Saturday, January 28, 2012

And the REALLY Final Profile--

Just as I was feeling smug about posting all thirteen of the profiles it occurred to me that 3  + 3 + 6 = 12 and not 13.  And so here's the missing profile, Sarah Bourne's.  Sarah's wonderful work will be familiar to those of you who have read Dec. Journal  as there is much of her work in that book.  She was in Ireland with a group of college students on a trip that Ann Turkle and I led several years ago, and her journals then, as now,  were spectacular.  So here, last (but of course not least), is Sarah's profile.

All the Rest of the Profiles!

This morning in a spurt of ambition I scanned all six of the remaining profiles.  So this will be a big posting.  I don't think I ever explained how the profiles came about nor how they were written.  When Lark asked me to add some material to the bind-up re-editioning I realized this was my chance to showcase some people whose journals I have long admired for their honesty and uniqueness.  These are people who use their journals as an integral part of their lives, and they give me so many ideas for my own journals and art.  I couldn't think of a better way to use the extra pages I was given.

I invited each person to write a short piece describing how they use journals and what their journals do for them.  So each of the profiles was written by the profiled person, not by me.  I wanted to show even more of their work than there was room for, so other pieces by these people are in the gallery section of the book as well as throughout the book.  Many of them already had work in Decorated Page and/or Decorated Journal.  Their generosity has made this book better than the sum of its parts, in my opinion.

Ann Turkle, whose page is shown above, should be familiar to to readers of Dec. Pg. and/or Dec. Jrnl.  In addition to being a journalkeeper of many years, Ann is a writer and contributed the sections on writing prompts to the other books.
Linda Chaves lives in Portugal but travels so extensively that it's hard to find her there.  I met her when she was in Asheville a year or so ago.

Loy is a good friend of mine with whom I spend a lot of time.  I can honestly say I have never seen her without her journal close at hand.  She seems to use it to keep a running commentary of her life.  The bottom journal shown here is an old ledger books that Loy found, so it's very large, not the usual small journal that follows its owners everywhere.  Loy's drawings come out of her imagination.
  Melly's journals relate to her artwork as well as her daily life.  She is experimental and playful with  materials.  She and Pat, shown below, are good friends who live in New York City and are part of a journal study group (which also includes Shirley and Benedicte, whose work you saw in previous postings) that meets very often for the purpose of having adventures and sketching around town.  They let me go with them when I'm in town.  I love watching these women in action!  Pat now uses her iPad (iPat) for sketching a lot of the time-- a new dimension in journaling and sketching.  The page below shows some of her pre-i Pad journal pages, which have the same funny quality as her new iPad pages.

The final profile is Sandy Webster's.  Sandy travels extensively to teach and to research.  Her journals are her research reports and repositories.  They are also the seedbeds of her artwork.  She always makes her own journals, often casing them, as in the Australia journal shown here, so that she has all her materials in the same place as the journal.  Sandy's book on using clay pigments is coming out soon.  To research her book, she traveled to Australia, France, and Italy, collecting pigments as she went, and carrying them home in her travel journal cases in specially-designed little containers that held the paints she had made from the pigments.

Friday, January 27, 2012

More Profiles from The Complete Decorated Journal

I'm changing the sequence of these profiles for today's posting because Shirley Levine, whose page you see here (above), has recently posted a wonderful tutorial on making a journal out of an old book binding.  This posting is in celebration of her, and I urge you to check out the link to an interview with her and to her tutorial:

And now back to the original sequence with two more profiles.  Below is Jill K. Berry's page:

And below is  Kelcey Loomer's profile page. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Advance Copy of The Complete Decorated Journal is HERE!

It wasn't supposed to get here until March, but today my editor at Lark surprised me with an advance copy of the revised Decorated Page!  It's ahead of schedule, but still won't be in bookstores for a few weeks;  so I thought I'd provide some sneak previews over the next few days.  Since my favorite part of the new edition is the collection of journaler profiles, I will post a few of them here for you to enjoy.  Please excuse the crookedness and inadvertent cropping of the right-hand sides of the pages.  It's really hard to get the entire thing on my flatbed scanner.

I'm following their order in the book, so today's three are Laura Ladendorf, Becca Johnson, and Benedicte Caneill. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Drawing in a Greenhouse on a Gloomy Sunday

Yesterday was another in a long string of chilly, breezy, overcast, drizzly days here in Asheville, so a small group of us from my journal group went on a sketch crawl to a local garden center's greenhouse.  As soon as we stepped inside the place we shed our coats and scarves and relaxed in the balmy, sweet-smelling air.  Sinuses opened up, coughs abated, dry skin felt soft, and winter woes vanished.  I love drawing in a greenhouse in winter!

I had some research to do in addition to some drawing, so I went in search of a garden center worker and got good information on dealing with the mealy bugs that are making life tough for my indoor lemon tree.  The first page of my journal, shown here, has my notes about the lemon tree, including the results of the soil test I performed on it when I got home, using the little pH kit I had bought at the garden center.
Then I settled in to drawing in front of a bench filled with paperwhites that had passed their sell-by date and were popping out of their pots, their blossoms gone dry and rattly.   I was remembering a project I did a few years ago.  I bought a few paperwhite narcissus bulbs and planted them on December 1.  Then I drew the bulbs, sprouts, leaves, and eventually the blooms every day for the next 31 days.  I had used 16 large sheets of paper and divided each page in half vertically.  I began drawing in the left hand rectangle of the first page using pencil.  The next day I drew in the right hand rectangle of the same page, only this time I used a different medium.  Then I put the page at the bottom of the stack of paper and didn't look at it until the month was over.  Each day I drew the same paperwhites, but used a different medium or a different point of view or distance from the plant or style of drawing. 

At the end of December I got all the drawings out and spread them out on the floor.  I loved them!  They ended up in a show in Vienna, Austria, as well as digitized and published as a small edition of books that I called "December Paperwhites."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Last night our journal group met over at Asheville BookWorks.  It was an unusually large group for this time of the year when driving can be iffy in the mountains, and the energy was high.  One of the new members had brought a portfolio of large sheets of blue cotton paper that she had  made in the paper mill at BW.  The extraordinary thing about the paper was that she had removed a moon-shaped hole from the pulp on the mould before she couched (lay down) each sheet.  The portfolio was a moon journal.  As Maria turned each sheet over, light from the ceiling fixture shone down through the moon hole onto the page beneath briefly. 

Looking at the moon sheets brought us into a discussion of silence in journals as well as of different ways of structuring time (by lunar month instead of regular months, by fortnights, etc.) in journals.  I was a little sad to realize I had no idea what phase the moon was in last night;  even though I live in a valley that has gorgeous moonrises and moonsets over a mountain range, I've grown complacent about them.  So as I drove home I thought about how a journal can help us notice things as well as remember things.  And I decided to use my little square-inch-a-day journal to help me start noticing things that I take for granted here at home (but would record in a travel journal).

So, when early this morning I pulled out of the driveway and spotted the silvery crescent moon hanging in the branches of a tree across the street, I knew I had my noticing for the day.  Later this afternoon, though,  I noticed crisp little bunches of chives sprouting in clumps in some dead leaves at the base of a tree.  So this is my breaking news for today:  the moon is a waning crescent;  chives are bursting through litter and duff!  And that's what you'll find in my one-inch for today.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Square-a-Day Journal

Here's recent page from a little journal that I started keeping a year ago.  I got the idea from a woman who had a journal similar to this in a show at BookWorks last winter.  My take on it is that I divide each two-page spread into fourteen squares, one for each day of a fortnight or two week period.  Every single day I make a quick sketch and write a few words to highlight or summarize the day.  The spread shown was from the last part of December.  The book has enough pages in it to fit another year's worth of tiny squares.  It's a little butter box journal, only I used a Whole Foods 365 house brand cream cheese box (which has "365" written on the cover-- perfect!).  The directions to make this journal are under "tutorials".

A number of people in my journal group have been keeping this type of journal, and they all have their own takes on it.  I'm trying to loosen up and break out of the squares, but so far I have not been successful, other than to paint in an overall background that sort of reflects the weather.  I love this practice as it takes only a few minutes each day.  Then when you flip back through the year you remember so much more than you would have remembered without the journal.  It helps me see patterns, too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thanks, Velma!

I got home from a trip to Brooklyn to visit our son and his wife and their two-year-old, Nate, very early this morning.  Unfortunately, my husband and I came home with the same wretched cold that had dogged our heels the whole time we were in Brooklyn.  We had spent the whole time in Brooklyn sniffling and hacking and sneezing and whining and feeling pitiful and sorry for ourselves.  Our daughter-in-law had the same cold and our son and Nate had a minor version of it, so many of the things we had planned to do got cancelled.

So I opened email this morning (after sleeping a few hours) and what did I find but a wonderful comment from someone named Velma about a posting I made last year when I first started Real-Life-Journals.  I went back and read the post Velma was commenting on, and I realized there IS a point to keeping a journal and even to blogging about the thing, even when it's as thin and pitiful as my journal from the past two weeks is.  So this post is for Velma, to thank her for inspiring me.  I dug into my journal from this week and it looked pretty lame, not one bit like an art journal or even a visual verbal journal.  It looks more like notes taken on the back of envelopes.  And I decided, well, that's what it is and that's what real about it.

This first entry I made the day I came down with the cold.  I had hiked to the Brooklyn Museum, one of my favorite places in New York as well as one of my favorite walks (and our kids are moving in two weeks from Park Slope, where they've lived for twelve years, to Maplewood, NJ, so we will no longer live in this neighborhood when we visit them).  I really wanted to be out and about as much as possible.  But it was icy cold and very windy, and by the time I got home  I knew I had made a big mistake.  At any rate, this drawing is of a very fine divination and healing piece in the African collection.  I would like to place my cold in a clay vessel and be done with it.  I have some clay. . . .
The next piece reflects the fact that we spent a lot of time sitting around the kids' apartment.  On this day I had cooked a calzone from a Nonna Stella YouTube (lezione 14) and a kale salad.  Nate and I had had a conversation about the subways that his dad takes to his job in Midtown.  Nate loves all train things, including subways, and is currently fascinated by numbers.  I was trying to figure out how to get to Erik's office by subway, thinking we would go there the next day if we felt up to it (we didn't), and trusting Nate to be a good source of information.  It turned out that he was exactly right!

This third page reflects the continuation of the wretched colds.  We were slumped over tea in a neighborhood cafe on the morning of 12/31 watching pigeons fluff out their feathers as they roosted on top of a building across the street.  I ran out of energy and never finished the drawing.  The recipe was from the night before.  I had copied it from Kerstin's recipe journal as I remembered it from another trip, way back when the kids lived in DC the year after they finished college at AU.
So, yes, these are pretty pitiful entries, but I think they're worth making.  And my vow for 2012 is A Page A Day and a posting once a week.  Pretty daunting, and I've already skipped yesterday.  But onward.  Someday this cold will fade away and the days will grow longer and the mornings will be warmer than the 15 degrees we had this morning.