Recently, I attended a Life Coaching seminar with some friends. I wanted to take notes that I knew I'd keep, not lose track of or toss. So I took my journal, a black marker, and a couple of metallic sparkle pens, and used those to write down what I heard that day.
It was an interesting day, and Jay had a lot of good things to say. I'd never been to anything like this, or read a self help book before, and was surprised at how many of these ideas were already a part of me. I mentioned in my previous post how much I'd needed a day to myself, and that mindlessly sewing crepe paper was almost meditative.
Jay suggests meditation, which I don't do, but I think that creative time, or gardening, even a boring task that takes no thought, like endlessly sewing strip after strip of crepe paper, is an excellent time to be alone with yourself and empty your mind.
Another bite of knowledge from Jay was to let go of negative thinking and be grateful. I know this one works too. If I have to call a repairman for a broken appliance, or pay for a replacement of something that fell apart, I find myself starting to grumble about the expense. But then, I stop, reconsider and tell myself that I am damn lucky to be able to afford that repair, or that I even own one of those thingies that broke down.
It does help.
The conversation was full of tidbits of how to refocus your thoughts to put you in a better space. I know I'll be flipping through my pages as a reminder of the day and re-reading the highlights when I need a refresher.
I'm glad I wrote them in a way that will be permanent, and I hope to add more to this journal as I go along.
Do you journal? I guess I kind of have been doing it for a few years now with my blog. World's best way to keep a diary! But, I've never taken an art journaling class. I've played around with pages, and made a few journals myself. Here are some tips I've picked up as I figured it out, in case you'd like to take some notes that are "keepers" or just feel out your thoughts on paper.
- Use a variety of pens and markers. Different sized tips, and colors. I didn't want anything distracting, so stuck with gold, silver and black, but the black was fine point, the gold wide tip, and the silver had a nice shimmer.
- Start with the main words or phrases, write them larger and spaced out on the page. Fill in with smaller thoughts or background words.
- Have your hand drawn fonts fit the words. I wrote "bigger" BIG. Don't write something hopeful and loving in a dark or heavy way.
- Between words, doodle. And be repetitive, using the same types of doodling styles around the page to tie it all together. My tie ins on these pages? Slashes and vines are repeated amidst the dots, scrolls, hearts, and other scribblies.
- Use a variety of shades or tones. See how I've filled in the leaves, not just drawn them? That gives the page some pop by having darker areas. You will need some light, some medium,and some dark areas.
- Use a variety of styles. Some heavy lines, some light lines. Some BIG words and some little words. Curved words, straight words, boxy words, softly flowing words.
- Use a variety of angles. Straight across, diagonal, etc.
- You can add pictures, drawn or cut from other paper. Since I wasn't in a crafting atmosphere, I had to stick with drawing. No scissors and glue were available.
- Write or draw as you feel, don't bother to sketch or plan, let it flow. In the past, if I haven't been happy with something I've added (often to do with bad handwriting) I've glued something over it. On this day, I'd misspelled something. That turned into the black and silver bar all down the right hand side of the page. Yes, there is such a thing as screwing up, but there is always a fix. Be free with your ink and if you find you really messed up an area, just cover it with something else. Keep on going!
- Along the lines of "keep going", enjoy your work. Usually a journal is a personal thing, not something you are doing for resale. So, make it your own, pour out your thoughts in doodles, make it mean something to you, and "don't worry if it's not good enough for anyone else" (excuse the Sesamee Street quote there, please, but it did seem to fit).
When I make pages, I wish my handwriting was better. But hey, it's me. That is how I write, even when I try to make it nicer. It just isn't.
Which leads me to one of the things Jay told us, "Let it go". (Which, brought to my mind another kid's song, this time from Frozen. I seem to have a lot of kid's songs in my head on a regular basis)
In art, as well as in life, you just need to Let It Go sometimes. Yep, my hand writing kinda sucks. But overall, the pages look pretty and they mean something to me. A lot of artists focus on perfection and think what they do isn't good enough if it isn't perfect. I say, Let It Go. Nothing is perfect, enjoy what you do, embrace the imperfections and Just Keep Swimming (oops, another kid's show quote there)
If I'd been aiming at perfection, I'd never have got any notes taken.
This page shows making the words I draw fit the feeling they express.
Jay had us write out our issues, then write "I Am" statements that were positive and could help deal with the issues we needed to work on.
I wrote the first in metallic silver ink, that was kind of hard to read because I wanted the negative aspect of it to fade away. I wrote the positive statements in black ink, right over the silver. The positive takes over, and the negative is covered up.
This page isn't as pretty because I wasn't exactly following the guidelines I usually use on a journal page. See how the ink lines are all just about the same size and tone? Not enough variety. If I were to go over it and darken some areas for contrast, it would look nicer, but you know what? I think I'll just let it go. For what it is, it is just fine.
If you ever get a chance to work with Jay, I highly recommend him. He made a lot of good points that day. Another one that I try to use daily is "Be Present". Which to me means to try to notice what is going on around me NOW.
I do believe that planning ahead is completely nesseccary, just like learning from the past is too. But I need to take both of those places and use them in the present, and "be present" not worried about what I'm doing next or fretting about what has already happened.
I believe that you have to own the past and be prepared for the future. My husband thinks I worry, but I'm really just working it out in my head, getting ready for the next thing coming up. But while I'm doing that, I do try to enjoy what the NOW is too.
Always good advice. Thanks, Jay!