DAILY ART JOURNALS FOR ONE YEAR During 2013 I have kept a “daily” art journal for the 3rd year in a row! For the 2011 and 2012 I created a custom-sized 6” x 9” watercolor paper art journal and committed to doing paintings on a daily basis about my life for each day of that year. The first year, I intentionally looked for something positive to sketch a little watercolor painting at the end of the day. No matter how challenging the day was, I was forced to find something pleasant about it. One of the first memories I have of doing this, was seeing a taxi cab with the name “Relax Cab” and of course, that is what I painted for that day. At the end of the first year, I realized that in some ways this art journal had become a “gratitude” journal. In the process of keeping this journal, without knowing it, I had actually become a happier person and as a bonus my sketching had improved and I was a more observant person. So for 2011 and 2012 I did a watercolor painting each and every day for two years. Each daily painting took about 20-30 minutes.
Here’s my Mission Statement for the Daily Art Journal:
PROJECT: A one-year illustrated artist’s diary
GOAL: Daily entries for 365 days, starting January 1, 2011
FORMAT: 12 custom made watercolor art journals – 1 art journal for each month of 2011- page size 6” x 9” Each month’s journal cover can be illustration with haiku or quote, possibly relating to that particular month
SUBJECT: Daily Life Observations
ENTRIES: Ideas for Observations: Nature or manmade, Insightful or inspiring, Ordinary or mundane, Fanciful or reality, Natural event (winter solstice, sunset), Season (summer, fall), Weather, tides, planets, Holiday (Christmas, Halloween), Art, music, movie, books
2013 ART JOURNAL – In 2013, I tired of the previous year’s format and decided to give myself a bit more creative freedom in the “daily” art journal format. I also wanted to make the journal entries a little less personal in nature. I changed the size of the journal to a 4 ½” x 12” format and used small stencil shapes (squares, rectangles, circles, etc.) to create different size “tiles” on the page, which I then did tiny watercolors in. As the year progressed, I added one or two 4”x4” Japanese brush paintings and on rare occasions paper collage elements, such as origami squares. I also had the freedom to dedicate one whole page to tile paintings on one subject of a day, such as a Farmer’s Market visit or a whale watching trip. I even did whole paintings on a few pages like the study of seaweeds. As the year moved along, this became something I did only once a week so my 2013 “daily” art journal changed to a “weekly” art journal. I am still spending the same amount of time on it as previous years, just doing it in one or two days. This freed me up to not have to find something to paint every single day, but to be able to paint multiple images for one day that was especially visually interesting. Creating tiny paintings of different subject matter on the same page challenged me to pay attention to color palettes so that the images were connected in a pleasing manner to delight the eye. In my 2013 “Daily” Art Journal I did a total of 303 tiny watercolor paintings.
WRITTEN ART JOURNAL – I also keep a daily written journal so that I can cull ideas and images out of each day to put in my illustrated “daily” art journal. I keep a small piece of paper in the journal and write down things I can see illustrating at the end of each day. When I am ready to create an illustrated journal page, I take a highlighter and highlight the actual subjects that I will do a tiny painting of. This allows me to create a “flow” of the small tiled paintings on the art journal page and to paint only the interesting entries. I try not to be too repetitive, but since I spend most of my days by-the-sea a lot of my entries are Ocean-Life By-the-Sea based. So I still “look” for interesting things to add into the mix to make the journal interesting to me.
2014 ART JOURNAL – The clock is ticking and I’m still not quite sure what my 2014 journal will be. It’s still a blank page just waiting for inspiration! No pressure. None. Really.