For a wrap up on EVA's fake journal experience check out her May 11 blog post. I think you will find her breakdown of the experience helpful when reflecting about your own, or when you come to commit to next year's celebration (because I know you want to!).
EVA's spontaneous decision to participate has actually led to her starting not one but three journals! Each will serve a different purpose.
Work in her fake journal has resulted in new choices for books, paper, and materials. She is also considering how to fit the habit into her daily life.
"Knowing you only need to write 30 entries is easier than writing for a prolonged and indefinite time period," she wrote.
I would just like to encourage EVA and everyone who might feel the pressure of a regular journal habit looming—once you have the habit it is as natural as breathing. That indefinite time period which stretches ahead of you beckons rather than intimidates. Each passing year, and the journals they produce, solidifies that creative contract. It becomes neither easy nor difficult to keep a journal, it simply is. It's natural and useful. You will come to "notice" it only when you haven't connected with it for a time. I really believe keeping a journal is one of the best things you can do for your creative life, and that's why I teach journaling.
In her wrap up EVA compared art and golf and the use of expensive materials and fancy clubs. I would also encourage EVA and everyone to buy quality art materials when you can afford them. Golf can be art EVA, but the analogy you're making doesn't hold. If you have quality materials, the ease with which your ideas will flow on to the paper will be vastly improved. Instead of fighting cheap paints with weak pigment loads that don't allow one to get the values and contrasts and verve in one's paintings or sketches one is able to begin seeing steady improvements when using quality materials.
Two good brushes, some quality paper (for the media you elect to use) and quality paints—in watercolors 6 tubes is totally sufficient (a warm and cool of each primary) will allow great strides forward.
And the immediate benefit is that incremental and steady success will push you forward as well.
Inexpensive art materials, inferior paints, crummy brushes, student grade paper—they are all false economies. They waste your most precious resource—your time. You can't get your time back, but you can use your time to move forward in your art—to practice. It's my hope that everyone considers this as they take off on a journaling adventure. A few quality materials provide the means for starting off on the right foot—just as wearing quality shoes will enable you to go on a long and blister-free journey.
Learning new art skills can be frustrating enough—please don't add to the frustration with poor quality materials.
Overburdening yourself with materials of any sort, quality or not can be a problem. So if getting the journaling habit and learning about art materials seems intimidating I recommend starting with only a pen and a book and sketching and learning about that pen—and getting the habit. Add other materials after the habit is present and you're in the experimental phase.
If you are a new artist who doesn't feel worthy of quality materials, or if you feel the only way you'll be able to get out of the door with any materials at all is if they are inexpensive, by all means get out and start journaling with those materials. I'd rather you were all journaling. But please realize that improvement in your art will come when you use paints with quality pigments and heavy pigment loads, on paper that was meant to make those materials sing. Move towards that as quickly as your pocketbook allows. Because not allowing yourself hardworking tools is just one way your internal critic uses to derail you. I've seen it in students for over 20 years.
Lee Trevino could golf 9 holes under 85 strokes with a Dr. Pepper Bottle (or something like that) because he already had SKILLS. Any great artist can take crap materials and make them work for him or her. A beginner starting with student grade materials needs to move to the quality materials as soon as possible to see how real paint moves in a graduated wash, or blends with another paint, or works on a paper sized for heavy duty watercolor technique. It's joyous. The experience will feed you while you work to improve your skills.
EVA, thanks for sharing in this event, and for sharing your experience with others. Readers can land on EVA's first fake journal entry by clicking on her name in the 2010 participants list in the right hand column. Go experience her journey now.
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