Lately I’ve been doing something that my friend Marieke calls ‘raw art journaling’. So now you’ll probably ask:
What Is Raw Journaling?
To me raw journaling is where you journal with the intention of feeling, processing and expressing your emotions. You avoid trying to decide up front what you’re going to make (i.e. you don’t plan out a composition or particular subject), but instead you let yourself be led by your inner voice and intuition. For me an important aspect of this is letting go of the need to make something pretty or coherent.
I usually start out by grabbing a few colours (adhering loosely to colour theory and colour relationships – I will be going into this more in my bonus lesson on Let’s Face It) so I don’t get overwhelmed. In my journals I like to use matte acrylics (like Americana or Blick matte acrylics) because they don’t make the pages stick together the way glossy acrylics might. Then while I’m working I’ll let my intuition guide me in terms of picking further colours.
I find that when I try this type of art journaling things tend to look a lot more unfinished. I also use a lot more words in haphazard ways across the pages. With a ‘normal’ art journal page I have a tendency to create a face and then in the empty space a word or phrase. With raw journaling it’s much more ‘all over the place’. I pay less attention to composition and more attention to what I want to express. Almost everything that goes through my head will come out in text, either in layers or illegible scribbles or as visible text on the final layer.
The most surprising and unsurprising thing has been that I’ve found this type of art harder to share. I usually share everything (pretty, ugly, it doesn’t really matter to me who sees it), but I think that in a lot of my work the emotions are more hidden (e.g. the process has been cathartic but the page itself doesn’t really express specific emotions on the surface). In this work the emotion is totally on the surface. It’s very raw, very real and it makes me feel really vulnerable to share it.
So maybe it’s not such a surprise that I’ve found it hard, but I will keep sharing, because I absolutely love this type of art. Both to look at and to make. It’s not necessarily ‘pretty’, but to me it expresses something deep and it touches me in a way that a lot of other art doesn’t. It makes me feel exhilarated, a bit scared and it makes my heart beat faster.