Above: Another pencil and gouache experiment on Nideggen in a custom made journal. Page spread is approx 12.75 x 9.5 inches. Click on the image to view an enlargment.
While focusing on my fake journal for International Fake Journal Month I have been continuing my experiments with pencil and gouache in my regular daily journal. I am having a lot of fun putting paint on the page and wiping it off. Sometimes I use 19th century photos for facial feature references.
If you would like to read a little more about my fantasy people experiments you can read this post here. And a tubular fantasy person appears in this post about taking a paper vacation.
As this journal fills up something wonderful is happening—there are pages filled with failed experiments (I didn't leave enough space on this page to create an animal body for instance) and there are other pages filled with notes about my life (as usual), but these's also a relaxation that is fun to savor. I have no expectation of doing anything with this series. I think this might be why some people doodle.
I have a vague sense that my eye is trying to decide whether or not I like painting over pencil (which is something I've pretty much not done since the 1990s).
I also have the sense of vast opening space. This is something that the visual journal always does for me, but it is intensified currently, because I am stepping away from methods I usually enjoy.
Shitty pictures or successful pictures it doesn't matter. The movement forward, the paint puckered pages, that's what matters because it's all leading to something—letting me sort things out. The sorting that happens in a visual journal is multifaceted—it can be artistic (which is superfically obvious) and personal and psychological and emotional.
But it doesn't have to be "work," in the sense of burdensome or a task to get through. In fact I've found, as you know from reading many posts on this blog, that the process should involve fun, wonder, and experimentation. We can work hard by applying ourselves to discovery (of a technique or an understanding of self) without always straining. The journal and the effort doesn't have to be angst-filled to be successful. We can ask questions and then simply listen for the answers. The work is to have patience—to keep working intensely, but to listen patiently.
The beauty of keeping a visual journal is that it doesn't have to mean anything to anyone else at the same time that it means everything to you. And all the while you can be excited and thrilled by the experience of working in it and yet also relaxed.
So relax a little into your journal today and see what happens.