What happens when you buy a journal you can’t tear the pages out of

40 03I’ve never shied away from admitting I’m a ‘bin girl’.  All the journals I’ve worked in up to this point have been visual diaries with the spiral binding.  Which means I’ve freely torn pages out and binned them when it felt like they weren’t working.

40 02But after doing Jane Davenport’s weekend workshop, where she delighted in the fact I couldn’t tear the pages out of our handbound journal, I’ve taken the leap and bought a Strathmore Mixed Media Journal.  It’s a hardcover, bound journal.  In other words – a journal you can’t tear the pages out of.  In fact, that’s what I’ve called it.  “The journal I can’t tear pages out of”.

40 05A lot of people talk about your art going through an ‘awkward teenager’ stage.  Where you feel like it’s not working.  It’s not coming together.   This is where I would normally tear out the page with a few ‘special’ words and throw it in the bin.  And I would walk away from my art room for a few days, frustrated I couldn’t make something nice.  Which means, I don’t get very many pages finished.  But with this journal, I’m pushing through.  I’m coming back another day.  And it’s actually working out.

40 07I’ve done lots of art over the holidays.  Lots of back grounds.  Lots of layers.  Some journalling (which is kinda the point of an art journal).  And practicing my faces.  I’m learning each one gets better with practice.  With tweaks and changes each time.  This one is the first one that made me really happy.  Like it’s kinda getting there.

40 06I journaled about what 40 means.  This birthday feels really significant.  And like something great is coming but I don’t quite know what.

40 01The page includs Clauding Hellmuth Studio Paint, Atelier acrylic paint, Daler Rowney acrylic ink, Posca paint pen, Pilot permaball pen and Prismacolor pencils.  I used lots of water for washes and drips, bubble wrap for monoprinting and of course, my stencil obsession continues.

40 09I was in love with this page for a few days.  I kept coming back to the art room to look at it.  To rub my hands over the pages.  And then… You know how sometimes you do something so good you wonder if you’ll ever do something as good again?  So I’m trying to figure out why I think this page works – the art theory behind it all, so I can make more pages I love.   Because it’s not just about making pretty stuff.  It’s also learning and experimenting and growing and improving.

So happy with how this whole journal is turning out.  I feel like I’m finding my style a lot more, becoming more comfortable with how my art looks.  Feeling comfortable with my process.  Finding my style and process is something I’ve chased for a long time.  Knowing how to start, how to go through steps that create something consistent, how to do it my way rather than replicating what other artists have taught me.  This journal is helping me find all those things.

I might not be a ‘bin girl’ for much longer…..

Coral.  xo

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16 Responses to What happens when you buy a journal you can’t tear the pages out of

  1. Erin says:

    You know, I had a similar experience when I started drawing daily mandalas last year. Except that I didn’t buy a bound journal; I made a hard and fast rule for myself. The first time I tore out one I “didn’t like,” I knew I’d made a mistake. This was a journal of sorts, after all. Something private and vulnerable and honest. So I haven’t torn a page out or abandoned a mandala since. Even the ones I end up hating teach me something. Maybe it’s the same way with your art journals 🙂

    Also, I just have to say, as I’ve said before — the eyes you create are absolutely beautiful. Entrancing. They draw my gaze every time, and I’m pretty sure I could study them for hours. Gorgeous!

    • Coral says:

      I’m surprised how much my art has grown just by working an a journal I can’t tear the pages out of. That and a couple of in person workshops have transformed my art so much in just a few months. So grateful. I’m learning lots too – not every page has to be perfect.

      Thanks for your comments on my eyes. I’m kinda sorta getting the hang of them. Like I say, each one gets better. Thanks for stopping by Erin. Have to catch up soon. xo

  2. Carolyn Dube says:

    Jane is one awesome teacher! Congrats on pushing through the awkward stage because what you have here is fabulous!

    • Coral says:

      Thanks so much Carolyn! I’m really happy with this page. Jane is an amazing teacher – so glad I got to do a weekend workshop with her last year. My art has grown so much since I started learning from her. I’m doing her online class Joynal at the moment.

  3. It’s a really beautiful page. I’m glad that someone else goes back to their studio to touch the art they love. I do it too and it always feel that I won’t be able to create like that again.
    Thanks for sharing your process and art. I’m motivated to not tear things out , too.

    • Coral says:

      Hehe – nice to know I’m not the only one touching pages Cathy. I can highly recommend not tearing pages out (after a lifetime being a ‘bin girl’.) Get yourself a bound journal so you just can’t, even if you want to. It’s funny that we worry we’ve made our best page ever and won’t be able to do it again, isn’t it? We always do though….

  4. libbyQ says:

    wow ~!!~ i totally LOVE the colors you’ve used here and your work is beautiful~!

    i turn 50 this year and can relate to it feeling like a landmark year . . .


    • Coral says:

      Thanks Libby – means so much. Funny how birthdays that start a new decade feel like they have more meaning or significance. Hope your 50th feels as filled with possibility as my 40th has.

  5. clare says:

    it is beautiful.

  6. Aloquin says:

    I love your page. The face reminds me of something Gulfsprite might do. If you don’t know her- do a Google search. You’ll see what I mean. 🙂 As for “journaling” kinda being the point of an art journal, I’m not sure. Sometimes, I write, but rarely. I mostly express myself through art, where words are not needed. But that’s cool for me 🙂 Happy Birthday! I found you through the Art Journal Every Day. Keep up the wonderful, growing, changing work! And don’t tear out any more pages 😉

    • Coral says:

      Hi Aloquin – love your name! I hadn’t heard of Gulfsprite – been for a look on Google, might get lost there for a while looking at her site and videos.

      For a long time, I didn’t do images on my journal pages, just backgrounds and writing. Now, I’m doing faces and not much writing. Trying to find a balance between the two. I know lots of people who don’t do any writing on their pages and I love their work.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes xo. And I think I’m slowly converting to a don’t tear the pages out girl.

  7. I’m so happy that I found your blog through Julie Fei-Fan Balzer! Your journal page is so unique and completely breathtaking! I love the face. I blog too: http://www.schulmanart.blogspot.com if you want to check it out!

    • Coral says:

      Hi Miriam – love Julie’s blog. Especially her videos. It’s the first time I’ve shared a link there. Thank you so much for your beautiful words about my journal page. Been playing and experimenting so much more since I got tis journal – it’s made such a difference. I’ll go look at your blog now.

  8. Thank you for putting this all into words. That feeling of creating something you actually love and then lamenting over whether you will ever be able to do it again… finding our styles without copying all of the wonderful teachers we’ve known (who are inadvertently a part of our style whether we want them to be or not I think)… that teenager phase you talk about, I feel like it comes and goes. One day I might make something fantastic and want to tell the world, and another day I might be fingerpainting and not want a soul to see it. I read something once that said our journals need to be a safe place, where we can play and experiment, and not feel the need to share everything in their pages. I think sharing selectively, but keeping it all regardless of how you feel about the finished product, is a way to have our own little secret art stash ;)) (I want to take more of Jane’s classes, but I have to have an empty calendar. She challenges me in ways I can only manage if she’s my sole focus. <3)

    • Coral says:

      I love Jane’s classes. My art has grown so much since I started learning from her. But it’s full on – challenging the whole way, so I know what you mean by having sole focus on her classes.

      So hard to learn from others while keeping (or finding) your own style. So funny we think the same way. Thanks for sharing your beautiful words (and for the behind the scenes tech nudge and help – big hugs for that) xo

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