Friday, November 7, 2008

Art Journal Joy

I don't fancy myself an artist, nor have I ever. I don't have an innate talent or passion for it, and I can't draw, and I can't be bothered to learn to draw (I know, I know you can be an artist without drawing well, but having knowledge about form, proportion, perspective etc. etc, does help). But for the past 6 months or so I've been working in an art journal and loving it, LOVING IT!

I've always been a dilettante, a dabbler, joyfully skipping from one idea or project to the next, never happier than when up to my elbows in some creative pursuit, but I needed an excuse to get me going. Busy moms of twins don't take time for art projects unless it's with their kids. Regular people who are not artists don't waste time messing about with paints and such, unless it's a craft or decoration or gift for some holiday or birthday. It never occurred to me that if I was having a blast spending all day working on a 4ft by 4ft map of an imaginary land with my sons (oh yes, we did!) or enjoying every minute of hand drawing and painting umpteen Harry Potter posters for their b-day (with loads of help and company from my loverly sister), that maybe I should be choosing to do art for myself?

Then some nerdfighter friends (not to worry, the question "WTH is a nerdfighter?" will be addressed at a later date) started posting about art journaling, and you know that feeling you get, that sudden catch in your breath and pull at your hearstrings, that rush of longing and recognition when you encounter something that ought to belong to you? Art journaling? Why aren't I art journaling? But again, I was hesitant. I am not an artist. I don't have time. And as I looked at the fabulous pages and incredible paintings of my artist friends...what's the point? I'll never do anything good. I should be -insert any number of things that I ought to be doing at any given moment- and not wasting my time on this (really all the same excuses I tend to use not to write too). Enter, at Keeley's recommendation, Suzi Blu, the crazy lady with cool ideas...

Her videos were a bit of an acquired taste, but she's a lovely person and the message that you don't have to be an "artist" breathing the rarefied air of your Soho loft studio, and channelling Warhol in order to have the right to make art hit home. I don't need a reason or an excuse, I can just make art...and it can suck, it can be utterly crappy, mundane or downright stupid looking, but it doesn't matter. It'll be mine. All those judgements about whether art is any good are all ego anyway, and this exercise isn't about ego, it's about unfettered creativity and joy.

I could have never predicted how much the process would have brought me. I was literally dying for this creative outlet, and I didn't even realize it, until I felt parts of me wake up, rub their eyes and take a look around for the first time in years. Bolder in art = bolder in life, more celebration, more enthsiasm, more calm and that sense of self emerging more solidly again amidst the buffeting winds of adulthood and motherhood and suburbia and my 30s and 15 extra pounds and too many responsibilities. Of course all of the support, delicious, gorgeous, soul sustaining support from my sons and husband and my gerds (girl nerds) and my sister has been what has made this all exponentially more wonderful. All this from messing about with paints, and words and drawing a few dorky pick-churs...pretty cool.

{The above is my "Me as a Hobbit" page, one of my favs. Please note the hairy feet and's a crucial detail, for really getting this piece. ;) }


  1. Oh E!! I love it! I love it! I love it! And I couldn't agree more that 'Bolder in art = bolder in life.' All of your reasons not to draw sound like all my reasons not to write. Ah, but we do make up stories for ourselves and get in our ways, don't we. Just do it, I say. Whatever that 'it' is. Draw, write, make music, create!

  2. And the drawing is beautiful! And the picture with all the fambly? aw, now I'm just gushing...

  3. Welcome Ms. Front Rowe! Glad to have you here. :)

    And you said it sister friend...create, paint, write, make art, make love, bake cupcakes that would make an angel swoon, tell dorky jokes and buy a new purple shirt...whatever, who cares, just live, live, LIVE!

    (hmmmm...don't know whether I've inspired myself to watch Auntie Mame or listen to Gogol Bordello...)

  4. Twas the latter...

    ...start wearing purple, wearing purple,start wearing purple for me now...


  5. no innate talent or passion for it? i cry hooey.


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