Friday, November 16, 2012

Why me? Why a blog? Why an art journal?

There is something uniquely exciting about writing that first post on a brand new blog. At least for me there is. Like many in my generation, I've started and maintained a handful of blogs in my time before now. I've had a couple private diary style blogs, a keeping-up-with-my-friends-and-chatting-about books blog, a blog on spirituality and personal growth (did not get very far with that one, hmm. . .), but that thrilling brand new start feeling of opening a first post returns in all it's inspiring potentiality and original freshness. . . ah. Like opening a new box of crayons when you are a little kid.

This is my first time blogging about art or anything crafty. I am also a complete newb to the world of visual journaling and art journaling. I am not even an "arty" person. I've never taken an art class, had an art lesson, or ever troubled myself to learn the basic rudiments of sketching and painting, something I theoretically believe everyone should do. That is okay. My life is not over yet. Why blog about it then? I simply thought it would be fun to have a place to chronicle the journey, and if anyone wants to read along so much the better. I anticipate I will be writing about a variety of other things as well, once I get into the flow of blogging again. It may end up that the art journaling adventure expresses itself as one of several interweaving thematic strands.

A little more about me-- I am a 20-something mom to three children under three. That is to say, I have a two year old and a seven month old and am pregnant with a third. Yes, I wonder about my sanity at times too, but on good days we have a blast and I wouldn't trade my little growing brood for anything. :-) In some ways it feels like this is an odd season of life to begin a new hobby as well as a new writing project (this blog), but at the same time, I feel this is a season of life in which I could more than ever benefit from carving out a little time and space to nurture my self and creativity. I think if I can make time for this a couple times a week I will be doing myself and my family a favor in the long run.

In a way, it is my current pregnancy that led me to consider beginning an art journal at all. You see, I had hyperemesis for the first months. It's an awful condition that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and I really don't want to write about it. I'm trying to put those days out of my mind, but if anyone is curious, you can google and read some of the horror stories that have been posted online. I had a moderate case, was on home health and round the clock medication via subcutaneous pump just to keep me out of the hospital. I don't know what I would have done without the help from my family, church family, friends, and very supportive H. For weeks I spent the better part of many days nearly bedridden, and it was good day if I didn't actively want to die. During my better moments, one of the things I ended up doing to pass the time and distract me a little was to look at blogs on art journaling and watch art journal tutorials on youtube. At first I was just curious, as a life long journaler, to learn what was this thing called art journaling? Soon I became fascinated and the hours were passing more quickly. I remember thinking, wow, if I felt better I would like to try something like this! And that thought led to, hey, I will feel better someday! Maybe I should start thinking up some ideas and shopping online for supplies!

Supply shopping was fun, I will say that. I kept filling up my cart on Amazon, being horrified at the total and how quickly things added up, emptying the cart, and starting over again. I ended up streamlining quite a bit in comparison to my initial heady impulse to extravagance before placing my final order, which in the end consisted of:

Caran d'Ache Neocolor 11 Water Soluable Pastels (set of 15)
Strathmore Watercolor Visual Journal
Old Masters Brush Set-- Set of 8
(I had, and still have, absolutely no idea of what to shop for when it comes to brushes. I chose these because I needed something, didn't want to spend too much, and was scared of ending up with garbage if I spent too little. I hope these were a good choice, does anybody know?)
Mod Podge
Sargent Glitter Gel Pens

That's it. I thought it would be enough for a basic start and if this catches on for me I can acquire more things later. I also asked my mom to bring me a stack of old magazines so I "could make collages". This puzzled her a bit until I made her read an article on art journaling and look at some pictures of the amazing things people have done with a bit of creativity, some clippings, and glue. She was duly charmed and now I have quite a happy assortment of National Geographics, Country Livings, and Better Homes and Gardens to scavenge through.

And you know what? Eventually, I did start to feel better! I was one of the lucky ones who became functional again at 13 weeks, and a little before then I placed my order. The wonderful box of supplies arrived a couple days ago, and today I completed my first art journal page. It definitely has beginner stamped all over it (a pun! lol!), but it felt relaxing to scribble and experiment (not to mention fun just to be doing anything!) and I enjoyed trying out all my new stuff. I will post about creating this page tomorrow, complete with pics (oh boy. . . ).



  1. I can't wait to see it! Art journaling sounds fun, and I love making magazine collages. Maybe I'll look into doing this too sometime.

  2. Thanks Brittany! I still need to write up that post and upload the pictures. Hopefully during the kids' nap time tomorrow. Thanks for visiting. :)

  3. Also, after testing out your supplies, would you recommend them to others?

    1. Definitely would recommend the pastels and the Strathmore journal. The gel pens I'm a bit more iffy on. They tend to skip and need shaking a lot. Not terrible, but I might try a different brand next time.

      I love the brushes but I guess I don't have a lot to compare them to so far, so I cannot issue an educated recommendation on those. :)