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The Art of Journaling

Journaling can take many forms. I find it to be relaxing. It also feels safe. Some other art forms can seem formidable. There is the huge expanse of a freshly gessoed stark white stretched canvas or even a large sheet of 24" x 36" of paper. However, within the small book-like, intimacy of a journal,the confined spaces make artmaking more approachable. Shown above this text, is a cover of an altered book I did that incorporates sewing, collage, handmade paper, paint, papyrus and found objects such as screening. This piece is quite fragile. the fragility is part of it's visual statement.

This is the other side of the same altered book. I re-purposed and upcycled an old book cover, book pages, jeans, paper scraps and then added the sewing and collage pieces. The aging is from natural inks, such as walnut ink with some tea staining as well.

Then a few years ago, inspired by one of my students at the School of the Art Institute, I decided to fill an entire hardbound sketchbook with small scaled paintings and collage. To the right is an illustration of Persephone and there are other collage elements of people and things interesting to me. This is the inside of the back cover of the small art journal.

This is an earlier rendition of the same inside cover. This is a work-in-progress with about 55 pieces (drawings, paintings and collages) inside of it.

I took it with me to an Expressive Arts class called Art for the Soul and created this tiny painting with gouache, watercolor and charcoal. This has the map type of quality of my paintings I showed in the post "In a New Jersey State of Mind." It is roughly 3" x 4".

This little painting is on the opposite page from the previous piece. It is also about place. I take this journal with me on vacations and work on it there too.

Not only was this particular art journal inspired by a student I had years and years ago but it was also a part of a challenge that I did not complete in time. Still, it remains a safe place for me to go, play, generate ideas, explore, experiment and be myself. As time goes on, I will share more of the paintings and collages from inside my art journal. Meanwhile, I encourage you to try it. It is an enticing way to see what secrets and visions you hold inside, without using words--a refreshing activity for a writer.

J is for Journaling (A to Z April Blogger's Challenge)


  1. Wow. That's incredible! So creative. My journals have always just been filled with words. Not quite as pretty to look at.

    1. Thanks Stephanie! I am also a visual artist, in fact, that is the area in which I have been formally trained. In some ways it comes easier to be visual. You should try art journaling. It's very rewarding and relaxing.

  2. Journaling really is an art. I do have a journal with photography and art in it. Any picture that I see in a magazine or what-not that speaks to my soul gets cut out and pasted into my journal. :)

    1. Chrys, I would love to see it sometime. Do you share it with others or is it more for private inspiration?

  3. What a wonderful idea! I was just telling my daughter that lately I've been wishing I was a visual artist rather than a writer--words are so loaded, and lately mine have been taking me to dark places. I told her I wanted a creative outlet that was just color and form, that I could create without "thought." And here you show me just what could perhaps work for me, something small and intimate and lovely. Thank you!

    1. Deborah, you're welcome! Let me know how it goes once you get started with your art journal.


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