“Art journaling”, what it means to me is unexplainable. I can call it meditation with art, experiments with art or sheer playing with colours, but it is much more than these all put together. It gives me a purpose. A very strong purpose. It makes me realise my deep connection with art and art is my life.
"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart" said the great English romantic poet William Wordsworth. It is just that simple. Honestly! It is just that simple. If I am allowed, with all due respect to Mr. Wordsworth's worthy words, I can just change it a bit - "Fill up your sketchbook pages with drawings of your heart". I began art journaling way back when I was in school. I always wanted to document what my heart felt and put it together. So that when I lose myself, I can come back to my journals to find "me".
If I can recollect correctly my first art journal was made when I was about 6-8 years old. I really can't be very precise about my age on this. I used to draw like any child in the pages of my school or home notebooks. One fine day, I happened to show my drawings or sketches to an old man in my neighbourhood. He was very impressed by my me and he asked if can make a drawing book full of paintings and give him. I was super excited. So I told my parents, who encouraged my excitement and bought a drawing book and a box of colours. I filled the sketchbook with many sketches, of which I can vividly remember the last page which was the sketch of my family. I wanted to keep that page for myself, but I didn't want to tear it. So I gave the drawing book to the old man who said he will submit it in some competition. Trust me, that old man did nothing with that book, nor did he return it to me or my parents. I initially followed up with him and gradually I gave up. The second book was made in the empty pages of the school notebook after the academic year was done when we had summer vacations. That book also lost eventually. Similarly, over the years many small books were created and lost.
I formally started making art journals after I was exposed to the world of internet when I was about 23-24 years old. I saw pictures of art journals, travel journals of various mediums on the internet. Travel journals were my favourite and they still are. So eventually, I started making travel journals. Many mundane and exciting years passed by, and then came 2015 when I moved to Bengaluru as I got promoted. Moving to Bengaluru changed my life. I started art journaling again with two kids of my friend who are now in their pre-teens and teens. There my journey began by just documenting everything I was experiencing. Gradually this became a habit that I started loving and now it is an addiction. If I don't touch my journals for one or two months the worst in me comes out. So when I know it is time to get back and reflect and find "me", I stop thinking and start painting.
This has been my journey with art journals so far. Before I close this post, I have to admit, art journaling and painting helped me tread through many ups and downs in my life, so far. I paint or draw whatever catches my eye or touches my heart. It can be a picture, a flower, a building or even a particular hairstyle of a colleague. So for me art journaling is a way to face myself and reflect. Again, it is meditation for me.