchbooks. But, all in essence are works from my hands and heart.
But different intentions I guess—Different ways of expressing and discovering myself, this journey I am on, my relationships, and the secrets of the universe even. Well, maybe some day! My first Art Journal is not finished. After awhile, I grew out of that one. My dark period, which I like to think has some resemblance to Picasso’s Blue Period, was over. Time to start anew. The above photo is now the first pages in my current Art Journal that I started almost two years ago. The writing here is the poem The Journey by Mary Oliver.

This Art Journal was definitely off to a good start. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary black hard- cover sketchbook you can but at the Art Store. No leather bound or heavy paper. But this book is filled with so much more happiness, love, and positive energy. You can see it in the colors—look above. You can see all the joy I experience through my students’ work coming through here by the addition of glitter! Fun!

My current Art Journal is heavily influenced by Yoga. The top three photos is evidence of that. My Yoga school is awesome because we always start the class with satsang, or in other words, a brief talk about the spiritual part of the study. Yoga is full of great stories that make these vivid images in my mind. I rush home after practice and can’t wait to put them in my Art Journal.
The first photo illustrates a poem by the Sufi poet Hafiz that says: “Through all the years the sun has never told the earth ‘you owe me’. This is such an incredible love that it lights up the whole sky.” Isn’t that one of the most beautiful lines you ever read? I love it.
The second photo is a bit silly. There is a photo of me standing on my head. It was a great day at my old school , where the gym teachers and I were fooling around during our break, and we each stood on our heads. The original photos were blown up and placed on some bulletin board for something, but I posted it in my Art Journal because it was one of those days that my body felt like a child’s body. At school the gym teachers and I did headstands and cart wheels, and later at my Yoga practice, I did my first crow pose!.
Last photo is really personal. It has to do with a feeling I had one night at Yoga practice during savasana. I wrote there another line from Hafiz: “We are God in drag.” But that line actually has nothing to do with the feeling I was trying to record. I just liked the line. See, once again, this amazing way of expressing oneself without words…that’s what an Art journal is for me. That is why I need one in my life.

DON”T FOLLOW THE BIRD!! Basically I drew this after listening to a great folk tale Hansel told me that is popular in Costa Rica. The story was magical. Magic is another good thing to add to an Art Journal. Definitely.
I remember the night I put this image into my Art Journal. I wrote in pencil “I am thankful I can see.” This evening I was walking Nyla accompanied by one of the most amazing sunsets ever. This sunset was life changing, in that it inspired certain emotions and thoughts I never knew exited.

In my current Art Journal I love adding doors that open up, secret little pages, and pockets.

Plus, like in the above two photos, I hide things too. I stapled the black and white photos Hansel took of me over the painting of the heart that says “Need of repair.”

But the one thing an Art Journal needs a little of is fun. I had fun making these little cards, and I’m not sure why I tied them on a string. But I love how I turned my tree painting into a secret pocket for the cards to rest in.
And last, my current Art Journal is full of lots of love. Even the canine kind!
Peace & Love.
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