Thursday, December 15, 2005

Journal Fear, My Journals and Journaling with My Children

I will admit here I am having some fear about journaling. Here is what is going on.

I made a journal out of watercolor paper. I chose to paint the paper before binding it between hard covers. Each page looks so wonderful that I don’t want to cover it up with collaged images of any kind. So far my journal pages have mostly writing on them. Last night I journaled for an hour and was unable to put any images on it. I have lots of ephemera that I like and also ephemera from each day’s ‘events’ but I don’t want to “ruin” the page by covering up the water colored image.

Two nights ago I started a gluebook (aka glue book). A gluebook is a book in which a person does pure collage. No writing, no painting, nothing but glued in papers. I thought perhaps this method would free me. If I was collaging upon plain white paper then I would not want to cover it up. The problem with this type of background is that it is flat and boring. I finished one page and started four others. I then felt compelled to write on the pages to explain or discuss some of the items which appear on the page. I held back from doing because as per the ‘rules’ a gluebook is just a gluebook.

Then I was telling myself who cares what the definitions and rules are. I can do whatever I want. I guess I am in such a beginning point that I worry about doing things ‘right’. The other part of my brain tells me with journaling there is no ‘right’. It can be whatever I want it to be, I am free, I can do what I want.

Using whole images vs. pieces

Here is my other problem. Not only do I not want to show the whole background but I also have a problem with the image. I tend to want to use an entire image even if to do so takes up a ton of room.

I have seen work by artists who use portions of an image. Example: I would include the whole train ticket while someone else may have ripped off one edge of it and used a small piece of it (and that looks great). I am telling myself that if just a portion of the image evokes the same image or feeling or captures the moment or whatever, then that is doing its job and that is all that was required—seeing just a piece of it not the entire thing. However I am having a hard time doing it. I also hesitate to just shred up a piece of ephemera. I am actually afraid to do it. It seems silly for me to write that and admit that. Perhaps to get over this I should make some color copies of things then shred the copies and then once I am comfortable with that, start tearing and cutting up the originals. (I prefer to use original ephemera since I have so much of it all around me.)

So where I am at is I have been journaling in my artist journal and have started a gluebook.

The gluebook I started is in a spiral bound artists sketch journal which I bought 1.5 years ago while at a homeschooling conference. There is a great paper and art supplies vendor who attends this certain conference. The vendor has inexpensively priced paper which they custom bind into various tablets and pads. The company is called Miller Pads and Paper. They have a paper mail order catalog and an internet site. The Miller Pads and Paper sketch pad is 6x9 inches and cost $3.50.

I remember buying pads of watercolor paper (seems to be 140 lb. but I am not sure) for $3. This has not pilled on me and seems fully functional! There were 25 sheets in each pad. You can’t beat that price!

I also had purchased from them some other supplies which we have not used yet. Some of the greatest things were hardbound books with plain white covers and blank pages within that look like children’s picture books. However adults could use these books. I think I paid under $3 for each of these. There were various sizes. I have three in my basement which are 9x12 inches. I don’t know the page count off hand but it is low such as perhaps 32 pages or maybe less.

What my kids are doing as of two nights ago is journaling. My children are aged 5.5 and 8. I gave them their sketchbooks and said they are for gluing in, using stickers in, drawing, and/or writing in. I said they could do whatever they wanted with it. I also had one for me and sat down to go through pages of a magazine and I collaged upon the pages. My children chose different things to do. They ran to get their big art kit, a box of markers, a gel pen set, and the box of stickers. They alternated between creating their own drawings and making collages out of stickers.

Note to self: I need to get more stickers for the kids to play with.

My younger son also asked me to make some drawings for him. He is at that stage where he wants his drawings to be very realistic, as true to life as a photograph. He then refuses to draw if his drawing doesn’t look the way he wants. That first night I caved in and drew him a figure of Obi Wan Kenobi and then a picture of our house.

Last night I sat down to journal and both the kids ran for theirs. My older son did one page of stickers that looks like a crowded collage, then moved on to drawing his favorite thing: trains. He used gel pens. The first was multi-colored. Then he got an idea to do one with only shades of blue. There were about a dozen different shades of blue gel pens in the set (half sparkle ink, half matte).

My younger son wanted me to draw a Sith Lord with lightening coming out of his fingers and electrocuting a Jedi (yuck) and I refused to do any drawing. Instead I traced his hand on the page and he drew lightening coming out of that. Then when he complained of an inability to draw in a realistic manner I suggested he draw shapes instead. I introduced him to oil pastel crayons and I showed him how they could be blended. He did one page of abstract shapes and a second page was more like a border of the page outlined then repeated over and over toward the center. He had a blast blending the oil pastels but didn’t like it when he saw his hands were covered in dark colors. Thank goodness 99% of it washed off with warm water and soap.

Journaling in the evening right before bed has been a very relaxing experience for all three of us. I think we are going to keep this up. It is also nice that I am getting time to journal and not feeling that me doing that is ‘time away from them’. We are all doing it close to each other but working independently.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

Journals are for practice for fun. Try this, experiment.

But my son also worries about things not being "right."

Stickers could be for you, too.