A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I started being bombarded by people telling me that if I wanted to be a REAL artist, I had to carry a sketchbook with me everywhere, sit on park benches and draw lifelike pictures of what I saw. Then the journal people told me that in order to be a REAL artist, I had to keep a journal with lots of details about my personal life, my studio practice, and how I felt about all those things. And even though I had been carrying a notebook in my purse for years, that wasn’t good enough. I had to have dedicated sketchbooks and journals. I already had a sore shoulder from carrying too much stuff around, so I hesitated.
But since I hated to dismiss something just because I had never tried it before, I gave it a shot. I kept a journal on my night table and carried a sketchbook in my purse. The journal was the first to fail. I would go for days and then weeks without writing anything. Now, I have kept travel journals in the past, when there was something I considered worthwhile to write down, but how often did I have anything of note go on in my day to day existence? Not very darned often. I got tired of writing: Got up, had three meals during the course of the day, spent some time messing around in the studio, took a walk, read part of a book, fed the dog, went back to bed. That was the end of journaling for me.
The sketchbook was a little more successful, though I sat on very few park benches drawing people walking their dogs. It was more likely that I would notice some pattern on a tree or rock or driftwood and see if I could capture it. Or I would draw some ideas for a future work and make a few notes about it. But mostly the sketchbook became a place to write down peoples’ phone numbers or email addresses. Or make lists of things to do, stuff to get at the grocery store, birthdays I’d better remember, appointments to be entered onto the calendar, and such like things. When the sketchbook was filled up, I would go through it, gather anything I didn’t want to lose and file it in the right place, and tear out any sketches or notes about possible artwork and drop them in a box for future reference. Then I would recycle the rest.
Eventually, I got tired of digging through the box, and bought a big scrapbook, tidied up the scraps of paper, and glued them into the book, which now looks something like this:
Don’t get me wrong. I have great respect for people who love to sketch and keep journals. They are doing things I just couldn’t wrap my head around. I guess I’d rather just dig into the fabric and make something. So no matter where you are on that continuum, I wish you joy in what you are doing, and great creative leaps, and much peace.
Be well, my little chickadees!