Art Journaling, No Words

Working away from the usual is always interesting for me. Stretches creative muscles and brightens up the studio. Today’s challenge (I made this up) was to create a journal (lots of discretion about what a journal is) using no traditional art supplies. And, just to make it harder, no words.

I’ve always had trouble understanding art journals without words. I’m a word person. A writer. So the challenge was . . . well, tough.

I started by gathering materials at a hardware store. One of these days, I’m going to teach an art class using only materials from a hardware store. Today I used:

  • six paint color samples
  • one feather
  • one piece of glittery wrapping paper
  • one button from a sweater
  • some twine
  • a piece of discarded, painted watercolor paper

I’d been spending time watching Pete’s Pond–a watering hole in Southeast Botswana, Africa.  The site isn’t perfect–the lights go out at night, sometimes the whole site goes down, which, when you remember it’s on a game preserve far from the nearest decent-size town, isn’t that unusual. I was chatting with the other viewers, and heard people discussing how autumn was coming, the weather was turning chillier, and how it made them sad. Birds were beginning migration.

Here, of course, summer’s passing is what we celebrate. Days get bearable, and we enter the season we came here for–from now until the beginning of May, the weather is wonderful. Clear skies, sun, breezes, and warm days followed by crisp nights. The birds that leave other areas come here.

And here’s what I made, called “Migration.” I won’t explain it, because I’m hoping that each person who sees it will have a story about it. While the pages lift up, the have no words. They are ready for your story about the next season–what is that story for you?

Migration, feather, button, twine on paint samples and watercolor paper.

-Quinn McDonald builds art journals and is a creativity coach.