This last month I finished the final page in one of my favorite art journals.
This might not seem like too much of an achievement, but it is for me.
I’m not usually one to complete an entire journal. Mostly I’m like a magpie – finding shiny new sketchbooks, and moving on before I finish what I’m currently working on. I’m TRYING to do better though.
I’ve been thinking a lot about pointless consumerism my role in it. I’ve felt a renewed responibility to be better about using the things I have before flippantly moving on to yet another without any valid reason.
This particular journal is a Stillman and Birn watercolor journal. The pages are heavy 140 lb paper and hold fluid mediums well without too much buckling. Before I found this sketchbook, I’d always wished for a watercolor-friendly book for developing ideas and inspirations. I’d never found one I loved – until now.
The price point is a little hefty, but in this circumstance, I feel it’s justifiable. It’s heavy duty, and the cover has a smooth, almost velvety (can paper feel velvety??) finish that makes it a pleasure to hold. I can see painting a collection of these books to leave resting on my coffee table for family and friends to thumb through. The book itself is truly beautiful, and filling the pages with a story of my artwork is icing on the cake.
When I began this book, I started out with the intention to keep the compositions strictly watercolor – then, like people do, I forgot and used acrylic paint on one or two pages. I realized it after the fact though and re-aligned with my original mindset for this volume.
It’s always interesting to go back and flip through a book of consistent entries like this. I started it almost a year ago, and it’s apparent to me that my inner world went through some phases over the span of 2021.
Some pages have a lot of chaotic activity. Some aren’t even finished – just the base layer lives alone on those pages. Probably because I just couldn’t see where it should go. A lot of 2021 felt like that. Unattainable, confusing, chaotic, out of grasp, and a little foggy.
Overall, I’m pleased with the book as a representation of both my art practice and my inner dialogue of the year. Each page brings different memories, conversations, emotions, and sensations to my awareness, and I can’t be anything but happy about that.
After I posted this book reveal on Instagram, someone asked if I would consider publishing this journal for visual contemplation, and honestly – I’ve been tossing around the idea for over a year now about publishing a book of my journal pages. A couple reservations have been hindering me: I have been thinking I need to have words to go with the paintings, and time is always an issue. Now I’m considering the concept that maybe I don’t need additional words though – and that intrigues me. The time issue still is, and always will be, a stumbling block. But we shall see! I will keep you posted.
This is the journal I used this time around. (affiliate link)