Christine: Fearing the Blank Page
Christine Brandel is a Studio Mothers contributor. She also blogs at A Hot Piece of Glass.
I treated myself to a nice, new journal the other day. I’ve been wanting to try art journaling for a long time, and I can never seem to get started. So many choices, I was always overwhelmed! What type of paper? Should I bind the journal myself, or purchase one? What should I write about? What if I can’t really draw? But I admired so many artists’ pages and secretly wished I could express myself in the same media… I blog, so journaling in and of itself isn’t really a problem, but facing that blank page was terrifying!
Surfing on Amazon the other day, I looked through my wishlist and found that I had placed a Moleskin watercolor art journal on the list a couple of years ago. Impulsively, I put it in my shopping cart, added a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (to read to my kids!), and checked out. The journal and the rest of my order arrived yesterday, and this morning, I removed the shrink wrap, fully intending to dive in immediately.
Instead, I find myself thinking about the journal rather than creating in it. I’m trying to decide what (if any) particular subject matter I want this journal to be about — a travel story about our epic family road trip to Miami in June? Or a journal about my recent return to riding horses, and all the emotion and significance that brings forth? Or a journal about my everyday life here with my family? Or, I know! How about a journal with a theme of inspirational quotes and images that are inspired by them? The options are endless!
Probably the best course of action is to just open the journal and go for it. I tend to like heavily text-based journaling, so I’m thinking I am going to choose a favorite quote as the subject for my first page, and break out my paints and pens and get on with it. I know I want to write about horses and riding, and it only occurred to me today that I can use images of the horses I ride — I don’t have to be able to draw them to include them! What a relief that is! Once I get started, I know things will roll along; it’s making that very first mark on the first page of my heretofore untouched journal book that strikes fear into the hearts of not-so-confident new art journalers like me. I know I also have to quit thinking in terms of “wasting” my materials or somehow “ruining” my journal book. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be mine. I can’t wait to get started!
How do you handle the “fear of the blank page”?