{ day 8: self-discovery & that point when you actually LIKE your journal pages }


time spent in studio: 30 min (poor; did work on journal page, though); words written: 830; movies watched: 1.25 (had to leave early for work); internet time: 0 (as internet at home is down, and have come to work early to go online)

Creativity is all about self-discovery. In thinking outside the box, we often go deep within ourselves, digging through deep reservoirs filled with the intrinsic knowledge of countless generations that came before, looking for an answer we know is there, is better, is different. We learn not only about ourselves, but the world around us, behind us, before us.

Before journaling, my creative output was mostly limited to the written word. I watched my internal growth through increasingly complex and lyrical sentences, the mining of beautiful words to conjure vivid mental pictures, a landscape created through the assemblage of letters on a page. At work, I often found different ways to get things done, more efficient ways that gave me more time to write, to enjoy life around me. Solutions to everyday problems were heralded as amazing or highly creative, things they couldn't have thought up on their own. I often wondered how that could be; the solution was right in front of them!

Now, I can watch myself grow in technicolor, soaring through the rainbow on the back of a paintbrush (or, recently, along my fingers, as I've digressed to kindergarden and abandoned conventional tools). I love journaling because I can see so many different elements come together.

Last night, I had a dream about creating collages. My journal sat in the middle of a rich red rug. Pens and markers were spilled atop piles of paper – patterned, found, plain, painted. I pulled drawers of elements, everyday items, colorful swatches of fabric, beads, game pieces – I was laughing as I spilled them onto the floor around me. I became an alchemist of the soul, pulling together whatever caught my eye into a page that grew into a song (I've always loved music, lyric, melody; I played the flute, but have never been able to grasp how to create the many-layered symphony of a simple song). It soared above me, swirled around me, and in that perfect moment, I realized it was me all along.

Where'd all this come from? The page above. I love how it came together, and can't stop looking at it. I feel like I achieved something, or maybe, got something out that had been trying to escape me for a long time. Here's how it all came together:

+ I use the blank pages of my journals for sketches, doodles, notes, or to get markers/pens to work that are         being difficult. Here, I was playing around with that winged face thingy.

+ When painting the facing page, I mixed, well, a lot more paint than I needed. I hate wasting paint – if it's         left-over on my pallet, I have to use it somewhere. So, I colored the bottom of the page with the left-overs,     which covered what you can see in dark green.

+ I had to grab something from my bedroom, and on the way out, my eye caught a pretty candle holder I got in     a sale at a favorite art/indie shop. I love the contours, so I brought it into the studio and sketched it on the     half-painted page. Gotta keep my drawing skills sharp!

+ Before I painted, I put a layer of gesso over the page; this “faded” the original drawing in the corner, and that     simply wouldn't do! So I colored it with watercolor crayons and re-did the outlines with charcoal.

+ Now that it was shaping up into a journal page of it's own (the previous steps weren't done in one sitting), I     decided the top needed some color. I did a wash of yellow with my fluid acrylics (which are like acrylic             watercolors...it makes sense once you've used 'em).

+ The yellow was too bright, so I coated the page with fresco cream glaze.

+ The music I was listening to spoke to the page – the candle holder DID look like a lighthouse, so I transcribed     a bit of the lyrics with stick-on letters and doodled around them.

+ When I was a kid, I loved the lighthouses of Nantucket Island. One that always stuck in my mind was Sankity,     a tall, endangered house covered in red and white stripes. The thought of a lighthouse brought this back to     me, so I painted the sketch with these colors.

+ And to give it a base, I cut a strip of scrapbooking paper and pasted it to the bottom. Then, I grabbed a             left-over piece of columnar paper and tinted it with a distress ink pad in old paper. Added the date with a         tape labeler.

Then wrote. And voila! Finished journal page!

What songs inspire you? Do you find yourself listening to the same albums when painting or creating? Why? What do they say to you? Use your music as a jumping off point next time you're staring at the blank journal page. Or simply collect left-overs and odd ideas on a single page. Who says you have to do the whole thing at once?