Author: Vic Careford-White
The words ‘art’ and ‘journal’ make me happy! I’ve been drawing, painting, creating etc. since I could hold a pencil and have kept a daily diary as well as other journals since I was 12, so… why is it I’ve only just started art journaling at the age of 36?!
I guess life gets in the way. I’m a UK primary school teacher and a mum of two, wife to one, I’ve been learning sign language (which my daughter uses), doing a bit of this and a bit of that…
I did think about art journalling a few years ago, when I first heard that such a thing existed, but I never really got very far. I’d made a few pages but they weren’t anything too exciting. Part of the problem was that I looked at others’ work and was so in awe I just thought there was no way I could ever be as good. But the more I watched mixed media videos on YouTube the more I wanted to become good at it.
Last year I started creating mixed media canvases (and even sold some!) and when Zoe mentioned The Documented Life Project, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to really start experimenting with mixed media and produce a lovely journal at the end.
And art journaling is a wonderful way to experiment; there’s no right or wrong. If you do do something you think is ‘wrong’ you can just cover it up. It’s your art journal, no-one else ever has to see it. I love the fact that I can try out all sorts of techniques, mediums, styles and so on and just, well… be free. I like to try different things depending on my mood, or an event that’s going on in my life. The art adds so much to the words. Sometimes you don’t even need many (or any) words.
For this reason, my art journal is different to my daily diary. In there I have to write lots and lots, every little detail, but my art journal is more just a visual record, where I’m happy to just have a few words and let the art do the talking. In my art journal I don’t need to remember every detail, just that it happened and how it made me feel, which can be wonderfully portrayed in art form.
I love that I can stick in a ticket, drip on some paint, spray over a piece of fruit netting (oh yes, so many uses for household trash!), rub on a photo transfer, do a bit of doodling, add a quote. I can just do whatever I like!
I’ve always been someone who loves variety. Variety in anything – food, travel, books, craft. I’ve tried so many arts and crafts and have found that journaling is a perfect way to combine loads of different media. And I love the fact that I can easily include photography, which is another passion of mine.
My journal itself is simply two pieces of chipboard with binder rings. I cut each page as I need it and have 12 monthly cover pages. The pages are made out of all kinds of different papers and envelopes. For the actual daily planner pages I just tear out the pages from a diary I got for Christmas. I’m already on the lookout for my next journal! I think I’ll use a slightly bigger one next.
I think of my art journal as a journey. It’s a journey through a year of my life. Not only is it documenting the everyday goings-on in my life this year, but it’s also documenting my progress as an artist (am I an artist? Maybe!) I already feel that I’ve improved since starting this at the beginning of January, so I can’t wait to see where I’ll be at the end of the year.
Vic Careford-White writes a fantastic blog about art journaling, crafts, travel, cooking, writing, drawing, photography, life as a primary school teacher, family organisation, tutorials and all sorts of philosophical ramblings.
She also creates and sells her art for small spaces on her website, The Small Art Company.