Learning to Embrace the Creative Process

Early in 2011, I signed up for a series of online workshops offered by Strathmore Paper to promote their Visual Journal line of sketchbooks. The workshops focused on art journaling, something I had not tried previously, using materials I was unfamiliar with.

Collage. Gesso. Acrylic paint. Scribbling. Doodling. Writing down private thoughts and then covering them up with another layer of paper or paint. More writing. More doodling. I blogged about a few of the exercises last year while I was doing them, but not consistently.

The workshops pulled me completely out of my comfort zone. As I bumbled through the exercises, I discovered that I did not love the process.

And then in finally dawned on me: Art journaling IS all about the PROCESS, not the outcome. My art had always been focused on the OUTCOME — the finished piece. But I did not love the process.

So, I mixed it up a little bit. I started over, using materials I had on hand that I was more comfortable with — watercolor paint, Derwent Intense pencils, Caran d’Arche watersoluable crayons, Faber-Castell markers. I scanned and resized my own sketches and photos instead of clipping them from magazines. I learned a little bit more about using matte medium as a glue and preparing a surface with gesso. I experimented with Golden fluid acrylics and Liquitex acrylic inks.

I made a mess. And you know what? I kinda enjoyed it.

Art journal page.

Art journal WIP

I finally recognized that art journaling is just a more elaborate, integrated way of doing something I’ve been doing in my sketchbooks all along.

Catnip: Joy in a Jar


I’m still not doing formal art journaling on a consistent basis, but I mess around with it when the muse calls. But, I did start incorporating some of the mixed media techniques into my art. More on that in a future post.


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