It’s back to school week in September, and even though I haven’t been in school in a very long time, I still feel the excitement! I am having to reign myself in a bit, though, and not go blow a bunch of money on school supplies I have no need for, but the temptation! It is strong!
Who doesn’t love a new box of crayons, and a fistful of sharpened, yellow, HB pencils?
I think it’s really the ‘new slate’ feeling that comes with this time of year that really appeals to me. While the kiddos are going off to begin their school year, I’m in my blanket fort with my planner, dreaming up new things to do in the year to come. I also focus quite a lot on the wheres, whens, and whats of what I’ll be teaching.
Speaking of Which!
I will be guest teaching in Life Book 2017 again next year! Yes! AGAIN! I’m so thrilled to be invited back!
As you all know, every year I run a secret group for Life Bookers who sign up through my link. This year will be no different. :D This year, we had a monthly draw for a prize, and the way to enter was to do the work, and post your spreads in the comment threads. That was all you had to do.
I’ve given away one new prize every single month this year, and will do so again next year, but in addition to that, all members of my Life Book Life Boat will also get discounts on my classes!
Ask Effy Anything!
It’s time for this week’s edition of Ask Effy Anything! This week, I’ll be addressing a few things so grab a cuppa, and get settled in.
I have a couple of questions for you!
1. How do you deal with burnout? Specifically since you run a creative business, and if you’re burnt out on journaling, your tribe still expects you to create and you still need to put food on the table.
2. Art journaling in an actual journal just doesn’t work for me. It’s taken me years to figure that out and accept that I simply don’t enjoy working in a “book” – I much prefer loose paper or canvas, or other substrates, like gessoed over scrapbook paper. I’m considering taking Facing Forward II but I’m a little concerned about the focus on traditional art journaling. Do you have any advice for me? :)
On The Subject of Burnout
I haven’t felt burned out yet, but I think that is most likely because I’ve established a practice. Instead of a) waiting for inspiration to strike or b) procrastinating and doing things last minute, I do stuff daily. Developing this practice was the intention of Book Of Days from the outset, and it has been really successful for me.
I believe that burnout comes much more readily when we are forcing ourselves to do things we don’t want to do. Often, the ‘I don’t wannas’ come from being outside of our core values. Maybe we’re making art the way we think we’re supposed to rather than making it the way we actually want to (like in a book instead of on loose sheets of watercolour paper or canvas). Maybe we’re forcing ourselves to engage themes that aren’t meaningful to us because we paid for a class that features those themes. In other words, you’re not staying in integrity with your desires, your way of doing things, your art.
Staying in integrity with your art means doing things your own way. It means having a structure that really works for you. It means adjusting and adapting to suit yourself in every possible way so that when you sit down to your painty table, you are raring to go. If you’re experiencing creative burn out, I’d suggest tweaking your practice so that it feels like an invitation to play instead of a tyrannical insistence that you ‘work’. Our inner artists love play. They aren’t, however, so fond of ‘work’.
Ask yourself: what feels like play to me? What feels like work?
Do less of the latter, and hone in on the former.
On Art Journaling: Breaking Out Of The Book
It is true that art journaling is typically done in a book, but that doesn’t mean we are obligated to keep that format. Life Book, for example, focuses on watercolour paper as the primary substrate, and it’s your choice to bind or not bind at the end of the year.
One of the reasons I prefer to work in a book is that I have limited space to store my work. A year’s worth of work in a book on a shelf makes sense for me. I also *love* making books, and then filling them up with juicy spreads to look through after.
This ‘spread’ is totally an art journal spread, but it was created on a piece of 11 x 15 watercolour paper, which I intend to mount on a cradle board so I can hang it on my wall. Created for Ever After, this piece could easily have been done in a book, but it could also have translated well on canvas board, or canvas.
Most of the things you see another artist or instructor do can be translated to a loose sheet of watercolour paper *or* canvas. Generally, you need make no adjustments if you’re working on loose paper, but you may find yourself needing to adapt a bit to work on canvas – especially stretch canvas. If you are working on canvas board, however, most of the things art journalists do translate well.
I wonder if it’s the ‘journaling’ part of the equation that trips you up? Do you think you’d be more comfortable if you didn’t feel any pressure to use text? Is the idea of adding a sentiment blocking you from working on a substrate other than in a book? I wonder if you could give yourself permission to work *however you like to work* without feeling like you have to do it the way it was ‘meant’ to be done?
I do this all the time. Sometimes, something I learn in a class that focuses on canvas gets integrated into something I do in a book. Sometimes, something I learn in a class that focuses on loose watercolour paper gets done on canvas. It’s all a matter of PERMITTING yourself to experiment.
This piece was done in a book for week 36 in Book Of Days. This could *easily* be translated to canvas board, canvas or watercolour paper. The only thing that might be difficult is the black outlining, but I could easily take the canvas off the easel, rest it on the floor, and do the outlining that way. I could also substitute the pen work with fine liner brush work. The sentiment in the tree trunks could be skipped altogether, too, in which case the title of the piece can provide some food for thought for the viewer. I’d call this “The Sweet Spot”, and let the viewer decide what I mean by that.
See what I mean?
I have heard people on social media wondering whether or not they are allowed to do what they want, how they want, on whatever substrate they want when they are taking a class.
In short, the answer is YES.
If you run into troubles with ‘how to’ translate something to a different substrate, you can always ask your instructor. I am totally open to helping my peeps do things their own way, and if you ask me ‘how would I do this on canvas’, I will likely have some suggestions to make.
Facing Forward II will be taught in a book, but can easily be done on loose sheets of watercolour paper. Since I am moving into a canvas practice myself, I have been thinking about how to transition journaling from the book to other substrates. Most of my challenges in making that transition are to do with space & time. I work best at a table. Canvas work (especially larger canvases) requires an easel, and the space to house it. 9 x 12 spreads take an hour or two. Canvases can take much longer than that.
If you have the time and space, there is no reason why you couldn’t adapt every lesson you take to canvas or any other larger substrate. Go for it, Elizabeth, and be sure to show me what you’re doing with your ‘out of the book’ art practice!
That’s it for me this week folks! I’d love it if you’d join me for Facing Forward II which starts on September 14th, Book Of Days Semi-Annual, which is ongoing through till the end of December, or any other of the classes I’ll be appearing in next year, or teaching in my own platform. If you’re looking for a FREE fun challenge, try Journal52!