About Art Journals

Here's a little more about how and why art journals can make a great container for your mixed media work—and why we often turn to our art journals here at Createful in classes, workshops, art groups and Open Studio time.--Denise

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When I read through this list of materials my heart beats a little faster. Does yours? 

I swoon a little as I imagine what other materials I could add to the list (shells, metallic thread, postage stamps…) and what mediums I could combine with them (acrylic paint, watercolor, spray ink, gel pens, pencil).  I begin to think about how I could:

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My hands want to get busy just speaking those words aloud.

Try it:

Cut...

Glue...

Tear...

Paint...

Scribble...

Drip…

Do your hands want to reach for scissors, paper, art supplies?

What stops you?

For me, before I began my creative journey years ago I believed that I couldn't make "art" and that I didn't have any time to do it.

It took me a long time—way too much wasted time—to face down my Inner Critic and start creating (“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"), and to realize that there is always time for what’s important (in fact, that's the only time for what's important). Once I listened to my heart (swooning is a pretty good heart message), I found that I’d kept myself from a source of joy I could not have imagined.

I am now a self taught, fully committed, joyful mixed media artmaker—which led me to teach and share and build creative community, and eventually manifest a mixed media art studio for others who swoon a little, too, over paint and and glue.

The way in: Art Journaling

For me, the beginning was my art journal. And to this day—eight years later—my art journal continues to be my day to day creative focus. Page after page, book after book, my art journals are just for me. I usually don’t mind sharing them later, but the art in them is not generally for display. 

Knowing that my work there is not for others allows me to be free. I can throw any material onto the page and see what happens. I can take risks and make something ugly (Oh well! Turn the page or gesso over it and start over...),  I can resist my usual protective reflexes because I am safe in my own art journal.

Out with self-censoring!

Out with fear of perfection!

Self judgment? Off with her head!

Most of all, I can express myself any way I want in gorgeous color and line and texture...

That is my art journal practice.

Our growing creative community has found art journaling too...

We create all kinds of mixed media art projects here at the studio—but we also do a fair amount of work together in our art journals.

It's true that we all have different reasons for art journaling and different processes. For some of us, to art journal is more like traditional journaling—but with added visual elements. It's a space to reflect, think, and express what's going on inside. For others of us, art journaling is pure creative playtime. It's a container to express and to experiment with different art mediums and techniques and ideas—learning as we go. The truth is, most of us do a little of both:  inner excavation and creative play, sometimes in more than one journal at a time!

In the end, though, an art journal is simply another kind of canvas. Each page in our book is an art project. And over time, all that creativity build creative muscle and we create on other surfaces and for other people... 

Sometimes art projects call to be shared, but sometimes we just need to create for ourselves.

The good news is that the choice is completely up to you.

Come explore Art Journaling with us in Art Fix Classes!

Our weekly drop-in Art Fix classes feature different mixed media projects every week.  Participants can choose to explore that theme and project in their art journals for most projects.

 If you are new to art journaling, you are in the right place!  Newcomers to mixed media and art journaling join us regularly, and over time you will build a solid foundation for how to work with different art mediums, art tools and basic mixed media techniques in your art journal (as well as on other fun surfaces). 

If you have experience art journaling (or working with mixed media), Art Fix classes are also for you! As you probably know, we all travel our own creative path of personal discovery. We may be at different places on the journey, but we all share the journey in common. 

The beauty of art journaling is that we get to explore our own self expression in the safety of our own space where art-making is just for ourselves and no one else. In our art journals we are free to experiment and explore. We can make mistakes and surprise ourselves from page to page--and gently learn to overcome our Inner Critics and trust our own voices. We also have so much fun trying fun new techniques, sharing ideas with others and generally arting to our hearts' delight. 

Sign up for Art Fix classes here.

You can also work in your art journal during Open Studio, offered two Sundays each month. This is a time when participants can work on any project they want independently, and many people choose to work in their art journals.