The Only Rule for Artistic Journaling

When you do something every day, you build your confidence and skill. This is the premise behind the idea of daily journaling: to expand and work your creative mind, to practice, and to experiment. Dory Kanter, who teaches painting and journaling workshops, offers motivation:

“The more I draw and paint, the more I value what I call private art–daily creative exercises in my artistic journal. They are an account of ideas, questions, dreams, explorations, and experiments of the hand and the heart. They are a witness to an awakening to the full spectrum of ordinary life. They mirror the gentle stirrings of the eye, mind, and soul.

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Starlit Irises (watercolor on Arches 140-lb cold-pressed paper, 17×28) by Dory Kanter. Collection of Ellen Rosenbaum and Richard Meeker

“I believe there are two purposes for keeping an artistic journal. First, you want to record personal sensations, whether at home or away. And, secondly, you will accumulate a cache of remembrances to develop further, if you choose. The important thing is to do at least one page each day. Write all over the page, or not at all. Use color, or shades of gray. Use pencil, pen, collage, or watercolor. Make quick notations or fully developed paintings.

“Many years ago, my son’s four-year-old playmate asked me what I had done that day. I told her that I painted a flower. “Oh,” she said, “wasn’t it pretty enough already?” Her fresh and natural response delighted me. She had the enviable gift of still being startled by life. One of the joys of being an artist is an excuse to look at life closely, and to nurture a sophisticated innocence. The replenishing solitude of my journaling practice revives my own four-year-old beginner’s eyes.

“The only rule for the artistic journalist is that there are no rules. Results are not important, creativity and innovation are. Cultivate a curiosity of the ordinary and a passion for everyday life.” ~Dory Kanter (Tweet this quote!)

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The Five-Senses Exercise: “I made this watercolor painting while I was sitting in a café by the harbor in a small Mediterranean town in France,” says Dory. “I was sitting peacefully, sipping a fresh-squeezed lemonade, listening to the gentle sounds of water lapping against the ancient seawall and splashing against the yachts anchored in the harbor. All of a sudden, an ambulance arrived, with a screaming siren. The red stripes in my painting represent the sound of the blaring horn, in contrast to the soft purples and greens representing the sound of the waves and water, and tinkle of cups and glasses in the café. After completing the painting, I cut it into four strips to create a collage. You can see that some sounds appear louder than others!”

Dory has written an inspiring book of creative prompts for artists; Art Escapes: Daily Exercises and Inspirations for Discovering Greater Creativity and Artistic Confidence is available now at North Light Shop. Bonus–click here to score one of Dory’s “Page-a-Day” ideas!

Warm regards,

Cherie Haas, online editor**Click here to subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and more!



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