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Try, Try Again

Though there are no rules in art journalling, one of most common pieces of advice you'll hear is "It is the process of creating, not the end result, that is important!" It is a great suggestion, to be sure, but one that is not easily followed.

All too often our vices stand in our way of enjoying our own art: perfectionism, envy (of others' work), self-doubt, and fear being some of the most common in my own experience. Overcoming these voices requires tremendous effort! It is so difficult and can sometimes be heartbreaking when we so badly want to be "good" but cannot accept ourselves or our art as it is. Have you experienced this?


Within the past month or two, I have realized that I have been viciously shushing my inner gremlins; my art journal style has been expanding, growing, and developing at an exhilarating and slightly frightening rate, my pages thick with paint and layering. I have out of nowhere become comfortable with experimentation and have let go of my expectations for the end result.

I do very much wish that I could share exactly what it is that has changed - that word, change, has been appearing here a lot recently, hasn't it?! - but I am not so enlightened. My only advice is this: Continue to create, again and again and again, even when you are not happy with what is being born out of your imagination and mind. Do not give up! Push through all those "bad" paintings and with time, perhaps rather suddenly and unexpectedly, things will change!

I am sure that in my artistic journey there will be many more rough patches, but I know that I am somehow walking in the right direction towards real artistic freedom. Take a peek at three of my most recent spreads, done over a span of about three days. They are grungy, a dance of odd colors and spontaneity. To be honest, I'm not sure if I actually like them; but that is beside the point - I am (slowly) learning to accept the imperfect in both myself and my art. Woohoo!

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