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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!

9 comments:

  1. Everything you write is very true. I still have to find the courage and time to start in my art journal. I will eventually, but I don't know when ;).

    Your art journal is so pretty! These pages are beautiful! Your creativity is inspiring!

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  2. So far journaling for me is written with a few doodles thrown in for good measure. Would love to do an art journal, but first I'll need to tackle those gremlins. :0)

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  3. Wow, your style really is changing/evolving! I love your art journal pages! My personal faves are the first and the second one.

    I have similar feelings especially when it comes to writing. I've realized that the knack for me truly is to "just do it". Sometimes I find it so hard not to judge myself and sometimes I'm even afraid of sitting down to write because I'm afraid of feeling stupid/being hard on myself. Sometimes it feels good looking back and realizing how far I've come already. I'm learning to show up for work, to let go and enjoy.

    Thank you for sharing, sweet-pea!

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  4. Your pages feel deep and though provoking to me. The remind me of the jumbled crazy dreams I've been having lately. I'm just starting art journaling, but I hope it can bring out and relax some of the things that are bothing my subcouncious. Thank you for you thoght provoking post. I hope you have a wonderful day.

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  5. you write so beautifully about this! I think your pages are beautiful, and you're becoming who you are supposed to be - isn't that enlightened sounding enough? ;-)

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  6. I absolutely love your recent spreads -- they remind me so much of New York City. It's so vibrant and alive but I still feel an industrial edge there. Sigh. Miss that city so.
    I actually recently started to do a little crafting recently. I'm nowhere near artwork yet, but I'm working my way there...slowly.

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  7. I especially really like the 'change' art journal spread you've done. I'd frame that and put it on my wall as inspiration.

    "perfectionism, envy (of others' work), self-doubt, and fear" - Oh yes this sounds very familiar. It is a constant battle. But it does seem that when I push through the doubts and get busy creating I feel so so much better. Happier and peaceful.

    Kat :-)

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  8. thank you so very much for your comments! reading all them just makes me glow!

    i so very much wish we could have a big gathering ~ we'd paint and glue and chat and share and create. wouldn't that be lovely?

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  9. I love your words about accepting your imperfections, it seems odd from the outside staring in, your creations are beautiful and so inspiring, but we're our own worst critics really aren't we? I think we all feel the same way, well said :)

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