An inspirational doodle to remind myself I’m on a upwards-reaching learning curve here, on an experimental journey with my mini art journal, and after all Rome wasn’t built in a day… 🙂
Yesterday I made a silly schoolboy error while doodling in my art journal, and immediately I rebuked myself, irritated and upset at my clumsy foolishness, and initially I just wanted to tear out the offending page and start again. But I rebuked myself for my rebuke, and reminded myself that perhaps my pathetic pursuit of perfection is getting in the way of my desire for creativity. I do want to be creative, but want to be good at it, always and immediately, straight out the box.
I mean, ok, so I made a mistake. Big deal. Suck it up, buttercup. Seriously, get over yourself and get on with it girl, because its only a silly little smear of ball-point pen ink rubbed across part of the page accidentally. And it’s not like the paperwork is anything of consequence, anyway – it’s just my personal, private art journal, no reason to create such a fuss. No wonder I struggle to achieve creative aims if I give up at the first flaw, seeing it as I do as a sign of abject failure.
So feeling duly reprimanded by myself for my apparent arrogance and conceit at being so non-accepting of the realities of my human nature, of acknowledging the distinct possibility of infinite errors and obstacles occurring within my journey towards my goal, I looked at it in a less dramatic light. I mean, in the grander scheme of things it hardly matters that there is a flaw in my doodle, and yet still it triggers that old ‘not good enough’ message in my head…
Hmmm… I think that before I can learn to succeed in life, I first need to learn to fail with dignity. So after my initial moment of madness I calmed myself down and carried on with my doodle anyway – and here it is in all its ink-smeared imperfection, for all the world to see. Ta-da! 🙂
Having formed the decision yesterday to create myself an art journal, I took my first steps straight away and have started off as planned with the simple art-form I feel most comfortable with at the moment – doodling and colouring in. I don’t want to make it into a formal sketch book, but to me doodling isn’t so much drawing as designing informally, and that playful feeling of creativity is what I’m aiming for 🙂
So I picked up my empty five and a half by three and a half inch (14 x 9cm) plain Moleskine notebook and doodled an initial design on the flyleaf to set the scene…
And for my first ‘real’ page I chose a doodle to represent a little aide memoire to remind me what works in an art journal…
And for good measure, I added another doodle to remind me of what I’m actually doing in my own art journal…
I’m feeling really happy with what I’ve done so far – it was great fun to do! And while I was designing my doodles I’ve decided my mini art journal will be a small defined space for me to visualise whatever is in my head at any given time and commit it to paper. Some may have words, some may not, but hopefully all will create an image-based indication of my thoughts and feelings in the moment.
I’m not necessarily going to stick to this basic mini-format long-term, or even share every page I doodle (otherwise it becomes something I do publically for you as an audience rather than journalled for me privately), but having made a start is enough for me for now – I’ll simply let it grow organically from now on as the mood takes me… 🙂
If we were sitting having coffee right now, I’d be animated and excited at the prospect of starting a new adventure in art…
Every now and again things in life conspire to bring you towards one particular creative decision in one place and time – like some kind of magical ‘hint, hint’ that screams at you from the rooftops… Today the combination of several different blog prompts on top of a regular post written by someone else have brought me to the realisation that it might be a good idea for me to start an art journal of some sort.
Instrumental in my decision was a blog post by Elizabeth at Tea & Paper, but much as I love what she’s doing with her art journal I worry that I simply don’t have the patience to commit to an all-bells-and-whistles big-time project with several layers of first water-colour-washing pages then sticking on collage stuff and all sorts afterwards. The kind of engrossing multi-faceted project that you leave out long-term while you complete it – fun, but not really what I need right now, particularly as our current living arrangements don’t allow for that level of otherwise unused space.
The thing is, I love the art of simple colouring-in, and have several adult-designed colouring books I dip in and out of whenever the mood takes me, and occasionally I have thought fleetingly about maybe drawing out my own outlines for colouring in but to date have done nothing about it. For some reason I just love the versatility and mobility of plain old-fashined traditional coloured pencils; no mess, no fuss, minimal space required, and instant gratification guaranteed in no time at all (nothing to tax my lack of patience too much).
So I think I might choose a small book to begin my experimental art journal, and intentionally start with simple ideas. I already have a really small Moleskine notebook given to me as a gift long ago, but sadly never used – I was never sure what to use it for, and its pristine pages lie as yet unmarked? I could stick to creating my own doodle-style outlines to colour in with my favourite coloured pencils – or perhaps use different coloured ball-point pens, or maybe even multi-coloured Sharpies? Just whatever takes my fancy at the time, unplanned – not quite a stream of consciousness creation but a time-limited tiny confection of colour, created just for me.
I have such a long history of starting relatively ambitious creative projects from time to time and inevitably giving up way too soon, which upsets me because I really don’t want to be like that but I do seem to have an issue with aiming for perfection, and knowing I won’t ever be able to reach it I somehow lose heart and give up. So hopefully by starting small and keeping things simple, I’ll manage to maintain some level of continuity for long enough for the habit (and the mindful pleasure it brings) to grow on me.
I read somewhere online that with an art journal, there are no rules – and for me, that’s the real challenge on offer. No right way or wrong way to do it, just your way, whatever that turns out to be… and as I find myself sitting here with a huge smile on my face as my untouched coffee grows cold, I take that as a sure sign that this little germ of an idea is indeed the best way for me to move forward in my latest attempt at an adventure in art 🙂
A fun sequence of artistic London views (cloaked in a multicolour filter effect to jazz things up a little bit) – as well as images of Tower Bridge, St Pauls, and the London Eye there is a perspective shot along the length of the inside of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, and also the entrance to Leytonstone Tube Station (where I live) and the exterior of The George Public House in Wanstead (where I work) 🙂
“Life lesson from the nursery: Broken crayons can still colour” – Author unknown
Sometimes I feel a bit like a broken crayon, stunted and blunted and scarred by life, so it’s nice to be reminded I can still function effectively in the world.
My mum recently gave me a new colouring book plus a set of matching postcards to colour in too, and I’m really looking forward to getting started… watch this space! 🙂
Name two books that have influenced you, and share how?
Hmmm… Choosing only two books out of a lifetime of voracious reading is really difficult – should I choose fiction or non-fiction? If fiction, do I choose those basic childhood reading books that originally kindled my love of independent reading in the first place, or those adult books that for a million different reasons remain most memorable to me now? And if non-fiction, do I choose history books or cookery books or self-help books, or all those extra-curricular academic text-books I read of my own volition while completing my degree? To be honest I think every book I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way or another, even if only to remind me never to read that particular author (or subject-matter) again! 🙂
In your opinion, where is the line between art and not art?
Oooh, great question! I often ponder the ‘Is photography art?’ question – or more to the point for me, ‘When is photography art?’ So here is a visual explanation of my own personal understanding of art and not art…
This is a photograph of a cotton rug on my kitchen floor – to me this is photography, not art – it is a direct realistic representation of what I see before me.
This is me altering that reality by playing about with creating a zoomburst image of the same rug – to me it’s no longer just straightforward photography, because I’m adding something I hope is a little artistic and creative: a deliberate motion blur by zooming the lens in from wide to tele while taking the shot…
But to me these resulting images still look a little dull for my tastes, so I keep on trying… To begin with I’m trying hard to hold the camera as steady as possible, but when during one shot as well as zooming in I accidentally move my position while the shutter is open, I discover I prefer the softer blurred effect of losing that sharp focus, so take some more experimental shots this way… much more interesting!
And finally, I wonder how it might look if I deliberately make an active steady swirling circular movement while also zooming the lens in while the shutter is open… et voila! The end result is no longer a photographic realistic representation of a rug, it’s a multi-colour abstract image made by me, and it is this uniquely creative response to what is effectively the same subject taken by the same person with the same camera that to me makes it art 🙂
My favourite image is the last one in my slideshow – here it is again juxtaposed with the original – my personal vision of art vs not art…
What is something that really annoys you, but doesn’t bother most people?
The older I get, the more of a grumpy old woman I become – but I don’t suppose my grumps and gripes are that much different from anyone else’s at my age. But I honestly don’t understand why American dates are written partially backwards – I mean, either have year, month, day as a format or day, month, year – but month, day, year simply makes no sense to me at all 🙂