Journal Pages: Look Up, Look Down

Look up and see, in that big blue sky, a hot-air balloon.

Keeping a journal doesn’t mean you have to spill your guts every day. Nor does keeping a journal mean you have to be profound, or have a life-changing “Aha!” moment, and record it. And, if you believe in the power of raw art like I do, keeping a journal doesn’t mean you have to gather pounds of cutting, trimming, shaping equipment and pre-printed photographs, stamps, and assemble a pleasing, pre-processed image.

Raw art is about your life at any one moment. It opens doors to ideas and creativity.One of my favorite techniques when I’m taking a walk in the morning is to change my view–I look up and see what’s happening in the sky or in the trees.

Surprising blossoms, unusual birds, interesting cloud patterns all make looking up  worthwhile. While most walkers keep their eye firmly ahead of them, I find it interesting to look up and look down.

Yesterday when I looked up, there was a hot air balloon floating in mid-sky. It was the familiar Re-Max and I wondered if it was carrying clients for a view of their new neighborhood.

There on the sidewalk are cracks that create interesting shapes, accidental mosaics of cracked pottery, interesting patterns in hard-water stains. Or in this case, elegant calligraphy that could be the number 388  or 3W. It doesn’t matter, the graceful curves are beautiful.

You can use your journal to wonder about what you have seen, or to take off to find a new meaning–what would it mean to

Look down and see graceful sidewalk calligraphy.

look at your life by flying over it? Or what is ordinary but gracefully curved in your life? But it’s also perfectly fine to simply record the small joys you find by looking up and looking down.

—Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who keeps a raw-art journal.

Graffiti: Raw-Art on the Street

People often ask me where the inspiration for raw art comes from. For people who can’t draw, a repeating pattern, a fluid line, or an easy curve catches the eye and pleases the soul. Graffiti often captures that mood and spirit–strong, free, easy to like.

In one of the places I teach, there is a great strip of colorful, well-designed graffiti. You can See the start below.

A whole block of graffiti in Phoenix. © Quinn McDonald, 2010 All rights reserved.

I found the middle section intriguing. There is something familiar and artful in that piece.The colors are bright, the design strong. I like the graceful curves.

Part writing, part art, it's the perfect raw-art piece. © Quinn McDonald 2010

This is the section that looks most artful to me. What do you see? Is it an ‘e’? Is it sunrise over water? Is it an angel in a circle?

Floating pieces of sky. © Quinn McDonald, 2010

Quinn McDonald is a writer and communications trainer. Her book on Raw-Art Journaling will be released by North Light in June of 2011.

Creative Play : #Theme Thursday 5/7/09

Last Friday, I posted some links for creative play. I said it was more fun than Follow Friday, a Twitter invention, in which folks recommend following other people’s Twitter posts.

Truly bizare, but absolutely real: aloe flower spike, about 12-ft. high

Truly bizarre, but absolutely real: aloe flower spike, about 12-ft. high

Then I had this idea–suppose all those people who love art, or reading, or music (on any other thing you love–fishing, gardening, folding paper airplanes),  searched and found some great links on those topics?

Once you’ve found some great sites,  post them on your blog.  Suppose we all did this on Thursday and call it #Theme Thursday?   If you have a Twitter account, you can post a link to your site there. (The hash mark is an indicator for Twitter so it will get indexed and we can all find everyone else’s posts.)

If you don’t know, like, or care about Twitter,  post a link to your site in the comments below. You can do more than three cool links on your blog, but make it at least three.

Here are mine, in no particular order.

Over at the creativity incubator, we were talking about music and the creative process. Here’s a link to create your own music using You Tube clips. Best thing: you don’t need any musical talent.

Some very imaginative graffiti, some of it art, some of it inviting art.

Of course you are unique, but how many people in the world have your name? Find out.

Virginia Siegel is an artist, but until May 7 she is auctioning off art for cancer research. She does collage work, and the prices vary widely. Interesting concept, art for health. Her blog discusses collage mania in detail.

Katie Sokoler imagines what shadows would do if they had a lie of their own. And over on The Seeded Earth, there is a great graffiti-on-graffiti balloon man. Look closely!

Part sketch pad, part image cutter-and-paster, part “I have no idea, but it looks like fun,” check out Skitch. It has a free download.


Quinn McDonald is a writer and a certified creativity coach. She teaches writing and how to keep an art journal if you can’t draw.