Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Crazy Paper Lady

I always take an art journal with me when I travel. It is so much fun filling it with ephemera, photos, drawings and writings of where we went and what we did.  I try to prepare the journal ahead of the journey.  I think about the trip we are going on, where we are going, what we will be doing, and choose the size and style of the journal.  Some are hand-made, some are altered books, and some are store-bought. I find the options endless, so every journal is unique from the very beginning.

The anticipation of the vacation is enhanced when I am preparing a journal for the trip.  I put my heart into it and make it into something unique and memorable.  When I take the journal on the trip with me, it is something precious....something I have been working on for weeks, and sometimes months before the trip.  That preciousness is what motivates me to write about our journey -- where we went, what we did, funny things someone said, what we ate, surprises we encountered along the way.  There are little things I like to write in the journal that may get lost in our memory if I hadn't written it down.  In one of my travel journals, I created a stick figure-type drawing (amongst beautifully composed photos) because I could not capture the moment with a photo, and I didn't want to forget.  Now looking through that journal we all laugh at the drawing, but remember the event brilliantly.

I proudly earned the nickname "The Crazy Paper Lady."  My kids named me that because I collect paper everywhere we go while on vacation.  Imagine stopping at a nice clean affordable motel along your way to the destination.  You walk into the hotel lobby.  What catches your eye first?  For me it's the brochure rack filled to the brim with FREE cards and folded papers.  Sometimes I find local maps too. Just a little piece of heaven for an art journalist like me. I only take what I think I can use for this trip. (There is nothing worse than carrying too much stuff around on vacation).

I find papers EVERYWHERE.  And I am not talking about stalking the local craft stores along the way.  Most of my paper inserts for my journal (that I didn't bring from home) are totally free.  Have you ever been in a hotel room that has paper doilies for the glasses?  Mine.  Coffee stains make them even better!  LOL!!  Paper napkins or place-mats at restaurants (clean, unused of course) -- Mine.  Business cards, flyers & coupons for local businesses that are handed out on the street --MINE.  Just a side-note --- don't take the hand outs on the streets of Las Vegas.  If you've been there, you'll know what I'm talking about.  Free maps, local newspapers (I love to cut out the top of the paper that shows the newspaper name, city and date), then of course there are always more local brochures.  I usually take two in case I need to see both sides in the journal, although they can be inserted into journal pockets.

So yes, I am "The Crazy Paper Lady," and proud of it.  My journals have more memories than our brains could ever remember on their own.

Creatively yours,


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Express Yourself

This is the first page in one of my art journals.  It is so simple of a message, "Express Yourself" but so difficult to practice in real life.

We play many roles: mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, employee.  Many of these roles require us to limit our expression.  We fear being our true selves for fear of rejection or judgement.

Art journaling allows that wild, crazy, zanny person to be who she really is.  There is no fear or judgement in an art journal, especially if you decide to keep it completely private.

I have taken on-line art classes from some artists that have freed themselves from their art journals and have become themselves to all around them.  That is brave in a world that expects you to be the perfect mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, employee.

What happens if we let go an be ourselves?  What happens if we let go and be ourselves in our art journals?

I am still very conservative in my art journaling, but there are a few zanny brave pages.  I am not quite ready to release them to the world.  And that's ok.  That is what art journaling is for.

I hope that everyone reading this finds some quiet time to work in their journals.  I hope that you can find the wild, crazy, zanny person inside you to let go and release that passion into your art journal.

Express Yourself.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

Creatively yours,