Monday, February 24, 2014


I've been dying to whip up a new art journal to play in.  I'd been using a spiral-bound journal that I made recently, but I found the 9x12 pages were too big and scary for the doodling I wanted to do.  I had a bit of vintage barkcloth begging to become the cover for my new journal, and I really wanted to make an art journal with watercolor paper pages.  So.  I did.  I learned the technique from my good friend Teesha, and have made several like this one.  I love them.  Really my favorite way to play.  I like that I can customize the page size to whatever I need for whatever I'm doing.  The spiral-bound journal will continue to be an awesome sketchbook.  I know, I really does sound like the same thing, doesn't it.  It's just not in my world.  :)  Anyway, this is the cover of my new art journal.  I love using odd bits and pieces and putting them all together.  This bit of lace was my grandmother's, and the tab that I embroidered "journal" on is a vintage doll quilt I purchased at an antique mall.  It's so fun to find new uses for old treasures!  Makes my heart happy.

In any event, I've been playing in my journal.  And it got me to thinking about where inspiration comes from, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts I had this morning about that.  Like many of you, I'm a visual person.  So, I love books.  I picked up this book and this one and a few others like it for sketching inspiration.  I find the images in these books are a great jumping off point when my pen won't get moving.  I love to pick out just one element from a design on the page, and see where it goes.

Where can you find inspiration?  Of course Pinterest is a great resource, but sometimes I like to get something physical in my hands, you know?  Art books are a huge inspiration for me.  I love looking at paintings by Matisse, with his brilliant use of color and wonky lines and shapes.  Chagall is another favorite artist of mine.  Just to pour over the pages of art books with the vivid colors and shapes and styles makes me want to sit down at my table and make something with my hands.

Another favorite source of inspiration for me is just to get out of the studio.  Several years ago I took a class on The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  If you've never worked through her book, I highly recommend it!  In fact, I may carve out some time to do it again in the next few months.  I loved it so much.  Two of her practices really resonated with me.  The "morning pages" and "artist dates".  I've got a running list of artist dates I want to take myself on, and when I'm struggling with inspiration, I will go down the list, pick one and take myself on a date. A few artist dates on my list include a trip to our Japanese Garden, a tour of my favorite thrift shops, taking my art journal and markers to my local coffee house for a change of scenery, and a visit to the farmers market in the summer.

I also find that one creative pursuit will inspire another.  I like to dabble in different things: I doodle, I stitch, I knit, I write.  For example, when I'm stitching a bit of embroidery on a purse it might spark an idea for a similar motif on a journal cover, or when I'm doodling in my journal it may lead to a bit of applique for a textile project.  Similarly, I find that putting fabrics together for a quilt will inspire a palette for a painting or page in my art journal.  Just like love, inspiration actually is all around us.  


Anne D said...

I love your fiber-artsy cover. It's so very you!

I hear you about the big journals being scary - I haven't been able to get into art journaling as such, but I do keep a spiral-bound sketchbook for ideas and tracking projects. I like the 8.5x5" Strathmore Mixed-Media sketchbooks, the ones with hard covers. I made a pretty oilcloth cover for it so I can switch to a new one when this one is full(it's on my blog on Dreamwidth, if you want to see the cover and some of my other stuff).

By the way, do you have any new classes coming up? I could use a new hit of creativity, and for some reason, I don't get stuck on your classes. :)

cindyolson said...

What books did you recommend? It wouldn't pull up on my computer! Absolutely Love your journal!!!

Tammy Gilley said...

Hi Cindy,

Wow, thanks so much for the heads up! I'm not sure what went haywire, but the links are all working now. :) Thanks for letting me know, I really appreciate it! And thanks for the journal love, too. xo tammy

Kristine Dubuque Ortega said...

Love this post, Tammy! Love your style & zest for life!

Tammy Gilley said...

Thanks Kristine! So sweet of you. Thank you for popping in. xo