Out of Touch, Yet Perfectly Valid

As I’ve delved further into my graduate work I’ve felt more and more out of touch with the world of online art teaching, specifically the teaching of art journaling. Part of this is that I’ve deliberately distanced myself from all the hoopla and brouhaha that surrounds the opening of new classes. The marketing and commercialism turns me off. I get that these classes bring in new people to the joy of art journaling but I can’t help that I just don’t like some of the things I’ve seen. I don’t begrudge the creators of these classes their fat paychecks**. But to me, art journaling when done for healing is a private thing.

This sort of uneasy feeling was cemented when earlier this week I met with a client who isn’t an artist, would likely say she’s not interested in art, but was willing to try out visual journaling. As we sat together and she learned about the materials and expressed herself visually I realized that these sorts of moments- true expression and exploration are what got me interested in art journaling in the first place.

What hooked me wasn’t pictures of big eyes girls, or classes, or even making pretty pages. What hooked me was the authentic expression I found within the pages of my journal.

What I was so very privileged to share in this woman’s experience was pure unadulterated authentic expression using only the most basic of art materials.

When was the last time you used something basic in your art journal? Cheap markers? Oil pastels? Crayons? Prang watercolors?

This was the first time in a year where I’ve felt connected to visual journaling in the same way I did 10 years ago. I was able to see the connection to the journal form and the pure expression of her art build. I witnessed something special.

I haven’t felt that online in ages.

This isn’t to say that the mega classes aren’t fun, I’m sure they are, but they aren’t what I think of when I think “art journaling.”

**I’ve written about the fat fat paychecks that the mega online classes bring in. I recently likened them to the massive mega churches that rope old people in to sending in their life savings. Remember Wayne Newton in License to Kill? Mhhmmm.