Keeping an art journal is an essential tool in the process of intuitive painting. Thoughts and ideas have to be written down before they get lost in the brain-chatter of a normal day.
I have kept an art journal, on and off for 15 years. The desire to archive comes from a problem with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and a very poor short-term memory. It distresses me to find memories fading into the maelstrom of everyday life and the relentless march of time.
My journal contains photos of my paintings, dates, sometimes a description of the process and buyers’ details. I write quotes from books that inspire me and words of wisdom from mentors and art teachers. Notes from workshops and lessons are included along with relevant photos so as not to forget the techniques demonstrated. I have included all the invitations and brochures where my work has been exhibited and those of all the wonderful exhibitions I have visited. I also write in my thoughts regarding my art process and how I feel about certain aspects of art-making.
When I started writing my journal, my words were extremely wooden and impersonal; I was terrified of revealing myself in case somebody accessed it! My typical British upbringing made me very guarded and private. I am hypersensitive and was afraid if I revealed anything of myself; I would invite scorn and ridicule. I have never considered myself a good writer and am hopeless at spelling (I love spell-check!).
Just writing this now makes me want to laugh; how can you be an exhibiting artist and be frightened to reveal something of yourself? With practice, I started writing from the heart and was quite amazed at what appeared on the pages! By journaling, I have revealed who I am to myself, “This is me!” Self-knowledge is incredibly empowering.
By writing about my painting, I have been able to see how to proceed. The journey that a painter sets out on, can take many twists and turns, decisions to follow a particular route sometimes takes guts and determination. In order to continue to develop and expand, one has to experiment, take risks and learn to listen to that inner intuitive voice. A good thing about ADD is one gets bored with repetition and excited with experimentation. Apparently Leonardo da Vinci exhibited ADD tendencies, with many projects on the go and never quite finishing things!
The writing of this blog is now a new extension of my journal. It is definitely not a private space, rather a place for the sharing of ideas. I so appreciate the wonderful comments artists take the time to write and love visiting their blogs to see their space.
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