Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hi! My name is Betty, and I am addicted to journals!

My dear peeps, I have a problem.  A big problem.

I need to join a self-help group for people like me, who are addicted to journals.  Art journals, writing journals, notebooks, Smash books, day books, pocket journals, pocket notebooks, sketch books.  Add to that art supplies of every variety known to man:  pens, paint, paper of every kind and description, doo-dads and ephemera of every shape and size, colored pencils, markers.  Yes, I need help.  But I don't HOARD them, I swear.  I use them, intend to use them, will use them.

Have I told you before that I love, love, LOVE paper? 

Passing up or passing by a stack of tantalizing new journals on display at a retailer is nearly impossible for me.  And they surely don't have to be the high dollar, latest greatest thing ever.  I have and use plenty of the very inexpensive lined spiral notebooks with foo-foo covers from the Dollar Store in a multitude of ways (recipes, swap tracking, notes, etc).  And if they are on sale or marked down, watch out, I am going to go home with at least one.  It is my belief that lurking within my mind is the subconscious and clearly irrational fear of running out of them.  As I near the end of one of my many active journals that I am arting in, writing in and fooling around with, toting in my handbag or briefcase,  I drag all the new ones out.  That's where I am right now.  I have two that will be full very soon.  Which one will be perfect? Which one is the most tantalizing at the moment?  Which will be the 'perfect' one for the next few months of writing and creating?  Do I love it enough at the moment to keep being in love with it for several months down the road?   See my dilemma?  It is so hard to choose.  I like to have choices.  It's kind of like our closets, ladies.  We must have choices.

At the moment, I am trying to decide which new "big" type journal do I want to play in next?  My 9x12"  Canson Mixed Media journal has 2 pages left to fill. it is fat and juicy and it took me nearly a year to fill it. While I love the size of the Canson, sometimes the spiral binding irritates me.  If I want to do a double page spread in it, the binding gets in my way. That takes me to my non-spiral options.  Should I use my new Square Dylusions journal (white & black pages) (not shown), start a second large Dylusions journal (I still have one in process) or select a medium-range option?   I have several from which to choose.  Is there a new one out there I don't have that would be better?  Maybe I better do a little more shopping. <wink>

I have been gifted many wonderful handcrafted journals as well. That's a whole other selection process. When to use them, how to use them, should I use them or keep saving them in "as received" condition?

Frequently, I am asked about what is my favorite journal?  The truth is, the one I'm working in at the moment is always my favorite.  Different journals, with different properties, weights, portability factors, size, and quality of the paper all determine which one is really my favorite.  And a lot of that depends on what I am using it for.

To keep up with art swaps, general notes and reminders, I generally use the el-cheapo kind from the dollar store. They are spiral bound, with hard covers, the paper is halfway decent, and their size is ideal to tuck into a purse, briefcase or tote if I need portability. They don't take up too much room at my desk. Their sizes are handy.  I have one in my kitchen that houses the recipes I use all the time ... those "go to, no brainer" recipes that are always asked for or preferred by the family.  My recipe collection in its entirety has a whole other system of binders and notebooks, but we can talk about THAT later.

For my writing and journaling, at the moment, I am in love with my Piccadilly cahier journals. I can buy them in 3-packs at Barnes and Noble and other booksellers for a very reasonable price. I can tart up the covers with paint and gesso.  I also love writing in a Moleskin cahier as well.  I love the paper, the size, the ability to tart up the covers and personalize them.  While I have a rather huge selection of other writing journals, they are still waiting in the wings to be used.  And I will use them, I promise. I have a beautiful leather bound Moleskin that was gifted to me.  I think I will be using it next when my current writing journal is full.  We'll have to see about that and what mood I am in when the Piccadilly I am currently using is nearly full.

For heavy, wet and mixed media art journal pages, I am totally enamored with the Dylusions journals, large, small, square.  The paper is outstanding. It holds up to just nearly anything you throw at it. There is no bulky binding to get in the way of double page spreads (it has sewn, lay flat binding).  It lays flat, making it very easy to work in and with. 

The Canson mixed media journals, and the Strathmore Visual Journals with spiral bindings in all sizes, are great for me for experimentation, documentation, exploration of new ideas, techniques and what-if situations.  They aren't expensive and can be replaced quickly and I never fear messing one of them up. That's the beauty about these. They take a licking and keep on ticking, just like Timex!  I am currently using a Strathmore Visual Journal, 5x8-ish size as my exploration journal.  This is where I play and can just let my artistic hair down. If I hate it when I'm through, as in most of my art journals, I can whip out some gesso and just cover it all up and create something new on top of the failed idea or project.

I have a rather small (in comparison) assortment of sketch journals or sketch books, and a couple were given to me, and a couple I purchased, with the hopes of improving my drawing skills. I have played mostly in these with ordinary #2 pencils, charcoal and assorted outline and rendering pencils. I use them to sketch ordinary things, practice shapes and the actual "quality" of the paper really has not been that important to me, since actual "drawing" is still a developing 'skill' (using that term VERY loosely at this point), but it is coming along with practice. Telling you which is these is my favorite is impossible. I like the ones where my drawings actually look like real objects. I see a progression of improvement, so that sketch book is my favorite!

So as you can see, I definitely have a problem.  The next time you see me drooling over a rack of journals or notebooks at Barnes and Noble...stop me. Make me just walk away. This will be my first step toward recovery.

Happy holidays, everyone, and may Santa bring you a new journal in your stocking!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #50 "Let it Snow"

I love winter, and I love cold weather. Unfortunately, here in north Texas this is not something we get an over-abundance of to enjoy.  In fact, it was 76 degrees here on Friday, the sun was shining brightly in a beautiful, clear sky. It was more like a lovely spring day than the early onset of winter.  Weather in Texas is fickle.  Hot one day, raining the next, or we could have surprise hail, high winds, tornadoes, and yes...occasionally the rare snow fall -- but not usually until late January or early February, if at all. 

What we usually get in winter here is ICE. It rains. Temperatures plummet to below freezing overnight, sometimes as much as a 50 degree swing from the daytime.  The next morning -- disaster, but usually a holiday for everyone.  We build all our roadways here for heat -- not winter's kind of nasty precipitation.  So if it's white, hard or not, we get out in it. We play in it. We walk in it, we rejoice in the gift of winter in it's rarest and most magical form.  Roads close, schools close.  A free day is enjoyed by most everyone, because we cannot drive in it, seriously.  I'm not taking that risk.  All the Yanks that moved down here think we're crazy. They drive in it. They wreck. They go home. And play in it. 

Now I know you friends who live wayyyyy up there in the northern reaches surely have a more realistic and pragmatic approach to winter.  You can. You have the equipment to remove it, stack it, plow it, shovel it, dig out from under it. You know how to drive in it.  Nobody I know owns a snow shovel.  Who needs it?  Because by noon, any fun white stuff is usually gone and the temperatures have changed drastically.  We have mowed our lawn the week of Christmas and after that as well. 

So, if you get too much snow this winter, send us some.  But in the meantime, I'll be giggling while I'm still wearing short pants and flip flops as we open our Christmas gifts and think of you having a beautiful, white Christmas.  Keep all the hard white stuff.  Just send the fluffy, fun stuff, please.

Hopefully, you find some level of fun or inspiration with my spread this week.  I liked doing something different this year for you, and with a fun color palette.  I created the background with acrylics and vintage papers and then did an overlay with PicMonkey to finish off the spread.

Best wishes, and here's hoping all your holiday preparations are going well!