It may have been January, I don’t recall and it does’t really matter, when I discovered how big my pile of visual diaries had become on my bookshelf.

I’ve always loved buying cotton paper journals beautifully bound in leather or fabric with the intention of filling everyone of them. But a third of the way is as far as I get.

When I was a teacher I would tell the students all the time to fill their journals with drawings, clippings, words, anything that would help to show their process of art practice. In fact it was apart of the curriculum and they were assessed on this task. There were those who failed to hand one in; those who filled in a few pages; those who obviously did it the night before in front of the TV and a small handful who actually completed the requirements and showed evidence of their ideas and concepts. Filling a diary isn’t just about communicating to your teacher but a way of communicating to yourself.

I’m in a place in my art journey where I feel like I have a smorgasbord of ideas in front of me. Some I haven’t been able to shake for years, ones that have never been fully resolved. I want to sew, emboss, paint, draw more, engrave, build,  develop more consistency (more on this later) and so on and so on. This idea of harnessing my thoughts is proving to me to be very difficult at times. Of course there is the fact that I have other shit happening in my life. Constant interruptions that aren’t work related. So one minute I’m researching art theory and techniques and the next I’m sorting underwear, trying to understand the financial details of equity loans and taking dogs to the vet. And this is normal for most women in my demographic.  I get that….I just can’t seem to get over it.

So back to the visual diary. I need to collectively put all my ideas as they come to me in one place. I have drawers full of half finished paintings, bad ones, good ones. I have magazine articles, weaved items from my garden, embroidered linen draped across chairs and plenty more tucked away in no apparent order. I’m even cutting and pasting large paintings. Sacrifice the old to generate the new!

Hence why I am being diligent about filling my visual diaries. I’m not going to commit to an every day, must do task. I know I will fail. So I’ve decided to set myself a due date. The first one will be by the end of Easter holidays. Maybe returning to regular blog posts is also apart of this process.

Are you an artist who keeps a diary? What are your methods? How long have you been doing this for? How valuable are the older ones to you?


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4 Responses to February and beyond

  1. Laura says:

    I have a stack of sketchbooks, and realized I hardly look at them. I’ve slowly been developing a new way to work with them–how to fit it in among the demands of life–slowing down and making things simpler is helping. Letting go of “how I wish it would be” and softening in to how gently I need to operate to build a sustainable practice. It has taken months and months, but I’m slowly seeing it start to pay off.

  2. Laura Horn says:

    Another post that hits home! I just discovered your blog today hence the multiple comments! I struggle too with the everyday busyness of a young family and it’s so hard to predict when creative bursts will happen. I find myself just getting into the groove and it’s school pick up time, then I decide to just do a bit more and before I know it, it’s 7pm the house is a bomb and I have nothing for dinner. I’m always thinking about how to manage things better, schedule etc, be organised but I’m not really getting any better with it. I’m having to just try and accept the chaos and be okay with things being all over the place. Hard though because I actually like things to be organised but I am terrible at being organised. I’ve started writing in a journal, I have sketchbooks too but I’m finding the writing helpful. I guess that’s where the blogging helps. I’m about to start a sketchbook project on watercolour paintings. I was thinking maybe a daily project but I do like your idea of a deadline rather than committing to a painting each day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, always good to hear another artist’s perspective.

    • Tiel says:

      Me too. I love an organised and tidy house, but I’m not good at making that happen everyday. Perhaps start with a weekly project instead. I need to get back into mine too…Easter is on the way.


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