Sunday, June 6, 2010

Art Journaling

Many of the blogs I regularly read feature art journaling -  combining written thoughts with visual thought. It is such a wonderful means of expression, and one that I have been trying to create for myself for a long time. Each poem has a 'picture'...each painting has a verse, but I have only been able to technically combine the two when I do journal covers or mixed media art. Since I've seen so much simple beauty in art journaling, I decide to give it a whirl. The pieces here were created with my journal thought is mind...some old, some new, but  I really enjoy this type of expression.

Last December, I set out to meet strangers of an art community with my artwork . I was doing this to meet creative folks, and to try and find a way back into a creative community, as well as to fill some perceived void I had been experiencing. But, once I got there, (after getting lost and being late), I realized that not only was I not ready to put myself and my artwork 'out there', but also that meeting the group was not quite as important as I thought. After deciding not to go in, and forgiving myself for it,  I was overwhelmed with a sense -  a need -  to get home. Realizing how 'ok' my life was ; how I tended to take for granted all the 'little' things of my daily life, but how they really were my life at the moment, struck me deeply. The above 'quilt' illustration above was a quick way for me to put a visual, to these words: "Time to say "ah, so what" to the minutia that threatens my quest for creative bliss and familial happiness and romantic togetherness. That minutia must be very distinctly separated from what I am fondly calling 'the hours'. The hours are the times, the minutes and moments, that define my is not in the great variance of emotions that we really experience life (TRUE, we may remember those more clearly, feel them more deeply, for they are the sequins and bows, the rips and tears of our life's quilt) but it is in the daily ins and outs, in the mundane, and in the routine, that we weave our silken coverlet that secures us, protects us, gives us warmth, and comforts us.

I had the good fortune to exchange emails with an old friend last spring. Both of us were pondering 'where we're at' in life, etc...and at that time, I was feeling very much like a stranger in my own life. I was beginning to feel in tune with something that was either lost in me and I was re-experiencing, or something totally new... I'm still not sure. But what I had to say to my friend about this feeling of connection is summed up below, and illustrated in my art journal water color above. "Have you ever been asked about that thriving undercurrent that pulses even when we wish it would not; when it complicates, and creates questions that we didn't know existed? It's that desperate need to align with, be absorbed by and entirely empowered by connectedness; it's that internal voice that asks "And now what?"

The above watercolor journal page was part of an answer to a question regarding simplifying life. Once, someone said to me that "everyone has the potential to do one thing very well...and with great joy (remarkably, it was actually two people I've known who shared this exact philosophy) and my response to this was long...but part of it had allot to do with forgetting oneself; what happens when one's life changes drastically. For me, this was having three babies at one time. My most poignant thought from those journal entries I've illustrated above, and  it is this: "Losing the center of myself wasn't hard to do - it is in the redefining of my 'self' that has given me pause."

What kind of creative endeavors do you know of that combine the written word with visuals? I love to learn about people who enjoy expressing themselves in this way.

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