I have kept some type of journal all my life. At one busy time, it was in the form of short poems.
There is an obvious connection between the words “journaling” and “journeying.” Much of the knowledge, wisdom and awareness that we have accumulated in our lives (including, some would say, prior lives) exists at deeper levels of consciousness. An e-zine called “Reflections of a Wild Artist” provides quotes and journal questions to inspire the journal muse. How do we access hidden wisdom? Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk. He lived in a hermitage on at the Abbey at Gethsemani. He published more than 70 books and his magazine articles fill 15 large volumes. Writing a journal was Merton’s way of doing a poet’s “heart work,” Once born to the page, his words formed sentences with their own truth. If you write about your hopes and dreams perhaps it can become your vision for yourself.
The word ‘journal’ has its root in the word jour, French for day. A journal consisted of the writing one recorded each and every day. The word ‘diary’ comes from the Latin diarium, meaning daily food or allowance. Keeping a diary or journal is one way to find time for the food of creation. The journal allows you to think about writing and take leaps in the dark, not really concerned with what words enter the page.
Journals may be cursive, typed, and may include illustrations. Subject matter tends to be ‘personal’.
: An art journal is a visual diary. It may be handmade or digital. This presentation is primarily about handmade art journals.
It is not an artist’s sketchbook, although may have elements of that. It has some roots in scrapbooking, altered books and artist’s trading cards, but it is more than that. Sometimes it borrows from printing processes. Calligraphy might be applied. Some sense of ‘design’ helps us feel satisfied with the results.
Is an art journal page ‘art’? It may be or it may not be, depends on level of originality, drawing skill, compositional skill. It depends if it is mostly a copy of an illustration or if it combines elements in unusual ways. It depends if it is primarily printmaking (using stamps) or if it includes original brush strokes. In general it is not intended to be gallery quality for public consumption, but is personal expression and private meanderings of thoughts.