"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reflected Light

I don't usually go in for posting pictures of my house, but I loved these two, which I just took today. It's the living room, awash in sunlight reflected from the snow on the ground outside. It is probably the brightest this room ever gets. I like the picture because it makes the room look all cozy and warm, which it is. Also, in the second one, you can see two of our four cats. Domino is on the back of the couch, soaking up sun, and Phantom is curled up on the other end of the couch, next to the dark, wine-colored cushion.

Oh, and the little squares taped to the wall on the left in the first picture are paint sample cards. The room needs to be repainted because of a bit of remodeling work we had done in the dining room and kitchen, which left large areas of white plaster. These rooms are all connected, so are usually painted the same color...traditionally blue, since I love the way artwork stands out so beautifully against blue walls.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year

...This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
And neighbors together do meet.
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love to greet.
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot,
All sorrows aside they lay:
The old and the young doth carol this song,
To drive the cold winter away....

(Verse from a traditional English song, eighteenth century)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sketchbook Self-Challenge

Okay, I am biting the bullet, or, I guess, taking the plunge? In any case, I have decided to join this journal challenge. With a theme only once-a-month, and with over a dozen artists sharing their work and methods for the rest of us tagging along, I thought it would be a fun and rather inspiring game to play. I've never done anything like this before, but have always been curious as to how it might feel to be a part of a shared experience. So, heart-in-throat, I commit to sharing my ramblings and artwork with the other artists brave enough to do the same.

Part of this challenge is to post some of my journal pages in this blog, then post a link in the Comments section of the Challenge site. That way anyone can click into the link and see my work, and I can do the same with the other participants. So you will be getting a sneak preview of the pages I submit, listed under whatever the theme for that month turns out to be.

As a show of my good intentions, I have added the Challenge badge to my settings, as a sign of my commitment. Of course, if at some point I chicken out—which judging by my personal journal keeping history, is a possibility (see previous post)—I will remove the badge.

Wish me luck.

Edit: Just discovered that the photos will be posted on a flickr site, not linked to Comments. But, I am all signed up and ready to go.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Scattered Journals

I love the idea of journals. I love to read historic journals or diaries, which probably has something to do with the basic human urge to stick our noses into other people’s lives—especially from the safety of our living room couch. I really love the current trend for art journals, although people have been adding drawings to diaries and journals for centuries.

Some of the new art journals are visually stunning, but since they don’t have any entries in writing, won’t have much meaning to someone looking at them decades down the road, other than, “Wow, ol’ Aunt Marge sure had a way with shipping labels, paint, and glue.” To me, there should always be writing in a journal. Even if it’s only one word, used to describe how you felt that day, writing will have more meaning to someone thumbing through the pages years later. Even if it’s only yourself.

So, as stated, I love journals. The problem I have with my own is, well, faithfulness. I start them with great enthusiasm, write and draw in them, add collage pages, photos, etc., and then slowly the intervals between entries gets longer and longer. Doubt sets in. I keep asking myself, “Who the hell is going to care about my less-than-exciting day?” Months go by and nothing gets written. Or, I see a really stunning art journal, look at my scribbling, and think I’ve just wasted a perfectly good sketch book.

Stashed away in bookshelves, or sitting in Documents on my computer, or languishing nearby, are dozens of journals I’ve started and then abandoned. There are small note books, large sketch books, and old, cheap lined notebooks. One of my favorite computer journals was a conversation between myself and one of my fictional characters, who played devil’s advocate. I called it Conversations with Rune. That got to be quite interesting, arguing with a character I created, who argued back.

Some journals I pick up periodically and add to. Currently I am on fire with a small ringed sketch book, using it to makes notes about a book idea I have, or recording how my leap back into horses after a twenty-five year hiatus is going. There are other things in it, because, as per my history, this book was started years ago, then abandoned.

Essentially, my journals end up a mishmash. They have no continuity, no cohesiveness. Years can go by between entries, and by that time my life circumstances have changed. What does that say about me? That I’m scatterbrained? That I can’t focus on a project for long periods of time? That I am easily sidetracked into doing other things? Or worse, that my life is too boring to write about? Maybe. But I prefer to think of it as showing that I keep trying. That I’m willing to go back, start again, and see if things work out. It may also be that, due to the fact that I don’t exactly live life in the fast lane, there are periods of time when there is nothing interesting to report. I don’t think entries like, “Went to the grocery store and bought a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and some fancy cheese” would be of riveting interest to anyone—unless I was held up at gunpoint on my way to the store.

I also try not to be intimidated by the journals of artists I admire. It is wrong to compare my work to theirs. Sometimes that’s a hard thing not to do. But instead of envying them, I try to learn from them. Find out what techniques they used, what materials. If their journals have a certain format I like, I adapt it to mine. I have bought books on journaling, which are fun and inspiring.

I love journals. I like writing in them, putting artwork in them, and adding photos, ticket stubs, menus from a favorite restaurant, or any other bits of flotsam I like. When my husband and I travel to events, I keep everything from ferry tickets to gas receipts and it all goes in a travel journal. Well, it would. I confess, I have bags of stuff from events still waiting to be added to pages. Eventually I’ll get around to them. In the meantime, I have updates on my horse training to add to my current journal, ideas for jewelry (tiaras, maybe?), sketches for my book idea (it involves a map), and I have added a lists page, of thing I want to do—mainly because my memory is like a sieve, and if I don’t write an idea down, I won’t be able to remember it the next day.

And I have this Blog site, which is another type of journal. And as you can see by looking at the dates of older posts, much like all my other journals, weeks or months can go by before I add another entry. But I soldier on, I have fun, and eventually I will end up with scattered records of my life. However, I think a scattered record is better than no record at all.