Today: Get Messy Art Journal | Weeks 1 + 2

You know how I feel about making time and space for creativity.  (And if you don’t: I think it’s, like, important.)  When things get busy or frenzied or it snows seven feet, I forget to take my own advice.  I do laundry instead of doodling.  I do more laundry instead of painting.  I do even more laundry instead of writing.

When I imagine my ideal day and my ideal life, though, I somehow manage to get the laundry done and then I have so much fun creating that I get ink of my pants and that’s why I end up doing more laundry.

Making time to get a little messy helps me maintain order in the rest of my life.  It helps me process things and come up with new ideas and solutions.  There’s something about making, creating and producing that just makes me feel… well, proud.  Satisfied.  Energized.

Left: I took this photo in Detroit (fall 2013) — there was something about this house that really crushed me.  I’ve seen it a half dozen or so times since, and it always makes me feel… well, feelings.  I felt like the little guy needed some protecting, so I laminated the photo using these self-laminating sheets.  And then I became obsessed with laminating and sealed a bunch of my favorite ribbons to use as bookmarks and/or added flair.  Right: I split one of our engagement photos so that it could be opened like a door and tucked a little message inside. The background is gesso with watercolor.

My mom is a talented artist.  When we were little, we’d ask her to draw all kinds of things.  She’s quickly sketch these wonderful drawings on yellow legal pads, or napkins, or whatever we’d hand over.  I think there’s still a “coloring drawer” in my parents’ kitchen, filled with crayons and pencils and paper.  I love that this– the opportunity to play with art–was just a normal part of growing up for us.  I want that for Grace.

Detail of second page: Peek-a-boo! Or whatever.

So.  Anyway.  I recently learned about and joined the Get Messy community (you can learn more about the program here – and sign up to join! Do it!).  I’ve written plenty of sappy journal entries (oh, how I wish I had saved my middle school diary — what an ego check that would be) and filled countless sketch book pages, but I’m totally new to the world of art journaling.  So in most ways, I have no idea what I am doing.  Which is terrifying. And also, kind of fun.

It was -600 degrees when I worked on these pages, and was clearly channeling summer.  I used some scrap paper to back a photo of Grace and me in happier warmer times and then wove pieces of washi tape through the remaining paper.  The background is a random grid of watercolor with some black paper hearts I punched out when I probably should have been doing something more adult.  Like vacuuming.

The week before I learned about the program, I was listening to an interview with Mary Oliver and she talked about the need for writers to be disciplined. That you need to set aside time every day and just write.  That you’ll make plenty of mistakes.  But you need to be disciplined.

 Materials used: magazine clippings and scraps of paper, heavy body acrylic paint in silver (applied with a brayer), paper punch, micron pens, washi tape, needle and thread…. and glitter.

My main reason for joining the program was to work on becoming more disciplined when it comes to drawing and painting (and creating, in general).  I’m excited to see how a daily or weekly or weekend-ly practice (workdays sort of fill up on their own) will help me develop and grow.  

But beyond that, I am quickly seeing that the process is its own reward.  All that opening up and letting loose and forgoing perfection and putting whatever comes out down on the page?  It’s touchy feely and hippy dippy and good.  It’s good.

Did I mention my obsession with laminating pouches?  YOU GUYS, I LAMINATED GLITTER.

The program’s weekly prompts (the current theme is love, which is hopefully obvious — the theme changes every 6 weeks and new prompts are issued each week) and link-ups provide both motivation and accountability.  Each month there is a public link-up, complete with its own prompt — this might be a good way to get your toes wet if you’re interested.  

One of the art prompts for this week was sewing.  I swooned over the stitch work of the other participants before deciding less is more (especially when me + needles are involved).

After two weeks, I’ve already learned a great deal from the tutorials.  I’ve experimented with different materials and techniques.  And I am working up the nerve to share a bit more of what I’ve thrown together.

Left side: Another laminated ribbon bookmark thing, a list of 100-ish things I love, gold gouache (applied with a brayer, which is sort of like a miniature handheld steamroller… sort of), a Polaroid notecard (Target coming in hot, per usual), label maker, and gold glitter washi.  Right side:  One thing I like even more than laminating: reading Rumi. Materials used: black cardstock, detail brush and black watercolor, random stamps, yellow watercolor, micron pen, letter stamps with pan pastel.

So before that nerve disappears… I’m sharing some of my pages from the first two weeks of the challenge.  If this isn’t totally weird and/or boring for you (and please tell me if it is), perhaps I’ll share a peek each week.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • It only took 13 months: Grace finally slept through the night!
  • Such a smart idea: Watercolor pencil paint palette
  • Hoping Clark has a speedy recovery — poor little dude had to have surgery last night 🙁

Did you keep a diary as a kid?

7 thoughts on “Today: Get Messy Art Journal | Weeks 1 + 2

  1. I still have my middle school journals! I don’t consider myself a writer, but I’m always thinking some day I’ll want to write a book and I”ll need them. Who knows if that will actually happen, but as long as my mom doesn’t need the space in my childhood bedroom closet, I’ll keep storing the journals.
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