Journaling

I always try to keep a sketchbook / artist’s journal…, or several actually, that’s probably why I rarely finish any one. I have one in my car, one in my travel backpack, a little one in my handbag, several randomly stuffed in drawers around my house or studio. I often try to join daily journaling groups, and things like “Inktober” challenges, with accountability and prompts from other journalists to keep me drawing, even if I rarely keep up, it’s still fun to see what other people are up to. Other important things often get in the way of my daily doodles, but it’s always good to be ready just in case I see something that inspires me while going about my day. Drawing it out sometimes helps me to remember something that struck me at the time.

My pages often go unfinished, or never grow into the vision I had of whatever inspired me in the first place,…but sometimes they do! Some people I know have such gorgeous journal entries they’re worthy of framing themselves, or publishing into a real book maybe! Not mine, I sometimes think some of mine might need to be ripped out and thrown away even, but I guess it’s part of the journey, and it’s still a good practice to keep, even if only occasionally.

So here are a couple of entries from one of my journals, I hope you get yourself a book of paper and do some doodling yourself, even if they never develop into anything more than a little doodle, the creative process is a wonderful thing, and often very therapeutic!

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Breathing

Sometimes you just have to get outside and breath the fresh air, take a walk in the woods, clear your head, ...especially after an extremely long winter like we've had this year.  It's still too cold to plant my garden, but things are starting to green up a little and it's encouraging to see the first wildflowers popping up.  Maybe take a sketchbook with you.  No, everything doesn't have to be a masterpiece or even a finished work, or ready for a competition, or even for anybody to see but you. I meet so many people that say they can't draw, who told them that?  Drawing is freeing, painting is calming, creating is good therapy, who couldn't use a little of those things? My sketchbooks very greatly between, simple watercolor landscapes, up close specimen details, value studies, random thoughts, doodles, scribbles.  The point is to get out there...get quiet...listen...see...no I mean really see!  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

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Remember to bring something to draw on and a few little art supplies in your pack.  If things won't sit still for you, you can always take a picture and finish it later, no worries!

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Blooming

Before I began painting much of the elements of nature, flowers, botanicals, and the like, I had never given much thought to how much time would be needed just waiting for things to bloom!  This is not something that can be rushed, coaxed or prodded generally, but just requires learning patience, which is also something watercolors demand as well, and something that was never one of my strong suits.  The word "bloom" in watercolor can be good or bad, it's when the water spreads and dries the pigment into an unexpected shape, which might be a beautiful surprise!  Or it might be a disaster.  In the case of working with colored pencils, you want to avoid the "bloom" of wax or oil build up that can end a piece of art before it's time.  (Patience my love!)

Capturing the many stages of a flower's progression has now become a fascination and fabulous mission to me instead. Waiting for the growth, enjoying the journey, and then watching as something blooms... when it's really good and ready, is always worth the wait.  My sketchbook / journal has become a fun place to record the journey and take notes of what happened along the way and when.  Then when something finally does bloom, I can be ready to jump into action and capture the moment!  I'm still working on the patience part, but I'm slowly learning the beauty of experiencing every step of the process.  I hope you're enjoying your summer...and your journey!