Too many journals?

I have a journal problem. I can’t pass a new one up, even though I have a lot of them already. They are all different sizes and shapes. And these are just the empty ones!

Here is a list of the ones I’m in the middle of. I have only recently come to accept this part of my creative process and not fight it.

 

The big Strathmore one where I paint and glue.

One where I am rewriting the Psalms.

A book where I color and reflect upon the Psalms.

“Color your life” coloring and journaling.

A small magazine collage.

A large magazine collage.

A daily one with meditations, observations, stories, and art and ephemera.

Paper vintage ephemera collage.

One for testing new art supplies and the bison series.

A small leather book (handmade) with meditations on the oneness of God.

A biography of myself using stamps as the illustration / reminders / triggers.

A book where I put in my history and illustrated with printed pictures.

A small journal that I take to church to take notes.

A journal just for writing in with nothing else – no art.  It has meditations and observations on my life trying to figure out how to make things work better.

A dream journal.

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That is a lot of journals!

I use them in different ways, putting different things in them – different materials, different ideas. Some are open to the world, some are more private.

Having multiple journals going at once means that I can work on whatever I want when I want instead of having to feel stuck with one project at a time.

However, I do sometimes feel that I never get anything done, that I have too many “open tickets” to borrow a term from my husband’s work. When this happens I then look at what journals I’m closest to finishing and focus on them.

But it isn’t long before I will start another one!

Sometimes I think I have too many journals, and then I think of hermit crabs, who have to have several different shells to choose from when it is time for them to trade shells. My journals are my shells, where I put myself.

Here are some I have finished that were made with a theme. There are plenty others that are just daily writing or observations.

These include one where I wrote out my favorite verses from the Psalms (on paper I first gessoed and inked); one about the eclipse 8/21/17; a longitudinal study of a maple tree in autumn, and a tiny one that has pictures and words from magazines.

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The story of my heart

This is a mini art journal that I created, using a 5.5 x 3.5 inch notebook from Archie McPhee as the base. I got it from American Science and Surplus as a three-pack, on sale. The notebook said “people to avoid” on the outside.

cover

All of this took about a week, because of the many layers that had to completely dry.

p1

I pulled out several sections from the middle of the book to give me enough room to add what I wanted to add. I find this step critical to producing a final piece that is flat-ish.

p2

I worked on this as a complete unit – not page by page, but I’d do each part of the process to the whole book.

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I used gesso to prime the pages.

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I added various washi tape to the edges, mostly where the pages had started to come apart from the gesso. It had made the pages stick to each other and I’d had to pull them apart.

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Then I added swipes of “Distress Ink” mini stamp pads to the pages, pressing them together and then opening them back up to create a transfer. Getting this to dry without permanently sticking the pages together was a real bear. I had to keep checking on it. I suspect I should have painted each page separately instead of doing the entire thing at once, but that would have taken a lot longer.

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I pulled out my used copy of “Mysticism” by F.C. Happold and pulled out some random pages. I used the mini stamp pads to color them.

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Once dry, I randomly tore the pages into smaller pieces. Only when that was done did I look at the words on the pages to choose which ones would be in the book. This is how the title of the mini journal came about – it was on the section I’d randomly chosen for the first page.

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I then selected various brown and sepia stamps to add.

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I added every Chinese fortune cookie message I had that had a “Learn Chinese” message on it. This tiny art journal is a mini Chinese dictionary.

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I used brown ink to color the cover, added more stamps and stickers, and then sealed with with contact paper once dry.

p11p12p13p14p15p16p17p18p19 back

Spring bottles

This is an art-journal page I made recently.  Because of the spiral in the journal, some of the image isn’t flat on the scanner, resulting in a lack of sharpness.

sp1

(detail)

sp2When I transcribed the quote, I wrote it as

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one who is without faith, no explanation is possible.” – Thomas Aquinas

but it is really

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” – Thomas Aquinas

Someone on a Facebook page said that it is really from St. Ignatius of Loyola – that there is a bronze bust of St. Ignatius at the Casa Dom Inacio in Brazil with this quote on it. However, all the indications online say it is from Aquinas.

 

Mixed-media art journal (Strathmore).  Watercolor pencils.  Distress ink pads. English stamps.  Distress ink.  White pen.  Skeleton leaf.

Community meditation – art journal

commune

Page about what it means to be in community, to work together.  Do we need to live in the same area to be in communion? The communion of the disciples – they shared everything.  Is this a way for us to save money – to defeat the housing crisis, the sense of alienation and loneliness?  To help those who have nobody to help them (spouse has died, family is abusive).  We are made to be together – not to be separate islands.  The Tiny House movement would work well if people shared major resources – washer/dryer, lawn equipment.  This is how monasteries work – don’t waste energy on things you can share.  Have time/energy left to help others.

Base is from “Stampington and Company” magazine.  Someone else made it.  I found the stamps on some mail that was sent – either to work or my house.  I like how they look together – but also that penguins have to live and work together to survive.  I like how the red and blue make purple – a synergy – a greater than the sum of the parts.

Tim Holtz words, white gel pen (the brand I found out from someone else on an artist group page).  Fortune cookie message.

Pink meditation

pink meditation

Made 2/2/17   In response to the difficult feelings in the country and the world about the current President.  It is hard to believe what a circus it is.  Meditating on peace, and on what good that comes from brokenness.  It is a time of great change.  Rumi says that you can’t make bread without grinding up grain.  You can’t grow a crop without breaking up the soil first.  It feels that all the ugliness that has simmered underneath has finally risen to the top.  I feel that I’ve come to trust this upheaval as a sign that things are moving.  The stagnation is over – people are waking up.

I wrote the journaling in fluorescent pens so that I can read them, but they are not easily visible here.  Sometimes journaling is private, but the art is meaningful.  I’m trying to figure out how to share and yet be private at the same time.  Some people use hard-to -read lettering – but then I won’t be able to read it myself later.  Or do I need to read it again? Perhaps the art of writing it in the first place is enough.

Gesso, acrylic paint, magazine clippings, aluminum candy wrapper – showing the value in recycling and re-visioning.  Tim Holtz words. Gel pens. Glue stick.

 

What it’s like (art journal page)

what-its-like

A meditation on being estranged from my brother. I have only one sibling, and our parents are dead. I do not talk to him by choice because he is abusive. Even his apologies are abusive. He somehow is able to make it sound like it is my fault that he is abusive to me.  Then, after that, he starts doing the same abusive behavior all over again.  I have given him multiple chances.

I had not planned on working on this topic again – I’ve written about it a lot. But then I was cutting out some pictures and words from magazines for a project at work and came across the one at the top – about how awkward it is to have a sibling you don’t talk to. It isn’t normal or expected. I was initially upset about these words (I felt it in my gut) and thought it too personal to make an art journal page about. But then I realised that is exactly why I needed to do it.

Sometimes it takes a long time for wounds to heal. Sometimes it takes a lot of different ways to do it, too.  Sometimes it doesn’t ever heal, and that is OK too – to sit with the wound and let it be filled with something else, something better.  But first you have to see it, and clean it out all the way.

detail
what-its-like2

I have dashes under the “all of the fun, none of the” collage piece for “fill in the blank”. I’ve written a list of words – good and bad, about what it means to divorce your sibling. I’ve used washi tape to affix it to the back of the page. I use only one side of each page in this journal so that I can cut out and frame / sell / give away a page and so that the ink / watercolor / Sharpie doesn’t bleed through or smear and mess up the other page.

Words that are there  –

(things I’ve lost because I don’t have a sibling I can trust)

Friendship trust history promises future reliability cooperation resource dependability traditions insights help failsafe backup hope

(things I have lost because I’ve gotten rid of an abusive person in my life)

narcissism psychopath being used arrogance delusions subterfuge bullshit megalomania psychological abuse hidden harm manipulation gaslighting lies hypocrisy

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The craziest thing is that a relative wrote me after a blog post I wrote once about how abusive my brother is.  The relative begged me to make peace with my brother because we were the last relatives that he had on this side.  As if it is my fault that the damage is there.  As if it is up to me to apologize and make amends.  That too is abuse – to expect the victim to “make things right”.

People say “But do you forgive him in your heart?” They are usually Christian.  They think there is some magic formula.  If I “forgive him in my heart” then I’m off the hook.  This is crazy-making.  Sure, I forgive him in the way that I understand a shark can’t help being a shark.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go back in the water and let that shark bite me again.

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Created around 1/2/17 – Strathmore art journal, magazine clippings (many from Cosmo), gesso, Distress ink, colored pencil