Little Something Sunday with Karen Grunberg

An Art Journal in the Making

I've wanted to keep art journals for several years. Each year, I'd start them and then end up abandoning them after just a few pages. I put so much pressure on myself and disliked so many of my pages that I simply couldn't get myself to continue. I also did the same thing for regular journaling. So, this year, I decided to combine the two and add in my desire to learn new things. I took the journal I'd used in 2008 (the cover says "Journey" which was my word of the year in 2008) and took out its pages. I added a ton of different sized and textured pages. I put some cardboard, watercolor paper, newsprint, copic paper, the thick paper that was in the 7gypsies journal I'm using, patterned scrapbooking paper, etc. Most of the items came from a Rebecca Sower journaling kit I bought. I then sewed a pouch inside the cover to hold some loose items I might want to use in my journal like doilies, baker's twine, tags, etc. and my journal was ready.
The whole thing started with a challenge Kal Barteski issued about picking a topic and doing it 5 ways in 5 days. I decided to do trees and did 5 pages using different mediums and inspirations. I did a page with Ruth Rae's instructions and fabric, one with oil pastels, one with a photo page inspired by Misty Mawn, some copic coloring, and embroidery. I added to that one that I had made for creative therapy catalyst two out of paper and I had a set of 6 pages to put in my journal.

Then I took out every single inspiring book and magazine I'd bought in the last few years and marked all the pages I loved and wanted to try out. I had books by Ruth Rae, the Artistic Mom, several Somerset Studio magazines, Somerset Apprentice and Art Journaling, and Somerset Sew and Quilting. I played with fabric and paint. I tried to create similar pieces to what inspired me. These weren't for publication, just for learning and practicing so I didn't worry about duplicating style. It also took the pressure off having to come up with something to do everyday.

I also put together all my art supplies that I've bought over the years. My new copic markers, my water soluble crayons, watercolors, oil pastels, etc. And made a list of all the things I wanted to learn/try.I was really afraid to draw. I don't feel like I have any talent in it but I wanted to use my copic markers, etc. I reminded myself this wasn't for perfection. It was for experimentation and for fun and for inspiration. So I drew. I colored. I doodled. I inked. I liked some and I liked others less.

It's been a few weeks and I am falling more and more in love with my art journal. I have now completed around 20 pages or so and I have plans for so many more pages. I am still really excited about my journal and I am really glad to be working on it. And in case you're wondering I am doing the journaling, too.
I think the biggest trick was to go through all my books and magazines and tag pages. Now I have a long list of inspiring things to try and I sit every morning and work on one that strikes my fancy that day. If you're like me and have been putting off making an art journal, I highly recommend this trick. Or at least collecting all your supplies, the papers you haven't been using, the leftover pile and just getting started. The best part about an art journal is that it's for pure play. No one is ever going to grade your art journal. It's just for you. If you want to see any of my pages up close or see what inspired which page, you are welcome to visit the art journal section of my blog. If you have an art journal, please link to it so I can come see yours too. I love being inspired by others!


Shelley Haganman said...

I love this Karen! Your work is so very inspiring. I love how you tried different kinds of media and I really love how this all came together! Fabulous!

ben... MinnieM... mais toute seule... said...

I love the way you changed your mind, as it is my main problem !!!
thanks for sharing your experiment, and congrats for your awesome art journal !
I have also tried to start an altered book and have not ended so far... maybe you will make me go on !
thanks !