I have often drooled over pictures of Artists' Journals in books and on web pages, but have always 'known' that I wasn't creative or skilled enough to make one of my own. However when a Facebook friend put up a photo of the first page of hers, and mentioned The Documented Life Project, I asked about it and investigated - and then signed up.
Of course, being summer here, it wasn't easy to start. The first challenge was for the week starting 1 January, at which time I was spending three days paddling down the Whanganui River - not the best place to get out the paper, glue, scissors and paint.
And then we had visitors including another internet friend from America....
And the grandchildren.....
And swimming and summer and gardening and summer......
However, all the time, I was reading the challenges and planning them in my head and making notes about what I wanted to do and at last, on the 1st of February, I finally began.
The January theme was the blank page and how to face it. I certainly needed help with that! But the project gives you that help.
The first week's Art Challenge was Book Paper. Panic! What the hell is 'book paper'? It's okay, they explain. Easy.
The first week's Journal Prompt was Be Your Own Goal Keeper. Obviously the very first thing to do was to actually have a goal. I thought about that a lot and came up with the idea of allowing adventure into my life - both of the planned and spontaneous kind. So 'adventure' became my theme / goal. Except it didn't sit quite as comfortably as it should. I knew I didn't mean huge adventures like climbing Mt Aoraki or even Mt Karioi, but small adventures both physical and of the mind. Yet still I wasn't comfortable, and procrastinated.
Eventually it became February and I knew I just had to start. I didn't like what I made. I didn't like my 'adventure' goal. I kept going. I added 'colour' as a goal. I didn't like that either. I nearly screwed up my paper to throw it away, but I remembered how many times I had read, just cover it up, paint over it, add, subtract, change, see what evolves.
The words had to go! But they were sprawled across the page. The water colour pencils had smudged instead of washed. What to do? I was totally out of my comfort zone - just how I had been totally out of my comfort zone when I went on that river trip, and when I had invited someone I liked but didn't know well to visit. Comfort zone. Hmmmm. Then I knew what my goal really is - it is not to move out of my comfort zone but rather, to EXPAND MY COMFORT ZONE. And part of expanding my comfort zone is to accept that everything I do it not going to be perfect; not going to be 'up to standard'. And it doesn't fucking matter!
So, here's my first page. Oh yeah, as usual, I haven't done as I was told. I didn't buy a large journal as instructed - I decided that I will do my stuff on loose pages and bind them at the end.
The colourful bit on the right is a lift up tag, under which are reminders of the different areas of my life in which I especially want to 'expand the comfort zone', and notes of ways in which I did this in January.
It's nothing like what I imagined, it's unsatisfactory in many ways - but it doesn't fucking matter! My new mantra - 'It doesn't fucking matter!' I think I need to go add that to my page in big, bold letters: IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER!