Category Archives: journal

>Building a Good Foundation: Journals


Keeping a regular written record, or a journal, is the best way I’ve found to keep on track with my various pursuits.   I doodle, glue in pictures that interest me, and (gasp!) even write in my journals.  They have ranged in size from this small Moleskine shown below to a super large wire bound sketchbooks , but the one thing they have in common is that the only rule is that there are no rules.

journal foundation list one

Lists help to keep me on track.  I started this practice when my youngest son was an infant.  Each Sunday I sit down with my journal and make a list of what I’d like to accomplish that week. Sometimes I go back and check off projects as they are completed.  Other times I list the projects or actions I took that day or week.  This was a real sanity saver when I felt overwhelmed by my duties as a mother.  I could look at the page and see that I had accomplished something that week, no matter how small it may have seemed.  Little steps added up to bigger work.


journal foundation list two

Lists can be used to brainstorm ideas.  This page was from the year I was going to attempt the “Art by the Inch” challenge.  I wrote my options for the time period and listed what supplies I’d need to gather to work on the projects.

 journal foundation list three

This page was done in preparation for a class I was teaching to the Art Quilt Alliance in Columbus Ohio.  I wanted to make sure that nothing was forgotten, and I had a little fun drawing the contents of the table I was sitting at while I brainstormed what was needed.


journal foundation list four

And a goofy collage combining watercolor, colored pencil and a list.  So many options for something so mundane helps make the task fun.


Posted by on January 25, 2011 in journal, play


>How Do Your Ideas Grow?


One question I get a lot is “Where do you get your ideas?”  My initial thought upon hearing that question is “Where don’t I get ideas?” because ideas seem to come from all directions, at any time.  Of course it is because I also do a lot of what Julia Cameron calls “filling the well.”  This can include the activities listed in her book “The Artist’s Way” (morning pages, artist dates, regular activity), but I also find that other things also fill the well and help nurture baby ideas.

growing ideas my sample one

With that question in mind, I went to the local coffee shop with my journal and markers on hand.  This is the image that came to me.  Creativity as a garden, with all the elements that help to fertilize the process and help in the development of ideas. 

As a child I remember reading the story of Squanto, and how he taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their crops using fish, so that is why the fish are in the image (that I like drawing fish is a happy plus).  Each fish and mineral underground contains an element of what feeds my idea plant.  You can see here that my fertilizer includes reading, movies and dreams.

Actually putting the ideas down in some form grows from this fertile ground, including blog posts and working in my personal journal.  The harvest includes finished work, which can also be used as fertilizer to start the process all over again.

I also feel that self care, symbolized by the sun in this drawing, is of utmost importance in developing ideas.  If we are tired and depleted our bodies and minds can’t help but divert all our energy into just surviving.  My self care includes such things as rest, yoga, friends and good food.  Play is also an important part of the process.  Allowing some time to just goof off can help more than anything sometimes.

What nurtures your ideas?  I have put a link in the sidebar to a blank copy of this worksheet  (How Do Your Ideas Grow) that you can print out and play with on your own.  Feel free to share it with your friends (please link back to this post, thanks!) , and I would love to see what your garden looks like.


Posted by on January 17, 2011 in ideas, journal, play, worksheet