I was recently asked, and not for the first time, if I add the date to my journal pages.
I do, once and awhile, but that’s usually only to help me figure out what order the journals go in when I’m going through them to track my progress or share them with friends and students.
But it isn’t unusual to read a page about New Year’s before one talking about mid-December. My pages don’t go in linear order, one day, then the next. I don’t even work in order.
Instead, I bounce around. Add a glaze on one page, a photo on another. Do scribbles with fabric paint, then go backwards and glue in collage elements. It’s rare that I sit down and start with a blank page, finishing the entire thing in one sitting.
And I have way more fun this way!
Working randomly, adding little bits here and there, adds to the chaos of a messy page. Layers added over time — longer than an hour or two — means that things aren’t polished. Sometimes, things can feel too smooth around the edges, planning showing through. I love when a page just comes together, the sum of chaos its own beauty.
What this means is that there are currently four or five pages in-progress in my journal.
When I sit down to play, I page through, looking at the ones still unfinished, and work on whatever jumps out at me. If I feel like drawing with ink, I’ll turn to a page with a background free of too many added elements so the drawings stick out. If I want to color with shiny pens, I find one that’s nearly finished and just needs a few doodles. The work feels less forced and more organic this way.
I used to do one a page at a time, in order, start to finish. There’s nothing wrong with that, and yes, at times, I’m inspired to sit and start with a blank piece of paper. But I’m pretty happy with my bouncing, non-linear workflow.
Lately, I’ve added little watercolor pieces to the mix. When you’re low on energy or hurting, a waterbrush and little palette of paint can bring great joy, even if you’re just doodling (one of my favorite activities!). It’s a new artform I’m in love with, surprised with the beauty I’ve been able to create. And to think I never thought I could do watercolors!
So here are a few of my pages in progress — do you have any? And when was the last time you showed them any love?