Sunday, March 22, 2009


I am a big fan of Juliana Coles and have taken a number of her Extreme Journaling workshops.   Her approach is to work fast and intuitively, silencing that inner critic.   The aim is to throw yourself on the page without thinking about art or making pretty pictures.  

I feel like I've been stuck lately and haven't known what I want to work on, so I pulled out my ongoing, oversized journal.  This began in Juliana's Altered Atlas class, probably my favorite of her classes.  We use a large, old atlas for the pages and often let parts of the original book show through.  The book focuses on "where am I, where have I been, and where am I going" perfect for the bits of maps, charts and pictures that show through from the atlas. 

These first two pictures are a double spread I was working on:

In her classes, Juliana continually throws you off guard by switching the technique or getting you to move on before you are finished.  It's hard to replicate that experience at home, much easier to settle in and start trying to make a nice composition instead of letting go and digging deeper.  So I made my own box of prompts to throw myself off.  For the above spread, I pulled out prompts that said "add circles," "add a sketch," "close your eyes and pick a paint color and use it," "cover something up," "attach something with tape."  

I also go back through the pages and see what calls out for more work without giving it much thought.  This was a page started several months ago that needed a little portrait added:

It's a very freeing way to work and to loosen up.  And today I started stitching again.


ger said...

That throw-yourself-onto-it-approach sounds very interesting. Jumping into creativity like from a diving-board, that´s how I´m trying to do it myself. I like the idea of that box of prompts a lot...

Paula McNamee said...

What a great approach to all creative endeavors. I like your idea of applying Julianna's prompts to the different mediums that you use in your art.

karen said...

Hi Robyn. Thanks so much for the lovely comment. I really wish I had time for journalling. I love how it all comes together. When I was studying for my degree I wasn't very good at it and would like to take some time exploring it again. Who knows, maybe one day. Karen