An ugly beginning.
I don't write as often about my art journal as I used to. I think my AJ and I have been going through a difficult phase. I knew things needed to change, not because anything was 'wrong' but because, for me, the innate nature of my art journaling is dynamic. An art journal can be anything you need it to be, and what I need changes.
At the moment I have two art journals, an A5 journal (8" x 6") and an A4 journal (12" x 8"). The larger one is different from any art journal I have had in the past. It is very plain. So far all it has in it are drawings and writing. They aren't elaborate drawings. Well, you have seen a few of them, they are my drawings from the 120 Day Challenge. No collaging, no painted backgrounds, no fun art journaling techniques, just drawings with a bit of colour. There is a lot of white page compared to my other art journals.
My smaller art journal is older. I began it last February. It looks like my other journals, with backgrounds and collage and writing. More of the usual art journal (is there such a thing?) and I am struggling with it. I thought I was wrestling with it because I am still doing it in the 'old' way. I assumed I was a bit bored with the format. I have considered abandoning it.
Last night I thought what the heck and started working in it. Just sticking down some collage, not paying too much attention. Just gluing stuff in without worrying about how it looked.
It felt good.
And then, this morning a new possibility came through to me about why I have been struggling with this art journal.
In the past I have always had my ugly art journal pages. We all have them. I have written about them, talked about them with my students. I believe they are a necessary and important part of our art journals. Being willing to make ugly journal pages frees us in ways that beautiful pages can never do. (Go here and here to read older thoughts on this subject.)
But an entire art journal? Am I willing to be that free? Can I continue on with a book that is mainly ugly pages? With only the very occasional pretty page?