My first visual journal was a large lined Moleskine I recovered from the bottom of a desk drawer in 2005.
Being sick most of last week kept me out of the studio (and often off the computer as well), and I had little energy to do anything more than doodle or work with basic watercolors. I found this Moleskine sketchbook tucked into my bookcase, and found it was the perfect size to settle on my lap. The paper is butter-smooth under my Copic multiliners; it took two days to finish the zentangle, my spiraling, mushy thoughts leaking out around the edges.
The simplest tools can deliver the most awakening of thoughts.
Settled on my bed, large, funny headphones over my ears, I found myself writing out lyric fragments as I listened to the new Snow Patrol album. Snippets jumped out at me as I slowly wrote and re-wrote the words in terra cotta watercolor, parts of the page resisting the paint.
This is your life. This is your time.
A symphony, slow music of longing
If this is all you’ve ever asked for, then this is all you’ll get
Every eye trained on a different star
Suddenly, all these fragments made sense. When people ask me what I do for a living, I often joke and say, “I write art and inspiration articles. I guess I wasn’t specific enough when I wished to be a writer!”
And it’s true. Maybe right now, I’m not wishing hard enough. Or big enough. I sometimes feel fragmented by all the things I love doing that my week often ping-pongs around from one media to the next, never settled long enough to finish anything long-term. I have, as they say, my fingers in too-many pots.
But there was magic that night, sitting on my bed. I spent two hours working on a spread of words and images — an evil queen fading but still watching a princess — getting lost in the motions, the process. I wasn’t creating a dynamic art journal page full of bold colors and layers and all that jazz. No, instead, I was truly connecting.
Has this happened to you? Have you gotten so caught up in the fads and the colors and the myriad of materials at your fingertips that you’ve forgotten your roots? When was the last time you checked in with yourself?
I would love to know in the comments below.