Art Journals – Beauty is in the eye of…

not coloring in my art journal... yetToday, I was browsing some sites where people have posted their art journals (or artist’s journals… same thing… it’s a term always in transition).

I quickly found a wonderful series of pages, and the artist  (Zom) muses if they’re part of an ugly art journal.

I want to say, “No! Those pages are lovely!” but I hold back.

It’s sort of like when I was pregnant.  Each time, I’d refer to myself as “the fat lady.”  At the time, it amused me.  Obviously, I was pregnant, not fat, but the size of my stomach… well, my humor runs to sarcasm.  Telling me I wasn’t “fat” made me question the vision of the observer.

Hello.  60 inch stomach…?  Fat! *chuckle*

But, of course, I understood the point.  They just didn’t understand mine… which was also okay.  Often, people don’t get my humor.

So anyway…

I look at these pages in all their loveliness.  I absolutely love the juicy colors and the choice of images.

However, if Zom wants to call them ugly… well, it’s her journal.  My opinions are different, but that’s my experience, not necessarily hers.

Moving past that semantic moment…

I love it where she says, “I don’t know how much of a connection I am feeling with this art journal. Is the form no longer relevant?”

That resonated with me.  For a long time, I didn’t connect with my artists journals.  I looked at them, tried to add to them, and generally felt a sense of ennui before completing even one page.

I became a different person over the past several years.  The reasons I’d kept an art journal, years ago… they weren’t there any more.  It was a different context altogether.  For starters, I’d been driven to keep my journal… it was a manic, almost “outsider” thing, for years.  It was how I kept my sanity during challenging years.

Since then, my world gradually shifted.  It wasn’t quite like watching paint dry, but it was very slow-moving.  I didn’t want to articulate it because the changes — even the minute ones — were radical, but — at the same time — they were constantly in transition.

What I’d say one moment might be totally different, even an hour later.  I suppose they were very subtle ah-HA! moments.

So, I’d put things down on paper and, later that day or sometimes a few days later, I’d shred them.  They weren’t me… not a “me” that lingered for more than a few minutes, anyway.  And, with such fleeting changes, I didn’t want to keep art around that represented that.  It took me back in time, uncomfortably.  It wasn’t a real ME-me, if you get my meaning.

I do like to document the process, no matter what the process is.  However, there are times when the changes are like trying on a huge stack of clothes in a fitting room: By the time I find what fits me and looks good, I’ve pretty much forgotten the oh-dear-heaven-that’s-not-me stuff, now at the bottom of the pile.

I don’t want to save some of those half-baked journal pages any more than I’d take photos of myself in unattractive clothing in the fitting room.

They’re not me.

They don’t have significance in my life, even as process.

Keeping those pages would be making the moment more than it was.

Perhaps I should journal about those pages.

Anyway, this blog entry (linked below) is wonderfully, deliciously thought-filled.  Click to read the pages.  They’re very good and some may resonate with you as they did with me.

pinch me to see if you’re dreaming: An Ugly Art Journal

pinchmetoseeifyouaredreaming.blogspot.com10/13/11

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

1 thought on “Art Journals – Beauty is in the eye of…”

  1. Hi Aisling. A student of mine came across your post and told me about it. I am glad I got to read it.
    What we like in our pages, or don’t, is very subjective as you say. I find it can even change over time. Pages I used to dislike, become ones I can appreciate months or years later.

    I felt kind of sad at the thought of you shredding your journal pages. I keep all mine. I don’t worry about whether they are me or not. I figure it is some kind of chicken scratching of where I have been, and interesting as that.

    Anyway, thanks for taking an interest in my post.

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