Good morning, everyone! Thank you for joining me today as I host White Rock artist, Violette Clark, and share her beautiful art with you. Before I jump right in to the first question, I’d like to tell you how we met. In the summer of 2009, I was flipping through the newspaper and stopped in my tracks at an article about a local artist, healing herself and others with art journalling. I was so inspired by her story and her Magic Cottage (you’ll find out what that is below!) that I clipped out the article and put it in a box in which I collect all kinds of goodies. In November 2011, I put on a community workshop at a coffee shop in White Rock. Apparently, Violette enjoys tea at this particular place! She saw my flyer posted in the shop’s window and emailed me for details. When I saw her name, my jaw dropped! I told her the story and since then we have met for tea in that very same shop and have begun an adventure in planning an art journalling workshop together!
And now here’s Violette!
Right off the bat, Violette, can you explain to us the basic difference between art journalling and “regular” journalling?
Art journalling involves the addition of visuals, either drawn or collaged as well as journalling. Of course an art journal page doesn’t always have to include words but often does.
What attracted you to this particular art form?
I have always drawn ever since I was a child – it was my saving grace, my constant companion. Many happy memories revolve around drawing. When my family went camping at Shushwap Lake, on the days that it rained, my little sister and I would joyfully draw comic characters that were inspired by the Archies comic books. While listening to the pitter patter of rain pelting on the tent we were transported to another world.
Around the time of 9/11 I became incredibly excited when I stumbled upon art journalling (over 11 years ago). I had been experiencing a challenging period in my life. As usual I turned to my constant companion – drawing – to deal with my emotions. There needed to be a place for them to safely land and I didn’t want to bother my friends with my ongoing saga 🙂 When I began to draw in my journal a blue face emerged with words that accompanied it. This was followed by more pages created in this fashion. I became excited because I moved away from a place of being stuck to one of resolution. It was as if my subconscious mind was speaking to me, helping me navigate troubled waters.
This wonderful “aha” moment turned me into an art journalling fanatic. I began to share my findings and enthusiasm with everyone and anyone who would listen to me rant and rave over the benefits of art journalling!
Ah, and so began your work in sharing this tool with others! What are some ways you do that?
I wanted to share my ideas and findings with as many people as possible so began to teach art journalling to women, teens and children. When I began to blog 7 ½ years ago I used blogging as a vehicle to turn women onto art journalling as well by showcasing my work and giving away free tutorials.
(You can check out Violette’s blog here)
When I discovered youtube five years ago that too became another way to reach folks and turn them onto the benefits of art journalling.
(You can find Violette on youtube here)
I have also had my journal pages featured in a number of paper arts magazines such as Cloth Paper Scissors, Somerset Studios, Scrapbooking and Beyond, Create with me and more! From there my art was featured in a few books such as the bestseller “Living the Creative Life” and then eventually my own book on Art Journalling – “Journal Bliss: Creative Prompts to Unleash your Inner Eccentric”. Recently I was featured along with my Mom in a newspaper article on doing crafts with your Mom for Mother’s Day. I’ve been interviewed on a number of different podcasts where I extolled the benefits of art journalling. These are all different ways that I have helped others benefit from art journalling.
I have also donated some of my art journal pages to local fundraising events. Recently I donated the “be true to you” journal page for a Hospice fundraiser.
My latest creation is a DVD for teens called The Teens Dream Journal Workshop. It’s designed to help raise self-esteem by focusing on what’s wonderful and special about the teen.
Wow, it sounds like you are very passionate about sharing the joys of art journalling and have pursued this in many avenues! I really like that your work and your guidance is highly accessible to everyone who could benefit. And I think we all could!
When we first met, I told you something that I know you have heard many people say. “I can’t do that! I don’t know how to draw!” Please tell my readers what your advice was to me, and to everyone else you’ve heard this from!
My advice is that YES, YOU CAN DO IT!
You can follow a system step by step to create a journal page. It’s easy if you begin with a painted background, borders, practise lettering then add lettering, experiment with collage and learn to draw simple faces. You don’t have to know how to draw you can simply collage onto a painted background however you can practice drawing simple things in your journal like your coffee cup and a scone. The more you practice the better you’ll get – just like anything else in life. Your drawing does not have to be perfect it just has to be uniquely YOU!
You certainly have a way of making me feel like I can really have fun with this if I eliminate my need to be perfect…or to be like someone else! In your workshops, I know you offer as much guidance as someone would like and even provide materials, such as the painted pages, that make those first few pages a little less intimidating.
What are the basic materials one needs to get started?
You really don’t need much to get started – a journal book or loose cardstock paper (that’s what I use), a permanent black pen and something to colour with. You can begin adding items after that. I like to use folk art paint and acrylics for my backgrounds and for colouring in my images I use copic markers and water colour pencil crayons. Micron pens are my black pens of choice.
Sounds like those would be fun items to have handy! Besides art journalling, what opens you up creatively? Do you have other hobbies?
Yes, I love gardening and I love being in nature – going for nature walks helps my creativity big time! Lots of ideas for future journal pages emerge from my solitary walks. For example I love walking to a park close to home and checking out the trees (there is one in particular I hug almost daily) and a few ponds. Frogs live in the ponds which I love to visit. A series of blog posts emerged from the “frog inspiration” – I created the Five Days of Frogs where I had to use a stencil of a frog five different ways.
I also love to kayak – being on the water in a quiet environment is like heaven to me. It feeds my soul and spirit. I have ADD (attention deficit disorder), too many distractions upset and overwhelm me – like being on the computer too long and all of the social media stuff one must deal with. Being out in nature has a calming effect on me and helps brings me back to center.
It’s great that you follow your heart and do the things you need to do to sustain yourself.
So, what does your typical day look like?
My days are never totally the same but generally speaking I get up between 7 and 8 am. Pour a cup of coffee and make a bowl of yogurt and Holy Crap cereal (from the Sunshine Coast – it’s a ritual) and bring both to the computer to read my e-mails and respond to them. At this point I might decide to create a quick journal page to post on my blog or I just might begin to blog. I try and blog five days a week.
Next I might be teaching an art journalling workshops to teens or I might be creating a journal page, or babysitting one of the grandkids or meeting with people to pitch my idea for a class. If I’m home that day I will take a half an hour out to walk to the local park. I’ll also take some time out to water my flowers – that’s the beauty of working from home! You get to work in your jammies and stop to indulge in these simple pleasures!
Recently as I mentioned above I was interviewed with my Mom for an article on Mother’s Day crafting with your Mom. I spent part of the day crafting with my Mom.
Sometimes part of the day is taken up brainstorming with a colleague about future classes or promotional materials. Sometimes I spend time creating posters in InDesign or Photoshop. I attend networking events too during the day.
As you can see there is nothing that is typical at the Magic Cottage – oh – by the way, that’s what I call my colourful home – the Magic Cottage! It’s appeared on the TV show Weird Homes!
Violette, it was certainly a pleasure chatting with you today! I hope my readers who can’t stop by the Magic Cottage pay you a visit online at one or more of the links below! And thank you so much for your inspiring images.
Thank you so much Taslim for taking the time to interview me. I’m very excited to be sharing with your readers and am pretty jazzed about our upcoming collaborative art journalling workshop!
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