Archive for January, 2009
I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden. ~John Erskine
Yes, it is January and most of us are still in a deep freeze. But what better way to warm up then dream about spring? I think that is why the seed catalogues arrive in our mailboxes in the dead of winter- to comfort us with the knowledge that soon the days will get longer, the sun warmer, and life will begin to emerge from the earth.
I am honored to have my journals and art mentioned in an article in the February 2009 issue of a UK magazine called Organic Garden and Home. The article Creating a Gardening Blog was written by Ann Somerset Miles. While her article focuses on how to create a garden blog she also writes about using your paper journal to augment the blog. Some examples include keeping a record of your seeds or diagramming out your garden.
Everyone’s needs for a garden journal is different. But here are a few ideas.
:: Use your journal now to dream up your garden. Create a diagram of your garden, deck, balcony.
Figure out what the conditions are and where. There’s no point in growing sunflowers in a spot
that gets no sun!
:: Put the month’s calendar on a page and plan out the planting, fertilizing, and weeding schedules
:: Glue in graph paper and plot out your future garden with colored pencils
:: Jot down the weeks when things pop up and bloom
:: Take photos with your camera and glue into your journal. A visual garden tour in a book!
:: Glue down pictures of flowers from magazines and catalogues of dream flowers and vegetables
that you may want to have one day
:: If you draw, use your plants as models in your journal. It will be such a personal record of your
:: Glue in an envelope on one of your pages and stick seeds inside. Or place a dried and pressed
flower petal in a glassine envelope and attach that envelope to the page
:: Write down your observations of the plants growing. The wildlife that visits-bugs, butterflies,
hummingbirds. Write about the colors, the fragrances, the life in your garden
:: Write down the recipes used with the vegetables or herbs that you grew
:: And, of course, write down the mistakes and the plants that you don’t want to grow again
Journaling allows us to pause and slow down. Working the earth and gardening is the same way. When we garden we have to pay attention to the seasons because the sun and the clouds dictate our actions. The health of one single leaf is so important. Gardening and journaling requires us to be observers of life and the world. Keeping a garden journal is a nice way of integrating both the external and internal processes.
Experience the Seasons 5×7 inch blank journal
available at amanobooks.com
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. ~Rachel Carson
Gardeners, like everyone else, live second by second and minute by minute. What we see at one particular moment is then and there before us. But there is a second way of seeing. Seeing with the eye of memory, not the eye of our anatomy, calls up days and seasons past and years gone by. ~ Allen Lacy
The first one is called Wings of the Wind and the mixed media cover is created on a 5×7 canvas panel. The back panel is also collaged with old maps and painted with a coordinating white.
The words fly upon the wings of the wind is written in graphite and comes from Psalm 18:10.
Materials used to create the mixed media cover include: fabric, thread, transparency, a map, graphite, and acrylic paint.
Today is a huge day in the history of the United States of America, the inauguration of the 44th President, President Barack Obama. We are witnesses today to history in the making!
Our journals are witnesses to our inner lives, our daily lives and to the greater world around us. Some of the most fascinating journals to read are ones from the past where we can get a glimpse into someone’s daily life and seeing how history shaped them. We can do this too in our journals.
Write about today, if it moves you to do so. What it means to you, what it may mean to your childen, what it means in the grand scope of things. What did you do today? What were people around you saying, how were people acting? Glue in a headline or photo from the paper into your journal to accompany your entry.
This tip is not just for today’s events, but any historical or newsworthy event, or something in your town’s weekly paper. Our journals can be receptacles to describe our feelings about current events and the impact they may have on our lives.
visual journal spread by artist Mary Boden
You can see Mary’s one-of-a-kind jewelery at her web site Wood Thrush Studio.
There are more ways to journal than just keeping track of daily activities. Some people find it helpful to keep themed journals. Here are some examples:
Meditation/Prayer Journal: Keep inspirational quotes in this journal and a record of specific prayers or meditations. Think of this journal as a place to seek guidance and answers from your higher power and as a daily record of what God is doing in your life. This can also be a form of a gratitude journal- keeping a list of daily things to be grateful for can really enrich our perspective on the abundance in our lives.
a beaded journal entitled “Milagros”, 2005
Travel Journal: Writing as you travel will capture as much and even more of the essence of your trip than just photographs. Write during layovers, on a bus, or at the day’s end. Paste or write in your itinerary. Bring along an envelope to collect ticket stubs, pamphlets, programs, brochures, postcards, etc.
Family/Child’s Journal:Keep track of the big events and even more importantly, the little details, of your family’s life. Write down milestones in your child’s development. Have your child write an entry describing a family even in their own words, without any adult input. You may be surprised by what he or she experienced!
Quote Journal: Collect your favorite quotes in a journal dedicated solely for this purpose. Don’t forget to write where you got it from, as you may want to go back to that book again.
Grief and Healing Journal: Use a journal to help you during an illness, a death of a loved one, or even a dissolution of a relationship. So many emotions and issues come to the surface we deal with the mortality of being human. Journaling can help you cope with loss. If you have lost a loved one, a grief and healing journal can be used to maintain “communication” with him or her. On birthdays or anniversaries of his or her death, write to that person and describe how the past year has gone.
Dream Journal: Keep this journal by your bed and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Dreams can be very telling of how we feel about current situations. Or sometimes, they are so bizarre that you just have to write them down! For creative types- our dreams are tools to enhance our creativity. Tune into your dreams and find your personal symbols. Let your dreams inspire your paintings, writings, music making, etc.
Garden Journal: A gardening journal can be used to help you plan what you plant and when you plant. You can plot out of the garden which can also help you keep track of what that plant was when it finally comes up! Observe and write about what grows and lives in your garden. Close observation with a journal can really open up the mysteries and wonder of the seasons in relation to the earth and to ourselves.
Remember: You can never journal wrong. Your journal is whatever you want or need it to be.
For the visually inclined:
Themed Visual Journal: Pick a theme to explore visually in one book. By reworking the same theme over and over again, you will delve deeper into meaning, motifs and also technique. Here is a sample of one of my visual journals. This was a collaborative project and took about two years to complete. My personal growth from this project was tremendous.
visual journal with the theme of “journey”, 2005-2007
Studio Journal: Working on a series? Need to write an artist statement? Keep a studio journal- jot down discoveries, ideas, inspiration. Keep a list of paint color combos that are working for you. This journal can be a powerful tool and useful resource.
Artist Shayla Perreault Newcomb shared with me recently that she herself keeps several journals.
-a daily gratitude journal that is all writing, mostly lists
-a free form journal, again all writing
-a written art journal that includes “lots of messy writing and planning”
-a visual art journal
You can view more of her work at her web site.
Like I said, there are so many ways to journal, don’t limit yourself to any preconceived ideas. Journaling is there for you to use as you see fit, not the other way around! Most importantly enjoy the time you have set aside for youself to journal. Whether it is a leisurely hour late at night, or three minutes before your bus arrives, it is your time. Honor it.
Keeping a journal can be so helpful towards attaining goals because it allows us to reflect, adjust, and plan accordingly. The beginning of the new year is the perfect time to sit with your journal and envision what you would like from the year ahead. Write that vision down even if it seems far-fetched. The first step to attaining any dream is to actually dream it.
Maybe you want to finally take that dream vacation- where is it, what will you be doing, how will you be feeling?
Maybe you want to finally clear out a neglected room and make it your dream studio, or mediation room, or playroom or…. – what does it look like, what will you be doing in there, how will you feel when it’s done?
Maybe your goal is to feel healthier- how will you feel, what does “healthier” actually mean?
After envisioning your dream/goal, you may want to try listing steps on how to make that happen. Taking baby steps is much easier than a full long leap. And you will feel more accomplished.
You can use your journal as a tool to work things out. By writing it down, abstract thoughts and ideas take on a reality. By breaking it down into little steps, we may actually achieve our goal. Or we can learn that maybe the goal needs to be re-evaluated.
Visualize what you want to do before you do it. Visualization is so powerful that when you know what you want, you will get it. :::Audrey Flack:::
For those of you who are more visually oriented:
Do this same journal entry with images. Tear out images from magazines that may encompass your dream. Glue it down in your journal. Or cut out words that capture what you want or that express your feelings.
Here are some examples from a journal I had several years ago when I was envisioning taking the creative path in life.
a collage of different artist’s studios collected from magazines
A dream studio found in a magazine. I intended to fill all the space around the photo with words/phrases that had special meaning for my life at that point. Or words/phrases of things that I wanted in my life.
a designer’s studio and a quote from the article
A coil bound journal like the one used in the above spreads are available in the amanobooks clearance section.