Thank you crusaders – those of you who came to play last month, and those who have left comments and sent emails about the suspension of the street team activity. I will talk about that later but for now let’s offer a high five to the participants. An additional round of high fives goes to all who visited the links and left words of encouragement. When we go out on a limb to share our perspective and our work we are validated in our efforts by having an audience and a community who embrace us.
This month I challenge you to restrain yourself. Create a journal page that has minimal elements, less clutter, and more breathing room. I’m not saying that less is better than more; I’m simply asking you to try it. As we know, there are no rules when it comes to visual journaling. We might have a formula for constructing a page or we may mix it up and free-wheel through the process - sometimes busy, sometimes not-so-busy. What got me thinking about this as a challenge is a comment I got many months ago about I page I presented with a lot of empty space. The friend remarked that she didn’t have the will power to leave so much breathing room in a composition. Have you ever felt that way? That you aren't brave enough to leave blank areas? Maybe you think blank means unfinished? Don't know when to stop? This month I'm giving you permission to stop early. Don't get me wrong, leaving space doe not necessarily equate to less time commitment. It takes just as much concentration to compose with space as it does to compose with clutter.
I made this page today. Influenced by the lyrics of Elton John's Tiny Dancer. I purposely intended to establish space. I couldn't visualize a page dedicated to this song any other way. On another day, with another song, I might fill every inch of the page.
I was at an art exhibit a few years ago and read an artist’s statement that said something to the effect of: be ruthless in what you take away. That made such an impression on me. For instance, with this page below from last summer, I became aware of all the elements I had within reach that were intended to use on a page, then observed that not every item had to be included. Editing my materials did not diminish my expression. Less clutter allowed for greater focus on the underlying texture, or the message, or the image. There are many pages in a journal. I can use a riot of color and pattern on another page, on another day.
I'm sure you'll agree there are pages that get our attention because they ARE busy and intricate and detailed. Our eye enjoys darting across the content absorbing all the information. It’s the investigator within us that likes to explore and uncover. These kinds of pages seem to reveal something new each time we look at them. But our eyes also enjoy a respite. A subtle page does not minimize impact; it offers calm and deeper layers of observation. A page with a little more space draws they eye to the efforts of color, texture, and intention. The breaks on the page do not have to be white to be considered space. See below.
As I was planning out this crusade I was noticing the contrast of busy vs. restrained everywhere. Here are some tear-outs from printed matter that illustrate my point:
So that's it! Make a journal page while practicing some restraint. Try on minimalism. Maybe you've already been doing that - show us one or a few in a new blog post and express how you feel about working that way. Taking on this challenge as a community helps us widen our perspective because what I show you is certainly not the singular way to do things. I love seeing how you interpret the prompt. We all learn from each other. As I've said, this will be the final crusade for a while. I'm not saying I'm concluding the challenges, just need some time away to reflect on the process and figure out if I want to revisit in a different format. Within the month I will be posting some historical trivia about the last 60 crusades so come by when you can....and once again, hope you'll come play.
Please know I step away with a heavy heart. I love it here.