Thoughts on Art Journaling and Why It’s For Everyone

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What is Art Journaling?

Art journaling is difficult to define because it can be so many different things. Although there might be trends and popular ways to approach art journaling, I believe there truly aren’t any rules at all.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I broaden my definition. Art journaling is a record of your thoughts, emotions and experimentations over time in a book-ish form. There are those who have illustrated diaries, sketchbooks, travel journals, diet diaries, dream journals or simply to-do lists… but really they are all a type of art journal for that particular person.

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Perhaps it is the word “art” that throws us all off. We think of “Art” with the capital A and suddenly a whole lot of expectations are thrown into the mix. Shouldn’t an art journal be beautiful? Don’t you need artistic skill to art journal? Well, I think our lives are most definitely our “Art” – so anything you create and record in your journal is valid. Perhaps we can think of it as the “Art of our lives.” It is different for everyone and the ultimately it is the process not the end result that is important.

For those that are into the planner craze, decorating their notebooks and filofaxes… I sort of think that is a form of art journaling as well. It’s creative playtime after all!

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Art Journaling Is For Everyone

I think art journals are for everyone because it is a safe place to express yourself – in whatever way and with whatever medium you wish. The details of how don’t matter. It’s the process of creating that is magical, not the end result.

You might art journal to let it all out, writing out your emotions in raw form. You might art journal as a way to experiment and play with new ideas, techniques or supplies. You might want to document your life and your thoughts. You might just enjoy the creative fun and process of playing in your journal, creating something on the blank page. All of the above perhaps?

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So really, anyone can art journal, there is no skill involved. You can have a whole journal filled with ink splatters and criss crossed lines. Or you can just collage magazine clippings. The process and motion of making marks… putting imagery together… that means something. The creative action helps you let out some energy, expressing your emotions in a different form. It’s healing and soothing and hopefully, really fun and enjoyable as well.

The action of creating feeds your soul and I think it makes us better and healthier in the end. That is why art journaling is for everyone. I think we all really need it as a part of our lives.

When I give myself some art journaling time, I’m usually in need of letting something out of my heart and soul. It might be serious and deep or it might be light and happy. Either way, my art journal is a safe haven for me to mull things over. I definitely need that space and time in my life.

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Sharing Your Art Journal

These days we see a lot of folks sharing their art journals online for all the world to see. But I don’t think you ever have to share and more often than not, your art journal is more of a personal workbook than a finished piece for exhibition. We can easily be disillusioned by all that we see online, but remember that is only one facet of the person posting. It’s rarely ever the whole truth.

Don’t think you have to reproduce and mimic what you see. It can be fun to join in on the community, but I don’t think that is the core of what art journaling can do for you. It’s so personal and raw that it’s totally okay to keep it to yourself… at least most of it to yourself.

I often share the light and happy parts of my art journaling, not all the other stuff that is deeper, darker, too personal for a public audience. It’s an individual choice really.

Why Not?

I often wonder what stops people from joining in on the wonderful world of art journaling. Notions about what it has to be? There are no rules, just go for it. Fear of being judged? Don’t share. Don’t know how to get started? The easiest way is to use pen and paper and just write your stream of consciousness. Let it flow and slowly go from there. You’ll be surprised how easy it really is. No time? Don’t tell me you don’t spend countless minutes and hours waiting in line, shuffling from one thing to another or zoning out in front of the TV. Instead of letting those little bits of time slip through your fingers wasted, think of how you can take that time for yourself. It will only do your soul good.

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Let’s Art Journal

If you would like to get started art journaling, I highly encourage you to do so with simple pen and paper. You don’t really need fancy supplies or an expensive journal. Once you get into it, you’ll naturally expand and explore all that it has to offer and perhaps the fun of getting more supplies as well.

If you want more guidance to start out, consider my Pensieri zine #1 – Art Journaling. It’s my most popular issue and guides you through while being a starter art journal itself!

Are you an art journaler? Want to join in on the creative fun?

 

What I’ve Learned from an Unintended Blog Hiatus

At the end of this month my son will be turning 2 years old. Wow. Talk about time flying by. Motherhood sort of swept me off my feet in many ways. The amazing miracle of it all and the joys of seeing your little one grow, smile and melt your heart every single day. But of course I always say that motherhood also kicked my butt and I struggled… oh, did I struggle!

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So my blog and creative endeavors definitely took a back seat for a long time. I try to keep the creative fire going, but it just hasn’t been easy. This year I’m determined to get my groove back and wanted to share what I’ve learned from my unintended blog hiatus. It might seem all doom and gloom to abandon your audience, but turns out there are important lessons learned even when things are all quiet…

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It’s okay to take time off
Yep, sometimes you really just need time off. We are all on different paths and each experience is unique. There’s no need to compare and think that you must do what another was able to pull off. You don’t know how much help they might have or what other circumstances they were living in. It’s okay to take time to regroup, re-energize and build up energy.
Rewrite the rules of the game to fit you
More than anything I’ve learned that being flexible is supremely important. The times change, your life circumstances change and you have to be open to all the change that comes. It’s so much easier to welcome it all with open arms and figure out how to make it work, instead of resisting.
The ugly side is necessary
There are many unglamorous parts no matter what kind of work you do. Whether it’s your ultimate passion dream job or not, there’s always the “job” part of things. The yucky boring uninteresting parts… and that is okay! Creating a dream job for yourself doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy as pie with no worries. Just know that there are beautiful moments of satisfaction and growth… and that it’s all worth it! Figure out ways to do what you must do, but also to enjoy all the good parts fully.
Sharing with others is endlessly fulfilling
And that is exactly why I am coming back to blogging. I sort of can’t imagine not sharing my creative endeavors and efforts. It just seems natural and the right thing to do. Community is fulfilling and I thank all of you for following me here on the blog, through thick and thin!
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There is beauty and worth in all that you do
Finally, I’ve learned that it’s not about the quantity or results achieved in my creative endeavors that really matters. It’s the process of doing what makes me happy, doing what lights up my spirit and letting that passion spill out to others as well. It’s all beautiful and it’s all worth it.

Confessions of a Creative Mom

One of the most stifling feelings I have ever felt is the thought that the raising of my kid is standing between me and my creative dreams. It’s a scary and horrible thought, because both things are extremely important to me. So how can you put one over the other?

Inevitably we wonder how the heck do moms do it? How do they end up accomplishing anything at all with kids around?

When I first started my motherhood journey, I sort of gave up everything else. There was nothing more important than the little baby I was carrying in my tummy, then the big baby I was caring for and suddenly the toddler that I am still chasing around.

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But slowly, I started to realize that it’s okay that being a mom intersects with what I do. Sure it takes a whole lot of my time and energy, but it also inspires and motivates. In fact, I’ve never ever felt before such amazing feelings, just watching my child grow up. There are beautiful moments and crazy messy moments, but absolutely no regrets.  It’s often hard to say that about anything else in life.

With the years I think I have also grown a bit old and stiff, physically, mentally, emotionally? But with little ones in your life, you can’t help but be reminded of the vitality there is in life and the amazing hope and growth there is for all of us.

Sure it sounds dramatic, but motherhood has changed my soul for the better. I might still be frazzled at times (a lot of the time), but it’s all a good in the end. All I can do is try my best to live life to the fullest and show my little boy the joys of life by example.

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I still have so much to learn, but that is part of the lesson in life… we always learn and grow… but we can live a rich, full and happy life no matter what.

I always say that motherhood kicks my butt and it still does every single day. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s the amazing thing, I suppose.

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I think an important lesson to remember is that you can’t measure your success by how much you create or finish… really it’s about how you do it. Is your creativity making you happy at the end of the day? That’s what really matters.

Letting Your Creativity Flow

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urge that motivates you.

Keep the channel open.

-Martha Graham

Doesn’t that just say all the right things, especially for creative folks like us?

I was introduced to this wonderful quote by Martha Graham after watching Marie Forleo’s video this week. I was instantly inspired and had to share. It simply makes me feel great about letting whatever creativity that flows out of me… out! No more judgements or second guessing, hesitations or self-criticism or paralysis.

Amazing how eureka moments just appear out of nowhere. I love it! Wishing you a happy week!

Blog Your Way To A New Lifestyle

Hello blog friends!

I hope you’ve had a happy holiday season. I’ve been allowing myself to take it easy for many months now, with no blog schedule, business or social media planning. It’s been quiet around here because I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want for 2015 and how it relates to this blog.

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Going back to the root of it all, blogging is about sharing through my life and experiences – a sort of celebration of what drives me and makes me happy at the end of the day. I know everyone blogs for different reasons, but for me, it has to make me feel good at the end of the day. That’s has to be the core of it.

Of course, we all know that many of us in the blogosphere use our blogs as a tool to creating a new lifestyle. It’s about cultivating our interests and seeing where it can take us… perhaps to a whole new career and way of life. There will always be the naysayers who insult and feel that blogs should be non-commercial and are sick of people trying to turn their ideas into businesses. But I don’t see why we can’t have the best of both worlds. I think the world will be a much better place if our work had a good intersection with our true passions and interests. Don’t you think?

The Beginning

I started blogging because it seemed like a fun things to do back when it was this cool new web thing. Somewhat like an online diary of sorts. But soon I tried to focus on particular interests and my blog did lead me to open an Etsy shop and pursue various business ideas.

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However, nothing lasts forever. I created digital designs for sale in the scrapbooking industry, but in the recent years, shops kept closing down and it was such a pain to keep moving from shop to shop. I also created handmade leather journals for sale and they sold well, but in ramping up the production I realized that I didn’t want to be a bookbinding machine. My hands literally couldn’t take it, so eventually I just stopped that as well. I still have my digital designs and zines available online, but everything has just been on a standstill for the past year.

Change

Taking on the role of mom has definitely changed my life in so many ways. I suddenly found myself unable to operate as I previously had done and I certainly went through a period of depression and crisis. It was as if I was so close to finding my place, but then motherhood threw a wrench in it all and now I’m starting all over again. I was frustrated for a very long time, then I sort of gave up and gave in to exhaustion. But slowly, I realized that I just need time away to regroup.

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The greatest journey of our lives is that of finding one’s own passions and ultimately loving oneself. Only now do I realize it’s a lifelong journey… you don’t just get to the answer and live in a stage of knowing it all! We are constantly changing and the world is changing. We will be evolving with the times – that is just a fact of life.

It’s obvious that big life changes means that every aspect will be touched, from career to hobby to dreams and passions. I’m still freelancing in web and design work and that is the only thing I’ve been able to hold onto. But now that my baby is going to nursery school, I feel like I can finally explore and expand again.

Begin Again

So here I am again, blogging my thoughts, planning for the new year with excitement and slowly building up the courage to chase my dreams. New dreams and new passions!

A big thanks and hug to all my blog friends who have stuck with me through this transitional stage of my life. I look forward to 2015 and wish you the most amazing year yet :)

A Summer Review

No surprise that the summer has passed by so quickly for me. What about you?

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I spent half of summer in the USA with family and the other half, split up with the beginning trying to prepare for the big trip with my baby/toddler son and the other part trying to recuperate when we returned to Italy!

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I had a great time back in Southern California and took another vacation in Austria with the hubby… and now that Fall is settling in… it’s really time to jump back on the horse, so to speak. I feel as if I’ve been sliding off all year and at some point have just been laying on the ground, staring at the sun. Does that make any sense, at all?

It’s a weird feeling, suffice to say.

It’s Labor Day for folks in the USA, but it’s also the first of the month when a reminder pops up on my calendar to take stock of the past month. Billing, taxes, analytics, reflection, planning – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Do you regularly check-in with yourself?

Ultimately, I realized that motherhood has taken over my life as my days from start to finish are all about my boy and how he feels and what he needs. Everything else is secondary and even when there are attempts to take time for myself, it’s really like take a breather, a slight pause, not really time where I can get down and serious with my ambitions and interests.

Let’s just say I am still struggling when it comes to creating art with parenting responsibilities.

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The other issue is that I can’t even decide what I want to tackle when there are chunks available to me. I end up tidying up my studio or fixing some computer issue. I’m obviously in a state of avoidance. Journaling and sketching has been on an all time low for me.

In reflecting on all this, I realize that nothing will change, if I don’t make a change. Duh! The key is small, tiny, baby (hah, a pun!) steps. Little progress is still progress. I just need to figure out how to do what I want to do, in small chunks. There will never be the luxury of hermit art days… it’s just not going to happen with my current lifestyle.

Create something, every single day.

Perhaps a bit broad, but I think you get the point. It’s like building up momentum. I happened to organize my old journals and it did pick me up to see all that I have created before. Hey, I can do this… just need to get back to it. I suppose, it’s back to school for me this September.

What have you been up to this summer? Are you satisfied with your accomplishments? Looking for more? What will your action goal be this month? Would love to hear how you make time and motivate yourself to create!

You Never Have To Worry About Originality

Most creatives, at one point of another, worry about the originality of their work. We all want to be unique and if you’ve ever thought you had the coolest idea of all time – you probably have also experienced the disappointment of finding that someone else has already done it. Darn.

However, we all know that nothing is completely original. Our creations are always a mash-up of past experiences and learnings. But don’t misunderstand these statements into meaning it’s okay to copy. In this digital age, it’s all too easy to literally copy and paste.

Copy, imitation, stealing… whatever word you choose to use isn’t important. I believe the distinction is in your intention. There’s a great talk by Austin Kleon that illustrates these thoughts beautifully.

Ultimately, I think the key is that you have to LOVE your work. If you have that passion for your project, it means you own it. You know that feeling, so trust yourself.

I think that is a good point of measurement. What do you think?

What Is It That YOU Really Like?

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After taking Monica’s Smart Creative Style course, I’ve been in this stage of evaluating my own work and trying to reframe and realign, so that I can move forward with intention and clear direction.

As I look back, there has definitely been a lot of growth in my work… which comes from a lot of experimentation… which looks quite inconsistent and all over the place, unfortunately.

I suppose it’s time to buckle down and really take stock of what I personally LOVE and stick with that. We all want to receive feedback and recognition for what we do, but sometimes those outside opinions can really skew what we set out to create to start with. Gwenn Seemel did a video post about imitation and it sparked all these thoughts for me.

I MUST create what jives with me personally, no matter what. It’s taken me a while to get to this point and I’m still brewing with thoughts, but I realize that I often live inside my head too much. Time to get out there! On that note, I’m super excited for the launch of ArtLicensingShow.com and have already signed-up as a founding lifetime member.

Also, I want to thank you everyone for answering the little survey I emailed out last week. I’m humbled and honored that so many of you took the time to respond. I feel so loved and grateful for this little piece of the web-o-sphere – grazie grazie grazie. If you’ve missed everything, you better join my newsletter asap!