“Loving you is easy because you’re beautiful…”
Unless you’re old like I am, you probably don’t know this song. It’s sometimes called the “Lalalala” song, and people are still marveling over the high notes she hits.
This was a song I loved when I was young. I still love it, so I guess age is irrelevant here. You might also be asking about the relevancy of this song to an art blog. Fair question.
I started singing this song yesterday morning as I worked on my art journal project for the day. I’m having fun, exploring mixed media, learning a lot, and finding opportunities to bring together a diverse collection of things — ideas, concepts, materials, resources.
For maybe the first time ever, I’m letting go of rules and guidelines — something that’s extremely difficult for me to do — and just having fun, shrugging at questions about how something is supposed to be done, and not caring if anything I create goes along with any preconceived notions about what it should be.
The journal page I created is simple enough.
Can’t tell what it is? That’s all right. I’m guessing you might think it’s another floral doodle, and that’s close. Before I explain what it is, let me talk just a moment about how it came about.
After a few days of art journaling, I re-evaluated what I was doing. I’d been using card stock — 8-1/2 x 11 inches — and I realized I didn’t like that idea. Cardstock is not an ideal ground for watercolor. I didn’t like the size. And, although my initial idea was to punch holes in my pages and put them in a notebook, I changed my mind. In other words, I just wasn’t liking what I was doing, how I was doing it, or where I was going with the journal project. It felt messy, scattered, and disorganized. It felt wrong, and I didn’t like the feeling.
Years ago I bought a watercolor journal sketchbook. I know it’s around here somewhere since I only used a few pages in it, but I sure couldn’t find it when I went looking. No doubt it will show up when I least expect it, but never mind. I “made do” with what I had, and “what I had” was a small 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch Strathmore “Toned Gray” sketchbook — a ruined one. It had met with an unfortunate accident involving water, so it’s unusable as a sketch book. The pages are warped. It’s a horrible mess.
Of course, the grey toned paper is intended for drawing — not for painting. But why not use it for my art journal project? It’s already wrinkled and crinkled. Water can’t do any more damage to it. Key points here:
- Since I’m not overly enthusiastic about art journaling, the results I achieve don’t matter a lot, thus the materials involved don’t matter a lot either — as long as I’m comfortable with them.
- The “theme” for August in the Artful Academy Journal Course I’m taking is recycle. My ruined sketchbook — which should rightly have gone in the trash — seemed a perfect fit, don’t you agree?
Initially I was creating prompts from my “morning pages” journaling, but again, I changed my mind and started following ideas from The 365 Creativity Journal. I came across the book while browsing through my Kindle library.
The creative idea for the day centered around pride — a word with a lot of meanings, and one that can be problematic at times. If you search for pride, you’ll find dire warnings that it goes before a fall, that it’s at the root of all our mistakes, that it can lead us to lose everything and gain nothing.
We’re counseled to avoid pride and embrace humility. There’s a lot I’d like to say about that, but we’ll talk about pride and humility another time. For now, back to my little story about this journal page.
What was something that made me feel proud? I had to think about this. I’m proud of many of the things I’ve accomplished, but nothing seemed significant enough for a page in an art journal!
Wait. Who said it had to be significant? I tossed that question aside, decided that I was proud of having grown tomatoes from the seeds I’d planted — from other tomatoes — and reached for those lovely gansai watercolors.
So, that’s what you’re looking at. A fanciful watercolor of a tomato plant. I had fun with the colors. Who cares that the painting is nothing more than blobs of color. Do you care? I don’t. I loved the colors. They were happy colors. They made me smile, and they made me sing.
I do love this watercolor. Maybe not because it’s beautiful, but because it’s beautiful to me. Maybe because it made the morning feel beautiful.
So, a ruined sketchbook, Japanese watercolors, thoughts of tomatoes, and a prompt from a book on creativity. Add in a song from years past, and… what’s not to love?