Well, a tiny piece of art journaling, anyway

OK, so I’m trying to focus on art journaling this year, and yet – I really haven’t been doing much of it, although I’ve been reading about it and doing artist’s way and the concept is at least beginning to sink into my head. It seems easy enough, to look at say, Danny Gregory’s EveryDay Matters and see what art journaling can do to improve someone ‘s life and attitude, or this wonderful post today from la vie en rose on how art journaling can help you feel better about yourself:

I never thought an art journal could teach me about self-compassion. Lessons often come from the most unlikely of sources. Creating this week in my art journal has been an opportunity to release the perfection and accept the little mistakes. Yesterday I journaled with a pen I ended up not liking. Today I smudged my writing because I failed to let it dry before reaching across the page. Poor color choices. Bad paper choices. A million ways to screw it up and then let it go. All the little mistakes have become an opportunity to let it be, a chance to allow the imperfection on the page symbolize the beautiful imperfection of real life. So tonight, with white paint in my hair and the majority of my writing transposed on my forearm, I choose to let the little mistakes have their own beauty. I choose to remind myself of all that is good and perfect about the pages, and the life, I’m creating. I choose to stand back, admire, and learn. I choose to remember why my voice, my experience, and my creating is important. I choose to offer myself the redemptive power of compassion.

I have the wonderful art journals, the fountain pen I love, all the art tools, if not the space I would like to have to create in, and I’ve been working on getting this for three months now. And yet… somehow, I don’t give myself the permission to just create, to not care what my husband or kids or anyone else thinks of the art supplies and materials all over the place in my little house, to not care that other people’s work is so much further along than mine, it seems, that other people get a gazillion comments on their blogs, that other people have dozens of artsy friends to “do art” with and I’ve got nobody to share that with “In Real Life” as my kids would say, outside of this wonderful online community I’ve found.

And still… this process of art journaling calls to me, it speaks to me, the way the Tao did as I read through so many books and interpretations and whatever I could find on it until I finally “got it” and found – “before enlightenment, sweep floors, do laundry, after enlightenment, sweep floors, do laundry.” Life didn’t change, but I did, and my responses to my lfie changed. Is this the same way, will I “get it” finally, and just do it and incorporate it into my life, and let it change me as well?

The engineer in me, this process analyst, looks at art journaling and says, “this is a good process. It works. It’s valid.” And I know that it does work, for so many people. I know this is a life-changing process that helps.

But what struck me yesterday as I was reading Danny Gregory’s book and his comments about learning to draw was him describing when he “got it” – when his drawing became about how he was seeing and not how he was drawing, and I realized, yes, this was the same feeling I had about the Tao when I got it. What changes is how you see the world. And what I am thinknig now is that art is just in everything around you, the dog sleeping on the floor, the pile of papers sitting in front of you, the shoes at your feet, the people around you – all of it, every bit of it. And if you can capture that, somehow, anyhow, and hold it for just that moment, even if just in your mind – that’s your art. There it is. The process of transfering that to what other people can understand when they see it or hear it or whatever, that is the genius part of it. But those are tools to be learned. What matters is what you see in that moment, what you feel. And capturing that is where the art is.

β€œTo view the world outside of yourself while simultaneously living your life is the real art experience. ” — Jim Forsythe