Monday, March 31, 2008

and for today

Ask not what your journal can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your journal!
Try It!


I know that yesterday I told you to make a mess.
Making a mess takes courage - so today - your reward is that you get to make something neat and tidy!
A circle is a complete thing - it is a totality that pleases the mind and the eye.
If you need a sense of completeness, or neatness, go ahead and make a circle.
If you can, make a messy one, though!
then you can color and collage around it, and fill it in with words.
Sometimes our brains just want order.
although chaos gets us closer to our true inner selves, I also understand the need for structure on the road to chaos.
So - as a compromise, you can start with SOME order, then let the chaos dance around it.
Some balance is pleasing to the eye - and then the mind is pleased. Here I balanced the image of the flower by placing part on one side and part on the other side of the pages.
There are also map pieces here and there - if you can see them, under the color and in the circle.

controlled chaos.
make sense?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

pictures, words, and how they fit together

by now you have probably realized that my focus in this blog is getting you (and me!) to try not to make pretty images.
I am not interested in cuteness or nice to look at.
I use my journal to mine my own inner gems - to get inside and figure it all out. . . . Journal as Therapy!
and I have found a great way to do this is just to choose random images and slap them on some pages - add some color, then write.
In this entry - I also printed out an entry from my on-line journal and incorporated it into the pages.
It sort of makes a record of the things I say there in my book/art journal.
I have come to learn that the right side of the brain, the intuitive, creative, visual, subconscious side has mysteries and meanings I want to understand - and my experimentation in my journal helps me get there.
Try making a collage with no planning or thought, then write some words.
It really is interesting how this makes the writing richer and more authentic.
and the more you do it, the easier it flows - just like learning any new thing.
It is so cool that our brains can get better at accessing these inner truths!

Friday, March 28, 2008

why be neat?

I think the most important thing for me is to UNLEARN the grinding neatness that was instilled in me over the years - this neatness comes from the editor, the person who is scared what the work will look like.
If you are trying to spill, to connect to the inner sub-conscious part of you - the part that is all awareness and stillness, then this editor person can really derail the process for you.
I have found that working in my journal is not at all about neatness or perfection or even making images I plan in advance.
It is much more about discovery.
I try to just randomly put things together with no clue or reason why.
Accessing the real inner you, the authentic you - this is what you are trying for in your journal.
It's really NOT about making pretty pictures.
So - I make it my job to consider that if the pages are messy or weird - JOB WELL DONE.
I try to be pleased with experimentation and mistakes.
This leads much more closely to the mystery that is the inner me - the real me, the me I am looking for in these pages.
So - make a mess, be fearless, don't plan or expect anything . . . .
Just grab some images - your own drawings or images that are cut or torn from somewhere else - both is really great - and plop them all together on a page and add some words and color.
Just see what happens, and don't even think about the WHY of the things you are working with.
You might be amazed at the results, you might find out something you didn't know before. I am always amazed at how the subconscious level finds a way to get it's mind known, if I only let it!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

photos, then words:

A while back I showed you a bunch of pages that were all made from the New York Times Fashion Magazine issue - there were lots of great textures and fabrics which really inspired me. Today I am showing you what it looks like when I added words over the collage:

GO back to February 24, if you want to see this page before writing. Don't you love the elephanty texure? My skin is starting to look like this . . . oh well.

my answer to the stress of life, is:

have Fun with my Journal!

Friday, March 21, 2008

EGGS EGGS EGGS it's all about EGGS

Happy Springtime!
and it's about time.
I thought I would share a little technique with you.
This is a photo I took of some tea-soaked eggs I was lucky enough to eat in a tea-house in Greenwich Village (they were amazing, by the way):

Then - I photoshopped the photo a bit. made it both blue and yellowish (using the invert tool) and printed it out, and cut out just the egg shapes.
I painted the journal pages first with watercolor, let it dry, glued on the eggs, wrote some words, added some colored pencil a bit, and VOILA:

Sometimes colors and shapes just do it all.
And you can see how fun it is to play with photos that might not be spectacular on -their own - just take some photos and see what happens. Magazine cut-outs work, too.
Happy Journaling!

lots of words!

There is a time and place for lots of words - sometimes you just have lots to say! These four images are mail art I received and they were just so beautifully colored - sort of a tie-dyed looking set of envelopes (yes - the artist made four!) I use whatever inspiration comes my way - and belonging to mail art communities is a great way to share original art with artists from around the world - look at my website if you want to learn more about mail art.
I scanned and printed out these envelopes to add to my journal, and they just called for a black background. . . then with a silver pen, the words came.
I use the art to coax out the words, the words are my truth and the art helps me find them.
Try making a page, leaving room, and just start writing - see what you get!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

NEW pages

My monthly journaling group met last night, and once again, as always, something about the group energy really inspires me. Sitting around a table with tons of markers and inks and conversation and connection is a wonderful way to work.
I love really amazing bright colors - orange and red and chartreuse together make for lively writing.
and this cutout (her dress is much brighter green in life) just called out to me - Art Goddess at Work - as she languidly relaxes - because relaxing is certainly part of the creative process!

I started this page with black and the gargolye, then realized I wanted the mood to be lighter - I simply changed the gargoyle's expression to a smile, and adding the laughing girl - the quote by Mark Twain reads, "The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter."
How I wish we all knew that more.

The page feels messy to me, but it also really lightened my mood as I was working, and the challenge to take somber colors and make the bright - isn't that what we are doing every day in life?
SO go add some brightness!
It will make you happier, and then you will create more happiness in others.

Please comment if you are moved to - I love hearing from you!
Happy Journaling!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


What is a successful page in your journal?
one where you like the collage?
one where your writing revealed something new and amazing to you?
one you could tear out and put in a frame?
one where you took a risk, made a mess, and broke new ground?

I challenge you today to imagine making a mess in your book.
making a BIG mistake.
and working around that.

today, there are no images of my own work - just try making something you don't plan ahead.
don't look at one of my pages and say, "I will do that!"

make a mess of your own.
surprise yourself!
The next post I will have lots of new pages - some are messy and not what I hoped for, but all showed me something about me, or my inner self, that I did not expect.
That's the gift this process can give you!

NOW get working!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Just Do It !

I know the dishes aren't done
I know the bills aren't all payed and you don't even know where you will get the money,
I know the kids have dissappointed you, and the mistakes you made ten years ago still haunt you
I know it is rainy today and you wanted to go on a walk
I know you don't have money for the new paints you wanted
I know there are a thousand distractions on the internet and it is easier to just web surf for your entertainment
if you get up and move
if you get your supplies out
if you get your journal out
and some pretty paper
and some sissors and a glue stick
if you open that tin with charcoals of many colors
and just make something
then get up and stretch and put on some great music
and dance just a bit around the room
All Will Be Well.

love, Em