Sunday, March 08, 2009

Journals and Journaling

I'd like to talk about journals and journaling and encourage those of you who do journal to keep on doing it and those who don't to start. As a child I kept a diary, a little red leather book with a lock, and in it I wrote such silliness, like "today Bobby winked at me", "I hate piano and I don't know why Mother makes me take lessons and practice", and "I wish I could draw a person's face that really looks like her". I don't know what happened to that first little book but I sure do wish I had it today as I'm attempting to remember my childhood days in order to write a journal of my childhood for my oldest granddaughter. I cannot for the life of me remember who I was in the 6th grade! I don't even have a picture.

But I'm really not talking about keeping a diary of events, though those are interesting in later years. I'm addicted to big girl stuff... keeping a journal or even several. I have a computer program for my PC called The Journal, and although I don't write in it every day that's where I keep health records and the more personal stuff, password protected. And I have a Garden Journal that's been many years in the making. And then there's my little Moleskine that stays in my handbag. But the journal that is an extension of my body is my art journal. It isn't the kind that has gorgeous art on every page like Teesha Moore, but it's the repository of my studio plans, where I do mind maps as a way of planning art and life.

My journal contains gallery announcements of artists whose work I like with some comments on the show. Its pages are full of sketches, ideas, photos that inspire me, lists of all kinds... it's the sort of journal that Gilbert K. Chesterton was talking about when he said "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." My books aren't sensational but people find them fascinating. By the time I fill a book it's half worn out and then it becomes more dog-eared as I go back into it time and again seeking inspiration.

The journal pictured at the top of this post is my current one, started in January. There's not much in it yet but I'm working in it frequently. I made the book. I have a clunky machine called a Rubi-Coil that punches holes for spiral binding... a splurge when I was teaching art journaling. For the last two journals I've used a medium weight tan paper that I buy locally by the ream. The covers are 140# watercolor paper that's gessoed on both sides. I'm an ex-quilter and for this journal I cut paper squares and made a patchwork design on the cover, but I didn't like it so I troweled on a thin coat of gesso and then racked through it while it was still wet to form texture and pattern. I find that if the cover of my journal is attractive to me I'm more apt to pick it up and work in it than if it's plain.


  1. I love these ideas; especially keeping a health journal on my computer. I never really can answer those health questions at my check up.
    I would love to be able to make a spiral bound journal! I must have my journal lie flat. The local copy store can’t do spirals either. It’s so inspiring to read about your journal process Jo, as I know your journals to be lovely eye candy. What a great treasure.
    Just this afternoon I was in a Life Coaching session by phone. My coach and I both came up with some lovely succinct statements that captured where I am and where I want to go. I was tethered to wall as I had my cell phone plugged in, so all I had at hand were individual pieces of paper, about 3 x 3 inches. So my notes were on those. I just spent a few moments writing up what I want to remember on my computer.
    Thanks for a great post.

  2. Well then you do need a coil punch, Leslie, though I've actually drilled the holes with a regular electric drill. Does your husband have a drill press? Mark the holes and do them one by one. It's way too slow! I got mine from Bonnie at when it was a bit cheaper than it is now. It hasn't paid for itself, other than in wasted trips to the store.
    I'd love to hear what yu and your coach came up with. I worked with a coach a few years ago and found it very helpful... if fact I think I'll take the coaching notebook I made with me to the beach and work on it again.

  3. Howdy!
    I'm not geared for journaling but do check with Precision Images, in Northwest Portland. They do some wire type bindings that hold together almost as well as the continuous spirals.

  4. Love the mind map video Jo. That to me looks to be very useful in my business... gonna have to learn more about that. (and I can see how you already use it in your art - in your own way).


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