I was digging through a box of loose journal pages in preparation for this post and stopped to read each and every one. It doesn't feel like it's been as long as it's been since I made these two different journals but it's been seven and five years! The first grouping above was made for an online class that hasn't been available for awhile and documented how I was feeling about our last summer as a family of three back in 2009. Sebastian was about to turn three and I was a few months pregnant with Ruby. I remember feeling much more whimsical of heart and I think it's really special to look back at my thoughts as a mama of one.
I'm still really drawn to the aesthetic of these pages. I love all the white with black letting and summer colors. I used a lot of found papers and cut out shapes to create fun collages. I had a lot of polaroid film left but must've run out after this because I haven't seen any for years.
I still love so many things from those lists but had forgotten about some of the things I'd written down, such as my fear of all the garden snakes in our backyard. There were always (harmless) snakes in our big, beautiful backyard and I almost let it keep me from getting out there to enjoy it. I also often worried that someone would call Child Protective Services or at least really judge me for letting Sebastian run around naked outside at age two. It's so funny to think about how I'm not going to care one bit when Smith pulls off his diaper to run through the sprinklers. I guess some worries fade with each new addition.
This round of pages is from 2007. Brett, Sebastian, and I had just moved back in with my family after our apartment complex in Seattle was being sold to turn into condos. We were apartment managers on the weekends and got free housing plus pay and both worked part time through the week but the new owners didn't need us and we weren't going to be able to find anything else to work out with our schedules and budget so we had our stuff put in storage and moved in with my parents.
They were so generous to let us stay with them for so long but I remember feeling a little defeated moving home and running into high school friends and being in a hard place financially. It's reflected in one of my pages below. I remember one afternoon I was out to lunch with my dad when he spotted someone I used to know from school and I desperately hoped I could avoid eye contact so they didn't ask me what I'd been up to the last six years.
I can look back now with the confidence and humility that comes with age - knowing that we all have different stories, unmet expectations, plans that may not have gone accordingly, or experiences that have been greater than we could've imagined. I'm not sure I would've remembered some of the raw emotion and insecurities from my twenties had I not put them on paper in such a way.
As I mentioned in the trailer for my 52 Weeks of Art Journaling E-Course, I hope these journals I've made over the last twelve plus years will give my kids as much as they gave me. They were a creative outlet, a chance to experiment with new techniques, a reason to take pictures of myself and the kids, a place to vent and question, a record of likes and dislikes through the years, but most of all they allowed me to get to know myself better. When my kids are walking through a frustrating time in their life they'll be able to see where I struggled and be encouraged. I hope they see all the simple joys we knew as well.
They say children learn valuable lessons through play. I think the same is true when you have a medium that you love. I'll always love art journaling for the safe place it's been to make pages that are meaningful to me without the pressure of keeping up with trends or creating with others in mind. Some pages I'm really proud of and others I just needed to get out of my system but they're all for me.
If you've purchased my latest Art Journaling E-Course and have completed any pages you feel excited about sharing you can add the hashtag #52weeksofartjournaling to your pages on Instagram or via Twitter. I'd love to see what you've done with the prompts and challenges!
Your turn. What do you love about art journaling? How'd you get started? If you've never tried it before have you ever wanted to? I'm all ears!